Category Archives: Political Action

Industrial Workers of the World Brisbane – USA Prison Strike Solidarity

On the 9th September, 2016, Industrial Workers of the World will help organise and advocate for a General Strike of prisoners in the USA. Below are some related materials for download.

1-4-2016-texas-prison-strike-flyer

brisbane-iww-prisoner-solidairty-flyer20126

Don’t Forget Those on the Inside

 

There was a simple solidarity action held by Brisbane Branch in Radcliffe Square, Brisbane, 9th September. A small crew set-up an info table with free zines, held up a banner, and handed out the solidarity flyer. The weather was drizzly and overcast, so there weren’t a lot of people on the street.People in Brisbane generally don’t respond well to this type of weather. Just not used to it.

Regardless we got 100 flyers out, had a lot of good and supportive discussions, and were there for an hour and a bit. Then Brisbane City Council officers told us to move on because we didn’t have a permit under the ‘Freedom of Assemblies Act’ (fun irony right?)

At the same time The Paradigm Shift on 4ZzZ 102.1fm ran a Prisons Show, which included various interviews around the topics of Prison Abolition. These can be heard by Podcast here. And if was great to see a supporter come down and join in as a result of listening to the radio.

Here are a couple of happy snaps. (Don’t mind the greek guy looking grumpy, he was actually having a good time lol)

iwwprisoneraction02iwwwprisonsaction03

iwwprisonsaction01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get into touch with Brisbane IWW then email iww-brisbane at riseup.net

Related reading material:

https://iwoc.noblogs.org/

https://itsgoingdown.org/organizing-prisoner-class-interview-iwoc/

https://talkpoverty.org/2016/07/11/next-step-organized-labor-people-prison/

Call for International Anarchist Action in Solidarity with US Prison Strike

 


Brisbane Regional Anarchist Spokescouncil

A PROPOSAL for a BRISBANE REGIONAL ANARCHIST SPOKESCOUNCIL

FIRST  “trial run” of BRISBANE REGIONAL ANARCHIST SPOKESCOUNCIL MEETING

SUNDAY 26th JUNE — 3PM TO 5PM– at 28 Vulture St, West End

beside Sol Breads and Bus Stop 9 West End State School

SOCIAL – DINNER and DJ FROM 5pm


BRIEF
That anarchists in Brisbane begin consciously forming and naming affinity groups (temporary or permanent depending on individuals). That we (individual anarchists, affinity groups, and larger collectives) begin meeting every quarter (3 months) in a structured Regional Spokescouncil. All individual anarchists, without organisations or affinity groups, are actively encouraged to participate equally in that Spokescouncil.

BENEFIT
Brisbane culture (I think) has traditionally worked on various overlapping social circles, which has many benefits. But can make it difficult to communicate outside those circles.

A regular and reliable Spokescouncil allows a publicly visible space for anarchists from different groups and situations to come together, give feedback on what they have been doing, give proposals for what they want to do, and co-ordinate actions and resources. It provides a proto-type to General Assemblies and Federated Assemblies. If we can do this right, we can do something bigger next.

Furthermore it provides the experience and structure for Brisbane anarchists to co-ordinate, and move into, a position of leadership during one-off or spontaneous events. For example, Lady Cintro and Baby Asha earlier this year. As a standing structure, anarchists are then ‘ready to go’ when the time is right. It provides a proto-type for dual powering Reformist or Statist mass organising.

It also means that people need to think in a more focused and strategic way about their (A) politics. This avoids the various ‘liberal poverty tourists’ and random fluff that can, and has derailed good solid actions just because it is ‘popular’. That revolutionary organising isn’t a hobby or ‘cultural experience’.

Details of the POINTS OF UNITY:
# The Spokescouncil is open to participation from people identifying as anarchists, libertarian socialists, libertarian municipalists & social ecologists from the greater Brisbane Region.

# Initially anarchists from Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and other areas of regional Qld or Northern NSW can participate, with the long term expectation to grow local movements and local Spokescouncils.

# That participants from other regions are allowed by Spokescouncil invitation; or request and consensus in meeting. Otherwise those affinity groups or anarchists are to have the position of ‘Observer Status’. It should be remembered that this is a Brisbane Regional Spokescouncil. Participants who are not going to stay in the region should not be able to ‘fly in and fly out’ of the Spokescouncil, without an active connection and responsibility to the region. There will always be exceptions to be dealt with as they arise.

# People who are members of political parties, or do not publicly identify as anarchists, are to be refused participation; with Observer Status by request and consensus in meeting. This is our (anarchist) organising space. Other groups and politics already have their own spaces.

# We should discourage other people using the Spokescouncil to be able to casually ‘drop in to see what the anarchists are up too.’ Either you participate or you don’t.

# The Spokescouncil’s role is to facilitate broader communication and Mutual Aid style co-operation between dispersed anarchist groups or individuals in the Region. It should be a task focused space that’s for getting work done, and connecting people through actions. Socialisation activities can, and should be tied to the event.

