February 22, 2011

thank you!

We hope that everyone who attended Sunday’s workshop day had a great time. The whole anticutsleeds team, including some new faces, absolutely loved it – and can’t wait to do another one! It was well-attended, there was a lot of cake, and an impromptu choir was formed too.

We’ve got some fantastic images and videos from the day – including audio clips that you can listen to here on one of our member’s blog – but we’d like to hear from you. If you have any photos, images, drawings or comments, please let us know either on Twitter or by emailing anticutsleeds[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

February 19, 2011

don’t forget tomorrow!

There’s been lots of exciting emails flying around the Anticutsleeds gang, talk of re-working, painting, banners, sewing machines, chords, and lots of fantastic ideas (and cakes) for our Creative Protest Workshop Day tomorrow!

You can find the original information here but just a quick recap – it’s in the I Love West Leeds Festival Shop on Town Street, Armley from 12pm – 3pm. Bring instruments, noise makers, painting stuff, crafty bits, yourself, and cake if you’d like, to work with us creating exciting, original forms of artistic protest.

Don’t forget to bring your best performance poses too, as we’ll be launching our Virtual Protest Project, a website where you can upload images, videos and text to take part in protest if you can’t make the ones in London (like March 26th) or locally, whatever the reason. There’ll also be people on hand to talk to about our group and other ways you can become involved, or if you have any questions about where you can information they’ll try their best to help.

Hope to see you there, and don’t forget to tweet us (@anticutsleeds) or use the hash tag #anticutsleeds to let us know your thoughts!

February 15, 2011

David Harvey animated RSA lecture

I’ve been reading a lot of David Harvey‘s writing over the last few days for university, and so I thought this video might be of interest. The RSA’s animated series is excellent; you can watch the whole lot here. I think this video does an excellent job of explaining some of the more complicated questions and ideas about current crises of capitalism.

February 14, 2011

Creative Protest Workshop Day

As we mentioned in the previous post, we’ve organised an event for Sunday 20th February, a day of creativity and activism!

We’re inviting everyone to come and join us in making banners, placards, costumes, songs, instruments, chants and anything else that you might need for a creative, peaceful protest. We’ll have materials (but please bring your own too and instruments) and some ideas but we need you to come and have some FUN and CREATE!
There will be free tea and cake (if you can bring cake please do!) and it is for everyone – kids or no kids, long term activist or never before even dreamt of going on a protest.

The day will also kick start a new #anticutsleeds project:

Virtual Protest

We’ll be enabling those of you who don’t want to/can’t get to London on March 26th to join in with the mass protest against the government cuts to add your voice and join in with our Virtual Protest online. Come and make a banner, make up a song, take a photo or a video and upload it to our Virtual Protest and we’ll help get your voice heard even if you can’t take to the streets.

Please help spread the word through email, twitter, and blogging:


Twitter @anticutsleeds and use #anticutsleeds


Facebook event here

Find out more about March for the Alternative, which will take place in London on March 26th here: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/themarch

The False Economy site is also an excellent resource for finding out how the cuts will affect you, your family and your area.  http://falseeconomy.org.uk

The event is being hosted in the I Love West Leeds Festival Shop http://www.ilovewestleeds.co.uk/shop_intro.htm and we are very grateful for the use of this ace space.

Anticutsleeds is a loose grouping of creative folk based around Leeds and Bradford area who want to activate peaceful, creative protest against the government’s sweeping ideological changes that will devastate our society.


You can now download a not-particularly-glam-but-perfectly-serviceable poster to display in your workplace, school, university or even home (!) to tell others about the event. Click this link: anticutsleeds_poster_20thfeb for the download (Word document). There was going to be a photo either side of the main details, but how about, as it’s a creative protest day, you get creative on the poster! Scribble away madly, take a photo and then send it to us!

February 7, 2011

a quiet january, exciting february

Hello all! And sorry we have been so quiet for the first bit of 2011. January for many people was a time of belt-tightening, of horrible weather and terrible news as more cuts in the NHS, education, public services and even the forests were rolled into action.

However, we hope that everyone has carried on fighting the good fight in whatever way you can, either through Twitter, Facebook, writing, out on the streets or in your own homes.

Recently, some of the AntiCutsLeeds gang along with many others in Leeds, and thousands across the country, protested against planned local library closures. All of these protests were fantastically creative and involved not just students and young people, but families and all age ranges. You can read an excellent real-time account on the Guardian here, including images of the lovely @BookElfLeeds! BookElf has also written a piece for the local Guardian Leeds website here. If you were part of any protests at the libraries going on in Leeds, please comment, tweet or email us at anticutsleeds[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk.

