Talks 2016


12.00noon: Mary Quaile
A talk about Manchester trade unionist Mary Quaile. During her lifetime (1886-1958) she went from working as a waitress to become one of the most active trade unionists in Britain. She organised women workers through the Manchester and Salford Womens Trade Union Council later as a national member of the TGWU and on the TUC General Council. I will also discuss my interviews with modern “Marys” women who are active in their trade union today; from local government workers to the fast food industry. Women, who like Mary Quaile, believe that trade unions are key to women achieving proper pay and decent working conditions.

1.00pm: Worker’s Power in Under An Hour
In this interactive workshop, participants have the chance to learn some of the up-to-date techniques which the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) uses for on-the-job action. Using material from their full Organiser Training 101 package, IWW organisers guide participants through scenarios to help them take control back from the boss!

2.00pm: Working with and for refugee women in Greece
This talk will focus on how individual women volunteers have provided support and help to refugee women in Athens squats and camps around Greece, including breastfeeding, infant nutrition, improved food supplies and acting as advocates.
“I will also talk about the disempowering roles of the NGOs for both volunteers and refugees with specific examples.
The Red Cross has been particularly bad in my experience and I will focus on how it has contributed to ill health and unwanted pregnancy. I will describe how the Greek hospital system affects women in labour and with new babies .I will finish with information of how those present can help women stuck in Greece by fund raising here and by using their skills in Greece and other areas along the refugee route”.

3.00pm: Fighting Future Prisons
The UK prison population has almost doubled in the last 25 years, and the government is committed to increasing it even further.
Driven by corporations’ demand for cheap forced prison labour, a wave of expensive, privatised, USA-style “mega-prisons” are being forced on Britain’s communities – with Manchester, North Wales and Leicester first in the firing line. The new facilities would take hundreds of millions of pounds away from housing, education and rehabilitation
programmes, leaving prisons a “social service of last resort” for the most vulnerable in society.
Join us for a participatory, action-focussed session to uncover the harm caused to our communuties by the prison-industrial complex, and find out how to get involved in the campaign for transformative justice.

4.00pm: Rojava An Anarchist Perspective
There has been a lot of talk about the revolution in Rojava – the embattled Kurdish northern part of Syria, where Kurdish forces are fighting ISIS while transforming their own society at home along democratic-socialist-feminist-ecological lines.
An anarchist who have recently returned from several months living and working in Rojava will report on the realities of the situation there. Looking at topics such as gender, religion, economics, healthcare, and defence they will describe people’s daily struggles, the organisational structures, the politics behind them, and the relationships between all of those things. The talk will consider how deep the changes really go, what they might mean for anarchists in terms of our support, and what lessons there might be for movements here. After the talk there will be a facilitated question and answer session.

5.00pm: They got their country back: Nationalism
Nationalism is alive and well; some more left-wing (Scottish independence), some more right-wing (Brexit) but the “right of our people to self-determination” has many supporters. In this meeting, we want to present and discuss how nationalists tick, how to criticise them and why we find most critical responses to nationalism rather lacking.
We think it is neither enough to tell workers that they have no country nor to discount nationalism as an imagination of community. Instead, we have to understand what nationalists mean by “we, the people” and criticise these ideas.

6.00pm: The Zapatistas: New Initiatives and Critical Thinking in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra
It’s been 34 years since the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in Chiapas started organizing in clandestinity, 22 years since the Uprising, and 13 years since the Good Government Councils in autonomous Zapatista territory were announced. This talk gives an overview over what has been done to date, of new initiatives since 2013, and introduces the book ‘Critical Thinking in the Face of the Capitalist Hydra’, a collection of contributions of EZLN member to the seminar on critical thinking organized in Chiapas in 2015.
Manchester Zapatista Collective is an adherent of the Zapatista 6th Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, part of the Sixth International (la Sexta), and part of the Europazapatistas. MZC organizes events in solidarity with the autonomous Zapatista communities in Chiapas and with other collectives that form part of the Sixth.