Reading Group #27 – Unions

London Anarchist Federation

The London Anarchist Federation’s monthly reading group will have its twenty-seventh session on the 23rd of August at 19:00 at Decentre, just above Freedom Bookshop (84B Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX). The bookshop will likely be closed by that time so we will be using the back door to the freedom building, further into the alleyway than the bookshop entrance.

Given the recent increase in labour militancy in response to the rising cost of living, this reading group will be on how anarchists relate to unions and workplace struggles in general. There are two articles which we will be reading, with different perspectives on the issue:

From Union Renewal to a Self Managed Society, by Lucien Van Der Walt, is more optimistic about the possibility of unions as a vehicle for working class struggle against capitalism.

Red Flags Torn, by Ed Goddard, is more critical of formal…

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National construction wildcat on the way as strike wave spreads

Wessex Solidarity

libcom

A picture showing construction workers picketing an Amazon site during a previous wildcat in June 2021.

Construction and engineering employers have begun warning their workforce against taking part in a wildcat strike over pay on Wednesday 10th August, as strike action has spread from unionised workplaces into new areas such as Amazon warehouses.

Recent weeks have seen industrial action across the UK, as official strikes called by unions such as the RMT, Unite and CWU have been joined by unofficial wildcat actions. The wave of wildcat actions started with a strike at Cranswick Continental Foods in Pilsworth, and has now spread to Amazon warehouses, with workers at sites in Tilbury, Rugeley, Coventry, Bristol, Dartford and Coalville walking off the job or staging unofficial slowdowns over pay, and reports of the action spreading to Belvedere, Hemel Hempstead and Chesterfield.

Wednesday 10th August could see an even more dramatic escalation, as rumours are spreading of a national wildcat strike among engineering…

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What are Unions and Why Should You Form One?

IWW Scotland Blog

In the first of a series of articles exploring the basics of organising our workplaces, James Reed, a Fellow Worker from Clydeside IWW outlines what a union actually is and explores why you should consider forming one in your workplace or community.

You might not know much about trade unions, or maybe you’ve only ever seen them on the news. Or maybe you just joined the one in your workplace when you started the job, but you’ve not heard much about what it’s for or what it’s doing.

You might hear of strikes and union victories in other places, but think that sort of thing isn’t possible where you are. Or maybe you want to do things like that at your job too, but just don’t know where to start.

Not to worry: this article is for you.

What is a trade union?

So, what is a trade union?

At…

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TERFed out?

Anarchy in the Sticks!

Last time it was Boris De Pfeffle Johnson who pulled the plug on our activities. This year we’ve been shut down by the latest of her majesty’s policing agencies – Tom Browns Pub in Dorchester!

We’ve been in talks with this venue for months and had reached an agreement, to the extent of working out where everything was going to be, drawing a floor plan and making arrangements for hire of tables and other equipment. The Fourth Dorset Radical Bookfair was set for the 11th June 2022 and we began promoting the event online. Bands were booked for the afterparty. We had just started sending invitations to our supporters when the venue inexplicably went back on its word and cancelled our booking.

After a little probing we were told that some regulars who identify as “left feminists” objected to content at previous events they considered “extremist”. We seem to have…

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Mid-Feb round-up: rail, university and hospital strikes, and more

Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair 2021

Anarchy in the Sticks!

Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair will take place on Saturday 6th November 2021 from 10am until 4pm at People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Bridge Street, M3 3ER.

Please help spread the Word… but not the virus! We have postcards printed that we can send to you to help us get the word out there.

To keep others safe please take a lateral flow test before attending, don’t attend if feeling unwell and please wear a face mask. No dogs except guide dogs please.

As you can imagine things might change so please watch this space for latest updates. Or that space! Or that space! Or even this space! (Depending on which, if any, social media platforms you use!)

Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair is run by a small team of volunteers. The only income we get is from charges for stalls and donations.

If you want…

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Statement in support of Ryan Roberts

Bristol Anarchist Black Cross - Prisoner Support

On 25th October, Ryan Roberts is on trial in Bristol on charges of riot and arson relating to the Kill the Bill demo on 21st March 2021. Ryan has been held on remand since April and is the first defendant to face trial following the events of that night.

We stand in solidarity with Ryan and all KTB defendants. The police acted with impunity at the KTB demos. Protesters sitting in the road were violently attacked. People were pepper-sprayed, and hit with batons and shields. 62 people were injured in the KTB protests that took place in Bristol in March.

But they only call it violence when we fight back.

It is not a crime to fight back against police violence and state repression. We cannot stand to one side when people are beaten. And every one of us has a duty to stand in solidarity with those persecuted for…

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How to become f̶i̶n̶a̶n̶c̶i̶a̶l̶l̶y free

Leeds SolFed

In some online videos recently, I noticed how scam-artist buy-to-let landlords describe
“passive income” (money leeched off exploited tenants) as being a golden ticket to “financial freedom”. Ironically, these parasites are somewhat closer to the truth of what freedom is than those who naively believe we all already have it. Indeed, freedom is about having the things we need to exist as we like, rather than having a choice between different soap brands, or the ability to buy a house if your parents are rich enough.

Because these landlords have swindled their way into this position, they do in fact have what they need and can exist as they like. They can spend their money on all manner of nice things: buying overpriced watches or – as they like to do – enriching themselves forever, making pointless money out of pointless money. The rest of us, however, do not…

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Jordan: Dissolution of Jordanian Teachers’ Association, dismissal of teachers and obstruction of union work

Wessex Solidarity

If the following story sounds familiar, it’s because this is an ongoing struggle. And we need your help to win. 

The Education International, with the support of the International Trade Union Confederation, is calling on the Jordanian government to protest the dissolution of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the massive dismissals of teachers including 14 JTA leaders.

In their statement, the union leaders say that “Criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations is unacceptable.”

They are calling on Jordan’s government

• to unconditionally reinstate the dismissed leaders of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association and the 65 teachers who were forced to retire early;

• to lift the suspension of JTA union activities;

• to guarantee the fundamental rights and democratic freedoms of educators and all workers, including freedom of expression and of association and the right to assembly, which are essential to the functioning of independent trade…

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No Feminism without Trans People

Outside the Circle

Walking around on a gray day listening to a podcast about how potentially liberatory forms of having pride in one’s identity, especially when those identities are systematically under attack, can and have turned into the opposite—that is, nonliberatory forms of an essentialist “us” versus “them” in which the “them”(s) are hardened into enemies to be excluded, attacked, or harmed/killed—when I saw this phrase, wheat pasted on the repeatedly stolen lands of Tio’tia:ke/Montreal: “No feminism without trans people.”

It should go without saying, yes/oui? “Feminism” isn’t, or shouldn’t be, attached a particular body, a particular border, a narrowness that limits the horizon of what should and could be possible when we liberate ourselves patriarchy and heteronormativity. It should be, and at times has been or is, an ethic that stresses forms of liberatory social relations and social organization all at cross-purposes with, and seeking to abolish, how social constructions of gender…

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