Some of the AntiCutsLeeds group had a brief meeting after the library protests on Saturday, and all we can say for now is: put 20th February in your diary! We’ll be posting very soon about the upcoming action and how you can get involved before and on the day of the event. Suffice to say it will involve music, video, painting, decorating, maybe some cakes, and getting involved…

January 4, 2011

2011, and raring to go!

Hi all

Hope you’ve all had a great time over Christmas and New Year, and are feeling refreshed and ready to take on anything! I thought today we would have a round up of all the meetings taking place soon that you are welcome to attend, and find out people’s thoughts for the next actions.


The next Leeds Coalition of Resistance meeting is Wednesday 5th January (tommorrow!) at 6pm at Broadcasting Place on Woodhouse Lane. This meeting is to discuss plans for 2011 for building the Coalition of Resistance nationally and locally – you can visit their website here. The Leeds group has also been kind enough to send me their calendar of events for the first few months of 2011, which I have put on the upcoming actions page.

Also tomorrow is the first meeting of the Revolution Leeds group at 5pm, by the Leeds Met cafe (main Leeds Met building opposite Dry Dock). This meeting will be to discuss upcoming demos, direct actions, meetings and women’s activities.

Also this week on Thursday 6th January from members of the Leeds Occupation is one to plan action against the scrapping of EMA, which is due to be voted on in parliament of the 11th of January. Find out more here, and the meeting is taking place from 7pm in one of the meeting rooms in Leeds University Union (check the Facebook page for confirmation).

So you might as well pitch up in Leeds for the next few days on Woodhouse Lane:

wednesday 5th

5pm Revolution Leeds meeting

6pm Leeds Coalition of Resistance meeting

thursday 6th

7pm Meeting to plan actions against scrapping EMA at Leeds University Union


Although not politically oriented, there is a meeting for those interested in the future of arts in Leeds on the 13th January:

#LeedsArtsFuture 2030 hosted by Leeds Arts Partnership has been rescheduled to the new date of 13 January 2011 4-8pm, at Dysons Chambers LS1 6EP.

The Questions: What if Leeds….becomes the best city in the UK? What will a culturally vibrant Leeds look like? How are we going to make it happen?

Many thanks for your interest so far and please could you reconfirm that you want to reserve a place by emailing leeds.initiative@leeds.gov.uk

This could be an excellent opportunity for artists and art groups within Leeds to meet each other and create some fantastic new projects (as well as maybe finding some like-minded anti-cuts bods!)

There is also a Leeds Against the Cuts meeting at 5.30pm the same day – check our upcoming actions page for details.


Those on the anticutsleeds email list also received a great PDF file from the lovely Grace Cunnington. Called ‘A User’s Guide to Demanding the Impossible’ and created by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. It’s a brilliant mix of text, images, theory and practice that I thought we should all read, so you can download it here!


Lastly, we’d like to know what your ideas are for upcoming actions. There was a great suggestion from Nicola Chapman on the Leeds Arts Against the Cuts Facebook group about forming a protest action against the proposed cuts to Bookstart (which many of you will have seen in the press). What about this? There could be a lot of good ideas surrounding protests about literacy and education cuts, cuts to children’s resources and parents’ benefits: maybe dressing up as book characters? Giving away old books? Story telling groups? Let us know what you think by emailing anticutsleeds@hotmail.co.uk or commenting here or give us a tweet on @anticutsleeds.

December 24, 2010

a very merry christmas

Hello all!

It’s been quite busy over the Christmas period with the anticutsleeds group, as we’ve all got families to see, jobs to do and essays to write. However, we thought we would do a quick pre-Christmas post.

Congratulations to everyone who attended the demonstration in Leeds (or elsewhere) on the 18th December. I’ve heard it went well and you can see some great video and images here. If you attended, we would love to hear your reports: how did it go? What was good? What wasn’t so good? How were the police and public? You can comment on here, link to your own blog, tweet us, or even EMAIL US on our new email address (wow) anticutsleeds[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

This Tuesday also saw the meeting of the Leeds Coalition of Resistance. Did you attend? How was it? We’ll be getting a report back soon but for now, if you’ve got any feedback, it would be great to hear it.

There are already protest events planned for the New Year across the country – let’s get some in Leeds! If you’ve got any ideas for protest, things you really want to highlight, or want to help out in any way, again, get in contact!

