On the 29th April at All Hallows Hall in BS5 – it’s party time as we dance to raise funds for our BASE social centre. Thanks to Undo Cru for organising this beauty! Entry is a suggesteed donation of £5-10 on the door, if you can afford it please. If you’re arriving later you might want to be sure to get in by buying an advance ticket from Headfirst, same suggested donation. There’s an FB event here to share to your friends & networks.
Image text: Bass For BASE Fundraiser (with)… Spanner (Ska-punk) The Daltonics (Psychadelic rock) Ironside (Junglism) Elleyphunk (Breaks) Tillwah (Cheesy Classics) Wednesday & October B2B Caveat (footwork & jungle) – Undo Cru Ambisinister B2B Quiche Chegwin (punk & jungle) – Undo Cru Visuals by Bad Touch
At All Hallows Hall, All Hallows Road, Easton BS5 0HH (All Hallows FB page) 8pm-2am on 29.4.23 Powered by Undo Cru
BASE’s Infoshop returns to the Bristol Radical History Festival this Saturday at M shed, by Bristol’s harbourside. The Infoshop will have a full stall on the day, alongside more than 20 other stalls from local and national groups, distros & campaigns. So why not pop by for an hour, or the full day, and check out some of Bristol’s radical ourstory & visual artists, and buy some literature to get those brains cells working overtime!
This will be the 5th Bristol Radical History Festival organised by Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG), which was formed in 2006 and has been running events & publishing local history pamphlets/books ever since. This years Festival has two main themes with 6 meetings on each: Bristol Trade Union History Then and Now – This theme will aim to provide a historical context for the recent burst of trade union activity in Bristol and throughout the U.K. Radical Bristol and the Visual Arts – This theme explores radical visual artists in Bristol over two centuries.
But there’s not just meetings and talks! Along with 3 outdoor history walks – including one on City Centre Squatting at 4pm, there are 4 exhibitions, 3 film screenings, a performance by Red Notes Choir, and of course the 20+ stalls. The full Festival Programme is here, and a paper version will be available on the day. The FB event includes some useful graphics in the discussion thread as to what’s on when! Come and say hi to us during the day eh!
Members of BASE library collective have curated an exhibition of materials from the Poll Tax resistance in Bristol, compiled from archives held at BASE with contributions from other comrades in the area, Bristol Archives and the Bristol Reference Library, as well as images from local photographer Mark Simmons. The exhibition will be on at the Cube Cinema for two months from April 18th, with a Launch Event on the 18th at 6pm, in collaboration with Angry Workers (Bristol), which will include a film screening at 8pm – Get tickets here for ‘From the Poll Tax to the Climate Crisis: What Can We Learn? What Can We Do Now?‘
The inspiration for the exhibition came from finding some forgotten materials from the Poll Tax years in BASE library while the Don’t Pay campaign was being promoted. However, we realised there are more parallels with today than simply the existence of a non payment campaign. By the end of the 1980s, ten years of Tory government had created widespread poverty, unemployment, and disillusionment with politics, with a weak parliamentary opposition failing to represent the poorest people.
It’s no accident that what most people know about the Poll Tax rebellion is the London riot on 31st March 1990. Blood, flames and horses make for lingering images in a way that public meetings just don’t, but it wasn’t a big demo that the government was afraid of. Police violence in Trafalgar Square was simply a failed attempt to crush unstoppable localised organising, which went on for several years before and after this moment. 17 million people refused to pay the tax – many of whom were breaking the law for the first time in their lives.
The exhibition sheds light on the ongoing and often forgotten work of keeping a campaign going locally: outreach among neighbours, regular public meetings, street stalls, organising rapid-response ‘phone trees’ and practical support for non-payers, as well as regular demonstrations on the street and direct action against bailiffs. It also shows the importance of ongoing solidarity in the face of state repression, both for Poll Tax non-payers and people facing charges as a consequence of protests. Over 100 people were jailed for taking part in protests (primarily in Trafalgar Square and Brixton in 1990), and more for refusing to pay and for resisting bailiffs – many of whom remained in prison even after the tax had been formally abolished.
Highlights of the exhibition include previously unseen ephemera, such as an account by local activist Sue Walker of attending the Trafalgar Square demonstration and witnessing police provocation and violence, local fliers, badges and newsletters, prisoner support zines and classic agitprop by Class War, as well as work by acclaimed photographer Mark Simmons, who has been documenting resistance in Bristol for over 30 years.
Resistance to the Poll Tax led to the tax being scrapped, and ultimately to the resignation of Margaret Thatcher. This resistance was radically decentralised with no official leadership, and a lot of organisation coming from people who did not see themselves as ‘activists’ or whose experience came primarily from community support, such as volunteering in unemployed workers’ centres, rather than politics.
At a time of increasing inequality and increasing criminalisation of dissent, we think it is important to keep the lessons of the Poll Tax campaign in mind. We still have time to build a better world, and the practical solidarity and mass organising of the Poll Tax resistance shows us one of the ways we might get there.
Were you active in resisting the Poll Tax in Bristol? Let us know what’s missing from the exhibition and the story we’re telling. Watch this space for a DIY archiving session, time and venue TBC, so we can record our collective histories together and share more stories of resistance. And if you’re interested in joining BASE library collective and helping with the ongoing work of ordering what is in our collection, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 11th April: you can now buy advance tickets for this fundraiser via Headfirst here.
Image Text: Undo Cru presents…Bass for BASE on 29th April 2023.
With – Spanner, The Daltonics, Ironside, ElleyPhunk, Tilwah, and Undo Cru DJ’s.
BASE is an active radical community social hub in the heart of Easton. For 27 years BASE has provided space for the development of community campaigns, support meetings, events with anarchist ideas and international solidarity.
From 8pm to 2am, at All Hallows Hall, All Hallows Road, Easton BS5 0HH (All Hallows FB page) £5-£10 suggested donation (on the door – if you’ve not got an advance ticket!). All profits go to BASE.
Update 11th April:sadly and due to a combination of unforeseen circumstances, the Whatabout Wednesdays mini-cafe has had to close down early…so 5th April was the last one. We hope it will return for winter 2023.
Original article:BASE’s Whatabout Wednesdays vegan mini-cafe will now run on until Wednesday 31st May 2023. Originally conceived as an alternative welcoming space over the cold winter months, offering awesome but cheap food (free to those with no money), our cafe volunteers have decided to run it until the end of May. We hope it will return next November for another winter session.
The mini-cafe not only provides an awesome soup, cakes and hot drinks each week. It also makes available the full range of facilities at BASE, including the cafe & events rooms, the library, toilets, Info Shop & free info, and a good wifi signal.
There’s a range of regulars and new visitors each week, and a laid back atmosphere, plenty of chatting, and quiet spaces if you prefer that. All are welcome at this cafe, between the hours of 11am to 5pm.