Line of Sight: Rebel Roo film screening in Leeds, Thursday May 11th

Positive change in Southend

A few of us went along to the Southend Radical Fair that took place on Saturday May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect but when we turned up, we were greeted with the welcome sight of a busy, buzzing event with plenty of deep conversations and networking taking place. The stallholders were a fairly eclectic mix ranging from greens, community gardeners and vegans through to groups dealing with gender issues and some funky ‘zine makers.

Basically, the kind of groups who want to start making a difference in the here and now – in other words, starting to build a new world in the decaying, fractured shell of the one we currently endure. In all honesty, a bit of a contrast to the more class struggle focused, combative, stroppy attitude that we have here at the Stirrer! Which is…

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When you’re ‘fit for work’, but not fit for work: negotiating DWP logic

scottish unemployed workers' network

DWP hangman

With the DWP targeting the sick and disabled, we are constantly being approached by people who have been found ‘fit for work’ when they clearly are not. They have challenged the decision – always worth doing as the success rate is very high – but before they can put in a full appeal, they have to ask for it to be looked at again within the DWP (for a Mandatory Reconsideration), and while this is happening the only way they can get benefits is to sign up for Jobseeker’s Allowance. This means accepting the pretence that they are indeed ‘fit for work’ just long enough to get registered for the benefit; but once they are signed on they have the same rights to doctors notes as any other recipient of JSA. Most doctors are naturally concerned when their seriously ill patients are forced to look for work, and will readily…

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UK prison news for early May

US legal/repression news: Harold Gonzalez released from solitary, new charges brought against J20 arrestees

Cautiously pessimistic

Two quick updates from the US:

In Michigan, Harold “HH” Gonzalez, who was threatened with up to two years in solitary confinement for his role as a spokesperson for the Kinross uprising, has now been told that he’s due to be released from solitary as a result of public pressure. In his words:

“Considering the uncheckedentity we are battling, I consider this a major victory. Your right also that this early release is not due to ‘good behavior,’ when I wascalled out on the 24th and told I would be released, I was told that it was not their choice if it was left to them we would have had to do 2years in seg. It was you guys, all the support that has been given to us caused it. You had an entity that thrives on invisibility and obscurity, public attention is the last thing…

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Cleaners and security guards: updates from London’s grassroots union struggles

Cautiously pessimistic

Two quick updates from the capital’s grassroots union efforts: an IWGB member and striking University of London security guard has written a good introduction to their dispute, while over at the LSE, cleaners organised through the UVW have voted for weekly strikes on an indefinite basis until they win their demand for equal treatment. You can donate to the IWGB/University of London security guards’ strike fund here, and to the UVW/LSE cleaners’ strike fund here. With May Day coming up, it might be worth doing a quick collection for one or both of their strike funds at any local trades council-type rallies that might be happening in your town.

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