This disenchantment with the way the ESF had been hijacked, eventually
boiled over with the storming of the podium on Saturday evening
which prevented the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone from speaking.
Livingstone is a prominent member of the Labour Party the
party that took us to war against Iraq and who recently announced
that people should cross a tube workers picket line. But his
Greater London Authority sponsored the event so of course he got
to speak. A leading SWP hack Alex Callinicos complained about the
thuggish behaviour of the black bloc and
small and unrepresentative groups that had been consistently
hostile both to the ESF itself and to the coalition that brought
it to London. Meanwhile Lee Jasper from the National Assembly
Against Racism and a Livingstone side kick, tried to play the race
card against those who stormed the stage. The reality was that the
action seemed to have the support of the majority of the 1,000-strong
audience after the occupiers explained why they were doing it.
Outside of the ESF, those involved in the autonomous zones were
facing constant police harassment. Squatters complained that the
ESF had increased police pressure and surveillance on them. One
SchNEWS bod who joined a demo said Around 30 cyclists and
50 samba drummers visited climate change criminals on Friday as
part of a Rising Tide organized demo. Accompanied by around 150
police, 6 vans and the usual photographers. Nice to know we present
such a threat to civilization. If there is ever a terrorist plot
in the UK well be OK as long as they parade through London
dressed in pink!
Then of course theres the Met Polices unhealthy obsession
with the Wombles who eventually decided to hire a venue after the
cops promised to evict any squatted social space they tried to take.
This harassment led to some arrests on their way to the anti war
demo at Trafalgar Square. Worse was to come for Javier Ruiz from
the London Indymedia collective, who spoke at both autonomous and
official ESF events. Javier went to the stage at the end of the
anti war march to try and announce that there would be a demo in
support of those nicked. The stewards refused, a scuffle broke out,
and the police were eventually called for by the stewards and he
was beaten and nicked.
Does any of this matter? Or does this have all the Monty Pythonesque
hallmarks of the Judeans Peoples Front, something
SchNEWS has been trying to avoid for the past ten years. Well, the
autonomous spaces newspaper reckons it matters Many people
believe that the process of organising the ESF is just as important
as the event itself
the social forum passes by in a whirlwind
of packed schedules crammed into just a few days, yet the organising
process takes almost a full year. Its in this process that
the real opportunity to build networks and solidarity lies. And
yet it is this process which has been so flawed, and which has contributed
directly to the creation of the Autonomous Spaces.
Another unhappy lot were Babels, the international volunteer translators.
Many opportunities of experimentation and innovation have
been missed out on during the organization of this forum resulting
in the exclusion of many. This is in total contradiction to the
Porto Allegre* charter. Instead, the London ESF has employed classical
neoliberal organization, management & service delivery, with
the result that the form has been totally dependent on the state.
This has had disastrous consequence for the development of our movement.
SchNEWS isnt in the business of squabbling, and our strapline
has always been dont listen to us, but go out there and see
things for yourself. Weve been trying to build bridges, not
by imposing what we think is right but by offering skills and solidarity
to anyone whos fighting for a better world. But the actions
of the SWP ruling elite push this tolerance to a limit.
Of course not everything is black and white. Anarchists can forget
about the real world and become obsessed with lifestyle politics
and hairstyles. Not everyone in the SWP is bad, just like many people
in trade unions arent bad. On the Friday we had a SchNEWS
stall at the offical ESF Alexandra Palace and chatted to some brilliant
people and there were some amazing speakers and discussions. But
as so often, the very people that help build new movements of struggle,
are bypassed, vilified and their ideas corrupted and turned into
ineffective protest in order to build yet another dead-end party
(Lets call this new one Respect) If Another World is Possible,
SchNEWS hopes we arent just gonna replace it with one bunch
of political cronies for another.
* Porto Allegre is where the first World Social Forum took place
* For more on how the ESF was hijacked www.enrager.net/features/esf/
'SchNEWS At Ten'
after a year in production, and a decade to make, the SchNEWS
at 10 book is here. Covering the last ten years of direct action
from the M11 link road protests to the war in Iraq. And seeing
as its coming up to that festival of consumerism that
is Christmas, why dont you buy the SchNEWS at 10 book
for your inner anarchist, and be guilt free in your spending.
To order a copy send a cheque payable to Justice for £9
(£7 + £2 P&P), or order the book in your local
bookshop ISBN-09529748 8 6
Crap Arrest Of The Week
For trying to report crap arrests...
At the end of the ESF demo on Sunday in Trafalgar Square an Indymedia
activist wanted to make an announcement on the stage about a demo
in solidarity with the four people who were arrested and beaten
up at Kings Cross earlier in the day to the assembled 70,000 activists.
The SWP stewards prevented him from doing so and called the cops
who promptly arrested and beat two more people as well.
