I had a discussion with a work colleague last week. It began with a newspaper headline about the situation in Egypt. Apparently, many years ago he had served in Egypt in the forces. He had been shocked at the level of poverty he observed there, and realised that things had probably not moved on much for many people. And so he could understand why there was an uprising there.
Then the discussion moved to the UK, and although I did not suggest a parity of conditions to him we did talk about areas of poverty in the UK, people loving in poor quality run down housing on low incomes etc.
At 5 pm on Sat 5th feb, a group of about 30-50 local people, including members of SolFed and other local anarchists, occupied New Cross library. Initially this had been part of a national ‘read in’, supporting threatened libraries across the country, but developed into an occupation as participants decided to stay.
As the only occupation out of 450 read-ins, New Cross got a good amount of press. This was more or less the aim; getting publicity for the libraries campaign and keeping up the momentum of the anti-cuts movement in general. As one optimistic campaigner, James Holland, put it; “I think with this occupation we are going to take the libraries campaign – and the anti-cuts campaign in general – to a whole new level.”
Northampton SolFed was represented at today's 'read in' at St James' library, which is threatened with closure in the current round of cuts.
Roughly 100 people turned up to hear Alan Moore (V for Vendetta) read one of his short stories, and others to read selections from their own selected books.
Feeling is strong: this library is a very important service to an area with many families on low incomes. As one man pointed out, it's used, it's needed, he was going to read some Dr Zeuss as a reminder of his own early library days, but all the Dr Zeuss books were out on loan...
It's a typical aspect of current political ideology that such a service should be cut, a service which the local population depend upon but would be hard pressed to replace, whilst money is loaded into banker's bonuses, wars etc.
Blacklisted is a must-see short film about the victimisation of trade unionists in the UK construction industry and the workers fight for justice. Watch it (below) and spread the word.
View the Blacklist blog here.
On Saturday 29th January, at least a dozen SolFedders from London and the surrounding area joined thousands of students, trade unionists, and workers to march in opposition to cuts to services, job losses, and increases in fees. A similar demonstration was held Manchester where Aaron Porter, the sellout head of the NUS, had to be escorted away by police as he was taunted and chased by angry demonstrators. Needless to say, SFers in both cities applaud the Manchester crowd in recognizing that sometimes our class enemies try to speak in our name.
An article in the local newspaper, the Chronicle and Echo, talks about the fight against library closures in Northamptonshire, where 8 local libraries are earmarked for closure thanks to government 'austerity' cuts.
Northampton SolFed teamed up with comrades from North London SolFed to join the anti cuts anti fees march in London today.
Hundreds marched past the houses of Parliament before heading towards Millbank, banners waving, amidts the cries 'You say cut back, we say fight back' amongst others. Approaching Millbank, and sensing the police were ready to form a kettle protesters headed off on alternative routes. After showing our faces (not too literally!) at Millbank, we too headed off for the Egyptian embassy to show solidarity with the Egyptian people currently engaged in their struggle against Mubarak's regime.
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