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

Issue 185, Friday 2nd October 1998


So - you've just started at college, and are looking forward to some of the most exciting years of your life - endless parties, plotting the downfall of the state, debating the more esoteric passages of 'Das Capital', and generally spending all day in bed and all night drinking enough alcohol and taking enough drugs to incapacitate an elephant, all at the taxpayers'expense.

WAKE UP!!! Welcome to the grim reality - in debt from the word go, having to work in McDonalds for a couple of quid an hour, fighting off 50 other students for the one copy of the book in the library you need for the essay you have to do by tomorrow morning, all the while being told how privileged you are to be in higher education, and that it's only fair that you spend the next 10 - 15 years of your life paying for it. Ever get the feeling you've been cheated...?

'Student bashing' has always been a favourite Tory occupation, but New Labour has decided to really stick the boot in by ending the idea of free education for all - this year students have to contribute up to £1000 towards their tuition fees, the grant has been savagely cut, and from next year the grant will disappear entirely, to be completely replaced by loans.

Since the 80's the government have been reducing students' financial support - by gradually removing their entitlements to social security benefits and reducing the grant year on year. In 1990 the goverment removed the vast majority of students from the benefits system entirely, froze the grant and introduced student loans - this really was the beginning of the end for students. They then reduced the grant by 30% over 3 years

Whilst increasing the student loan, clearly with the intention to eventually abolish the grant. However, even the Tories thought this might be a bit too politically unpalatable - no such worries for New Labour though.

For students starting at college this year they can expect to get a maximum basic grant of around £800 a year, and a maximum student loan of £2735, and may have to contribute up to £1000 towards their fees. From the 1999/00 academic year, the grant will disappear entirely for most students to be completely replaced by loans. Certain students like single parents and those with dependants or disabilities can receive extra allowances - and whilst they will still be able to get these extra allowances next year the basic grant will still be abolished for them too. This means that students will finish their courses with debts of at least £12,000, and the implications of this aren't too hard to spot. Whilst it is too early to get any concrete evidence, students from poor backgrounds and mature students are obviously going to have to think long and hard as to whether they can afford to enter higher education; inevitably many won't bother.

In a University of Brighton survey from 1996 it was found that more than double the number of students aged 21 and over were over £1000 in debt compared to 18-20 year olds, and this situation is obviously going to worsen under the new funding arrangements. As one final year mature student told SchNEWS "The older you get the more financial responsibilites you take on - the cost of having kids, a mortgage, pre-existing debts - and I simply wouldn't be able to afford to go to university under the new rules. It makes me sick that Labour are doing this, as it discriminates against students who don't have rich mummies and daddies, and those students like me who were always told we were thick at school or weren't encouraged to aim for higher education so didn't think of going to university until we were older and realised we were actually good enough to go for it."

So what can you do about all this? Well, don't expect the National Union of Students to be much use - they actually support the abolition of the grant, although they do disagree with students having to contribute towards their fees. There's also the Campaign for Free Education, which the NUS don't support. The silence within most Students' Unions about the introduction of fees and abolition of the grant is deafening - within many SUs politics in whatever form has become a dirty word, whilst others are run by New Labour clones or by students from rich enough backgrounds not to care. It's a particularly savage irony - although no great surprise - that New Labour are doing more to exclude the poor and 'economically disadvantaged' from higher education than the Tories ever did.

Or are we just sneering cynics?

  • Campaign for Free Education PO Box 332, Huddersfield, HD1 3YB



Calling all SchStudents come to a SchNEWS TRAINING DAY on
Wednesday 14th October. At 12 noon onwards.
Limited space and biccies so book now on 01273 685913.



Shannon Coggins was arrested at Sainsburys in Haringey after putting a. 'Contaminated with genetically engineered soya' sticker on 5 packets of Batchelors Beanfeast. She was charged with Section 38 of the Public Order Act (1996) which was introduced to prosecute people who blackmail companies by spiking their food! Highgate magistrates threw the case out of court.
  • If you want to get hold of some of the stickers/disloyalty cards call Protect Your Food Campaign: 0171 865 8222



SchNEWS is used to hearing about (and being in the middle of) over-the-top-policing, but the recent demo in Hull against Banting and Kingman animal breeders surely takes the biscuit. Police from Thames Valley, South Yorks and Humberside made up the 30 plus riot vans, with 12 cops on horseback, 6 dog vans, four evidence gathering teams and a police operations unit in a church. A metal fence was erected to block off the village of Grimsden and all police were in riot gear.

And all this for just 30 protesters!

All the more strange is that the demonstrations happen every month with the largest one attracting no more than 100 people. And there have never been any arrests.

  • Public Meeting to discuss how to help save Hillgrove Cats (bred for vivisection) in Brighton 7pm St Peters Hall, St Peters Church, York Place Thursday 8th October
  • Stay up all night on a Saturday night? As unusual as they may be for a large percentage of you (yeah right!), on Saturday 3rd, there's an all night vigil at Hillgrove cat farm (10pm - 7am) - contact 0121 632 6460. This event looks set to occur every week.



