Print Subversion in the Wapping Dispute


The month of June 1986

Several people involved in the London Workers Group and Workers Playtime actively supported the striking pickets during the Wapping Dispute. Very early in the dispute a new publication was launched. Picket Bulletin, the weekly news bulletin initially circulated news, demos and meeting dates between the striking workers. As the Bulletin developed it continued to try to build connections between working class people without the mediation of official leaders or representatives, reporting on solidarity actions around the country by other workers and flying pickets, actions by local residents as they built over the course of the strike, visits by veterans of the Miners strike and so on. The bulletin was sometimes printed as regularly as every second day and ran throughout almost the entire period of the strike. Steered by ex-Sparticist League member and 'last Bolshevik' recently retired printer Arnie Mintz, a printer in the general trade with strong connections to left communist and anarchist groups and inside information and contacts provided by a printers' reader working for the Times who refused the move to Wapping. These energies combined with younger class struggle anarchists and communists flocking to Wapping. The loose grouping of die-hard picketers and their supporters sustained Picket Bulletin from March 1986 to February 1987. As well as including maps, cartoons, letters, poems, songs, football results and lists of scab's home addresses, Picket recorded their weekly income in each newsletter, squeezing an enormous range of information into a single A4 sheet. The first issue of Picket Bulletin No.1 was published 5 March, 1986, the final is incorrectly dated, but was published after the end of the strike. Picket ran over 40 issues, 5,000 copies were distributed weekly to strikers throughout the year-long dispute, with additional special issues around larger actions along the way. The selections below draw primarily from the month of June 1986 to give a sense of the intensity of the events and coverage testified to by Picket.

Audio Recording of the Let's Get Rooted meeting related to the above: