LADIES OF THE FIGHT
International womens day - 8th March
On March 2nd hundreds of women kicked off in the streets of London's
West End. Armed with stones and hammers they smashed windows in
Regent Street, Piccadilly, the Strand and Oxford Street, causing
thousands of pounds worth of damage. Three women leapt out of a
car in Downing Street and threw stones at the Prime Minister's house
and the home office. Altogether about 120 women were arrested, 80
years ago, in 1912.
2nd marks 80 years since this mass suffragette demo. Protests took
over the streets for nine months before women realised they would
have to step up their militancy to get their voices heard. Women
started burning the turf of golf courses with acid spelling "VOTES
FOR WOMEN", breaking street lamps, torching letterboxes, chaining
themselves to Buckingham Palace gates and attacking politicians
on their way to work. Women planted bombs in empty houses and unused
railway stations. They started massive fires. In February 1913 women
blew up part of David Lloyd George's house - probably Britain's
most famous politician at that time. Their first suffragette martyr
was Emily Davison, killed when she threw herself under the Kings
horse in June of 1913.
year later over 1,000 suffragettes had been sent to prison for destroying
public property. The jailbirds went on hunger strikes, and after
the policy of force-feeding started looking too hard-line, the government
watered down their response with the Cat and Mouse Act. This stopped
the force-feeding, allowing the women to go on hunger strikes, and
to get weaker and weaker. When they were very weak they were kicked
out of prison so any deaths would not embarrass the government.
years of peaceful protesting failed to win any changes for women.
Women's suffrage only became a national issue when the suffragettes
turned to violence. The first windows were smashed in 1908 and direct
action continued until World War I. Once British women had gained
the vote - a token gesture in any democracy - the struggle continued.
First International Women's Day took place in 1908. Nine years later,
after months of struggles and strikes, thousands of Russian women
took to the streets to protest food shortages, high prices, the
world war, and general impoverishment. Their defiance led to the
last push of the revolution, and within a week Czar Nicholas II
had gone. This day, March the 8th, 1917, was then adopted as the
official date for International Women's Day. In the early days International
Women's Day was celebrated as a socialist holiday honouring working
women. The third annual International Global Women's Strike has
upped the profile of protests across the world on the same day.
Friday thousands of women will take to the streets and continue
es old traditions of disobedience twenty-first century
LASS IS MORE
This year's protests are being called as a reaction against the US government's
militarist response to September 11. Women's groups are pointing
out that amongst the hysteria nothing was said of the 35,000 children
who died of hunger that same day, and every day, as a consequence
of the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund. More than $800 billion is squandered globally in military
budgets that destroy life and guarantee the submission of Third
World countries to globalization. The US government has already
invested $40 billion in this new war.
are planned in over 60 countries to highlight these global injustices
as well as calling for recognition of women's unpaid, underpaid
and undervalued work in and out of the home. In previous years'
demonstrations, men have been forced to stay indoors for the night
in the Colombian capital of Bogota and those that snuck out were
pelted with eggs and flour. Meanwhile women in Uganda held a co-ordinated
sit-down across the country, which led to the awarding of free hospital
sex workers marched through Soho to protest against the council's
attempts to evict them from their homes, and against trafficking
being used as an excuse for deportations.
year's planned demos range from one woman in Bolivia who has announced
that she's planning to go on the game to support her family to huge
high profile marches expected to attract thousands of protestors.
India groups are organizing a meeting in Pithora where village women
will put their demands to officials. They are calling for equal
pay for equal work, land rights, safe drinking water, health and
medical facilities, removing "untouchability" against Dalit people,
and a bonus for Tendu leaf (smoke stick business that Tribal women
particularly work in). "We are also raising our voice against globalisation,
the World Trade Organisation, and the IMF which is affecting our
Argentina The Sindicato de Amas de Casa (Housewives Union) in Santa
Fe which has co-ordinated the Strike since 2000, is holding daily
women's assemblies in the poorest neighbourhoods as part of the
in London will be bringing pots, pans, and brooms into the town
centre for an Argentinian-styled "cacerolazos" - pots and pans protest
- in solidarity with their South American sisters. These noisy protests
have become a feature of Argentinian life since last year's economic
collapse. The first massive cacerolazos protest against IMF/World
Bank policies brought down the government last December. Banging
on pots and pans - the "tools of the trade" of those who do the
vital but unrecognised work of feeding and caring, has become the
symbol of the Argentinian uprising. The pots are now empty in most
Argentinian households, but they are loud.
London Strike Committee have organised a Whistle Stop Tour to Sweep
Out the Global Killers: taking in Shell, Ministry of Defence, Institute
of Directors and finishing at the World Bank. Lesbian/bisexual women
are invited to march with the Dykes on Strike contingent. Rhythms
of Resistance will be round for drum & dance Samba! Women mental
health system survivors will protest outside a psychiatric hospital
based near Shell.
