Mayday has been a celebration of life, renewal and pleasure
since ancient times. More recently it was declared International
Workers Day to commemorate the execution of four anarchists
in Chicago for their part in the struggle for an eight-hour working
day. Both these aspects of Mayday were intertwined - a festival
against work, want and denial, and a vision of freedom and plenty
throughout the world.
From Our May Day website.
What does May Day mean to you? Well, if youre a Pagan maybe
you were out on the lash drinking flagons of mead and dancing naked
around a fire to welcome Beltane the coming of Spring and
the rebirth of life. If youre part of the corporate media
then its always a time to relax, dust off some of those old
clichés and talk about the end of civilisation, as we know
it. If youre a copper then its a time to get physical
and talk about a hardcore of violent protestors bent on changing
the status quo. If youre an anti-capitalist then there are
a number of choices. It could be the opportunity you were looking
for to try out that outrageous new outfit chances are the
media will love it and want to chat you up (but try to think of
something good to say beforehand). Or you could dress in black and
look all moody at that McDonalds window. If youre a trade
unionist, then what better way of using one of your days off work
than to march around with a placard and listen to some riveting
speeches from some Old Labour politicians.
Wherever youre coming from theres no doubt that over
the past few years May Day has been put firmly back onto the political
map with millions across the world taking to the streets. The biggest
demos were in France with an estimated one million protesting against
the fascist Le Pen. In Australia thousands turned out in Melbourne
beginning the day by blockading the entrance of the company that
runs the countrys immigration detention centres. In Indonesia
thousands took to the streets calling for the day to be made a national
holiday, higher minimum wages and a halt to subsidy cuts on fuel
and electricity demanded by the International Monetary Fund. In
Athens four separate demonstrations marched to the United States
and Israeli embassies to protest Israeli attacks against Palestinians.
In Seoul more than 10,000 people called on the government to swiftly
introduce a five-day work week and to withdraw its plans to privatise
Across the UK the demonstrations were smaller, but on the whole
thought to be more successful than the last few years especially
in London where six thousand cops patrolled the streets with four
helicopters buzzin over head. The idea in Mayfair was for
people to adopt a theme and be fluid and spontaneous
a fixed starting point or finish. This meant crowds kept moving
and the police couldnt use their trusty old Section 60 so
easily (thats when they pen a crowd in for hours because they
fear violence might happen) So it was a Travelling
Circus with a thousand sparkle-faced anarchists wheeling round
a huge red and yellow shiny plastic BigTop flanked by pixies, lusty
crusty wenches, clowns and screaming queens. Then there was Carniball
old fashioned footie kicking off down Oxford Street
with inflatable beach balls, and two five foot wide red footballs
that got the crowds through police lines and provided a new sense
of team-crowd spirit, as they bounced off the heads of the plod
quite gloriously amid cries of GOAL!!. Or what about
a critical mass of bike rides heading for the American Embassy;
or a carnival of colour as part of the sex workers parade in Soho
(which later got Section 60d and turned violent as the police
hemmed everyone in to take down peoples particulars [pardon]).
Some complained about walking around aimlessly, but on such a do-it-yourself
day this just shows the importance of people organising beforehand
and forming affinity groups. This neednt be rocket science,
just a bunch of mates getting together to plan actions, anything
from bringing along props to targeting specific companies. A dozen
anarchists from Worthing took the initiative by protesting in Berkeley
Square, Mayfair, outside the HQ of the Carlyle Group, an American
finance firm closely linked to the US government and the arms trade.
Other smartly dressed English gentlemen and women showed those ghastly
American coffee chains a thing or two about etiquette, setting up
stalls outside their stores and dishing out some good old fashioned
tea & cucumber sandwiches to the protesting masses.
Last year the press reckoned it was one nil to the cops after they
penned everyone in Oxford Street for eight hours. Not this year.
As one anarchist ringleader told Schnews Any suggestion
of the cops winning the game are shallow - the cops were on the
hop constantly. People broke away spontaneously into groups and
reclaimed the streets of central London at the actions height.
Hopefully next year we can learn to generate more autonomous actions,
bring along more musical instruments, rinky-dink sound systems,
balls etc and build on this, because its definitely a better
way to structure mass actions. Or as one reveller told SchNEWS
This year I think we won on away goals.
May the first last
This years events in London werent just focused on May Day
but ten days of activities under the banner of May Day Festival
of Alternatives. We want to show our goals of creating a society
based on solidarity, autonomy and co-operation in practice.
