the same old slogans? occupying bristol

Bristol Commune report on the goings-on at the city’s Occupy camp

The occupation of the open space area in front of the Bristol Council building began on the 15th October. The number of tents has grown since then, from 20 to over 40 at the beginning of November. People who have made the camp and ‘visitors’ come from all sorts of life. One day you may get a slightly middle class hippy feel to it, on another day you hear more of Bristolian accent or mix up with local homeless people. The camp has got relatively well-built basic infrastructure (for example a marquee with chairs to have meetings while it’s raining) and holds regular assemblies and ad hoc workshops. Every weekend there is a community fun day with arts, skills workshops and various discussions.

Bristol Commune went to two of them. In the discussion on financial crisis people were respectful and tried to listen to each other. One strand of participants argued that we need to get the banks under state control. People from ‘zeitgeist’ group argued for abolition of money and a resource-based economy. We said that it is impossible to reform capitalism by ‘cleaning’ it of the ‘bad’ financial capital. By doing that we would cut the essential blood veins of the system, which would bring it to even deeper crisis. We spoke against raising demands by the ‘occupy’ movement, instead of searching for links and coordination with sections of the working class. Most people were surprised and interested to hear about the encounter between the sparks and Occupy London, which we mentioned as an example. Continue reading “the same old slogans? occupying bristol”

the first funky riot in bristol

Oleg Resin reports from last night’s riot in Bristol

The anger was simmering for quite some time among the Stokes Croft community in Bristol. The people had to put up with a couple of heavy-handed police evictions recently and the hated Tesco store was finally opened a week ago, despite a massive but peacefull campaign. The area is famous for its grafittis and night life now, attracting gentrification and yuppies moving in. Interestingly, the anti-Tesco sentiment became something like a broad resistance platform, uniting the remaining working class people, middle class bohemians and the student population. Continue reading “the first funky riot in bristol”

bristol anti-cuts: in and for the state?

Oleg Resin asks if we can do more than make defensive arguments against the cuts

One afternoon towards the end of February, a bizarre scene unfolded in Bristol City Council’s main meeting room. While the local councillors were discussing the vote on the cuts of some £20 million, a small group of protesters was shouting at them from the public corner.

The ‘funny’ thing about this was that while dozens of thousands people work in the public services in Bristol, the only people who in an organised way actually stuck their heads out, and were therefore dragged out by the police, were pro-anarchist Industrial Workers of the World and a few ‘non-aligned’ radicals. Anti-state activists beaten up as a ‘vanguard’ of a pro-welfare state protest! (without a mass following)… If curious, this scene nevertheless captures something crucial to our condition in Bristol. Continue reading “bristol anti-cuts: in and for the state?”

bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?

The next Bristol reading group session is on socialism in Latin America. It will be on Sunday 28th November at Cafe Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, from 6pm.

All welcome. See below for suggested reading. It is not expected that you read all the texts – focus on the country or countries you are most interested in. Continue reading “bristol reading group 28th november: 21st century socialism in latin america?”

bristol reading group 24th october: spaces outside capitalism

The next session of The Commune’s Bristol reading group on alternatives to capitalism will be looking at spaces outside capitalism. We will be discussing the value – or otherwise – of ‘autonomous zones’ and ‘co-operatives’ as a means of working outside the system.

From 6pm on Sunday 24th October at Café Kino, Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft. Recommended reading below – email for more info. Continue reading “bristol reading group 24th october: spaces outside capitalism”

bristol reading group on primitivism and eco-socialism

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 26th September at 6pm in Café Kino on Ninetree Hill, Stokes Croft, Bristol.

Note that we are back at Café Kino. The session will discuss anarchist primitivism and eco-socialism. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info.

Continue reading “bristol reading group on primitivism and eco-socialism”

bristol commune forum on ‘localisation’

The next Bristol reading group session will be on Sunday 22nd August at 6pm in The Factory, Cave Street off Portland Square, Saint Pauls, Bristol. (Note the change of venue).

The session will discuss whether localisation is a viable strategy to enable a form of capitalism which doesn’t threaten the ecology of the planet. Suggested background reading below. All welcome: email for more info. Continue reading “bristol commune forum on ‘localisation’”