Two large marches in a week sounds like a good thing - politics
out on the street where it belongs. But according to most of the
media, making sure foxes die is more important than making sure
innocent Iraqi civilians dont.
It was a tale of two very contrasting marches: The Countryside
Alliances Liberty and Livelihood march attracted
mass media hype for the three weeks leading up to it and plenty
after it, while the Stop The War demo was draped with a raft of
conservative estimates of numbers in the papers
think of the police estimate and halve it. The Stop The War march
brought together a 400,000 strong crowd - the most racially diverse
group SchNEWS has ever seen on a demo - with the clear message that
Iraq must not be bombed, and supporting the related issue of ending
Israels occupation of Palestine. The Countryside Alliance
could hardly claim the same clarity of purpose. They were out on
the streets for
er apart from being pro-fox hunting what the
fox were they on about?
The supposed Liberty and Livelihood message was that the Countryside
Alliance are the guardians of the misunderstood rural way of life
championing country ways, one of which just so happens
to be killing for fun
but hey, theyve been doing it
for ages so doesnt that make it a minority right? The Alliance
claim to be finding time to fight just about every rural issue that
springs to mind, whether it be broadband internet access for rural
poor, questioning pricing practices of supermarkets or campaigning
for the provision of public services throughout our green and pleasant
The truth is far more sinister. The Countryside Alliance does little
more than pay lip-service to major countryside issues by creating
a broad base of touchy-feely policies muddying rural issues with
the political dead dog that is bloodsports.
Last year the Countryside Alliance spent three million pounds on
their pro-bloodsports campaign, compared to £200,000 on all
other campaigns. Yet the CA policy statement only mentions the hunting
issue once why? What do the CA have to hide, other than the
fact that they know that the media war surrounding the hunting issue
is all but lost, that the great British public will never come to
accept the hunting of wild animals and that the only way to stop
the ban is through the back door? Under such circumstances it should
come as no surprise that the CA are keen to wrap themselves in just
about any rural flag they can lay their hands on, whether it be
protecting rural post offices or fighting modern threats to the
Its when the Countryside Alliance claim to represent all
country folk - including the small farmers and rural labourers -
that the smell of manure really wafts in. How can the CA justify
putting so much into fighting to protect the bloodlust of an elite
landed gentry with huge arable estates funded by massive subsidies?
According to ActionAids Farmgate report: the developing impact
of agricultural subsidies, 80% of subsidies are swallowed up by
20% of the richest farmers. Meanwhile the remaining
majority are being driven against the wall as they try to cope with
inadequate subsidies and farm gate prices lower than those of production.
As Charles Secrett of Friends of the Earth, put it: the Countryside
Alliance spends way too much time worrying about hunting, and not
nearly enough working on the major threats to rural life
there is a new system of sustainable food production, the next Countryside
March may find there are very few farmers left to mobilise.
Well what are the real issues facing country folk on a daily basis?
The right to hunt foxes? Spokesman for the foxes, Basil Brush, said
Not in my back yard old boy! Boom boom. Brendan Boal
recently spent nine days interviewing small farmers in Devon and
Dorset, who voiced concerns over issues as diverse as low milk prices,
abusive business practices of supermarkets and the impact of rich
urban incomers buying up their weekend country
retreats and destroying the social structure of rural communities.
When asked about the significance of the Countryside Alliance, however,
Brendan said that the overwhelming response was very much to the
effect: theyre nothing to do with the likes of us, the
whole thing is for... hunting people. While Brendon and his
team travelled from farm to farm (sustainably by bicycle youll
be pleased to know) he observed that what was noticeable on
our travels was the preponderance of Alliance placards outside of
expensive homes that were clearly no longer working farms. In short,
the very incomers [that] farmers feel alienated from are the ones
that are providing a large measure of support for the CA.
Last week some country folk from the Wye Valley told SchNEWS about
the plight of rural and farm labourers those who have worked
on the land over generations but are not farm owners - who are in
fact the majority of rural folk. The large scale argo-businesses,
and the massive supermarket food distribution stitch up crushs small
farms who cant compete with the economies of scale, and the
intense mechanisation takes away many rural jobs. We
know of rural workers who were threatened with the sack if they
didnt come down for the march last week. A MORI poll
at the march found that 73% of marchers thought that hunting should
not be the key concern of the Countryside Alliance.
Next week half a million foxes are marching to Hyde Park to hear
Basil Brush talk about the ban on chicken hunting, but apparently
most foxes are more worried about the threat of hunting. Boom boom.
The rich at Play: Fox hunting, land ownership and the countryside
alliance by RPM 07967 886257
The World is Not For Sale: farmers against junk food
by Jose Bove and Francois Dufour. (Verso 2001)
Farmgate: The developmental impact of agricultural subsidies
compiled by ActionAid. 0207 561 7614 www.actionaid.org
Arrest of the Week
For being in a park!
