Do come along, have a listen to what the speakers say, and then question or contribute as you wish. Elsewhere in Trinity you’ll find some 59 tables of Stalls, an all day vegan cafe, a kids (with adults) space, the Soap Box outside, 3 more meetings spaces at trinity, and the Radical History Zone down the road at Hydra Bookshop. Enjoy! Continue reading Elections, Rojava (West Kurdistan), and Cops – the main debates @ the Anarchist Bookfair
[Update 17/1/15 – in response to an international solidarity callout for anarchist prisoners in Spain, some Bristol anarchists held a protest on Friday 16 January. See this Bristol AFed report & pics]
Recent years have seen growing, militant and popular anarchist movements across Spain. Unsurprisingly these have been met with state repression – attacks on protests & assemblies, arrests, beatings, imprisonment – but movements have continued to flourish. Mired in corruption and economic chaos, the Spanish state has recently moved to introduce a new law, the ‘Gag Law’, or Ley Mordaza, to clampdown further on opposition. It was no surprise then when on 16 December mass raids on homes and anarchist spaces were carried out, leading to at least 4 anarchists on bail and 7 on remand. The response of anarchists, other radicals and indeed non-radicals was immediate, as a series of protests & actions have occured daily ever since. The twitter hashtag #YoTambienSoyAnarquista (I too am an anarchist) has achieved mass circulation. The article below is one of many such statements of solidarity & struggle, and comes from the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias – FIJL), a Spanish anarchist organisation that pre-dates the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. You can read here the Spanish original, and here the original English translation. Details of a Spanish solidarity fund/bank account are here.
Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists
On December 16, Operation Pandora was unleashed. The State’s security forces burst into different houses and squats in Barcelona and Madrid, and eleven anarchist comrades were kidnapped.
This kidnapping—and it couldn’t have been done any other way—was coordinated with the media, who helped justify and legitimate it with heart and soul, spreading the news that the police had carried out an operation against international anarchist terrorism. This kidnapping of eleven comrades set off a multitude of rallies and demonstrations that same day in different cities—Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Zaragoza, for example—thousands of people coming out in solidarity with the kidnapped comrades and showing rage and hatred towards the State’s new repressive operation against the libertarian movement. Continue reading Spanish State – Operation Pandora: Democracy imprisons 7 more anarchists
[UPDATE 7/12/2014 – In a highly unusual move, the local police & Crimestoppers announced a £10k reward for information about a named Bristol anarchist – read this half-decent article.
UPDATE 15/11/2014 – Anarchists start investigation into dangerous police extremists – full report here.]
In the midst of a period of intensified police harassment of some anarchists & other radicals in & around Bristol, the Bristol Defendant Solidarity project and numerous other groups have issued a statement of defiance, mixing support & solidarity for those who need it, with legal advice & rights info. Here’s an excerpt: “These home visits, arrests, searches and requests to snitch are not just about information and evidence gathering. They have as much to do with a concerted effort to intimidate and divide us all. A big part of their plan is to scare people into inaction and to create divisions between us. They hope to get us blaming each other for increased surveillance to the point where someone falls for their lies and starts talking to the bad guys. These are tactics that have been used against social movements in countless places and times.” Read the full statement here and the legal info here.
Since June 2014 police have escalated their efforts to find the persons unknown who have claimed online a series of targetted attacks against the infrastructure of capital and the state, most famously the burning down of a new police firearms training centre in Portishead just over a year ago. Whilst police have been hunting for the anarchist known as ‘Badger’ since late-summer 2011, when the Bristol (Evening) Post building was attacked – in response to the police murder of Mark Duggan in London, and for the Post’s complicity in the post-Tesco riots clampdown – their renewed efforts seem to have been triggered by an article in the Daily Mail on 1 June. This near-hysterical piece, including rent-an-MP quotes, was most likely planted in the media by Special Branch to prepare the ground, and has been followed up locally by regular articles in the Bristol Post (a part of the same right-wing media corporation). What facts their articles do contain, come not from any investigative journalism but appear to be largely from communiques posted regularly online by the aforementioned persons unknown claiming actions, which total way more than 50 over recent years. A 10 minute doc on BBC1 Inside Out West on 22 September followed the same story (Youtube video). Nobody it seems has so far been charged & prosecuted for these actions, and it appears the police have no more idea of who it is than the rest of Bristol does, beyond searching for the elusive ‘Badger’.
