| Issue 12
Justice? Brighton's Campaign in Defiance of the Criminal
Hunt Sabs 107
No live exports*
Tree Defenders 2
* at least 300 people nicked under 1986 Public Order Act so far
Live Export Megaport
This week animal rights
activists were shocked, but not surprised, to hear that far from
the end of live exports being nigh Shoreham is in fact set to become
the 'livestock megaport'. The new ship, the Cap-Bon, which is due
to be introduced this week is large enough to carry all available
sheep and calves to Europe. Not content with exporting up to ten
lorry loads of animals per day, the International Traders Ferry
wishes to corner the entire live export market and transport two
million sheep and one and a half million calves per year.
Protestors are angry
that Shoreham Port Authority can claim to be against the trade,
yet can still provide not only a new berth for the Northern Cruiser,
but a new roll-on roll-off system in the port for the new ferry.
It seems that hypocrisy is running rife.
Meanwhile, an autopsy
was carried out on the pregnant ewe that was washed up at Shoreham
last week. The verdict is that the ewe died from either being crushed
or heart failure - a conclusion that would lead us to believe it
came from the Northern Cruiser (unless of course, the ewe was water-skiing
off shore and died of over excitement). I.T.F. to date have refused
to return SchNEWS faxes regarding this matter.
Brighton Council have
had 751 responses to their press release, concerning payment for
police operations at Shoreham. Out of these, 11 daft people replied
that the council should pay which would inevitably come out of their
own pockets via council tax. Not too smart!
The other 740 said that
either the government, or the profit-making companies or a combination
of the two should foot the bill. Brighton council agrees that the
government should cough up, but there's little chance of that -
tell us something we don't know.
And the protests go on.
A shipment was due to leave Shoreham at mid-day today (Friday) and
a large turnout is expected. If ITF does win the contract to ship
all livestock to Europe, the Battle of Shoreham could
be a long one. Contact 0273 720 401.
NY Times thinks CJA
Its not just us who think
the CJA is crap - even the New York Times, in their editorial of
Feb 27th slated the Act. Saying "Britain's new crime law is
a dangerous retreat for a nation that pioneered the concept of individual
legal rights, but has in recent years steadily eroded those rights...
Like America, Britain is undermining the right to bail. Instead
of regarding pre-trial release as the natural consequence of presuming
a defendant's innocence [six out of ten who are denied bail never
go to trial] the British law lets police set bail instead of a more
impartial magistrate." they went on to say:
parlous state of civil liberties in Britain is going to get worse.
There is a cautionary lesson in that for the United Stares, which
winnowed many flaws from British Law and should be careful not to
re-adopt them...". Nice one!
You have the right
to remain silent for another 37 days. This section of the CJA becomes
law on April 10th - start SHOUTING!
...and so do Prison
Prison officers are thinking
about working to rule in protest over provisions in the CJA that
do not allow them to take strike action. And that's not the only
thing about the Act that's making them angry. The prison service
is already under funded, with the government refusing to give out
cash for extra health, safety and security measures. The CJA instead
continues to farm the prison service out to the private sector,
now extending this to include Scotland and the prison escort service,
(remember Group 4!!!). It also places the pay bargaining structure
in the hands of the Secretary of State - in other words, what he
says goes. No wonder prison officers are a bit hacked off.
All this comes after
the Woolfe report several years ago agreed to deal with overcrowding
and working conditions by keeping the system as it was. Interestingly,
these provisions in the CJA say that prison officers have never
had the right to strike, even though in the past they have taken
industrial action, (yer wot??!! Classic case of doublethink). An
employee of the POA told SchNEWS that if prison officers work to
rule then "the prison service would rapidly grind to a halt".
Sean Cregan, who spent
three months at HMP Belmarsh for climbing the gates of Downing St
during the CJA demo wrote "I'd like to urge everyone to write
to Direct Action prisoners even if you feel you have nothing to
say! A quick 'good luck' card makes all the difference to someone!"
