Upcoming solidarity events with Russian antifascist prisoners and Kevan Thakrar

Two important anti-repression events coming up in London in the near future:

On Thursday 27 February, there’s a solidarity demo with the Russian anarchist and antifascist prisoners at 6:30pm outside the Russian Embassy, 6/7 Kensington Palace Gardens, W8 4QP. This event is part of the international week of action called by Crimethinc and the Rupression network.

On March 9th, Kevan Thakrar’s birthday, the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee have organised a protest at the Royal College of Psychiatrists to demand that they stop providing humanitarian cover to a system that’s held Kevan in solitary for ten years. In their words:

“Demonstrate to mark Kevan Thakrar’s 10th year in Close Supervision Centres within the British prison system. Close Supervisions Centres (CSCs) are the most extreme form of imprisonment in the UK, modelled on the ‘supermax’ prisons in the United States. People held in CSCs are often kept apart from others, allowed out of their cells for only a short time each day and denied basic human contact.

Kevan is regularly held in his cell for 23 hours per day and is prevented from speaking with other prisoners. Numerous studies and papers have pointed out the severe damage solitary confinement can cause for those placed in it. As a 2006 paper in Washington University Journal of Law & Policy put it, it has ‘long been known that severe restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a profoundly deleterious effect on mental functioning’. To quote from a paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, ‘psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture’.

ENABLING REPRESSION

Despite all of this the Royal College of Psychiatrists has accredited some Close Supervision Centres as “Enabling Environments”, providing legitimacy to these violent units.

Kevan’s indefinite isolation clearly contravenes the position of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture. Join us to demand that he is immediately released from the CSC system and that the Royal College of Psychiatrists stops providing a cover for human rights abuses in the prison system.

For more information about Kevan’s situation and his case, please visit: https://justiceforkevan.org/

WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you can’t attend the demonstration, please write to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB to object to their accrediation of CSCs as ‘Enabling Environments’.

Please also write to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to express your concern about Kevan’s solitary confinement within the CSC and to urge them to respond to his letters.
mail@ppo.gov.uk
PO Box 70769, London SE1P 4XY”

And, of course, you can write directly to Kevan at

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

or by using http://emailaprisoner.com/

In other prisoner news, there’s a new fundraiser being sent up for Alabama anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble’s legal costs, Joseph Dibee, who’s being held awaiting trial for alleged participation in eco-defence sabotage actions in the 2000s, was recently attacked by a nazi prisoner and could use a bit of solidarity, and it’s always worth mentioning how much pressure Eric King and his partner have been under from the prison system recently. There’s also an appeal to help Josh Williams, a Ferguson rebellion prisoner who needs both financial support and parole letters.

Back in the UK, there’s not too much to report other than what was in my last round-up, but Freedom News have published a new and improved listing of what’s going on with the Green Anticapitalist week of action, along with another one of bookfairs happening in 2020. The RMT have published a list of stations confirmed to be taking part in the “Keep Northern Public” day of action on March 2nd, which currently stands at Newcastle, Leeds, Carlisle, Manchester Victoria, Wigan, York, Sheffield, and Wakefield Westgate. Harrods security staff were due to start a strike over pay this weekend, but that’s now been suspended to discuss a new offer from management. The UCU strikes are set to continue over the next few weeks, you may want to print off some copies of the rank-and-file University Worker strike bulletin to bring down to the picket lines, or some of the Autonomous Design Group’s nicely-designed posters:

Finally, the Women’s Strike will be happening in early March, with events in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff confirmed.

Posted in Anarchists, Gender, Internationalism, Repression, Strikes, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New solidarity network launched in Croydon, and other class struggle news and events for mid-February

Another quick round-up of class struggle news and events, mostly workplace-related:

Down at the sarf end of sarf lahndahn, a new solidarity project is forming in Croydon, inspired by the general approach of the Angry Workers of the World. In their words, if you fancy “getting up at the arse crack of dawn in February to help flyer a Croydon industrial wasteland then we wanna hear from you”, so email Croydonsolidarity@gmail.com if that’s something you’d have any interest in*. In other plugs for new class struggle projects, I’d also like to recommend The Slow Down, a very scurrilously funny podcast about trade union organising “by dumb people, for dumb people”.

