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Published in Brighton by Justice?
- Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice?
- Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 341, February
This was perhaps the first action that was entirely put together by
the bad protesters. By standing up and taking action anyway, despite
all the police and military force and manipulation of the press and public opinion
we know are being marshalled against us, we are sending a message to the world
that it is not necessary to be ruled by fear: we refuse to bow down to terror,
just as we refuse to terrorise anyone else. - David Graber, New York
It was the usual thing weve come to expect - media hysteria and police
threats aimed at scaring the numbers down. There was a difference though - this
was New York in the wake of September 11th, where everyone knows someone whose
been touched by the horrors of that day. President Bush had just announced trillions
more dollars for the military and declared that anyone not supporting his policies
was an Enemy of America. This was people taking to the streets to tell Bush
and his corporate string-pullers that he didnt voice their grief - and
he didnt bomb in their name.
The wartime atmosphere that has been whipped up by Bush and his billionaire
pals in the wake of September 11th is aimed at directing grief and anger so
that anyone challenging unbridled exploitation and the rule of powerful elites
can be identified as supporting mass murder. More than a bit ironic considering
who payrolled Bin Laden in the first place (the US government), but if you control
the media, why waste an opportunity to promote capitalism as the alternative
to barbarism rather than its creator? And thats what the World Economic
Forums travelling circus in New York was all about.
For the first time in its 31-year old history, the WEF was meeting outside Switzerland.
They were all there - 2,700 delegates from Bill Gates to Colin Powell to less
likely world-leaders like Bono and Naomi Campbell chinwagging over cocktails.
Its estimated that they spent $100 million between them on food and entertainment
- so, just another boozy weekend for these folk, living the high life amongst
the cleaners and cooks who make it all possible for them in the first place.
As the New York Anti-Capitalist Convergence put it, The WEFs choice
to relocate to Manhattan is a cynical exploitation of grief, fear, and terror
- they hope to exploit those emotions to make it easier for them to crush us.
The main protest on Saturday started off with a Reclaim the Streets (RTS) that
immediately turned into a walk in the park - Central Park that is. In the wake
of the collapse of the Argentinian economy there was a definite Latin American
vibe with samba, tango dancers and a whole lotta people banging on pots and
pans, traditional symbols of resistance in Latin America. While the New York
gutter press was trying to scare people off the streets, the people here were
determined to have a party.
The RTS wound its way through Central Park to the start of the main march where
about 12,000 protesters had gathered. It was a wide array of people, mainly
from the US, marking the fact that in New York the rich and powerful dont
speak for the people - and that grief over the horror of September 11th doesnt
equate with support for the most right-wing government the US has ever seen
(well, since the last one...) People vilified by the press as irresponsible
troublemakers were demanding world-wide economic equality and an end to corporate
It was an entirely peaceful protest, but of course, this meant that the media
who had talked up the violence pretty well failed to report the protests when
And the 7,000 cops who had been mobilised for the event didnt sit quietly
by just because the march was peaceful - at the beginning they arrested a group
of demonstrators carrying plexiglass shields painted with colorful images. Janik
Lewis, one of those arrested, said Without any warning at all, the cops
came running, targetting specific people, I had my face thrown into a barricade,
some were pepper sprayed and battoned. Along with others, he was detained
for 30 hours at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and charged with illegal assembly
at what was supposedly a legally permitted demonstration.
Smaller protests and action continued after Saturdays big event. Dozens
were arrested on Sunday afternoon in New Yorks East Village when a snake
march - where people link arms and dance along streets and sidewalks in
an unpredictable route - was met with riot police. New York Police Chief Raymond
W. Kelly called for a crackdown on hard core protestors. He must
have heard his own call as dancers and walkers were met with pepper spray, violence
and mass arrests. No permit for this one guys - youre goin down!
As L.A. Kauffman of Reclaim the Streets said, Some people were frustrated
by the constraints under which we operated here, but holding these actions at
all was a bold step. Our movement is very much alive and seasoned enough to
make solid and strategic choices based on circumstances. Or as one protestor
from Brooklyn put it, Seattle galvanized the movement. It said that we
mean business. Today showed that theres a sizeable contingent of Americans
who are fed up with corporate globalisation.
** 18 year old Sherman Austin became one of the first people nicked under the
new USA Patriot Act, when 25 heavily armed FBI, Secret Service, and LPYD cops
stormed his house and nicked him for masterminding anarchist website Raise the
Fist. But not before asking him stupid questions. Would you like to see
George Bush Killed? and Why have you grown your hair, are you trying
to disguise your identity?
Crap Arrests of the Week
Despite a ban on all demonstrations by Munich Council 10,000 people still protested
against the NATO Conference on Security Policy last weekend, where government
officials hobnobbed with 500 odd military experts. Central themes were the planning
of current and future wars, the establishment of powerful mobile strike forces
and the development of new billion-dollar weapons systems.
