Tag Archives: history

Full programme for the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

The full programme for this years Bookfair has been layed out and 1500 copies printed. A few copies are being distributed around town. You can read the programme online as a pdf, and print your own copy:
Full programme (1.6MB pdf) – 2011_programme

The programme lists the huge array of stalls, and the details of the 34 debates, discussions and workshops covering most of the current hot topics. There are also events discussing anarchist ideas and practices, alongside talks and films about radical history over the last 100 years. You can find more details of the events, and other pdfs to download, on this page.

capitalism only works for a tiny minority
capitalism only works for a tiny minority

We’d like to thank the local police force, and Bristol city council, for demonstrating so clearly to us all their cosy relationship with big business over the Tescos affair. The state plays a key role in a capitalist society, and has a mutually beneficial relationship with the desire of global capital to maximise its profits. It will never willingingly stand in the way of large corporations doing whatever they want to do. The ongoing Tescos affair in Stokes Croft clearly demonstrates this historic relationship, and helps explain why anarchists oppose both capital and the state. Get along on 7 May and find out more.

Stokes Croft, Tescos, and resistance to police provocation

As the Bristol Bookfair collective's organising meeting last Thursday, 21 April, was drawing to a close after nearly 3 hours, messages started coming in - cops evicting a squat on Stokes Croft, riot cops on the streets blocking off the road, small crowd gathering. It was about 10pm, and being an organised bunch, we completed our admin meeting before drifting off to get much needed food and drink. One collective member eventually cycled the 10 minutes to Stokes Croft, and subsequently wrote up this piece. What with all thats been going on, and the hot holiday weather, we've only just got around to posting it up now:

Stokes Croft is home to numerous clubs, bars and cafes as well as a number of independent and co-operative businesses including Co-exist, who are hosting this year’s Bristol Anarchist Bookfair at Hamilton House. This long run down inner city area sits on the edge of the Cabot Circus & Broadmead shopping palaces. It also forms a boundary on one edge of the St Pauls neighbourhood, a historically poor and neglected area with a large Afro-Caribbean community, and scene of many previous flashpoints with the cops and authorities. Stokes Croft, and St Pauls, have in recent times seen a degree of ‘regeneration and gentrification’, assisted partly by local street artists and those such as the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) who have tried to ‘clean up’ the area by painting boarded up buildings and taking over empty premises. The area has been named by PRSC as ‘Bristol’s cultural quarter’. Also in recent years anarchist groups have squatted several derelict premises on Stokes Croft setting up a Free Shop, bookshop, art gallery, and non-commercial club/gig space, with other squats and a social centre nearby.

The trouble started at Telepathic Heights, a long-running residential squat that is diagonally opposite a new Tesco Express. Over the last year there has been a strong community campaign against the store opening which has lobbied councillors and made objections to the planning process. A group of squatters had taken over the proposed Tesco site last year for several weeks and used it as a home and community centre. When this was evicted last summer there was a demo of four hundred outside and minor skirmishes with the seventy police and bailiffs. Continue reading Stokes Croft, Tescos, and resistance to police provocation

Radical History Zone programme at the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

The programme for the Radical History Zone at this years Bookfair is now complete, and available.

rhz_poster_screenIt’s a mouth-watering prospect with some fascinating events, that runs from Friday 6 May until lunchtime on Sunday 8 May. Organised once again by the Bristol Radical History Group, it includes some real treats for anarchists and radicals of every persuasion – from footie fans to free festival lovers, academics to direct actionistas, poets and puppeteers – you will not be disappointed!

Still not clear why we have a RHZ? Then read this article from last year.

You can read the entire RHZ programme online on BRHG’s website.

Or you can download it and save your copy here:
as an open office doc – rhz_programme
as a PDF – rhz_programme

Enjoy! Don’t forget to check out the other meetings and stalls at the Bookfair. Why not come to some of these events in the week before the Bookfair, including a May Day film & discussion night at The Cube on 2 May? Full details here.

We’ll be seeing you then….

Anarchists against cuts and the state – what next?

