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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! THE WORLD IS UNDER ATTACK!...
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 153/154, Friday 6th February 1998FRIDAY 13th MAI HORROR SHOW @ HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mark Moody-Stuart, Group Managing Director of Royal Dutch Shell, and his wife Judy, were startled to find protesters scrambling on their roof and in the front garden of `Little Blackbrook' in Hassocks, where they unfurled ten-foot banners proclaiming "MURDERERS" and "EARTH FIRST!".
By the time police arrived after a quarter of an hour, Mrs Moody-Stuart was serving refreshments as members of South Downs Earth First! grilled her husband about the meeting of 1,000 killer corporations in Davos, Switzerland, which ended on Tuesday. Simultaneous actions took place around the globe in Colombia, Germany, Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and the USA. Nearly 200 organisations from 54 countries, with a combined membership of 20 million, have released the Declaration against the Globalisers of Misery.
The playwright Harold Pinter, and Ken Loach, the film director, were among the signaturies denouncing "the accelerating centralisation of political and economic power and the shift to unaccountable and undemocratic institutions".
One EF!er told SchNEWS: "This is direct democracy in action. Injustice isn't anonymous, it has names and addresses. It was the only chance we had to literally bring home the reality of the destruction that giant corporations like Shell inflict upon indigenous people across the globe."
White-haired Moody-Stuart, 57, told the protesters: "I don't really want a `MURDERERS' banner on my roof, could you take it down? I'm getting on a bit and it'd benefit us both - you could use it at the next AGM!"
It marks the build up to MAI-DAY, when the corporations finally take over the world (see SchNEWS 141) with the signing of the Mulilateral Agreement on Investment, due in May. And this time: ITS WAR! This monster free trade treaty will give multinationals the right to sue national governments, with greater political right than any soverign nation. It's already happened in Canada under a three-country treaty, NAFTA, where the Ethyl Corp. Of America is suing the Canadian government for $367M for trying to ban the use of MMT, a controversial gasoline additive it produces in Ottawa. It wants "immediate compensation for imposing legislation which hiders it's operations [profit]."
While the UK press is silent, activists in Oxford set up a DIY polling booth - a people's referendum - last month to get people to vote for or against the treaty. Once they learned details 99% voted NO.The final negotiations take place in Paris between the world's richest 29 countries on February 16-20th. Oxford City Council passed a motion denouncing the treaty in a letter to the DTi. Another referedum will be held tomorrow, and the idea is being repeated in Reading and St Andrews. To set one up call Corporate Watch 01865 791391. A national action has been called for Friday 13th at the House of Commons, with an appropriate `horror' theme. Contact the World Development Movement on 0171 737 6215.
(10th) to launch our sexy 3rd book -"SchNEWSannual" featuring issues 101-150 + photos; cartoons; features & 16 pages ov hot contacts. Send us £6 and a stamped addressed envelope.
- David McReynolds, USA War Resisters League
Doing the rounds in the USA at the moment is `Wag the Dog', a film about an American president who tries to get out of the mess he's in by going to war. Sound familiar? In Clinton, the US have a President who apparently doesn't impale or inhale, and ignores the advances of Boris Yeltsin, but you can't really blame him for that, as he's a real ugly. Despite this, he still insists it must go to war with Iraq because they are not conforming to UN resolutions.
America have broken countless UN resolutions and are the only country in the world that is currenly being investigated for the use of biological weapons (over Cuba). Maybe they are just not happy with the UNICEF figures that show that seven years after the Gulf War, over TWO MILLION Iraqis have died as a result of UN sanctions, half of them children. And once again, it will be the civilian population that will suffer the consequences, especially if any of these military targets which are hit release toxic chemicals. Could it be that a few years from now we will be witnessing Gulf War Syndrome II? And there was us thinking sequels were never any good.
Where was the outcry when Saddam used chemical weapons on the Kurds? Who speaks out when Britain continues to sell Hawk jets to the military dictatorship of Indonesia which has occupied East Timor since 1975 and killed a third of the population? Why did America stay silent when Israel invaded the Lebanon in 1978 and again in 1982 and who still occupies South Lebanon?
This 'crisis' is just another chapter in the carve up of the Middle East, against the intersts of the mass of people living there, by the superpowers. Well what a surprise...
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5/5/97 Llyanbered, North Wales: Police hellicoptors and riot vans appeared at Marchlin Quarry and seized the Babble soundsystem. The driver was arrested.
21/6/97 RTS, Bristol: Desert Storm soundsystem and truck impounded on the M4 and owners charged with conspiricy. Rig and truck returned in October and charges dropped.
13/7/97 East Sussex: police threw the CJA at a private birthday party following the Brighton Dance Parade, at which 20 soundsystems made to promise not to put on free parties that night.
16/8/97 Deiniolenin, North Wales: Police strip searched two people for drugs on their way to a free party, finding none, before setting up road blocks.
6/9/97 Norfolk: at the legally squatted Thelverton Hall, police arrived before the soundsystem to prevent a party organised by Innerfield and Planet Yes.