A few days before, the city council passed a law declaring all protests during
the Conference illegal. The whole city was declared a red zone,
road blocks, were set up preventing people getting to Munich by train, coach
or car, known activists were warned in letters and phone calls not to protest,
organised info points and sleeping places were closed down and several people
were arrested before it all began.
The police then desperately tried to prevent meetings and spontaneous demonstrations
during the next three days, arresting people at random - 849 people in total
including a speaker at a press conference! Bans on demos are common in
Germany, with one protestor telling SchNEWS People usually still go ahead
but it gives the cops more powers to nick people.
The main Trade Union building was surrounded by police for several hours, with
people complaining that the last time the police threatened an official trade-union
building was in 1933 when the Nazis seized power. Meanwhile Bayern Munich football
club gave the police 1000 free tickets for their game against Bayer Leverkusen
as a thank you to all the out of town coppers whod been drafted in!
Don't Bolivia the Hype
Its all kicking off again in Cochabamba, where two years ago massive
protests halted the planned privatisation of the water system, (see Schnews
339). This time the battle is over Coca. For several months, the government
has totally militarised the region in order to stop the traditional cultivation
of the Coca plant, they have started a war on drugs but the
real objective of evicting peasants and indigenous people is that the land can
then be sold to multinational companies. Over the last few weeks, dozens of
demonstrators have been killed by the Army. Four soldiers were also shot during
clashes which is a bit suspect considering the peasants dont carry guns
on demos. Using this as a pretext the government had 60 community and union
leaders arrested. The Bolivian human rights organisations have already denounced
the abuse that they have suffered, such as beatings and wounds, electric shocks
on the teeth, etc.
Parliament also voted the repeal of the parliamentary immunity of Evo Morales,
one of the most popular deputies and foremost union leaders of the country.
He now stands accused of being the intellectual author of the soldiers
deaths. Radio +, which belongs to the peasant confederation has been heavily
damaged and closed down by the police, while organisations of other social sectors
in solidarity with the peasants have also been brutally attacked. www.democracyctr.org/.
Guatemala's Going On?
* Fancy a holiday that does more good than harm? Then we have just the thing
all you need to do is pack yer bags, pick up a passport and shift over
to Guatemala to work as a human rights observer. The Guatemalan peasants union,
(CUC) are urgently calling for volunteers to help defend their land rights and
rights to protest without being killed. A British human rights observer told
SchNEWS, For the last three months the union has been in occupation of
five large farms in the district of Izabal. They have also been blocking the
main roads at strategic points and holding huge demonstrations in the capital
the 23 and 24 of December three men were killed on the farms by the paramilitaries.
As a consequence the union is desperate for foreign peace observers and human
rights volunteers. If youre up for helping - waste no time
email them on: firstname.lastname@example.org (in Spanish)
and get yer flight booked.
After going to a overcrowded and overpriced National Science week event sponsored
and polluted by Glaxo Wellcome, a mum and her daughters were so unimpressed
they decided that theyd run an alternative science event. They helped
set up an informal network of people SEASoN - South East Alternative
Science Network, whove organised the Brickhurst Science Funday on the
16th March. The event will concentrate on ethical and environmental science
and will run workshops principally for children on science, sustainability,
nature and the environment. Theyd like to get in contact with people who
would like to help, or that can help with running a workshop or doing displays.
Also if youd like to attend the event then you need to book a place in
advance. Tel: 01892 863 941 www.geocities.com/seasonscience/home
For years Sainburys and their accomplices have been trying to build a
supermarket on a derelict site next to Brighton Station. In 1997 the original
proposal was strongly opposed by local residents, and was refused planning permission
by the Council, a decision upheld by a Public Inquiry. Since the start public
consultations have been organised by BUDD, in the absence of a democratic council.
These consultations have shown that when residents have their say, they are
well capable of sussing out that more developments will only benefit the fat
Undeterred, Insanesburys are back again, clutching a new (nastier) development
application. This exemplar of 21st century urban development includes
(unsurprisingly) a huge supermarket, two luxury hotels, a car park that will
obliterate the Sunday market, and housing for key workers (read
yuppie flats). Never mind sustainability or open spaces bring on the
pollution say Brighton Council. The Council rejected the last application, but
are set to accept the current proposal cos they have a development quota they
have to maintain, passed down from Westminster.
The decision is due to be made at the end of the month. As well as a massive
letter writing campaign, following last years May Bug Ball further direct
action is in the offing: watch this space
Fundraiser for community resistance next Monday (11th) from 9pm, the Hobgoblin
Pub, London Road. Protest outside Sainsburys, London Road. Sunday 16th
Feb from Noon. Bring banners, noise. Background info: www.solarcity.co.uk/BUDD
SchNEWS in brief
- Brightons Premier Pirate Radio Station February 8-10 on 106.6F.
