We rose early and breakfasted well as we anticipated the day ahead. The targets had been well defined, plans drawn up with military precision and we were off.
The first action involved a picket and communications blockade by a powerful alliance of unionists and activists from Bristol General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Dorset Socialists, Wessex Solidarity, and Solent Solidarity Federation.
The picket was set up because a good and conscientious worker at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park in Swanage had been sacked in October 2012 for drawing attention to health and safety concerns, was victimised for membership of the IWW and threatened with local blacklisting. We had chosen the summer to get the message across to the biggest number of people.
The picket was in place promptly at 10.00 in the morning and was a good natured, lawful and peaceful affair that did raise some curiosity amongst the holiday makers at the park.
It was wonderful to see holiday makers and activists getting along so well and a large number of leaflets were handed out explaining why we were there. The activists went to extraordinary lengths to reassure the holidaymakers that we weren’t there to spoil their holiday and that if they agreed with our contentions to express their concern to the management at the park who are notoriously bad employers in the Dorset area.
Several holidaymakers expressed their solidarity with our action before they went off to enjoy their day and we can only hope that they had a wonderful time.
Reaction from the management at the park proved to be a different story. One young man who we believe to be a junior (in status not age) member of the family that own the park was rather rude and not a little threatening to one of our female activists who had travelled all the way from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. It gives me enormous pleasure to report that this solid comrade was well able to stand her ground and not be intimidated by this inappropriately butch moron.
The communications blockade which, we believe was being conducted from all over Europe, seems to have kicked in around this time and was proving extremely effective. We observed, with some pleasure, that a certain Mrs Karen Jackson, admin manager and daughter of the site owner appeared after about half an hour of setting up in a state of some agitation and with a massive amount of paper. Job done.
After about an hour and a half a large 4×4 police vehicle turned up crewed by a couple of Dorset’s finest. Within less than 5 minutes the jolly boys in blue had been reassured by an activist there was nothing to worry about, accepted one of our leaflets and drove off to, obviously, more urgent duties never to be seen again.
By about 12.30 our point had been made and we moved on to support another action in Portsmouth while the IWW in America continued the communications blockade.
A redoubtable group of concerned Portsmouth citizenry had gathered to tell the English Defence League (EDL) that they weren’t welcome there. Why Nazi’s would want to advance their cause in a British naval port that had been bombed to bits by Nazi’s during World War 2 is anyone’s guess. We can only wonder.
Sadly we were badly held up in traffic at Ringwood. We arrived in Portsmouth at around 3pm and we able to link up with some of the people who had turned out to oppose the laughable EDL action.
Eye witness reports from reliable sources witnessed that for the most part, the bone heads in the EDL, after throwing some fireworks at innocent passers-by and being not a little the worse for drink had comprehensively defeated their own shambolic effort by turning on each other and fighting amongst themselves.
Tired but happy we got home around 10pm after a lot of road miles, chanting, singing, having nice conversations with holiday makers and some top-notch solidarity with the citizens of Portsmouth.
The icing on the cake had to be something we saw on the newsstand at Bournemouth railway station when we stopped off for a well earned coffee and bar of choccy.
‘Police give in to mob rule’ screamed the headlines from a Daily Mail newspaper, one of many on the stand which judging by the number still there at 8.30pm hadn’t sold too well that day.
The headline was referring to a story from Balcombe that Cuadrilla, the drilling company involved in the fracking controversy in Sussex had suspended operations.
How much better could it get? Well 3 victories in one day won by committed activists from all across the spectrum of decent and well motivated working people has to be something to crow about – doesn’t it?
So there we have it. A grand testimony to what decent ordinary people can achieve when they stand in solidarity with each other regardless of race, gender, creed, or sexual preference or state borders.
If I was an establishment bourgeois toff I would be very, very worried by these developments and with good cause.
Anon – somewhere in Dorset– Sunday 18th August