Hundreds of people were arrested in Washington DC last weekend for
the cheek of being in a park on a permitted demo during protests
against the IMF/World Bank. People were pre-emptively arrested
in Pershing Park by riot cops, handcuffed for over 22 hours, given
barely any water or food, denied access to lawyers and made to spend
the night on a wooden floor while half hog-tied. Most were charged
with a misdemeanour equivalent to a traffic violation.
For more about the protests and the usual American protest clampdown
On Thursday (3rd Oct), Colin Davies, owner of The Dutch Experience
Café in Stockport was sentenced to three years in prison
at Manchesters Minshull Street Crown Court, after being found
guilty on all eight of the charges he was facing. The heaviest sentences
were for the November 20th offences because hed carried on
opening the café after the September busts. Colin Davies
persistently flouted the law by being involved with
cannabis even while he was on bail for other drug-related offences,
even though he uses it a pain killer for back injuries he sustained
in a work accident in 1995.
There may be an appeal, but in the meantime, when we know which
prison Colin is going to end up in we will give details for letters
of support. After already doing 9 months on remand, he will have
another 9 to still do. Colins dad was also in court to face
charges of perjury.
Just to rub it in, that afternoon The Dutch Experience Café
was raided by hoards of police, including the Special Colin
Squad, who spent the afternoon preventing the café
from re-opening. www.dutchexperience.org
Missed out on Newbury? Well get over to Poland where the country
is being inflicted with a huge road building programme and
the environmental and social costs of being in Europe
mount up. The rail system which served the country for years is
being starved of funds, and the tentacles of TEN are extending eastward.
TEN the Trans Europe Network is the worlds biggest
transport project pushed by the transport and oil industry to help
the movement of consumer goods across Europe, and is currently reaching
the new frontiers of countries soon to join the EU like Poland.
The Poles are bringing in new legislation which will enable roads
to go ahead without environmental impact studies and force people
in the road's path to sell at a price offered to them. As the motorway
services, concrete ramps and truck parks spew forth over Poland,
the average Pole had better think about getting a car and ditching
public transport if they want to be like us in the EU club. So -
if youre up for a bit of digger diving
* Bialowieza Forest, Poland Europes last primeval
forest of high bio-diverstiy including bison, wolf, lynx, and much
more is under threat from logging. www.zb.eco.pl/gb/3/workshop.htm
On 4th September, anarchist George Karakasian was sentenced
by a Cyprus court to 7 months in prison for assaulting a police
officer at a demo outside the Israeli ambassadors home.
George also received a fine for possession of an explosive
device: an old bullet found when his home was raided following
The charge of causing serious physical injury to a police
officer was incurred by no more than a grasp at the cops
hat; by contrast, George was then dragged inside the ambassadors
home and beaten by five state riotcops, whilst they shouted fuck
your anarchy at him. After being hospitalised with his injuries,
he discovered when he attempted to pick up his case notes that his
medical records had mysteriously disappeared. Send letters
of support to George to Leukosia, Central Prison of Cyprus, Wing
2B 6523, Nicosia, Cyprus.
* Did anyone see Philip Paden, get arrested in Wardour Street
at 8.50pm during this year's Mayday demonstrations? Hes charged
with affray and accused of using a plastic dustbin lid to hit police
officers shields. Philip was wearing a white paper suit, white
arm guard and holding a pink plastic dustbin lid. If you can help
call his solicitor Andrew Katzen 0208 986 8336.
War, Not Wars
The Stop The War Coalition has called for a day of action on the
31st October to oppose the possibility of full-scale war on Iraq.
They have suggested occupations, teach-ins and blockades as suitable
actions for the day.
A London-based group of activists have called for help organising
a series of proposed actions on the day including an anti-war themed
Critical Mass, a tour of Londons military offices, and a set
of moving blockades. Until they get more help with organisation
these suggestions will remain merely ideas, so if youve got
any time or ideas to contribute get in touch. www.cm-london.cjb.net
* Theres lots of other anti-war events planned for this month,
including a stop star wars and stop the bombing
of Iraq demonstration at US spy-base Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire,
on 12th October 12noon-4pm, organised by the Campaign for the Accountability
of American Bases 01943 466405 www.caab.org.uk
On the same day theres a Stop the War Teach-in at Londons
SOAS University: a day of lectures, discussion, debates and film
covering all aspects of Bush and Blairs War on Terror.
In the Main Building from 11am-7pm www.soasstopwar.org/events.htm#disc
* For full listings of regular anti-war activities check out www.justicenotvengance.org
- Last chance to hear Native American activist Rod Coronados
perspective on ecological direct action next Thursday (10) at
the Friends Meeting House, Hill St., (off Corporation St. in the
city centre) Coventry.
