This is the page for Bristol SolFed (formerly known as South West SolFed).

Change the World, Join SolFed!

What does it mean to change the world? Where do we start? How do we get masses of people to wake up and rise up? Sometimes it feels impossible. People vote for parties who openly attack their interests. Most of the time only a handful will join protest marches or do anything more militant. The climate is changing, wars are raging the world over, and most people don’t even want to hear about it.

But that isn’t the whole story…

Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

We would like to offer our full support and solidarity to BLM protesters around the world fighting for racial justice, against white supremacy and police brutality. We would also add that we offer solidarity to protesters involved at the protest in bristol last weekend who are being investigated by the police for doing something which should have happened decades ago, toppling the statue of the racist slaver Edward Colston.

When protesters, who joined the Bristol’s Black Lives Matter demonstration, toppled Edward Colston statue last week they probably didn’t conceive the impact their symbolic act would have. They tore down a statue and helped push discussions around race and history in a new direction. These views voices on Britain’s colonial and economic past have become central to the dialogue.

Worker’s rights rely on our own strength and power

There has been a lot said since yesterday about health and safety at work, and workers' S.44 right to refuse unsafe work. The right to refuse dangerous work is vital and the fact that more people are being made aware of this right is great to see.
However, the law only goes so far. Bosses regularly break all kinds of laws. The only legal way to enforce these rules in the workplace is through an employment tribunal which is an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process.

Get the Payrise you DESERVE

Do you want better pay? How about less stress, and safer conditions at work? The internet is full of people telling you how to ask for a payrise, or improve your CV to get a nicer job. What they don't tell us is that doing things this way starts from a position of WEAKNESS. The bosses that we ask from have all the power, and HR advisers telling them how to pay us as little as possible. On the other hand the biggest cause of stress work, which in turn causes the most workplace illness, is a LACK OF CONTROL. Over the pace of work, the work itself, and the working environment. Bosses aren't just going to hand more control over to us, however nicely we ask.

If we want better wages and conditions then the answer isn't asking alone, it's asking TOGETHER. Getting people together to make demands is what we call WORKPLACE ORGANISING.

Far-right "Active for Plymouth" EXPOSED

“Active for Plymouth” is a new far-right group in Plymouth. They act like they’re just a common-sense party run by ordinary people. They are anything but! Their leader is a conspiracy theorist, expelled from his last party for racism. Their secretary has put out hateful campaign material ranting against gypsies. And what's more, there are concerning links to Plymouth's extreme right. We’re putting out the truth of what they’re really about, so that no-one gets taken in by their election campaign this month.

Jason "tinfoil hat" Shopland

Jason Shopland has been trying to get elected for the past few years. Standing for UKIP in 2015, he went on to start "Plymouth Independents" the next year. The party only lasted a few months but still found time to kick out Shopland for racism

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

It's snowing. Snow is fun, and lots of us will have a rare day off today to go sledging, have a snowball fight, watch daytime TV and generally do anything we like other than going to work.
However, some of us will have to go to work despite the weather. This is some potentially life-saving advice for anyone who finds themselves layering up and trudging in regardless.

1) Do not drive anywhere under any circumstances. Avon and Somerset Police have advised not to use any roads in the region. People have had serious incidents on the Bristol roads over the last 24 hours. Don't risk life and limb for a boss who would replace you in a few weeks if anything happened. There aren't any buses running currently either, so if you can't safely walk to work, don't go in.

How we win, not just what we win

I've not got much experience of organising, and I work in an industry where it's rare for people to be unionised (IT). But I did win some small victories at my last workplace (mostly thanks to SolFed's workplace organiser training) and like they say, the best way to learn is by trying! This is a report on two of those victories - blocking an attempt to give us unpaid overtime, and improving health and safety. Things were easier because we were all on permanent contracts and couldn't be replaced quickly, but harder because no-one else had much knowledge of unions or organising and because we worked in a small open-plan office where it was hard to talk without the boss overhearing.

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 2016

This year's Bristol Anarchist Bookfair is looking at "Building an anarchist future". As part of this dialogue Bristol SF will be hosting a workshop on:

Healthcare Beyond the State. For a people's NHS

What can we learn from recent NHS struggles that could help shape a health service based not on some golden age that never was but instead on the principles of direct democracy and mutual aid? How can we provide progressive healthcare without the bureaucrats and the bosses?

Here is how Bookfair Collective hope that the workshops and meetings with develop the theme of "Building an anarchist future".

Resist the Mayor's Cuts in Bristol!

George Ferguson, the elected Mayor of Bristol, is directly responsible for cuts to services in this city - including services for children. He has halved the number of beds at the Bush, a residential centre for disabled children. [1] Even though the council voted to preserve funding - he pushed it through personally. This month the Hawkspring, a vital service that helps families affected by drug addiction, almost closed after having its funding from the council slashed. It only stayed open thanks to a charity stepping in to help at the last minute. [2] This is all while having plenty of money for other things - like massive pay-rises for council bosses [3], and £2.3 million a year on public relations and marketing. [4]

Second Jimmy's Picket in Bath. Pressure mounts.

A second picket of Jimmy’s in Bath passed off with everyone in good spirits and confident of winning the holiday pay owed to former employees of the Jiimy's in Brighton.

The dozen campaign supporters handed out a couple of hundred leaflets during the Saturday lunchtime period. The leaflet outlined the central issue. Non-payment of £1,500 in holiday to three people who worked for Jimmy’s in Brighton and how they are still waiting on P45s. Some customers turned away on hearing how Jimmy’s treat their staff and one tour guide even told us he wouldn't be bringing groups there any more, which could be a big dent in the business!

Security tried to move the protestors on saying the pavement was private - but the picket just stood their ground. Outnumbering security 4-1 and then the police refused to help, so they had to just watch from the side.

Jimmy's dispute spreads to Bath

Three Bristol Solidarity Federation members travelled to Bath today (26th March 2016) on an Easter Bank Holiday weekend to picket the ‘Jimmy's' restaurant there after a request from the Brighton Hospitality Workers for collective national direct action against their bosses after they refused to pay them about £1,500 in owed wages and have yet to supply them with a P45.

Police Harassment of Bristol Solidarity Federation Member

As a Bristol SF member recently arrived at a UK airport he was not expecting to be approached by plain clothed police and invited to have a little chat. This blatant attempt to harass and intimidate one of our members swiftly ended as the SF member, after realising they were not going to detain him, attempted to record the conversation and chased them off.

Bristol SF have a clear message for the police. We are about working-class solidarity, internationalism and freedom. Your creed is suspicion and paranoia. Your role is to protect privilege and crush dissent. We will never talk to you.

Swindon solidarity with Calais

On the 24th of October, members of Swindon Anarchists, including SolFed members, took 3 vehicles crammed with supplies to the refugee camps of Calais.
As numbers at the camp swelled to over 6,000, the group decided we had a responsibility to offer what solidarity we could to men, women and children forced into cramped, cold and unhygienic conditions just for seeking a life free of war, persecution, poverty and hunger. As well as hoping to improve material conditions in the camp, we reject the concept of national borders, embrace freedom of movement for all and support all those whose circumstances have forced them into conflict with the border regime, the political class and their stooges in uniform.

Fascists seen off in Bristol

Attempts by the nazi Bristol United Patriots to march through Bedminster, on Saturday 17th October, ended with them being routed and seen off. Their feeble attempts to mobilise failed to happen because of community action and brave resistance by anti-fascists. Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation joined up with others to ensure that they were not free to spread their message.

One Bedminster resident said he "was chuffed to fuck" to see people willing to come to his neighbourhood and stand up to racists and fascists.

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