Weapons of Mass Dissent
But marches on their own are not enough. We need to do more. In
the words of one of Saturdays speakers, we need to turn
up the heat. Civil disobedience on a vast scale, involving
thousands of new activists in direct action, is the only reasonable
response to Blairs war plans. We need to target high profile
government events, the Labour Partys Swansea conference on
the 28th of February for instance, and stop them from taking place.
Government ministers should be harassed wherever they go. We need
to be ready to stage mass walk-outs and stay-aways from work, blockade
city centres if war starts, and culminate our actions in the already-planned
massive occupation of Whitehall. We need to make sure that the police
dont have a veto on what sort of protests we are going to
carry out. In short, we need to stop business as usual for the government
of this country until it is forced to listen to the people and dump
The anti-war movement is incredibly united around the need for
action - there is little room for Judean Peoples Front style
bickering - and people are determined to be listened to. A typical
example of the new unity that is taking root in the anti-war movement
is Brighton-based group Sussex Action for Peace. The group includes
direct action veterans, left wing activists, local union organisers
and dozens of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. Meetings
are large and practical, organising everything from stalls to banner
drops in shopping centres to non-violent direct action training
sessions to crèches. People understand that we are not going
to affect this war if we stand around slagging off each others
diverse tactics. They understand that direct action goes hand in
hand with leafleting the high street - that the people breaking
into air bases and the people putting posters through letterboxes
are in this together.
Groups like Sussex Action for Peace exist up and down the country,
so if the bombs start to drop, phone in sick and join in the mass
civil disobedience planned across the country. To find out whats
happening in your area see www.schnews.org.uk/stopwar
Statutes of Liberty?
All demonstrations in Manhattan have been banned since September
11th, and unsurprisingly, a New York judge made no exception for
the February 15th anti-war march planned in the city, citing supposed
security fears. Still, half a million people turned
out to voice their opinion on Bush and his quest to rule the world.
The cops allowed a rally, but then helpfully closed off streets
so that people couldnt get to it. At one point, 200 baton-wielding
police attacked a group of 100 protestors. The provocation? Not
staying on the pavement. The police claim there were only 50 arrests,
but other sources, including the National Lawyers Guild, reckon
that as many as 400 people were handcuffed and locked in freezing
buses all day before being released without charge. Lawyers were
not allowed access to their clients for up to 12 hours, during which
police interrogated arrestees and asked them about their political
affiliations. Congratulations Mr. Bush, Saddam would have been proud!
And yet despite all this, many New Yorkers still managed to make
the most of the day, including our personal favourites, GLAMericans
for Peace, who held signs bearing such only-in-America slogans as
Makeup Not War, Baby, I AM the Bomb, and
War in Iraq is Wack. SchNEWS now reckons that Americans
may actually have a sense of humour after all after reading about
one sign addressed to Mr. Bush and painted with the message, Eat
Another Pretzel, Asshole. www.nyc.indymedia.org
Crap Arrest of the Week
For looking for your girlfriend!
A Brighton man who got separated from his loved one at Saturdays
anti-war demo made the grave mistake of trying to take a short cut
across London to find her. He was accosted by the police who told
him he would have to go the long way round. Unfortunately, when
he told them to fuck off it became a very long way round. He was
arrested and held in the cells all weekend for causing Harassment,
Alarm or Distress to a Police Officer, but how the hell do
they think his girlfriend felt?
- If you think you were cold at Londons anti-war march
this Valentines Day, 150 people braved temperatures of -35°c
in Ottawa, Canada at a 5 hour mass sit-down outside the Ottawa
- Fairford airbase in Gloustershire is the biggest bomber
base in Europe and can house US Stealth bombers which will drop
depleted uranium bombs on Iraq. On Monday, a peace camp set up
outside the base. They need tat, food and more people; its
at Kempsford, just south of the base. This Sunday (23rd) theres
a No Basis for War, No Bases for War action against
the base. Meet noon in Fairford village. Camp Mobiles 07905 131020
or 07947 614941 www.gwi.org.uk
- WAR Against War meeting for folks who live or work in
West London to discuss local action against the war. Mon 24th
7.30pm, West 12 Bar (Basement), 74 Askew Road, London W12.
- Special meeting of Worthing Against War, Tues 25th, 7.45pm,
upstairs at The Downview, West Worthing.
