"The People Have the Power!"
"The Red Flag"
and largest city
|Bristol (de facto)|
3% Mixed Race
• Declaration of the Commune
• Eight Week Revolution
|110 km2 (42 sq mi)|
• 2015 census
|5,792/km2 (15,001.2/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2015 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Bristol Pound (BPD)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
• Summer (DST)
|Drives on the||left|
The land that now constitutes the Commune, has been inhabited by humans since the Iron Age, when hill forts and Roman villas had been built in the area surrounding the junction of the River Frome with the River Avon. The area became known as Brycgstow in Old English during the 11th century, recieving a Royal Charter from the Kingdom of England in 1155 which gave it recognition as a city. From the 13th to the 18th century, it ranked among the top three English cities after London, along with York and Norwich, on the basis of tax receipts, until the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution, which led to the city become impoverished for much of the 20th century and lead to rise in popularity of Socialist and Anarcho-Communist movements, the most notable of which being Kebele .
Bristol as a Commune was declared in 1981 following a year of civil unrest in the city, relating to the Afro-Caribbean population rising up against racism in the police. The commune was established by Anarcho-Communist, Anarcho-Feminist, Queer Anarchist and Afro-Caribbean liberation factions during the Eight Week Revolution led by Anarcho-Communist revoluntaries, the Working class and Afro-Caribbean groups revolting against institutionalised racism in Bristol and the neo-liberal policies of Margaret Thatcher administration. The Eight Week Revolution ended with a stalemate in February 1981, and the de facto sovereignty of the Commune, however without recognition from the United Kingdom who continued to recognise Bristol as part of the country until 1997.
Bristol is a direct democracy based on the rule of the people through voluntary association, and grass roots participatory democracy. Since 2010 the commune has been run through a form of e-Democracy, utilising the internet to create a system of accessible and all-encompassing government. Outside commentators have labelled the commune as a form of "Wiki-Democracy". The Commune is governed by its populace through the national Communal Assembly, the Communal Committee and the local Communal Associations. The Communal Assembly is the highest political institution in the Commune, and consists of the entireity of the Commune's population who are above the age of majority of 18. The commune is divided further into Communal Associations, which function in a similar way to administrative divisions. Communal Associations consists of all the people over the age of 18 in a given area who work together to collectively manage their local area and enforce community guidelines. The Communal Assembly elects the Communal Committee twice a year, which effectly serve as the collective 'Head of State'. The Committee manages the day to day runnings of the Commune between meetings of the Assembly and follows policies and directives set out by the Assembly.
The Commune follows the principles of workers' self-management and 'self government of the means of production.' The economy is managed under the leadership of the Communal Assembly who direct the economic policy, while it is managed day-to-day by the Communal Committee. The economy is highly collectivised with the complete eradication of wages and profit. Currency, however is still in circulation and is used for the purchase of non-necessary goods.
Bristol has a vibrant, colourful and unique culture. Bristolian people have a strong sense of community reinforced through the Commune's collective rule, which is enforced by the teachings of the Commune from early years in education. Bristolian cultural values incorporate Socialist, Humanist, Egalitarian and Collectivist viewpoints on life. Bristol has one of the youngest populations in Europe, with an average age of 32, however has the second longest expectancy in the world, at 85. The Commune is regarded byas a major hub for recreational drug use due to there being no prohibition in place. With no structured legal system, the commune does however ever have a policy of "no hard drugs", which more often than not, is accepted by the population as pertaining specifically to use of Heroin. Since the beginning, the commune has battled the spread of Heroin in Bristol, undertaking preventative pragmatic assistance to those dependant.
The name 'Bristol Commune' stems from the city of Bristol, which the Commune is based around, and is the state's de facto capital. The name Bristol comes from the Old English name, Brycgstow, which means 'the place at the bridge.' This name stems from the location of Bristol across two rivers, the River Avon and the River Frome.
The title of Bristol as a Commune comes from the form of government that was established in Bristol in 1981. The concept of a Commune is generally advocated by communists, revolutionary socialists and anarchists and may also be influenced by the short-lived Paris Commune of France in the late 19th century.
See Main: History of the Bristol Commune
In many respects, the Bristol Commune is seen as the remnant of a failed socialist revolution in the United Kingdom. Started in 1981 in Bristol, the Eight Week Revolution lead by the Anarcho-communist group Kebele endeavoured to destabalise and topple the government of Margaret Thatcher and establish a socialist state in the United Kingdom. Thatcher privatised much of Britain's industry, causing widespread poverty and anger towards the government, and in 1980 introduced the contraverisal Poll Tax which caused widespread protests. This formed many socialist movements in the working class areas of the United Kingdom, such as Kebele, lead by Callum Beale. Many historians agree that Beale was one of the major figures in the Revolution and the establishment of the Commune.
