Hereford International Brigade Volunteer

This year marks 75 years since the Spanish Civil War began. Up to 35,000 people from around the world volunteered to fight against Franco and his fascist forces, with many joining the ‘International Brigades.’ Alongside Spanish anarchists, communists, socialists, trade unionists and freedom-loving people, the International Brigades played an important role in the war.Amongst them were 2,000 British people, 500 of whom gave their lives.

Lewis Clive was a volunteer associated with Hereford. Born on 8thSeptember 1910, he was the son of Herefordian, Percy Clive, a Conservative MP and Lieutenant-Colonel killed in the First World War. Lewis was a keen rower, winning a gold medal at the LA Summer Olympics in 1932. He was also a socialist, a member of the Labour Party and the Fabian Society.

He volunteered for the International Brigades early on in the war, and became a Company Commander in the British Battalion. He was killed in action on August 2nd 1938 at Hill 481, Gandesa, during the Battle of Ebro,the longest and bloodiest battle of the war. Speaking of Lewis after his death, his comrades said this; “This big, cheerful, and sincere man had performed his duties as Company Commander with distinction. Well liked and respected in the battalion, this was a great loss to us all.”

There is a plaque commemorating Lewis Clive at Wormbridge Church, Herefordshire. It reads “In memory of Lewis Clive. Born September 8th 1910. Killed at Battle of Ebro, August 4th 1938, Fighting with The Spanish Republican Forces.”


Originally posted with full article :

County workers join the picket lines

Strikes hit the county at the end of June as workers took action to defend their pay and pensions. Schools were closed from Leominster to Lea and colleges, courts and Hereford Jobcentre were also affected.

Members of four unions–National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, University and Colleges Union and the Public and Commercial Services union–coordinated the action on 30th June in protest at government plans that would see workers retire later and pay more into their pensions, reducing their monthly wage.

It was the first industrial action taken nationally against the ConDem programme of cuts.

The strikes hit as Herefordshire Council put into action plans to make redundant all music teachers throughout schools in the county in a further ‘cost-cutting’ exercise. The decision was taken behind closed doors without consultation or a vote.

A business model was recommended that will see teachers laid off and rehired on a self-employed basis, dependent on the whim of schools that want to work with them.

Chris Levandowski, from the NASWUT union, spoke up for members and vowed to fight tooth and nail to save their jobs: “Most of the staff I have spoken to are most unhappy about that situation, but they have no choice.” Err, or should that be can’t really be bothered to fight for anything.

Childminders in Herefordshire have also been fighting cuts to their budgets by organising a petition, wholly signed by over 60 childminders.

The petition was presented to new council leader John Jarvis, destined we imagine, straight for the bin judging by the council’s long tradition of not giving a monkey’s.

The news that the Trades Union Congress has met with anti-cuts groups, including anarchists and radical groups like UK Uncut, to coordinate and plan future protests and strike action should be welcomed. Our ultimate goals may be different but right now fighting separately would be idiotic.

But if we are fighting to win we must up the ante and go beyond the one-day strike, the polite petition, the giving up before we’ve even tried. We must stop merely going, painfully, through the motions and start getting serious.

Right now the Greek anti-cuts movement is showing us that it is possible to fight back against austerity and pose a serious threat to the state; we didn’t create this mess so why should we pay for it. But what Greece is also showing us is the level of struggle we have to aspire to have any effect.

Unions, workers, community groups and individuals fighting government cuts across Herefordshire urgently need to unite. Isolated petitions just won’t cut it anymore.

Forest Of Dean Riots – 1831

Hereford Heckler Radical History #6 – Warren James and the Forest of Dean Riots of 1831

The threat of forest privatisation is nothing new to the folk of the Forest of Dean. Over the centuries they have challenged every move to deny them access to the forest, sometimes they have succeeded sometimes not, but they have never given up without a fight.

Perhaps the most memorable confrontation occurred in the mid 1800’s. The process of enclosing common land by the rich and greedy had, by this time, pushed many people into a life of poverty and misery. In the Forest of Dean there were still laws guaranteeing Foresters, free miners and peasants free access and use of the forests resources. But things were beginning to change. The greed of land owners and industrialists, especially Lord Nelson at the Royal Navy, led to the passing of an act of parliament which set out to increase the enclosed land from 676 to 11,000 acres. Not only did this privatise the timber and coal industries, but it denied people the ability to scare even the most basic of livelihoods.

When an economic slump hit the Dean at the beginning of the 1830’s the Foresters lives became unbearable so they got organised. The Committee of Free Miners was set up. The Committee elected local lad Warren James to lobby those in power to reverse the enclosures. As a peasant and squatter, James was well aware of the hardships facing the people. So when the Free Miners demands were ignored he tabled to motion that all enclosure fences be torn down.

Things quickly escalated and at its peak there were 3000 men women and children organised into gangs, destroying fences, turnpikes, crown buildings and the houses of local gentry.  Eventually troops managed to end the rioting, and although James was arrested and transported to Tasmania, other rioters received quite lenient sentences. Most of the fences were rebuilt but the radical nature of the Foresters has lived on and many free mining and commoner rights still exist today.

Further reading- Bristol Radical Pamphleteer #6 by Ian Wright available here

REPORT: Hereford Student Walkout and Demonstrations

500 students joined a walkout and demonstration in Hereford today.

Hundreds gathered at the Folly Lane colleges and marched down Aylestone Hill into high town, to chants of  ‘No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts!’ Many people honked horns or clapped in support of the demonstrating students. The walkout and protest was part of a national day of action against the rise in University fees and harsh cuts to education.

About 20-30 people also joined a march from the Job Centre, against benefit cuts. This went through High Town and joined students at the Town Hall, who had headed there from High Town to hand over a petition.

There was a heavy police presence, which was rather humourless; an obvious prank ‘two man invasion of the Town Hall’ (which was doomed to fail) was soon put to an end – with a banner being grabbed and confiscated, and the two people being threatened with arrest!

Unfortunately the march didn’t go beyond an uncreative ‘A to B’ march and petition. The truth is that a petition that is supposedly going to be handed to central government will achieve very little – it will be thrown straight in the recycling bin and not seen again. After the march came to a standstill many students were also walking around asking, ‘Well what are we doing next?’ and ‘Why don’t we march somewhere else?’

sit-down protest, or an occupation of a building such as the Town Hall, instead of just a speech from the bench outside, may have offered a more effective and lasting method of protest. At this stage we cannot rule out any tactic, and we need to be prepared to use whatever works to stop the ConDem’s attacks on the working class.

There is a growing mood of resistance sweeping the country, and today was just one manifestation of this. Over a hundred thousand people took part in demonstrations across the country; the largest in London, but also in places such as Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Brighton and dozens of other towns and cities.University occupations are currently happening in many places, from Essex to Leeds and Oxford to Warwick.

This needs to be continued and extended, as it is a struggle that concerns us all, and not just the students.Workers, the disabled, the elderly and benefit claimants, as well as the students, need to be brought into the fight and need to step up resistance – mass demonstrations, pickets, occupations and strikes – whatever it takes to get our message across and to stop the cuts!

It’s going to be a long winter, but it’s already heating up.