Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

meeting madness?

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This weekend and and the last has seen a car crash of national organising meetings, for both climate action (Climate Camp National Gathering, Workers Climate Action) and migrant solidarity (No Borders).

While all-weekend meetings sound like a nightmare (ok, they occasionally are) it is very hard to find a alternative way of getting activists across the country who are fighting on the same issue(s) together. Fortunately( or unfortunately!), the evidence that squandering our weekends in this way does pay off.

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The long list of activities that different No Borders groups had engaged with since the last gathering in Manchester earlier this year, was wide and undoubtedly aided by the feeling of being part of a network, that stretched beyond our respective city limits. Coordinated action against immigration snatch squads being the notable success of the network, while failures were also acknowledged.

The gathering (8/9th Nov) was brilliantly hosted by the Newcastle lot with groups from Bristol & South Wales as well as London, Oxford, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow. A interesting discussion about whom are allies are in the fight against repression, and a more prosaic but just as important one took place about how we best get our message across. The next gathering will be in Bristol in February. www.noborders.org.uk.

The same weekend saw the climate camp gathering in Bradford, but I haven’t had any feed back as yet. Watch this space.

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk

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The weekend just gone (15/16th) saw the 1st Workers Climate Gathering. This came out of the Climate Camp process, and is made up of (so far) of those who have most recently been involved in “environmental” direct action and trade unionists. In part, it is a counter to those within the climate movement like Monbiot and Lynas who seek to sideline social justice and dismiss the idea that we could do without government and corporations, and a redistribution of resources. Within the group there are certainly differing opinions on the role of government, but (I think) a shared view that any major social change (or revolution) which did not involve and further the interests of the global working class would be disastrous, and obviously inequitable.

We looked at a couple of inspiring examples of worker-led social struggles which had eco/enviro-mental elements to them, neither i have to confess, that I was previously aware of.

“In the 1970s workers at the Lucas Aerospace Company in Britain set out to defeat the bosses plans to axe jobs. They Produced their own alternative “Corporate Plan” for the company’s future. In doing so they attacked some of the underlying priorities of capitalism, Their proposals were radical, arguing for an end to the wasteful production of military goods and for peoples’ needs to be put before the owner’s profits.” http://struggle.ws/ws88_89/ws29_lucas_struggle.html

Meanwhile in Australia, at around the same time the Builders Labourers Federation became quickly transformed from a weak, corrupt organisation to dictating its own terms and conditions to the ruling class. “The Green Bans movement, as it came to be known, was perhaps the most radical example of working class environmentalism ever seen in the world. At its peak it held up billions of dollars worth of undesirable development and it saved large areas of the city of Sydney – streets, old buildings, parks and whole suburbs – from demolition.” Big business and Government, and corrupt Union leadership were for a brief time on the backfoot. http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article94

Whether we can get something that significant off the ground today is up to us.

http://workersclimateaction.co.uk/


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