Westside Action

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

Archive for solidarity

Merthyr to Mayo Solidarity Bike Ride

Across the planet, in the places where fossil fuels are sourced, people are resisting new energy developments.

Communities are standing together to defend their homes, health, land and water, and our shared planet… This is localised resistance with huge global significance….

From the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to the woods of Mainshill, Scotland….

from the rivers and plains of the Niger Delta to the Amazon jungles of Peru….

and from the valleys of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales to the Northwest coast of Mayo, Ireland…The ride has basically started, if you want to find us, and if the technology works, you should be able to see where we are with the map on this page.

Latest Post:

his morning we opened our tent zips to the sight of the beautiful mountains surrounding Killarney.

The dinner group set off early to prepare a meal for fifty people with no kitchen or stove to work with. So, instead they arrived in Trelee, after some leg-boggling uphills and awesome down hills, to ride along a nature trail and set-up the people’s kitchen in a local park. After some relaxed mega-chopping a buffet of delicious salads was served as the sun came down, and some riders did yoga to stretch out post-cycle cramps.

As the dinner crew set off in the morning the rest of the group headed into Killarney for a critical mass. As the good weather continued; music was pumped through the town’s streets by Peddles the bicycle sound system and the cyclists filled the roads handing out newspapers as they moved round the town. On leaving Killarney the mass cycled round a Topaz petrol station and let people know that Topaz is a Shell re-branding. After ten minutes spirits were high and the drivers seemed amused and enjoyed the show.

Tonight we’re staying in a Taekwon-Do hall with a squidgy floor to sleep on. No sleeping mats tonight. Up tomorrow for an early ride, goodnight!

Letter From COP15 Accused, 19th March

Dear All,

First of all, Noah and I wanted to say a massive thank you for all the solidarity, the actions, articles, petitions and messages of care that have been organized in solidarity with our trial. Although we know that political repression of this sort targets all activists, it does feel very isolating being the people picked out and charged.  Every single action of solidarity has made this process easier for us and reminded us that we are not alone. So thank you!

We have had several victories, some beautiful court moments, and a very stressful week in court. Our case was extended for three more days- which will not happen until August. Noah and I are both sad that the trial is not over but relieved to have not been judged yesterday. I have included english versions of some of the danish press coverage on the case below to give you a better idea of what has been going on in our trial.

We were originally given two days in court for our trial (the tuesday and friday just passed). We had been charged with organizing violence against the police, gross public disorder, systematic destruction of property and gross disturbance of public infrastructure. Two of these are charges associated with danish terror laws. The police said that we did this from the period of october to december 2009 but that these things were mostly to be carried out in copenhagen during the period of the 11th to the 18th of December. They said that the alleged actions we are accused of mostly failed because the police managed to stop them- in part by arresting Noah on the 11th and me on the 13th of December and keeping us in prison for the rest of the COP (and three more weeks- just to be sure!).

On the morning of the first day in court our lawyers argued for the case to be dropped. They explained that charges in Denmark usually have to include some description of what people are accused of doing, including things like how they were doing it, where, when…anything really. They successfully removed one of the terror charges (gross disturbance of public infrastructure) and got the police prosecutor to admit that none of the things we were accused of had any relation to what happened on the streets in Copenhagen during the COP 15. So now we are just accused of attempting actions, not actually carrying anything out!

It was at this point that the police prosecutor introduced the crystal ball defense. No more details than “something bad was supposed to happen at some point somewhere in Copenhagen” could be supplied by the police because they couldn’t look into their crystal ball when they charged us! In a spectacular display of confidence in the charges she then asked the court to note that she had not actually written them herself!

The court decided to continue with the rest of the charges regardless, but after two days in court I am wondering if they regret that decision. The ‘evidence’ for the non-specific things we are accused of organizing is spurious at best and in the worst cases produced bursts of laughter from both judges and spectators in court. They have trucked out tiny bits of conversations from tapped phones between other people and asked us to interpret them,  radically reinterpreted what we and others have said on the phone (from over three months of our private conversations that they recorded) to the point where even the judge objected. They used notes from brainstorms, scribbled notes from media report backs, and outlandish conjecture to try to demonize us.