# A small ‘organisational collective’ to be delegated by the Spokescouncil to carry out tasks incidental to organising meeting space and promotion of the Spokescouncil. These people are acting as delegates and are recallable at every Spokes by 2/3 majority vote.

# Admin procedures are to be kept to a minimal. Constitutionalism or codification is to be avoided. Meeting process junkies should be kept in line,  as should the flippant ‘whatever goes’ ramblings. This is a ‘task space’ we should strive to be efficient with our time in it. Direct Democracy is about taking responsibility for your own behaviour, and not expecting others to manage it for you.

# Individuals are to take responsibility for their own behaviour and language. Inappropriate behaviour or language to be dealt with quickly by facilitator and other participants, with mind to protect the flow of discourse. The Spokecouncil is to be a welcoming and co-operative place for all people to stand as free individuals, inclusive of all forms of gender, ethnicity and history.

# The Spokescouncil should cultivate a degree of ‘professional association’ between people with personal conflicts. Criminal or abusive behaviour is best dealt with by the police at this stage, as the local movement does not have the strength or experience to deal with it ourselves yet.

# The meeting date to be kept as something simple to remember, like midday the first or third Saturday of the month for example. That once it is set, the date doesn’t move or get changed as this just generates unneeded confusion and debate about new dates and times. If it lands on some date that is ‘busy’ say Mothers Day etc, well then people just don’t go. So let’s check the calendar to minimise these possibilities.

# The Spokescouncil ought to be mixed into a broader social event for anarchists. Most of the background work and discussions will happen informally. So we should create social events around the Spokescouncil to facilitate this. For example, 3pm Spokescouncil start with 5pm finish; 5:30 pm Food Not Bombs (FNB) dinner with music or film screening after. But let’s be flexible, lets have fun!

 

*******

The Brisbane Regional Anarchist Spokescouncil does not …
a)    make group proclamations or statements. Individuals or affinity groups speak for themselves only;

b)    approve or disapprove an affinity groups actions. Each group is responsible for their own actions, (and therefore the consequences). Critic or feedback may be sort through the Spokescouncil …. and most likely given in social spaces outside the meeting. Everyone has the right to freely co-operate in a spirit of Mutual Aid. No one has the right to demand that others give them energy, resources or time.

c)    allow the space to be used for egotistical grandstanding; to carry out personal character assassinations; group therapy for personal issues; or allow the space to be used as a personal conflict airing platform. Any individual engaging in this behaviour is to be asked to leave immediately …. no exceptions. Let’s talk about the idea, not the individual. Let’s make things happen, let’s not bog down in others crap.

WHAT IS A SPOKESCOUNCIL?

“A spokescouncil is a collection of affinity groups and clusters (a collection of affinity groups), who meet together for a common purpose, often civil disobedience. “Spokes” is short for “spokesperson”, selected by each affinity group or cluster to represent them in the spokescouncil”

It is a structured meeting to facilitate communication between affinity groups, collectives and individuals.  Communication is focused on getting consensus or sharing information. In this instances this does NOT mean the liberal/protest approach of winning 100% support for a particular position, or your right to individually BLOCK as position for personal reasons. Consensus is about understanding the ‘group mind’ and reaching the best overall outcome. The process is about Direct Democracy, that good open debate reaches the best understanding. There are no binding decisions, no laws, just personal agreements and understandings. But breasking personal agreements usually results in a personal refusal to co-operate in the future.

Affinity groups and Spokescouncil is an old anarchist organising model that was popularised during the Spanish Revolution. It also was the successful working model for many Australian direct action campaigns, including Woomera. An affinity group is basically and small group of friends who develop and work on a common task or project. It is dynamic, self-defining and entirely autonomous. During the Spanish Revolution many militias worked on this model, making them incredibly hard to penetrate by Statist spies.

In a Spokescouncil, each participating Affinity group selects a delegate to speak during the meeting. The delegate is to present the ‘group mind’ of the affinity group, and does not have the power to make decisions on behalf of the affinity group. During a Spokescouncil it is normal protocol for the affinity group to sit behind the delegate, so the delegate can make quick references to the group on topics being discussed.

An individual can be a participant of a number of different affinity groups. But can only be the delegate for one affinity group. You can’t swap delegates during a meeting, unless the whole affinity group wishes to remove them for misrepresenting the group (from which you’d assume they no longer wish to work with them).


A Quick Visit to Boeing

In a follow-up to Saturdays FNB kitchen, an other action was called on Wednesday, 20 July. It was more of a spontaneous action. Motivated by peoples drive to build on the energy and focus that was present around the Talisman Sabre war games.

So 7 people got together at Brisbane Square mid-afternoon, with a megaphone, banner and a ton of flyers. The idea was initially to hit a company called Metal Storm. They are a weapons dealer specialising in new weapons technology. For example, the remote controlled, robotic grenade launcher. Specially designed for the ‘urban environment’. Sad to say they are going broke and can’t afford the rents on Queen Street anymore. They had recently moved their office out to Dara.

It was decided to walk to the offices of Boeing instead. We walked off through Queen St Mall, megaphone spruking, handing out flyers and holding out the banner. Very visual, got a lot of attention, handed out a lot of flyers, and surprisingly (but sadly for Gerry) no police or any officials paying it any attention.