John Livingstone, arrested
at M77 Pollok Free State last week for shouting "Shame!"
at tree-Cutters, has been remanded in custody until March 29th!
Livvy refused to wear prison trousers and walked around naked from
the waste down until they returned his kilt. He is now on hunger
strike. Write to him:
John Livingstone, HMP
Greenock Greenock, Glasgow.
Jim Chambers is still
inside Wormwood Scrubs, awaiting trial for alleged criminal damage
on a road construction site (sentence first, trial later?) Write:
Jim Chambers, PV25&4, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, PO Box 757, Du Cane
Rd., London, W12 0AE.
Fastest with the fact, accurate with the truth!@ The New Kensington.
Kensington Gardens, Brighton. Every Friday 5:45pm
Fighting the Job
The CJA and the JSA
Although the Criminal
Justice Act potentially affects the 'civil liberties' of everyone,
as we all know the more pernicious aspects of this act have been
directed at a distinct number of 'dissident and marginal' groups.
When the act was drawn up in 1993 the government had hoped that
by scapegoating squatters, travellers, ravers, hunt sabs and road
protesters etc. it could rally the Tory party faithful after the
bitter divisions that had emerged over Europe and the Maastricht
Treaty. Instead it succeeded in uniting all these groups into a
campaign of mass defiance to this law.
But in scapegoating such
groups the government was not simply playing on the prejudices of
the bigots at the Tory party conference. As the government and their
bigoted followers recognise, at least instinctively, what all these
groups have in common is that they foster alternative and oppositional
lifestyles which reject both the work ethic and the profit motive.
They all contribute to the growing DIY culture which refuses simply
to sell our creative capacities to employers, to delegate our social
responsibilities to politicians, and insist instead that we use
our creative energies directly for both ourselves and each other
to create a better world. As such squatters, travellers, ravers,
hunt sabs and road protesters etc. are all seen as undermining the
'economy' - they all threaten the profit and money making system
on which capitalist society is based.
It is perhaps not surprising
then that most people who are actively opposed to the Criminal Justice
Act are on the dole. Now the Government has brought a new bill before
parliament which aims to tighten up the regulations which oblige
those of us on the dole to 'actively seek work'. This nasty piece
of legislation is perhaps a far more insidious attack on alternative
and oppositional lifestyles than the Criminal Justice Act and one
that we should all oppose.
What is the JSA
This legislation proposes
to replace Income Support and Unemployment Benefit by a new unified
benefit for all those unemployed - The Job Seekers Allowance. For
the most part this new benefit will, in effect, extend the more
restrictive availability of work regulations which now apply to
Income Support claimants to all unemployed claimants, but it also
introduces extra discretionary powers and makes sanctions against
those refusing to fulfil such conditions more severe. All claimants
will have to sign a job seekers contract in which they agree to
undertake specific activities to find work. In addition claimants
can be issued with a 'Jobseekers Direction' which orders the claimant
to do certain things that will increase their chances of finding
a job. Such directions could go as far as ordering the claimant
to make themselves more 'presentable' to prospective employers by
having a hair cut etc. Whereas now failure to comply to such regulations
usually results in a 40% cut in benefits, with the Job Seekers Allowance
benefits may be withdrawn completely.
By tightening up on the
actively seeking work regulations and increasing the sanctions for
non-compliance, the JSA will mean more hassles for people signing
on in another treasury inspired penny-pinching exercise. By having
a single benefit for all the unemployed the Government hopes it
can cut down on staff in the DSS. For those who have paid sufficient
national insurance contributions the JSA will not be means tested
for the first six months, rather than twelve months as it is now
with unemployment benefit. This means thousands of people with savings
or redundancy money will be disqualified from receiving benefits
after six months saving the government millions of pounds.
Although the JSA does
not mean that we are all going to be forced off the dole, it does
include various nasty and vindictive measures and more importantly
is part of gradual erosion of the welfare state. The government
hasn't dared to withdraw welfare provisions all in one go, anymore
than it has dared to privatise the NHS. (Indeed, the government's
plans for a national emergency recognise that if, for any reasons,
giros were suddenly not paid out there would be full scale rioting
and looting in all the major towns and cities within three weeks!).
