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

Issue 151, Friday 23rd January 1998



"This area of the East Mendips is the centre of Somerset's major quarrying industry. Virtually one-fifth of the national requirements are met from Somerset."
- Somerset County Council

As SchNEWS went to press, a game of cat and mouse between protesters, bailiffs and the police is taking place at Dead Woman's Bottom near Nunney, Frome. The five protest camps are being illegally evicted by the Under Sheriff of Somerset and his merry men who moved in early Tuesday morning. The protesters are trying to stop the proposed Bull's Green Link Road being built. Although there are only 30 to 40 people on site they are proving impossible to evict effectively.

The authorities are having real problems evicting because some of the camps are on private land, and local landowners who are opposed to the road are refusing to support the powers that be. One told SchNEWS: "There are vans and vans and vans of riot cops but the Section 69 (a formal warning from a senior cop to leave the land) that they're handing out is basically a get-out-of-jail-free card."

Despite the fact that there were children on site, no prior warning was given of the eviction. One woman was dragged off and her kids were left alone screaming, while a doctor was assaulted by bailiffs on his own land.

As fast as the bolts for the perimeter fence are set in concrete, they are being mysteriously ripped out by invisible pixies..."This protest will last for months. We are conducting a guerrilla warfare from the woods."

Everybody's favourite environmentalists Tarmac are paying for approximately two-thirds of the £3.2M road-scheme - the rest is to be met from the tax-payer. If built, it will give Tarmac easier access to the Halecombe quarry, as well as enable them to trash previously inaccessible areas of the Mendips. The road will cut through Asham Wood, one of the last two ancient woodlands left in the area and home to the endangered Greater Horseshoe bat and Fresh Water Cray fish (no, the fish aren't up a tree, they're in a stream clever-clogs). But don't worry, according to the County Council's Structure Plan this part of the Mendips is a Designated Special Landscape Area! Ironically, while the Council are arguing that the road needs to be built to divert heavy lorries away from five villages, 30% of Halecombe Quarries output is for asphalt for roads and road maintenance.

The Mendips have been the scene of the longest running ecological direct action in the country. The mining causes massive destruction to the environment, lowering and polluting the water table and producing material for large construction projects. As one activist told SchNEWS: "It is ridiculous that the Mendips are supplying stone to the whole country. Mining should be small-scale and supplied on a regional basis"

Whatley Quarry, owned by Hanson PLC, is another site that is destroying the Mendips. It is currently looking to double in size, creating a gaping hole that will be visible from the Moon. In December '95 Earth First! staged a mass trespass, with 500 activists trashing the site and closing the quarry for a week. A court case of the 3 people charged with criminal damage to the railway line into Whatley is now a year old, with the prosecution dragging their feet in a clear attempt to break the spirit of those involved. A Show Trial is expected in March. This campaign is going to last for a while, so get down there NOW!

  • DEAD WOMAN'S BOTTOM: 01749 880 144


SchNEWS Presents: Mark Thomas

...as seen on that TV thing.

Pavilion Theatre, Brighton, 10th February

to launch our sexy third book: "SchNEWSannual", which features issues 101-150 plus photos, cartoons, features and 16 pages of hot contacts. Send us £6 plus a stamped, addressed envelope for your copy.


Green Belt Housing: It's G.B.H!

"Labour's long term aim is... a strategy to bring empty properties into life."
- New Life For Britain, Labour Party Policy Document, October 1996

With the rump of the £22 BILLION roads programme killed off, a lot of activists have been breathing a sigh of relief - for a while. But just when we thought that our tree and meadow type-things were safe, a new threat has emerged: it seems as if the greasy palms of business have transferred their money from tarmac to bricks and mortar (see SchNEWS 148)

Hang on though, hold your horses. Even if planning permission is given for many of these schemes, the bulldozers will not be moving in `til after the Millenium, so it isn't time to put on your harnesses and head for the trees just yet. Now is the time for establishing green belt housing (GBH) as an issue. The more that the threat of direct action is put forward, the less likely it is that John Prescott will give the go-ahead for the developments.

It seems as though this issue might well be the one which sparks off a return of mass scale direct action. Houses being created are not to meet direct social need, of which there is much, but in order to make a fast(ish) buck. Every year 100,000 of the new households created cannot afford to obtain housing at the market rate, and rarely is there any provision for social housing in local authority structure plans.

Homes Not Domes

Building pricey 1-4 bedroom shoe-boxes in the South East isn't exactly the way to solve the housing crisis. And the plan to tack 80,000 new houses onto the outskirts of Milton Keynes should be looked upon as a criminal act in itself.

Building houses on sparsely developed land leads to the building of more roads, increased car dependency, more shopping centres and increased infrastructure in times when the country can barely retain the services it already has.

