Big Flame

1970-1984

Posts Tagged ‘Big Flame Bulletins’

ANTI-NUCLEAR ACTION (Miscellaneous Big Flame Documents no 6)

Posted by archivearchie on August 23, 2010

This post is the sixth in an occasional series. This site already contains a large number of documents produced by Big Flame or its members. Most can be found in the 30 posts in Episodes in Big Flame History  series . Each post contains links to documents which relate to its theme. Links to the same documents are also listed on the website’s Publications page, this time sorted by type – pamphlets, journals, newspaper, internal documents.

This series aims to add to these documents by making available others I find interesting which didn’t fit with any of the post themes, were overlooked when the posts were written, or a copy was not available to me at the time of the post.

At its December 1980 Conference Big Flame agreed that its priorities should include “the struggle against nuclear power and nuclear weapons”. Another motion passed at the Conference argued that support for the anti-nuclear movement should be from a socialist and anti-imperialist perspective. This meant opposing the militarism of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and focusing on a need for a mass movement willing to take direct action rather than legalistic manoeuvres and public enquiries. Because of BF’s small forces it could not intervene effectively alone, and must debate and discuss with other forces.

Following the Conference BF members were active in CND, END, Women Opposed to the Nuclear Threat and a variety of other groups. A document in the April 1981 Discussion Bulletin addressed the practical issues of what to do next. It considered such as issues as  a focus on power or weapons, the local or national, and how to respond to those who raise the “Russian threat”: The Anti-Nuclear Movement – How Best to Intervene.

The Big Flame newspaper of November 1981 included a four page supplement “Hell, no. We Wont Glow: Socialist/Feminist Perspectives for CND”. Following discussion at a fringe meeting at the 1982 CND Conference, Big Flame members engaged in anti-nuclear activity started producing a bulletin called Anti-Nuclear Action. There were five issues between Spring 1983 and Summer 1984.

Whilst it did say inside that the publication was the product of Big Flame members, there was nothing to indicate this on the cover. It did include contributions from non-BF members. The focus was overwhelmingly on peace issues (particular, Cruise missiles, Trident and Greenham Common) with much rarer articles on nuclear technology (e.g. Uranium mining in Namibia). A sample issues illustrates the style and contents of the publication. This is issue no 4 – undated but from early in 1984. Click here to read: Anti-Nuclear Action no4.

Anti-Nuclear Action is of particular interest as it was the only publication of Big Flame in its last years, after the newspaper was suspended in mid 1983.

Archive Archie

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WOMEN’S STRUGGLE NOTES (Miscellaneous Big Flame Documents no 5)

Posted by archivearchie on July 29, 2010

This post is the fifth in an occasional series. This site already contains a large number of documents produced by Big Flame or its members. Most can be found in the 30 posts in Episodes in Big Flame History. Each post contains links to documents which relate to its theme. Links to the same documents are also listed on the website’s Publications page, this time sorted by type – pamphlets, journals, newspaper, internal documents.

This series aims to add to these documents by making available others I find interesting which didn’t fit with any of the post themes, were overlooked when the posts were written, or a copy was not available to me at the time of the post.

Elsewhere on this site I mentioned Women’s Struggle Notes (see the post on Women and Feminism Part 1). I would now like to consider it in more detail.

This publication first appeared in a duplicated format for around eight issues in 1975-76 and was described as being produced by the “Big Flame Women’s Group”. It was then replaced by a printed version for around another five issues in 1977. During the course of the second series the Editorial Board was expanded to include women who were not members of Big Flame. Responsibility for issues rotated between women from different parts of the country.

As the title implied the focus was on descriptive accounts of struggles. Most of the articles were fairly short. There was a particular emphasis on personal accounts.

This internal document written in 1976 during the lead up to the relaunch provides an insight into discussions about the publication: A New Struggle Notes and the Need for a Changed Perspective for Women. The author reviews the reasons for starting Women’s Struggle Notes (including wanting to build a working class perspective for women, particularly inside the women’s movement) and the criticisms which had been made about it (including not knowing who it was aimed at). She argued for a new direction, which seems to be the one agreed by Big Flame women, of aiming the publication primarily at working class women rather than the women’s movement, and expanding the editorial group to make the publication more than the voice of Big Flame.

A sample issue from the second series demonstrates the style and contents of Women’s Struggle Notes. There is no date on the cover, but it seems to have been published in the first half of 1977.It contains a typical mix of contents. Articles on struggles in a factory in Luton, a hospital in Liverpool, a Wives Support Group from Leicester, and an unfair dismissal case at a Leeds Grocers. Also articles on the experiences of black women, one parent families, and working in a nursery. Finally, articles on the Spanish Women’s Movement, Women’s Health and Housework, and some poetry.

Click here to read: Women’s Struggle Notes (second series) no2.

Archive Archie

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FORD HALEWOOD LEAFLETS AND BULLETIN (Miscellaneous Big Flame Documents no 3)

Posted by archivearchie on May 31, 2010

This post is the third in an occasional series. This site already contains a large number of documents produced by Big Flame or its members. Most can be found in the 30 posts in Episodes in Big Flame History. Each post contains links to documents which relate to its theme. Links to the same documents are also listed on the website’s Publications page, this time sorted by type – pamphlets, journals, newspaper, internal documents.

This series aims to add to these documents by making available others I find interesting which didn’t fit with any of the post themes, were overlooked when the posts were written, or a copy was not available to me at the time of the post.

A wide variety of different sorts of documents have been published on this site. However up to now, there has been little in the way of Big Flame’s more agitational publications. This most aims to provide a few examples of leaflets and a Bulletin.

Over the years Merseyside Big Flame attempted to intervene at a considerable number of different industrial workplaces. However, the one which was the most long lasting and involved the most effort on the part of members was the Ford Halewood Assembly Plant. The documents in this post were handed out or sold outside the gates to Ford workers.

First, three examples of leaflets.

Halewood carries on the Fight  April 1971.

The nine week “parity strike” at Fords took place in January-March 1971. The objective was to bring the wages of Fords workers operating under a Measured Day Work system in line with Midlands car workers on piece rates. The eventual settlement was Initially oppose by workers at Halewood, whilst other plants accepted the offer. This leaflet was produced on the 7th April, the day mass meetings at Halewood decided to go back to work. It argues that the problem is not individual trade unions leader like Jack Jones and Hugh Scanlon who had called for an end to the strike. Rather the differences between rank and file power and trade union officials.

The Fifth Column at Fords November 1971.

The starting point of this leaflet was a dispute in the PTA (Paint, Trim and Assembly), one the two main parts of the Halewood site. It looks at the role of foremen in pushing through speed ups, and argues for collective mass action as the only way to oppose them.

An Open Letter by a Group of Ford Halewood Workers to their Sisters and Brothers September 1972.

The “parity strike” settlement was a two year deal which expired in March 1973. This leaflet reminds workers of developments in the plant since 1971, and sets out a list of demands for the new contract.

As well as the leaflets there was a Bulletin. Consisting of around 12 to 20 duplicate pages, it sold for 2p. There were 14 issues between 1974 and 1976.

Halewood Bulletin no 2 1974.

This is one of the earlier issues. It reflects the typical mix of articles about what is happening in Fords with events in the wider world (in this case the new Labour Government’s “Social Contract”).

For some context on how the perspective in the leaflet and bulletins fitted into Big Flame’s developing positions, see the post on Industry and Workplace.

Archive Archie

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