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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 119, Friday 16th May 1997
SchNEWSnight! Sanctuary Café, Hove, this Saturday 17th May, £1 b4 9pm then £2.
Road protesters were celebrating victory this week, as a road widening scheme at Stringers Common near Guildford was abandoned.
Protesters who were down tunnels and up trees in anticipation for an early Monday morning eviction, instead heard news that because of cuts in national funding Surrey County Council were unable to find the £2.9m needed to carry out the scheme.
Activists from the five camps were jubilant. Vicky, one of the first to make Stringers her home said: "This is a victory not only for the local people but for everyone that has dared to stand up to car culture. If the camps and tunnels had not been here this road would have gone ahead. The cost of evictions would have made it impossible and direct action has again proved to be a successful tactic in defending our environment."
At a loose end after the Stringers victory? Fancy some action in the countryside? Here's a selection of camps...
SchNEWS would like to point out Mr. Stringer's unbiased view has nothing to do with him being Chair of the Board for Manchester Airport and ask that if he is such a passionate democrat, why not place the Board of the Airport up for direct election by the people of Manchester?
And as good old Jo Makepeace from Justice? said at last weeks Direct Action Conference: "It's all about people getting off their arses and doing things for themselves now, not waiting for the politicians to act for us. A cross on a piece of paper every five years...that's generous."
We've not mentioned them before, but they've been giving it some in Grimsby for a few years now: the A16 Action Group are opposing a 5km diversion of the A16 along the "Peaks Parkway", the disused Grimsby-Louth railway line. This is a popular, well-used recreational area oozing with wildlife - a rare oasis of beauty in Grimsby - and it is doubly insensitive coming from a council supposedly so skint it has to charge the elderly for care services.
A recent week of peaceful direct action resulted in several arrests and kids injured by reckless machine operators. One 16 year old was given bail on condition she doesn't go within 100m of the site - which rules out both home and school! Anyway, after years in the protest backwaters they need your help - so get in contact with STROPP on 01472 278845 and get involved.
"One of the main points to come out of the
conference is the need to attack the oil industry in several places at
once, and in as many varied ways as possible.Their PR machine needs a
good talking to; their investors must be persuaded to put their money
somewhere more useful. New recruits must be told to get a proper
Yes, it's AGM time again! Last fortnight it was the turn of BAe, now it's the turn of grubby multinationals Shell and RTZ to have their dirty laundry held up for public scrutiny. First up were mining giants RTZ: ducking questions about pollution in Bolivia; the appalling situation in Bougainville; human rights abuses at the Grasberg Copper Mine in Irian Jaya; Indonesia; and mining plans that threaten Madagascan rainforests and a sacred mountain in the Philippines, the directors chose instead merely to inform the assembly that Grasberg produces £125m per year in taxes for the Indonesian government.
Last weekend saw Hammersmith Unemployed Workers' Centre host a gathering of the clans against the oil industry under the banner of CRUDE OPERATORS, a Corporate Watch & Platform joint venture, featuring speakers from all over the world on virtually every aspect of the worlds dirtiest industry, oil. Corporate Watch (CW) told SchNEWS, "Following the by now familiar pattern of `spend Saturday finding out about it, Saturday night eating and partying, Sunday working out what to DO about it, and the rest of the week actually doing it', Monday saw a particularly fragrant oil slick smeared all over the front of the DTI in Westminster, highlighting the strange resemblance between David Simon, chair of British Petroleum plc (boo) and David Simon, Minister for Competitiveness and Europe in Tony Blair's new cabinet. Lots of mess, lots of ranting, lots of fun. Lovely.
"Wednesday was the Shell AGM where a slick PR excercise dismissed any critics as `ill-informed' or `violent extremists'. This tactic meant that decent actions in the meeting would have played straight into their hands" point out CW, who add however that "9% of the Shell share capital is now on our side - only another 42% to go." And on Thursday (as we go to press) Shell is releasing its environment report to tell the world how nice they are. Let's hope none of those ill-informed violent extremists get in to put the record straight...
Satpal Ram is on hunger strike after a surprise move from Gartree Prison in Leicestershire, to Wandsworth in London. On 18 April, he was moved forcibly in a bodybelt and put in a bare strip cell. He's now refusing all food, demanding an end to his mistreatment. Satpal has been inside since 1986, sentenced to life for the self-defence killing of a racist who attacked him in a restaurant. In those 11 years, Ram has been beaten up, repeatedly moved, kept in isolation, subject to humiliating body searches and had drugs planted on him.
SchNEWS was upset to hear of the indiscriminate use of CS Gas at a pixies post election party at the Flat Oak (next to Blue Route at Whitstable). The fun loving pixies managed to slip through the outer fence of the compound before a sacrificial fire mysteriously consumed a digger. Two green folk were arrested, and everyone (even the police) got a throat full of the Devil's perfume Flat Oak Society 01227 463368.
Wot a comedown...
A party in North Wales was completely obliterated and a sound system confiscated last Bank Holiday Weekend. Police helicopters watched the T.W.A.T. Chaos, BWPT & other systems setting up at a disused quarry. Early evening the Chef Inspector said pack up and bugger off and there would be no trouble! However when the systems were leaving the police blocked off access roads and the riot squad turned up in van loads confiscating the T.W.A.T. system and arresting the driver. Meanwhile a 4 mile convoy of party cars were dispersed to the English Border, and two big Parties did kick off in the end, Wolfie of Twat told SchNEWS: "It shows just how many are up for it, and as Spiral Tribe said - they might stop a party but they can't stop the future."
We've all heard about brave fire-fighters being asked to rescue pussies stuck up trees (ouch, sorree!), but Saturday's call out surely took the biscuit. Randy Sandy, a blow-up doll had been stuck on one of Brighton's CCTV cameras by activists pointing out that camera technology is now so advanced it can strip people of their clothes! Brighton Police however were not amused and rung for the fire brigade to remove offending objects including a startled looking Sandy.
Nine other cameras were also targeted by activists - stirred into action by a talk on surveillance at Justice's? Direct Action Conference. Apart from Sandy, one camera had a bag put over it head, while one resident refused to come down for two hours from a pole, complaining that it looks straight into his bedroom window. Meanwhile a mobile spy camera was placed on a nearby block of flats watching the entrance of the Conference and later in the day two cops walked into a crowded pub and arrested someone they'd spotted on their `rogues gallery.' Brighton CCTV control room is linked up to a face recognition programme which has a role call of people on the `wanted list' enabling them to cross check files on known activists and pick up any they consider to be wanted.
As one London activist complained to SchNEWS "It's all very well going on actions knowing you have a chance of being nicked, but when your in the pub chatting someone up and your mate gets pulled then things are really getting out of hand."
The SchNEWS warns all readers not to partake in direct action for fear of being confused with Mussolini or Pol Pot. Never resist unpopular developments or you may end up wiping out half of Cambodian or invading Abyssinia. Then you will avoid being strung up from a lamp post. Honest.
Sorry to people who couldn't hear at Have I got SchNEWS for you! Hopefully see you at SchNEWSnight on 17th! And for the lack of SchNEWS issue last week - too hectic with Conference.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 12 June 1997
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