At the same time, the Afro-Caribbean Community in Bristol organised riots against Police brutality and racism in late 1980. Exploiting this oppotunity, the revolutionary organisations declared the 'Commune of Bristol' in February 1981 banding together with Afro-Caribbean rioters, which effectively began the Eight Week Revolution characterised at first by organised protests and rioting, most notably the 1981 Montpelier Riots in the Montpelier area of Bristol on the 15th of February. The police responded with considerable brutality and Thatcher's government was criticised for permitting the use of tear gas by Riot Police. Strikes across Bristol followed throughout February, and throughout the rest of the United Kingdom, and several other organisations declared Communes in Manchester and Birmingham however neither of these came to fruition.
On the 2nd March 1981 Workers led by Beale and the Kebele led an armed revolt in Bristol, as Beale stated, the last resort for a 'better society.' The rebellion took over government buildings in Bristol and effectively the city's police force. Red fabric and banners were draped from captured buildings and posters were put up across the city encouraging allegiance to the Commune. Two weeks passed with a stalemate with the revolutionaries still holding control of Bristol. The British forces managed to quelle other insurgencies in other parts of the United Kingdom, however Bristol had concentrated support for the revolution. Reluctantly, both sides agreed to a cease-fire on the 17th March. A referendum was held in Bristol on the question of the establishment of Bristol as a Commune, independent of the United Kingdom, however the results of this referendum were not recognised. The referendum was held a week later on Tuesday the 24th March, 1981, and resulted in 67% in favour of the Commune. A day later while talks were being held over the result of the referendum, two socialist Commune supporters were shot in London for peacefully protesting against the Thatcher government as it was believed they were armed.
This caused a renewal in tensions and fighting, with Beale calling for an end to the violence the talks had ended with tensions high against the Thatcherite government in Westminster. The result ended in a stalemate, with the Commune declaring its de facto independence from the results of the referendum which were disputed by the UK government, Callum Beale became the Commune's first Premier and served until 1986 when he was reelected and served a second term. The conflict remained essentially frozen for several years, until in 1988, when a bill supported by the Labour Party in the British Parliament eventually passed which officially recognised the Commune as a sovereign entity, which began diplomatic relations between the two states.
Post Revolutionary Period
See Main: Politics of the Bristol Commune
See Also: Foreign Relations of the Bristol Commune
The Bristol Commune's foreign relations are directed by the Communal Assembly and managed day to day by the Communal Committee. The Commune is a member of few international organisations, however is a member of the United Nations, having been admitted in 1990 and several UN agencies. Currently, the Commune holds diplomatic relations with most states, however operates very few diplomatic missions in foreign countries. It most notably has consulates in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Commune has only recieved foreign leaders in the form of British Prime Ministers. The Commune hosts very few foreign embassies, as the majority of nations are represented through the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the Commune's territory.
Defence and Security
See Also: Bristol Commune Militia
The Bristol Commune has no standing army, however it does have a reserve, voluntary milita force, known as the Bristol Commune Milita, which according to the Charter, can only be readied and active in times of attack or serious threat to the Commune's security. In times of attack, the Communal Committee is placed in charge of the governance of the Commune. As of 2015, the Milita conists of 212 part-time volunteers. The Charter enforces the concept of Pacifism, and only advocates violence as a last resort if all diplomatic or peaceful methods are ineffective or have failed. The Commune has never been in a state of war.
Day to day domestic security is carried out by the Commune's Police Corps, which consists of a force of 310 police officers as of 2015. The force is small, but well-equipped, it's principal services are uniformed community policing, criminal detection, border control, and traffic policing, aside from specialsit units, Canine Units and Bomb disposal units.
The Commune is not a member of any defence or military organisations and has denounced many countries' 'trigger happy' attitude towards international conflicts. According to the Global Peace Index, the Bristol Commune is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, due to its lack of formal armed forces, low crimte rate, and high level of socio-political stability.
See Main: LGBT Rights in the Bristol Commune
Communications and Media
Mobile, fixed telephone and internet services are provided by the publicly owned collectivised Commune Telecommunications which is overseen by the Communal Committee. As of 2015, over 59% of the population of the Commune own a mobile phone, which has grown from just 45% in the 10 years from 2005. Use of social media has also been increasing since 2010, with the growth of sites such as Facebook and Twitter within the Commune. The Commune has taken advantage of the growth of social media, allowing citizens to vote in elections online and begin initiatives.
There is only one television station in the Commune, the publicly owned, Commune Television, which broadcasts one television channel. Additionally, Commune Radio broadcasts two radio stations. There are two regularly published newspapers in the Commune, the most popular being Vox Populi. Additionally, the Commune Revue is published monthly. Almost every home in the Commune owns a television, the ownership rate was 76% in 2014.
See Also: Education in the Bristol Commune
All education in the Commune is provided free of charge and is the responsibility of the Communal Committee. The aquisition of knowledge is not seen as something which can be purchased in the Commune, and those who have more means should not have the right to a better education than those who do not. It is illegal to charge to education under Communal law. There is a focus on both Academic and Artistic subjects from a young age.
