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

Issue 197, Friday 15th January 1999


"We are the stubborn dreamers."
- Gerard Winstanley, An original Digger

Tinkers Bubble won an historic victory last week, when they were granted planning permission for their low impact homes. The residents have been living in canvas homes and other low impact dwellings for the past five years, fighting every inch of the way to get planning permission, after having the audacity to want to live on their own land. South Somerset District Council gave the 10 adults and 3 kids a five year trial period to carry on growing vegetables, tending their orchards and feeding their goats.

During the epic struggle, Simon Fairlie, one of the residents, wrote a book ,'Low Impact Development', to help other people pick their way through the UK's complex planning process.

"This is extremely good news and may become a precedent for this kind of sustainable development", said George Monbiot.

The decision dramatically shows the conflict between our archaic planning policy, which makes the building of low impact dwellings largely illegal, and Agenda 21 which states its aim 'to provide access to land for all households...through environmentally sound planning'. Despite all the politicians fine words it seems it's OK for developers to get away with building ugly Wimpey-home sprawl but the idea of environmentalists building sustainable homes...? Well. thats a bit much.

However, opposition in the nearby village of Norton-sub-Handon is high with local residents accusing Bubblers of 'lowering the tone of the village'! A hard-core group of villagers promise to appeal against the decision, and despite the tentative support of Paddy Ashdown, the local Lib Dem councillor, Andy Jacobs, was so outraged that he resigned! Still, SchNEWS has it on good authority that he was going to resign anyway. "This is a foolhardy and dangerous decision," he puffed, "that is likely to open the floodgates for other such projects to be repeated elsewhere ". And so say all of us!

  • It is 350 years since the Diggers squatted a piece of barren land at St. George's Hill, Surrey, erecting huts and housing over 100 people. To commemorate this, there will be events from 30 March - 4 April, where people will unite under the banner of Diggers 350 in an attempt to reclaim land and develop long term sustainable communities. For more details of training and educational workshops: The Land Is Ours 01865 722016 or email: tony@gaia.org
  • Brith Dir Mawr in North Wales houses a collection of low impact dwellings. The tipis, strawbale house, roundhouse and geo dome have sat happily nestling in the Valleys for over three years before a National Park Authority helicopter spotted them, and are now the subject of eviction speculation.
  • The Natty Trust was set up to promote high standards of sustainable, ecological design and development for the benefit of the public. They have a new office and excellent library of books on sustainability, permaculture appropriate technology and organics. Contact them at Unit 11, Level 5, New England House, New England Street, Brighton BN1 4GH
  • Stepping Stones Housing co-op in Wales have secured funding from Radical Routes to help buy a small farm. They aim to provide social housing in both separate and communal living areas, alongside workers' co-ops which will provide products and services to help pay off the loan. Want to know more? Call Alex Begg on 0870 733 2538
  • Low Impact Development - planning and people in a sustainable countryside. £10 from Low Impact, 20 St Michael's Rd Yeovil, Somerset
  • Diggers and Dreamers - the guide to communal living '98 - '99, published by Diggers and Dreamers Publications (0-951-4945-4-6)



We need decent photographs of actions for inclusion in our next SchNEWS book (Remember to write your name on the back! )

Wanna keep fit? We need someone who wants to keep fit by distributing SchNEWS round town on a Friday afternoon

We need people who want to help run a stall and give out SchNEWS in Brighton on a Saturday.

We need someone to finish sorting out our filing and magazine system.

We need a heater cos our office is freezing.

We need people to bring more biscuits into the office.



Newbury Police arrested a protester for chalking her name on the tarmac of the bypass. She was later released without charge - is that cos evidence would be washed away when it rained?



Last Sunday, on the 3rd Anniversary since work began on the Newbury bypass 250 protestors pedestrianised the road by playing cat and mouse bulldog with the police (who weren't very good at it)and their riot vans. On what was an emotional day protestors returned to the trees to hang banners. Even Delboy's wife parked up her Robin Reliant and joined the campaign. However, she was later denied entrance to a nearby pub for being a protester (fact!). Four people were nicked but three were released without charge. One man however was charged with hurling rocks up at the helicopter, SchNEWS doesn't know if his name was Hercules. Infill developments look set to line the bypass. Vodaphone have even threatened to leave Newbury if they can't get their own way and build a massive new HQ on greenfield (see SchNEWS 192).

Newbury's Liberal MP Rendell commented "They seem determined to prevent people enjoying the huge environmental benefits the by-pass has brought." SchNEWS has been unable to find out if Mr Rendell means protesters or the police. The road was closed till the early hours of Sunday night.

AVON RING ROAD People are needed NOW to stop the Avon Ring Road - which if built will be Bristol's answer to the M25. Work has started, actions are underway and camps have been established. So choose an eco "des res" with loads of good support and supplies: an activist's adventure playground. As Rowlan Dye of Bristol Cycling Campaign points out "This road has very little to do with relieving local traffic congestion, but is designed to open up vast areas of green belt for development." Just like at Newbury. This campaign is still legally winnable. Camp mobile phone 0797 999 0389.