We want to show that there is a future beyond capitalism, wage-labour
and the state; that we can create our own alternatives and that
our land, time, resources, entertainment, and ultimately, our lives,
can be reclaimed from a system that has disempowered us from realising
our individual and collective potential for centuries.
* Just over 50 were nicked, mainly for minor charges. However if
previous May Day court cases are anything to go by, then sentences
for even minor offences could be harsh. If you saw any arrests contact
the Legal, Defence and Monitoring Group email@example.com
* Find out what happened around the world www.indymedia.org
* For the incomplete history of Mayday www.midnightnotes.org/mayday
* For in-depth history of the Haymarket martyrs http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/haymarket/Haymarket.html
* Get clued up on section 60 www.urban75.org/mayday02/s60
Arrest of the Week
For playing music
A minibus driver from the Kurdish region of Amed in Turkey was nicked
for the outrageous crime of playing traditional Kurdish folk music
on his daily journey to Cinar. The case against him was that he
had aided and abetted the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)
by playing the music of his choice. What happened was that
an overzealous off duty cop who got a lift on the bus objected to
these revolutionary tunes and promptly called for reinforcements.
Sulhattin Onen, the bus driver was then arrested and held for two
days. Sulhattin was finally was tried and received a 10 month sentence
and over 26 million Turkish Lira fine.
An Essex Vicar who was under investigation by the police for an
article about the September 11th attacks has had his case dropped.
Rev. Nigel Cooper in his monthly letter to parishioners expressed
his opinion that the 3000 people that died in the Twin Towers werent
entirely innocent. Both towers were full of people working for the
banks that fund the IMF, who in turn cause 30,000 deaths a day in
the southern hemisphere. He also thought Bush was a greater threat
to peace than terrorism, and that the US response was more to do
with fighting for an empire than for civilisation. One reader took
offence to the article and contacted the thought police who obviously
couldnt find anything wrong with the comments, and have discontinued
This month the International Criminal Court was finally ratified
by enough countries to be established (SchNEWS 326). Its aim
is to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit
war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Shame it
cant try crimes committed before 1 July 2002, the date it
officially comes into force otherwise youd have a few ex-US
presidents and advisors running for cover. As it is George W is
doing all he can to make sure he wont be appearing in the
Hague, by refusing to ratify the treaty. China, Israel and Iraq
are also refusing to sign up, no prizes for guessing why! www.iccnow.org
In Rio de Janiero in 1992 World leaders met to discuss what they
were going to do about our polluted planet. The decade since Rio
has seen rampant destruction of our environment. This September
10 years later - leaders are meeting again in Johannesburg, South
Africa, to pat each other on the back and vow to carry on as normal.
Campaigners going to Johannesburg are demanding that an international
court for crimes against the earth be set up, and are asking people
for their nominations. Post yours at www.resistenceisfertile.org.earthcrimes
- Cops in Montreal, Canada are carrying out mass arrests
on people who are having the cheek to get out and demonstrate.
In March 371 people were held for five hours before being arrested
on a demo in support of International day against police brutality.
And last Friday hundreds of people demonstrating against G8 labour
ministers (the G8 is made up of the eight most industrialised
nations of the world) being in town were surrounded and 170 arrested,
the majority charged with unlawful assembly. http://montreal.indymedia.org
- The controversial Itoiz dam in Spain has been declared
illegal by the Spanish Supreme Court. The Court upheld its opinion
that filling the dam is illegal, due to the fact that it would
destroy three nature reserves. Previous rulings have however so
far failed to stop the building of the dam.
- Last weekend activists managed to storm the stage at the
Annual get together of Bayer in Germany to let the company
know that their new venture into Genetically Modified (GM) crops
isnt going to go unopposed. All the activists were removed
by security, but not before they were given the chance to vote
on a number of shareholder issues, as they all had share certificates.
Bayer, at the end of last year bought up biotech baddies Aventis
Crop Science, this acquisition will make them the leading company
pushing for the commercialisation of GM crops in Europe. www.Bayerhazard.com
- Wales now has its own bi-lingual Indymedia site
- OneWorld have set up a video website showing documentaries
about global issues www.oneworld.net. Contributions welcome contact
- A-spire, the Leeds squatted social centre is facing
eviction next Wednesday. Events are running till then, including
: Talks and Videos on International Resistance on Monday (6th)
from 5pm, followed by a benefit gig, and an anti fascist speaker
on Tuesday (7th) 07796 343 085 www.a-spire.org.uk
- The Locomotive Works squat (ex-Harvest Foresty shop,
1 New England Street) in Brighton, set up to oppose the Sainsburys
development is facing eviction on Tuesday (7th), see it before
its gone and lend a hand.
