Press release: First Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair

Dublin anarchist bookfair 2007 courtesy of Workers' Solidarity Movement

Dublin anarchist bookfair 2007 courtesy of Workers' Solidarity Movement

In the midst of global economic meltdown, parliamentary corruption and British constitutional mayhem, the first ever Anarchist Bookfair to be held in Cardiff opens its doors this Saturday 23rd May at 10am in Cathays Community Centre, 36 Cathays Terrace, CF24 4HX.

As an example of anarchy in action, the event is free and is being organised by South Wales Anarchists, a network that takes direct action against capitalism and government. South Wales Anarchists have been involved in a range of local and national activities, as detailed in their regular newsletter Gagged!, and recent events in Westminster might suggest they have a point.

Anarchist Bookfairs have acted as the centre of anarchist organising and networking for decades, with thousands of people attending the London event every year. The recession has given anarchism a fresh impetus, with the black and red flag flying above occupied universities, schools and factories whilst summits across Europe attract increasing crowds demanding freedom and equality and an end to a world of oppression and profit.

Prominent South Wales Anarchist Michael Bakers claimed that on-line social networking had driven him to help organise the event. “I was bored with Facebook, and I had Twittered so much I broke my phone. So I decided to try to meet real people and jumped at the chance to help get this bookfair off the ground. It promises to be a controversial event, with challenging opinions and revolutionary concepts.”

There will be a diverse range of stalls offering books, CDS, DVDs, badges,tshirts, free information and more. The day will include a full programme of talks and workshops. Some of the issues presented will include: how to build genuine community democracy, radical approaches to education, the case against border controls, why prisons should be abolished, how to get a computer for free and stay secret and how to turn the tables on the police who harass political activists.

Food and refreshments will be available throughout the day which closes at 6pm. Children are welcome. The event will be rounded off with a ‘speakers corner’ open mic for any anarchist to air their views and a night of live music at Cathay’s Liberal Club from 7pm.

“Michael Martin didn’t answer our invitation to the ‘speakers corner’ session,”

Alun Cairns AM – once a banker always a banker?

cairns twat

banker

As allegations of corruption against Welsh MPs grow, perhaps it’s time they took a leaf out of Tory assembly member Alun Cairns’ book?

First it was shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan’s squalid claim for pet food, then Stephen Crabb’s bill of £9,300 in reclaimed stamp duty, followed closely by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan’s claim of £450 for a TV and Paul Murphy’s £1,000 for TV and hi-fi system.

Two other South Wales MPs have since added their names to the list of disgraced, but unrepentant Westminster politicians. Ex-Tory vicar Chris Bryant (below), Labour MP for the Rhondda since 2000, has trousered over £90,000 of taxpayers’ money to spend on properties in London and the Rhondda. Meanwhile, the sale of his West London flat in 2003 netted him a tidy (tax free) profit of £77,000, enabling him to buy another property worth £670,000. Madeleine Moon, Labour MP for Bridgend, has also allegedly had her snout in the trough. Despite strict rules to the contrary, she had furniture costing thousands of pounds delivered to Wales, while designating a London flat as her second home. 

chris bryantReaders of South Wales Anarchists’ blog and sister publication, Gagged!, will certainly be familiar with former banker Alun Cairns, AM for South Wales West. Cairns infamously described Italians as ‘greasy wops’ during a radio programme. He was subsequently forced to resign as chair of trustees of the assembly members’ pension fund when we revealed that the £10 million pension pot is currently invested in some of the world’s worst polluters, while the assembly boasts of pursuing a green agenda.

Nevertheless, even we were pleasantly surprised when Tory boss, Nick ‘iPod’ Bourne, proudly announced that from April this year Alun Cairns wouldn’t be claiming a penny of the £13,000 additional costs allowance to fund his second home in Cardiff Bay. A breath of fresh air amidst the stench of corruption, we wondered?

Not a bit of it.

Why Cairns should ever have been allowed to maintain a second home at taxpayers’ expense beggars belief. He lives in Ewenny in the Vale of Glamorgan, only 22 miles or 30 minutes by car from Cardiff Bay. Welsh assembly rules, however, allowed him to claim tens of thousands of pounds to spend on his Cardiff Bay flat because his home was deemed perversely to be in the Bridgend constituency. That was until 2006 when electoral boundary changes meant that Ewenny, once more, became part of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cairns’ gravy train came to a grinding halt. But rather than accept the change, he ‘lobbied’ members of the assembly house committee to get an exception to the new ruling and, in a secret meeting held in November 2006, the committee duly upheld his request.

Nevertheless, could his decision to ‘sacrifice’ £13,000 be a genuine desire to send a message to the voters that, in stark contrast to the crooks in Westminster, he’s now a reformed politician?

Alas, no sooner had Alun made his noble gesture, he was heading straight for one of Cardiff’s leading letting agencies to put his luxury pad up for rent. And at a going rate of up to £1,300 a month, the Tory twat could pocket £15,600 a year! Reformed politician? Don’t make us laugh…

Gagged! 27

Gagged 27The new issue of our regular newsletter is out now, and it’s a Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair special!

