Posts Tagged ‘Bristol’


Who We Are

Bristol Antifa is part of a national federation comprised of local groups of militant anti-fascists, affiliated to the international Antifa movement. We exist to confront fascist ideas, activities and organisations wherever and however they occur. We utilise a wide range of tactics and believe it is important to confront fascism physically as well as ideologically. We do not advocate the electoral process as the means of defeating fascism nor will we work with groups that do. Our structure is anti-authoritarian and non-hierarchical. We oppose discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, disability or age. We will not work with, accept information from, nor pass information to the magazine Searchlight.

What Is Fascism?

It is a mistake to see fascism solely in terms of extreme far-right nationalist political parties such as the BNP, NF etc. While these are the most obvious target for an anti-fascist campaign, many policies promoted by other parties are equally fascist in nature, and demand an appropriate reaction. The media is also guilty of pushing far-right ideology (the tabloid treatment of the issues surrounding refugees for example) and their actions often fall within the remit of an anti-fascist group. We should oppose fascist ideology whatever its source. Equally, fascism is often used as a synonym for racism. Racism is a tool frequently employed by fascist movements, but it is important to be aware that fascists can be non-racist and indeed most racists are not fascists. While our major target is fascism, we must be aware that bigotry in all forms (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) needs to be fought, whether it comes from the mouths of fascists or from elsewhere.

The Enemy

There are many fascist groups operating in Britain, but the biggest threat comes from the British National Party who in recent years have done their utmost to hide their fascist politics beneath a thin veneer of respectability. Antifa opposes all fascist activity, but destroying the BNP is our current priority. Their presence on the political landscape pushes the wider political agenda to the right to the cost of working class people.

Physical Confrontation

Fascism is a violent ideology. Throughout history, fascists have used violence against those who oppose them. Antifa is a continuation of the anti-fascist tradition of confronting fascism physically when it is necessary. Physical confrontation is only one of our tactics though, we do not aim to fetishise it as one tactic above all others, nor will we allow a hierarchy to develop based on the kudos of street-fighting. If an individual member feels unable to engage on this level they are no less worthy as an anti-fascist than any other member of the group. However, those with a moral problem regarding this issue should be advised that this is not the group for them.

Hierarchy & Group Structure

In keeping with our anti-authoritarian ideas, we seek to challenge hierarchy within our own movement and elsewhere. We do not believe in fixed leadership or power structures. Within Bristol Antifa we make decisions on a consensus basis to ensure that the opinions of all within the group are represented as far as possible. Where an organising role needs to be taken on by one or more people (for example, acting as chief steward during an action), we accept that this is immediately revocable should the members of the group be dissatisfied, and that the appointment of any role that could be seen as leadership is temporary and based on group consensus. There are situations in militant anti-fascism where decisions have to be made quickly and it is vital that those involved trust the person who is making those decisions. It is also vital that appointing those decision-makers does not create any unspoken hierarchy, so we encourage the rotation of roles as far as possible. The structure of our own movement needs to reflect our political goals.


The success of fascist politics depends on a divided and unorganised working class. Bristol Antifa believes that the means to effect social change must mirror the ends we wish to achieve, and therefore, reflecting our wider beliefs, we will never exclude any individual on the basis of their sex, race, age, (dis)ability, sexuality or any similar grounds.


We will not work with, accept information from, nor pass information to the so-called anti-fascist magazine/organisation Searchlight, and we will not work with individuals who have any connection to them. As an organisation that works hand-in-glove with State agencies, we cannot trust them or the agenda they pursue. Their influence within, and manipulation of, militant anti-fascism has been deeply divisive over the years. Their methods and involvement with State security services are well documented and entirely incompatible with our own position.