Also, if urban housing density is increased too much in order to save the countryside, then our cities may lose their remaining vital green spaces. On SchNEWS's doorstep (well, 4 miles away) Peacehaven Valley is under threat. 90% of locals, including the mayor, support direct action to stop the GBH.

  • `Stopping The Sprawl' by Friends of the Earth, £7 (or £4.50 from FoE groups), Publications Despatch, FoE, 56-58 Alma St, Luton, LU1 2PH.


Global Street Party!

"Imagine the kick of taking back your street in the knowledge that all over the world people are doing the same! A Global Street Party has the potential to be a defining moment of resistance."

Since its first appearance in London in 1995, the street party has been erupting across the world with its collision of love and rage, carnival and revolution, politics and party. From Leeds to Sydney, Amsterdam to Edinburgh, Berlin to Israel, thousands of people have banished the car, danced defiantly, transformed private space and created their own extraordinary local festivals of resistance. Now a proposal has come from London and Finland to hold a Global Street Party on SAT 16th MAY `98

This date coincides with the 1998 G8 meeting in Birmingham, where world leaders of the 8 largest economies meet to make decisions about the future of the planet and its peoples. They will then all fly to Geneva to celebrate the 50th anniversary of GATT. There they will sign more agreements which enable them to wrench ever more power and control away from local communities and siphon it into the self-appointed dictatorship that is the World Trade Organisation. Reclaim The Streets (RTS) want to know what you think about a Global Street Party Day? Let them know asap! (by the 5th Feb)

  • Reclaim The Streets PO Box 9656 London, N4 4JY Tel 0171 281 4621. Email: rts@gn.apc.org

"So sorry!"

The police have had to apologise after their bad behaviour at the Oxford street party on Nov 1st. The local Green Party agreed to withdraw their official complaint in return for the police making a public apology in a local paper. The cops have also promised to use their video tapes from the day to ID those officers who'd `forgotten' to put their numbers on, and talk to those who had a "heavy attitude"!
  • On Sat 7th Feb, there's going to be another RTS in Amsterdam. More info on (Dutch) 06-53642572, from the 5th of Feb.
  • On Sat 9th May it's going to be the turn of Wolverhampton. More details to follow.
  • Help is also needed to make a street party happen in Hertfordshire this summer- to draw attention to a destructive new road scheme. Contact 01923 448131
  • This week in Stockholm, Sweden, activists connected to Action for Social Ecology temporarily stopped the construction of the Southern Link road.


"Spider's Web in t'Kitchen, by `Eck

Alan Bowkett, the chief executive of the parent company of Magnet Kitchens, this week had a Coronation Street-style posse of fucked-off sacked workers decamp in his back garden. Bowkett got a £124,000 salary increase last year - a silver-plated garlic crusher more than the £114,000 needed to meet the 3% pay rise demanded by the 300 who have been on strike for the last 18 months. "If they could do it, why not us? We decided we'd become eco-warriors, " said one ex-worker. Four unions are backing their industrial action. A spokesperson for Mr Bowkett, trying not to sound like Alf Roberts, said he "would see how long they would stay"
  • Watch SchNEWS's pal Mark Thomas, who invaded the Magnet AGM last week with the strikers (C4 Weds 11pm)


SchNEWS in Brief

  • Congratulations to Denise and GrandPappy, proud parents of baby Clay, who was conceived down the cakehole tunnel during the Manchester airport evictions and born on Christmas Eve. Was this the last eviction of 97?

  • Bit late but nice one to The Christmas Liberation Front. They removed a Renault (car) logo which was the crowning feature of the 45ft Christmas tree in Manchester City Centre and replaced it with a more traditional star

  • E-Tea? Check out the Anarchist Teapots website at http://www.hrc.wmin.ac.uk/campaigns/ef/teapot/. Don't forget their new address is 142 London Rd, Brighton. It's open 12 noon - 6 pm Sat/Sun, with films and events in the week eves. On 2nd Feb they will be showing Cheech and Chong `up in smoke' at 7pm. Email: teapot@brighton.co.uk.

  • There's a picket of Barnado's on West St, Brighton this coming Saturday 24th, 12 noon - 2 pm, in protest at their support of the Project Work for your dole plus a tenner scheme.

  • Get yourself down to the Windows Art Centre, Lower Borough Walls, Bath on Saturday Feb 21st for a West Country Activist's winter gathering. There will be speakers from environmental, social justice and animal rights groups, followed by vegan lunch, workshops, Accommodation is available - contact 01225 466526 in advance In response to the Countryside Alliance's second PRO-HUNTING rally (March 1st, Hyde Park), Movement Against the Monarchy are warning: Do not underestimate their clout. Opposition to the first rally in August was virtually non-existent. So get down to the Public Meeting at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, London on Thursday 19th February @ 7.30pm to help suss out a strategy.

