Another quick round-up:
The warehouse workers who’ve been organising in West London want to hit the road and talk to other workers in big warehouse hubs across the country, as well as organising film screenings of a new documentary about struggles by warehouse workers in Italy. If you’d like to get in touch about an event in your town, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Freedom Riders, the group of pensioners and disabled people who’ve been taking direct action against transport cuts in South Yorkshire with mass fare-dodging actions, have been going strong for a year now, and celebrated their first anniversary with a demonstration in Barnsley on Tuesday 31st. They’ve produced a two-sided leaflet to explain the story so far in their fight for free travel on both trains and buses.
Shilan Ozcelik, the Kurdish girl being held in remand for allegedly wanting to resist ISIS, appeared in court at the Old Bailey on April 1st, where her application for bail was denied, and a provisional trial date was set for September, meaning that, unless something changes, it looks likely that she’ll serve six months inside before even having her case appear before a jury. Also in London, the Sweets Way occupiers lost their fight against an injunction in court on Monday, but have reacted by occupying a new location, and are gearing up by launching a weekend of fun and resistance. The Aylesbury Estate occupation was also evicted, but went out with a hell of a bang, as chronicled in this video.
In more international court-related news, I’ve not seen any UK-specific events so far, but supporters of imprisoned Crimean anarchist Aleksandr Kolchenko are calling for an international week of action in the first week of April demanding his release. And the Spanish state has launched another wave of repression against anarchists. Edinburgh Solidarity Federation are continuing their series of protests against the Operation Pandora crackdown.
On the education front, universities seem to be experiencing another wave of occupations at the moment, with King’s College London, the London School of Economics and the University of the Arts London all seeing occupations.
The past week or so has also seen militant resistance to yet another tiny far-right march, this time a white pride march in Manchester, as well as opposition to a threatened appearance from the National Front in Merthyr. The coming weekend will see two more similar events down south, with Pegida heading to the capital for the next in their string of embarrassing damp squibs and, more seriously, the EDL coming to Oxford to try and get publicity off the back of a child abuse scandal. Futher ahead, antifascists in the north are gearing up to oppose the March for England, which has been moved to Blackpool after having been chased out of Brighton. It would be a real embarrassment if the change in location meant the far-right were able to march unopposed, so we need to make sure they don’t feel any more welcome in the north than they did in the south.
Other continuing items of interest include Plan C Manchester’s continuing list of demands as an attempt to open up a more imaginative conversation in the run-up to the election, and the long-running organising around welfare and workfare that should see another week of action at the end of April as well as a welfare action gathering at the end of May.
Next, a quick set of financial appeals: the Kate Sharpley Library would appreciate donations to help them preserve rare materials from anarchist history, US anarchist publishers AK Press are seeking money to help them get back on their feet after a recent warehouse fire, and the Creating Commons in New Cross project is looking for a few more donations to help meet their fundraising target.
More international news: the Portland Solidarity Network are celebrating a massive victory in their organising against sexual harassment at a for-profit beauty school, and the rebirth of the social strike movement in Quebec looks to be worth keeping an eye on. Not being involved in the struggle there directly, I can’t comment on what the movement looks like from the inside, but some participants are arguing that the leaders of ASSE, the militant student association that played a crucial role last time round, are actually holding the movement back this time.
Finally, in closing, it’s worth noting that this past week saw the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest displays of militant working-class power and anger in this country in living memory (even if I don’t remember that much about it myself, having been a small child at the time). It’s an anniversary the media have been quite quiet about, almost as if they don’t want us to remember the full power of our collective strength. Whether you were there first time or not, it’s worth taking a moment to look back at these clippings from History is made at night and the police log from that day, as well as this collection of personal accounts.