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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 116, Friday 18th April 1997

They wanna fight, we wanna party!

"It was a marvellous day. The march, the rally and the action were all organised jointly between the Liverpool dockers' shop stewards committee, Reclaim the Streets and other environmentalist groups. The links made between the 500 sacked Liverpool dockers, RTS and other groups are so important and they need to be built on.

"If anyone hijacked the march it was the police - people were having a great party and were showing that there are a lot of groups, a lot of people, who are fed up with injustice and are doing something about it. The only way forward is to get together more and more because we're all fighting against the same system. Speaking for the dockers, we can't wait to organise our next joint action."

Last Saturday saw over 10 million people come together in central London to support a "March for Social Justice" and street party in Trafalgar Square. Thousands danced by the National Gallery and a massive banner proclaiming "Reclaim Your Environment" was dropped from Canada House just across the square. A "Victory to the Liverpool Dockers" banner was hung around Nelson's Column and council workers refused to take it down until Sunday! The red, green and black flags of RTS mixed with banners from strikers, refugee groups, Kurds, unions. There were other banners proclaiming "Trees not MPs" and "They wanna fight, we wanna dance". Children, facepaint, dancers and drummers were everywhere with the carnival atmosphere lasting all the way to Downing Street, where a red flare was lit, and off into Trafalgar Square.

The rally and party brought together groups and individuals who have been fighting, in their own ways, against injustice and for a life better than that on offer from vote-seeking politicians. In preparation for the march, a "People's Charter for Social Justice" promoting basic rights, a decent life and a future worth living for everyone, had been drawn up. In the middle of this "election" it was a breath of fresh air.

The police, of course, were not about to let a party-and-protest for social justice go ahead without attacking it. One thousand riot cops were on hand to intimidate, assault and arrest people. One pushed back a protester with the words, "Move back, you're making my officers vulnerable." Vulnerable? One protester responded, "You're standing there in helmets, visors, flak jackets, shin pads. You've got shields, metal truncheons at the ready, how the hell can I, standing here with nothing, make you feel vulnerable?" There was no response.

Vote for whoever you want. The actions of the police on Saturday showed that whichever politicians are running the country, the police will still be around to defend the rich from those of us fighting for a world worth living in where people are more important than property. "A third of children in Britain are growing up in poverty - a third of all MPs are millionaires" - that's the stark reality of the system the authorities defend.

But, of course, they didn't get it all their own way. The police tried to block off Trafalgar Square but a truck with a sound system managed to dodge its way through one of their lines with the support of hundreds of protesters who surrounded it with bodies, making it impossible for the police to stop it getting into the square. The sound kicked in, people danced on the roof, and the police looked thoroughly pissed of at their failure to stop people having a good time.

The day before the action, three people were arrested handing out Evading Standards, a newspaper promoting the action - and 25,000 copies of the paper were confiscated. Free speech? Twenty-nine arrests were made on the day and the police even charged the driver of the sound system lorry with attempted murder and the two other people in the lorry with conspiracy to murder! These media-grabbing (and serving) charges soon got dropped, but the Met had made their point; don't think that because you're just involved in organising a peaceful party you're beyond the stitch-ups they specialise in.

But they're up against an increasingly united opposition that will not let the police violence and attempts at divide-and-rule to succeed. As a statement from the dockers and RTS put it after the party, "The Liverpool dockers express their support for these groups, including Reclaim the Streets, who continue the almost impossible struggle for justice in Britain today ... The sacked Liverpool dockers have always welcomed Reclaim the Streets - ensuring a mutual respect that after Saturday's march has been strengthened."

Given the way different groups are increasingly seeing their common interest in supporting each other it's likely there will be more actions and parties bringing people together in the near future. Have fun!

Big Bad BUT...

SchNEWS feels it has to speak its mind after the disgraceful scenes on the March for Social Justice last Saturday, when a minority of extremist trouble makers provoked ugly confrontations, first outside Downing Street, and then in Trafalgar Square. This spoiled an otherwise brilliant day, and it is clear that these trouble-makers did not care at all for the march, or the issues involved and wanted to claim it for their own extremist agenda.

We can now reveal that they had been planning the trouble for weeks beforehand, and would stop at nothing to make sure that violence erupted, it seems the only reason they turned up was to start a riot. They had come equipped with a whole variety of weapons, including sticks, shields, and mobile phones to communicate with each other, some even having their own vehicles in which to spread confusion and fear. SchNEWS strongly condemns these individuals, and is conducting its own inquiry to root them out, and if necessary, will name names.

We can reveal that we know the identity of two ringleaders responsible, who have a long history of being behind such trouble. "Sticky" Mickey Howard, and his sidekick Jack "The Last" Straw are well known trouble makers who command an army of thugs, popularly known as the TSG (or "Totally Stupid Goons"), who always turn up at demos like these intent on spoiling everybody else's fun. If you see any of these miscreants in the future, (they are characterised by their blue uniforms and lack of any human emotion or intelligence) ring the SchNEWS "grass-a-yob" hotline, and we shall inform the proper authorities!