My personal favorite is a note i made about big bolt cutters. Instead of asking to interview her during her three weeks in prison (although they said one of the reasons i was kept was for further investigation), they chose to leave until court to ask what was meant by this note in my confiscated personal note book. I explained that it was prop for a demonstration that was a huge two meter tall paper mache bolt cutter. It was to be used on the day of the climate no-borders day of action as both a humorous and serious way to say it is illegitimate to cage human beings. The prosecutor tried to throw doubt on the honesty of my reply until two of the audience in court went to pick them up from a local social center and brought them in for the court to see. Everyone but the prosecutor laughed.

The state of the evidence would really be hilarious if the case didn’t carry such serious consequences both for us personally and for Democracy in Denmark. We are the first of a series of cases against people accused of organizing. It seems that the Danish state is using us as a test case for new anti-activist laws they have passed, the extension of terror legislation to cover any form of political protest and to establish the ability to try people for things that never actually occurred.

Noah and I were both picked up and arrested on the side of the road while riding our bikes by ourselves, threatened, isolated and kept in prison for over three weeks of ‘preventative detention’. The personal impacts of this have been huge. Even scarier though is the potential effect this has on everyone’s ability to speak up about things they care about in Denmark. If they manage to criminalize protest to the extent that going to meetings, organizing speakers for a demonstration, or being a media spokes person can land you in jail, then what sort of world will we be living in? If they manage to say intense surveillance and monitoring of activists and their lovers and friends is legitimate, and arrests should be made on crystal ball suspicions of potential actions- then we have moved from even the sham of liberal democracy to a society more reminiscent of 1984 than any of us would like to admit.

It is clear also that this is not just happening in Denmark. Since our arrests we have heard of countless political prisoners facing the hard end of political repression. After our experience of injustice and repression in Denmark we feel very personally that it is so important that all of us speak out and not let this repression continue.

Free all political prisoners, drop the charges for the Cop 15 defendants and all people arrested during the COP15, and end political repression NOW!!!

Love, solidarity and actions for a better world
tash and noah xo

Statement From COP15 Prisoners- and how to support them

Further below is an edited version of the statement collectively released by the 11 remaining Cop15 Prisoners. Meanwhile, a website has just appeared solely concerned with repression in Copenhagen:

This Includes:
* How to support people in jail: http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Support
* Map and list of past anti-repression actions (a lot already happened!): http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/ProtestMap
* List of ‘what you can do’ (existing petitions, future protests, etc.): http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Protest
* Contact points in your country if you want to get involved with anti-repression work: http://www.cop-enhagen.net/index.php/Main/Network (write to me if you want to become a contact point in a country where there’s none).

If youd like to write a letter to any of these prisoners (or any others for that matter) maybe you good pop along to the next letter writing session at your local Anarchist Black Cross group: ABC Bristol regular monthly letter writing and discussion meeting.2nd Wednesday of every month7 to 9pm, at Kebele Social centre, 14 Robertson Rd, Bristol BS5 6JY.

Bring snacks to share, hot drinks available.

Statement from those still Imprisoned:

“Something is rotten  (but not just) in the State of Denmark. As a matter of fact, thousands of people have been considered, without any evidence, a threat to  society. Hundreds have been arrested and some are still under detention, waiting for judgement or under investigation. Among them, us, the undersigned…We want to tell the story from the peculiar viewpoint of those that still see the sky from behind the bars.”

Climate change is an extreme and ultimate expression of the violence of the capitalistic growth paradigm. People globally are increasingly showing the willingness of taking the power to rebel against that violence. We have seen that in Copenhagen, as well as we have seen that same violence. Hundreds of people have been arrested without any reason or clear evidence… even mild examples of civil disobedience have been considered as a serious threat to the social order”.

