Punk & Politics Make Pigs Panic in South-West Towns

5 02 2011

Our sources report that the Police are using threats and intimidation in an attempt to repress anti-cuts groups forming in town across the region.

Yeah yeah, not exactly an exclusive we know. But we aren’t talking about the cops coming down hard on organised groups of international anarchists having secret meetings with their leader Chris Knight. In Swindon, Wiltshire police have been harassing members of their local anti-cuts group who have been organising stalls and giving out flyers about the cuts in the town centre.
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Beyond Broken Windows: Anti Cuts Action in the West

22 01 2011

On January 15th & 16th some anti-cuts activists from Bristol headed up to Manchester for the first Network-X gathering. The aim was “to establish a network that will allow libertarians to co-ordinate and support each others struggles” as part of the wider anti-cuts movement.

The decision was taken to form regional networks of anti-authoritarian groups fighting the cuts. As Bristol Anarchist Federation’s Anti-cuts Action Campaign has already been working on this for a while we hope to further this network. At present we have built links and are in contact with groups and individuals in Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Stroud, Taunton, Hereford, Wiltshire, Cardiff, Newport and slightly further away in north Wales and Northern Ireland.

We don’t look to replace groups like Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance and our affiliation form is winging its way to their secretary as I type. Our simple aim is to network with groups and individuals in the west to share ideas and mobilise for actions.

We support alliances such as BADACA and believe there are some great individuals working in them, their strong union links and ability to organise large scale mobilisations are vital to the anti-cuts movement. However they are all to often stifled with bureaucracy and party politics making them unable to mobilise at short notice and some within groups such as these abuse the platform to push their party line and show little interest in actually taking action.

The Facebook revolution has made it almost too easy to call demos, although it is great to level the playing field in this way, people are calling events and then not providing and propaganda/placards/banners etc needed, and as a result (like the recent Bristol EMA demo) protests are failing. Conversely where materials are provided and a demo properly organised the group calling the demo can take the opportunity to push their particular brand of politics and puts newspaper sales before fighting the cuts. We are also concerned about certain political parties who are moving to build power by hijacking organisations such as the NSSN and NCAFC.

Radical Workers, Unionist, Anarchists & Students on Bristol demo October 23rd

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Tax Dodgers: Why should Anarchists care?

5 11 2010

On Saturday October 30th over 21 Vodafone stores across the UK were shut down via occupations and pickets to highlight corporate tax evasion and avoidance. Vodafone is alleged to have been let off a multi billion pound tax bill going back some years after it routed money through an off shore subsidiary. It also owes over £1.5bn in tax to India.

Although the use of occupations in protest and the internet in communication is far from new, some have heralded how one lone action and a callout put out via social networking sites Facebook and Twitter leading to a mass simultaneous action just three days later as a new tactic in the activists arsenal. At this point I should be quick to coin a right on and groovy name for this um…FaceMob? WebProtest? FlashTwit? Nah I can’t be arsed, there’s probably a think tank of media studies interns on it right now anyway. Read the rest of this entry »

Anarchists Against The Cuts – FAQ

2 11 2010

As we increasingly begin to rub shoulders with Union officials, Socialists and the moderate and reformist left it is inevitable (and had been evident) that the role of Anarchists in the anti-cuts movement, their politics and tactics will be called in to question.

Poster from an AATC meeting in Nottingham

To that ends we have produced an FAQ leaflet to answer some of those questions and redress misinformation. We first distributed at the Bristol & district anti-cuts alliance meeting on November 1st. Some people didn’t get the point of it and refused to read it stating “I’m not an Anarchist” but on the whole it was positive and good chats were had with SWP, Socialist Party & SolFed Members.

So here’s the full text of the leaflet, or even better, Download and distribute:


Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite!” (Otto Von Bismark)

What is anarchism?

The term Anarchism comes from the Greek word anarchos, meaning “without rulers”.

Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state unnecessary and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society. It seeks to abolish authority in the conduct of human relations. There is no single defining position that all anarchists hold.

Anarchists always cause trouble, cover their faces and vandalise stuff, what place do they have in the anti-cuts campaign?

History tells us that waving placards alone will not get the government to change how things are, however it can highlight the situation and encourage others to get involved with a campaign as well as providing a level of activism that is inclusive for everyone. Direct action has proven itself time and time again to be successful, but not when isolated. We want to see direct action on a mass scale to make the cuts unworkable. The police often target Anarchist blocs on marches, film them, search them and provoke reactions from them. Wearing masks prevents the police gathering information on protesters, also it is a symbolic sign of solidarity and shows that their actions are not for individual glory. The cuts will affect us all and it is not the place of any one group to say another group can not be involved in the campaign as this is no different to state repression.

So if Anarchists are against the state why are they fighting the cuts? Isn’t that reformist?

Anarchists want to bring about the abolition of all hierarchies, for that reason we support working class struggle against state attacks. Stopping the cuts would put the working classes in a much stronger position and such a victory would show that the ruling classes can be defeated. Fighting the cuts creates unity within the working classes and from there gives them the power to bring about real social change.

I once saw Anarchists trash an SWP stall, why should we work with people like that?

Socialists and Anarchists haven’t had the smoothest of relationships. Socialists blame Anarchists for causing trouble at demos and Anarchists blame socialists for selling them out to the police and not showing solidarity.

The A.A.T.C campaign hopes to put these problems behind us, we want to work with the Trade Unions and Socialist groups to strengthen the anti-cuts movement and not waste time squabbling. But this is not a one way street, Unions and Socialists need to accept anarchists into the movement and understand that their tactics and politics, although different are still valid. This FAQ, and the A.A.T.C initiative are an attempt to create a greater level of understanding, co-operation and solidarity between all groups involved in the fight against the cuts.

I want to join / How can I get in contact?

Anarchists against the cuts aims to be a UK wide (perhaps even international) campaign. It has no membership, central committee or formal meetings, if you are an Anarchist or are sympathetic to Anarchist principles, and interested in working with, not against the broader anti-cuts movement, you’re in. At present Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bath Activist Network are acting as a contact points for people who need to get in touch. Other non-hierarchical groups fighting the cuts you may be interested in joining include: IWW, Class War and the Solidarity Federation plus many other local grass roots resistance groups. Or why not try getting together with your neighbours, friends, colleagues and comrades and do it yourself.


Anarchists Against The Cuts

Bristol: anticutsactionbristol@riseup.net

Bath: bathactivistnet@yahoo.co.uk