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(en) Australia, Brisbane Solidarity Network - FAQ

Date Sat, 19 Jan 2013 10:05:14 +0200


Brisbane Solidarity Network is a grassroots initiative which aims to organise, through direct action and mutual-aid to contribute towards the building of a non-hierarchical anti-authoritarian solidarity movement. -- â Q: What is Brisbane Solidarity Network? ---- Brisbane Solidarity Network is a volunteer grassroots initiative which aims to use mutual-aid & direct action to: ---- â Defend our rights against bosses, landlords and those who hold power over our lives; and, ---- â Distribute practical information to assist people in their struggles. ---- ~Are you having a problem with your employer? Is your boss withholding your wages? Have you been denied your breaks? Are you working in unsafe conditions? Are you being mistreated or discriminated against? ---- ~Are you having a problem with your landlord? Is your landlord refusing to return your deposit? Is your landlord refusing to make repairs? Are you living in unsafe conditions?

When we try to fight abuses like these on our own we can get caught up in our powerlessness or the rollercoaster of bureacracies. By coming together to fight for a demand we can let those in power know that if they touch one, they touch all. You can get in touch to be notified of actions and opportunities to volunteer in whatever way suits you.

~BSN takes inspiration from the ideas and tactics found within the anarcho-syndicalist tradition, as well as from established solidarity networks around the globe. We are about being active in our communities, neighbourhoods and workplaces - and supporting each other as equals to improve our conditions and complement struggles for a better world. We are against all political parties and bureaucracies. We see our efforts as helping to build a non-hierarchical working class solidarity movement.


â Q: What do you do?

A:

All of us at some point in time have suffered from unjust treatment from employers, landlords, or other institutions which hold unnacountable power over our lives. We believe that by working together people can protect themselves from exploitation, improve their situation and begin to build the foundations for a better world. .

When disputes arise - whether its a dodgy landlord who has stolen bond, or a boss withholding wages - people linked to BSN can be sure that they have a broad network ready to back them up. We come together to make a set of demands that would resolve the problem, present these demands, and, if this fails to resolve the offense; to organise a direct-action campaign to win a resolution.

Some examples: [1] House Occupation [2] Slumlord Action

This can mean coming together against abusive behaviour from a boss or landlord, but it's also about empowering all those involved, spreading our collective power, creating a strong culture of communality, solidarity and mutual-aid. We see this process as one that moves towards gaining more control in the work/housing process itself - a step towards total self-management - transforming and democratising society down to its very roots.

We also aim to put on regular events, including reading groups, fund-raisers and stalls, and hand out literature and practical info around topics such as direct action, housing, consent, gender, decolonisation, self-management, anti-authoritarian ideas and workplace/ neighbourhood organising.

For more information on tactics, actions and ideas see:

How to Build a Solidarity Network (By SeaSol)
or
BSN Paper on Solidarity Networks

â Q: Iâm being kicked around by a landlord/boss, what can I do?

If you're being taken advantage of by an employer or landlord and want to do something about it, Don't fight alone! There are people in Brisbane who can bounce ideas, organise and fight with you through mutual support and collective action.

You can contact BSN either by leaving a message on our voicemail service, emailing us or filling out our contact form below. It is also recommended that you check out our resources page (especially our handbook) for other useful information.

If contacted, volunteer(s) will meet with the person engaged in a dispute to discuss the issues, grievances and ways forward. This can go a number of ways- In considering whether or not to support a particular employee-employer or tenant-landlord conflict, there should be discussion and dialogue around the following:

â Is the dispute legitimate & winnable?
â Could we rally enough people to support the dispute, even if it drags on for a while?
â Is the person willing to be highly involved and lead their own dispute? This is solidarity not charity.
â Are they willing to stick with the solidarity network beyond their own struggle and support others?
â Does the network have the resources (emotional/physical/time etc) to be able to commit to the fight?

Depending on these factors, there are several pathways that can be taken. A decision might be made to look at other options depending on the nature of the dispute (housing information/legal info etc) for example, and/or there may be a decision to organise a direct action campaign.



â Q: How do I get involved?

A:

BSN is controlled directly by its membership, and your level of involvement is completely up to you.

You can:

â... Become a supporter by keeping in the loop with events (reading groups/ actions / pickets /films etc).
â... Come to actions to support people in their disputes (such as picketing a boss, visiting a landlord etc)
â... Send through information on potential disputes or distribute flyers [1], [2] / posters, flyers
ââContact us to be put onto our phone tree/mailing list to find out when things are happening
â... Come along to one of our fortnightly meetings, get involved as an organiser etc

If you'd like come to general meetings, have any questions or want to find out when events are on contact us here. Someone wishing to become a member of BSN has the opportunity to attend an upcoming meeting, and meet prior to it so as to have space to ask any questions.

At present we have two types of membership

1) Supporters âââ:
Supporters are people who would like to support actions and keep updated around events, but do not want to become organisers. These are people that pass on their contact details to stay in touch with events.

2) Organisers âââ
Organisers are people who can commit time and energy to meetings and organising, and agree with its general aims and principles. Email us for a copy of our general aims and principles.
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