In response we ask – Whose order do we threaten? Is it that order in which we do not own our bodies? The order well beyond the terms of any reasonable “social contract” that we would ever sign, where our bodies can be taken, managed, constrained and imprisoned without any serious evidence of crime. Is it that order in which the decision are more and more shielded from any social conflicts? Where the governance less and less belongs to people, not even through the parliament? As a matter of fact, non-democratic organisms like the WTO, the NB, the G-whatever rule beyond any control.

We are forced to notice that the theatre of democracy is a  broken one as soon as, one approaches the core of the power. That is why we reclaim the power to the people. We reclaim the power over our own lives. Above all, we reclaim the power to  counter-pose the rationale of life and of the commons to the rationale of profit. It may have been declared illegal, but still we consider it fully legitimate.

Since no real space is left in the broken theatre, we reclaimed our collective power – Actually we expected it – to speak about the climate and energy issues. Issues that, for us, involve critical nodes of global justice, survival of the human and energy independence.

How the COP15 has ended proves that we were right. Many of us are paying what is mandatory for an obsessive, pervasive and total repression…We are detained with evidently absurd accusations about either violence that actually did not take place or conspiracies and organizing of law-breaking actions.

We do not feel guilty for having shown, together with thousands, the reclamation of the independence of our lives from profit’s rule. If the laws oppose this, it was legitimate to peacefully – but still conflictually – break them.

We are just temporarily docked, ready to sail again with a wind stronger than ever. It’s a matter of love, justice and dignity.”

Luca Tornatore – from the Italien social centres network “see you in Copenhagen”.
Natasha Verco – Climate Justice Action
Stine Gry Jonassen – Climate Justice Action
Tannie Nyboe – Climate Justice Action
Johannes Paul Schul Meyer
Arvip Peschel
Christian Becker
Kharlanchuck Dzmitry
Cristoph Lang
Anthony Arrabal

In addition there are 4 Greenpeace Campaigners who are not signatories to the above statement but could still do with your support: Juan Lopez de Uralde from Spain, Joris Thijssen from the Netherlands, Nora Christensen from Norway, and Christian Schmutz from Switzerland.

Vestas Workers Besieged by Riot Cops

Taken from http://workersclimateaction.co.uk

Link to channel 4 report: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=30341056001


Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

Acting without an injunction, on private property, the police have repeatedly tried to break into the office where the protesting workers have barricaded themselves, and have threatened the workers with arrest for aggravated trespass, despite the fact that no damage has been done to the property where the protest is taking place. Police have also forcibly removed people from private property, another action that is of very questionable legality in the absence of a formal injunction.

The office involved in the latter action was number 3606. The officer who appears to be in charge is 3115.

This heavy handed response is the latest in a long line of over-reactions to protest by various UK police forces.


The Vestas workers inside the factory released a statement earlier today:

“As workers at a wind turbine manufacturer, we were confident that as the recession took hold that green or renewable energy would be the area where many jobs could be created – not lost.

So we were horrified to find out that our jobs were moving abroad and that more than 525 jobs from the Isle of Wight and Southampton were going to be added to the already poor state of island unemployment.

This has sent, and will continue to send, shockwaves of uncertainty through countless families on the island – many of which are being forced to relocate away from the island.

We find this hard to stomach as the government are getting away with claiming they are investing heavily in these types of industry.

Only last week they said they would create 400,000 green jobs. How can the process start with 600 of us losing our jobs?

Now I’m not sure about you but we think it’s about time that if the government can spend billions bailing out the banks – and even nationalise them – then surely they can do the same at Vestas.

The people of Vestas matter, and the people of the island matter, but equally importantly the people of this planet matter. We will not be brushed under the carpet by a government which is claiming to help us.

We have occupied our factory and call on the government to step in and nationalise it. We and many others believe it is essential that we continue to keep our factory open for our families and livelihoods, but also for the future of the planet.

We call on Ed Miliband as the relevant minister to come to the island and tell us to our face why it makes sense for the government to launch a campaign to expand green energy at the same moment at the country’s only major wind turbine producer closes.

Please show your support.