Elsewhere, the United Voices of the World union are fundraising for an employment tribunal for one of their members, a hostess at a private member’s club who was victimised for her union activity and refusing to accept abuse from clients. The UVW are also launching a new “solidarity network” for those who aren’t in a position to join the union but want to get involved in their mass pickets and direct actions.

The next round of UCU strikes is coming up soon, and there’s not a new issue of the University Worker strike bulletin out yet, but they are asking for people who’re interested in working on it to get in touch. Salford care workers have just held a public meeting to launch their campaign for a real living wage. And down in Lewisham, staff at the Brockley Barge Wetherspoons are also publicly launching a campaign for a living wage and union recognition.

It looks like there could be a big fight on the horizon over council cuts in Tower Hamlets, where the Labour council tried to use legal action to overturn a strike ballot by workers, although the latest news is that those threats have now been withdrawn.

In the interest of non-sectarian solidarity, there’s two transport workers, both members of Unite and the Socialist Party, who are currently facing victimisation for their workplace activity – Clive Walder, a rep at National Express, and Moe Muhsin Manir, a rep on London buses. I’ve not seen anything yet about how people can support them, but both cases sound worth keeping an eye on.

And in one impressive high-profile action you may well have heard about, the Green Anti-Capitalist Front have squatted a disused police station in Paddington Green ahead of their upcoming week of action. More on that coming up…

Upcoming events:

On Tuesday 18th, Liverpool Solidarity Federation are holding a “basic rights at work” workshop, and London Anarchist Federation are hosting another “Marxism and anarchism” reading group discussing the state. On Thursday 20th, the UCU strikes kick off for another 14 days running over the next four weeks. The UVW also have a big day planned then, as security guards at St George’s University will be taking their fight against outsourcing to an open day, and there’s an organising meeting for tech workers in London happening that evening.

On Friday 21st, there’s a discussion in Mayday Rooms in London about “what is freedom”, and the Earth First! Winter Moot will be running from the 21st-23rd near an anti-HS2 protest camp in Uxbridge. Tube drivers on the Bakerloo line will also be starting several days of strike action in a dispute over timetables from the 21st onwards.

On Saturday 22nd, the UVW union are having a well-earned victory party to celebrate the workers’ victory over outsourcing at St Mary’s Hospital. Heathrow baggage handlers are due to strike over pay from the 22nd-25th, and Crimethinc have put out a call for a week of actions in solidarity with the anarchist and antifascist prisoners in Russia from the 22nd-29th. The Green Anticapitalist Front will also be running a bunch of actions in London and Edinburgh over that week.

On Sunday 23rd, the Edinburgh green anticapitalist week will be starting off with some legal observer training. The UVW strike at St George’s, which has seen some harsh police intimidation so far, will be back on from the 24th-28th. On the 25th, the Northern Police Monitoring Project have an event about dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and the GAF week of action has a discussion about learning from Ende Gelande in Germany, and another about World’s End, a new comic about capitalism and climate change. On the 26th, they’re running a self-defense workshop, one about resisting immigration raids, and another about “what is ecofascism?”

On the 27th, GAF events will include a seedbombing workshop, and another one about how to talk to strangers effectively. In other news, that day will also see a day of strike action at some sixth form colleges over the funding crisis in the sector, and a call to support DSEi arms fair defendants at Stratford Magistrates Court. On Friday 28th, the GAF week peaks with their big “rally against capital”, which sounds like the big one out of their various events, plus a public meeting against Heathrow immigration detention centre and a film screening about the French Yellow Vests.

On Saturday 29th, Greater Manchester Housing Action have a meeting to plan a vision for organising around housing in the city in 2020, and on Sunday March 1st, Liverpool SolFed have a film screening and discussion around (anarcha)feminist issues.

Rounding this list off, the RMT will be holding a “Keep Northern Rail Public” day of action at various Northern stations on Monday March 2nd, there’s a demo in Peterborough against sleazy spycop/tory councillor Andy Coles on the 4th, and there’ll be a “reclaiming pride” presentation and discussion in Bournemouth on the 5th. Plus the UCU strikes will be running pretty much continuously throughout this time.

