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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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General strike 2010 – Barcelona

Two members of Liverpool SolFed recently visited Barcelona to show solidarity during the Spanish general strike of September 29th. They report:

During our stay in Barcelona we visited the Banesto building on Plaça de Catalunya which had been occupied for several days by anti-capitalists. They used the derelict space to celebrate resistance, as well as freely exchange information and radical ideas. However the building was later brutally repossessed by riot police.

On the day of the general strike, we joined a lively demonstration of several thousand organized by our sister organisation, the CNT, who put forward a much more militant message of resistance compared to that of the reformist trade unions.

Why workers need to look beyond the TUC

At the TUC’s annual conference, union delegates have backed joint industrial action if “attacks” on jobs, pensions and public services go ahead. The gathering backed a motion which included calls to build “a broad solidarity alliance of unions and communities under threat”.

However, we will not see “hundreds of thousands of workers take to the streets” under the TUC’s leadership.

The fact that trade unionists had to stage a protest outside the conference “lobbying” the TUC to call a national demonstration says it all. We need to be taking the initiative on the streets, not begging for piecemeal protests to be authorised from above.

Northampton Solfed visits Milton Keynes: and gets some backs up!

Members of Northampton Solfed set up a stall outside the MK shopping centre today with the aim of handing out 'Stuff Your Boss' and Catalyst, as well as a talking to passers by.

Within just 5 minutes of setting up the shopping centre security turned up to inform us that we were not allowed to be in this open and public space as it was, apparently, Private Property.  Eventually, we attracted the attention of two security guards, the centre manager and a Police Community Support Officer and were facing threats of having the police called to move us on.

Despite this attention, information was handed out to many, and conversations were had.

And it only rained on us briefly!

Radical Workers' Block: Against the Cuts!

On Saturday 23rd October 2010 a number of trade unions have called for a march in London to lobby the TUC to fight the cuts. This is the same day as the annual London Anarchist Bookfair and a day when a large number of anarchists are in the city. We are calling on all anarchists and militant workers to join us in forming a 'Radical Worker's Bloc' on the demonstration, not to beg the trade union bureaucrats to take action, but to argue that we fight the cuts based on the principles of solidarity, direct action, and control of our own struggles.

As the anti-war movement has shown, protest alone won't change anything. The government have already said that they will not be swayed by protests. Instead, we need a widespread fightback based in the workplace as well as the streets that acts in solidarity with fellow workers fighting these austerity measures all over the world.

Restaurant workers still being robbed one year on

The beginning of October saw the first anniversary of a change in the law designed to give waiters 100% of their tips.  It was brought in because many café and restaurant owners were routinely taking advantage of a loophole in the law which allowed them to use their workers’ tips towards the wage bill.  Despite being rewarded by customers with extra money for their hard graft, waiters were being paid only the minimum wage by unscrupulous managers.

The then Labour government, prompted by campaigns by Unite the Union, passed the law on 1st October 2009.  But one year on, there are still problems front of house.  According to Dave Turnbull of Unite, “There are still too many employers who regard tips as a subsidy for low pay and who see the tips and service charge money left by customers as a pot of cash to which they are free to help themselves.

International day of action for sacked Peruvian garment workers

Today members of Brighton SolFed delivered letters of protest to two Brighton stores. This was part of an international day of action called by workers in Peru and supported by the International Workers Asscociation (IWA), in response to the sacking of 35 trade unionists. The union members were working in a factory for ‘Topy Top’, one of the major suppliers to high street store Zara, and also a supplier for Gap. Both Zara and Gap stores were visited and letters of protest delivered to local management.

Stopping the cuts at Sussex: lessons from the anti-war movement

As the scale of the budget cut-backs begins to sink in, there are signs of a nascent movement against the cuts, with hundreds attending public meetings across the country, including a packed-out meeting in Brighton for the local launch of the Stop the Cuts Coalition. The last time this many people were mobilised, over a million marched through London with the Stop the War Coalition against the Iraq war. But Blair called our bluff and the war went ahead. What can we learn from these experiences for the fight against cuts?

After the massive demonstrations in London, many in Brighton felt that sheer numbers alone weren’t enough. Instead, the anti-war movement in Brighton took a different path, based on mass direct action.

Radical Workers Bloc on Anti-Cuts March

On Saturday 23rd October 2010 a number of trade unions have called for a march in London to lobby the TUC to fight the cuts. This is the same day as the annual London Anarchist Bookfair and a day when a large number of anarchists are in the city. We are calling on all anarchists and militant workers to join us in forming a 'Radical Worker's Bloc' on the demonstration, not to beg the trade union bureaucrats to take action, but to argue that we fight the cuts based on the principles of solidarity, direct action, and control of our own struggles.

Demo in solidarity with cleaners

Members of North London SF demonstrated alongside other militants outside the head offices of London & Regional Properties, owners of Berns Salonger, a company that treats the cleaners it employs with intolerable conditions.

Report back from IWA conference in León, Spain

Three delegates from the Solidarity Federation attended the conference mainly dealing with 'precarity', self-management and co-operatives. The conference was hosted at the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo's IX anarchist camp near León in northern Spain.

There were about 100 people at the camp and 60 participants in the conference. Ten sections were represented: CNT-F (France), FAU (Germany), Priama Akcia (Slovakia), ZSP (Poland), SolFed (Britain), SP (Portugal), USI (Italy), KRAS (Russia), NSF (Norway) and of course the CNT-E (Spain). There were also two guest organisations: MASA from Croatia and two delegates from the Peruvian newspaper La Humanidad, who however arrived several hours after closure of the conference due to immigration/visa problems.

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

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