- Weds 26th Question Time style debate on the
War. 7-9pm at the Brighthelm Centre, North Rd, Brighton
- Also on 26th, Sussex Action for Peace get involved benefit
night. £3. Bands and DJs, 9pm-2am at the Hanbury
- The war-mongering Christian Tony Blair is due
to attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury,
Thurs 27th, 3pm, Canterbury Cathedral. An anti-war demo is planned,
meet 1.30pm, The Burgate, Canterbury. email@example.com
- Fri 28th is the Labour Party Welsh Conference. An anti-war
demo is planned. Meet 12 noon at the Guildhall, Swansea. www.geocities.com/swanseacoalition
- ARROW Resistance Gathering to organise non-violent direct
action against war, 1st March, 10.30am-5pm, 62 Fieldgate Street,
London E1. www.j-n-v.org
- And finally
In North Carolina, the owner of a restaurant
has renamed his French fries freedom fries
in protest over Frances disgusting anti-war policy towards
Iraq. Its our way of showing our patriotic pride,
says the owner.
I CANT BOLIVIA ITS A RIOT
Bolivia is in the grip of a massive urban uprising after high school
students and the working class of La Paz and El Alto erupted in
the streets on February the 12th. In the capital city of La Paz,
high school students attacked the Presidential Palace with stones
as crowds burned the headquarters of the major neo-liberal parties,
a private television station, and various government buildings.
In El Alto, rioters burned and looted the water company and the
power company and later on occupied the Coke and Pepsi bottling
plants. All of this happened after the military opened fired on
a group of police who were marching to the Presidential Palace to
protest tax increases that would reduce their already low wages.
The unpopular tax increases were an attempt by the repressive de
Lozado regime to follow IMF directives to reduce the government
deficit. But tax increases are just the tip of the iceberg. Coca
is also on de Lozados black list, but Coca growers and indigenous
Indians have been blockading roads since January to protest against
the criminalisation of coca growing and the unequal distribution
of land. The de Lozado regime has also provoked opposition because
of its support for the neo-liberal Free Trade Area of the Americas
and its complicity in the USs dirty War on Drugs.
Finally, on February the 12th, the people of Bolivia had had enough.
After a day of riots, most of the working class neighbourhoods in
El Alto and La Paz had blockaded their areas and groups of several
hundred were meeting in the carnage of their streets to discuss
tactics. Unfortunately, military tanks, tear gas and snipers quickly
dispersed a 10 000-strong demonstration held in La Paz the following
day. By early afternoon, eight were dead and ten wounded. But the
anger still rages in the streets as protestors continue to blockade
roads, chanting the anti-de Lozado slogan Gringo go home
(as the President reputedly has the annoying tendency of talking
with a North American accent when speaking Spanish)
Parallels have been drawn with Argentinas social rebellion,
but in Bolivia the rebellion is (unfortunately) under the control
of the political party MAS (Movement Towards Socialism.) But perhaps
it is too soon to express cynicism. The MAS, together with the peasants
trade unions, has formed the Joint Chiefs of the People to spearhead
the rebellion and has called for a mass blockade in the rural areas.
Under this unbearable pressure, de Lozado has withdrawn the tax
increases and dissolved his entire cabine but the rebellious Bolivians
arent through with him yet. www.zmag.org/lam/boliviawatch.htm
DRUGS AND THUGS
The Pharmaceuticals lobby is running the show in Washington,
said a development activist at talks in Geneva last Monday, where
unelected President Bush, apparently under the influence of drugs
(companies), blocked a World Trade Organisation ruling that would
have allowed developing countries access to drugs at affordable
After the long battle between drugs companies and the South African
government last year, it was decided that governments of poorer
countries could ignore international patent laws in order to prevent
further deaths from curable diseases (SchNEWS 290 & 328). The
drug companies see this as a massive threat to their profits and
with a little help from their friends in high places theyre
trying to stop the deal going through.
NOT A LAME CLAIM
The government is in breach of the European Convention on Human
Rights - and thats official.
Mr Justice Collins pulled no punches when he handed down a ruling
in the High Court recently on the draconian Section 55 of the 2002
Asylum Bill. He said there was a real risk of death
or injury for refugees who, under Section 55, are refused support
because they didnt apply for asylum the minute they arrived
in the UK. He went on to state that Section 55 violates asylum seekers
The test case was brought on behalf of 6 asylum seekers but there
are 150 more just like it in the pipeline! Justice Collins ordered
that previous decisions made by the Home Office in respect to the
6 must be quashed and re-considered and that they should
be given emergency support.
Keir Starmer QC, representing the asylum seekers, told the court
how one Iraqi man had been forced to spend nights in a telephone
box due to Section 55. Starmer emphasized that the hardships victims
of this brutal new legislation are forced to endure - no money,
no food, no home - substantially lower their ability to effectively
pursue their asylum applications due to rapid physical and mental
Liza Schuster, an expert on asylum from LSE commented: What
does the government expect people to do - patiently starve to death?