Local DJs and music Sunday pm Free Speech including SchNEWS 4pm. Live
web broadcast at: www.radio4a.org.uk
- This weekend starting on Friday (8th) is the 10 year anniversary since the
start of the M11 road campaign. There will be an exhibition celebrating
10 years campaigning against Road building, being held at a house formerly
used by security on the M11 Road Protest. 491 Grove Green Road, Leytonstone,
London Images in Exile a photographic exhibit about refugees around the world
by Howard Davies 25 Feb - 3 March (Closed Sat). The Meeting House, Sussex
University 9.30am- 4.30pm. On Thursday 28 Howard Davies will speak about his
work 6pm in The Meeting House
- Seven people were arrested on Monday at Devonport naval dockyard
during a protest against the refitting of nuclear weapon submarine HMS Vanguard
- Next week 11-13th is the Bloc and Roll at Faslane
naval base, Scotland. Transport is going from around the country. Call the
action line 0845 458 8361 www.gn.apc.org/tp2000
- Want to keep up to date with the Enron scandal not just
a business scandal, its an indictment of our entire financial and political
system then check out www.alternet.org
- Next Friday (15) Lupercalia party is a benefit for the Queeruption
DIY gathering in March, with cabaret, performers, kissing and whipping booth.
Its in Shoreditch, East London for info/directions: 07947 489 617 or
- Around 40 activists halted work on construction of a new logging road and
bridge into the Weld Valley in Tasmania. The area has been nominated
for inclusion as a world heritage site. A permanent camp has been set up to
highlight the plight of these ancient wilderness and river systems www.tasforests.green.net.au
Last Saturday, 50 people hung banners and leafleted around Manchesters
historic Free Trade Hall, demanding that the building be returned for use
by the general public. The hall is built on the site of the Peterloo massacre
when militia attacked a mass meeting being held in protest of the Corn Laws
and as part of the campaign for universal suffrage. The Free Trade Hall
is a key monument of the struggle for democracy. It was built in 1840 to
house the great Corn Law debates and to provide space for Manchester people
to hold political, religious and cultural public meetings. The Manchester
Corporation bought the Free Trade Hall in May 1921, so that the Hall
should not be lost to citizens. But now Manchester Council is all
modern and new and have sold it as part of the council's asset-stripping
programme to fund the Commonwealth games being held there this July. It
has been sold to a private developer for £4 million, and is currently
scheduled for 95% demolition to make way for a £45 million luxury
hotel. Demolition is due to begin on 11th February. www.freetradehall.org
Nicolas Sguiglia has been issued with a deportation order after
police violently attacked a demo outside Malaga immigrant detention centre
in Spain. Nico was one of those nicked, after people blocked roads and chained
themselves to the gates of the centre to try to stop vans carrying detained
Nigerians who were on their way to being deported, from getting through.
Although Nico has full legal rights to live anywhere within the E.U. the
Spanish government is using a loophole which allows them to deport foreign
nationals without them being convicted of any crime. The international campaign
to prevent his deportation can be found at www.noborder.org
and support is needed urgently before the appeals deadline on February 15th.
* Benefit party for Nico This Saturday (9) at the Radical Dairy, 47 Kynaston
Road in Hackney, N16
* Two people who demonstrated against Britains biggest arms fair are
on trial next week (11-13) charged with obstruction of the railway
an offence which carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment. The
two were nicked after handcuffing themselves to the doors of a Docklands
Light Railway carriage. They were trying to prevent delegates from Angola,
Turkey and various other renowned supporters of human rights, arriving at
the conference which in 1999 was found to be selling anti-personal mines
in clear breach of the UK Anti-Landmines Act. The pair will be defending
themselves on the grounds that they were acting in order to prevent a greater
crime. Show your support outside Snaresbrook Crown Court, 75 Hollybush Hill
at 9:30am Monday. Campaign Against Arms Trade 0207 2810297 www.caat.org.uk
Australias Tabloid TV stations lost face big-time last Tuesday when
they fell for a story about a gang of jobless sewer-dwellers plotting and
getting militant in Melbourne. Gutter journalism sank to a new low when
the countrys biggest stations both paid for an expose on a fictional
group of bin-raiding drain-dwellers called the Dole Army. The unemployment
activists behind the hoax are happy with the attention their www.dolearmy.org
website received thousands of hits after the TV exposes
They lapped it up like dogs, said one Dole Army rep.
SchNEWS warns all fat cats you've made a dog's dinner of it. Honest guys.
Cor-blimley-theyre-practically-giving-them-away book offer
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(US Postage £4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
- SchNEWS and SQUALL's YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of
adventures from the direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p. You can order
the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos,
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Last updated 8th February, 2002
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