The 3 year fruitless police search for ‘Badger’ has resulted in infrequent searches & raids (often of squats), a few pointless arrests, a couple of police visits to individuals’ workplaces, and the stopping of a few individuals at airports. Since June 2014 this activity was ramped up, leading to at least 6 arrests of individuals. However as far as is known, most have been released without charge, a couple have ‘police bail’, and some suffered extensive police searches of their homes. It seems very much that these individuals were literally in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition, it has become known that more people have been stopped at an airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, but were not charged with anything. For a while the open-access news website Bristol Indymedia was the focus of police attention as a result of communiques posted to its newswire in recent years by persons unknown. Police visited various known activists in an attempt to find the people running B/Indymedia, and failing to do so they obtained a court order to seize its server in mid-August (details here), effectively shutting it down. This was the second seizure of the B/Indymeda server, the first was in June 2005, for a similar reason – the police hoped its server files would contain information about those posting up articles. But as in 2005, it doesnt, and you’d have thought the police would have remembered that?! Subsequent to the server seizure, the police seem to have re-focused on finding ‘Badger’, visiting numerous known public activists at their homes and asking for information, and/or encouraging them to snitch, but getting no information and as often as not finding peoples front doors firmly shut.
It must by now be abundantly clear to the police that nobody knows anymore than they do about ‘Badger’ and the persons unknown, and clearly the police have no useful evidence at all, so to an extent their harassment of activists can be laughed-off. Except that it is not funny. It is clearly an attempt to intimidate, probably an attempt to entrap, and possibly an attempt to fit someone (anyone) up so that they have something to show for all their wasted time – it would not be the first time British police have done that! Hence the statement above comes out now from activist groups offering defiance, and solidarity/support/advice for anyone feeling threatened.
At a time when the Tory/LibDem government, backed by most other parties, are suggesting removing protection of human rights and curtailing the freedom of anyone they deem to be an ‘extremist’ there seems to be an increasing momentum towards removing our traditional civil liberties and criminalising political dissent. The same laws introduced on the back of hysteria about Muslim terrorists can equally be turned against anyone the government wishes to target, just as the misuse of the Terrorism Act 2000 against political activists & protesters demonstrates. To do this they want to remove everyone’s right to privacy and snoop on your emails and phone calls. If this was Iran, China or Russia they would denounce it as undemocratic – but the citizens of the UK are all under suspicion by their own government.
The police are the most visible arm of our increasingly secretive surveillance state, sent out to do the dirty work of their political & corporate masters. We know from working class history and personal experience that the police everywhere are able to act with virtual impunity, unless we stop them. From the USA to Turkey, Hong Kong to the UK, police trample on political dissent, brutalise protesters, infiltrate campaigns, coerce female activists into relationships, and shoot to kill. It really doesnt matter if you are a ‘peaceful’ or ‘violent’ protester, to the state and the corporate bosses you are the enemy within. So we need to get our acts together, get back on the streets, get involved with campaigns or start new ones where they are needed, resist the increasing economic & political attacks on us, recognise we have more in common with each other than with the state & bosses, and above all demonstrate in whatever ways we are comfortable with some basic solidarity, support & mutual aid. Capitalism remains in crisis, expects us to pay for it, and in its desperation becomes ever more barbaric, but it only survives whilst we, the enormous majority, allow it to.
