Memorial fund to support Mark Fisher’s family

Friends and comrades of the late Mark Fisher have set up a collection for his bereaved wife and child. They explain they “have set up this collection to raise money for them, in the hope that it will allow them space to grieve and come to terms with their loss, and reduce the number of things they have to deal with at this devastating time.

There will of course be memorials, events and tributes to Mark to come, but for now this is the best way people can honour his memory and help his family.”

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Keeping the flames of Ferguson alive: Help Robert get back on his feet.

For the last few years, the Ferguson Court and Prisoner Support Group have been doing great work supporting those individuals who were targetted for repression in the aftermath of the Ferguson revolt. Robert Stephenson (not to be confused with the Treasure Island guy) is coming to the end of his sentence after being convicted of looting, and they’re now appealing for any financial support people can give to help him re-enter society.

In their words:

“Help us help Robert Stephenson get back on his feet after spending time in prison for his support and action during the Ferguson Rebellion. As anyone knows who has ever been to prison, it can be hard to get back on your feet without a little help. Especially with a felony conviction.  Robert, along with his loving wife Chanel, and their son need a little bit of your help! 

For the last two and half years, the Ferguson Court and Prisoner Support group has been writing and fundraising for all those who have been locked up in the aftermath of the Ferguson Uprising in 2014. It has been a rewarding experience for all those involved. Money has been put on folks books. Letters, zines, books have been sent and friendships have been formed! And most importantly, people who would normally be forgotten because they might not have the same activist or social networks as a normal political prisoner might have aren’t so much.

There were many folks who felt the need to be in the streets, not because of the calls of an organization but rather from the depths of their own hearts and struggles in their daily life. The State and other authorities are scared of this and one of the methods is vilification and incarceration, which is meant to isolate rebels on the outside of prison walls from those on the inside. There were many who made up the uprising and those who got locked up especially shouldn’t be forgotten. If they are, then what was the point of it all?

Let’s support Robert and his family! Please share widely. 

For more information on Robert and the cases of others, please visit: https://antistatestl.noblogs.org/ferguson-related-prisoners/”

As people across the US gear up to try and make the country ungovernable ahead of Trump’s inauguration, it’s worth remembering that the Ferguson rebels offered a great example of what that really looks like in practice, and in turn the people doing prisoner and court support have been a shining example of what it means to deal properly with the aftermath of these events. If we want to see bold, inspiring acts of defiance, then we need to be prepared to stay the course and make lasting commitments to the people whose lives are irreversibly altered by the aftermath, even if that’s years down the line.

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RIP Mark Fisher

It’s always sad to hear about someone you respected dying, and there’s a strange sense of guilt that goes along with it when your main public engagement with their ideas involved pointing out (sometimes quite forcefully) where you thought they were wrong.

I don’t know what else to say, so I’ll point you to a few selections from his work:

Good for Nothing (on a political understanding of our shared depression)

How the World Got Turned the Right Way Up Again (on the fading and recuperation of post-punk’s critique and subversive potential)

Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative (perhaps his best-known work)

You can find much more here – for anyone interested, I really would recommend digging into some of his music criticism.

There’s much more to say, but there are other people far more qualified to say most of it, so I’ll just leave off with a quote from the end of Capitalist Realism and a Fall song he loved:

“The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.”

That quote’s from 2009. Since then, the horizons of possibility have been torn open in all sorts of unexpected ways, and we are all the poorer for not having Mark’s thought to help us explore this new landscape.

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Breathing space, friendliness and solidarity at work

The Angry Workers of the World collective recently published an article on everyday workplace solidarity, which has some good tips for what people who’re feeling isolated in places with no existing organisation can do:

It is a strange world. We spend more time at work than with our friends and family. Work eats up our life, but we see work as separate from life. We don’t want to take work serious, because we, as humans, are not taken serious at work. The creativity and life energy of billions is wasted in the way work is organised in the current system.

Democracy? You must be kidding!

They tell us that we live in a democracy – but at the place where we spend most of our life, we have little to nothing to say. The way work is organised makes it very difficult to make friends or be friends at work: the machine is too loud, the line too fast to be able to talk (often we are told off for talking ‘too much’), people come and go so we might think “why bother getting to know them?”,  some people think they get easier work if they show that they are better workers than the ‘lazy’ others – a feeling of competition is encouraged, despite all the ‘team work’ talk. Work is soulless and makes us feel half-human, so how can we connect to others?

Small steps to take back control – for real!