Protest at Newport Vestas at 5pm today (off Dondor Lane – Monks Brook Newport, Isle Of Wight, PO30 5WZ)

Demonstrate Friday 24th of July Friday 5.30pm St. Thomas square Newport”

Contact details:

(ed) 07775763750

(martin) 07950978083




Mass Walk-In Breaks the Siege

On July 22nd, 2009 Stuart says:

Taken from: savevestas.wordpress.com

At 5.10am this morning, a climate activist at the protest outside the Vestas plant attempted to take a bag of food to the occupying workers by means of a rope which the workers had lowered from the balcony. The activist was grabbed by 5 police officers and arrested. On his release he obtained the police report of his arrest, which stated that the reason for his arrest was that, as his bringing food to the occupiers had the stated intention of prolonging the protest, it was facilitating a breach of the peace – clearly ludicrous as the police have themselves admitted that the protest is not breaching the peace.

At 1248, a large number of protestors walked through the line of police holding food in their hands which they threw up to the balcony. The police pushed some of the protestors and attempted to obstruct the line but did not offer substantial resistance. One protestor was harassed by a security guard, and asked a police officer, whose number was 24266, if he intended to do anything about it; the officer said he didn’t. Another protestor saw a police officer grabbing the arm of an activist as he attempted to throw food to the balcony – the activist told the police officer that this constituted harassment, the police officer took no notice.

A second climate activist was arrested and taken through the front doors of the factory. Later, a sergeant whose number was 3027 came out and said that no-one had been arrested for carrying food, but that one activist had been arrested for assault. Other protestors present have commented that as the activist in question, who has not given permission for his name to be released, is a christian pacifist, this seems unlikely.

Security have started putting up a fence around the site, with protestors outside attempting to get a second food-carrying walk-in past the police before its completion. There are currently around 50 protestors outside the factory, over 30 of them Vestas workers, and sources say they expect numbers to increase drastically around 6pm when the protest starts.

Shell compound breached in Glengad during Rossport Solidarity Camp gathering

31.05.2009 19:03

This afternoon at 5pm, over 200 people from the local community and the Rossport Solidarity Camp Summer Gathering attempted to dismantle Shell’s illegal compound at Glengad
After a day of direct action training, local people and their supporters walked to the south side of the compound where they attempted to breach the fence in two places. They were met by strong opposition from over sixty Gardai, including many from the Public Order Unit.

At least five people who scaled the fence into the compound were held by security guards and later arrested.

Later in the afternoon, as the crowd were leaving, a further arrest was made when the Gardai targeted a prominent campaigner and forcibly detained him for speaking out against the actions of the Gardai.

Today’s action comes the day after Maura Harrington was released after 13 days in Mount Joy prison, Dublin for non-payment of fines, including a one thousand euro contribution to the Garda Benevolent Fund.

Around 200 people are attending the RSC summer gathering. It’s a beautifully sunny weekend and preperations are now well under way for another summer of action against Shell in Mayo, on land and sea. Come and be part of it!


A Trade Unionist-Climate Camper on the Wildcat Strikes.

Intro: While there has been much talk within the anarchist newswires, and meetings, responses and counter-responses, none of the people I have had contact with actually had been to the picket lines, or indeed has previous interaction with the workers concerned. Hence, this is why I publish the below which  is not the anarchist dialogue you may expect on this blog

“This week has been phenomenal. I hope it is an epiphenomenon in some ways, in others of course not. I feel like I have to say from the outset: up class struggle. Down the bosses. Down the union mis leadership. I have got home tonight and caught up like every night this week with a lot of writing on this wave of strikes: I just want to sum up my little journey – I’ll try and be brief. I’m going to leave out things that incriminate my own organisation, because apparently that’s what we do, apart from when it concerns me (and that’s the least of the group’s political problems).

Friday, I can barely remember that morning. Or anything before last Friday at the moment. (I stopped to think a moment, 50p sparked a thought). I got to London Bridge, and spent my last 50p (give or take shrapnel) on an Evening Standard. I only ever buy it when it is whipping up race hate, so I can keep on top of what some tube passengers read. The headline, more or less “Mass walkouts over foreign workers” I stopped dead. I’m not easily perturbed. There’s a genocide of my people going on, but I’ve kept a level head and done what I could do. I haven’t been hysterical, wailing at the left to do something. There’s a lot of things going on.