Tight little butt...

  • SchNEWS' post-election rally of resistance: May 10th/11th in Brighton. Everyone together to plot where we go after Tony Bleurgh gets his hands on power. Dockers, direct activists, & campaigners old and new will be there - don't be left out. Ring us. 01273 685913.
  • Support the dockers - send them cash! Liverpool Dockers @ Merseyside Port Shop Stewards, 19 Scorton Street, Liverpool L6 4AS (Cheques payable to Merseyside Dockers Shop Stewards). If you want a copy of the SchNEWS dockers' quid chain letter send a stamp to SchNEWS and we'll send you a copy to get started.


Nuclear Trains

Trains carrying radioactive waste from power stations in South East England and Europe are regularly passing through London. The waste is carried to Sellafield where it's reprocessed to produce uranium and plutonium. The uranium is used in fuel rods for nuclear reactors which then produce... you guessed it... more radioactive waste. As a fuel, plutonium can only be used in so-called fast breeder reactors, which are a bit dodgy even by nuclear reactor standards and are generally being phased out. Most plutonium therefore ends up as the main ingredient in weapons of mass destruction.

Nuclear waste is transported in large white-painted "flasks", each of which is carried on a flat-bed railway wagon. This is, of course, completely safe, just like beef and CS gas. Especially as the privatised railways are spending sooo much money on track safety. Hmm..... Anyway, the trains are quite short, and don't carry any other freight, so they shouldn't be too hard to spot. SchNEWS recommends you wear lead-lined anoraks at all times.

The trains carrying waste from Dungeness power station, and all the European imports via Dover, cross London by various routes. As a rule they pass through Brixton, Willesden Junction and Wembley Central. Trains from the Sizewell and Bradwell reactors generally go through Stratford, Hackney Central, Highbury and Islington, Camden Road, Gospel Oak, West Hampstead and Willesden Junction. Readers in the West Midlands will be pleased to hear that the Sellafield Express passes near their homes too: through King's Norton, skirting Birmingham city centre and Sutton Coldfield before passing through Walsall station.

Freedom Network (0171 9788214) would like to hear from anyone interested in actions in the London area. Details of the trains' routes are available from London CND (0171 6072302). Green Events 0171 2672552. Birmingham CND 0121 643 4617. Coming up from CND in May, the Trafficking Trident Tour - details to follow.


SchNEWS in briefs

  • The overworked crew at the Anti-Nuclear Network Newsletter have ceased publication. The group's still active and can be contacted @ Anti-Nuclear Network, PO Box 2474, London N8
  • A New Dictionary of National Biography is currently being compiled. Anyone can nominate a significant person who should be there - the completed version should be available in 2004! They are especially looking for entries for the section "Popular Culture". The Editors, The New DNB, Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford. Maybe we should all enter ourselves...
  • Natwest and The Times are co-sponsoring a business ethics competition. Applicants are invited to imagine that they are the MD of a road building company. "Environmental protesters are protesting - there are clear signs that your AGM will be disrupted...What will your solution be?" And there's a £3,000 prize!
  • Monday's court hearing for the eviction of Lyminge Forest has only been upheld for Westwood. This means that the eviction notice for the other camps in the forest were refused. Help and support are needed. Details: 01233 720127
  • Thanks to our grinning correspondent in the pub for this amusing little tale: PC Dimmer (surely this is a made up name!) arrested 3 people while out on a shopping trip with his wife and children. He recognised a disqualified driver and hauled him and his light-fingered accomplices in. A police spokesperson said, "You are never really off duty." His wife remarked resignedly, "It's true. He even takes his telescopic truncheon to bed with him..."
  • The union Unison have withdrawn their support from their members on strike for 14 month strike at Hillingdon hospital. They need your support. Contact Malkiat Bilku 0956 135311.
  • We love receiving freebies here at the office (hint!), so we were chuffed to receive a spanky new book from Russell House "Youth Action and the Environment", by Alan Dearling & Howie Armstrong. Far from being a boring textbook, it is lavishly illustrated, courtesy of our mate Kate Evans (and others) and a practical guide to enviro projects for younger people. Details: 01297 443948
  • While we're on plugging, Basic Law for Road Protesters, an outline of legal problems you could encounter, is available in print form (£10) or FREE on disk/ e-mail/ internet from Peter Gray 01795 890162
  • Forest Action Network invaded the International Timber Yard in Manchester last week and reclaimed 15 planks of prized Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, imported from Canada, and destined to make garden furniture and quilted toilet paper. Four native Nuxalk people witnessed the liberation of the wood as it was trotted down to the local nick. A bemused Chief Inspector duly gave the activists a receipt for the returned property, and promised to get expert legal advice before deciding what to do with the wood. After being told that sovereignty over the land (from which the timber was taken) still lies with the Traditional Chiefs, the Inspector refused to speak with the native people, two of whom are Traditional Chiefs. Since the incident, the police have indeed contacted the Canadian Embassy. FAN: 0171 602 5889
  • Animal rights prisoner Keith Mann has had a wee jaunt around the country this week, after Michael Howrd accused him of being one of the people that instigated a disturbance at Full Sutton jail. Shipped from half-empty Sutton to Belmarsh he only stayed there for what seemed like minutes, before he was shuftied on to Long Lartin in Worceseter. In all the bedlam, he does not have his own clothes and his belongings are scattered around the country. Moan at: Governor, HMP Full Sutton, Nr. Stamford Bridge, York YO4 1PS or write to Keith Mann.
  • McD's & Coke are sponsoring National Spring Clean Week - Freepost, Manchester M1 9AZ... use at will...
  • Genetically Engineered food corporations to call: AgrEvo 01533 841581 - field testing; Monsanto 01494 474918 - responsible for the infamous GE soya. See SchNEWS 96 for Genetics information or call 0171 865 8100 for Greenpeace info pack.



