Online info-share and networking for anti-authoritarian / anti-capitalist activists involved in groups active in their local communities

 We are calling a second meeting following a successful and constructive online meeting on May 19th of around 20 anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist, pro-working class and pro-community activists based in groups active in their local communities around the UK. [See report when you register on the eventbrite link]. Any groups or individuals involved in an active non-hierarchical group who agree with the above politics is welcome to join in the planned discussion next Tuesday to share information, experiences and thoughts about what are we doing in our local communities during the covid-19 crisis, and what should we aim to be doing in our local communities after this crisis. See the proposed agenda below, based on the issues discussed at the first meeting and feedback from the circulation of that meeting's notes. 


Much like the elderly forced to walk laps and climb stairs to raise money for the NHS, the scrubs movement has been popularised by mainstream media as part of a ‘national effort’ at a time of ‘war’ fighting an ‘enemy’ we allegedly cannot see. We are being encouraged to paint rainbows and clap for the bravery of the health workers, when in reality we are sending them to their deaths. As of today (19/4/2020), at least 86 health and social care workers have died of COVID-19. The enemy is not invisible, it has been sitting in the leathered seats of parliament, imposing years of austerity which have left the health system bare to the bone; it has criminalised and worn down benefit claimants with strategies of surveillance, sanctions and deterrence; it has exploited the labour of key workers living hand to mouth, whilst endowing inessential services with bonuses, tax rebates and bailouts.

The current PPE scandal is no different

At the end of January 2020 it was already clear that a country like the UK, which had been de-industrialised through decades of neoliberal economics, was not going to be able to cope with the demands for PPE. The Tories had a simple answer: “people are going to die” and their fellow eugenicists chimed about “herd immunity” and supposed facts based on “science”. And once again, the working class was put to slaughter. After years of vilification and abuse, they were placed at the knife edge of this crisis. COVID-19 is not the touted ‘great leveller’, it is disproportionately culling the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and BAME communities. 70% of NHS workers killed by COVID-19 are BAME. Workers who have been brought to the point of desperation and are starting to fight under the slogan “no kit, no care”, facing suspensions and potentially prosecutions for negligence if they fail to continue to work, in spite of a lack of protection.

We are now entering our fourth week of running one of the many autonomous scrub production units that have sprung up as forms of mutual aid across the country. We provide scrubs to all sorts of health workers who are lacking access to them in their workplaces. Staff who have had to perform C-sections on women wearing soiled clothes, scrub-less doctors bringing infections back to their family homes, workers on respiratory wards without protection, homeless nurses, social care providers looking after the elderly and disabled, trainee nurses sent to COVID wards wearing flimsy plastic aprons and bin bags. These are just to name a few.


“Clap for Carers” but now they want our money as well

For the last three Thursdays we have been asked to “clap for carers”. As we have said before, we fully support all NHS staff (and in fact all workers) and the appreciation they are getting. But, we also need to remember why we are in the position we are in, where the NHS is under staffed; doesn’t have enough beds; and many staff have to claim benefits to top up their disgustingly low wages. Presently staff don’t have enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); we are scrambling around to find more beds; we don’t have enough ventilators; and testing is woefully short. All of this didn’t happen overnight – it’s because of years of successive governments not giving a damn about NHS staff and ordinary people’s health. This was never a “mistake” or “over-sight”. It was a cynical, calculated policy by our so called leaders.

Now, on Thursday 9th April we are being asked to not only clap for the state underfunding our health service and putting our health workers lives at risk (and maybe up to a dozen have already died due to this), but we are also being asked to donate.

These donations go to an organisation called “NHS Charities Together” and they are asking for a fiver from all of us. It seems, this money then goes to the charitable trusts most hospitals have to set up to beg for money from local people, because the state under funds them.


A statement from some of us in Haringey Solidarity Group

 We TOTALLY respect, appreciate and support all that those in the NHS are doing and putting themselves through, along with millions of other essential workers. But, we have concerns that the Clap For Carers gesture will be seen as a smoke screen for the government’s handling of the current situation.

 Whilst it was a way for ordinary people to show their genuine support for care workers, it also takes the spotlight off the state for their pathetic attempts at protecting and supporting essential workers, whilst at the same time shoring up the business sector and donors to their parties. The governments lack of foresight and mismanagement is nothing short of astounding.

 Our care workers need more than a two-minute round of applause – as heart felt as it was from all of us. They need us to support their demands for the tools they need to do the job effectively.  They don’t have enough personal protective equipment, resulting in staff are being asked to work in dangerous environments. They don’t have enough staff and its bloody criminal that we ask retired NHS staff to cover when we have known for years we have between 30,000 and 100,000 vacancies in the NHS. NHS staff have been undervalued and under paid for years by successive governments of all colours. The financial crisis was brought about by the financial  sector yet public sector workers and the poorest in society were made to pay for it.


Date: Weds 9th - Mon 14th Aug
Location: Colesdale Farm, Northaw Road West, Cuffley, Hertfordshire EN6 4QZ  (Trains from Finsbury Park/Hornsey etc)

It's described as: Five days of skill-sharing for grassroots ecological direct action - make links, share ideas, and get involved in the struggles against fracking, new roads and more.

It's organised on non-hierarchical lines and, although I'm sure daytrippers would be welcome, if you can stay over you'll get to appreciate the beauty of the morning meetings, the true pleasure of toilet cleaning by consensus and more.

The workshop programme hasn't been finalised but a list of proposed workshops can be found on the EF!SG website:

Even if environmental activism isn't your thing, there are a lot of workshops that are relevant to many people in or around HSG, e.g.
- Not seen, not heard: moving about in the dark without being detected. 
- How to do allyship / solidarity activism?
- Seeing beyond the crises: the role of speculative fiction
- Liberating Life: The Kurdish Women's Movement and Women All Around the World
- Ecology and autonomy: an anarchist midwife's view of birth

There is a lot more information on the site about cost, travel directions and accessibility.  So have a look.