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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER SNEERING...
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
"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
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: email@example.com
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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:
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:
- 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
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
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
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:
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
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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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Phone/Fax (call before faxing): 01273 685913
Last updated 11 October 1998
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SchNEWS Web Team