18/10/97 24 officers arrived at a private birthday party and found £10 worth of cannabis. They nicked two people, took the key to the house and impounded the soundsystem.
31/10/97 Norfolk: At the squatted Thelveton Hall, police crushed another Innerfield do by seizing equipment, which they later had to return. People's bedding was burnt on the front lawn by the owner of the hall.
11/97 Tottenham: 60 riot cops busted party and seized equipment belonging to the Immersion rig - later returned minus a few bits.
31/12/97 Brighton: one party was stopped before it began; another was stormed after midnight by riot police who then baton charged people outside. A third party took place in a squatted bingo hall, until police seized the rig in the morning.
31/12/97 Nottingham: Pulse,Smokescreen and DIY tried to put on a party in a non-residential area, but police stopped it with roadblocks.
25/1/98 Hackney: noise pollution officers stopped a party in a disused Hackney warehouse, siezing sound equipment which they are now seeking to destroy.
"It's the War of the Flea. Soundsystems keep growing from the grassroots.
While the authorities try and contain them, they keep coming back to irritate
them. One may be out of action for a time, but another will spring up in it's
"Riot police have conducted a year-long war of attrition against large
private and open air parties, making scores of arrests and breaking up events
before they start"
While New Labour were busy popping champagne corks and celebrating with a May day post - election knees up, other parties (of repetitive beats) were being actively state-crashed across fields and warehouses all over Britain.
Dancing is OK, so long as you do it without the beats. Otherwise police resources and manpower, to the tune of an inner city riot, may have to be activated.
In the week before Labours landslide victory an unsuspecting party goer received this posting on his e-mail: "the North Wales police are monitoring your activities, and we will take action to stop your event". The next day several officers grilled him over rumours of a May bank holiday rave - Having monitered the UK Dance Listings web page, and e-mail North Wales police followed the data trail right to his door.
The following May Day "election" weekend, the Tribe of TWAT, Chaos, BWPT and Babble soundsystems, trailed by a party convoy, were met by the regional Zero's In-Tolerance squad at Marchlin quarry in Llyanbered, Deploying helicopters and riot vans, the Babble system was impounded and the party convoy forced to find sites over the border into England.
Not that English police dont leave their Criminal Justice Act (CJA) calling cards when sound-system festivities come to town. A month after the election, following an all day RTS party, Desert Storm were pursued by Bristol police to the bottom of the M4. Shielded by several hundred people, the truck had been led to the outskirts of Bristol to avoid being snatched by stationed riot vans. On setting out for the long haul up North, the vehicle was pulled and the soundsytem impounded.
While 1997 saw quarries, fields, and warehouses ransacked even private gatherings were being trashed.
The second half of 97' runs something like this, clampdown in Wales continues, with Rave Watch schemes, arrests and system seizures. Armed response units show at a Norfolk house party on Halloween. Police in Tottenham and Hackney discover the Noise Act. Riot police showed at the Innerfield Bingo Hall bash, seizing their rig, and stealing records and connection leads. Then, only a month into 98'as part of the "Transforming Hackney" programme, five sound-systems were taken under the Noise Act...
In 1993 the Southern Central Intelligence Unit began "Operation Snapshot". Following the events at Castlemorton festival, open air raves were identified as a target for police operations. "Any information, no matter how small, on New Age Travellers or the rave scene" was to be logged onto police databases for future intelligence. Working in since, the Home Office tacked ravers on their CJA top ten social deviant list, by outlawing sound-systems and making criminals of their owners. On the party scene since, 1997 saw more legislation, manpower and resources mobilised to close down free parties than ever before.
- Manchester Metropolitan University Institute for Popular Culture
"Management who do not co-operate i n drink
and drug related matters will be brought to task and this could ultimately
lead to closure"
In 1998, sniffer dogs, drug swab tests, search warrants and licensing powers are used on innocent clubbers. Many will be recorded on CCTV, inside club venues some made to submit to drug test. Some clubs will be closed and promoters forced to sanitise their nights with fresh police disinfectant licensing solutions.
This new clean club solution won't effect corporate scum like the Ministry of Sound but will wash out alternative dance and DIY circuits nationwide. In Brighton, where special SWAT teams forever chase the rave to the grave, fave Chief Inspector Bailey issued a report toEnvironmental Services calling for a revoke of a cafe's 24 hour licence. Bailey said Brighton police had "collated intelligence and video footage" implicating the Sub Cafe's management with known criminals and drug dealers. The cafe had it's flyers banned for using the words "chill out", CCTV cameras spying on the venue, and officers wandering in on weekends, threatening the place with closure. However, when Bailey's bully boys rolled up in front of the licencing committee with their snooper film rushes and "intelligence" casebook; it turned out the evidence was misleading, and the Sub management were cleared. However, the continued harrassment eventually led to their closure.
The Zap Club joins other Brighton snooper spots - the Paradox, Event, McClusky's, Greens and Cybar, in installing CCTV systems where footage can be used on police request. This is all part of the new Orwell-Clubs initiative on behalf of Brighton police, where, to get an entertainment's venue licence, you have to spunk up (literally) on spy cameras first.