It is true, we don’t control what is happening in our company, what is produced and how, who is hired and fired and why. But we can start with creating a little breathing space for ourselves and others, some space against productivity targets and for friendliness.

* Ease the work pressure and try not to compete with your co-workers. Don’t work faster than the average, try to work a bit slower and give more time to your fellow humans. Encourage others to do so.

* Don’t complain about fellow workers to supervisors and management. Try to speak to your colleagues directly. If the problem is more serious, talk to other colleagues you trust about it. Together you will find a solution.

* Be friendly to new starters, to agency workers – even if you think that they might not stay long. Explain to them how things work and that they should not kill themselves for a minimum wage.

* Show support when fellow workers are shouted at, disciplined or bullied by managers. Even if it just means going up to them and asking if they are okay. If you are a bigger group you can stand up to the manager and ask for an apology.

* Let’s try to talk to people during our break, instead of staring into our mobile phones. Let’s talk about the weather, about work, about life. Let’s try to overcome language divisions – not everyone is confident in English, so be patient if people make the effort.

* Try to work as little overtime as possible – although everyone needs the extra-money, this is more of a short-term carrot: in the long run they will make us work longer hours for the same money.

We can ask for more!

These are just small steps, but they help to change the atmosphere at work. They can also help us to ask for more. This will not happen overnight, nor do we have to wait until everyone is on board. We can start with our immediate colleagues who we trust.

There are always small conflicts with management: about work speed, about overtime, about shifting us to worse jobs or shifts, about promised permanent contracts, about cuts in bonuses, about disciplinary procedures…

We often accept these changes, saying that we can’t do anything or that ’the other workers won’t join’. In order to justify our fear of doing anything we often say: “the only option would be if everyone goes on strike, but they don’t”. But there are smaller steps we can take, which don’t make us too vulnerable.

* Find a small group of colleagues to start wirth, even four-five-six will do.

* Talk about what small things you can do that would annoy management and will let them know that people are not happy with the changes.

* This could be a hidden ‘work-to-rule’: colleagues at different jobs sticking to the official company procedures and health and safety regulations. Only do the jobs you are supposed to do according to your contract. This normally slows down work quite a lot.

* Find ways to cause little break-downs of computers or machinery, without putting you or others (health) at risk. Find other ways to slow down work-speed without management being able to single you or others out.

* An unofficial overtime boycott can be another way to show that you are pissed off without sticking your neck out too far. The more people join in, the more effective it is.

* Do your work, but stop communicating with management, don’t say “hello” or “goodbye” to them. If a whole department sticks to this, they will feel the pain over time and might reconsider the changes.

* Find ways to put forward your demands without having to send a spokesperson – management will either punish them or buy any ‘leaders’. We need collective action, not heroes!

* Find ways to speak to workers in other departments and encourage them to do similar things. This could be at meetings after work, through whatsapp or other ways.

* Sometimes it bothers management if the media or clients of the company get to know that their employees are unhappy, that time targets or quality might be compromised. You can do or threaten to do this without having to show your face to management.

There are many creative ways of how we can put pressure on the bosses. The more people join the better. But even a small group can annoy management. The challenge is just to keep your heads down and avoid an open fight that we might lose.

The work-place and beyond – Why joining WorkersWildWest solidarity network?

Being poor ain’t no fun – if you are alone. Similar to the situation at work. But if you join up with others and support each other, we can defend ourselves better. For this reason we have established a solidarity network in west-London.

Many of us change jobs frequently – and conditions are similar everywhere. Problems at work often continue after work – instead of company management we have to deal with nasty landlords, stress with the job centre or other state administrations. In the current climate the political leaders want to make us play dog-eat-dog: locals against migrants, Jesus fans against followers of Mohammed and so on. We are supposed to fight over the bones they throw at us. We should refuse their game and fight back. We don’t need leaders for this. So what can we do and how can we do it?

We meet weekly in different places in Southall, Acton, Park Royal and Greenford. If you, or a group of you, have problems, either come along to one of our meeting places or get in touch through email or phone. We are all working class people, no lawyers or experts. But we know our rights. We discuss the problem and think about how we can put pressure on the people who want to rip us off, evict us or whatever. Here are some examples…

* The temp agency ASAP in Greenford didn’t pay outstanding holiday pay to four workers. The workers called several times and sent letters, without result. We prepared some leaflets and a group of eight of us went to the office and told management that we won’t leave until things are sorted and that we will let clients and possible new recruits know what’s happening. Within half an hour the holiday pay was sorted.