- This Sunday (6) theres a Leeds Underground Film Festival
- Another World is Possible running from 1-9 pm @ City Art Gallery,
The Headrow, Leeds, LS1. Films include Argentina In Revolt,
Gaza Strip and Another World Is Possible
made by 33 Italian Directors about G8 summit in Genoa. Admission
- Theres a national demo this Saturday (5) in support of
the Hackney Library strike meet 12 noon, Hackney
Town Hall. The bankrupt Labour led council is currently recruiting
scabs to break the 10-month-old strike. 0207 8356 8710 firstname.lastname@example.org
- An Orwellian political satire book Hard Choices
by Brighton writer Carol Hayman is now on the web after being
dropped by publishers Times-Warner because it was too close to
the bone post 9-11. Read it at www.hardchoices.co.uk
- A new email list has been set up to discuss Solstice celebrations
that include the possibility of amplified music in the Wiltshire
area and near Stonehenge if at all possible! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stonehengeentertaimentsdiscussion
- Party this weekend at Squatgate Park, 167 London Road,
Brighton 12noon to 9pm bring your own CDs and vinyl
- And dont forget pre SchNEWS 8th birthday benefit
night upstairs at the Albert Pub, Trafalgar St on October 14th
with L.S.D.S, Miss CMC & MAMA, Judge Trev, Jelly & more.
- RIP Martin Callaghan, much loved Liverpool activist -
who once spent a year in a tree-house at the M65 Stanworth Valley
road protest, and later worked on festivals, allotments and community
direct action with Greenloops.
Congratulations to Greenleaf Bookshop of Bristol, who celebrated
their 20th anniversary last month. Give them, and other independent
bookstores, your support. Greenleaf, 82 Colston St, Bristol, BS1
5BB 0117 921 1369
* SchNEWS now has a list of radical bookshops and distributers on
our website let us know if weve missed any.
Last Friday more than a hundred protesters on skateboards, bikes
and feet reclaimed the streets in protest against plans that will
destroy parts of Lancaster. Chelverton, a mega construction company
backed by Carillion (formerly known as Tarmac), and Richardson Developments
are planning to rip the soul out of Lancaster by building a 63,000
square feet super-store, dozens of large-scale retail
units and a major new road on land between the tranquil Lancaster
canal and the city centre. According to the councils own studies
this would close down local traders in the city centre as well as
in neighbouring Morecambe, never mind more traffic, noise and pollution.
The plans also threaten the Homeless Action Centre, the Polish Centre
and the Musicians Co-op (well-used rehearsal rooms and recording
studio). Stop Chelverton! really need to hear from anyone who is
fighting the company elsewhere or knows anything about them. 01524
383 012. email@example.com
*A group has been set up to campaign against a planned Safeways
expansion in Bridport, because they know that the store would add
to problems of rural exclusion, reducing access for those who use
public transport and leading to the closure of local shops. The
campaign group has organised a benefit gig with Billy Bragg and
local performers for 12th October @ Bridport Arts Centre, 7.30pm.
* The revised plans for redevelopment of land at Brighton Station
including a giant Sainsburys can be seen at the council offices
in Bartholomew Square from next Wednesday. BUDD (Brighton Urban
Design & Development) have organised a public meeting on October
24th at the Brighthelm Centre, North Rd, Brighton 7.30pm to discuss
the revised application. 07966 528944 www.buddbrighton.org
It would be funny - if it wasnt so tragic - the way British
justice works. Martin Maynard, the man who nearly killed the hunt
sab Steve Christmas (see SchNEWS 274) by deliberately running him
over in his Land Rover had his court case last week.
Steve, who was very lucky not to die, suffered a crushed pelvis,
four broken ribs, a damaged lung and severe internal bleeding. He
also had a metre of intestine removed and metal plate fitted in
two different operations in hospital where he was on the critical
list for months. So after Maynard was arrested you would have bet
your last quid on him going down for a long time. But no. After
not turning up for court a total of four times, and the police not
bothering with an arrest warrant, last week he finally made it into
the dock. He must have been the judges best mate because the charges
of GBH with intent were dropped to driving without insurance or
license and he was fined the sum total of £75 plus costs.
Meanwhile four women could be going to jail when their court case
begins next week. After Maynard tried to kill Steve, other hunt
sabs were quite understandably angry and held a demo outside the
hunts kennel. A few windows were broken by people unknown
but the women have been caught by the catch all conspiracy laws.
SchNEWS warns all cuntryside dwellers Bean there, dung
that.Thats why were non-compost mentis.That be the truth
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