This headline is everything you dread, if you’re me. For the last year I’ve put down nearly every bit of activity that I’d been sampling as part of my GCSEs in activism; I thought it’s time to focus: I chose three main things. Being a Workers’ Liberty organiser, a Campaign Against Immigration Controls activist and a Workers’ Climate Action activist.

For the first, this means a hundred things, a hundred different responsibilities, schedules, spheres of activity, politics. The other two have been a joy to watch grow and develop, not without their difficulties and setbacks. All three – and my life – I brought to this issue of the strikes. After I calmed down, and put out of my mind roughly might be called all the CAIC repercussions, I put on my trade union hat. I know the issues. It’s been brewing up for ages. this does not diminish a massive attack on migrant workers and black people, a massively reactionary strike in some ways, but at the core is a labour dispute, major class action that marks the start of the fightback. What a terrible start. Look, of course this is fantastic strike action, fantastic solidarity. Whether or not the union leadership are being written out of this too much, I can’t tell yet. It smacks of them. There were union banners not just lone placards that carried the British Jobs for British Workers’ slogan. Anyway, the trade union issues I talked through with one comrade, apparently in the know.

Nothing he told me was new to me as such, only I’d never heard anyone be so incoherent about it. The Posted Workers stuff, the ECJ Viking and Laval rulings I’d known of. From Climate Camp and WCA I’ve been and spoken at Grain and Hoo, I’ve hung out in the pub there trying to speak to workers about Kingsnorth. A new AWL comrade, also involved in CAIC and WCA, came away agreeing that the main next step there was to do a CAIC meeting, not a WCA one. I don’t know how much this ruling has a bearing on any of this. As far as I can see the maximum demands of the constituent European Union bureaucracies up until this point has been for better provision for cross europe trade unionism. There is a particular UK grievance, which stems from New Labour not the EU. Why has New Labour not enshrined national union-employer agreements in law ? We know why. I’ve long thought the union strategy here was reactionary. I.e because labour costs are higher here, and polish workers cheaper, it was only necessary to fight for same terms for migrant workers, to ensure they wouldn’t arrive in the first place, in one of the few industries still protected from non-white workers and women.

The union on strike this week is hardly the Builders’ Labourers’ Federation. Apart from the fact, and I could be wrong here, that these are mainly skilled and highly skilled workers, our existing socialist organisations, none of them, are up to the task of what Jack Munday and his comrades did for the New South Wales BLF. It is worth standing them up against this week, and remember that one of our biggest enemies is close to home, in the union leadership. Derek Simpson must go now, no money, no pay off. Out! He has been demanding BJ4BW for years! I should stop the analogy there, because though my economics is bad, they grew in and because of a capitalist boom. Better maybe to look at the Lucas Plan to see what this strike might have been. But again that’s silly. We’re heading in to a global recession, of a scale we’ve never seen before.

While it’s probably true that the existing British labour movement has attacked every wave of migrants that have arrived on this little corner of the world over time, and the capitalists exploited it, I can’t help but feel the eventual result has been progressive. The fact that each wave of migrants has been made an attack on existing workers and their security (hundreds of thousands of refugees are detained, abused and deported) has made solidarity difficult each time. I’ve argued against pro-migrant/internationalists/socialists etc putting “racist” in front of every mention of immigration controls. Yes they are racist (I won’t explain here) but it just doesn’t help to have people think their support for immigration controls is racist, and in this support the BNP. Lots of people don’t consider themselves to be racist, and good; do I want them to think they’re racist because they support immigration controls no. I can see all around me the manifold challenges of working-class life and migration. We want working-class unity, and we work not in conditions of out own making.

