No to Welfare Abolition – the national planning meeting

*No to Welfare Abolition – the national planning meeting*

Manchester University Students Union, *Steve Biko Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PR, rooms MR1 and MR2*

Saturday 17th April Arrive 11.30am for 12 noon start. Finish 5.30pm.

Our rights to welfare are under attack from all sides. The Welfare Reform Act passed last year is making it harder for single parents, unemployed workers, people with illness, disabilities or impairments and carers to get by. High profile poster campaigns target ‘benefit thieves’, while benefit fraud is at a low and bankers escape the recession with billions of taxpayers’ money.

17 April is our chance for welfare and disability rights activists, members of unemployed workers’ groups and trade unionists to get to together, build links of solidarity and plan our struggles. If you are organising to defend welfare or want to start doing so, please make sure people from your group come along!

Free lunch will be provided.

Let us know you are coming by emailing *hackneyunemployedworkers@gmail.com*.

Contact *rebecca.galbraith@yahoo.co.uk* if you want to use the free creche.

Join the email discussion list here: * http://groups.google.com/group/no-to-welfare-abolition*

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Class, childcare and the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Below is the text of a leaflet circulated at the WLM@40 conference at Ruskin College, Oxford, UK, (http://www.wlm40conference.org.uk/booking.html).

Class, childcare and the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Anticapitalist feminists have written a letter to the organisers of the wlm@40 conference, raising concerns about the price of the event and the lack of childcare at the conference.

According to the call for papers

“The aim of this conference is to create a space for debate about the issues facing feminists today and celebration of feminist work. WLM@40 will capture the energy, vibrancy and vision of the first [Women’s Liberation Movement conference held at Ruskin College in 1970], building on the foundations that it laid. This conference will reflect on the historical significance of the 1970 (and later) conferences, share information and skills for contemporary feminist activism, create and celebrate feminist art and look to the future of feminism(s). Speakers will cut across boundaries of age, class, location and sexuality and voices that were originally absent will now be heard.”

It is hard to imagine how a conference that is so prohibitively expensive will cut across class boundaries.

To be working class often means that we do not have access to the funds to do the things we would like to do and many things are put out of our reach.

As women living under capitalism, all our work is undervalued and underpaid and we receive no income for the work as carers we often do. Many of us in the UK are dependent on paltry state benefits and those of us who are in paid work are facing increasing strain on our already stretched budgets.

The feminisation of poverty is something that we are all aware of, and much grass roots feminist activism targets this fact.

Much of feminist activism is unpaid, we do it for free and in our spare time, because we care about women and the conditions we face. The majority of feminist groups, organisations and campaigns are underfunded, if funded at all.

As feminists we recognise the oppressive and inherently exploitative nature of capitalism, we feel its effects in our everyday lives, so we act in solidarity with those around the world who experience the far worse effects of the capitalist nightmare — death, poverty, ecological destruction, etc.

The past few years have seen an increase in feminist activism around the UK, much of it anticapitalist, and it is only right that this should be celebrated. The first conference 40 years ago was dynamic and historically significant, and it would be great if this conference could build on this. We need to rebuild the Women’s Liberation Movement in order to effect the societal change we need. However, we cannot build a movement if only those with the privilege of ready cash get to contribute. We should always be about accessibility and inclusiveness, after all we are organising around the very fact that patriarchal society is not inclusive of women, and actively excludes people on the basis of gender, class, race, sexuality, ability, age, etc.

The means must reflect the vision. How we organise must reflect the vision of what we’re fighting for, anything less is counter-revolutionary. That means that events must be accessible, affordable and always inclusive.

 

In relation to childcare at the wlm@40 conference

 

The original conference had a free crèche that was organised by men. This conference will have no childcare, but will instead offer parents or carers a list of registered local childminders with whom they can place their child, and presumably pay for this themselves.

