Sparks, SPUC, pasties and parties – late May round-up

A few recent items of interest: first off, the big news is that, having taken a well-deserved break after the defeat of the BESNA contracts, the sparks’ rank-and-file network is back in action today with a walk-out at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station against the victimisation of Jason Poulter, a militant local union rep. So far, the first decent report I’ve seen is from Union News, which also mentions a wildcat strike by electricians at Sellafield last week, which I’d not heard anything about up till now. I don’t really understand why they describe it as a “health and safety dispute” when the key issue is clearly the victimisation of a workplace militant, though. Either way, the news that workers in GMB are staying out in solidarity is very encouraging – workers’ solidarity across union divisions isn’t just a mad ultra-left dream, it can and does happen, and it’s vital for putting effective pressure on the bosses.
In other news, the resurgence of anti-abortion activism in the UK continues with the Society for the Protection for Unborn Children’s plan to stage vigils across the route of the Olympic Torch. In particular, they’re planning to be in Manchester and Birmingham in late June, and Southampton and London in July, but anyone else along the route should keep an eye out for them when the torch hits town. It’s quite possible that this could backfire for them, since pro-choice activists can usually out-mobilise them in any decently-sized town as long as we’re given a bit of warning, but it’s important not to get complacent – they should be confronted the same as any other bigots trying to organise, and the fact that they’re mostly pitiful aging Christians rather than intimidating thugs shouldn’t be allowed to hide the fact that these people are enemies of freedom who want to extend the state’s control over women’s bodies.
One clear-cut piece of good news is the defeat of the pasty tax. Obviously, this isn’t quite comparable to the poll tax or anything, but it is good news for anyone who’s ever had to buy lunch while a bit skint, and it’s also a sign of the government’s weakness. If we can beat them on pasties, we can beat them on workfare. Speaking of benefits and welfare reform, the upcoming week of action against Atos in Manchester looks worth supporting, as does the general campaign of action against workfare planned at last Saturday’s conference.
As well as the anti-workfare conference, this weekend also saw UK Uncut’s street parties against austerity. I have to admit that I didn’t actually make it to the one in my area, because I weighed it up for ages and then concluded that I just really don’t trust the local activist left to be able to organise a party that’d actually be fun, and I was worried that if I brought any non-activisty friends along the whole thing might turn out to be hideously embarrassing, so I sacked it off to spend the day relaxing with friends in the sun instead. I do definitely think street parties are a good tactic in general, as long as they’re organised by people who actually know how to have a good time. Anyway, leaving aside my possibly-unjustified objection to an event I skived, the Newcastle party on the Metro in solidarity with Metro cleaners sounds like it was really worthwhile. For those of you who can make it to things in Newcastle, that link also has details of a protest in support of the cleaners this Thursday, and if you’re not in Newcastle you might still want to email the cleaners’ bosses at simon.wrenn@churchillservices.com Louisa.Clarke@churchillservices.com and Mark.Whyte@churchillservices.com to let them know you support the dispute.
Finally, two recent pieces that are worth a look: Adam Ford has a good summing up of the lessons we can learn from the recent successful Vita Cortex occupation, and CrimethInc have a piece on how we can resist FBI infiltration as the Black Scare continues to intensify. Chillingly, the Tampa Assistant Police Chief has openly announced that we can expect more state conspiracies to entrap protesters in fake plots during the Republican National Convention. Stay safe, people.

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Activism, Anarchists, Occupations, Protests, Repression, Strikes, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, The right and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sparks, SPUC, pasties and parties – late May round-up

  1. Pingback: Root Force » Blog Archive » The Latest Trend in Repression

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