The UK Government cant keep saying they are against torture
when they are making use of the torturers work elsewhere.
- Steve Crawshaw, the UK head of Human Rights Watch.
Hot news from the War on Terror! You can sleep safer in yer beds
now the UK government has stepped in to rid Uzbekistan of its deviant
president, Islam Karimov
Oh, wait a minute. No, it seems were
wrong. The US & UK funded White House guest Karimov - notorious
for , amongst many things, boiling dissenters alive- is not in any
danger. The UK government has actually stepped in to rid Uzbekistan
of its deviant British Ambassador, Craig Murray, whose heinous crime
has been to criticise the Uzbek regime, a prominent ally of America
in the War on Terror.
Soon after arriving in Tashkent in 2002, Murray gave a speech to
a human rights group attacking abuses in the country. He then contacted
foreign secretary Jack Straw to question the morality and reliability
of using information from detained militants under torture, which
would be handed to the Americans. He felt the Uzbek government was
torturing people into confessing to convince the West
of its vital role. Murray eventually wound up labelled unpatriotic
by the Foreign Office, who said intelligence gathered through torture
(though never directly by the Brits, naturally!) was worth
the risk to protect British nationals. But Murray kept on,
and became the victim of a Foreign Office smear campaign accusing
him of heavy drinking, driving the embassy Land Rover down stairs
and issuing visas in exchange for sex. The harassment led to a nervous
breakdown, and then Murray committed the worst crime of all: he
went public about it. So he was stripped of his security clearance
- he now wouldnt be able to see the stuff he was angry about
- and finally, last week, they sacked him.
So what exactly was he making a fuss about? Well, Uzbekistan currently
has 6,000 political & religious prisoners, whos torture
and murder are routine. As well as the boiling to death of at least
two detainees, others have had ribs and skulls smashed with hammers
and flesh ripped off with pliers. Some have been forced to stand
for two weeks up to their knees in freezing water. And what action
has been taken by the Anti-Terror Alliance, so keen to topple evil
rights-abuser Saddam Hussein? You guessed it. Bugger all. In fact,
in 2002-3, the US and UK gave $500m in aid to Uzbekistan, $79m of
which went to the cops and intelligence services responsible for
the torture. And in early 2003, Tony Blair gave the green light
to all UK weapons exports to the regime. So much for an ethical
None of which, of course, has anything
to do with Uzbekistan being a key western asset at the
centre of Central Asias massive oil and gas fields, or with
it being the site of a major War On Terror strategic
US airbase, for the use of which the US slips the regime another
$75m. And remember, the Foreign Office issued a new mission
statement earlier this year. Combating global terrorism
and those shadowy weapons of mass destruction occupied
the top two priorities. Then came combating illegal immigration.
Human Rights came a poor 6th, out of 8
* The Foreign Office culture of turning a blind eye
to unpleasant, but useful, regimes is of course not restricted to
Uzbekistan. The annual Foreign Office report on human rights was
widely expected to reflect the frustration in Europe with Russias
unwillingness to curb gross abuses by its military as the war in
Chechnya enters its 5th year. Last years report had already
warned that these abuses could bolster support for extremists.
However, in the wake of the Beslan school massacre, Jack Straw has
suddenly delayed publication, apparently to allow Russia to focus
on its grief and sense of loss and to condemn
totally the terrorists responsible. Internal leaks, however,
indicate he felt the report was too critical of trigger-happy
president Vladimir Putin.
The SWP are obsessed with the unions, waiting for their big battalions
to stir into action. But at SchNEWS own conference, speaker
after speaker pointed out that if we are to win the fight against
capitalism, then we wont get anywhere by asking nicely. This
really isnt rocket science yet as Anne Jones talked movingly
of the death of her son, she said it was his friends, not the unions
who had taken direct action to try and get justice for her son and
better working conditions for others. One person asked Whats
the point of fighting organisations that cant fight?
Take the Transport and General Workers Union who cancelled last
Fridays demo in support of cleaners after Canary Wharf Group
took legal action to stop the demonstration. The cleaners - mainly
women of African and South American origin - clean the desks and
empty the bins of some of the richest bankers in the world for little
more than £5 an hour, minimum holidays and zero pensions.
One key demand from the unions is that employers greet the cleaners
with a hello and a smile in the early morning. Now thats
real fighting talk!
Mega rich football stars dont often appear on the pages of
SchNEWS, but Inter Milans Argentinean Captain Javier Zanetti
talked his club into donating player fines for late arrival to help
villagers in a Zapatista stronghold in Chiapas rebuild after they
were attacked by the Mexican Army in April.