We’ve had our eyes out for a decent public article on this topic since March 26 (see our article). The following article was posted on UK Indymedia on 4 April by an anonymous author about whom we know nothing. Its pretty lucid and addresses a number of key points. We wouldn’t agree with all of it, but its a good start at discussion. Obviously many comrades are discussing this privately, and given some of the actions thats fair enough – activist security is important! However we hope to see more public discussion of these issues at the Bristol bookfair. We’ve added in a few comments, mainly factual, they will start ED and be in italics.

Anarchists Against the Cuts: discussion points after March 26

1. The big question behind this: how do we work as anarchists within a broader anti-cuts struggle? The anti-cuts “movement” is where we need to be, the main front of a class war which is becoming more open and directly confrontational. Rather than merely defending the old welfare state compromise, we can see the crisis as an opportunity to move forwards with radical solutions based on solidarity and mutual aid. But we have a lot of work to do on our analyses and methods if we’re going to be up to the task.

2. March 26 felt like a victory. We outran the police, the streets were ours. We proved that, as Bob Broadhurst said, there is no way the police can guard every building in London. Noise, rage, exhileration. The biggest black bloc London’s seen. And the smartest, with all those lessons learnt from the recent student protests.

3. On the other hand, it certainly wasn’t Trafalgar Square 1990. It wasn’t Greece or Italy or the French banlieues. Nor did it have the youthful wildness of last November when the EMA kids walked out of the schools to join the fighting. Did it seem at least possible that this could be the day that “direct action”, if that’s the term, spread beyond the old hands and new students to “workers and anyone who will stand and fight”? That thousands more from the main march would get infected with our energy and break off into the streets, leaving the TUC bosses looking as stupid as Aaron Porter? That didn’t happen.

On balance: the action on Saturday looks like a consolidation of our progress since Millbank, but not a big push into new territory. Continue reading Anarchists against cuts and the state – what next?

The root cause of our problems. Money.

The new financial year is kicking in, and with it all the new budget cuts and austerity measures forced upon us by the political class and their corporate masters. If you’ve already had your payslip for March, you’ll have seen your NI payments went up. As our wages/incomes devalue, down to 2005 levels already, things are going to get worse. Meanwhile inflation rises along with unemployment, whilst benefits and services are cut. Yet banks and other corporations hand out big fat bonuses and salary increases, and there’s plenty of spare cash for another war or two. So plenty of money and wealth around, its just not shared out equally. Those who hold it control power, and they won’t be giving it away, unless we take it. But what if there was no money, or we created a new world outside the capitalist system?

In a rare radical moment, last Saturday’s Guardian newspaper (run on capitalist lines of course), on the morning of the great protests in London, printed the following article by John Holloway. The author of ‘Crack Capitalism’ and a host of other books worth checking out, lobbed a serious challenge into the cuts debate:

Cracks in the rule of money

How do we escape a system that’s tearing up the world? We say ‘no’, and do things differently.

These are days of rage. Rage in the Arab world, of course, but also on the streets of Athens, Dublin, Rome, Paris, Madrid, and now a loud clamourous rage on the streets of London.

An age of crisis is an age of frustrated hopes, frustrated life. We want to go to university but it is too expensive. We need good healthcare, but we cannot pay for it. We need homes, and we can see homes standing empty, but they are not for us. Or, for the millions of people who are starving: we want to eat, we can see that there is plenty of food for everyone, but something stands between us and the food – money, or the lack of it. Continue reading The root cause of our problems. Money.

Diverse tactics stop NewLabour hijack of anti-cuts protest

Saturday 26 March saw a magnificent protest as at least half a million people marched, danced and took direct action in London against the ConDem Coalition’s austerity measures and cuts. Thousands of Bristolians attended, travelling down by coach, train and car, and some could be found in attendance at most of the range of protests that occurred across the capital from early in the morning until late at night.

diy on main march
diy on main march

Many thousands clearly put a lot of time and effort into their protest, with a stunning array of homemade placards, banners and imagery. Whilst there was virtually no pro-NewLabour propaganda, many made clear their rejection of not just the cuts, but the ConDem Coalition and indeed capitalism too.