The Authoritarian Left

For decades revolutionary left groups, such as the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, have opportunistically used the mobilisation against fascism as a way of trying to swell their membership numbers and the coffers of their parties. We are not interested in working with these groups, nor with their front groups, such as the Anti-Nazi League™ or Unite Against Fascism™. Our experience is that these front groups exist merely to try and recruit members on behalf of the controlling party, to peddle their papers, and to manipulate and marginalize genuine anti-fascists. In the past we have seen the leadership of such fronts collaborate not only with the State, but also with the fascists themselves. We will not be fooled again, and advise genuine anti-fascists within these organisations to leave, after which we may be able to work with them.


Voting is something that allows the State to pretend we live in a democracy, and it is a tactic used by fascist parties such as the British National Party to promote themselves and their policies. While the BNP may be in a position to throw bricks through the windows of a few Asian households, it is New Labour that is locking up refugees and bombing Iraqi civilians. It is ridiculous to suggest that voting helps to stop fascism. This is the sort of insult to working class communities that has allowed the BNP to grow. This is the case whether we are being told to vote for the old Statist parties or opportunist fronts, such as Respect™, which has helped to promote bigotry (sexism and homophobia) in order to further the agenda of its leadership. The problems that allow racism and fascism to flourish will not be solved simply by voting for parties which mask their fascism slightly more cleverly than the BNP, nor for some middle-class tourist standing on a left-wing ticket.

The Wider Struggle

Eliminating the threat of fascism will not magically correct all the wrongs of the world. The first stage of real lasting social improvement begins with the downfall of global capitalism and its replacement with an alternative that puts working class people in control of their own lives. Members of Bristol Antifa are involved in a wide variety of other anti-capitalist struggles, but Bristol Antifa itself remains focussed on the fight against fascism, which we believe is linked to the wider struggle. The State will employ fascist tactics if necessary in the cause of suppressing dissent, and the fight against openly fascist ideology, wherever it comes from, is a critical part of the fight against the ultimate enemy – capitalism itself.

Community Involvement

Fascists can be suppressed by the use of street-level tactics against their attempts to publicly organise. The fascists’ electoral ambitions can be defeated by the use of counter-propaganda. But a meaningful impact on fascism requires far more than this. We believe that involvement in local communities is critical (and this does not mean parachuting in as outsiders, but people taking action in their own communities). Education and presenting workable solutions to the problems faced by communities are absolutely vital to the struggle. These may be outside the current remit of Bristol Antifa, but we will wholeheartedly support these tactics and, while we may not be able to initiate such activities, we strongly encourage our members to involve themselves in this sort of grass-roots work.

Security & Recruitment

For tactical and security reasons, Bristol Antifa is not an open group. Some of our work may put us in conflict with the authorities, and of course with fascists themselves. We do not seek mass-recruitment and we do not hold regular open meetings. That said, we are always on the lookout for potential new members who are committed and security-conscious. If you are interested in getting involved with Bristol Antifa, or if you would like to assist us in our work, please get in touch.


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Get involved – stalls, meetings, ideas

The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective is delighted to announce the date and location for 2008:
St Werburghs Centre, Horley Rd, Bristol BS2 9TJ
Saturday 13 September, from 10am to 5pm
All welcome – free entry

We hope that this year’s Bookfair will be the first of an annual event, as there has been a 15-year gap in Bristol! We want to attract people from across the south west and into south Wales.

An Anarchist Bookfair is a day of anarchist books, ideas, pamphlets, discussions, merchandise, networking, free info, help & solidarity, games, bike workshops, tools, history, planning, speakers, resistance, and an all day vegan cafe. All the resources you need to reclaim your future.

It is our intention that the Bookfair will be:

  • – A perfect introduction to anarchist ideas & practice for those seeking an alternative to the chaos & greed of capital, the boredom of party politics, the abject failure of centrally controlled state communism, and the unsustainability of present energy consumption.
  • – An excellent opportunity for anarchists old and new to recharge their batteries and reading lists, to catch up with old friends, to sharpen their ideas, and to re-energise their enthusiasm for the struggle for a free world.
  • – And for those who are critical, you are welcome to come along to join the discussions, to air your reservations, and to cut through the myths of anarchism to the reality.


