This month, with the build-up to the strikes on June 30th, is likely to be extremely busy. Those of us within the affected unions will be pushing for a yes vote in the ballots but also, if proactive, to get people down to picket lines, strike day rallies, and public meetings. There's a lot of building to be done.
Amongst all that, there will be a few events of wider interest which I'll be hoping to get along to and in some cases report back on. As well as allowing a break from handing out strike propaganda and dealing with hostile management / scabs, they also offer a reminder that our current activity is tied both to a broader movement and a rich historical tradition. Not to mention the opportunity for a few pints and to catch up with friends and comrades.
If you're in Liverpool or nearby when these events are happening, then I'd advise you get down to them. If you're not (and I'm aware a lot of my readership isn't from Britain, let alone Merseyside) then I will of course report back on anything of particular note or interest.
This Saturday, we have the Liverpool People's Assembly Against the Cuts;
Liverpool Solidarity Federation believes that it is important working class people and communities organise themselves against attacks by the ruling class. That is why we welcome the idea of an all-Liverpool anti-cuts campaign, uniting communities, workplaces, the employed and unemployed, students and pensioners to challenge the most savage attacks our class has ever faced.
But we do not believe that this should be stage-managed from above. We believe such a campaign should be open, democratic and based on direct action. We argue for a movement built from below, where working class people take control of our own struggles as a precursor to taking control of our own lives, our own communities and our own workplaces.
It is vital that the current attacks are met with resistance. It is just as vital that this resistance is based upon mass participation and mass action. We urge those who agree with us to attend the meeting, where we will be taking part in the debate as well as circulating our proposal for the shape such a campaign should take.
As I have been involved in drawing up Liverpool SolFed's proposals for the day, I have a particular vested interest in the event. The key point will be to make contacts within as many community organisations and campaigns as possible and to kick-start a broader movement even if nothing comes of the meeting itself. It is also noteworthy that we are going there to promote class struggle in a certain form - not to promote ourselves. Putting the interests of "the party" ahead of class interests just isn't our game.
On Friday 10th June, the next talk on 1911 under the headline "Rhythms That Carry" will take place in West Everton Community Centre;
Rhythms that Carry will explore and illuminate new histories concerning the events of 1911. In 1886, a magazine described Liverpool as being the “New York of Europe,..... A World City”. The open-ended nature of the port gave Liverpool a cosmopolitan edge and had a profound impact on the industrial, artistic, educational, cultural and social life of Liverpool. However, there are questions that have remained unanswered with regards to the spontaneous nature and causes of the strikes that engulfed Liverpool across that long hot summer.
You can read my thoughts on the first talk, in The Casa, here. If the next event proves to be as interesting as the first, I will write a follow-up blog. Particularly if it continues to highlight the libertarian influences on the industrial strife in that year and Liverpool's connection to the anarcho-syndicalist tradition.
On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June, the "Making News Roadshow" comes to Liverpool;
Join a weekend of citizen TV reporter training for activists and citizens. Using mobile phone and camera, this free workshop will provide people easily-acquired skills for reporting events and actions, and distributing them effectively.
visionOntv is the world's largest resource of citizen video (more than 10000 films) and curates unique channels of content, such as Grassroots (UK citizen reports), PlugandPlay (the latest tech news and debate) and many others. They have created uniquely powerful tools for people to make and distribute they own media. Recently, they have been mentoring activists in Egypt and in other Arab spring countries to help them make their stories heard.
Taking an entirely different tone, we have this;
On Friday June 24th, The Casa will be playing host to Liverpool Antifascists’ latest fund raiser. Join us for heavyweight dubs, live bands and a beltin’ night – and of course, help raise funds to keep fighting fascism on Merseyside!
Alliance Hi Fi DJ’s
Toxteth Rebel Alliance DJ’s
+ more to come this week!
Powered by the Alliance Hi-Fi Soundsystem!
The Casa, Hope Street, 8pm-1am
Door tax: £5 waged or £2.50 unemployed/low waged/students
You can RSVP to the event on Facebook here.
For this, again, I would urge everyone to get along if they possibly can. Though I did not have a hand in organising this particular event, and though dubstep isn't my music of choice, I intend to get along. Not only can you have a drink and catch up or meet new people, but you'll be supporting what remains a vital cause.
The BNP may be imploding, but fascism isn't going away. In fact, it's following a familiar pattern of turning back to a violent street movement in a time of economic crisis and heightened class struggle. The EDL's recent invasion of News From Nowhere is just one example of that. There is every chance they will attempt to disrupt the other events mentioned above, not least the anti-fascist benefit night. The fight against fascism continues, and it is not something we should be seeking to outsource to specialist groups - so get down and show your support.
Finally, the month ends with the possibility of coordinated strike action on June 30th. This is what everything in between the above events - the workplace and public leafleting, the mass meetings, the constant building and organising - will have been for.
If people are serious about fighting the government, there will be much more to come. But over this month, and over the greater course of the struggle, we ought to have learned a few things. Going beyond the workplace and building a broad-based campaign. Following the lessons of history and surpassing the limitations of official leaders. Becoming the media and making our own narrative. Uniting as a class to defend ourselves against all enemies. Let's put those lessons to good use.