On Saturday 26th March the Trades Union Congress has called for a march against the cuts, and there is going to be a South London feeder march starting at Kennington Park which we will be joining. South London is one of the areas to be hardest hit by the cuts and has seen some of the most inspiring resistance to their implementation with the storming and occupying of town halls, the occupying of libraries and university buildings along with large demonstrations and regular small actions.
We are very grateful to a comrade from Manchester Solidarity Federation for lending us a book entitled 'Building the Union: Studies on the growth of the workers' movement: Merseyside, 1756-1967'. Below we publish several extracts from the book specifically about anarcho-syndicalism locally in the early part of the 20th century. The essay is by Bob Holton.
Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were amongst the crowd of 300 people who gathered outside Liverpool Town Hall to protest as the council set its austerity budget. With £91m of cuts on the table, local people and community campaigns - including the Park View Project to rehabilitate alcoholics and the Whitechapel Centre for the homeless as well as more than a few nurseries and SureStart centres - joined activists and campaigners to make the council hear their message.
At first, people huddled on the pavement on both sides of the road. Spirits were high and there was a lot of shouting and chanting, but it wasn't until one woman walked into the road with a banner and everybody else joined in that things really kicked off. This buoyed everybody's spirits even further and there was a mood of defiance in the air.
After a slow start, protesters at a March 2nd demonstration in Hackney against Labour council budget cuts made their voices heard with a drive for the doors which temporarily saw panic in police lines amid chants of "let us in" and "it's your jobs next."
The night had started off slowly, with barely 50 people hitting the pavement outside the council's Mare Street headquarters as the cuts discussion and vote, widely seen as a rubber-stamping of government funding plans, went through.
But numbers grew as the evening got colder until around 200 people were stood outside the heavily-fortified building. Police picketed every door with at least three full riot vans on standby and barriers adorned the main entrance in a nod to events which saw Camden and Lewisham councils browbeaten by their subjects late last month.
Members of NLSF from east London took part in the march against cuts in Newham being imposed by a Labour-run council.
Around 150 people marched on the last day of February in the cold and rain to voice their opposition to local cuts, of which £100million were voted through at the council meeting. This means the loss of thousands of public sector jobs, community centre closures, cuts in the voluntary sector and care for the elderly.
Newham against the cuts is an independent anti-cuts group, but many of the leftists present seemed hopelessly stuck in the 1980s, shouting against the 'Tory Cuts!' and maintaining a stifling and defeatist attitude, even sticking to the pavements so as not to disrupt the traffic.
Feb 28th saw about 200 activists and militants gather outside Brent Town Hall to voice their anger at Brent councillors’ imminent decision to cut public spending in the borough even further. Called by the local trades council, the protest began with public speakers discussing the implications of the coming attack -- including the severe cuts to Brent Law Centre, support for the disabled, housing, and the closure of libraries.
The protesters mainly consisted of SWPs, 'old' Labour types, Communist Party members, Green Party activists, and a small number of anarchists. This unfortunately set the tone as criticising Labour for "doing the Tories' bidding" -- however one protester's voice was heard to shout "fuck Labour!" in response.
The number of homes standing empty in Brighton and Hove outnumber the number of homeless families ten to one - but a Tory MP is leading calls to criminalise squatting. Brighton and Hove Council accepts responsibility for housing 368 homeless households, while 3,655 homes sit empty. Despite this, Tory MP Mike Weatherly wants to criminalise squatting, putting the interests of landlords and property speculators before those of the homeless. Home repossessions peaked last year following an increase in defaults on mortgages and rent during the recession.
We are informing the public that the State of Serbia is continuing with its repression against our organization. This time in the form of police investigation of ASI General Secretary, Milan Stojanovic, under suspicion of committing a crime of “Motor vehicle theft with burglary, break-in and threat” for which the possible sentence is up to five years imprisonment.
Namely, in year 2006 Milan was a witness in an investigation held because of the same crime and which was dismissed soon after. Now, five years later, the prosecution has dug up this case, and Milan has mystically changed his role from a witness to accused. To make things even more absurd, Milan cannot drive, actually he has never even started a vehicle.
This is only a last (for the time being) in a row of framed judicial processes against members of Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative.
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