Instead the government has sought over the last decade to erode
welfare provisions. The most important changes came after the Fowler
review in 1988 which withdrew income support for 16-18 year olds
and cut income support by a third for all single claimants under
25. If we don't fight the JSA the government will feel confident
to impose further attacks.
The fight against
Whereas the Criminal
Justice Act attacks us collectively by criminalising raves, demonstrations
and parties, the Job Seekers Allowance attacks us as isolated claimants.
As a result it is easy to look for individual solutions. Even people
in Justice? say they don't really need the dole because they can,
at a pinch, earn money gardening, selling home made things, or working
in and around the rave scene. But while such opportunities might
now exist for the individual, if everyone was forced into them the
pinch would become a squeeze. After all we can't all be gardeners
or DJ's! We have to fight the JSA collectively through positive
direct action, just as we have fought the Criminal Justice Act.
Fortunately it will not
be Portillo or his fellow ministers who will apply the act. The
new discretionary powers will be in the hands of dole workers who
are mostly underpaid and overworked. The degree to which they will
be obliged to use these powers depends critically on what is seen
to be politically acceptable, which in turn will depend on the success
of our campaign against the JSA.
If the campaign against
the JSA is to be successful we not only have to link up with the
dole workers, who are already organising against the redundancies
and greater work load that the new benefit system will impose, but
also all working people. If people on the dole are forced into accepting
any work for shit wages then the competition on the labour market
for work will become fierce. With people desperate for work, employers
will be able impose lower wages and worse working conditions. Our
benefits are the floor to their wages and lifesyles!
The campaign against
the Criminal Justice Act has shown how it is possible to build a
movement that has made the government not only reluctant to introduce
further measures but also to fully implement the powers of the act
itself. If our movement now turns to oppose the Job Seekers Allowance
legislation we can not only make the more nasty aspect of this legislation
too politically unacceptable to implement, but reverse the erosion
of welfare provisions. We shall be able to raise the demand for
a basic living income with no availability of work conditions as
the first step towards the abolition of wage labour!
CAMPAIGN AGAINST JOB
PUBLIC MEETING Thursday
16th March 7.30pm at Brighton Unemployed Centre, Prior House, Tilbury
Place 01273 671213
Sue the Police
Small World are making
a DiY video-guide on suing the police. If you have any knowledge
or video footage of this ring Paul at Small World 0171 272 5255.
SAT 4th -MARCH AGAINST
THE NEW STOP AND SEARCH LAWS - Stoke Newington Police St 2pm to
Tottenham cop shop OR Brockwell Park, Brixton 12 noon to Brixton
MON 6th - Workshop on
CJA and squatting by The Homeless Information Project, 612 Old Kent
Rd, 4-7PM 0171 277 7639
TUE 7th - Campaign Against
Arms Trade action outside Alvis AGM (who sell tanks to Indonesia)
Savoy Hotel 11 am 071 281 0297
TUE 7th - Agenda 2l Meeting
@ Café Royale, London. 071 287 0828 Prince of Wales and John
Gummer will be there....
THUR 9th McLIBEL CASE
100th day in court 0171 713 1269 (2 unemployed London Greenpeace
supporters have been taken to court by McDonalds for alleged libel
in a leaflet)
TUE 14th On the anniversary
of the destruction at Solsbury Hill, Bath, the action camp will
be re-established and everyone is asked to come on the hilltop from
Saturday March 12th. 01374 953160.
For further copies of
the SchNEWS send stamps/donations (payable to Justice?) SchNEWS
c/o on-the-fiddle PO Box 2 600 Brighton East Sussex . Tel: (01273)
685 913. Or pick one up @ Peace Centre, Gardener St, Brighton and
around town e-mail: Justicefirstname.lastname@example.org
Justice? meet every
wednesday 7pm @ prince albert
help! - we're