Timetable update – such is nomadism

We often have little control of our future. The world may turn without us but walls are built by human hands. Li Pallis, where we have been holding these workshops, will be evicted this week.

We build temporary communities through these islands consistently in rotation until we can find the desire and the power to throw our roots to the earth and say enough! This is where we live, this is who I live with.

For me locating collective strength has been what this project has been about. We have seen some incredible people come together, fight each other and feel good for doing so. But this project lives in the shifting cracks and edges of society. When we are forced from this gap we move to a new one. We float on the rubbish and live in the empty spaces left by the production of surplus, and this, I feel, is a reasonable response.

Beyond this existence is the dream of collective ownership, control of production and communal lives. For this we must train to fight to know ourselves, to fight each other to know our comrades and fight together to know our strength.

It has been an experiment that is far from over. It’s location is always to be decided.

Do you have a new location for Keep Fit Comrade Wkshops?

Do you have a space we can use in Hackney?

Can we help you set classes up in your community?

Timetable

Boxing, Kung-Fu. On hold this week till we get a new space

Keep Fit Comrade! Collective fitness. Thursday. Meet 9.30am-11am outside Hackney Town Hall

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Boxing Skill Share Pics

“Boxing has not always been reserved especially for doing demonstrations on the Telethon or for big, spectacular matches. China, in the beginning of the 20th century, torn up by hordes of colonists and starved too long of droughts, saw hundreds of thousands of its poor peasants organise themselves to set up innumerable open-air boxing clubs, to take back what they had been despoiled of from the colonists and the rich. This was the Boxer Uprising. It’s never too early to learn and practice what less pacified, less predictable times might require of us”

The Coming Insurrection

Guard up

Gloves on

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Doikeyt or Living Here and Now


 

Morgenstern sports club

I take inspiration from the resistance of the Bund, the General Union of Jewish Workers, Poland, 1897 to 1943. I try to look a little closer, even from so far, even with an imagination restricted by comfort and time and even within the state’s chorus for the future and I know we can’t fully understand what little we can see but I feel admiration. 

 “While Zionist parties urged Jews to leave and emigrate to Palestine, the Bund took up the call for Doikeyt or Living Here and Now. The critical problems of Jewery needed to be resolved, not by escaping from the hard realities of everyday life, but by addressing them, Here and Now, in Poland, by means of an energetic political and cultural program.” [1] 

 The Bund was created to bring Jewish workers into the Labour movement, it went on to create a world within a world. A world where Yiddish was flourishing, secular education was made available to working class families and theater, song, community and resistance began to define a people whose history and future at the time was marked by instability and persecution. 

The world outside of the one the Bund was constructing wasn’t favorable to a working class Jew. In the organisation’s life span it resisted the 108 hour working week, organised against phases of official racism and deep rooted social racism and joined armed resistance from the impossibilities of the Nazi’s Ghettos, refusing to surrender.

We look closer. In 1926 the Bund created Morgenshtern (Morning Star) a network of community organisations promoting collective empowerment and Socialist ideals through sport. At first Morgenshtern sponsored ‘mass sport’ of the kind that would not glorify individuals but rather the collective, such as hiking, cycling, gymnastics or swimming. Boxing, though at first banned, was recognised as symbolising an important aspect of the strategy of the Bund movement – self defence.

Well Zionists, left and right wing, pushed for immigration to Palestine as a solution to Jewish persecution the Bund rejected it. At the peak of the Bund’s electoral success, one of it’s leaders Henryk Erlich wrote “Zionism has become an ally of anti-Semitism. The Zionist regard themselves as second class citizens in Poland. Their aim is to be first-class citizens in Palestine and make Arabs second-class.” [2]

The Bund believed in a slow, cumulative ‘social revolution’ over the Soviet style seizure of power. Its social cultural program helped the Jews realise who they were and that they were. Their effective unions provided the means to react to organised anti-Semite violence. Their sponsorship of collective sports created a strength in the body that paralleled the strength being grown in the working class Jewish sprit.

In 1936 the death of the leader of the military regime in Poland – who had been more anti-soviet than anti-Semite – gave way to a government promoting Jewish persecution. European and American borders were closed to refugees. True to Doikeyt the Bund fought anti-Semitism in the workplace and on the streets. It organised self defense groups to stop violence against Jewish women and children and prevent assaults against Jewish students on Campuses.

Before the invasion of Poland the Bund was claiming wide electoral popularity and beginning to gather positions on workers councils in cities. The Bund resisted right through the screams of the Ghettos. They continued to print papers, hold meetings and smuggle arms all at the cost of lives. Many died attempting to save those being deported from the Ghettos to the death camps. What was left of the Bund joined the Jewish Fighting Organisation who took several stands against the Nazis (killing 93 soldiers and two tanks) in the Warsaw Ghetto towards the end of the war. The fights lasted a month before those not already dead ran out of ammunition and aidded by Socialst Pols on the other side of the wire escaped through sewers.

Bund Self-Defense Group

These are distant stories to us. We attempt to come closer to them in order to understand how resistance can be built up to be so strong. And yet in doing so we should retain the critiques developed by feminists, anarchist and ecologists.

I am part of no Union nor pyramid organisation. I don’t work for an industry which capitalism depends upon. I know coal is imported from Russia, food is imported from South America and clothes are imported from China. I feel that in any sustainable future the majority of industry would have to cease or transits. I play the game not to win it, but because I have to. My real aim is to smash it. Am I you?

 

Though we are autonomous to our own degrees there will always be a need for collective power, for collective resistance. I know if we mean anything then we must find strength as collectives. We must take ownership of our surroundings. But first we must take ownership of our cultures and ownership our bodies. Then, comrade, we can walk with confident strides together.

 [1] http://www.yivoinstitute.org/digital_exhibitions/index.php?mcid=72&oid=10

[2] Mason, P. Live Working or Die Fighting