One of the first four demands of the Women’s Liberation Movement, which, ironically, were formulated at the first Ruskin conference in 1970, was the demand for free 24 hour childcare, because feminists have always recognised that many women have always been unfairly excluded from much of mainstream life by their childcare and caring responsibilities. The demand for decent, free childcare for all has always been one of the basics of feminist activism. How can we demand this of society in general, if our own events are lacking in decent free childcare?

Women who are parents and carers are often in underpaid work, or are dependent on state benefits; the money we do have has to pay for our families, and not just ourselves.

The price of this conference will rule it out for many working-class and lower paid women, especially parents and carers, and the lack of free childcare is a double insult.

Because of the way this conference has been organised, most of us are not here, although we would very much like to be. 

Will we be missed?

Radicalfeminists4wlmat40@hotmail.co.uk

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Some Feminist Events happening this weekend in london to celebrate IWD

Its international womens day on monday and as such there are lots of
feminist events happening in london this weekend.

Million Women Rise – Saturday 6th of march from 12 – march and rally. 3rd
national women only march to celebrate International Women’s Day and
demonstrate against violence against women.
From the million women rise website at  http://www.millionwomenrise.com.

“Million Women Rise is a coalition of individual women and representatives
from the Women’s Voluntary and Community Sector who have come together to
organise an annual national demonstration against male violence which
coincides with International Women’s Day in March each year.

On the demonstration, we celebrate and honour women’s activism, courage
and achievements and continued struggle against global male violence in
all its forms. Million Women Rise is an expression of women’s continued
resistance and struggle against global male violence. The first
demonstration in 2008 saw 5000 women and children take to the streets of
London. It was the largest, recent demonstration of women in UK history
and the most diverse demonstration many of us had ever attended.”

London anarcha feminist kolektiv will be on the march. if you would like
to march with us we will be meeting at the meeting point (park lane,
oppopsite speakers corner) from 12. We will converge near the back, look
for the black and pink banner).
Please note this a women only event, although the rally at trafalgar
square is all-genders.

Sunday 7th March
Reclaiming birth march and rally
This event is happening because AIMS, NCT, RCM, IMUK, Albany Mums and
Midwifery Practice, many parents and midwives are so concerned about the
state of maternity services and the lack of options available to women.
Matters were brought to a head by the sudden closure of the highly
successful and loved Albany Midwifery Practice in south London.

1pm Assemble in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park,
Lambeth Road, London SE1 4EQ
March to whitehall for rally.
For full details visit http://www.aims.org.uk/reclaimingbirth.htm. this is
an all genders event – please support
LAFK are suuporting this campaign and will be in attendance, please look
for our banner if you’d like to march with us.

London Freeschool, 195 Mare Street – all weekend. for full details visit
http://londonfreeschool.wordpress.com/

Friday 5th March

————————————————————————————————————

•19.30 – 21.00 : Safer Space Policy discussion
•21.00 onwards : food/social
————————————————————————————————————

Saturday 6th March

————————————————————————————————————

Bar / Chill out space

•12.00 – 12.30 : Discussion/presentation of the Safer Space Policy •All
day Free tutorials for humanities students (turn up and ask for the
facilitators)
Workshop Space 1

•12.30 – 14.30 : Direct Action/ Blockading
•14.30 – 16.00 : Spanish lesson
•16.00 – 19.00 : A DIY Radio Workshop
Workshop space 2

•12.30 – 14.30 : Sexual Consent
•14.30 – 16.00 : Charm Offensive: a group discussion on charisma and
authority.
•16.00 – 17.30 : What have feminism tendencies brought to autonomous
politics in the seventies? How the perspective of feminism transcends
marxist/anarchist perspectives?
•17.30 – 19.00 : What are Children For?

