2015 – A Hot year of Activism

I have been travelling around the country for the past few months, sticking my nose into what’s being planned for the coming year.

We have the elections and the Cop 21 summit in Paris as highlights, but what dates should put in the diary and avoid clashing with?

THE LEAD UP TO THE ELECTIONS

NATIONAL HOUSING DEMO – Jan 31st

THE REAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN – Jan-May

Fighting against media bias in the lead up to the elections

  • Feb 28th/1st Mar – Real Media Conference
  • Mar 13th – 20th – Anti Daily Mail Week
  • April – Launch Real News Platform for the Left

OCCUPY RUPERT MURDOCH – Mar 22nd-29th

Occupy will hit the Shard (murdoch’s new home) with a  week of Solidarity actions based around all the social movements the media ignores

OTHER EVENTS

  • Peace News day school – 10th Jan
  • Fossil Fuel Divestment Day – 13th Feb
  • Free Education Conference – 20th Feb (weekend)
  • Peoples Assembly Manchester (w Billy Bragg?) – 28th Feb
  • 1st May – Mayday – Class War calling for a more militant demo

RUMBLINGS FOR WHAT FOLLOWS THE ELECTIONS

A HOT SUMMER?

Summer is typically a bad time for activism, but whoever gets elected is going to be hated. With increased focus on police violence will something kick off? Probably not.

Spring and Autumn are the only times of year when anything happens – let’s be prepared for them. Btw this is because of student terms, summer holidays and Christmas draining of bank accounts and time

Reclaim The Power will probably be having a camp in August

A HOT AUTMUMN

This will be the time when we prepare for Austerity plus.  Whoever gets in will be making deeper cuts and will definitely past their period of grace.  We should prepare to be involved in the following.

  • A TUC demo outside the governing party Conference – a good time to engage large numbers of people with a plan of action, or just kick off!
  • A speakers tour in early September – organise things so that every campus and organised community has public meetings early in the Autumn.
  • Include a rough strategy for post these public meetings – a self organised national demo?  A clear target and set of tactics for Direct Action?
  • Build for COP21 in paris.  COP21 itself will be pointless, and so will any action there (except for laughs), but the chance to organise on European basis must be grabbed
  • Watch out for TTIP – this is the biggest threat to the people of the US and Europe, it may overshadow every struggle.  Loosing this battle may mean we loose them all.

We cannot run blindly around from crisis to crisis any longer.  We must have strategies that are longer than Direct Action to Direct Action, campaign to campaign.  But to begin with let us make sure that this year kicks ass!

ORGANISATIONS TO WATCH OUT FOR

  • People’s Assemblies – they’ve stuck at it and may pick up enough traction to be a serious force
  • People’s Solidarity Network – A good idea for serious piece of infrastructure that may bring us together in the best way yet
  • Real Media – again creating a piece of Infrastructure that we badly need.  We have not had a single media platform since well before the death of Indymedia.  We need to have our own media for our ideas to succeed
  • Plan C and ISN – though small, these organisations are looking to long term planning and sensible pluralistic approaches to left politics.
  • Reclaim the Power – This may be politically broader and better structured than Climate Camp, this year should tell us whether this is the case.  It could become THE D.A. group of the UK
  • Class War Party – Just because

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Below I have included all the earth first direct action stuff which is very useful, but before that, I just want top hammer home the points I made about outreach
  1. Plan your events – make sure there are some public big events, like film showings, club nights, well know speakers, or controversial subjects.
  2. Think about who you are trying to engage and what you are trying to achieve with the campaign
  3. Produce your advertising material with this on
  4. Pick targets (like bars, particular lectures, halls of residence) to promote at.
  5. Call all your vaguely interested friends, see if they will help you flyer or at least keep you company
  6. An hour a week from everyone of this will produce results – low labour, high impact with planning.  Talk to people and get phone numbers!
  7. Create a call list or phone tree for events and meeting – share it out in advance, and add numbers as you meet people.  Make sure you give everyone a buzz an hour before the event
  8. Create a rapid response phone tree for solidarity demos or sudden actions (probably a smaller list)
Another thing I didn’t mention is meeting etiquette
  • We all feel more comfortable talking and sitting with people we know, but if you try and chat to people you don;t know and sit next to them
  • Invite them for drinks afterwards and assk them lots of questions. Make people feel comfortable and happy and you will be surprised at what skills and energy they can bring to the group
  • Don’t forget to get their phone number – always!
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Earth first looks crusty, old and low tech, but it is surprisingly good resource of all the best tactics from very successful campaigns

The one you want

A couple of extra goodies
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Testing putting up Pinboards

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A Conversation with a Jobcentre Advisor

Originally posted on REALFARE:

Thomas Barlow – @tbarls

Like many people I have been in and out of work over the past couple of years.