Drug Czar Hellawell has already given his thumbs up to new club bashing powers. On Newsnight he said, "Alongside inner city areas, clubs were public enemy number one." The Legg Bill (Public Entertainments and Licensing Act) when it becomes law this year, will give police the power to shut clubs on any evidence of drug use. Smoke a spliff in your local Ritzy and there goes your Saturday night sesh. Even without this Legg-up, police are getting their jollies in North Wales by strip searching students on route to Bangor University. In Manchester police are launching Club Watch schemes all over town, with plans to make CCTV a licensing condition. Elsewhere, Hackney council have set up a 24 hour weekend anti-rave hotline, which puts winging locals through to Noise Pollution Officers. On 25th January a tip-off led to five sound-systems being impounded in Stoke Newington.
Free parties are not new, by any stretch of the imagination; the same openness between people manifest by random chats and hugs at parties today was experienced by those at popular festivals down the ages. Pretty much the opposite of being on the tube in London, where passengers are almost always silent and avoid eye contact, gripped by the alienation that is the everyday reality for most of us. Can't the authorities get their heads around the sense of ownership felt by people at free events, created by those within the dance community simply for the love of the party? How much more real is that experience than that of commercial clubs, where the will to dance is enclosed and removed from everyday life, then sold back to us for the price of a ticket? Perhaps though, that is precisely what those in power can get their head around. With the growth of the free party scene, people spent more time away from commercial `entertainment' venues, getting their drugs of choice from the black market instead of from a bar. We empowered ourselves to put on our own events and discovered that they made those offered by the world of commerce seem boring. No wonder a backlash, then: free parties undermine some people's pursuit of profit, and for a while threatened to execute the judgement that contemporary leisure was pronouncing against itself.
What is it that's so empowering about beats? When dance music tears through our apathy with 150 bpm thrown out across a crowd, we begin to live more intensely, as anyone who's felt it will tell you: music unites, and inspires people to let themselves go. To say that that should only take place within the walls of licensed clubs is to say that people should only be able so freely to express themselves within the limits imposed by corporate and other authorities whose interest in dancing is merely to fleece those of us who love it. For them, the walls and time limits of clubs exist to contain our creative desire for self-expression, making that desire separate from ourselves and lives, something that can only be bought into, instead of being collectively realised. Those walls trace the same lines of enclosure as those marked out by the walls of art galleries, which keep `art' as something removed from everyday life, to be exclusively controlled by a few. At the Reclaim the Streets party last April, the Immersion rig gave it some on the doorstep of the National Gallery, starkly contrasting that bastion of high culture with something joyously participative, embracing of all the people there. It's no coincidence that Reclaim the Streets parties when they began took the soundsystem as their central part, bringing to the everyday public space of the streets this instrument of a free culture whose public, inclusive celebration had elsewhere been the target of so much repression.
But it's not simply about being anti-club; many club nights are wicked, put on for fair prices by people with attitudes as good as the sound folks they attract. The issue is one of control: loads of us like to go out and dance a lot. So on who's terms do we do this? Undoubtedly the reason the police and general authorities want to herd us all into clubs is because that is the arena in which they can best control what we do. The crux of it all is this: that dance culture, at its best, offers people a glimpse, immediate experience of a way of being together vastly different from the reality of most people's lives, where the spectre of money continually haunts the space between us. What would it be like if people hugged and communicated so freely on the tube? These different ways of relating to one another are both a cause and an effect of the concrete realities with which they are bound up. With most of our most basic resources - land, information, the space around us - annexed by a minority social class, the rest of us look past each other in our efforts to compete for a bigger slice of the cake. Of course we feel alienated from one another - all that we share is our lack of control. Whether or not we're aware of it, each time we put on a free party we take back a space to make our own, and declare autonomy from the market system.
Party-goers everywhere should have no illusions about why their scene is being so heavily targeted by those in power. So how much does your culture mean to you? Across the country, in the various invisible territories of abandoned halls and darkened fields, beautiful free events are being surpressed by those with one hand pointing to the guarded club door, and the other gripping a side-handled baton. But people's will to dance is as relentless as their determination to think and organise for themselves. We have scarcely begun to make them understand that we do not intend to play the game.
"I don't understand why half the world's still crying, when the other half
of the world's still crying too, man, and can't get it
IT IS BETTER TO SUCK AND FUCK `TIL YOUR KNEES WOBBLE...
There will no SchNEWS next week cos not only are we really busy, but we knackered and we need more people to get involved! So book your places now. Phone us on 01273 685913.
The jailing of the three has sent shock waves through the underground press. However, a escalating campaign of support has emerged with everyone from the Index on Censorship (who have printed the `offending articles' on their web site at http://www.oneworld.org/index_oc/) to the National Union of Journalists giving support.
Next London Gandalf Support Campaign is on Wednesday 25th February @ 7pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, WC1 (Holborn Tube)
Check out the SchNEWS website for more comprehensive coverage.
There's a Critical Mass in Birmingham. Rave against the Birmingham Relief [sic] Road, Saturday 14 March 12 noon Chamberlain Sq.
happy birthday Toby - have a website on us
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 9 February 1998
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