*  The housing benefit department in Ealing refused to pay three months housing benefit to one of our friends, who is a ‘EU-migrant’ after having worked in the UK for eight years. We sent various letter and finally went to the appeal court in Watford – it didn’t cost us any lawyer fees. In the end the friend got three months back pay.

* A visa agent in Southall took £10,000 from a friend and warehouse worker. The agent promised IT training, a work-visa and a job guarantee. This did not materialise and when our friend asked for the money back, the agent refused. We blockaded his office and threatened to stand in front of each of his three training schools. Bit by bit he paid all the money back.

* Temp agency ‘Hays’ did not pay three days of outstanding wages to a local road sweeper. We sent letters and finally distributed leaflets to fellow workers at the Amey recycling depot in Greenford. We also threatened to inform the media. In the end they paid up. 

* Temp agency ‘Templine’ at the Sainsbury’s warehouse continued to harass a friend for a couple of illness-related and doctor approved absences. We formulated an official grievance letter, which eased the pressure from management.

Again, the more we are, the more we can achieve. This is not just about claiming back what is ours. It is about working class confidence and creating a local force of solidarity, against the dog-eat-dog world that they are creating!

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An unlucky day for the Turkish state? Solidarity with Hüseyin Civan on Friday the 13th

London Anarchist Federation and London Anarchist Black Cross are calling for people to join a picket of the Turkish embassy between 12-2 on Friday 13th in solidarity with Hüseyin Civan, a jailed Turkish comrade. In their words:

When? 12-2pm, Friday 13th January 2017

Where? Turkish Embassy, 43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NT:

Organised by London Anarchist Federation.

Solidarity with Hüseyin Civan

The wave of repression unleashed by the Erdogan regime in Turkey has resulted in thousands losing their jobs and thousands imprisoned. Recently Hüseyin Civan, managing editor of Meydan, a paper that represented the views of the DAF (Devrimci Anarsist Faaliyet / Anarchist Revolutionary Action), received a prison sentence of one year and three months.

This was the result of the action of the chief public prosecutor who pursued Meydan over articles published in issue 30, December 2015. The charge against our comrade was “making propaganda for the methods of a terrorist organization constituting coercion, violence or threats through legitimizing or praising or encouraging the use of these methods”.

Meydan was closed down after Erdogan began a campaign of repression after the recent failed coup. The imprisonment of Civan is another heavy blow against the anarchist movement operating within Turkey.

Advocating a system based on mutual aid and equality, defending workers’ struggles, arguing for gender equality and the freedom of the individual , against nationalism and fascism are seen as terrorist crimes by the Erdogan regime.

Representing Meydan and Civan, lawyer Davut Erkan stated that the decision was illegal and would be appealed, if necessary, all the way to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

The Anarchist Federation sends a message of solidarity to Hüseyin Civan, Meydan and the DAF.

Follow Meydan at :
http://meydangazetesi.org
@MeydanGazetesi

Messages of solidarity can be sent to:
https://www.facebook.com/meydangazetesi/

See also: https://www.reddit.com/…/prison_sentence_to_managing_edito…/

and: https://freedomnews.org.uk/editor-of-turkish-anarchist-paper-jailed-for-terror-propaganda/

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Rebel Roo #3 out now

The latest issue of the Deliveroo workers’ bulletin, Rebel Roo, has been published, with stories including a successful strike by Bristol trainers, Deliveroo being forced to back down over their attempts to victimise a London worker, the City-Sprint legal ruling and a call from striking Foodora workers in Italy. You can order paper copies (or share your own experiences) by emailing rebelroouk [at] gmail.com, or just download it from here and print a few off yourself.

As always, if you work in or near the city centre, or even just have to change buses there, then if you work out where the Deliveroo riders hang out (suggestion: parks/car parks/bike racks near fancy restaurants are always worth a try), then it should be pretty easy to give a few out on your way home without having to go too far out of your way.

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Fundraising appeals: housing co-op in Manchester and women’s aid in Doncaster

Two really worthwhile projects are appealing for funds at the moment: in Manchester, the housing co-op Rockdove Rising is £1,500 short of the money they need to buy two flats and keep them in the co-operative, and in Doncaster, South Yorkshire Women’s Aid, the domestic violence project that was set up after Doncaster Women’s Aid was closed by funding cuts, are appealing for £11,500 to help them set up a phone line and provide other support for women who are experiencing domestic abuse. Please do what you can to support these projects, whether that’s giving yourself or just sharing with others who might be able to help.

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