And looking ahead into mid-March, Women’s Strike stuff will be happening on March 8th, Dundee is set to have its first anarchist bookfair on March 14th, and Leicester Anarchist Communist Group will be holding a meeting about “land and liberty” on the 19th.

 

*by the way, I really wanted to think of a clever Croydon cultural reference that I could use to make the title of this post less dull, but I can’t think of one for the life of me. I suppose this means I don’t listen to enough grime?

Posted in Anarchists, Climate Change, Gender, Housing, Occupations, Strikes, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Urgent call to protect Kevan Thackrar from attacks, and more prison/repression/legal news

A quick listing of repression/prison-related news:

There’s an urgent call to help protect Kevan Thackrar, a prisoner who was recently the victim of a racist attack, and is now being moved to a cell next to someone who’s previously attacked him, in a blind spot with no CCTV.

The full call, via the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee, is as follows:

“Urgent support needed!

Our member Kevan Thakrar is currently being held in the Close Supervision Centre (CSC) at HMP Full Sutton. He is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who recently attacked Kevan with a metal flask. The cell is in a blind spot with no CCTV, and Kevan and his family are worried he’s being set up for another attack. Kevan has repeatedly been the victim of racist attacks by other prisoners and guards during his time in prison, most recently when he was stabbed with a shank on 23 December 2019. Prison guards have previously ignored assaults, and Kevan has not been allowed to access appropriate healthcare.

We need everyone to get in touch with HMP Full Sutton to demand that Kevan is NOT MOVED TO THIS CELL. Phone calls, emails, letters all help keep Kevan safe and shows the prison governor that we are aware of what’s happening. Numbers matter! We need as many people to write and call as possible.

Write to

Prison Governor Gareth Sands
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS

Gareth.Sands@hmps.gsi.gov.uk
Or phone the prison on 01759 475100
Fax 01759 371206
Cite Kevan’s prisoner number, A4907AE.

Call script:

Hello, I am calling on behalf of Kevan Thakrar who is currently in the CSC at HMP Full Sutton. Kevan has been informed that he is being moved to a cell next to a prisoner who has previously attacked him. I am extremely concerned for Kevan’s safety and demand that he is not moved to this cell, but rather is moved out of the CSC and to a safer location immediately.

You can also email the following:

Executive Director for High Security & Long Term Estate for HM Prison and Probation Service, Richard Vince, demanding Kevan be moved from the CSC to a safer location: Richard.Vince02@hmps.gsi.gov.uk

Email Sir Greg Knight, MP for East Riding: sothcottt@parliament.uk

Keep Kevan updated with all your actions by email through emailaprisoner.com or letter to:

Kevan Thakrar, A4907AE
HMP Full Sutton
York
YO41 1PS”

The UK state has long had an odd relationship with Rojava, collaborating with the PYD and YPG/YPJ in the war against ISIS while occasionally attempting to prosecute volunteers who return home. A new court case seems to show a shift towards increasing repression, as the family of a YPG volunteer have been facing heavy police hassle, with his dad facing terrorism charges for sending him £150. Paul Newey and Sam Newey appeared in court in London on the 14th, with the Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign reporting that “It was to set a date for a pre-trial hearing which was set and will take place in Liverpool next week. After that, the idea is to group all the cases together for a big show trial in Birmingham in June.”

And rounding off the UK section, I don’t normally bother distinguishing too much between one tory politician and another, but it does seem worth noting that the new Attorney General, Suella Braverman, has openly used the language of far-right antisemitic conspiracy theories. I would say that I hope the Board of Deputies are proud of themselves, but of course they are, having met with her and decided that she’s definitely a good friend to the Jews and someone who was using antisemitic language with the best of intentions. So that’s alright then.

Overseas, Irish antifascists are fundraising for legal costs coming from the 2016 disruption of an attempted Dublin rally by the anti-Muslim group Pegida. And seven Russian anarchists and antifascists have been given sentences of 6-18 years for involvement in the fictitious “Network” terrorist case. Their support group suggest:

What can you do to support the Russian antifascists and anarchists who have been tortured and imprisoned?

