London, England [Letter about anarchist actions in support of the miners strike; bulletin contents]

Dear Comrades/Sisters and Brothers, 

First of all England is subject to creeping Tory fascism. Not only have we seen the once mighty Mineworkers Union fall victim to Thatcher’s policies but now we have more stringent laws against trade unionism, picketing, etc. There is a new Public Order Bill coming up which provides for up to 10 years in prison for riotous behaviour. Since the defeat of the miners, a depression seems to have engulfed our movement. In Britain, though there is more class consciousness than in North America, it’s at a pretty low ebb, which is why the organized working class watched the miners stoned into submission without lifting a finger or striking a blow. 

We in the Direct Action Movement were pretty active with the miners’ strike, collecting funds, helping on picket lines, etc. Consequently anarcho-syndicalism (anarchism) got a good name with the miners who were sick of the so-called “Left” who only pushed their particular brand of “bossism.” The international anarcho-syndicalist unions in Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Holland and Italy were all acting in solidarity, sending money, providing holidays for miners’ kids, organizing tours for miners delegations etc., all without the support of the Mineworkers/NUM bureaucracy. 

Finally can I add a plea to the members of SRAF to please write letters describing political events, opinions, etc. and not person trivia? Everyone has personal problems and gripes but the pages of our anarchist federation bulletin is not the place for them. 

I suggest the SRAF editorial people exercise a discreet censorship (dare I say it?) and refuse to print personal trivia which has no bearing on the political arena. Either SRAF continues to act as a talking shop for uncommitted loonies (not all) or else it becomes a viable anarchist federation with all that entails. So to make censorship unnecessary I beg the comrades to act responsibly (as Durruti would say) and submit only genuine political letters. 

I’ll send a donation to the long-suffering SRAF editors as soon as finances allow. In the meantime, yours in love and struggle, 

Pete Ridley 

Salud y Anarquia 

From: SRAF Bulletin 91 (Nov.-Dec 1985) [Thanks to the comrades at CIRA]