Every job is temporary, or low paid, or unspecified hours, or all of them together.  And all of the jobs come to an end.

Recently I decided that I was going to stop this cycle and follow my dream of becoming a writer.  This is it,  this is what I will do, or die in the process.

So when I was told, suddenly, by my advisor, that I had to come in every day to the jobcentre for the next two weeks at least, I finally felt confident enough to speak back.

Though not at the time I was told.  As my interview was ending my advisor told me

“Oh, and you have to come in every day for the next two weeks, starting tomorrow”

“Really?  Oh ok” I…

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I’m With Bob

hupmcr:

Remembering Bob

Originally posted on REALFARE:

By Thomas Barlow

So I was going to try and do a tongue-in-cheek, satirical remembrance of Bob Crow that lauded his achievements whilst chastising his enemies in a humorous way, but Mark Steele beat me to that – and unfortunately he is just far better than me in every department. So instead let me launch into a straight, good old tub thumping tirade against his detractors, who hypocritically came out to mourn his death this week.

The amount of stick he got for ridiculous things like daring to have a holiday (A holiday?! IN BRAZIL?! How f***ing dare he?!) may well have been a contributory factor to his sudden and unfortunate passing, so let Boris and the other thoughtless reactionaries shut their traps and consider Bob’s true worth for a moment. I am going to use a phrase that is unpopular because of it’s bland Marxist connotations, but it is true to…

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Stand with us and be sanctioned. Jobcentre bullying at its worst.

Originally posted on The poor side of life:

Today we met at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for our regular Thursday demonstration. Nothing unusual at that. We are there every week to support the victims of the Jobcentres cruel sanctioning regime. What was unusual was that we were missing a regular attender. A member of the public that often attended our demonstrations. A nice quiet man, well mannered and very unassuming. He can see the injustice of the system. He had however passed a message onto us saying that he couldn’t attend because the Jobcentre staff had threatened him with sanctions for attending. He would however join us at our meeting after the demonstration away from the Jobcentre. When he joined us I quickly interviewed him and here is a transcript of that interview. In his own words. I cannot name him because he is scared. Hes been threatened by the Jobcentre.

“I walked into the Jobcentre for my…

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RealFare Manchester 1st Meeting follow up

Heya!  So much admin, so little time!  We were originally planning to meet on Monday, are you still up for it?
Can you gimme a call either way and let know if you are available to do any of the following?  Could do with the help!

1. UPDATES ON WHAT’S GONE ON
2. DATES FOR THE DIARY
3. CONFERENCE JOBS
 
1. UPDATES ON WHAT’S GONE ON
  • We have some speakers confirmed, but will keep them under wraps for the next week or so.  No one huge yet.
  • We will be talking about the action week next Thu in London.  Should have some exciting news to come back with (Murdoch looks like a target now). Some interesting people have come on board
 
2. DATES FOR THE DIARY  
BIG ONE! 
  • Thu 27th – Manchester Uni, Campaigns Bazaar, 7pm (open bar).  We are supposed to be running a stall, could do with some help!
OTHER DATES
Only need someone to join me flyering for 30 minutes before or after the event (though we can go together and hold hands if you are up for it!)
 
3. HELPING OUT WITH THE CONFERENCE
These are jobs that could be done on the day or (ideally) you could help me out with leading up to it.
  • Organising Camera Crews.  We want to record the main plenary, and some private interviews on the day
  • Sorting Accommodation – for speakers and special guests.  there are places around the city that will help us out.
  • Running a stall, and signing people in – it will be a ticketed event, though this will only matter if we sell out.  But we still want a RealFare stall and Kam and I will be too busy.
  • Help organise an after party? Not sure about this, maybe just a good spacious place to go and eat and drink
  • Help organise food and tea on the day.  People will be hungry and thirsty!  There is a kitchen at the place.
  • Being a runner! Help will be needed to grab people, or direct people, or help out with odd jobs no doubt (like setting up banners, mics, tables, etc)
It’s not sexy, but it’s what makes a great event and helps build the movement!
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Counter Power – Building our own methods of organising life

Originally posted on REALFARE:

Thomas Barlow – @tbarls

Image: Grow Heathrow

Image: Grow Heathrow

Last week we talked about Dual Power…

Yates McKee describes a dual power approach as “forging alliances and supporting demands on existing institutions — elected officials, public agencies, universities, workplaces, banks, corporations, museums — while at the same time developing self-organized counter-institutions.”

This week we look at one specific aspect of that – counter power.  Building the new in the shell of the old.

Below we have a list of organisations that are doing everything from simple basics, like where you put your money and what you buy, to creating whole new ways of eating, building and providing energy.  We don’t want to just be pointing out the flaws in this disastrous system we live in, we want to help find the solutions and get involved.

We hope that in the coming times when people say to you ‘nice idea but it…

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