Workshop Space 3
•12.30 – 14.30 : Downloading Workshop
•14.30 – 16.00 : Free and Open Source Software
•16.00 – 17.30 : Free Art/Expression workshop
Workshop Space 4

•All day: Welding (just come round and ask the facilitator to show
you!)Movie space

•… schedule to be made
Welding will happen all day

19.30 : Daily general debrief

————————————————————————————————————

Sunday 7th March

————————————————————————————————————

Bar / Chill out space

•12.00 – 12.30 : Discussion/presentation of the Safer Space Policy •All
day Free tutorials for humanities students (turn up and ask for the
facilitators)

Workshop Space 1
•12.30 – 14.00 : Misogyny, Oppression and Gyoza
•14.00 – 15.30 : French lesson
•15.30 – 17.00 : Experiences and politics of the menstrual cycle (self identified women only)
•17.00 – 18.30 : Feminist Self Defence (self identified women only) 

20.00 –  21.30 : Making Beards & Homemade Stuffers (self identified women only)

Workshop Space 2
•12.30 – 14.00 : Surprisingly empowering “womens  work
•14.00 – 15.30 : Gender & Mental Health: Dora’s Case
•15.30 – 17.00 : London Profeminist Mens Group presentation
•17.00 – 18.30 : Workshop of Nothing

Workshop Space 3
•12.30 – 16.30 : Costume / Underwear Making

Workshop Space 4

•All day: Welding
Movie Space

•12.30 – 16.00 : The Game of War
•16.00 – 17.30 : Nomadic Queer Movie night
19.00 : Daily general debrief

Followed by a social / dressing up party!

Other Workshop happening but yet to be scheduled :

Puppet Making

Bike Repair

For full details of whats happening over the next few days and weeks to
celebrate international womens day visit, http://iwd2010.wordpress.com/.
for more information about international womens day and its history
(herstory) visit http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp

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London anarcha feminist kolektiv is open to new members

London anarcha feminist kolektiv is open to new members.

If you would like to get involved with the kolektiv, please come to our next meeting which will be this sunday the 28th of February from 7 at Larc, 62 Fieldgate Street, london E1 1ES, http://www.londonarc.org.

if you would like to get involved but are unable to attend this meeting, please email us at lafk@riseup.net and we can give you the details of future meetings.

Please note that we are a women and transfolk only group.

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plotting and scheming for welfare not workfare

*please repost
 
On 12 November, it became legal to force unemployed people to work for their benefits – to do 40-hour-weeks for under a third of the minimum wage. The Government’s Welfare Reform Act introduced ‘Work for your Benefit’ pilot schemes, which once completed can be rolled out without any further debate. It also attacked single parents – who face sanctions if they fail to prepare for work outside the home as soon as their child turns three – and people with impairments, disabilities or severe and enduring illnesses.
 
Two days later, members of twenty-three different groups from around the UK met to share information and plan resistance to these pernicious attacks, which will take their toll on working-class and low-income communities. Groups present included Unemployed Workers Unions from six cities across the UK, the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, Southwark Mind,WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), SingleMothers’ Self-Defence (part of Global Women’s Strike) and members of the union in the Department of Work and Pensions – PCS. They were joined by feminist and other groups (all listed below).
 
The strength to be gained from meeting in solidarity with each other was immense and created a real sense that a movement is building: a movement which will not only fight the immediate attacks of the Welfare Abolition Act, but draw out the connections between our struggles and together challenge the ideology driving them. The Act seeks to make our worth dependent on work; work defined in the really narrow terms of waged work for someone else’s profit. By making us compete with those in waged work for non-existent jobs, it helps drive down wages and conditions. We all take the brunt as the rich make even more money out of us.
 