A brilliant new documentary about the 1984/5 Miners Strike goes on general release at the start of October. ‘Still The Enemy Within’ is an independent, crowd-funded film lasting 112minutes, that has no experts nor film stars in it, and is sadly only likely to be seen at smaller independent cinemas. Pre-release screenings have been taking place at various festivals these last few months such as Sheffield DocFest & Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival (where we saw it), to rave reviews, while a formal cinema licence was being obtained. You can catch it locally on 21 October, 7.30pm at the Cube Cinema in Bristol (ticket info), as well as nearby in Cardiff, Bath & Clevedon – full list of screenings. Continue reading Still The Enemy Within
Two former US Black Panthers visit Bristol this week. As part of a UK tour initiated by the London Anarchist Bookfair collective, numerous Bristol groups have banded together to arrange 3 discussion meetings in 2 days on 16th and 17th October. Continue reading Black Power, Anti-Fascist Struggle & Anarchism in the USA – 3 Events In Bristol
Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS) was formed in the aftermath of the street resistance in Stokes Croft in late April 2011. That resistance occurred when the state acted to defend a newly opened Tesco shop on Cheltenham Rd which had been the focus of widespread community opposition.
A heavy-handed police raid on a squat virtually opposite the Tesco sparked street protests nearby by supporters, that escalated into rioting as the cops brought in back-up from several other forces in what looked like a pre-planned operation. Welsh cops didnt endear themselves to locals by blocking their streets and refusing them access to their own homes, and soon wider sections of the local community were on the streets giving the cops a runaround into the early hours. The Tesco shop was trashed and shut down for a week. Continue reading Celebrate 2years of active solidarity by Bristol Defendant Solidarity
Welcome one and all to the Bristol anarchist bookfair 2013! It’s gonna be a sunshine day!
Thatcher may have gone, but her legacy remains, Brutal neoliberal economic policies (ironically part-funded and underpinned, and then bailed out by public money); backed up by the iron fist of the state to clamp down on any dissent (and also funded by public money). To do away with her legacy will require ideas, practices and action. Debated, refined and implemented on a mass scale. Continue reading Welcome to Anarchism Bristol style
We came across this written article (communique) a while back, and lob it here into the mix of debate as we think the issues it addresses are of concern to some anarchists and radicals in the Bristol area. So read on if the mood takes you….
[Note – we found the original English translation here, whilst the original in Spanish on Barcelona Indymedia is linked to here.We decided not to add any images, as there were none with the original.]
Communiqué for Anarchist Actions in Barcelona and Response to the Nihilist Comrades
With this communiqué, we wish to claim the following actions, as part of a struggle for the destruction of the State, Capital, patriarchy, and any system of domination, a struggle for the free creation of voluntary and solidaristic relations at the global and local level; in other words, a struggle for anarchy. Continue reading A Communiqué for Anarchist Actions and Response to the Nihilist Comrades
The social war in Greece intensifies weekly. As the austerity measures imposed by the ‘Troika’, and willingly implemented by the Greek ruling class, cut deeper every day; the Greek state & police increasingly and openly work hand in hand with the Greek fascist organisation Golden Dawn. This blog report gives just an indication of repression and resistance across Greece in the last week, whilst here and here are reports of so far unsuccessful attempts to shut down alternative media voices. Solidarity is needed – one struggle, one fight!
The following call was issued a few weeks back in Bristol by new project BGSG, as they announced their first solidarity/benefit night for autonomus Greek spaces:
(Greek text in this pdf Text in Greek)
Continue reading Solidarity call and benefit gig for Greek autonomous spaces
This year’s bookfair will be at The Trinity Centre for the first time. In general the response to this change has been positively received. There have however been a very few comments made online that are critical of the fact that Trinity is close to a police station and cctv, and that it rents its carparking spaces to the police. For the avoidance of doubt we state here our view on Trinity.
The Trinity Centre rents out carparking space to a number of organisations, including as far as we know civilian employees of the local police force (maybe officers too?). As a community association and registered charity, they like many similar projects are strapped for cash in the current climate, and need to get as much income as they can to survive. Their large carpark is an obvious source of revenue to keep them up and running.
Of course it would be great if places like Trinity were completely independent and self-sufficient, and were not reliant on either state grants or having to rent space out, but currently if they didnt they’d almost certainly close, as they have nearly done on numerous occassions in the past. No doubt they’d love it if loads of people with time on their hands got involved in the place and helped keep it alive and active without having to resort to such revenues. Why not check through their website to see what you can offer to this community-based initiative? Continue reading A comment on The Trinity Centre this years venue