I’ve known for a while what’s been brewing in Grain. One of our comrades flagged up some weeks ago, the strikes that took place/were due to take place over this same issue, concerning Polish workers. I’m going to have to skip lots of things and return to the left. What we should have been saying/doing straight away: –These strikes are for jobs. -These slogans are an attack on migrant workers and Black people. Point the finger at the bosses. Point the finger at Brown and Simpson. Though neither of the latter can be totally to blame for British nationalism. Brown would have known this was a National Front Slogan, the slogan of fascists across the world, racist and always sooner or later anti-working class. But I remember thinking that that speech (which wasn’t a budget speech, but his LP conference on apparently) was partly designed to stem the slightly weird English nationalist sentiments and doubts the media kept on talking about. I wonder now. – We can’t see these workers sent back to Italy. This would be a disaster. The repercussions could be frightful, a rallying cry to fascists across Europe (they do exist, remember, even if the BNP are fascist lite at the moment).

All this discussion of do you or don;t you support it, whose side are you on, – has been profoundly unhelpful. At one point a comrade called me a scab, several accused me of calling on the bureaucracy to smash rank-and file action. Pure hysteria, but I’ll explain my mistakes later, or some of the ones I can talk about. – We need to find a way in the short term to keep the Italian workers here and for workers to be able to keep their jobs. – Also, and this felt impossible, under the slogans, this action needed to spread for all of us, but also for these workers. As far as I understand it a lot of the Viking-Laval issues had been sorted, I can’t say for sure, but it seems so. The SP communiques served as cover, for god knows what. They didn’t add up. What were the aims of the strike when it was organised. It wasn’t spontaneous. It was organised and must have happened under the nose of the bureaucrats. We can say that it was organised by the union now can’t we, because everyone is crowing over this brave breaking of the anti-union laws.

They forget in their joy to mention the police and the posties who also did a bit of this recently, neither of which raised reactionary slogans. Anyway, so what were the demands that people struck over? That the jobs go to the UK workforce, no? there must be at least a ‘fair share/deal’ for “UK workers”? What does this mean. why has Derek Simpson and the SP, the CPB, now the SSP, argued that this is what must happen. none of them are arguing for jobs for all as far as I can see. The demand for Italian workers’ unionisation seems a PR move as much as anything else (for the left as much as anyone else), as is the 50:50 conception of equal rights. this is a disaster. I can’t help but feel that it must have been the bosses that have save us here, for now. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the union victory was negotiated and won to the tune of not just 50/50 but a little more to the Brits! note the joke from the Unite negotiator on the Italian England manager being able to stay – quoted in the Workers’ Power statement on the deal reached. I didn’t find it funny.

Apart from the closing paragraphs of the new Workers’ Power statement, and the fact that they really seemed to eclipse the fact that this is at root a fight for jobs where you live, I think their political assessment is correct, though like the strikes themselves, all of this has to be seen in motion, this whole thing from the start had to be seen in motion, continuing and changing reality all the time. It was an important moment in our history, I think. I’ve never felt like I’ve been in a minority of four. I’ll pick up other points later, I don;t know why I always feel like I need to say it all. Actually the main thing I wanted to say was put your fucking fascist attacks away. Then I remember I was a class struggle socialist and Marxist. What guided me was my own sense of class struggle, my own sense of solidarity. I could write volumes on this word, solidarity. It must be the most difficult and most necessary word in this language. I think our left needs to learn a lot about solidarity, class solidarity, and democratic and critical solidarity. I have been more or less silenced this week and have come under attack heavily. Main conclusions: keep your friends close, and your comrades closer. This left is a racist left, in the main. We are so weak that we could have turned a terrible page, with some people denying it entirely, bully the rest of us to agree that we are utterly inspired. Look, I am inspired, sort of. It shows what might be done.