Questions, offers of help, donations etc can be directed to us at bristolanarchistbookfair@riseup.net or we can be contacted at our bi-weekly meetings from 6.30 to 8.30pm, at 14 Robertson Rd, Bristol BS5 6JY.

Peace & Freedom!
The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair Collective

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Huge March in Bristol, Action at Marks & Spencers and Protest spreads to Frome and Cornwall

As the violence in Gaza continues and the protest in London is hemmed in by police, the South West also sees intensified protests as Frome and Falmouth join other cities protesting the conflict.

In Bristol, Ed Hill writes; Hundreds from the Muslim Community, joined by trade-unionist, other faith groups, and anti-was campaigners, to march through Bristol…Imam Assad Ali Shah of St Marks Road Mosque, said “Muslims of Bristol condemn all forms of terrorism be it by individuals or States. We condemn the imprisonment, starvation, and mass slaughter of innocent children, men and women of Gaza in Palestine. We are very saddened by the deafening silence of influential states in this regard. Bristolians are requested to join hands of unity in a peaceful march to request leaders of our nations to intervene to stop the cruelty to the Palestinians immediately”…


While at Marks & Spencer, around 30 people took part in a protest regarding the company’s support of the Israeli State. bristol free gaza writes; As the rockets reign down on the Palestinian people, those of us who has been watching in horror and angry of the images and reports of the massacre of (predominantly) the civillian population, decided to take some action. 30 people entered the store and filled their trolleys with food, much of from “Israeli” (read occupied territories) origin. We then went to the check out, but instead of paying a few people started to inform the saturday shoppers loudly about the links between m & s and Israel and the on going bloodshed.



BristolGaza Marks & Spencers solidarity action

Not Just a Protest…

Around 30 people took part in a protest regarding Marks & Spencer’s support of the Israeli State late this (saturday) morning.

As the rockets reign down on the Palestinian people, those of us who has been watching in horror and angry of the images and reports of the massacre of (predominantly) the civillian population, decided to take some action.

30 people entered the store and filled their trolleys with food, much of from “Israeli” (read occupied territories) origin. We then went to the check out, but instead of paying a few people started to inform the saturday shoppers loudly about the links between m & s and Israel and the on going bloodshed.

What was supposed to be a relatively peaceful action, was nearly escalted by the aggressive and over zealous security, who had one ofthe ranters in a head lock (and was detained) and threw at least three of the protesters out by their arms and legs. Fortunately, we managed to stay reasonably calm, and the situation wasn’t escalated further.

Shopping Aisles were closed as it took tthe combined forces of broadmead security and Avon & Somersets “finest” a while to eject all of the protesters.

Briefly, the doors were blocked by a line of trolleys, and the protest was still continuing outside the store on broadmead when I left.

To read full articles, visit Bristol Inymedia.

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Bristol Radical History Group


Bristol Radical History Group was formed in 2006 after the cricket and football teams we were playing for got sick of us going on about the book the Many Headed Hydra (see books) and its connections to Bristol. This book inspired us to look into our local history and its connections with the revolutionary Atlantic. We organised the first Bristol Radical History Week in Oct/Nov 2006 with the following aims:To open up some of the ‘hidden’ history of Bristol and the West Country to public scrutiny and challenge some commonly held ideas about historical events.


To approach this history from ‘below’ by examining the actions and perspectives of those involved rather than the views of the contemporary establishment histories.

To recognise that the history of Bristol is inexorably linked to that of the Atlantic and former British colonies through its seafaring and trading activities.

To engage academics, local historians and the general public (including children) in the process through lectures, public debates, films and other events.

The events were a resounding success and showed that there was a significant public interest in radical history. Since then we have organised more than 50 events with more than 1500 attendees. Bristol Radical History Group group now operates within a much wider network of footballers, artists, techies, drunks, rioters, publicans, ranters, ravers, academics, Cancan dancers, anarchists, stoners and other ne’r do wells.

