In the last election, about 22 million of us didn’t vote . That’s more people than voted for any political party. It’s not because we’re apathetic – it’s because most of us see through the “good cop, bad cop” routine of Labour and the Tories. Both parties support cuts, privatising the NHS, and making life hell for benefits claimants.  In the same way that a “good cop” will offer a cup of tea and a “friendly chat” while a “bad cop” shouts and makes threats, the Tories jeer at “scroungers” while Labour smiles and talks about the need to be practical. But whatever they promise in their manifestos, they both want to do the same thing – to screw us over on behalf of the rich.
Saturday the 13th December 2014 was a busy day for the Bristol local, as they took on workfare in Bristol and poverty pay in Swindon.
Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation turned out of a roving anti-workfare action in Bristol, responding to a callout from our friends Bristol Anarchist Federation. Around 30 people, many dressed as santa and belting out carols with revolutionary and anti-workfare lyrics held a noisy action in central Bristol calling on (and in one case, briefly invading) well known workfare users such as Poundland, Savers, M&S and Primark.
Join the anti-workfare Street Party in Bristol this Saturday, 13th December 2014.
Meeting at the Castle Park bandstand at 2pm sharp before moving off to visit some firms who profit from using unpaid workfare labour. Please try and make this and pass it on to your mates.
Bristol Solidarity Federation will be there, so look out for our banner! Our friends and comrades in Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bristol IWW are also helping mobilise for the event.
There is a facebook page for the event: "As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving – yet some companies still aren’t giving workers a wage. As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving - yet some companies still aren't giving workers a wage!
Bristol Solidarity Federation extends it’s solidarity to the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) as they continue to take industrial action over detrimental changes to pensions - with the latest day of strike action happening today, 9th December 2014.
SolFed members in Swindon, along with other anarchists and local union members helped maintain a near constant show of support on their local picket line: "We brought along banners encouraging support from passing cars, and the reception was great. We also made a donation to the local firefighters strike fund." Members of the local in Stroud attended recent picket lines at the Stroud fire and rescue station and are featured in the following video explaining the dispute, made by Stroud Against the Cuts:
Recently, workers at YHA hostels around the country launched a campaign for the living wage (£7.85 an hour, up from their current average of £6.50). Bristol Solidarity Federation would like to extend our Solidarity to YHA workers, who are also campaigning around irregular shifts and unfair payment for sleepover shifts. We meet regularly at the YHA in Bristol, which has also hosted our workplace organiser training, conference, new members days and other events. However, we will be boycotting the venue and encouraging other groups to do so until the demands of the YHA workers campaign are met. As a further show of solidarity, members of Bristol SolFed visited the YHA to make sure the workers there were aware of the campaign. Good conversations were had with staff and leaflets distributed in English and Spanish.
While The Ritzy workers marched through London demanding the Picturehouse chain pay the London Living Wage. In Bath members of the Bristol local of the Solidarity Federation leafleted the cinema goers and asked them to consider a future boycott of the cinema because of the chain's refusal to pay a decent wage to the staff in London. The local staff and visitors were highly supportive of the picket and were disgusted to hear of how a profitable company is refusing their staff a wage that they can live on.
This dispute is becoming increasingly bitter. Boycott the Little Theatre. Bring the Picturehouse to its knees.
A fourth International Day of Action saw Westcountry members of the Solidarity Federation take to the streets of Bristol, Dorchester and Swindon in support of a Spanish worker sacked for organising a union branch in his workplace. The worker, a member of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT union was fired during a campaign by his colleagues for decent contracts and against illegal outsourcing by ISBAN, a subsidiary of Santander. Solidarity actions took place in 13 countries around the world.
This year Bristol SF are participating in two workshops.
At 1.00pm, in Marquee Z, we will introduce "State Repression in Spain". This talk will be hosted by a Spanish comrade. Below is an short introductory text to set the background of this talk.
During the last four years Spanish society has witnessed a period of intense social protests against austerity, corruption, evictions, unemployment and so on. The greater and more radicalised the protest the bigger the state repression. The intensification of demonstrations and actions has resulted in an escalation of detentions and absurd fines. Every form of protest is now a new article in the criminal code.
There will be a Solidarity Federation Workplace Organiser Training Day on Sunday, February 16th in Bristol.
If you would like to attend, please email training[AT]solfed.org.uk
The Solidarity Federation workplace organiser training programme is designed to give workers the tools and confidence to organise in their workplaces, whether or not there's an existing union. Even if you've had training from another union, you may find the direct action based approach we adopt offers a fresh perspective.
Whether you've got a union or not, join us for a workshop on how to create strong organisation in your workplace.
Solidarity With The Arrested Comrades For Fighting In Spain.
Against The Reform Of The New Law Of "Public Safety"
Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation answered a call-out for solidarity and showed their opposition to the recent arrest of Spanish Anti-fascists and and the introduction of punitive anti-protest laws.
Below is the text of the leaflet produced by Spaniards living in Bristol.
Following on from the successful protest in Bristol against the sacking of a CNT delegate at Isban, the subsidiary of Santander. The Bristol Local moved the message to the streets of Bath. Around 15 members of SF and other activists from around the region, continued the message of solidarity that has been demonstrated around the world.
The message of the rejection of agency work and the reinstatement of the fired worker has been spread by sections of the IWA-AIT. In Spain CNT members held demonstrations in Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo, Barcelona, Madrid, Villaverde, Zaragoza, Malaga and Leon. In working class area of Madrid Santander banks and ATMs were targeted. With message of solidarity sprayed on windows and the ATMs put out of action.
Multinational banking group Santander was targeted for union busting across the breadth of their empire on Tuesday 1st October 2013 by the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers Association (IWA). A number of actions were held in Britain by the Solidarity Federation (SF-IWA). In Bristol, the local SF-IWA section was joined by members of Bristol Anarchist Federation, BARF & migrant Spanish workers to deliver a message of resistance to the company and solidarity with the sacked union organiser of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT-IWA) union. The CNT has been organising within Isban, a computer services company owned by the Santander Group into which thousands of workers have been transferred. Workers at Isban are controlled and dismissed through the use of employment agencies.
(Borrowed and edited from Bristol AFeds excellent blog bristolaf.wordpress.com)
We may have been exaggerating a little with the title, but Swindon radical Bookfair (Sat 21st of September) was a step in the right direction. It was a great opportunity for radicals from the town and the wider region to meet up and share information and a chance for other Swindon locals to get involved and find out about their towns radical past, present and (fingers crossed) future.
Later this year, teachers in the NUT and NASUWT will take part in a series of one-day strikes against attacks on their pay, pensions and conditions, not to mention a raft of pro-market, anti-pupil polices flying out from the DfE. Until now, the universally hated Mr Gove has been able to swan about the country opening academies, praising private involvement in education and pontificating on the future of the curriculum. Last week however, Mr Gove ran into a small obstacle.