  • Donate money to the Anarchist Black Cross via PayPal (abc-msk@riseup.net). Make sure to specify your donation is earmarked for “Rupression.”
  • Spread the word about the Network Case aka the Penza-Petersburg “terrorism” case. You can find more information about the case and in-depth articles translated into English on this website.
  • Organize solidarity events where you live to raise money and publicize the plight of the tortured Penza and Petersburg antifascists.
  • If you have the time and means to design, produce, and sell solidarity merchandise, please write to rupression@protonmail.com.
  • Design a solidarity postcard that can be printed and used by others to send messages of support to the prisoners. Send your ideas to rupression@protonmail.com.
  • Write letters of support to the prisoners and their loved ones via rupression@protonmail.com.”

Over in the US, Chuck Africa, the last of the MOVE 9 prisoners, is now free. Anarchist political prisoner Eric King continues to face severe repression – after his partner published a blog post detailing various abuses and attempts at intimidation by prison staff, he was then given five disciplinary infractions for offences including not standing up despite being on the toilet at the time, and subjected to a further attempt to cut off his right to visits and phone calls with his partner. His support network report:

“We fully expect to experience more and more creative illegal action against visits and an increased attempt to hold him incommunicado. Be it denying legal visits, stacking him with shots on the order of the warden or just old fashioned violence… at this point it’s all up in the air.

Eric could use any and all letters, articles, and dad jokes to help him withstand this bullshit. They all serve a dual purpose as well because every single letter shows the warden and prison administrators we are watching!

Eric King 27090045
FCI Englewood
9595 W Quincy Ave
Littleton, Co 80123”

And finally, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the group behind the 2018 US prison strike, are putting out a call for solidarity actions throughout August 21st-September 9th. They ask “On August 21 – September 9, we call on everyone in solidarity with the prison class struggle to organize an action, a panel discussion, a rally, an art event, a film screening, or another kind of demonstration to promote prisoners’ human rights. Whatever is within your ability, we ask that you shake the nation out of any fog they may be in about prisoners’ human rights and the criminal legal system (legalized enslavement).

During these solidarity events, we request that organizers amplify immediate issues prisoners in your state face, the demands from the National Prison Strike of 2018, and uplift Jailhouse Lawyers Speak new International Law Project.”

Posted in Anarchists, Racism, Repression, Tories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Are we all to be ‘gender-critical feminists’ now, Father?”: On silencing and the article Graham Linehan doesn’t want you to read

Graham Linehan, the once-beloved writer of Father Ted and that other one that wasn’t as good as Father Ted but still had its moments, has recently been going about the place complaining about being “silenced” while also using legal threats to silence a piece of writing critical of him. Of course, there’s nothing really new here – it’s been years now since Sara Ahmed first observed that

“These views then get expressed again as if they are being stifled.  They get repeated by being presented as prohibited.

Whenever people keep being given a platform to say they have no platform, or whenever people speak endlessly about being silenced, you not only have a performative contradiction; you are witnessing a mechanism of power… The narrative of “being silenced” has become a mechanism for enabling and distributing some forms of expression.

Similarly, if I had a penny for every time someone proclaiming themselves to be in favour of free speech and against silencing debate used threats of legal action to shut their critics up, then maybe I’d have enough money to start hiring lawyers and trying to shut up everyone I disliked too.

I’m still very sympathetic to the principle that, when someone starts throwing legal threats around to silence criticisms, you should spread and reproduce that criticism as widely as possible, so people can read it and make up their own mind. In that spirit, the offending article is reproduced below, not as a full endorsement of the contents but just to give people the chance to decide what they think of it. If you want to know Linehan’s side of the story, that’s easy enough to find out; similarly, if Linehan can point out exactly which precise claims in the article are provably untrue, I’ll be happy to alter them.

If you’re concerned about the problem of people being “silenced” and prevented from exercising free speech, I would suggest that one good place to start might be by donating to support this blacklisted brewery worker here. And if, like me, you’re a massive fan of Father Ted and quite enjoyed that other one sometimes, and are feeling let down that such a gifted comedic great has descended into acting like a bit of a dick, then at least we can all take comfort in the fact that the guy who wrote the Office has always behaved in an admirably dignified and respectable manner, right?