International Wages for Housework Campaign, Crossroads Women's Centre,
230a Kentish Town Rd. NW5 2AB 020 7482 2496 http://womenstrike8m.server101.com
- The Transfiguring
Sword: The Just War of the Women's Social and Political Union.
Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp, University of Alabama, 1997.
- The Disinherited
Family. Eleanor Rathbone, Falling Wall Press 1986.
|Women Speak Out International Women's Day Anarchist-Feminist
Weekend: 8-10 March. Meeting to organise actions, discussions,
films, performance, music.Vegan food for lunch and dinner. 'The
Dairy' 47 Kynaston Rd Stoke Newington. Info: 020-8809 1352 or
07985 365 992.
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For trying to live on their own land (see Bushman story overleaf).
13 Bushmen from the Gana and Gwi tribes have been arrested on their
ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game reserve in Botswana,
for hunting without a license. Despite having lived by hunting and
gathering in the same area for 20,000 years, the government is now
forcing the Bushmen to apply for hunting licenses! The accused were
severely beaten and now face 5 years imprisonment. Two Bushmen bringing
food and water to the communities whose supplies had been cut off
by the government were told that entry to their ancestral lands
was forbidden. The two were later allowed in but were told that
in future they would have to have a special permit or pay to enter
Central Kalahari Game Reserve was set up in the 1960's as a home
for the Gana and Gwi Bushmen, whose ancestral lands include the
reserve area. Yet since the mid-1980's, the Botswana government
has waged a campaign of harassment to force them off land that is
theirs under international law. Last week they terminated supplies
of water and food to those who were still resisting. They also seized
solar powered radio transceivers, provided by Survival International,
their only source of communication with the outside world. Hundreds
of Bushmen have been trucked into government resettlement camps
where they can't continue their traditional way of life. The families
who remain on their land are now totally isolated and at risk from
thirst and starvation.
government claims it can't afford to continue to provide water and
other services to Bushmen communities in the reserve, even though
it costs only $3 per person per week. Behind the government's attitude
is a deep-seated racism - the president himself has called the Bushmen
'stone-age creatures.' His government wants to open the reserve
to tourism, and believes the Bushmen would be in the way. SchNEWS
wonders if the areas rich diamond reserves may also have something
to do with it. Info: 020-7687-8731 www.survival-international.org
The Slough Environmental Education Development Service (SEEDS) have
been busy in that most sexy of towns since 1997 "linking environmental
and social justice through the principals of earth care, people
care and fair shares." Projects include teaching kids in 17 schools
about the environment and getting them to grow trees themselves,
from seeds, that are then planted out in tree nurseries and eventually
in the school grounds. The Herschel Park Extension project is a
10-acre local nature reserve on an old landfill site where over
2000 native trees have been planted and a one-acre wildflower meadow
created. A Woodland Crafts Skills Pilot Project is providing training
to disadvantaged and excluded groups, with a derelict coppice in
the Chilterns being managed and the materials used for making craft
products. For the future SEEDS is hoping to establish a permanent
crafts workshop at the old Council Nurseries, and tapping into the
diversity of the towns population - with Asian, Afro-Caribbean gardens
etc. - to supply organic vegetables to local people.
As Janine, one of the workers of the project explains "I find myself
apologising for living here sometimes - but I shouldn't. This is
so exactly the sort of area where the principles behind our work
can make such a huge impact on peoples lives and for future generations."
SEEDS, 1st Floor 29 Church Street, Slough, SL1 1PL Tel 01753 693819
SchNEWS in brief
** Benefit for the no to Sainsbury's campaign, Albert Pub, Trafalgar
St, 7pm Monday 4th with bands and the MayBug Ball Video.
** The 2002/3 Animal Contacts Directory is out now. An impressively
comprehensive directory of everybody involved in animal welfare:
from hunt sabs, to riot grannies and sancturies for donkies from
the Holy Land. Get your copy from Veggies, 245 Gladstone Street,
Nottingham NG7 6HX Tel 0845 4589595 £4.95 + 85p p&p www.veggies.org.uk
** Joint Worthing Eco-Action and Protect Our Woodland
meeting to decide on what to do about council plans to cover Titnore
Woods with concrete. Tuesday 5th 7.45pm @ the Downview pub, West
Worthing station. www.worthinga27.freeserve.co.uk
Aspire, Leeds' occasional squat venue opening today. Free
gigs, parties, radical films, good food and other things www.a-spire.org.uk
Last chance rally opposing GM trials in Long Marston 9th
March Startford Upon Avon Town Hall 12pm start, coaches to the field
trial at 2pm. Transport from around the country 020-72721586
Injustice, the film about deaths in police custody has been
screened at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General
has agreed to meet with families of those that have died. It's also
being shown at the Duke of York's in Brighton on 10th March, 4pm.
Last year Argentinas economy went into freefall, leading to massive
riots and strikes (SchNEWS 336). Argentina
Arde (Argentina burns) a documentary on the uprising and its
brutal suppression by the police. See it at a special SchNEWS screening
11th March 8pm upstairs at the Albert pub, Brighton.