Even though todays ruling means that the Home Office now
has a duty to ensure people who apply for asylum are not left without
food or shelter, Blunkett aint having it. He was outside immediately
after the hearing ended, telling the Press: We will be appealing
against this decision, with the Attorney General taking the appeal
on behalf of the government.
* Dont let the lunatics take over Asylum! Find out
what you can do at 0121 554 6947 www.ncadc.org.uk
* Stop the War on Asylum Seekers Public Meeting. Hanover
Room, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton. 3rd March, 7.30pm
* Theres leafleting of Saltdean this Sunday in defence
of refugees who may be housed there soon (see SchNEWS 390).
Meet 12 noon at the Saltdean Tavern (next to the Lido).
If the revolution is gonna be televised then make sure youre
the one with the videocam and get yerself down to the Indymedia
camcorder guerillas weekend. Featuring screenings of radical
underground films and workshops by the filmmakers giving practical
and technical inspiration to activists. 7th-9th March mainly at
Glasgow Film Theatre, with a party to celebrate the launch of Indymedia
Scotland on the Saturday. For the workshops (£10/£20)
and party (£3/£5), book with the Glasgow Media Access
Centre, Camcorder Guerillas, 34 Albion St, Glasgow. 0141 553 2620.
For the screenings ring 0141 332 8128
Next time you tuck into your prawn and mayo sandwich, spare a thought
for the other fish that never made it to your stomach. For every
1kg of prawns caught, 10-20kg of bycatch is caught.
These are then discarded overboard dead or dying. 150,000 sea turtles
are killed by prawn trawlers every year. Prawn trawling is also
thought to be the greatest threat to seahorses. This luxury product
and other factory fishing methods are destroying the worlds
fisheries, undermining the sustainable use of the oceans. www.ejfoundation.org/trawling.html
NU-CLEAR WAY OUT
Reports commissioned by Greenpeace over a year ago reveal that
a terrorist attack on a nuclear power station in the UK could release
25 times as much radiation as was released by the Chernobyl disaster.
The reports, which conclude Britains nuclear plants are almost
totally ill-prepared for an airborne terrorist attack, also
estimate that such an attack could kill between 1.1- 3.6 million
people. So what do you think Greenpeace and the UK government want
to do with this information? Sit on it, of course. Both Greenpeace
and Neo Labour have actively sought to suppress any publishing of
the findings, supposedly because of their seriously alarming
So while the government babbles on about a possible ricin attack
or deploys tanks to Heathrow, there might actually be something
much worse round the corner that no one is bothering to tell you
Maybe this has to do with Tony Blairs love of nuclear power.
He had recently proposed to build six new nuclear power stations,
but luckily for us, other ministers stood up to him and rejected
the plan. But like a spoilt brat who didnt get his way, he
is now insisting that if he cant have what he wants, green
energy backers cant either. Blair is now insisting that a
newly proposed target of producing 20% of Britains power from
renewable energy sources by 2020 also be scrapped!
* Greenpeace is mounting a legal challenge to the £650m bail
out package the Government gave British Energy (who run the old
Magnox nuclear power stations). If the suit is successful, British
Energy would go bankrupt and perhaps have to shut all of their power
A protester from Shannon airport was this week found guilty of
spray painting a US airplane which was at the base last September.
The punishment was a 1,000 euro fine and a six month suspended prison
sentence. The protester is appealingdonations to the appeal
fund would be greatly appreciated: Cheques payable to Eoin Dubsky,
Whitewalls, Ballymoney, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
* Five catholic workers who were arrested doing a ploughshares
action at Shannon airport at the beginning of the month are still
on remand. Letters of support can be sent to them c/o Br. Anthony,
Glenstal Abbey, Murroe, Co. Limerick. http://slack.redbrick.dcu.ie
All Coked up
A South African businessman has accused Cricket World Cup organisers
of assault after he was thrown out of Saturdays match between
Australia and India for drinking a can of Coca-Cola!
The World Cup organising committee, in an effort to protect the
interests of official sponsors like Pepsi, has placed arch-rivals
Coca Cola on the list of items that are banned at all World Cup
Within minutes of opening our cans, we were accosted by security
officials and told to stop drinking, said Arthur Williamson,
the hassled Coke drinker. They also demanded that we surrender
any remaining unopened Cokes in our possession. When he refused,
he and his family were chucked out! Nothing like the Real
SchNEWS warns all politicians flirting with danger, Make Out, Not
issues 51-100 - nearly sold out - £5
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 going for £3!!
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more
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The SchQUALL book - almost sold out - at only £7
SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001 - bargain £5
SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300
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