It was fun to creating this spectical. A but more of a traditional ‘leftie’ action creating a bit more of the traditional responces (get a job! f*ckin hippies!) balanced by various supportive shout-outs. Finished up with the traditional brews at the pub after-event.

Through the event I heard a few people did say they couldn’t understand what was being said over the megaphone though. But at the same time created interest with positive reactions. A lot of people genuinely wanted to know what was going on. For example, pulling up at the bottle shop, some guy goes “Hey you lot did that protest today. I was working so couldn’t come out. Hey what’s going on fellas?”

At exactly the same time as this action, Sean O’Reilly and Cully were arrested blocking traffic to the Enogera army barracks. Their hearing is on the 10 August.

Here are the happy snaps!


Press Statement: Food not Bombs Kitchen against Talisman Sabre War Games

Join us at the Food not Bombs kitchen, Brisbane Square, Brisbane CBD, 1pm on Saturday the 16th of July- to voice our opposition to the Talisman-Sabre War Games, 2011.

These military ‘games’ are costing the Australian taxpayer over $100 million.

Who decided that? Not the Australian people.

The games are being held in various locations across Australia including in Shoalwater Bay, part of the Great Barrier Reef region; threatening the areas’ ecology and the existence of more than 25 endangered species.

They represent only a portion of the Australian military’s $6 million a day budget; bleeding resources from essential community services such as health, education and housing.

These games further incorporate the Australian military into the U.S Pacific Command and their system of bases in Australia.

Who decided that?

In a real democracy, citizens have a voice and control over the resources and decisions which affect them. We demand an end to the Talisman Sabre joint exercises.

For more information, our flyer is available at https://happyanarki.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/talisman-sabre-colour1.pdf


Sharks Protected in The Bahamas, but not Queensland

It is being increasingly acknowledged that this planet’s fish eco-systems are verging on collapse and major imbalance.

One aspect of this is the overfishing of sharks, mostly for Shark Fin Soup. Some nations around the world are beginning to take steps to protect sharks.

Most recently, The Bahamas banned any form of commercial shark fishing in an area of almost 2.4 million square kilometers.

Honduras and The Maldives have also banned shark fishing in their territorial waters.

The Brantford and Oakville city councils in Canada that have banned the sale of Shark Finn soup, and other cities like Toronto in Canada are now considering doing the same.

The states of Oregon, Hawaii and Washington in the USA have banned the possession and sale of shark fins. California is in the process of banning the sale of shark fins. The USA has banned shark fining in it’s waters since 2003.

The Pacific Island nation of Palau established the world’s first shark sanctuary in 2009, which bans the killing of sharks in an area approximately 54000 km2. That’s about the size of France.

Hammerhead caught in gil nets

But in Queensland, the government has actively EXPANDED the shark fining industry over the past 5 years.

They have done this through expansion of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fishery, located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. As well as the ‘Gulf of Carpentaria Inshore Fin Fishery’. These fisheries were expanded explicitly to hunt sharks for their fins.

The main regulations the Qld government has put in place are: that the entire shark body is caught and used (so they don’t just slice of the fins and dump the fish); a system of licensing (S code), these licenses include the right to hunt for shark fin in Morton Bay and the Great Sandy Straits; keeping a daily log book; and that total catches are limited to 950 tonnes per year.

However Luke Tippple claims  that fishing ships that are licensed “S code” are exempt from keeping the entire carcass of a catch.

By the way, these fisheries use ‘Gil Nets’ when hunting shark. These nets have a high level of by-catch. Some of this by-catch are endangered and threatened species. One species of threatened shark is the Black-Tip Shark. The Black-Tip Shark has been found to be sold in Coles and Woolworths as Flake. There are claims dugong and turtles as also killed by East Coast Inshore Fishery practises.

In the 2010 Annual Report of East Coast Inshore Fishery (ECIF), it appears the total catch of shark has dropped by about 50% over the last 3 years. Table 2 shows that in in 2008 they took 1114 tonnes, 2009 they took 968 tonne, while in 2010 they took 501 tonne of shark .

E.C.I.F. claim this demonstrates they are fishing sustainably. With the high price and demand for shark fin, the real reason for this substantial drop is most likely the collapse of local shark numbers in the Great Barrier Reef.

Some shark species take 15 years before reach sexual maturity, and have only one or two pups per year. So numbers are not replaced easily or quickly, increasing their vulnerability to over-fishing.

To become more aware of our marine eco0systems, start by visiting Shark Fining, like Shark Savers on facebook, support Sea Sheppard.

Then boycott Flake and all restaurants that serve Shark Fin Soup (even if you aren’t going to buy it yourself). And mostly importantly, start giving hell to Anna Bligh and the Queensland government!


New poster for Food Not Bombs

As previously mentioned, there will be a Food Not Bombs Kitchen at 1pm Brisbane Square, 16th July. It is an action against Operation Talisman Sabre.

A poster is available for download  at fnbts11poster01.

Also download and distribute the flyer.