Post-riot prisoner support leaflet

With the government's response to the events of early august being to throw long prison sentences around left, right and centre, here's the text of a general prisoners support leaflet produced by North London Solfed. A pdf of this will hopefully be up soon. 



Don't abandon people while they're inside - 

Set up a local prisoners support group


The government's response to the events of early August has been predictably heavy-handed. With nearly 2000 arrests in London alone—and many more across the country— our government seems determined that harsher policing and prison sentences are going to be their only response..

The Riots- Not just ‘’Mindless Violence’’

The following is the text of a leaflet that North London members modified from the Local's original statement, and was handed out by SolFed members in Deptford and Tottenham soon after the riots:

The fury of our estates is what it is, ugly and uncontrolled. But we all knew these riots were on the cards. Britain has hidden away its social problems for decades, surrounded by a brutal picket of cops. Benefits are being cut, social and advice centres closed, rent and unemployment is rising. People who have always had very little now have nothing, nothing to lose.

Deptford Assembly

On the night of 9th August, Deptford residents held a street meeting to congregate in a peaceful fashion in order to meet each other and reclaim our streets from the fear and misinformation being spread about the riots.  It was called by local Solfed members that day after discussions with neighbours over concerns of residential fires. The previous night had seen several shops and bookies smashed in and looted on the high street.

At 6pm a group of 30 residents met and decided to reconvene at 8.30pm with an aim to prevent and put out any potential fires and discuss the events of the last few days. This was not a reactionary vigilantism but a considered act of solidarity and grass roots initiative.

North London Solfed's response to the London riots

With media sources blaming “anarchy” for the unfolding violence in London and across England, the North London Solidarity Federation felt a response from an anarchist organisation active in the capital would be appropriate.

Over the last few days, riots have caused significant damage to parts of London, to shop-fronts, homes and cars. On the left, we hear the ever-present cry that poverty has caused this. On the right, that gangsters and anti-social elements are taking advantage of tragedy. Both are true. The looting and riots seen over the past number of days are a complex phenomenon and contain many currents.

Stokes Croft: after the storm

APRIL'S RIOT in Bristol’s Stokes Croft is fast fading from memory,  but for residents in the area the underlying issues have not been resolved. The flashpoint Tesco Express store  - opposed by many residents as out of character for the area - has reopened, although campaigners have been granted the right to a Judicial Review. But the resentment towards the police remains, as does the background tension of austerity measures.

As Colin, a nurse and Stokes Croft resident says, “even now it seems difficult to fully understand what led to the riots.”

“Would you really risk ten years in jail for violent disorder to ensure the area’s distinctive character survives? The anger was aimed at easily identifiable agents of the state, a state that is enforcing austerity on us all.”

Bristol Riot

Bristol Solidarity Federation openly condemn the heavy-handed policing that provoked a brave resistance from Bristol's working class.

It seems difficult to fully understand what led to the night's event. Truth is the first casualty of war and this is another event in an ongoing class war. The police version of events will no doubt be accepted by the media and liberal minds. While the media are happy to focus on disgruntled anti-Tesco protesters. Yet underneath we easily observe a growing discontent with capitalism's gross iniquities, its market-led answers to the distribution of social goods alongside the state's willingness to enforce the wishes of the ruling class.

As the dust settles we are left with a feeling that this is the opening of a new battle, to enforce the rights of the property-owning classes and ensure the future profits of corporations.

'Bread and freedom!' - North African revolts spread

Across the Arab world, unrest continues to mount. Though not revolutions in the full sense of the word, the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt have set the example that more and more people are standing up to follow. As we watch history unfold before our eyes, it is hard to know what comes next. But talk of global revolution is certainly premature.

In Tunisia, Mohamed Ghannouchi is still prime minister, as he was under the now-deposed Ben Ali from 1999. Though most of the regime’s senior figures have been removed from office following further unrest, the same repressive state apparatus remains in place. Demonstrators have continued to be killed on the streets since Ben Ali’s departure.

Student protests: the angry, not the anarchists

On November 10th, the National Union of Students (NUS) and Universities and Colleges Union  (UCU) organised a demonstration against cuts in education, which ended in an occupation of Tory offices at Millbank, with smashed windows and arrests. Two weeks later, tens of thousands of students marched in towns across the country, taking over roads and buildings and scuffling with police. The Solidarity Federation, which puts out Catalyst, has been one of the groups suggested in the press as the ringleaders of the trouble. Not only do we refute this, we call for more direct action against the cuts.

Cuts spark town hall riot in Lewisham

Inspired by the recent student protests and angry about proposed local cuts, people in Lewisham stormed the town hall where a vote on the cuts was taking place. Around 100 people tried to force their way into the building in an attempt to stop the vote going ahead. Some protestors got to the council chamber whilst others faced police brutality in the lobby, where batons and fists rained down on the protest. After half an hour, the protestors were ejected from the building. The meeting was subsequently held in private where the first wave of cuts were passed by the Labour-run council.

The lobby at the town hall continued outside where several hundred people faced riot police, horses and dogs. There were so many officers that the south circular road outside the town hall was closed due to the number of police cars and vans.

Actions speak louder

October 20th saw the unveiling of the long-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the coalition government’s detailed blueprint for attacking jobs and services. Little within the CSR was a surprise, with cuts roughly at the level that had been predicted in the run up. It is significant that the the scale was below the 40% that had been mooted, this was a blatant attempt to ‘soften us up’ and feel lucky the cuts were “only” 20%, as if it had been taken straight out of the pages of ‘Negotiation for Dummies’.