Another general round-up of news and upcoming events across a few different areas:
You’ll probably be aware of this already, but the doctor’s strike is still going ahead this Wednesday and Thursday, so try and get down to your local hospital then if you can. In other workplace/union news, Bridgwater posties are celebrating after a wildcat strike got a colleague reinstated, and the United Voices of the World union will be demonstrating at TopShop as part of their organising campaign there next Saturday.
There’s a lot of housing stuff going on right now. There’s a squat that’s just opened up in Kensington as a space for action against the housing bill, as well as a national demo against the Housing Bill next Sunday. That weekend will also see a regional housing summit up in Leeds. In other housing news, there’s currently a big rent strike going on at UCL, which has now grown to include over 500 students – if they win, it could start to make the tactic look more plausible to other groups of renters. Meanwhile, the Radical Housing Network have a meeting on the 21st about theory and activism in the housing movement, and the Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth group have taken on a fight to get secure social housing for “ML”, which you can read about here.
In broader benefits and community organising news, campaigners in Doncaster disrupted a council meeting to protest against the upcoming closure of the only Women’s Aid centre in South Yorkshire, Johnny Void has a report from the Islington action that shut down a major roundabout in protest against the introduction of DWP work coaches into jobcentres, this Wednesday will see events at jobcentres round the country for the national day of action against benefit sanctions, and next Saturday in New Cross there’s going to be a “job de-centre”, which aims to be “an experiment to help us work less and learn how to rely less on money and more on each other”.
In education news, the most exciting thing happening on campus at the moment is probably the UCL rent strike mentioned above, but there’s also an ongoing occupation at the University of Sheffield seeking to offer free education, and the Justice for Cleaners campaign at SOAS is stepping up the pressure on university management to bring cleaners back in-house.
On the antifascist front, last weekend saw a resounding victory in Liverpool, as a last-minute mobilisation completely humiliated the North-West Infidels and their nazi mates – you can read accounts of the action from Bristol Antifascists, the national Anti-Fascist Network, and TAL Fanzine. Coming up, the nazis are promising to return to Dover twice in April, and Kent comrades have already started mobilising against the first planned visit. The New Syndicalist and Sabcat also both have articles up that may be of interest to antifascists – I’m hoping to try and write a reply to the latter at some point.
Looking at the broader subject of migration and the border crisis, the demolitions in Calais have made a bad situation much worse, so you might want to see what people are doing in your area to help – the “people to people solidarity” facebook group is a decent starting point if you don’t know anyone currently involved. Back in the UK, next Saturday will see another national demo at Yarl’s Wood detention centre, with transport being organised from Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, Sheffield, London, Nottingham, Oxford, Bristol, Bath, Leeds, Brighton, Manchester, and hopefully Doncaster, Swansea/Cardiff, and the north-east as well.
Finally, a few miscellaneous odds and ends: the Angry Workers of the World lot will be having their next monthly film showing and get-together on March 18th, which should be a showing of “the Take” about workers taking over their factories in Argentina, Sheffield IWW are hosting a dayschool about gender on the 19th, and a demonstration on the 22nd outside the High Court will be demanding an end to the Met’s “neither confirm nor deny” policy about spycops ahead of the Pitchford Inquiry. Further ahead, Wrong to Work types are calling for a “no jobs bloc” on the next big TUC march in April, and May Day’s not so far away – for anyone who likes swearing and soundsystems, the Fuck Parade are promising to make a return.