Satpal Ram was sentenced to life imprisonment after defending
himself against a violent racist attack, he has been moved 72 times
in the 13 years he has been inside and SchNEWS reckons this is some
sort of Guinness Book of Records. Satpal is now back in open prison.
Hed like to thank all those who faxed and wrote over the last
period. Though he is back in open conditions, he is grounded for
a month for risk assessment. write direct to him: Satpal Ram, HMP
Blantyre House, Horden, Goudhurst, Kent, TN17 2NH. Or email the
Long-term US anarchist prisoner Harold H. Thompson is challenging
a decision that will decide whether inmates across the States are
able to receive mail containing so called political content.
Currently up to 25,000 prisoners receive anarchist, environmental
or animal rights literature. SchNEWS itself has had newsletters
returned because apparently the content was unsuitable.
One supporter told SchNEWS This is a seriously heavyweight
legal contest with far-reaching implications for every prisoner
held in US jails nationwide, particularly those prepared to stand
and fight the system from behind cell bars. Harold desperately
needs more money to fight the case. Donations can be sent to (payable
to Friends of Harold H.Thomson) PO Box 375, Knaphill, Woking,
Surrey, GU21 2XL
Poolsbrook in Derbyshire is set to become the first village in
Europe to set up a power station fuelled by methane piped from their
rubbish tip to heat homes and generate electricity. The villagers
set up a limited company and are raising the £2million they
need for the project. The prices will be set by the villagers themselves
at a meeting and the profit the company makes will be put back into
community activities. It will cut the heating bills in half and
drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Brian Cave-from Poolsbrook heating
development said We have a high ratio of unemployed, single
parent families and pensioners so affordable heat is vital to them.
The Can Masdeu squatted social centre in Barcelona, which played
a major part in Marchs massive protests against the EU summit,
was surrounded by police on Tuesday. As SchNEWS went to press the
centre was being blockaded by 14 vans and police are refusing protesters
inside access to food, water and blankets. They have so far failed
to evict the squatters because a judge has said doing so would endanger
the lives of 10 people who are hanging from ropes in various parts
of the building. Attempts have been made to get food and blankets
to them, including one by a group of 15 women who tried to break
the police line and a mass action involving 200 people that was
violently dealt with by the police. Just to be nice they also prevented
the people who were injured in the actions from getting any medical
attention. People are arriving continually to Can Masdeu to show
support. 120 people stopped the traffic in both directions on the
Rhonda de Dalt (a major ring-road) for an hour in solidarity. Police
are threatening to move the ropes that the people inside are suspended
from if there are more attempts to get them food http://barcelona.indymedia.org
Steven Boffey has just landed himself one of the most environmentally
destructive jobs in the West Midlands. Employed by Midland Expressway,
the corporate crooks behind the new Birmingham Northern Relief Road
(BNRR) (Britains first toll road); his job is to encourage 100,000
drivers a day to use their brand new spanking road. The catch is
that they have to pay a toll for the privilege. The road will be
built with private investment, and Boffeys job will be to
ensure that his new bosses line their pockets whilst the local people
continue to suffer from shit air quality. SchNEWS tried to contact
Mr Boffey to discuss the benefits of his road over say the spaghetti
junction, but he was unavailable, undoubtedly having a laugh at
our expense. Cos with £400million of tax payers money
being spent on widening the M42 near the toll road, to cope with
increased traffic, rather than on public transport, the locals arent
going to have any alternative other than to jump in their cars.
The BNRR M6 Toll experience is due to open in 2004.
Contact Mr Boffey to discuss his job on 0845 6013611. More info
on opposition to the road at www.ds.dial.pipex.com/beep/bnrr
*AMEC the nasty construction company who are involved in the BNRR
also are playing their part in the Yusefeli Dam project in Turkey.
They are having their AGM next Wednesday (8th) and would love to
see you. Protests are planned. Meet 10am Speakers Corner at
the Marble Arch End of Hyde Park. Contact 0207566 1681 firstname.lastname@example.org
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