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

Issue 224, Friday 20th August 1999


"A picture is developing of a cabal of anarchist ringleaders who ally themselves to protest movements and subvert them for their own ends."
- Evening Standard, August 11

What is it about anarchists that makes everyone love them so much? While the solar eclipse has been looming, their image has been stock fare for news editors and police who have kept them paramount upon the nation’s consciousness, with word of their suspected activities on everyone’s lips.

‘Anarchist violence erupted at an eclipse site yesterday as police fought to close down an illegal rave’

barked the Express on August 11. What has so stirred the blood of this particular tabloid? Apparently, ‘Officers believe members of the anarchist group Reclaim the Streets - who played a key role in the riots in London in June - are on the site’. June 18’s memorable day of action against London’s financial centre, is still playing on some people’s minds. And the trouble seems to be spreading, with:

‘Anarchists ‘hijacking’ GM food protest groups’ , as proclaims the Evening Standard (Aug 11), identifying ‘links between organisers of the GM food protests and those responsible for the 18 June action’. No shit, Sherlock. But the career of those anarchists seems not only to have broadened; now, they’re mobile:

‘Some of the most ancient stones in Penwith could be desecrated and vandalised by travelling anarchists prior to next week’s total eclipse’ we read in The Cornishman (Aug 5). Again, it is ‘The same groups of anarchists who have recently rioted in central London [who] are on their way to target the Men an Tol stones near Morvah.’ Might they not be tired after infiltrating anti-GM groups and raving all night? Apparently not; as, reports the paper, those wacky anarchists are getting a bit arty: ‘We believe that they intend to disrupt the eclipse celebrations at the stones....by painting the holed stone white to make it look like a Polo-Mint’.

Phew! You can see why, in the words of one Cornwall resident reported in The West Briton: ‘People are scared to go out of their doors. People will protect their property in any way they can. The police seem to have no conception of how scared everyone is out here.’

On the other hand, the mass action and street carnival that London saw on June 18 was aimed at hurting some of the major financial institutions based in the banking district – hardly a threat to yer average Jo(e), who stands to gain as much ‘trickledown’ from the selling of futures as did Bob Crachitt.

So: from whence such terror? If, as the Evening Standard claims, ‘A picture is developing of a cabal of anarchist ringleaders’ - just who is painting it? The police have recently released to the press a number of stills from CCTV footage of the riot, which, apparently, a crack team of City of London and Metropolitan officers have been busily scrutinising since the day. Their analysis, claim the police in a recent report, points to a number of individuals orchestrating the rioting.

Police ‘have pinpointed six smartly-dressed men as the ringleaders’ babbles the Sun of August 10. The Mail lets on that ‘The ringleaders carried mobile phones and could be seen huddled in corners apparently communicating with each other’ , before offering the predictable revelation that ‘a number of rioters drank huge quantities of alcohol and took drugs.’ The Evening Standard of the day before adds, darkly: ‘One even carried a copy of the Financial Times.’

If anyone who wore a suit must have been in charge of the riot, you’d better not make too much effort dressing up for Hallowe’en this year, lest you’re held responsible for the entire festival. By dint of similar reasoning, the police note that some funds went into hiring the vans and soundsystem for the event, and that someone involved in Reclaim the Streets has a pot of wedge from his rich folks. Ergo: he funded the do.

The police seem to be just the kind of people whose salacious minds lap up tabloid sensationalism – and take it literally. You can imagine their team, huddled wide-eyed over monitor screens, whispering to one another like children telling ghost stories around a campfire. Look - there’s that ‘man in a suit with a mobile phone who called the shots in the City riot’ (The Independent). Well, someone at SchNEWS knows someone, whose sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s uncle plays darts with the person in that photo; and he never actually carried a mobile. These kids seem to convince themselves of more-or-less what they want to believe, before passing down the hot gossip to the public.

For theirs is the same kind of Playschool logic as makes for damn good copy, as amply proven by the quantity of press coverage generated by the police report. The police are by no means innocent of this, when that same report of theirs announces their intent ‘to achieve long-term attrition’ against direct action groups. It’s an informal conspiracy which is convenient for all sides; the media get some great stories, the police and government to engineer a climate favourable to their ends.

The promise of a new police campaign against grassroots activists chimes strangely well with a recent Home Office consultation paper, seeking to increase police powers to target ‘animal rights, and, to a lesser extent environmental rights activists’ . The key shift here is semantic; at once redefining ‘violence’ to include ‘serious disruption’ , while loosening the category of ‘terrorism’ from one purely denoting certain types of violence against people, to the US definition of ‘serious violence against persons or property, or the threat to use such violence’. The meaning of words is as much a site of struggle as the fields or the streets, as well anyone might remember, who next gets nicked with banner in hand, and labelled ‘terrorist’.

Meanwhile, who reports on all the other groups around the world who took action on June 18; the unemployed, the unions, the landless and indigenous groups, who stand to get at least as surely screwed by the free trade policies of the G8 summit which then took place? In fact, there was one dissenting press article, which spoke of June 18 in terms of IMF policy and the ‘social and environmental breakdown [which] is occurring across the world’ (The Guardian Aug 14). But, you see, we know the author; glance at the name and you’ll see an aging ex-superstar comedian from north London. (And the article all, presumably, inspired by literature he gleaned from the info-stalls we did at a benefit gig he put on for us last year).