  • London Animal Action, have told us about the following anti-hunt demos: Sat 31st Jan-Downing Street-12 noon (Westminster Station, turn right); Wed 4th Feb-Houses of Parliament-12 noon; Mon 9th Feb-Labour HQ, Millbank Tower (meet Pimlico Station 12 noon). Bring banners!

  • Anyone interested in going on a direct action tour to Germany in May should contact LUNE EF on 01524 381844 as soon as possible.

  • For a mind-bending, brain-washing list of 100's of web addresses of information on warfare sites go to: http://www.tao.ca/earth/damn/

  • A not-for-profit video project is being set up in Bristol. It's early days but ideas include community video, eco-documentaries and maybe even a video magazine. Contact 01941 170945 if you want to know more

  • NICE ONE! UK's 1st prison bootcamp is to shut down.


Newbury Anniversary

Cops on horseback, some in helicopters as well as the usual van-loads stood guard, as 100 people held another re-union rally at Newbury two weeks ago. Perhaps the cops were a little nervous, fearing a repetition of last years anniversary, when naughty activists `hi-jacked' a Friends of the Earth rally, invaded a site compound and smashed and burned every piece of machinery they could get their hands on, causing at least £200,000 worth of damage. This time the police had to contend with people with Christmas decorations, ribbons and thermos flasks. Later at a candle-lit vigil, a man was spotted all blacked up and laying on the ground and eavesdropping on those at the vigil!


Training Day

Want to do something different for the New Year? Then why not get involved in SchNEWS. We will be having another one of our Training Days soon, so give us a ring if you're interested: 01273 685913.


Beer Monsters

The land occupation at the threatened Bury St Edmunds Butts Water Meadow in Suffolk, has now been going strong for 4 weeks, despite gales, floods and winter weather! The Campaigners are trying to save the meadows from being trashed by a road that Greene King Brewery want built in order to save 10 minutes off their delivery journeys. The campaign has widespread support, with local people and businesses supplying most of the essentials, such as food, water, equipment, utensils and firewood - but they would like a few more people to come and stay. There is also a boycott of the company in place, with planned pickets outside pubs in the pipeline. Contact 01359 240365.


Inside SchNEWS

"I am often held in total isolation in solitary confinement, having to endure prolonged periods of deprivation, psychological abuse, constant intimidation, starvation diets and physical torture. On numerous occasions I have been shackled in a body belt and thrown in strip cells having to sleep on the floor, cold and naked for days on end."
- Satpal Ram

Satpal Ram was given a life sentence eleven years ago for defending himself against a racist attacker who stabbed him with a broken glass. Despite the fact that Lord Chief Justice Lane said that Satpal should serve ten years, he has now been told he will have to serve an additional two years before his case comes up for review again. SchNEWS isn't usually into writing to our MPs but Satpal is asking for people to write to Jack Straw to ask that he be released now. Letters of protest to Jack Straw, Home Secretary, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT (but don't mention cannabis) Letters of support: Satpal Ram E94164, Nottingham Prison, Perry Rd., Sherwood, Notts, NG5 3AG (send it recorded delivery).


Dying For It

Quick, better get your bets in for the Death Sweepstake. Name those most likely to pop their clogs (throw a seven) in `98 and you could be a winner. Make your list of 10 celebrities (younger than 90) and email it to deathscore@postmodern.com quickly. If you miss the deadline you can watch all the fun at http://www.deathscore.com/deathscore/. There is a catch though - "you don't get credit for any death in which you, the player, have directly or indirectly participated." In other words, NO PUSHING! ANYONE.


and finally

A dodgy New York landlord who failed to carry out any repairs on the neglected flats she rented out has been sentenced to spend 60 nights in one of the flats herself! "She should have a taste of her own medicine" said Judge JoAnn Friia. Tenants said they had complained to Florence Nyemitei about lack of hot water, partial electricity, blocked toilets, faulty fire extinguishers and poor heating for four years but nothing was done. Nyemitei was fined $10,000 and now has to spend four nights a week between 8pm and 6 am at one of the flats.
  • If you're fed up with cretinous landlords then why not set up a housing co-op. Get a copy of a Radical Routes' new book called funnily enough `How To Set Up A Housing Co-operative', which covers the legal issues, practical step-by-step advice and heartening success stories. Write to 24 Firfield St., Bristol, BS4 3AL email krayg@cableinet.co.uk



SchNEWS warns all hunters to choose their quarry with care in case they end up in a fucking great pit. That's the (Dead Woman's) `bottom' (punch) line. Honest.


It's yer rubble-rousing necrophiliac SchNEWS inna 2am stylee!

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Last updated 9 February 1998
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