Are they 'avin a laugh? Apparently the National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on the government to outlaw a number of highly damaging activities that take place on open land. You know, like having a picnic, flying kites, rock-climbing, camping and metal detecting.

These proposals are contained in the NFU's submission to the government in response to their consultation paper on access to open countryside.

The Ramblers Association campaigners wearing World War One gas masks held a protest picnic in the middle of a polluted traffic island in London in order to draw attention to the farmers' Mad Cow proposals.



The Ecologist magazine, the established mouthpiece of the green movement, is looking for another printer after Penwell's of Liskeard refused to run-off its 'Monsanto Special' edition. "We have a long history of being forthright about issues and attacking powerful firms, yet not once in 29 years has this printer expressed the slightest qualms about what we were doing," said the magazine's co-editor, Zac Goldsmith.

Why should Penwell's suddenly buckle in fear of libel action and terminate a longstanding friendship with its publishers? The Defamation Act 1996 introduced an 'innocent dissemination' defence for printers who have taken 'reasonable care' and 'were not aware of' the libellous nature of the matter they may have printed. Penwell's it seems, were legally covered. Why this sudden parting of the ways?

"Following legal advice we thought it better not to print something that may or may not be libellous. We weren't prepared to take the risk," Penwell's David Montgomery told SchNEWS.

Of course Monsanto, them good ole wholesome superfood creators, who may not have anything to do with f***ing the planet's life system for profit, have absolutely not threatened to put Penwell's out of business.

Monsanto's UK spokesman Daniel Verakis said he was mystified by the printer's action. "The fact that the edition has been pulped is news to me. We had nothing to do with it," he said in reply to reports that Penwell's had pulped every last copy.

Verakis also admitted that he did not know that the edition was especially about Monsanto, despite reports that a flyer advertising 'The Monsanto Files' edition was lying on his chair at a recent science conference.

SchNEWS also received a flyer. It reads "The giant Monsanto Corporation tells us that genetic engineering is all about feeding the hungry, about protecting the environment. But this is the company that brought us Agent Orange, PCB's and Bovine Growth Hormone: the same company that produces Roundup the world's biggest-selling pesticide, and the highly questionable 'Terminator Technology'. This Special issue of The Ecologist asks the simple question: Can we allow corporations like Monsanto to gamble with the very future of life on Earth?"

The Ecologist costs £3.50 from newsagents or send £4 to UNIT 18, Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Rd., London, SW10 0QJ.



It's that time of the year again to picket everybody's favourite burger bar. October 16th is the Annual World Day of Action against McDonalds, while October 12th is the annual Day of Solidarity with McDonalds workers. The ever reliable McLibel Support Campaign have produced leaflets about these events for you to distribute, including a new one which outlines the conditions for workers in Asian countries who produce the so called 'Happy Meal' toys. Workers are paid as little as 5p an hour and in one factory last year 220 workers at one factory suffered chemical poisoning.

If you want to order copies contact the Campaign at 5 Caledonian Rd., London, N1 9DX Tel 0171 713 1269. E-mail: mclibel@globalnet.co.uk Web: www.mcspotlight.org

Recommended: 'McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial' by John Vidal available in bookshops and libraries; McLibel: Two Worlds Collide video directed by Ken Loach. For copies contact OOPS, 0171 375 3181

  • If you're in Birmingham on the 16th October go to the top of New St outside the Halifax Building Society in the City Centre at 1pm for a demo against McDogshit.



  • Strange bedfellows at the Labour Party Conference. Labour's offical green business evening addressed by the environment minister Micheal Meacher was sponsored by Aggregate Industries, a worrying group (to the tune of £1,500) If that weren't enough Norman Fowler, the Tory Shadow home secretary is on its board of directors.

  • How American news dominates the British media Part 226 : St Kits - small island in the Caribbean: 85% of homes damaged and over 50% of the sugar crop destroyed. Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico lose many lives and have their economies wiped out. Not exactly headline news, but the damage was done by the same Hurricane George affecting southern America, and so of course is now top of the media agenda.

  • Meanwhile a New York entrepreneur is reporting brisk sales of a doll called "Fondle Me Bubba" that looks like President Clinton. Wearing only boxer shorts, the doll says things like "I'll bomb Baghdad, I'll bomb France, if you'll remove my underpants," or "Oral sex is not adultery." when squeezed below the waist.

  • Celebrating 7 years of existence 56a Infoshop is gonna 'explore the secret and hidden history of Southwarks radical past. 'Radical Southwark' runs from 15-19th October with walks,talks, exhibitons, music, midnight cycle rides, nightly cheapo food - as well as re-naming Southwark during a poster and grattfi walk including afraid on a secret nuke bunker! To get a copy of the full programme send a SAE to 56 Crampton St., London SE17 or check out www.safetycat.org/56a.

  • A camp has been set up to stop a housing development just outside Swindon.The protestors are trying to stop the Berkeley group from going through a protected hedge to build houses on greenbelt land. The whole town is against the development including the local council. A possesion order has been granted. The camp is on the B4000 just outside Highworth on the way to Shrivenham.(north of Swindon) Tel: 07654 222 878.