Last week Dutch activists caused a stink at a carbon trading conference
in Amsterdam. Armed with water pistols, blue wigs and "farting-gas"
they held up the conference for 2 hours. But their demands for an
immediate 60% reduction in greenhouse gases was not met, instead
13 of them were arrested. Carbon trading is a dubious capitalist
scheme, which claims to deal with global warming by giving emission
reductions a monetary value which can be traded. Unfortunately it
probably won't make much difference for the climate, but it will
undoubtedly make a lot of fat cats even fatter. www.risingtide.nl
Police Lose Face
A man who was arrested outside the Labour Party Conference last September
for wearing a Palestinian flag as a face mask, has won his appeal
against the conviction. He was charged under Section 60 of the Public
Order Act for failure to remove his facial covering.
A solicitor told SchNEWS: "the judge said that police had overstepped
the mark: that it was wrong for the police to ask everyone to remove
facial masks - and then arrest anyone who didn't comply - unless
they had reason to believe that a person was deliberately concealing
will get the message that they can't assume things like cycle masks
at critical masses are an offence. The good thing about doing demos
in Britain is that it always rains - the perfect legal reason for
needing that toasty balaclava.
On the 19th February, Dr Margaret Jones was sent down for 40 days by
the Bristol Magistrates court for painting stuff like, "What have
Iraqi's ever done to deserve this?" "UK Iraq policy equals atrocities
and failure" on the Foreign Office building. Her other 'crimes'
were cutting a hole in the fence at Aldermaston where nuclear weapons
are kept and 'breach of the peace' for sitting down at Faslane.
Write to Margaret at: Eastwood park prison, Eastwood Park, Falfield,
Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire.
On Wednesday the UK government announced that US multinational Scotts
will be paid £17.4 million to immediately hand over Thorne Moor,
in Yorkshire and Wedholme Flow in Cumbria to English Nature, the
government wildlife watchdog. The Government has decided to buy
the company's peat extraction rights in order to turn the moors
into nature reserves.
However, another site, Hatfield Moor, which is a Site of Special Scientific
Iinterest, will continue to be degraded for a further two years
even though Scotts is being paid shedloads to sling its hook.
The campaign to stop peat mining on these moors has been going on for
over 10 years, but according to Craig Bennet from Friends of the
Earth, "little was achieved until campaigners started targeting
specific companies and retailers... Now we have to really focus
on pressuring retailers and companies so that we don't just export
the problem. Environmental groups in other countries haven't woken
up to the peat issue yet and it is our duty to export the campaign
to the rest of the world."
Last week, environmental activists occupied seven of Scotts office buildings,
factories and peat extraction sites as the latest in a series of
direct-action protests against the company - and the planned Easter
blockade of Hatfield Moor is still going ahead with Peat Alert declaring
"We should also target other companies such as Sinclairs and Westlands
who will continue to extract peat after Scotts pull out."
* Easter blockade 25-29 March 0113-2629365 www.peatalert.org.uk
Nine Greenpeace activists occupied a rubbish incinerator in Lewisham
this week closing it down for nearly four days. The nine attached
themselves to industrial rubbish grabbers and suspended themselves
above a stinking mound of waste ! They were protesting at the discharge
of dioxins which are known to cause cancer. Early on Thursday morning
'special' bailiffs were brought in and spent all day to get the
protestors down off the grabbers. At the same time other protestors
were sneakily working on sealing the flues. Speaking from the top
of the chimney Greenpeace volunteer Mark Strutt said: "We are 300
feet up and we intend to make it as difficult as we can for the
bailiffs to get to us. We are sealing the chimney flues to keep
this toxic plant closed for as long as possible. Every hour this
incinerator remains shut we are protecting people from cancer causing
chemicals and other poisonous gases."
government has already admitted that one in three Britons are taking
in the maximum amount of dioxins that is considered 'safe' and more
than half of Britain's babies and toddlers exceed this limit. Info:
0207 8658255 www.greenpeace.org.uk
The Spanish government recently decided to stamp down on yob culture
by banning drinking on the streets. In Madrid the local troublemakers
were outraged and so took to the streets, national police in riot
gear were called in to give 'em a good twatting. Unfortunately for
them they weren't facing a load of pissheads, but the local municipal
cops (protesting about the extra work this law would give them)
who'd also been trained in unprovoked violence, and so gave as good
as they got. Just proves that coppers don't care who they beat the
shit out of. Pictures at www.stlimc.org/front.php3?article_id=1775&group=webcast
SchNEWS warns all broad-based readers we don't skirt around but
throw a monkey-wench in. Yes, Ma'am.
issues 51 - 100 £4.50 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.50 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £5.50
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage
£4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALLs 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, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre,
saving postage yer tight gits.
Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription,
or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals"
if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.
You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment
Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.