Another quick round-up of news across a few different areas:
In repression news, five water charge protesters are still in jail in Ireland for protesting against water meter installations. I’ve not been able to find any addresses to write to the five in jail, but I’ll keep looking. In the mean time, the movement’s not taken this attack lying down, with a fresh wave of angry protests in response, as well as ongoing resistance preventing water meters from being installed. It’s difficult keeping up with the myriad of facebook pages reporting on what seems to be a genuinely decentralised movement, but Release the Water Warriors NOW seems to be the main campaign for the release of the five, and the Workers’ Solidarity Movement continue to provide ongoing reporting from an anarchist perspective. Meanwhile, closer to home, the ongoing police crackdown on anarchists in Bristol has resulted in its first jailing, with Emma Sheppard being given two years for damaging the tyres of police cars.
You can write to Emma at:
HMP Eastwood Park
Also in repression news, Edinburgh SolFed are continuing with their regular protests against the Operation Pandora campaign against anarchists in Spain, with the next one planned for Friday 6th March.
In workplace news, London IWW are still continuing with their campaigns for sacked Friends House Hospitality workers and the staff of the Leicester Square School of English. As part of the latter campaign, there’s going to be a picket of a bridge tournament held by the Drapers’ Guild in order to hold wage-stealing boss and Drapers’ Guild member Craig Tallents to account, which will be happening in the afternoon of Monday 2nd March. Meanwhile, blacklisting campaigners have a piece in the Guardian highlighting their struggle and the extent of state collusion in corporate spying, and the Independent’s also been reporting on how British Airways spied on its own staff. Also, I’ve previously reported on how Crossrail promised to reinstate a sacked worker less than an hour into a protest against the dismissal – they’ve now gone back on their word, and so further action is needed to pressure them into seeing sense. The next protest against the sacking will be meeting outside Bond Street tube station at 7am on Monday 2nd. The national construction rank-and-file and the Blacklist Support Group will both be meeting next Saturday in Glasgow, and have said that all supporters are welcome to attend.
In welfare news, we’re in the middle of a string of national days of action: this week saw action at jobcentres across the UK in solidarity with Tony Cox, the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist arrested for accompanying a claimant to a jobcentre interview, and next week sees the day of action against Maximus, with actions planned at an impressive list of locations across the UK, as well as in Toronto. Following on from that, there’s also the national day of action against benefit sanctions on the 19th. Some claimant activists have criticised this as not offering genuine opposition to sanctions, and it’s certainly true that there’s a contradiction between Unite Community’s opposition to sanctions and the Unite leadership’s support for Labour, and so for benefit sanctions, but I don’t think this is a reason not to take part: instead, rank-and-file claimants should make sure that the message on the ground is one of total opposition to all sanctions from whatever quarter, not support for Labour electioneering.
In antifascist news, it’s good to see that the opposition massively outnumbered Pegida’s attempt at a rally in Newcastle today, since antifascist turnout in the North-East hasn’t always been consistently strong, and while it doesn’t seem that anymore confrontational opposition took place, the North-East Antifascists leaflet for the march at least put across a good class position. Meanwhile, the national Anti-Fascist Network have listed a number of events coming up in March.
The ongoing housing movement continues to develop, especially in London: most notably at the Aylesbury estate occupation, which is still ongoing. They’re next in court on March 4th, and are asking for supporters to turn up at Lambeth court then.
Finally, a few early libertarian responses to the election: Angry Not Apathetic is the Anarchist Federation’s anti-electoral campaign, while Plan C Manchester have set out their campaign statement.
So, just to sum up: this Monday sees a rank-and-file construction worker protest against unfair sackings at Crossrail from 7.30 in the morning, claimant-led action against Maximus and the Work Capacity Assessment at around 30 sites across the country (and Canada), and then a picket of a bridge tournament at the Drapers’ Guild in the evening targeting wage-stealing boss Craig Tallents. And that’s just the Monday. Busy days.