Fash in The Pan

A report from Swindon Anarchists’ latest meeting
On Wednesday the 9th of March, Swindon Anarchists held a packed public meeting, with numbers being boosted by a few poorly judged threats from a weird collection of fascist keyboard warriors.
Under 24 hours from our meeting ‘an introduction to anarchism’, we got a call from the venue saying they’d received information that far right groups were targeting the meeting. Sure enough, a quick trawl through facebook showed that  an odd collection of fascist losers with a vivid online imagination but no street presence were claiming that local fascists were planning to ‘smash’ us. As our local fascists main hobby is drinking and in-fighting, we weren’t unduly fussed, but in the context of growing violence from the far right, we thought we’d better be prepared. The next 24 hours saw them swinging between claiming the meeting had been cancelled and that it was still on, but was going to get smashed up by ‘the lads’. Their weird posts attracted comments from even weirder individuals, such as infamous nazi and Todmoredon village idiot David Jones, who claimed he would be along to ‘smash the c*nts in with a sledgehammer’.
While the fascists were busy playing make believe on the internet, we were organizing. In response to the threat, we invited along anti-fascist comrades from the surrounding area and changed the topic of the meeting to ‘how to defeat fascism’.
On the evening, our event was a massive success, with over 30 people attending, including a dozen from nearby towns and cities packing out the meeting. We watched a film detailing the defeat of the National Front in the 1980s before a couple of short clips of the Nazis getting a pasting in Dover and Liverpool. This was followed by a lively discussion about the best ways of dealing with the increasingly minuscule, but increasingly far-right and violent groupsicles that constitute the fascist scene in the UK. At the end of the meeting, a hat was passed around, and we raised a decent chunk of cash which will all be ploughed in to local anti-fascist activity, before most of us headed to the pub.
Throughout the meeting, we had spotters out and about in the local area, with no sign of any fascists.
Ultimately, there are a few reasons why the fascists might have bottled it. It might have been that, while they talk a good game on the internet, they simply can’t muster the footsoldiers to do their dirty work. Alternatively, they might have turned up and bottled it when they saw a packed, diverse, well stewarded meeting, not the few liberal students they seemed to be expecting. Finally, it might have something to do with the fact that the night before, 7-10 fascists tried to attack an anti-racist meeting in Bristol, before getting chased off and taking injuries.
Either way, the Pie and Mash squad’s only response was the picture below, which they claim shows them marching through Swindon to confront us, before getting stopped by police. The obvious flaws in this argument are that our spotters in the area saw no sign of them, that the town in the picture isn’t Swindon, and that it is daylight in their picture, despite our meeting starting at 7.30pm!
We would like to thank everyone who turned up for a great evening and a successful event, with special thanks to the comrades who traveled in from elsewhere to help make sure the meeting passed off safely.
Keep your eyes open for more great events like this one coming up in the near future!

Solidarity begins at home-brew!

As part of the ongoing local campaign to support refugees living in camps around Calais, a local group of brewers have stepped up to the plate by producing a one off batch to raise funds. The beer is an uber-hoppy IPA, weighting in at 5.6% ABV and is being sold at events around the town. All proceeds raised from the brew will go towards supporting Swindon and Chippenham Aid to Calais, a group closely aligned to Swindon Anarchists, in bringing much needed supplies and solidarity to Calais. The same group of brewers were behind a pale ale and a rye IPA flogged to raise funds for Swindon Anarchists. We have it on good authority that they’re gearing up to churn out more beery goodness for other local causes, so keep yer eye out at local picket lines and protests!

hop the fence

Convoys to Calais

In the last few months, Swindon Anarchists have been teaming up with our mates over at People’s Assembly and Swindon Calais Solidarity to offer practical solidarity to the 7,000 refugees living in the camps of Calais. As well as helping to meet the day to day needs of the refugees, we have been doing what we can to build bridges of solidarity and practically support refugees in resisting the violence and racism of the French and English states, whether in the form of tear gas and truncheon happy riot cops, or the razor-wire topped border itself.

In early December, Swindon Anarchists organised 4 vehicles rammed with supplies and volunteers to embark on our second trip to Calais. After a brief stop at a warehouse on the outskirts of Calais to drop off clothes, tents and sleeping bags, we moved on to the camp itself.

As winter continues to bite, we found a subdued atmosphere in the camp, with the majority of the residents staying in their tents and shelters. However, we were glad to see that many of the tents are being replaced with semi-permanent structures which offer more protection from the elements. Our first stop in the camp was the Eritrean area, still recovering from the fire that recently swept through it. As the Eritreans are unlucky enough to be situated near the motorway bridge, they have come under the most direct attack from the police, who have stepped up their shitty habit of indiscriminately launching tear gas into the camp. We found camp residents very receptive to ideas and supplies aimed at offering some protection against tear gas.


Halfway through the day, hundreds of camp residents took part in a protest calling for decent treatment, the right to live in the UK and in memorial of a 16 year old camp resident recently killed by the border regime while attempting to enter the UK. Noticeable amongst the placards and banners were a number of messages of sympathy for the victims of the Paris attacks and making the point that many refugees were also victims of ISIS. After coming face to face with a wall of riot cops, protesters sat in the road, chanted and listened to speeches. We were glad to be able to join the action and would like to express our full solidarity with those inside the camp and around Europe that are taking action against borders and the violence that accompanies them.

calais-demo-3 calais-demo-1

We finished the day by visiting some Sudanese friends and, while we were sad to find out they had not successfully crossed the border, were glad to see that their accommodation had improved from our last visit. After a cup of tea, some swapped phone numbers and an unsuccessful attempt to persuade our hosts that Swindon Town FC were a better team than Man Utd, we left for the day.

While we see the need for the camps to be supplied with donations to make day to day life more bearable, our trips have not been just about charity. As anarchists, we reject the very concept of nations and borders and embrace the rights of all people, not just rich westerners, to freedom of movement. We live in a country in which the vast majority of housing, resources and wealth are controlled by a tiny minority. While the ruling class continue to wallow in luxury, we reject the idea that we are ‘full’ or that we ‘can’t afford’ to offer sanctuary for people fleeing poverty, oppression and bombs dropped by our own leaders in the name of profit. We have more in common with refugees that with our leaders and bosses, who simultaneously stoke hatred of foreigners while hiking our rents, slashing our wages and decimating our schools and hospitals.

Over the course of our two trips, we have raised over £2,500 from ordinary Swindonians, not to mention enough tents, warm clothes and sleeping bags to fill our houses several times over. We feel not only massive gratitude, but also optimism at the level to which the people of Swindon have responded to our calls for solidarity. Plans for a return trip are already being made, and as with the last two, will rely on the support of our community to be successful so watch this space to find out how you can help in future.

For a world without borders or bosses!