The Staines Howler – Employment, Unemployment and Benefits Special

Howler – Employment, Unemployment and Benefits Special

Click for the latest version of our local news sheet.

Unfortunately we are facing some financial difficulties and are asking for contributions to help us with printing costs for this edition of The Staines Howler. We use the radical workers’ co-operative Footprints to print our news sheets, so you’ll be helping them out and us too! You can contribute with Bitcoin.

bitcoin address: 14A4dtSA7dDQ2wrpAmkFHfB5MynGKTY3vS

 

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Bishop Wand School Students Campaign

Recently students at Bishop Wand School in Layton’s Lane, Sunbury have begun a campaign for a national minimum wage of £2.15 for under 16s. This comes at a time when young working class people and their families are facing great attacks on their wages, living standards and security from politicians and corporations. Staines Anarchists are pleased to see young people fighting for more in a time like this when people are also struggling to protect what they already have. We  offer our support and solidarity to those involved in this campaign and encourage teachers, parents and other students to do the same. 
 
The campaign can be found on twitter at @Waging_Wars please send your support.
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Housing Public Meeting – Monday 14th January @ Egham & District Social Club, 7pm.

To kick off 2013 we’re holding a public meeting on housing. Please see poster below for more details and feel free to invite people who you think may be interested.
housing meeting-page001 (1)

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Staines Workfare Pickets – Sat 15th December

end-unpaid-work_0

On Saturday 15th December Staines Anarchists and friends will be taking to the streets of Staines to picket businesses involved in workfare.

Workfare is a collection of government schemes which aim to coerce the unemployed into working for free or lose their benefit entitlements. Despite what has been said in the mainstream media, there is no evidence that any of the workfare schemes have been scrapped and the threat of withdrawal of benefits for refusal still applies to at least 2 of the schemes.

Many companies have pulled out of the workfare schemes in the past few months, due to public outrage at such blatant exploitation. However, many companies are still participating in one or more of the schemes.

Meet at 12pm at WHSmiths, Staines on Saturday 15th December for the pickets. 

As well as the pickets we also encourage people to participate in a communications blockade of local businesses involved in workfare between 12 and 2pm on Saturday 15th December.

Phone the following local businesses and demand that they stop using the workfare programs. By doing this we disrupt the day to day running of them and cause them economic harm.

WHSmiths, Staines – 01784 454296

Tesco, Egham – 0845 6779791

Poundland, Staines – 01784 464984
 
McDonalds, Staines – 01784 454 184
Holland and Barrett, Staines – 01784 459218

We hope that our actions will help to further highlight the exploitation perpetrated by these companies and force more to withdraw from the schemes completely. More info – http://www.boycottworkfare.org

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How accessible is your revolution? (Reflections on St. Imier)

From 8th to 12th August this year thousands of anarchists from all over the globe gathered in St. Imier, Switzerland to mark the 140th anniversary of the first anarchist International in 1872. The event included talks, discussions, a book fair and concerts. Staines Anarchists were well represented at the gathering with 12 members attending. The account below is from one of our members.

As an anarchist, I strongly believe that this movement should be inclusive and representative of people from all kinds of different backgrounds, and with different needs and life experiences. To some extent, when I came to anarchism, and I’m very much still in the process of coming to it, this was one of the big draws – a political movement that really recognised intersectionality, and made itself accessible for everyone. This wasn’t just on a theoretical level, but also on a physical level – as a wheelchair user, I felt drawn to a group that would see accessibility as a priority.

I’ve come to realise though, that topics such as this are often more lip service than they are real, practical ways in which we live our lives. This was highlighted at the St Imier Anarchist International, where despite there being some amazing speeches and discussions, very few of them took place in wheelchair accessible rooms – most of them involved flights of stairs, or hills that were far too steep to wheel up without help. With reference to the latter, I realise that geography cannot be altered, but it seems that the event was held in an incredibly inaccessible location due to the history of that area, and that privileging history above the accessibility of our movement is something that’s highly problematic from the outset.

However, the inaccessibility of this event provided Staines Anarchists with an opportunity to challenge it, and indeed to grow as a group as a result of that. The method in which we did this, was those of us who had first observed the inaccessibility as a serious problem (alongside problems of race and gender representation) raised it with the rest of Staines Anarchists, and with their support we took this to the Safer Spaces team. Staines Anarchists and the Safer Spaces team then called an emergency meeting at which discussions of access going far beyond simply wheelchair access happened, and a statement was read at the final closing meeting about these issues. This provided our group with important experience in how to organise ourselves as part of a wider movement, and highlighted to us the importance of considering issues of access.

However, it’s not just us that need to be considering these. The issues at St Imier were reflective of the issues in the wider movement as a whole, and it’s those we need to be looking at and challenging. It’s not always possible to make events accessible, but this is an important consideration, because otherwise we risk losing the voices of disabled people within our movement entirely. This doesn’t just mean wheelchair access, but also low background noise, possibly an alcohol free venue, plenty of things that I’m not going to even remember to list here. These are issues people need to be discussing in their own collectives, and organising from. Our movement can only be strengthened by taking issues of accessibility seriously and ensuring everyone can participate, but we need to work together to do that. If you meet somewhere inaccessible, look for somewhere else. Even if you have no disabled members. Because someday you will, and then we’ll be grateful for your prior consideration.

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Staines Howler Autumn Edition

Howler Autumn 2012

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Staines Anarchists to have stall at London Anarchist Bookfair

The annual London Anarchist Bookfair will be held on Saturday 27th October this year and we’ve decided to book a stall space. The bookfair draws thousands of people and seems to grow in size every year so it’s a great way to meet people of a similar political shade and learn more about anarchism.

In time for the bookfair we’ll be launching our first pamphlet with various essays and articles written by members of SA. The pamphlet will include reflections on the recent International Anarchist Conference in St Imier, Switzerland.

See the Bookfair’s website for more details: http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/

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