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Welcome to the website of the Solidarity Federation (also known as SolFed or SF-IWA). We are a revolutionary union initiative. Our ideas and activities are described in our magazine Direct Action, and our newspaper Catalyst. For a summary, see the Introduction to SolFed and What is Anarcho-syndicalism?. All members are affiliated to a Local Group and an Industrial Network, our Industrial Strategy and Constitution describe this in more detail.

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Catalyst #25 is out !

The new Catalyst is out. In this issue:

Actions speaks louder: Did the trashing of Tory HQ at Millbank in November mark the start of a militant anti-cuts movment?
Direct Action: Centrefold poster to pull-out and keep - or decorate your local occupation with!
Housing benefit cuts spark poverty fears: We interview a claimant.
'All joined up': An interview with a French teacher who participated in the general strike and economic blockades there.
Pensions under threat: Divide and rule game looks set to undermine both public and private sector workers' pensions.
Know Your Rights: A brief guide to the law around Redundancy

Against the Cuts in Northampton

Northampton Solidarity Federation joined the small protest in Northampton town centre today against the budget cuts.  The protest was centred on the uk uncut protest and focussed on the contradiction between cutting welfare and services on the one hand whilst allowing the rich, and large businesses to avoid, legally and illegally, billions in pounds of taxation.

This discrepancy lies at the very heart of our economic system and the politics which go with it.  When push comes to shove we see that all works for the benefit of the rich and the workers pay the cost.  Welfare is cut: are tax avoiders chased,  are tax loopholes closed?  Bankers crash the economy with their greed for bonuses, are they chased down and held to account?  Of course not: that's not how the capitalist system work:, run by the rich for the rich.

 

A report on the Portuguese General Strike of November 24th

The following is a report by our Portuguese sister organisation on the one-day general strike that paralyzed Portugal on November 24, as Portuguese workers fight austerity measures being imposed by the Socialist Party government.

This is the first general strike in Portugal for the last 22 years and that alone should shed some light over the social situation in this country. In fact, class struggle in Portugal is quite low and the number of strikes has actually been falling for the past thirty years, despite the continuously worsening situation of the Portuguese working class. Unionisation rates tend to fall as well, as the two large Portuguese party-run Trade Unions serve more to appease and stall conflicts than to fight exploitation, and that hasn't gone unnoticed.

Liverpool SolFed on the tragedy at Sonae

Below is the text of a letter sent by our local to the Liverpool Echo following the recent tragic deaths at the Sonae industrial plant. An edited version of the letter was printed in the newspaper on December 14th 2010.

I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of the two workers, Thomas Elmer and James Bibby, who died following an accident at the Sonae factory in Kirkby.
 
It is tragic that, in this day and age, workers still risk losing their lives while simply doing their jobs.
 
It's not the first time Sonae has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In the past there have been fires, chemical leaks and environmental concerns expressed by local residents.
 

Sonae industrial accident claims two lives

Two workers have been killed at the Sonae industrial plant in Kirkby after they were reportedly dragged by a conveyor belt into the workings of a silo.

It is believed that James Bibby (24) and Thomas Elmer (27) had been contracted in to carry out maintenance work at the plant which manufactures wood-based panels for use in the furniture and construction industries.

One Sonae worker told the Liverpool Echo: "For a long time, staff have been warning about concerns over safety at the plant."

Previously, the plant has been the scene of chemical leaks, fires, as well as other industrial accidents. Residents on the nearby Northwood estate have also raised environmental concerns about Sonae, claiming that emissions coming from the plant were having an adverse effect on their children's health.

Warsaw Rent Strike: Community Organizing in the Context of Social Atomization

In Warsaw a rent strike has been going on since Oct.1. Despite the fact that the issues may effect up to a quarter of a million people in Poland's capital city, we cannot say that a significant percent of public housing tenants have joined. This is mainly due to a lack of tradition and the extreme social atomization of the population - something typical in many post-Soviet bloc era countries. There is also the issue of a minuscule grassroots social movement and the disdain of the left for anything radical and outside the realms of reformist and party politics. [1]

An open letter to parents and school staff from a local teacher

We're publishing here a letter to parents and school staff that we received from a local teacher.

Protests by college and school students on November 24th and 30th were an exuberant festival of disorder. Young people threw down a challenge to adults facing threats to our livelihoods from the all-party cuts currently starting to kick in. Students as young as twelve got out on the streets, stepping out of their allotted roles and creating a vibrant, positive response to the vicious attacks that their generation are facing. At one Brighton school over 550 pupils walked out - a third of the total school population - as well as hundreds from other Brighton schools and Lewes Priory.

Notes on the violent minority

The Millbank riot and some of the subsequent student protests have been widely condemned in the media as the actions of a 'violent minority'. NUS president Aaron Porter infamously described the riot as ‘despicable’. Property destruction, we were told, undermined the message of the NUS’ peaceful protest. This was the behaviour of ‘anarchists’, outsiders hijacking what would otherwise be respectable political protest in a liberal democracy. But liberals would do well to reflect on their own glass house before casting such rhetorical stones.

Liberalism: doctrine of the violent minority

Liberalism in fact is nothing but the ideology of minority violence par excellence. Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thinker, Adam Smith, was refreshingly frank about this back in the 18th century:

I'd rather be a picket than a scab!

Liverpool Solidarity Federation members joined a picket line today to show support for comrades in the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union. The aim of the picket was to try and prevent scabbing by workers defying an overtime ban voted for by union members to defend civil service jobs.

Q&A with a SolFed member and PCS activist

What’s this action all about?
PCS have been in dispute with the government for some time now over proposed changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme [CSCS]. This is the scheme which says how much compensation members get if made redundant, and naturally with job losses on the horizon they want to lessen the cost. It was the previous government’s refusal to negotiate on this matter that necessitated the 3-day strike in March and the court case, which PCS won.

Tremough Campus occupation, Falmouth

Tremough Campus occupation report (university of exeter)

30 of us are currently in the busy lower stannary building occupying and sitting in against the education cuts. We are refusing by direct action to pay for the crisis of the bankers and greedy politicians who are ruthlessly putting profits before people. Students in the occupation understand that this action must be followed by a wider workers movement against education cuts and the public sector massacre in general. Falmouth is already one of the poorest cities in the European Union, and this university is at the heart of its local economy and culture, brutal cut backs now will throw back all the progress made in the area back into a bleak era of thatcherism.

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About us

The Solidarity Federation is a revolutionary union initiative: a working-class organisation which seeks the abolition of capitalism and the state ...read more

New book out now

Fighting for ourselves - anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle. A new book by the Solidarity Federation. Click here for more info.

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