Anyone who is involved in the arts through study, teaching, working or general interest should join the Leeds Arts Against the Cuts group on Facebook. This group comprises of a lot of post-graduate students and teaching staff from the University of Leeds who are interested in creating intelligent protest actions, as well as advising its members of new actions, ideas and information. It’s been set up by Jo Wolfarth (@joannawolfie on Twitter) and anticutsleeds will be working jointly with them in the future!

The next anticutsleeds meeting is planned for soon after the New Year. We’re still working out a date, but we will be letting people know about attending. These meetings are a place for like-minded people to come together and work out creative ways to protest against the cuts. They are not a place to debate the necessity of the cuts, or to promote a specific personal political ideology. We’re all from different backgrounds, with different beliefs and different opinions, but we are united under our desire to change the way people think about their role in a democracy, re-introduce the notion that protest is both necessary and productive, and fight cuts that will be hitting not only the most vulnerable members of our society, but pretty much everyone. If you attend one of the anticutsleeds meetings: remember this!

Finally although at the moment it’s quite hard to feel very festive, and for a lot of people across the country the worry about what is to come in the following year will be souring the Christmas season, we would urge you all to remember what is amazing about this time of year. Friends, family, snow (when it’s not disrupting train journeys), hot cups of tea, the crackle of wrapping paper, brandy, pine needles, cranberry sauce and stuffing (how come the best bits of Christmas dinner are everything but the turkey?) and robins. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious or pagan festival, whether you just love the lights and glitter, even if it’s all a bit much and makes you want to sit on your own with a good book for a while, what it represents is something we should all hang onto in the coming months and years. It’s not only a coming together of people you care for, to celebrate what you have and look forward to what you will achieve; it’s a circle of friends, family, and those who support you when times are tough and it takes more than a mince pie to slog it through. And everyone, and anyone, involved in fighting against ideological repression, in whichever way you see fit, should keep that with them when it feels like you want to give up.


I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.

I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.

Scrooge, from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens


Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year to you all!

December 17, 2010

tuesday 21st december meeting

Although anticutsleeds won’t be holding their next meeting until very early in the New Year due to other commitments, the Leeds Coalition of Resistance is holding a meeting on Tuesday 21st December.

The meeting is to discuss what the next plans of action are for the coming months and year. Leeds Coalition of Resistance includes members from many different anti-cuts groups in Leeds, and you can read more about them here. Anyone is welcome to attend to plan and successfully make connections in order to strengthen the Leeds-based anti-cuts movement.

If you would like to attend, please meet at 5pm on the Leeds Met city site, in the vicinity of Starbucks near the library.

Don’t forget the action for tomorrow too – meet at 12pm outside Topshop on Briggate, and make some noise!

December 16, 2010

upcoming action: 18th december

The next upcoming action – not organised by us but that we would like to promote – is a peaceful and energetic protest outside Topshop on Briggate, starting at 12-1pm on Saturday 18th December and then moving onto Vodafone.

Protests like this are a massive opportunity to communicate the reasons behind the anti-cuts movement. Marches and similar activities are a great way of showing support and creating a visual statement, so it’s important for everyone to remember that a lot of people who aren’t as politically engaged may not have any idea why we’re shouting, stamping and singing madly about tax avoidance!

There are loads of flyers and resources on the UKUncut site, and our previous post on here contains links to download flyers to print out for Saturday, including our carol sheet. From personal experience, we found that speaking to people and giving them something to think about and investigate themselves worked really well alongside the vocal aspects of the protest.

You can find more about the protest, including contact details if you want to be involved, here.

Please spread the word on Twitter, comment on here, or tweet us if you intend to go!

December 16, 2010

protest and the media

I came across an interesting set of notes in Resistance Through Rituals: Youth subcultures in post-war Britain (eds. Hall and Jefferson) concerning the relationship between a control culture and the news media. I’ve created a PDF that you can download, read, and print out the notes themselves.

Bear in mind that these notes were published in 1976, and hence may contain ideas and concepts that have now changed dramatically or morphed into something different. However, there are some interesting questions and debates surrounding the diagram on the final page (reproduced below) and how cultural thresholds are used to justify control measures.

If a protest is peaceful in the majority, is advertised as peaceful, and maintains that as its driving element throughout – but violent acts occur within it – is it defined as a ‘peaceful’ or a ‘violent’ protest? And who makes that definition? And what does ‘peaceful’ really entail? Does it mean submissive? Or does it mean everything up to physical acts? Would a sit-in or occupation be defined as a ‘violent’ act, because it is non-submissive?

You can download the entire PDF by clicking here.

What do you think of these notes? Are there any parts that you think need further explanation? Are there any ideas or discussions that stand out or that you would like to have?