    • 19th - SchNEWSnight @ The Sanctuary, Brunswick Street East, Hove. £1 before 8.30/ £2 after
    • 20th - Come to a picnic in sunny Offham and help rebuild an SSSI. A dodgy old farmer is currently ploughing up an SSSI in order to plant the cash crop flax, just in order to attract Common Agricultural Policy subsidies of £189 per acre. The farmer could settle for the £110 John Gummer offers to farmers content on leaving the land. This loophole ensures only rich farmers can afford conservation. Meet at noon, Cooksbridge Road, Offham, North of Lewes. Details: 01273 324455/ 0966 298327
    • 24th - TV turn-off week Contact The White Dot: PO Box 2116, Hove, East Sussex BN3 3LR or e-mail: whitedot@mistral.co.uk
    • 25th - The Land Use Debate, inc. FoE talking about the South Downs and The Land Is Ours on land rights. Meet 7:30 at Friends Meeting House, Brighton
    • 26th - Stop the Copex Fair planning meeting. 2pm @ CAAT, 11, Goodwin Street, London 0171 281 0297
    • 30th - British Aerospace AGM Protest 9.30am. 0171 281 0297


    • 3rd - National Anarchist Bookfair, Bradford. 1 in 12 Library, Albion Street, Bradford
    • 3-5th - MayDay Weekend Anarchist Camp. Info: EMAB, 88 Abbey Street, Derby
    • 8-5th - May The Forth Be With Us Beltane Celebration. Party, Workshops, Chill & Action. 0161 834 8221
    • 4th - Green Festival, Leazes Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Music, solar cinema & music. Info: 0191 272 4964
    • 9-11th - Aldermaston Women's Campaign Beltane Celebration camp. Details: 01222 396563
    • 10th - Reconnecting Society Conference, exploring the post-election landscape. £10/ £5. University of London Union: 0171 278 4443 for details
    • 16th - National Day of Action at Shoreham Port. Meet 10am at Hove Lagoon. Details: Box A, Public House Bookshop, Brighton BN1 2HQ
    • 17th - Sheffield Reclaim the Streets 12noon Devonshire Green 0114 2662302
    • 27th - Brighton to Stonehenge Walk. Meet noon at Old Steine, Brighton, then picnic at Hollingbury Hill before the long stroll. Details: Jez 01273 385959
    • 31st - York Reclaim the Streets, Clifford's Tower - contact York EF! c/o York Leaf, Peace Centre, Clifford St., York 01904 410185.


    Illegal Evictions

    Now, while Britain technically has no Government, and the media seem content to pay for chickens to chase the politicians, a gentle sense of vigilantism seems to have hit the security agencies and the old bill.

    Toytown, Cornwall's first road protest site has been illegally evicted. The camp, on the route of St. Austell council's planned North-East Distributory road, had only been established for four days. Details: 0378 994707.

    Meanwhile, up at Pressmennan Woods, protesters have been illegally evicted from land that they own! Under Scottish land rules, any unregistered land can be bought for £1. The protesters bought the land after they were evicted from the woods earlier this year. They desperately need urgent assistance to reclaim the woods to prevent the majestic oaks ending up as dashboards in expensive German cars. Contact the campaign at Faslane 0143 682 0901 - party planned for this Saturday.


    ...and finally...

    Peter Cuming, building an eco-friendly solar house in London, was miffed when he had his application turned down to plant a grass roof. Camden Council said the insulating roof was not permissible... because when he came to mow the lawn, he would be looking directly into the windows of his neighbours. Peter proposed that the introduction of rabbits grazing on the roof would solve the problem. The Dept of Environment overturned the council ban and Peter gets his rabbits. After this story was picked up by the international press, Peter received a letter from a man in Chile... warning him of the danger of eagles snatching the rabbits from his roof!



    The SchNEWS advises all readers not to try to produce newsletters about controversial issues. In particular, never do so whilst some of the interested parties are in court, in their pyjamas or whatever else they were picked up in. Do not drink. And then you will not feel the need to bomb courts. Honest.


    This issue brought to you by the number "3" and the letters "a" and "m", and several pints of blood, sweat, and tears.

    Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send us first class stamps (e.g. 20 for the next 20 issues) or donations (cheques payable to "Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "original" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.

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    Last updated 2 May 1997
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    SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)