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What is BSN?BSN is a grassroots combative union initiative.
We are about being active in our communities,
neighbourhoods and workplaces - and supporting
each other as equals to improve our conditions.
We are against all political parties and bureaucracies. We see our efforts as helping to build a non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian solidarity movement through direct action and mutual-aid.
For an introduction to the basic idea of a 'solidarity network', click here for an introductory video by Seattle Solidarity Network or see our interview with them
In line with international solidarity, we have working relationships with like-minded groups across Oceania and are linked to solidarity networks internationally.
What can a Solidarity Network assist with?
Unpaid trial shifts?
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 by an institution?
Are you having a problem with your landlord?
Is your landlord refusing to return your bond?
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 bureaucracies. 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.
What is a direct action campaign?
All of us at some point in time have suffered from unjust treatment from employers, landlords, or other institutions which hold unaccountable 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. Part of building a better world means avoiding channels which diffuse our energies into unaccountable bureaucracies which can demobilise movements from above and encourage a culture of dependence and hierarchy. This is what direct action is about – doing things ourselves and building popular power.
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.
When disputes arise - whether it’s 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.
I’m 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 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:
► Is the dispute legitimate & winnable?
► Could we rally enough people to support the dispute, even if it drags on for a while?
► Is the person willing to be highly involved and lead their own dispute? This is solidarity not charity.
► Are they willing to stick with the solidarity network beyond their own struggle and support others?
► 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.
As a practice and over-arching worldview Anarchism/Anarcho-Syndicalism is fundamentally about sticking up for each other – against the whims of bosses, landlords and bureaucrats, against systemic and psychological systems of social control, against racism, colonial-thinking, sexism and other forces that hold illegitimate power over our lives.
At the same time anarchist theory looks at how we can organise ourselves and our struggles in a way that reflects the kind of society we want to see, and the nuts and bolts of doing this in such a way so that our movements can’t be demobilised or sold out from above, or used as trampolines for political careerists, NGO’s and those who seek to rule over and above the people.
Against the social order that demeans our human dignity, we need more and better organisers, and we need the confidence and support to make attempts where in the past we have laid down and been walked over. At the same time we need to make attempts at forming the organisations and infrastructure necessary to build a healthy culture of grassroots working class hospitality, resistance and sustenance.
BSN ARCHIVE: 2008-2017
BSN was an Anarchist union initiative active in Brisbane between 2009-2017.
Below is an Archive of some of their material.
For info on current active groups see:
Paper Chained (Anarchist Prison Journal)
Workers Hour (4zzz Radio Wednesday Mornings)
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR)
Anti Poverty Network