Education is mandatory for children from 6 to 18, with Primary Schooling lasting from age 6 to 11, and Secondary Schooling lasting from age 11 to 18. After Secondary schooling ends, students can either progress onto tertiary education or go straight into work. University education is provided free of charge by the state, allowing for the furthering of knowledge and skills. As of 2015, approximately 56% of the population are a graduate of University.
The University of Bristol is the Commune's public university, and the only one within its territory. It was originally established in 1876, however was reestablished and collectivised in 1985 following the establishment of the Commune. There are 85 Primary Schools and 21 Secondary Schools in the Commune all of which are publicly funded.
See Main: Healthcare in the Bristol Commune
All healthcare services in the Commune are provided free of charge through public funding and collectivised organisation. All citizens of the Commune are entitled to free healthcare. Healthcare is the responsibility of the Communal Committee. The health service is divided between the Physical Health Service, which deals with injuries or physical illnesses and the Mental Health Service which deals with mental illnesses. The Commune has a total of 9 Hospitals, 4 Mental Health units and 30 Medical Practices.
The Commune has the second highest life expectancies in the world, at 85, second only to Japan. The Commune has a strong emphasis on preventative care with mandatory health checkups every 6 months and mandatory vaccinations provided free of charge.
See Main: Transport in the Bristol Commune
See Main: Culture of the Bristol CommuneNative inhabitants of the Commune are ethnically English, and much of the cultural traditions of the Commune are based upon British and English culture. Bristol has a colourful and vibrant culture based upon the concept of individual expression of style and ideas. Bristol's majority young population has led to the development of the Commune's modern culture, influenced both by the Commune's socialist ideology, and Pop culture of the 1980's Britain, dominated by colourful visuals and antiestablishment ideas, opposing the status quo of the rest of the world which is influenced through the Commune's revolutionary beginnings.
Bristolian cultural values include Tolerance, Egalitarianism, Collectivism and a strong sense of Community and Interdependence of human beings which is particularly reinforced by the collective directly democratic rule of Bristol. Discrimination based on gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation is seen as a disgrace and has no place in Bristolian culture. Bristolian people are very irreligious, and the ,majority, over 75% are Atheists according to the 2014 Census. Bristolian people have a strong sense to stand up for what is right, and are quick to make a difference to change an issue in society, as shown by the legalisation of Gay Marriage early on during the 1990's, the first country in the world to do so.
Holidays and Events
Visual ArtsThe Commune is notable for its large and vibrant artistic community with a broad spectrum of medians and ideas. Communal endorsement of the arts scene during the early years of the Commune, has led to the community's strength within society and its influential status. The Commune holds several annual festivals celebrating the artistic diversity of the city including the Commune Arts Festival celebrating a range of art forms, and the Bristol Street Art Event, celebrating the urban and street art scene. Bristol has a notable Street Art Scene, influenced by work of artists such as Banksy, several works of whom are collectively owned by the people of the Commune.
The Commune is home to many artistic events also, ranging from burlesque shows, city beaches and theatrical shows, with a particular emphasis on nightlife. Notable artistic venues include the Bristol Hippodrome, the Commune Artistic Centre, which holds a variety of performances and exhibitions weekly. Much of the Commune's artistic events are organised by local Communal Associations.
MusicThe Commune has a strong music scene, with its own style of music, known as the Bristol Sound, which is influenced by the city's strong tradition of punk, funk, dub, drum and bass, trip-hop and political conciousness genres which have been influenced by the Commune's revolutionary culture and the distate towards the global status quo. The most notable musical act from Bristol is Massive Attack, who have achieved world fame for their innovative sound, which is most commonly associated with the Bristol Sound and Trip-Hop.
The Commune has taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2003 when the Commune's broadcaster joined the European Broadcasting Union. The highest the Commune has ever placed in the contest is 9th in 2013.
The Commune has a strong live music scene, with gigs and festivals frequently organsed by Citizen's collectives. The largest musical event in the Commune is the Bristol Performing Arts Festival, which features musicians from across the Commune aswell as foreign acts as a celebration of the city's musical community. Bristol has a wide array of Nightclub and Concert venues, the most notable being The Fleece and The Bunker. It is common for Bristolians to visit nightclub venues at the end of the working day to let off steam.
The most popular sports played in the Commune include Football and Basketball. The Commune has a national football team, however has never qualified for any international football event. The Commune has taken part in the Olympic Games since the 1996 games in Atlanta. The Commune also takes part in the Games of the Small Countries of Europe and hosted the 2007 Games.
The Commune has two sporting arenas, Ashton Gate Stadium, which is predominantly used to hold football and rugby matches, and the Bristol Arena which is used for various purposes, including sporting events, concerts and national rallies. The arena hosted the 2007 Games of the Small Countries of Europe.