You’ll also find reports on Mayday in Cardiff, actions against the Aerolink Wales arms fair, the Smash EDO Mayday Mayhem in Brighton, along with the latest news from South Wales.

Download Gagged! #27 as a PDF here.

Mayday Mayhem For Police As Summer of Rage Continues!

The head of the march as it charged through the streets of Brighton

South Wales Anarchists joined up to 2000 people from around the UK in Brighton on May 4th for the largest demonstration to date against Brighton based ‘EDO/MBM’ bomb component factory, organised by Smash EDO.

The MayDay Mayday Street Party against war, the arms trade and capitalism was a lively and colourful march that started at Brighton’s sea front. It continued through the town and paid visits to a number of local branches of multi-national corporations, including McDonalds, RBS, HSBC and Lloyds which invest in ITT, the corporation which owns EDO.

Activists scaled scaffolding on Barclays bank to drop a banner demanding “arms dealers out of Brighton”. Police paid special attention to protect a branch of McDonalds which proved to be a flash point with a police van nearly being tipped over and a flare set off underneath it.

Mayday McMayhem outside a certain fast 'food' outlet that owns 61,500 shares in ITT

Mayday McMayhem outside a certain fast 'food' outlet that owns 61,500 shares in ITT

Compared with previous EDO demos, policing was relatively hands-off initially, without the automatic attempt by police to cordon every man, woman, child or dog in sight. However, batons and pepper spray were used on activists during the day as riot police attempted to control the march and activists successfully forced back mounted police a number of times. Of course, the police ‘Forward Intelligence Teams’ were present but were forced to retreat behind police lines as FIT- watching activists made their job of intrusively filming protestors more difficult.

A police officer attempts to de-escalate the situation...

A police officer attempts to de-escalate the situation...

It seemed that many activists had learnt from the G20 protests and refused to be drawn into long fights with the police. Activists instead found alternative routes and kept moving around the streets when unable to break through police lines quickly, outwitting the cops and leaving them stranded waiting for orders. At one point the cops themselves were ‘kettled’ (penned in) thanks to protestors’ quick thinking. The demonstrators’ refusal not to be kettled or subjected to violence by the police meant that officers were often surrounded and outflanked.

Towards the evening, as the march appeared to retire to the park by St. Peters church and just as riot police had storm-trooped away, the party took to the streets again taking us all by surprise! The streets were again re-claimed by activists and local young people, running through the streets of Brighton, through the Pavilion and back towards the beach for more partying.

Police on the back foot

Police on the back foot

Many felt that the police were on the back-foot at this time since the G20 protests and due to the associated bad press officers received for their tactics. While the police may have been aware of the public eye upon them and tried to behave themselves a bit more on this occasion, the fact is that the police continue to protect private corporations who profit from war and death; meeting resistance to this with violence and repression. While slightly less violent and oppressive policing may be an improvement, better still would be no police at all and the complete freedom to shut down EDO and all corporations who are responsible for the continuation of the bloody war machine.

More benefit gigs!

Thanks to the people at Video Nasties we’ve got a whole bunch of benefit gigs coming soon, all taking place on tuesday nights in the Meze Lounge, Newport and entry will only be £3.

The first night on 12th May is a benefit for the Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair and with feature loud punk rock from Gung Ho, Politrix, the Shortcuts and the Fix Up

The second night on 26th May will be a benefit for our newsletter Gagged! and will feature acoustic music from The Double Cross, Think Pretty, My Name is Ian and Last of the Union.

Hope to see loads of you all there!

Mayday Protest against the Police

stationsteps2This Mayday, in the wake of the death of Ian Tomlinson, who died during the G20 demonstrations after being struck by baton and pushed to the ground by a member of the territorial support group (TSG), over 50 people gathered outside Cardiff central police station to protest against police violence. The protest was a lively one lasting about two hours, with music and singing throughout the demonstration. There was a mix of protesters from a cross section of the radical political ‘scene’ in South Wales, with representations from all the local Anarchist groups and Socialist parties, as well as campaigners for peace, social justice, human and animal rights.

ray-davies-v-copUnsurprisingly, following recent criticism of the Metropolitan Police over their thuggish behaviour during the G20, nearly all the Cardiff cops stayed behind closed doors, with only one coming out to attempt to talk to people in the crowd. What may have been an attempt at appeasing the demonstrators was, however, treated with scepticism by those who’d previously been on the receiving end of police violence during protests and are more than aware of the systematic and deliberate way in which public demonstrations are repressed and criminalised.

South Wales Anarchists not only condemn police violence, but will confront officers who commit violence against those who protest. We  oppose the continued deployment of “Forward Intelligence Teams” (FIT) who photograph and harass demonstrators. These tactics are unacceptable and we are committed to disrupt them as much as possible. More than that we see the role of the Police force as nothing more than the protectors of the interests of the rich and powerful, which cannot be reformed. The police are the violent arm of the state in our communities. They are the enemy of the working class!

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