EPSOM The authorities were left a little red faced and £100,000 out of pocket last week when they staged a dawn raid on a protest camp in Epsom, Surrey. Up to 500 cops including Met police and local officers flanked by bailiffs, the Forward Intelligence Team, specialist tunnellers and climbers, and the under-sheriff of Greater London arrived on the scene to find the camp empty - apart from one homeless man living in a van! The camp had been set up to stop an access road and car park destroying woodland but had been abandoned a month ago. One local councillor said that the operation was necessary because they "didn't know how many people were going to be on that site." This, despite the local cop shop being opposite the camp!



Wednesday 20th January 1999

Book your place now! 01273 685913



On January 4, the first work day of this year, 13 people invited themselves into the London headquarters of sHELL and refused to leave. That Monday was the anniversary of Shell's forced retreat from oil-rich Ogoni in Nigeria in face of mass grassroots resistance. And in the last couple of years, the Ijaw ethnic group of southern Nigeria have been upping the anti; occupying oil facilities and slashing Nigeria's oil output by up to a third.

Last Monday (4th)12 smartly dressed 'executives' entered sHELL House in London and in a shockingly professional manner barricaded themselves into the management's offices, relaying updates via digital cameras, lap-top computers and mobiles. 6 hours later riot cops sledgehammered through the walls to get them out. All were arrested but later released as sHELL didn't want to press charges.

The action was in solidarity with the Ijaw people of Nigeria whose land and lives are being totally fucked up by the actions of sHELL and other oil companies.in the Niger Delta. Despite the huge profits being made by the oil industry in the region, no oil money is coming back into the communities, the continuing use of outdated equipment results in serious pollution, compensation claims are delayed and the past few years have seen a continuing military build up in the area. On 11 Dec 1998 young activists from 500 Ijaw communities issued an ultimatum giving the oil companies 2 weeks to leave the country. Naturally, instead of paying any attention to the wishes of Nigerian citizens, the sHELL-backed military administration declared a State of Emergency,in Bayelsa State, with the suspension of civil liberties and a dusk to dawn curfew. So on 1 Jan the Ijaw activists started 'Operation Climate Change', to shut down oil flow stations and gas flares in the Delta. Since then up to 200 have been killed.

The activists in London said that this year will be "the turning point that will see the end of corporate dominance"

Contact DELTA 01958 795198; Box Z, 13 Biddulph Street, Leicester LE2 1BH. Web http://www.kemptown.org/shell (link removed because page no longer there 4oct2005) or http://www.oneworld.org/delta

  • Open meeting with speakers including Prof. Nanjundaswamy from Karnataka State Farmers Association (whose members are currently burning down Monsantos genetically modified crops in India - see SchNEWS 194) 6.30pm,Fri.Jan 22 @ Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 (nearest tube Holborn).Further info on Peoples Global Action: info@agp.org or pga@agp.org
  • This is part of the build up to the Inter-Continental Caravan (22 May - 20 June) and the massive JUNE 18 international day of action against global capitalism. contact Reclaim The Streets 0171 2814621 email discussion group



The GREENWOOD site on route of the Birmingham Relief Rd is being evicted. Only 3 people are on site. However, all is not lost for the SPINNEY site is still there, though very low on numbers. FOUR activists have been remanded for alleged burgulary and criminal damage to a nuclear bunker (!) on route of the proposed 27 mile private toll motorway. They are:
  • (Local) John Mycroft CE 7919
  • (Cider) Paul Wood CE 7920 HMYOI Brinford New Road Featherstone Wolverhampton WV10 7PY
  • Martin (Manic) Wright BR 9345
  • (Disco) Dave Dragonetti (date of birth 09/07/68) HMP Winston Green Road Winston Green Birmingham B18 4AS
A fifth person has been remanded to a bail hostel in Newcastle. All four are due to appear at Tamworth Magistrates on Wednesday 20th January. Tel 07970 301978




  • The campaign to support the three hunt sabs charged with "conspiracy to commit violent disorder" after a days sabbing the Hursley Hambledon hunt are holding a series of public meetings on 25th Jan.,8th Feb.& 22nd Feb. at 8.00p.m. at Scotts Bar,Eldon St.,Portsmouth. Don't forget the National day of action against all blood sports called for 1st March,the first day of the trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.There's also a benefit tape on sale featuring 'an hour of quality techno trance'. £4- available from Portsmouth Hunt Sabs, Box H,167 Fawcett Road,Southsea,Hants.PO4 0DH.All Cheques payable to The Portsmouth Three Defence Campaign.
  • Stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal-Public meeting on Thurs.28th Jan. 7.30 at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Tel.0171 3260353. Web: http://www.mumia.org [turn off Javascript as this page crashes some browsers].
  • Movement Against the Monarchy are holding a party to celebrate the execution of Charles I on Saturday Jan 30th. Civil War dress code of Diggers, Levellers, Ranters or New Model Army Fighters encouraged. Starts 11 a.m outside Banqueting House, Whitehall. Contact MA'M P.O.Box 14672, London E9 5UQ Tel: 0956 506 946.
  • General Pinochet Picket in front of the Lords (Houses of Parliament) starting Monday 18th Jan 9a.m. to Weds. Also Sat 16th Jan a march/visit to his home in the country, 300 people from Europe showing up. And Sun 17th Jan a march Millbank, Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square, starting 11a.m meet at Dean Ryle St, SW1 followed by a rally at 12 noon in Trafalgar Squarewith speakers and music.