Graham Linehan is compiling a horrifying database of therapists with stark ‘conversion therapy’ undertones

Vic Parsons February 4, 2020

King of the transphobes‘ and sometime comedy writer Graham Linehan is trying to create a database of ‘gender-critical’ therapists for parents of trans kids.

In a tweet that was immediately labelled as supporting conversion therapy, Linehan said he wanted to help the “extremely awesome” Stella O’Malley – who recently wrote a chapter for the anti-trans book Inventing Transgender Children – who is “trying to assemble a list of Irish gender critical therapists as a resource for parents”.

Linehan’s search for ‘gender-critical’ therapists was met with horror online and prompted demands that Twitter ban him from the platform.

“For anyone reading who is on the fence, I’m a therapist and I strongly advise against ‘gender critical’ therapy, as I would advise against well-known ‘conversion’ therapy,” one person said.

‘Gender critical’ is a term for people who insist that trans women are men and think that trans rights are an “extreme gender ideology”.

Conversion therapy ‘harmful and ineffective’.

Conversion therapy is still legal in Ireland, despite repeated calls for it to be banned. The practice – which tries to convince gay people they are straight or trans people they are cis – is widely understood to be both harmful and ineffective.

Traumatising conversion therapy has been condemned by almost all major health associations in the US, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Exposing trans people to conversion therapy has been linked to causing “severe psychological distress” and a two-fold increase in suicide attempts, according to a study last year in medical journal JAMA Psychiatry, which had a sample size of more than 27,000 trans people.

Alarmingly, the study also found that trans people who were exposed to conversion therapy before the age of 10 were four times more likely to try to die by suicide over the course of their lifetime than trans people who weren’t subjected to attempts to change their gender identity.

Multiple scientific studies have also shown that supporting trans kids – through a social transition, where they might change their name, pronouns, haircut and clothing, or through medical interventions like taking puberty-pausing medication – has an overwhelmingly positive and life-saving impact.

The UK government committed to ending what it called the “abhorrent practice” of conversion therapy in its 2018 LGBT Action Plan.

Graham Linehan made the comments from his self-appointed position as one of the leaders of the UK’s ‘gender-critical’ feminist movement, which opposes trans rights.

Linehan is well-known for his anti-trans views, with fellow comedian Frankie Boyle blocking him for this very reason just last week. Boyle said: “I’ve already told you. I’m going to have to block you. I think you’re neurotically obsessed with some stuff that is doing you no good/worry you have some kind of internet addiction. All the best with it.”

He also has a history of attacking lesbians who don’t agree with him.

“So now you’re advocating for conversion therapy and try to complie [sic] a list of ‘therapists’ who offer it,” another Twitter user said.

“JFC youre [sic] a sick man Graham. Get help ASAP!”

Trans journalist Katy Montgomerie summed the situation up by saying: “Conversion therapy is torture. Absolutely disgusting.”

PinkNews has contacted Graham Linehan for comment.

An earlier version of this article included a quote which did not meet the editorial standards of PinkNews.

Posted in Gender, Repression | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Miners’ strike stories film to premiere in Barnsley, appeal to support blacklisted brewery worker

Two quick updates to share:

The Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign invite everyone to a showing of their new film in Barnsley on March 6th, the 35th anniversary of the end of the miners’ strike. In their words:

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign wanted to record the real stories from participants of the great strike as a way of preserving on film the heroic struggles of our Miners, Families, Women Against Pit Closures and other supporters from across our mining communities.

These accounts not only tell the story of times past, but also provide inspiration to future generations of why they should become involved in the Trade Union Movement today. The première will be held in the iconic Miners Hall, which holds dozens of miners’ banners. Light refreshments will be provided.

Organised by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, Deputy Chairperson Joe Rollin will compère the evening which also includes speakers Chris Peace—OTJC Activist, Chris Kitchen—National Union of Mineworkers, General Secretary and Richard Burgon MP— Shadow Justice Secretary.

Friday March 6th 7p.m., National Union of Mineworkers, 2 Huddersfield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2LS

London IWW are asking for financial support for one of their members, who’s been blacklisted for trying to organise in breweries:

“Donate to help support a blacklisted IWW brewery worker!

London’s craft breweries have a reputation for being socially conscious, involved in the community, and supporting good causes. However, when it comes to workers’ rights, too many of these companies fall short.

