Reel News Night: Iceland and Spain – The Untold Stories of Resistance to Austerity

Thursday September 10, 7pm

Ryans Bar, 181 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UI

The politics of austerity, and the established parties who have implemented it, are being increasingly rejected by ordinary people across Europe – but the exhilerating mass movements that are appearing as a result are largely ignored by the mainstream media. Tonight, we’ll be showibng two of the most significant ones, in Iceland and Spain. N.B. We’re expecting a lot of discussion this month, so FILMS WILL START AT 7:30 PM SHARP.

ICELAND: REYKJAVIK RISING (Conscious Collective, 55min)
In response to widespread media silence, this documentary explores how the people of Iceland resisted the measures imposed on them following the crisis of 2008, eventually overthrowing their government. It explores how the writing of the new Icelandic constitution was a truly inclusive and democratic process and how grassroots movements can change the course of history.

DANNY MITCHELL from Conscious Collective will be present to answer questions on the “pots and pans revolution”.

SPAIN – THE END OF AUSTERITY? (Reel News, 34min)
Amazing scenes as citizens platforms representing the mass social movements take over the councils of the biggest cities in Spain, with radical anti-austerity programmes – and no, we’re not talking about Podemos here (although they are involved)!

A number of Spanish activists will be coming to join in the discussion afterwards…

Join us for a night of film, discussion, drinks and music to see what we can learn from these incredible movements…as always, FREE!

Spain – The End of Austerity?/España – ¿Al Final de la Austeridad?

MAJOR NEW REEL NEWS FILM: Completely ignored by the mainstream media over here, the social movements in Spain have just sensationally taken control of the councils of the biggest cities in Spain. The “citizen’s platforms” have agreed everything collectively in assemblies throughout the cities, from who would stand as councillors to what their policies would be – and are now implementing an anti-austerity programme which prioritises an end to all evictions, bringing privatised services back into public ownership, providing free water and electricity to those who can’t afford to pay, guaranteed access to healthcare for all, and an urgent plan to tackle youth unemployment. People are talking about a second 1936…is this is the beginning of the end for the politics of austerity in Europe?
This half hour film also explains the origins and connections between the 15M movement; social movements such as the PAH; Podemos; and the citizens platforms. Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and get inspired and excited…

This is the major industrial dispute in Spain at the moment. Coca-Cola workers in Spain have been fighting to save their jobs for 17 months, when Coca Cola attempted to shut down all four factories there. Milltant rank and file action alongside a boycott of Coca-Cola has forced the company to reopen the factories, but only as warehouses…now the workers are calling for the boycott to be extended beyond Spain as they continue the fight to save their jobs. Support their struggle – boycott all Coca-Cola products.

Major construction dispute erupts in Teesside

Mass pickets at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar bring traffic chaos and local approval as UNITE, GMB and UCATT members take joint action for the first time in 20 years. They are now on their 16th Friday of direct action and civil disobedience against the conditions on a new construction project, run by SITA UK.

SITA UK are exploiting foreign workers and marginalising local workers at the project by paying foreign workers as little as 6 – 8 euros an hour – way short of the £16.10 an hour they should be paying according to the NAECI national industry agreement.

The pickets are demanding that everyone is treated equally – pay the foreign workers the proper rate, and give the many experienced local workers a chance of employment. This is a major dispute – and in the words of one picket, “it needs to go national.”

Follow the campaign on Twitter: #PayTheRate

Direct action wins the day as spectacular & immediate victory humiliates bullying construction bosses at Canary Wharf. 27-7-15

On Monday REEL NEWS attended an inspiring action by supporters of the Blacklist Support Group at the site of Morgan Stanley in the heart of the Canary Wharf financial district. Though in modest numbers the determination of picketers caught both the police and private security off guard. The site entrance was blocked with all 2 workers respecting the picket line. Nearby the management, their private security and the police stood around scratching their heads wondering what to do. There were scuffles at the front door when the protest moved to the main entrance. Within a few hours of the protest management capitulated.

Blacklist Support Group Press Release:

Graeme Boxall, the UNITE shop steward sacked at the Morgan Stanley HQ in Canary Wharf on Friday has been re-employed.
See link to today’s Morning Star front page head
line for details:…

Graeme was dismissed immediately after he requested direct employment for the electricians he represents but following a picket line this morning, negotiations took place between UNITE official Guy Langston and Lee Crompton Phoenix Managing Director. The outcome was that the sacked steward is now re-employed and the union will participate in continuing talks with the company about the direct employment issue.

Police threatened to arrest pickets and managers tried to intimidate the pickets by waving paperwork in front of them saying, “you are on private property and this is document is a High Court injunction which bans this protest”
The rank and file sparks reply was, “so what?”

Following the successful re-employment, protests have now been suspended to allow the union to negotiate the outstanding issues.