• We want solidarity with and from people in low-income, temporary and insecure work. These are the jobs that ‘work-for-your-benefit’ would replace.
• We want caring to be recognised as important work in society. Single parents are already working and benefits are their entitlement to a social wage.
• We want justice for people with severe or enduring illnesses. The drive to get people off incapacity benefits and Employment and Support Allowance and into work is making people more ill with stress. Only we know what we are capable of and it is wrong for conditions and sanctions to be imposed on us to force us into unsuitable work, unwanted “work-related activity”or “motivation sessions” which press us into their programmes of treatmentfor addictions and other conditions.
• We want the right not to work. People not in waged work contribute loads to their communities. We do not want to be forced into mind-numbing,insecure work that leaves us no better off, or worse off than on benefitsand definitely not at £1.27 an hour!
• We want free, high-quality, public services to support older people andpeople with impairments/disabilities. People should not have to become employers managing ‘individual budgets’ in order to access the care they need.
• We want to stand in solidarity with migrant workers. Just as unemployed people are pitted against people in work, so migrant workers are pittedagainst us. We believe that we must stand together and demand all of our rights together.
• We want to fight privatisation of the Department for Work and Pensions.Attacks on DWP and Jobcentre Plus workers are attacks on our rights toaccess welfare. We will support the PCS’ fight against cuts.
• We want an end to the apartheid system of benefits, healthcare and housing for asylum seekers. UK Border Agency support should be scrapped– where people are forced to survive on incomes far below benefit levels– which are already set at subsistence level. No slum housing and dangerous and dirty hostels, dispersal, or vouchers.
 
After a day of info-sharing, outrage and scheming, we formed a few working groups. If you’re able to help out with any of the projects, please email hackneyunemployedworkers@gmail.com
1. Media working group – monitor and respond to hostile articles in the media.
2. Our propaganda – creating posters, newsletters etc to get our messages out 3. Website – put together a website as a space to share resources, feedback and comment, get the word out about our campaign and publicise local and national action.
4. Our welfare rights – compiling information to help us access our rights now and creating ‘Know your rights’ leaflets.
5. Defeating the Work for your Benefits pilots – research to support the network to take action against the pilots.
 
If you want to stay in touch, please join our discussion list here:http://groups.google.com/group/no-to-welfare-abolition
If you agree with our demands above and would like to take part in ourcampaign, please ask your group to sign up to this statement and email hackneyunemployedworkers@gmail.com
And put the next national meeting in your diary now…. 17 April in Manchester!
 
The meeting had people in attendance from: South Manchester Community Union, London Anarcha-Feminist Kolektiv, London Coalition Against Poverty, Feminist Action, Defend Welfare Newcastle, Manchester Unemployed WorkersUnion, Cambridge Unemployed Workers’ Union, PCS, Hackney UnemployedWorkers, Single Mothers’ Self Defence, Winvisible, Alliance for Workers’Liberty, Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, Southwark Mind, Women’s Office Manchester Student Union, Riveters feminist group in Manchester,Feminist Fightback, Industrial Workers of the World, No Borders, StopDeportations, Anarchist Federation, Communist Students, SalfordUnemployed Workers’ Union.
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Call out to anarchafeminists to form an anarchafeminist network

Call Out to AnarchaFeminists

This year anarchafeminists around the UK and Ireland organised massively.

No Pretence forced some visibility within the anarchist movement, we created zines including ‘RAG’, ‘Chickweed‘ and ‘What the fuck is anarchafeminism anyway?‘. We created safe spaces to explore health and practical skills, and organised actions.

Can we go further and create a national or even international network of anarchafeminists (of any gender) to work on countrywide actions, activities and publishing?

Please come and discuss the possibility of a network for national and international anarchafeminist actions and solidarity. …. but first lets eat lunch together.

Lunch served at 1pm on Sunday 25th October (weekend of the Anarchist Bookfair in London.) at LARC (London Action Resource Centre) at 62 Fieldgate St, E1 1ES.

It will be followed by a meeting ending at 3pm.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide childcare for this meting, but children are very welcome to attend.

This meeting is open to anarchafeminists of all genders.

See you there,

London Anarcha Feminist Kolektiv

lafk@riseup.net

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chickweed available as pdf

chickweed, our zine about herbalism and anarchafeminism, is finally available as a pdf to save or print at the zine library.

instructions for printing here.

Enjoy!

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