Sunday, 4 September 2011

Taking a Break

As our sharper-eyed readers may have noticed, the promised September issue hasn't happened. We'd obviously love to blame this on the police - and having none of our equipment or files hasn't helped - but the fact is that we've been a very small, overworked group for quite a while now.

We'd love to keep producing the Autonomist, and we think it fills an important role in our community. Unfortunately we're also homeless, overworked, dealing with long-term health issues, and feeling very, very sorry for ourselves.

So if you think you can write cutting-edge articles on current events in 250 words or more, distribute newsletters to a street of shops near you, help collate event data from several dozen websites, or restore our faith in humanity, then please contact us at

We'll probably check it in a few weeks.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

September/October Events Up

Here, or via the "Events" tab at the top.

Again, apologies to anyone we missed.

Evening Post Demonises the Homeless

"All writers are propagandists" - Derrick Jensen

Writing newspaper articles is a lot harder than most people think. Complex issues and large amounts of information often have to be squeezed into a small word count whilst retaining reader interest and a certain level of narrative punch. Apart from making the lives of journalists difficult, one effect this has is that one must carefully choose which bits of the story get left in, and which get left out. When only a handful of facts about an event can be conveyed to a reader, each takes on an apparent importance, whilst those left out lose theirs.

For example, if I were to tell you that a heroin addict had beaten someone up, most people would assume that the drugs were a cause of the attack. Why else would I mention it? Likewise, after 9/11, lots of papers ran stories along the lines of "Muslim Leader Orders Attack on World Trade Centre", and none, as far as I'm aware, went with "Multi-Millionaire Orders Attack on World Trade Centre". Thus, the media presented an image of Islam as being pro-terror, and avoided any discussion of whether multi-millionaires tend to be pro-terror.

Recently, the Evening post has covered the murder of Karol Krawczyk (here, for example). Throughout these articles, they miss no opportunity to use the word "squat", or variations thereon. By doing so, they link squatting in the reader's mind with murder. When people who rent or own homes die, or kill people, this is never seen as worth mentioning.

These articles are by no means unique in their negative portrayal of squatters. The SQUASH housing campaign has tracked a recent rise in media demonisation of the homeless and squatters, and believes this to be a prelude to legislative attacks on these communities by the Tory coalition.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Having an Event in September?

Are you or a group you're involved with having a meeting or putting on an event in September or October?

Would you like it to be listed for free in a local paper with a readership of around 500 people?

If so, email it to us at within the next few days!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Police Repress Local Paper

On the afternoon of august 17th, police raided a house in central Bristol where an editor of local newspaper The Autonomist lives. Riot police kicked down the door of the property without warning, detained the inhabitants for two hours, and seized articles relating to the production of The Autonomist. Delighted journalists from the Evening Post swarmed around outside, trying to photograph the detainees and remaining in contact with an officer inside by telephone at all times.

The grudgingly-produced warrant for the raid attempts to link the occupants to recent disorder (as did a frankly libellous sign erected outside by the police). It authorises the seizure of "rocks (may by having glass samples upon)" and "white paint", and refers repeatedly to "domestic extremisim [sic]". The list rounded out with such incriminating articles as "pedal cycles", "clothing", and "literature". Several other items not listed, such as passports, were also illegally seized.

The Autonomist is a popular but controversial local paper, produced by a small group of mainly homeless local people and distributed for free. They're dedicated to reporting unheard voices in the community, but this principled stance has caused problems in the past. Refusal to censor reports of the rising tide of sabotage attacks around Bristol, or to stick to police statements when reporting the riots in april, has earned the enmity of the police.

Collective member Lucy Parsons says "The seizure of phones, computers, and paperwork relating to the production of The Autonomist just as we start to compile the september edition is a clear, worrying, and damaging attack on journalistic independence. The demonisation of those who report the news as "domestic extremists", and the willingness to use violence to silence them, does not fill us with confidence in the police or the future of liberty in this country. Regardless, we will continue to produce The Autonomist, using computers at the library if we have to, and you can expect the september issue at the turn of the month."


Note to groups, etc - We've lost all of the event listing data. If you've got events on in sept/oct, contact us at

Note from occupants of the house to people who know them - We've not been able to contact a lot of you due to our phones being taken. We're all ok at the moment, and please pass this message around.

Monday, 1 August 2011

August's Issue

Sadly, won't be happening due to other life commitments. And bailiffs. With sledgehammers. Probably hired by the Bath Bomb editorial collective using the last of their corporate funding before they officially merge with 1831 next week.

However, specially for our online readers, a brief glimpse at what you've missed:
- Freeshop Eviction: Now going for longer than the Paris Commune. National Eviction Team have pulled a no-show. Pop down for your weekly fix of free clothes with other people's prints on.
- Bristol Pride: Fun but vapid, with all analysis ruthlessly beaten out of it using Cabot Circus' chequebook. The usual distressing appearances by Pete Tatchell and Stonewall (now sponsored by EDF!)
- Immigration Advisory Service closure: This is really, really bad. To the point where hopefully we'll cover it next month despite it being so long ago.

We'll all be back for the September issue.