Apart from a few notable exceptions, there’s been an indefensible level of silence about the firebombing of Freedom Bookshop on Friday morning. Only one TV channel, Press TV, bothered to send a camera crew to East London. ITV, the Evening Standard and the Guardian did write stories about it, even if the latter did use the bizarre phrase about the shop that “[i]t claims to stock thousands of books, newspapers, pamphlets…” It’s a bookshop, what exactly makes a statement of easily verifiable fact a claim?
This month marks the centenary of the great 1912 East End Jewish tailors’ strike, which saw 13,000 immigrant sweatshop workers walk out on strike. Three weeks later, on 25 May 1912, the bosses capitulated – they’d won.
I filled in for Yodet on the Circled A show on Resonance FM last week and you can hear it on the Circled A website.
Following the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, it is important to remember not just the day itself, but where it came from. The most important thing about what happened on that day was how the other major East End community – the largely Irish dockers – came out in solidarity with the Jewish community in Whitechapel. The roots of this solidarity lie in the strikes of the Great Unrest period more than 20 years before.
Speakers: Donnacha DeLong (chair), Chetna Yuvraj, student occupier, Andy Littlechild, RMT activist,Zoe Stavri, activist with UK Uncut and Andy Meinke, activist in the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group and Freedom Press worker.
I wrote this last week and sent it to the Independent as a right to reply piece. I got no answer. Of course, since I wrote it, the Project Griffin “report anarchists to the police” stuff has come out – more on that later.
I thought this would be a little bit easier, to be honest. Having taken redundancy last year and returning to university to do a Masters, I didn’t think I’d still be sitting here, nearly August a year later, without work.
I spent quite a few hours on Saturday, 26 March, walking the streets of London fairly slowly with approximately half a million other people. Some of the time I carried a flag, for a short while I help carry the national banner of my union, the National Union of Journalists. When I finally got to Hyde Park, some friends and I walked down towards Victoria Station to find a pub for a much needed drink, then my partner and I went and got some food and finally home, exhausted.
That was probably like the experience of most of the rest of the 500,000 marchers at the TUC’s long-awaited March for the Alternative. Amongst those who walked themselves to exhaustion and then went hope were probably quite a number of other anarchists like me.
The super-fast radicalisation of the student demonstrations caught everyone by surprise. Direct action is on the agenda again and it’s coming from a group people discounted as being “the children of Thatcher” and dismissed as being fundamentally consumerist and non-radical.
Just before Christmas, bombs went off in two embassies in Rome, injuring staff in both. I immediately tweeted “#Anarchism has nothing to do with injuring innocent mailroom staff #Rome” and I absolutely stand by that point.
Right now, across Europe and perhaps across the world, thousands of people are being introduced to anarchist ideas. Governments and politicians of all kinds have failed their people and are stealing from their populations to keep bankers and financial traders happy. Police have shown their true role as defenders of privilege with increasing levels of violence against protesters.