One other paper, at least, puts forward a calm voice of reason . ‘Anarchist fears groundless’, says the Cornish Guardian on August 12, assuring us: ‘Fears that troublemakers would descend on Penzance on Monday for an “anarchist jamboree” proved unfounded.’

  • An Italian national is currently being held after being arrested on June 18. He has limited English, but would appreciate support. Write to: Onofrio Lo Verso, TC3014, HMP Rochester, 1 Ford Road, Rochester, Kent ME1 3SQ



For growling! A protester at the Smokey Bears Picnic was arrested and charged with harassment after growling at a police dog!

For mooing! A pantomime cow was arrested and charged with harassment and threatening behaviour after going into a McDeath’s in Gloucester and saying MOO!!! The front and back of the cow were held for some 6 hours, and are in Gloucester Magistrates Court, 9.45am 13th September. In the meantime the cops are keeping the skin as evidence.



A crack team of Hampshire’s finest made over 80 arrests at last Sunday’s Smokey Bears Picnic on Southsea Common, Portsmouth. Arrests made on the day included, bongo playing (SchNEWS can’t really argue with that one after many sleepless festival nights), growling at a police dog and of course the heinous crime of possessing cannabis. Inspector Kevin Whaller of Hampshire police defended the police action as “positive policing“ while Superintendent Martyn Powell, said “the number of arrests justified the large police presence.”

However Portsmouth’s well known subversive publication “The News” has attacked the police actions in their editorial. “The actions of the police at this years rally make a mockery of last years decision to ignore drug offences at the same event.” So what brought around this U-turn in police policy? SchNEWS has tracked down a copy of the literature that inspired Superintendent Powell and his boyz and feel we must warn readers of the true facts about cannabis:

  • Marijuana is a drug. A drug which affects the mind. And don’t be fooled into thinking that just one toke, sorry, hit - is harmless. Many cases of psychopathology have been reported after a single dose.
  • Recently, in quest for bigger thrills, some have injected marijuana directly into the bloodstream
  • Many myths regarding marijuana have suggested that the cannabis drug can trigger sexual debauchery. During marijuana intoxication a persons control of his/her mind is loosened, breaks down moral barriers and contributes to immortality.
  • Studies have shown that most people who take drugs have a somewhat poorly organised personality to begin with that’s why they take drugs.

All the above were taken from "New Facts About Marijuana", Ambassador College Press, California.



As the toll continues to rises in Turkey, the blame for many of the earthquake deaths has been put firmly at the feet of dodgy house builders. Aerial t.v. footage shows many apartment blocks which collapsed only metres away from others which remained intact. According to the Architects Chamber of Turkey more than half of all buildings in Turkey disregard construction regulations and are prone to collapse in an earthquake. The builders are often people with political connections who put profit above safety, while corrupt officials look the other way. Metin Munir writing in The Financial Times said “What building laws there are are virtually unenforceable because those who break them are politically too powerful.” 6 years ago a cabinet minister was even fired because he tried to end building trade corruption. Turkey has suffered a deadly earthquake on average every 18 months this century.



At an eclipse party at Summer Court between Truro and Bodmin attended by 1000+ people, 20 riot cops attempted to shut down one of the 5 sound systems and take it away, while more of their kind sat waiting in vans. The crowd didn’t take kindly to this disruption of their fun, and replied with bricks, spades etc. Out came the CS gas, with a woman and her young daughter getting sprayed. After a brief stand-off the press showed up, possibly preventing events escalating even further. Crowd highlights apparently included a woman giving a man a blowjob in front of the old bill, but SchNEWS don’t swallow that story.



  • We’re sure you’ve all heard - Hillgrove cat vivisection farm has finally been closed down because the owner is retiring (yeah, right) Congratulations all round. Anyone for Shamrock?

  • Home Secretary Jack Straw’s in trouble after remarks he made on a Birmingham radio show. Commenting after 100 armed police turned up at an Irish traveller’s wedding , Straw complained “there has been rather too much toleration of travellers ...travellers seem to think that it’s perfectly OK for them to cause mayhem in an area, to go burgling, thieving, breaking into vehicles, defecating in the doorways of firms and so on...” The matter has now been referred to the police and Comission for Racial Equality. Ever heard of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry, Jack?

  • Meanwhile SchNEWS can reveal the reasons for last weekends trouble down in Kent between asylum seekers and local residents – a misunderstanding of different traditions. This includes according to one local councillor ‘children playing in the street because they believe it’s the acceptable way’, Whatever next! Don’t they know roads are for cars

  • Maybe they should check out Broughton Road in West Ealing where pedal powered toddlers joined an open air tea party (let’s give the more up-beat name of say, reclaim the streets). Ealing is one of nine areas that will pilot the “home zone” project, which puts the rights of and their children before cars with 10 mph speed limits, traffic calming measures, whole streets even pedestrianised. The idea comes from the Netherlands, where there are 6,000 home zones.