The way I chose to frame it, after a lot of thinking and soul-searching was in the form of a picket of the Unite offices. Whether to ask for the strikes to stop was an open question. I had a mandate from the CAIC meeting to call for that. I think that would have been wrong but fair enough. In the end we supported the strikers but not their seeming aims or slogans. To do this, does not requre just going to appeal to the workers on their picket lines. I will not beg for this. It has more of the character of a protest and a demand. how dare they raise those slogans. how dare the union not rescind them, apologise for them, but rather defend them. I do not paint the workers as rabid nationalists, though I would guess only a minority in that trade, in that union section aren’t at least mildly so. Any way the point is not to abstain: I want to defend migrant workers who have already been fucked by both the unions involved in equal measure to organising them. the GMB sponsors the immigration minister, who also insisted that to fight racism you must say British workers first… I want to defend job for all workers, no group of workers should be displaced against their will, there can be no job losses accepted anywhere. The GMB have been stamping on a strike in NW London of mainly Indian women, perhaps this was to free up some personnel. This small workforce has had some 50 lay-offs, another 50 threatened. The union mafia are colluding with the bosses in getting rid of union activists. On the buses in London, the union lied to workers about an injunction to save the government on October 22nd. The RMT called off the Andy Littlechild dispute without a murmur from anyone that should have coincided with the buses.

I would like to know how people account for these episodes.

For those who draw the class lines so sharply this week, why did we not call the RMT, the NUT, and the PCS scabs for coming out against Heathrow expansion, when it was not their union members whose jobs could be kept through expansion. Why was Bob Crow not called a scab on the international working-class when he came out for Kingsnorth.

Anyway, back to the real difficulty apart from our own inconsistencies: the workers’ jobs. We need to think hard about what to do now. The problems we have faced have their origins. It’s not just because we have a race to the bottom EU. That we do. How are we going to build meaningful rank-and-file workers’ solidarity across the world – not just Europe. This issue now, is not so different to what off-shoring has been, and all the other displacement migration has caused for all working-class people. What is our positive solutions to move beyond the impasse that is the nationalism of nearly all working-class people, which reflect many things, the fact of the nation state and national governments, for one. The fact of really existing unionism being on a national level, if that, and only in a few core industries testament to industrial strength and a strong protectionism, craft-unionist mentality. Migrants and bureaucratic union attempts at coordination are probably the two things already given to internationalists. Migrants being the most important. I can;t believe that so few people saw fit to take some action that made a clear act of solidarity with Italians and all migrants. Under the circumstances, whatever the reasons, our unions have raised fascist slogans. Going to their picket lines to support workers cannot to my mind be the only response. There should also be an outcry from the movement. People have a strange idea of how you defend your class, what constitutes an attack. Black people and migrants are part of this movement too. I should spare a word of criticism for the middle-class socialists who vacillated every which way, the root of their problem being that they are still anti-working class, sometimes after years in the movement. They cannot be honest about our class, because they have never really believed in democracy and grassroots socialism. What the workers don’t know, we can tell them. If they don’t know already, and they fuck up, it’s our fault. Our little groups must issue statements of revolutionary leadership from London. I think we just about all failed the test. Good I say.

So much to say, so early in the morning. In conclusion, it’s difficult forming a position, but it’s possible to take action, if we don’t shut the space down ourselves. solidarity is not fine art, though it can be. We need to find ways of resolving this dispute. It is not over. I can’t see an obvious thing to demand. The critiques about fair share along the lines of nationality, I can’t even begin to say how much I oppose this, I imagine everyone will. I hope this whole chapter on our left, won;t stop comrades from doing what’s necessary to make sure that we fight utterly this trend developping. I honestly can’t sum up what needs to be done, and locally and nationally different strategies will have to be deployed. Certainly, we should not bandy around European unity as a slogan like some in the movement talk of stopping climate change. We need to have a purchase on reality, how will be build European solidarity as strong as the solidarity demonstrated by the workers this week. how are we going to reconcile the need to fight union busting via posted workers, but also avoid the SP solution of a local register!

There has to be a sane way of addressing this. I think the slogan the AWL raised is the most satisfactory, Jobs or Full Pay / Jobs for all. And the right to direct employment. Workers’ schemes to be deployed abroad as workers’ not bosses wish. Or something like that. It feels impossible at 5am, I’m seriously going to read the transitional programme this week, finally workers of the world unite. Like the phoenix may the left emerge form our sectarian mess. Where would we have been without some socialists this week. Where might we have been had been been united some time ago. Left unity cannot be an empty slogan.

Our internationalism cannot be internationalism of slogans to be tucked away, nor that of abstention and utopianism. solidarity with migrant workers is the obvious first step.