At some of these breweries workers have begun joining the Industrial Workers of the World trade union (IWW) and have made gains in regards to health and safety, forced overtime, and challenging bullying bosses.

However, at one particular brewery, management responded in the most draconian way possible: by summarily sacking a well-liked and well-respected fellow worker. There was no disciplinary hearing and no option to appeal. Their crime: being vocal on the job, often acting a voice for the wider workforce when issues came up.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, this same company has now sabotaged the employment prospects for this fellow worker. On their first day on a new job, the old company contacted the new employer and ensured our fellow worker was dismissed in the middle of their induction.

The IWW plans to pursue this matter with all the tools available to us. What the company has done is unlawful and we’re confident we’ll secure justice. But bills don’t wait for justice to be served.

We need our friends and allies to make a donation to help this fellow worker get through this difficult period.

Solidarity comes in many forms. And today, we’re asking you to offer a bit of financial solidarity.

We need to send a message to the bosses: We support our own! Let the bosses know that they won’t get away with mistreating a single one of us – An Injury To One is an Injury to All!

We are accepting donations from individuals and organisations – please share widely.

Please donate what you can.”

Posted in Unions, Work | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Workers win at St Mary’s Hospital, Bromley Libraries and Delfin Language School: early Feb class struggle round-up

The last week or two has seen a few impressive wins of one kind or another. In the healthcare sector, workers at St Mary’s Hospital have scored a big victory after strike action organised through the grassroots United Voices of the World union forced the trust that employs them to bring over a thousand outsourced workers back in house, meaning that they’ll now enjoy the same terms and conditions as NHS staff. There is a slightly sour footnote to this one, in that Unison put out a deeply cynical press release claiming that the victory was a result of the trust having “accepted our arguments”, with no mention made of the strike action that actually won it which Unison played no part in. A reminder of just how grubby some parts of the union movement can be at times.

At Delfin Language School, teachers who were made redundant organised through the IWW’s TEFL Workers Union, and have now won an improved redundancy package. And in Bromley, the library staff who’ve been out on strike since June are now returning to work after beating the threat of cuts to staffing levels, winning a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and new posts being created.

A few ongoing disputes that don’t really have specific dates attached: Staff at homelessness charity St Mungo’s have voted to strike against attacks on their terms and conditions, and their demands include a guarantee not to share information with the Home Office that could be used for immigration enforcement purposes. Security guards at Harrods have delivered an impressive 97% vote for strike action over pay and unpaid extra working time. The CWU is due to start reballoting at Royal Mail after their previous vote was overruled by the courts. Low-paid staff at Westex carpets in West Yorkshire, who’ve been out on strike since November against a pay freeze, continue their determined stand. And the RMT are still collecting hardship funds for the staff at South-West Rail who struck throughout December in defence of the guard’s role and may need to take more action soon.

Upcoming events:

Outsourced staff employed by Interserve at the Foreign Office will be striking throughout the month of February, having delivered a 100% vote for strike action over issues such as union recognition and sick pay. On the 6th, there’s an emergency protest at Downing Street against a planned mass deportation to Jamaica. That date will also see a showing of the blacklisting film Solidarity in London.

On the 8th, there’s an Acorn Manchester benefit at Fuel Cafe, on the 9th London Anarchist Federation are holding an open meeting about resistance after the election and Brexit, and on the 10th there’s a request for court support for DSEI arms fair defendants. The UVW dispute at St George’s University sees another round of strikes from the 10th-13th, so again there’s the possibility of the Met trying to throw their weight around there. Bristol Anti-Raids are holding a “know your rights/what to do if you see an immigration raid” workshop on the 11th.

Staff in 34 sixth form colleges will be striking over funding and threats to the future of the sector on Wednesday 12th. On Valentine’s Day, grassroots cleaners’ union CAIWU are holding a protest at Addlestone Goddard against the victimisation and sacking of one of their members, and the youth climate strike lot have their next big national day then. On Saturday 15th, Games Workers Unite are having a party to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

The UCU university strikes are back on, with an extra 14 universities having successfully balloted to make a total of 74 institutions taking part in the next round, which will run from Thursday 20th Feb into mid-March. As before, keep an eye on Notes From Below to see new rank-and-file strike bulletins as they’re produced.