  • A National Non Payment Collective has just been launched to help co-ordinate the fight back against tuition fees around the country. A briefing pack will be available soon from non-payment@onelist.com. Meanwhile its been estimated that students owe up to £15 million in upaid fees!

  • Spoilt brat Charlotte Townsend, reputed to be Britain’s second richest woman, has pulled out of an agreement to give Chesil Beach in Dorset to English Nature so it could become a National Nature Reserve. Townsend pulled out of the deal to hand over the 17 mile shingle ridge in protest at Labour plans to ban fox hunting.

  • The farce continues . Less than 10 months after opening, the much loved Newbury bypass is to be closed for two months to allow the top surface to be replaced. The estimated bill is £2.5 million and will be met by the contractors.

  • Rob Newman is doing a benefit gig for Sea Action, at the Komedia Tuesday 31st August. Tickets from the Brighton Peace & Environment Centre, £5-10 (pay what you can afford but remember it’s for a good cause)

  • Last week people dressed as bats swooped down on the Cubana Bar in London, which serves Cuban food and drink. However, Bacardi have paid them £12 000 to only stock their rum, despite the fact that Bacardi rum hasn’t been produced in Cuba since they were kicked out during the Revolution. For an info-pack on Bacardi’s dodginess and their manipulation and support of the US 40 year blockade of Cuba, contact Rock Around the Blockade c/o BCM Box 5909, London WC1N 3XX Tel: 0171 837 1688.

  • A homeless ‘tent city’ has been evicted after just three days by police. The Safe Park for homeless people was Ontario Coalition Against Poverty answer to the citys increasing homeless problem and the police’s hard-line against the city poor. A study in January described Toronto’s 26,000 homeless as a national crisis. Despite this, the mayor called the park protestors “professional bums,” and police officers have been working overtime in recent weeks to purge the city of squeegee kids, panhandler and homeless. Email: ocap@tao.ca Web: http://www.welfarewatch.toronto.on.ca/

  • Bath Reclaim The Streets 11th September, meet 12 noon The Circus.



The 121 Centre in Brixton has finally been evicted after 150 riot police backed by an armed squad and helicopter sealed off Railton Rd and adjoining streets before bursting in through the first floor window. Within minutes the 8 occupiers had been removed and the council went about trashing and barricading the building. Lambeth leader Jim Dickson said “We are systematically clearing up the borough and dealing with the legacy of the past. Our action today sends out a very clear message to the squatters - the council will keep taking action over squatted property until there is none left.”

The Centre, which had been occupied for 18 years is the latest victim in Lambeth Councils plans to gentrify Brixton. Used as an advice centre for squatters as well as a cafe, party venue and printing office, the building will now be auctioned off to line some fat cats pocket.



Welcome to the topsy turvy world of Hockley near Southend, Essex. North Thames Ltd, who sponsor the Essex Wildlife Trust, want to build 66 luxury homes on land sited next to an important wildlife reserve. The company butter up the local council with some serious financial incentives(between £750 000 and £2 million) and get them to release greenbelt land they last year said would never be built on. The money also helps them forget about their recently published Biodiversity Plan which they said would help defend local wildlife.

A protest camp has now been set up. Respect due to the kids who’ve sorted it out. The Council reckon it’s disgraceful that 10-12 year old kids are camping out (even tho’ the average age is actually 14). What should they be doing - sitting at home staring at computer screens?

And there’s more - the Southend Relief Road, which is going round Hockley, may link to the A130, site of another protest camp, Gorse Wood at Rettendon, whose crew have been helping out in Hockley. There’s a “Save the Woods” march and picnic on Sat. 28th August. For details contact: 0831 678635/01702 206181.



The infamous Narmada Dam in India has been raised to 85m, threatening 200,000 people's homes. As part of the Satyaghira (non-violent mass action), protesters refused to leave when water from the dam flooded their valley. Apparently, the "Satyagrahis were facing the increasing waters while the police were making merry at the higher camp and some indulging in the liquor as it was the "gataari amavaas" (dirty first-moon day)." When the police sobered up, 62 protesters were dragged out of their homes, beaten and arrested. For info on Narmada and the other 3,165 dams being built, check out http://ens.lycos.com/



A panel of SchNEWS marketing consultants (most of them disaffected ex-Saatchi and Saatchi high-flyers) have been reflecting on how to make anarchists seem more exciting, sexy, more attractive for today’s youth. These are just some of their ideas:

  • 'Good old anarchism. As true today as it’s always been.
  • 'Here's Gail Porter, with some letters from you about New Anarchism'
  • 'Anarchy - won't dry your Ph balanced like a great taste all your family will love, even with problem hair. That's the Anarchist promise.;



SchNEWS warns all readers that like dope, New Labour can induce mild euphoria, a distorted sense of reality, and a tendency to talk crap in a meaningful way. When under the influence, everything takes on added significance despite the fact that nothin’s ‘appenin.


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Last updated 18 September 1999
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