The donations included £3,475, an ambulance and the captains
shirt. Zanetti wrote a note to the villagers saying: We believe
in a better world, in an unglobalised world, enriched by the cultural
differences and customs of all the people. This is why we want to
support you in this struggle to maintain your roots and fight for
The team manager visited the village in June, bringing the donations
and the blessings of the team and its oil baron owner. The donations
helped the villagers to rebuild houses and water pipelines, and
the club has offered to supply football gear and balls for budding
The Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos expressed his thanks
in an e-mail accompanied with a photo of him wearing the Inter captains
shirt. Brothers and sisters of the Italian team, I wish you
the greatest success in your sporting campaign, said the e-mail.
SchNEWS waits to see if Manchester United will follow.
Where theres a Wilton theres
Anti-Capitalist Action! 5th-6th November 2004: Business leaders,
politicians and academics are planning on meeting at Wilton Park
Conference Centre near Brighton and Worthing in East Sussex for
a two day Conference called International Rule Making for
Global Capital Markets. The Conference is to be attended by
leading European Business leaders and is supposed to be informal
and off the record. An opportunity for the elite to
meet, discuss and strategise.
The Dissent! Network, coordinating resistance to the 2005 G8 Summit
to be held in Gleneagles www.dissent.org.uk,
are planning on organising resistance! Keep an eye on Indymedia
for more information.
Information about the Conference can also be found at the Wilton
Park website www.wiltonpark.org.uk
Wilton Park is near the junction of the A283 and A24, 10 miles north-west
* Reflections on Summit Mobilisations is an excellent
new booklet from the Dissent! Network. For copies send £2
to Box 8, 245 Gladstone St., Nottingham, NG7 6HX www.dissent.org.uk
SchNEWS in brief
- What is Nanotechnology and should we be worried
about it?, talk next Thursday (28) 6 pm. Cowley Club, 12
London Road, Brighton 01273 696104 www.cowleyclub.org.uk
- Demo at the US Embassy to encourage the new US president
to take action on climate change, Thursday, November 4th,
6.pm Lincolns Inn Fields (Holborn tube) for march to US
embassy, 020 8855 3327 www.campaigncc.org
- Make Your Own Bio-Diesel Course at Centre for Alternative
Technology 19-21 Nov, 01654 705981 www.cat.org.uk
- Tues Nov 2 Im So Bored With the USA!
US election night discussion on American imperialism and international
anti-capitalism. Upstairs at Downview pub, opposite West Worthing
- Theres a picket of Marks and Spencers in
Support of the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign next Sat
(23) from 12pm, Opposite Churchill Square, Western Road, Brighton.
- Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Transport
2000 and Rising Tide are organizing a pledge to oppose
and actively resist the major expansion of airports in
Britain, planned to double air traffic in the next 20 years. The
idea is to show the government the threat it faces from the large
number of people who oppose this policy. The risk of large scale
opposition will force the government to reconsider its plans.
- Shout for anyone in the Brighton area who can help out editting
the new SchNEWS at 10 film. Premier 6.0 skills preferable.
We would be ridiculed [if the remarks were published] in
parliament and the media. Simon Hart, Chief Executive
of the Countryside Alliance. Oooh good - another chance to put the
boot into the foxhunters! The foxhunting brigade has long told us
the lie that they only go fox-hunting to control the numbers of
foxes, which they claim are a pest. But, a letter from Lord Daresbury
the Master of Foxhounds has complained about a shortage of
foxes! Yes apparently there arent enough foxes and landowners
should do more to solve the problem through the artificial
enhancement of fox numbers. A bit like Rentokill saying we should
encourage more rats in our cities so they can kill more! The encouragement
of foxes in hunting areas has long been known by anti-bloodsports
campaigners - many hunts use artificial earths - man-made fox holes
- to encourage more foxes to breed and supply food to foxes.
The letter came to light when an email from Simon Hart, the Chief
Executive of the Countryside Alliance was leaked to the media. In
it he says, the Alliance is here to play its part in securing
huntings future but we cannot do this if the core arguments
are undermined. I am one of those who has never been happy about
our reliance on the pest control case. Er, thats
cos they havent got a case! Why dont foxhunters just
admit that they go foxhunting for fun at least they would
be honest bloodthirsty toffs and bumpkins, instead of lying bloodthirsty
toffs and bumpkins.
SchNEWS warns all readers youd better tow the party line
and not to disrupt any legal activties... Honest!
OUT NOW!!! 'SCHNEWS AT TEN' - A Decade of Party
& Protest- £7 + £2.00 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 and a whole lot more £2.00 inc. postage
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £2.00 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
book Sold out - Sorry
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. £4
inc p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or your library,
quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
- Peace de
Resistance issues 351-401. £7 inc p&p
In the UK you
can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS
of the World for just £15 inc p&p.
£6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).
In addition to
50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
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.