  • As part of Gene Week, Sunday 11th October is National Banner Drop day Do it from everywhere with the simple message of "Stop playing God - STOP The Genetic Experiment" Contact 0181 374 9516

  • For those of you with next years diaries on hand, it's the Third Battle of Newbury End of the Road Reunion, Sunday 10th January 1999. The campaign has also had a change of address P.O.Box 5642, Newbury, Berks, RG14 5WG,UK. Tel: 07000 785201 E-mail: thirdbattle@hotmail.com. Web: www.gn.apc.org/newbury They meet 1st Thursday of month 8pm Friends Meeting House, Newbury.

  • Reclaim Europe - Cologne :30th October - 1st November, Preparation conference for actions against the EU G8 summit (June 5th & 6th 1999)- remember Birmingham Reclaim the Streets?, make next year more hard hitting / in yer face / punk as fuck / (please delete as appropriate!) Contact: +49-30-494-62-76. E-mail: 101337.2067@compuserve.com

  • It's the International Front for Animal Welfare Animal Action Week from 4th-11th October. Contact 01634 830888 for more details



SchNEWS has been informed that JobCentre staff have been issued with instructions to rigidly enforce the JSA Late Signing regulations. This means that if you sign late you could lose JSA for the number of days you are late. You will also have to complete a new JSA Claim Form. SchNEWS advises readers to get your excuses in first; tell the JobCentre you are going to sign late. This latest turn of the thumbscrews for people on benefits will mean that more people lose benefit and signing on will become even more like reporting for parole. Job Centre staff aren't too happy either as the rules create loads of extra work and more chances of getting punched in the face.



CS Gas claimed its second victim last week when a pensioner died in hospital ten days after being sprayed. 76 year old Frank Roberts, was sprayed in the face by two officers after being evicted from his house near Bangor, Gwynedd. Police said Mr.Roberts had acted in "an aggressive manner", which isn't surprising really as he was being thrown out of his house he had been living in for the past 30 years.

As Cllr.David Francis Jones pointed out "I am surprised that four or five able-bodied police officers and bailiffs could not have handled this matter without using CS spray." Quite.

Mr.Robert's had shared the bungalow with his sister for nearly 30 years until two years ago when she moved to a nearby council property. There had been a legal wrangle about ownership which resulted in a court order being obtained against him.

The case has been refered to the Police Complaints Authority for investigation (you know the one where the police investigate the police). Meanwhile, the Department of Health has ordered two committees of independent scientists to investigate the possible danger to health of CS sprays in the wake of mounting criticism..

When the gas was introduced into the UK in March 1996 the police said it would only be used 'where the police officer feels his or her own life is in danger.' Since then it's been used on kids in children's homes, footie fans, protesters, pensioners, families - you name it. One man, Ibrahima Sey died after being sprayed with CS while being held down by cops whilst handcuffed at Ilford Police Station (see SchNEWS 138) An inquest jury returned a verdict of 'unlawful killing' but none of the police involved have ever been prosecuted.



Brightonians was celebrating last Friday when a Department of the Environment Planning Inspector turned down Sainsburys plans to build a massive superstore on land next to the train station.The campaign didn't just focus on no superstore, but got a blueprint together of what they wanted to see on the site. Keith from Brighton Urban Design Development (BUDD) told SchNEWS "Now we can push for our proposals for a community-driven project using the principles of sustainability "

Contact BUDD, 1 New England St., Brighton, E Sussex, BN1 4GT 01273 622727 E-mail: harvestforestry@fastnet.co.uk.



Yesterday (Thursday) as part of the 'Disgrace The Base' global days of action against nuclear weapons 80 activists blockaded Rolls Royce in Derby. Not a lot of people know that the company make nuclear reactors for trident submarines. Workers were leafleted and some people got into the site to make citizens inspections. There were 15 arrests, and at time of going to press 12 people were still being detained charged with 'going equipped'. More info Manchester Anti Nuclear Action 0161 834 8301



A message from our messiah.

"SchNEWS's tough but honest challenge to our readers. We promise the future. Only together can we achieve. People may attack us from the left, from the right, from behind (ohh). But if we all put our back bones together, stronger, marching forward, working, battling values, we can have courage to take those tough decisions (like one cho'hobnob or two?) and make this newsletter once again great".

This is the third way, man, the only way.

This week's SchNEWS was sponsored by Monsanto.

Tony Blair doesn't like verbs. He misses them out lots in his speeches.Is that cos verbs are doing words? No verbs, nothing doing...



SchNEWS warns all our student readers not to spend all their grant in one go down the pub/club/bead shop. Instead why not become an (office) revolutionary and help out with SchNEWS. Book your place now on our free training day. Then you can write to your mum and dad and tell them your new friends are anarchist troublemakers.and you are helping to change the world. That will give you a warm glow. Honest.


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Last updated 11 October 1998
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)