Through our events we have both created and expanded that network, meeting many interesting and supportive people on the way (as well a lively bunch of nutters and stalkers, we salute you!). We would like to say thank you to all those who have helped and inspired us, and wish you all ‘a long life and a merry one’.

Our events are free or of minimal cost and open for anybody to attend. The lectures and talks are given by members of the public, local history groups and visiting expert speakers.

Bristol Radical History Group events are organised by local people from Bristol and are NOT funded by Universities, Political Parties, Business or Local Government. To break even we rely on donations from the audience at meetings and the sale of books.



Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #1

Cry Freedom, Cry Seven Stars: Thomas Clarkson In Bristol, 1787

By Mark Steeds

During 1787 abolitionist Thomas Clarkson started his research into the slave trade in Bristol. This pamphlet looks at how the histories of this pub and the abolition movement are intertwined and also some of the remarkable coincidences that link the name ‘Seven Stars’ with the slave trade.

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #2

We Come For Our Own And We Shall Have It – Smuggling In Poole And Dorset

By Kevin Davis

A look at the history of smuggling in Dorset and the government responses to it. This pamphlet examines to whether smugglers should be considered folk heroes and to what extent smuggling was a community enterprise.

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #3 & 3.5

A Brief History Of Corporations – Where Did They Come From?

By Dan Bennett & Andy Singer

Where did corporations come from and how did they get the same legal rights as individuals? This pamphlet attempts to answer these questions in a manner that will not cause the reader too much distress. But if you want more jokes the pamphlet also includes a three page comic by Andy Singer which addresses the same questions.

“An entertaining and educational read” – Noam Chomsky (As relayed to Dan by Ward Morehouse, honest)

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #4

The Bristol Manifesto – The 2008 G8 In Hokkaido: Strategic Assessment

By The Emergency Exit Collective

When Bristol Radical History Group staged a series of events called Down With The Fences! The Struggle For The Global Commons in May 2008, a group leading academics found themselves together in an Eastville living room. They talked about what they would like to say to the leaders of the G8 countries who were soon to meet in Hokkaido, Japan. The result of their discussions, published under the name of the ‘Emergency Exit Collective’, is The Bristol Manifesto.

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #5

John Locke – The Philosopher of Primitive Accumulation

By George Caffentzis

John Locke is the most famous philosopher born and raised in the vicinity of Bristol. He born in Wrington, Somerset about 12 miles from Bristol on August 29, 1632 and he was brought up in the market town of Pensford, about seven miles south of Bristol.

Locke is also not only the main intellectual founder of liberalism, but also of neoliberalism, the “ruling idea” of the ruling class of today.

George Caffentzis is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Southern Maine, USA.

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #6

The Life And Times Of Warren James – Free Miner Of The Forrest Of Dean

By Ian Wright

Warren James was a man who was caught up in the social unrest that swept through the Forest of Dean in 1831, and who emerged as spokesman for the Foresters in their struggle to protect their ancient rights and way of life. The Forest Riots of 1831 were about insecurity, fear, poverty and starvation as a result of enclosures, enforced wage labour or unemployment. The Foresters fought to resist the twin onslaught from the Crown, who owned the Forest, and from businessmen who sought industrial profits from it.

Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #7

‘Race War’ – Black American GIs in Bristol and Gloucestershire During World War II

By Neil A. Wynn

America’s entry into World War II immediately served to highlight the issue of race relations and the contradictions between America’s declared position as a defender of “freedom” and “democracy,” and what was actually practiced. Prior to the D-Day landings of June 1944, there were just under 1.6 million American forces personnel located in various parts of the U.K, with the largest numbers gathered in the southwest. The pubs in Bristol were segregated with some serving whites only, others, generally poorer ones, blacks only. As early as 1942 arrangements had been made to seat the races separately in cinemas in Yeovil and Chard. Even fish and chip shops operated on racial lines or used black Wednesdays and white Thursdays.

Find out about the unrest that happened in Gloucestershire and Bristol when a segregated army made camp there.

Neil Wynn is Professor of 20th Century American History at the University of Gloucestershire.


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