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  Home | Friday 3rd May 2002 | Issue 352
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! It's yer up the greasy maypole
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Maywatch | Hardcore | May the first last | Crap Arrest | Group 4 Profit | Up the Rector | Crooks | Charlatans | SchNEWS in Brief | Inside SchNEWS | Positive SchNEWS | Can-Can't | and finally...


“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 you’re 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 you’re part of the corporate media then it’s always a time to relax, dust off some of those old clichés and talk about the end of civilisation, as we know it. If you’re a copper then it’s a time to get physical and talk about a hardcore of violent protestors bent on changing the status quo. If you’re 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 you’re 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 you’re coming from there’s 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 country’s 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 state-run industries.


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…without a fixed starting point or finish.’ This meant crowds kept moving and the police couldn’t use their trusty old Section 60 so easily (that’s 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 60’d 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 needn’t 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 action’s 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 it’s 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 weren’t 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 ldmgmail@yahoo.co.uk

* 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

Crap 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.

Up the Rector

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 weren’t 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 couldn’t find anything wrong with the comments, and have discontinued their investigations.


This month the International Criminal Court was finally ratified by enough countries to be established (SchNEWS 326). It’s aim is to “investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.” Shame it can’t try crimes committed before 1 July 2002, the date it officially comes into force otherwise you’d 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 won’t 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 www.hrw.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

SchNEWS in brief

  • 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 isn’t 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 it’s own bi-lingual Indymedia site at www.indycymru.org.uk
  • OneWorld have set up a video website showing documentaries about global issues www.oneworld.net. Contributions welcome contact tv@oneworld.net
  • 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 Sainsbury’s development is facing eviction on Tuesday (7th), see it before it’s gone and lend a hand.

Inside SchNEWS

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. He’d 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 campaign SatpalRam@satpalram.connectfree.uk.com

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

Positive SchNEWS

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 March’s 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

...and finally...

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 Boffey’s 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 aren’t 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 Speaker’s Corner at the Marble Arch End of Hyde Park. Contact 0207566 1681 kathb@foe.co.uk www.ilisu.org.uk

chNEWS warns all readers this Summer don’t be a dope or let the grass grow under yer feet. For the latest blow against capitalism check out our stash of info for action. Honest.

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