Send support messages to Taj and Roberto, who stood up to fascist BNP bully and parliamentary candidate Andrew Wearden who "ended up knocked out and in hospital" after people decided they'd had enough of him and his mates harassing Asian youths . The two anti-fascists have been found guilty of actual bodily harm and are in prison awaiting sentence. Send letters of support recorded delivery: Taj Ahmed, BT9173, HMP Preston, PR1 5AB; Roberto Brollini, CC5829, HMYOI Lancaster Farms, Stone Row Head, off Quernmore Rd, Lancs. LA1 3QZ



Last Saturday the National Front held their third march against asylum-seekers in Dover. Despite barely three days notice, anti-fascists were able to mobilise some 60 people to oppose the fascists' - twice the number mustered by the NF. Some 300 police (equivalent to 10% of the entire Kent County police force) came equipped with dogs, horses, riot vans, riot gear, photographers, numerous video Evidence Gathering Teams, and a motor launch to ensure the fascists could march. Anti-fascists however were stopped, searched, photographed, videoed and asked for their names and addresses. Despite the overwhelming police presence, thanks to the efforts of the anti-fascists it took the NF more than three quarters of an hour to march the half-mile from the Eastern Docks to the Western Docks. The NF reckon they will continue holding marches in Dover every few months, so stay in touch. Dover Residents Against Racism c/o Refugee Link, PO Box 417, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4GT. Web: http://www.canterbury.u-net.com/ For an excellent read on how fascism was stopped by direct action in the mid 1940's read 'The 43 Group' by Morris Beckman.
  • Nick Hudson, Editor of the Dover Express/Folkestone Herald, has been warned by police about inciting racial hatred in his papers. Hudson who used to work for the Daily and Sunday Sport was told some of his newspapers coverage was "inflammatory". Apparently letting the NF march through Dover isn't inflammatory.



On the same day activists were busy occupying Shell's London offices, people from Reclaim The Streets (RTS)occupied the head office of London

Underground, St. James' Square, in protest at plans to privatise the tube. Tube workers had voted to go on strike today but

their action was called off by their union after London Transport management got a court order under the anti-strike laws. Dee Locke from RTS said . Despite the fact that the privatisation of British rail is now recognised as a disaster New Labour is proceeding with plans to sell off parts of the tube network. In December John Prescott signed papers allowing private companies to start 'shadowing' London Transport management to get an idea of what sort of business they will be taking over, what corners can be cut, what workers they can sack. It's estimated that the privatisation process will cost around £100 million - money that could be better spent on improving the service.

Statement from RTS

Whenever transport workers go on strike the Standard and other rags talk of 'Misery on the Roads and on the Rails'. But we know the reality is the opposite. Strikes are good for the spirit. Commuters get the day off work, tube workers get to socialise on the picket lines and down the pub instead of working. Business leaders talk of damage to London's economy. But what is that economy really about? It is about lots of people working hard just to survive while making profits for others to live at their expense. We say fuck the economy! We want to damage that which damages us. The economy is a human misery. By striking tube workers reduce the misery! Anyway, only by using their economic muscle can the tube workers defend their own interests against the attempt to make them work harder for less, which is what privatisation is about. However London Transport's legal move and the RMT's call off of the strike action shows that tube workers need to consider their tactics. Understandably workers often feel that only by taking legal official action can they be safe. But their only real safety lies in sticking together. If strikers respect the union laws they are unlikely to win, that is what the laws are all about. Recently in an ongoing fight with management, electricians on the Jubilee Line Extension have shown that by not listening to their union when it tells them to obey the anti-strike laws workers win. They have learnt that it is not through legalistic union methods but by direct action and solidarity that workers can defend their interests. Today RTS are saying that we stand with workers against their bosses, against New Labour and for autonomous direct action for a better world. Reclaim the Streets: 0171 281 4621; Email: rts@gn.apc.org
  • Last year Virgin Trains received 195,000 letters of complaint, and 7,000 phone calls each month



Animal rights activists are advised to be on the lookout for new weapons being used by the forces of oppression. In Austria animal rights demonstrators had their stall trampled by circus elephants-yes,elephants. Closer to home,Brighton Animal Rights had their minibus trashed over Christmas by a runaway milk float. Meanwhile spare a thought for poor old Percy the pigeon. Having beaten 1000 rivals in a 500 mile race,Percy flopped down exausted in a Sheffield loft-and was promptly eaten by a cat.To add insult to considerable injury due to a delay in the handing in of Percy's I.D. tag he was relegated from first place to third.



SchNEWS warns all readers that if yer gonna go for a stroll on motorways, make sure you take at least 250 friends with you. The you can feel smug (not smog). Homest.


We really need your old scanner for the next SchNEWS annual (SchNEWS Goes Forth)
Got any photos of the 'tank incident' at last years Salisbury Reclaim The Streets?

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