Anarchists in action
Freedom takes an occasional look at the goings on within the anarchist movement and here reports back on the recent Anarchist Federation delegates meeting, their future plans and ongoing activities.
The National Delegate Meeting of the Anarchist Federation took place on January 30th/31st in Glasgow, attended by 35 members. This was a sign of the increasing strength and vigour of the Federation. Those present were from: Aberdeen, Brighton/Portsmouth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Lincoln, London, Manchester, Merseyside, Nottingham, Sheffield and Stirling/Dunblane. Apologies were received from East Kent, Bristol, Hereford and Norwich.
The Edinburgh AF, which was set up in the middle of last year, gave its first group report and described its activities carried out by the nine members there. It has produced three issues of a support sheet for Edinburgh Council manual workers called the Edinburgh Muckraker. Forthcoming events organised by the comrades include a one day Film Festival on 20th March.
Merseyside and Sheffield followed with details of their activities. Both groups are growing and Sheffield continues to produce its local newssheet The Fargate Speaker and has been involved in setting up an Unemployed Workers Group. (As well as the Edinburgh Muckraker and the Fargate Speaker Hereford AF have been involved in producing a fine local newssheet the Hereford Heckler over the last few years). They have set up a discussion group with the Commune group and are organising a bookfair in May. Manchester reported on its propaganda activities, the setting up of a discussion group and its publishing venture Peterloo Press which has produced a range of fine pamphlets.
Nottingham talked of their work with the Sparrow’s Nest Library a valuable resource set up by the AF. Brighton described their work around resistance to cuts at Sussex University and around EDO. Glasgow is well established with eight core members and is involved in propaganda activities including regular street distributions of the AF monthly newssheet Resistance and activities against cuts. Leeds has ten members. It supported the refuse workers strike in Leeds and was involved in the occupation of an empty school and a campaign to turn it into a community centre.
London has regular street distributions of Resistance- it maintains several every month- and some of its members are active in a local community group Action East End and in the London Education Workers Group. A series of public meetings introduced anarchist ideas to a new audience and one person has joined the AF as a result. London AF hopes to be setting up a new group in South London soon. New groups have been set up in Aberdeen and Hull and Stirling. A youth caucus has been formed within the AF and two AF educationals are planned in March in Newcastle and Bristol.
The meeting deliberated over the effective internal life of the AF and its forthcoming National Conference and Summer Camp; on a levy for international work and an International Solidarity Fund and on propaganda and activities. There was a lively, interesting and fruitful discussion on the nature of the English Defence League as well as a report and discussion on our international work within the International of Anarchist Federations and in contact work in Latin America and Africa. The organisation of bookfairs by the AF in Manchester and Sheffield were also discussed. The overall atmosphere was positive and friendly with a growing confidence that we are putting down roots and are a growing organisation
A speaker from London AF spoke at a packed meeting (40 people in attendance) on an introduction to anarchism at Canterbury University in January organised by the Socialist and Anarchist Societies there with the help of East Kent AF. The talk was well received with a lively question and answer session afterwards.
A speaker from London AF spoke at a meeting on Anarchism and the Environmental Crisis at a meeting convened by Oxford Autonomous Forum on February 13th with a good discussion afterwards. It was preceded by a distribution of Resistance in Oxford city centre.
Members attended and distributed leaflets at the Photographers rally in Trafalgar Square in January against the use of anti-terrorism stop and search powers to harass photographers and prevent them taking pictures. Full text can be viewed at the website
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of non-payment of the Poll Tax in England & Wales (following non-registration in 1989 and solid mass non-payment in Scotland), to remember the commitment of community campaigns who supported each other in non-payment, and to take inspiration from the great Poll Tax Riot in London on 31st March 1990 and smaller uprisings in many local areas, AF have republished all the Organise! magazine articles over the period 1988-1991 spanning ten issues.
People interested in getting involved in the AF should contact their nearest local group, which can be found on the website: http://www.afed.org.uk/