Approaching the end of the month, the UVW union are having a well-earned victory party to celebrate the workers’ victory over outsourcing at St Mary’s Hospital on Saturday 22nd. Heathrow baggage handlers are due to strike over pay from the 22nd-25th, the UVW strike at St George’s will be back on from the 24th-28th, the Green Anticapitalist Front are also calling for a week of action at the end of February, and there’ll be another day of strike action at some sixth form colleges on the 27th, along with another court date for DSEi arms fair defendants. And right at the end of the month, the Green Anticapitalist week of action is due to end with a big day out in the City of London on the 28th.

Looking further ahead, Dundee is set to have its first anarchist bookfair on March 14th. You can donate to help cover Dundee’s costs here. And Dundee isn’t the only new anarchist bookfair collective that’s currently looking to raise funds, as you can also donate to Newcastle’s Ewan Brown anarchist bookfair, which will be happening in May.

Posted in Anarchists, Climate Change, Strikes, Unions, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

US prisoner solidarity updates: Vaughn uprising anniversary and more

A few quick updates on various US-held prisoners:

Supporters of Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, an elderly Black Panther prisoner who’s been incarcerated since 1969, have launched a website with information about steps people can take to help get him free, like writing to his parole board. In Ohio, Greg Curry, an inmate wrongfully convicted of murder after the Lucasville Uprising of 1993, is actively seeking good attorneys and other legal assistance to get his unjust conviction overturned.

Anarchist prisoner Eric King’s support network have released a new update, giving information about the abuse he’s faced at FCI Englewood, including threats made by staff against his children, and attempts to block visits from his partner, who was told that she’d be banned from visiting if she continued to criticise the prison in public. Eric’s support crew ask:

“PLEASE send letters, articles, jokes, and memes. After resisting mail changes, the prisoners also won the right to have magazines!! Please shoot us an email if you want to get a subscription for Eric.”

Eric King 27090045
FCI Englewood
9595 W Quincy Ave
Littleton, CO 80123

If folks want to organize local fundraisers in their cities, hit us up. We have various literature and support shirts that can be printed and sold for fundraising.”

Something that might be relevant to UK-based readers is that Eric is a fan of UK football, and would particularly appreciate receiving anything related to Manchester United or Partick Thistle, but I’m sure he’d be glad to get anything covering the sport more generally. And football-related reading matter might stand a better chance of getting through the mailroom than some spicier political texts.

Jeremy Hammond, another anarchist prisoner who’s been incarcerated since 2011 for hacking and is currently being held in contempt of court for defying the same grand jury as Chelsea Manning*, has started a new podcast, Twin Trouble, that takes the form of a phone call with his twin brother Jason. Jason has also previously served time for his antifascist activities.

This February is also the three-year anniversary of the Vaughn uprising of early 2017, and the former Vaughn 17 defendants and their supporters are calling on people to commemorate the occasion. In the words of a call they’ve put out:

“Join us for 17 days for the Vaughn 17 and commit to a day of solidarity. Obviously we cannot tell you what liberation looks like, but Dwayne “BIM” Staats (Believing in Myself) has some suggestions for solidarity actions:

  • Drop a banner
  • Host a food drive and feed your community
  • Get out on the streets like Malcolm X and talk to people about it
  • Organize a mini march

We encourage you to get creative and do it your own style. If you and your comrades do something (and it’s okay to publicly share), be sure to capture the moment and send in a photo or summary and tag @freevaughn17 on Instagram and Twitter.”

They’ve also started a new website, vaughn17.com, where people can learn more about the uprising and those who faced the state’s retaliation for allegedly taking part in it.

Finally, Jason Walker, a revolutionary prisoner based in Texas who’s been consistently fearless in exposing staff abuse and has faced vicious retaliation for doing so, has compiled his writings into an ebook, “Reports from Within the Belly of the Beast”.

 

*thinking about it, in passing, I notice that Assange obsessives will often extend their cause to “free Assange and Manning”, but you rarely find them mentioning Hammond. I dunno exactly why that is, but in all honesty I’m not exactly desperate to share more space with the pro-Assange crowd than I have to.

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