Support the EDO Prisoners!

Prisoner Addresses at foot of report

Three people (two of whom are from Bristol) were remanded in custody by Brighton Magistrate’s court on Monday as they faced charges in relation to the break in and decommissioning of ITT-EDO MBM late Friday night in protest at the company’s supply of components used by the Israeli military in Gaza.

7 men have so far been charged with Burglary and Criminal Damage and those who entered a plea said they were not guilty. The CPS said they expected to charge another arrested woman as soon as she was released from hospital after being injured during the action.

One man from Brighton who was arrested outside the factory premises and states he had no knowledge of the intentions of the decommissioners was remanded till a committal hearing in the Crown Court next week, another man from Brighton was bailed not to return to the city and given curfew conditions.

In the afternoon two men who had admitted intending to smash up the factory in a video made before the action and posted on the internet were remanded, while three others were bailed not to return to the city with other conditions including not to protest against ITT EDO MBM.

The CPS said the company estimated the cost of material damage at £250,000 before any loss of business was taken into account. The threshold of £10,000 is required to justify a Crown Court jury trial.

Three of the arrested were remanded into custody at Brighton Magistrates court on Monday, They are:

Christopher Osmond VT7548 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Elijah Smith VP77551 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Robert Alford VP7552 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Please now start sending letters of support to keep their spirits up. We will try and find out what can be sent in to this prison, but envelopes, stamps, paper, postal orders and newsletters are usually ok

Advice on what you can do to help:

e- mail smashedo@riseup.net

ideas on prisoner support: http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/

another busy week…in photos


Stansted Lock-on

On Monday, there were two actions which westsiders were involved with. You’ve probably heard all about Stansted. There hopefully will be an interview with one of the participants on this site coming up soon. You’re less likely to know about the other one:

No Borders activists from Bristol,Oxford and South Wales joined with members of the Campaign Against Immigration Controls to make a horrible noise with drums, olive oil tins, a symbol and two megaphones in a noise demo outside the HQ of Amey PLC in Oxford. Whilst No Borders North East held a solidarity picket outside the company’s Newcastle HQ.

The protest went on for three hours, the noise visibly disrupting Amey’s working day. Though security guards initially asked for protesters to leave, no police were called, it appears the company simply do not want the attention that would bring. Employees were leafleted as they left the office and there was a banner drop from the nearby car park.

Amey Noise Demo

Amey Noise Demo

These protests are part of a campaign against Amey Plc. In September 2008 five Colombian cleaners working for Amey at the National Physical Laboratory were suspended for criticising the company, they have since been sacked. Amey Plc have worked hand in glove with the immigration authorities, asking ‘disruptive’ workers to attend fake training sessions, which turn out to be opportunity for UKBA agents and police to detain and deport.

Check bristolnoborders.wordpress.com for more info.

If you check Bristol Indymedia you’ll see there were some reports of attacks on police stations in solidarity with our friends in Greece.

Greek Cops on Fire

These were a example one of dozens of international solidarity actions throughout Europe and beyond.

Wednesday saw the third Raytheon roof occupation of a dynamic campaign. As we write on Saturday evening, they remain on the roof.


Friday saw the opening of  a squatted art space with an photo exhibition “Waiting Rooms”. This was a series of photos derelict buildings, some sadly going to waste, others happily transformed into peoples homes, and social spaces.


The exihibition continues over the weekend.

ACTION STATIONS! – click for details



2.thurs:20/11 Raytheon Protest, opp. UWE frenchay Campus


4. sat 22/11 BANKS BAIL OUT-BATH Marks the start of a campaign in Bath going under the heading ‘we wont pay for their crisis!’, demanding no more bank bailouts, and working towards initiating community based solutions to the financial crisis.

5. sat 22/11 2-3 pm outside Tesco Metro in Broadmead to protest against vouchers for asylum seekers, and encourage exchange of vouchers

6. tues 25/11 – I.D. CARDS- CARDIFF No Borders South Wales will be protesting outside the Cardiff Immigration office from 12 noon on the Tuesday 25th November

meeting madness?


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.


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.



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.