NewLabour hijack thwarted
Despite the best efforts of the TUC and NewLabour leadership, NewLabour had a very bad day. The TUC had worked hard to keep even moderately radical voices off the Hyde Park rally platform, with the likes of RMT leader Bob Crow and Green MP Caroline Lucas not allowed to speak because of their non-support for NewLabour. Stupid NewLabour leader Ed Millibrand gave a poor and contradictory speech. Claiming to be a part of and proud of the anti-cuts campaigns, he proceeded to state clearly that NewLabour would in any case make cuts, just like the Coalition, and indeed just like the many NewLabour councils implementing cuts across the country. The idiot even claimed to be part of a history of protest that included the Suffragetes, Nelson Mandela/the ANC, and the black US civil rights campaign, but later condemend all and any forms of direct action that involved absolutely any sort of property damage or violence, thereby displaying his utter ignorance of the tactics used by the groups he mentioned – which included disrupting meetings, breaking windows, non-compliance, mass civil disobedience, occupations and of course the clandestine armed struggle of the ANC. He clearly forgot the Suffragettes window-smashing day of anger in Picadilly in 1913, and their physical attack on Winston Churchill at Bristol station! Continue reading Diverse tactics stop NewLabour hijack of anti-cuts protest

Anarchism and the Big Society

The gut reaction for many of us when thinking of Cameron’s ConDem proposals for a ‘Big Society’ is that it is just one very big con.

riseupWhilst they utter media soundbites around rolling back the state, individual freedom and real community control & choice, we see it as just a cover for cutting and trashing all forms of welfare spending and services and replacing them with privately run ones that we will have to pay a lot more for. Very much a case of freedom if you can afford it. Most of us can’t of course.

It is of course not quite as simple as that, and it is worth reading further on the matter. The following article, published in Freedom newspaper on 26 February 2011, was written by long term anarchist & part of the Black Flag collective, Iain McKay. We reprint the first few paras of the article, and give a link to the full article online which includes further reading. Read on: Continue reading Anarchism and the Big Society

March 26. Here we go!

So, excitement is building for 26 March and the big TUC demo in London against the ConDem Coalition austerity measures, and calling for alternatives such as a more equal distribution of wealth via the tax system. From Bristol it looks like upto 30 coaches are going down, plus many more people going independently.

march-26The TUC are officially shitting themselves. With a vicious budget due on 23 March from millionaire Tory scumbag Osborne that will make clear his intention to make us continue to pay for his class’s crisis, anger is mounting, and who knows what will happen on the 26th? Terrified of actually being seen to do anything that might actually challenge the government, the TUC have got into bed with the Met Police in a big way in an attempt to avoid any blame should they be unable to control the anger of ordinary working people. On the main demo expect a high degree of collaboration between 2-3000 TUC stewards/private security staff and the government’s thugs in uniform. The TUC should be ashamed of themselves, given the cops role in smashing strikes over the last 200 years. Continue reading March 26. Here we go!

Wapping great barbed wire lies

Today, 7 March, represents a bit of a quandry for angry campaigners, with a number of worthwhile events to go to this evening. An obvious one is the Bristol anti-cuts alliance open meeting at 7pm in the city centre. Another is the joint Indymedia/BRHG event at The Cube on the 25th anniversary of the 1986 printworkers year long strike in Wapping, east London, which starts at 8pm. Maybe you can manage a bit of both?

The anti-cuts meet is an obvious one, as its about building resistance now to the ConDem Coalition’s vicious austerity measures aimed at ordinary working people. But a bit of history can be useful too, as it helps us understand some of the reasons why things are the way they are now, and how the ConDem’s seem to be getting away with a lot of nasty shit so far. Continue reading Wapping great barbed wire lies

Flyer for the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2011

Here is the colour flyer we have published for this years Bookfair. We have several thousand of them, and need your help to distro them widely around Bristol and further afield – into workplaces, centres, shops, pubs, cafes, colleges and so on. Get in touch if you want some, or pick some up from Kebele social centre. You can also download images of the colour poster, and pdf’s of some black and white posters, here. Thanks.

flyer_front1 Continue reading Flyer for the Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2011