Graeme Boxall commented:
“I would like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all those who came down to support me today. I would especially like to thank the vast majority of construction workers on site who showed such solidarity by respecting the picket line, despite all the intimidation from the police and senior managers.
Millions of workers are being denied their basic employment rights by the use of zero hours contracts, employment agencies and umbrella scams. But we don’t have to passively accept these abuses. Today has proved that if we fight back, we can win”.

Links: (1)

Video from Thomas Wood:

Fiasco at Blacklist Trial

Another attempt to criminalise the right to protest was thwarted today – by Tory cuts to the crown prosecution service. Due to staff shortages, not enough time was allocated to the trial of Blacklist Support Group secretary, Dave Smith, for a peaceful protest. As a result the trial had to be adjourned today, and will no go ahead on January 25/26 2016.

Dave was arrested on a protest over the sacking of UNITE member Dan Collins from the Crossrail project:

For the background to blacklisting and the campaign against it up to two years ago, watch this (Frank Morris won his reinstatement shortly after this film was made):


National Gallery flashmob against privatisation

Friday July 17: Campaigners descend on the national Gallery to demand an end to privatisation plans, and for the reinstatement of leading PCS rep there, Candy Udwin – sacked for daring to ask a question about the cost of privatisation.

Workers at the Gallery took their 50th day of strike action this week, with a ballot now underway for an all out strike starting in August.

Earlier this week, Glasgow care workers finally won after being on all out strike for 17 weeks:

UNISON Branch Statement – Homeless Caseworkers Dispute

After seventeen weeks of all-out strike action the Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers have voted by a clear majority to accept an offer from the employer. The offer was recommended to a mass meeting today (21 July) by the union branch and the striking shop stewards and secures the central demand of the dispute – parity on Grade 6 with other frontline social care staff. The offer creates 68 new Grade 6 posts with the council describing that number as a floor. The three temporary caseworkers whose substantive posts are Grade 4 will be given permanent Grade 5 posts elsewhere in the homeless service. There will be a reduction in management posts through voluntary early retirement.

The council has insisted on an assessment process for the new Grade 6 posts and will not make any backdated payment. These were the reasons why those who voted to stay out did so. However the union will be consulted on the nature of the assessment process and workers will receive a one-off payment of £350 whilst the assessment process is completed.

The strike has been successful in winning a £1,000 increase following the assessment process, rising to £5,000 by 2018. In addition, the council has been forced to concede an acceptable number of Grade 6 posts. The assessment process and the lack of any backdated money are a disappointment. In a climate of huge cuts to local government and against a hard-nosed management who tried to undermine the action by using other agencies then the overall outcome of the strike should be celebrated. The seventy strikers conducted themselves magnificently. The UNISON Glasgow Branch is so proud of them – we know that many others across the trade union movement feel the same. Well done to the Glasgow Homeless Strikers!

Thank you to all those who donated so generously to the strike fund, invited the strikers to speak at your meetings and sent messages of support.


Biomass and Coal: Axe Drax demo

Wood and coal campaigners gather outside power station Drax’s AGM to protest over the increasing carbon emissions resulting from burning wood as well as coal. This is also leading to deforestation, displacement of communities and serious pollution problems. Stop the Government subsidies – time to Axe Drax.

Reel News Film Night: Reclaim Brixton, Community Organising and Building Mass Movements

reel news brixton night may 15 for webThe defeat of the Labour Party in the election seems to follow the pattern of social democratic parties across Europe being in crisis through implementing the politics of austerity.
In places like Greece and Spain, people who don’t feel represented by any political party have built huge mass movements and formed their own parties – with housing activism being a major driving force.
Are we sseeing the start of our own mass movement in Britain with the growing housing movement and events like Reclaim Brixton?

Join us for a FREE informal night of films, discussion, music and drinks as we show:

RECLAIM BRIXTON (Reel News 2015) 15:29
Thousands take part in the Reclaim Brixton to send a powerful message to Lambeth Council: Stop selling Brixton off to property developers and start putting people before profit.

Spawned by the US civil rights movement of the 60s, the Panthers were masters of community organisation in a country with very little political representation.

How a mass movement based on solidarity grew to combat savage austerity measures.

SPAIN: INDIGNADOS – 25-S (Reel News, 2012) 15:41
“They don’t represent us!” Spain’s mass movement surround Parliament in 2012, just before the formation of Podemos.

National Gallery dispute: Candy Udwin sacked

A flashmob descends on the National Gallery to protest over the sacking of PCS rep Candy Udwin In the dispute over privatisation. Show your support for the gallery workers: Join the picket lines for the strike on Weds 20 May, the 10 day strike from Tuesday 26 May to Thursday 4 June, and join the national demonstration in Trafalgar Square on Saturday May 30.

London Met: Stop the Job Cuts

A major battle is brewing at London Metropolitan University, where a clueless management is making 165 job cuts – further perpetuating a download cycle which is ruining a university that gives more opportunities to working class and ethnic minority students than any other university. Strike action is now imminent on Thursday May 21 (NOT April 21 as it says in the video!)