Today, and every day, ten people die and 130 will be seriously injured by motor vehicles in Britain.
Critical Mass was born in San Francisco as a practical way of reclaiming our streets from motor madness. It has since blossomed into a world-wide movement with cycle actions causing gridlock and motor mayhem in such far-flung corners of the globe as India, Canada, France, Ukraine, and Russia. In Britain the idea to reclaim the streets for the day in protest at road traffic pollution and car culture has spread like wildfire with over 20 towns and cities getting on-the-case.
A positive statement about how things could be rather than another boring rally against things - a glimpse of what life could be like if we gave up our addiction to the car culture. Reclaim the Streets stopped traffic in London with sound systems, sandpits and free food and drink to people passing by. And we all got a chance to see just how our streets could look at Claremont Road, the squatted street which stood defiant in the way of the M11 Link Road. The street was full of chairs, sofas, a bath tub, pool table -and a rusty old car blocking entry to all motor vehicles.
"The aim of Critical Mass is simple - to create a car-free space in towns that cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy, free from the worry of pollution or accidents. Is that too much too ask?"
It clearly is for Sussex Police. Last month in Brighton scores of coppers equipped with video surveillance units and a helicopter (costing a mere £1,200 an hour to keep in the air) tracked and recorded 70 cyclists. Local councillors agreed with the police that these cyclists needed a close eye kept on them - one even complained that "everyone has the right to use the road but no one has the right to close it down because they disagree with cars" while an another demanded that cyclists should "work out with the police a demonstration that would not be disruptive."
Well, excuse me, but car owners have been disrupting the health of children, the lives of pedestrians and the future of the planet's eco-system for years and politicians haven't done anything to stop it. Now ordinary people are doing something - and, surprise, surprise, politicians and the police are ganging up to condemn these actions.
Two people in Brighton have already been charged under the Public Order Act for supposedly 'organising, an illegal demonstration - ie not asking police permission to cycle down the street - even though one of them doesn't even own a bike! An anonymous bike rider told SchNEWS: "The intimidatory tactics used by Sussex Police are meant to scare people off riding their bikes. They will not work. It is vital that as many people as possible turn up to the next critical mass in Brighton to ensure that we can still cycle about in safety."
We have heard, allegedly, that this takes place on 2nd December. Meet 12.30 pm St. Peters Church, Brighton.
* Brighton Legal Defence & Monitoring Group will be training legal observers prior to next week's Critical Mass in Brighton. Meet Saturday 2nd December l0.30am St. Peters Church if you want to help.
* Critical Mass takes place on the last Fri. day of every month in Aberdeen, Bath, Bradford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesborough, Sheffield, Southampton, Stoke, Wolverhampton and York; on the first Friday of the month in Birmingham; on the 2nd Friday in Nottingham; on the last Thursday in Reading; the last Saturday in Worthing and on the first Saturday in Brighton. Keep your eyes peeled for posters in your area.
The Animal Rights National Index (ARNI) is an organisation made up of anti-terrorist detectives at a bit of a loose end since it all went quiet in Northern Ireland. According to top bod David Tucker, animal rights protestors are now the biggest threat to national security. However "The ordinary protestor has got nothing to fear - the people we are interested in are extremists who use criminal tactics or commit public order offences to achieve their ends". So every single person at the live animal export demonstrations nicked under public order offences even for such crap arrests as throwing orange peel, sweet wrappers and hitting a copper with a woolly hat is now on computer as a terrorist! In fact Tucker changes his tune by telling us that ARNI is building up files of everyone who attends animal rights demos, because although people start off with peaceful intentions they could end up violent in the future! And ARNI are justifying their existence by stitching people up. People like founder-member of CALF (Campaign Against Live Freight) MIKE ROBERTS up on charges of 'conspiracy to commit criminal damage' who this week was again refused police bail despite no forensic evidence that he committed a crime. It could now be a full 18 months before his case comes to trial. Please show your support by writing to him. GE3743, HM Prison Lewes, 1 Brighton Rd., Lewes, BN7 1EQ.
KEITH MANN is another animal rights activists fitted up on 'conspiracy' charges. Last week he had his 14 year sentence reduced by 3 years. Big deal. Keith never hurt a fly and yet his sentence was harsher than some people who commit murder. Help the campaign c/o ICA, PO Box 1135, Downs View Rd., Hassocks, W Sussex, BN6 8AA.
Party and Protest
SUPER QUARRY SHUTDOWN!
EARTH FIRST! National
Action 3/4 DEC
22nd Nov - 3rd Dec National Tree Week (sponsored by ESSO!) 01491 839766
THUR 30th Nov The Land Is Ours - meeting to discuss strategy and aims 7pm Rainbow Centre, Kentish Town, London 01865 722 016
THUR 30th Nov Pledged Mass Sit Down called by Brightlingsea and Dover protestors. Assemble 11am Trafalgar Sq. 01245 420178
FRI 1st Dec Tree Dressing Day - details Common Ground, Seven Dials Warehouse, 44 Earlham St., London, WC2H 9LA
THUR 7th 20th anniversary of invasion of East Timor. Mass Lobby of Parliament 0171 281 0297
THUR 7th Stop the Hawks - Close down BAe Warton 0161 834 0295
SAT 9th "Women in the Struggle" a Conference by the Campaign To Release Irish Political Prisoners 12pm Camden Irish Centre, 50-52 Camden Square, London, NW1
SAT 9th One month Remembrance Picket and Vigil in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa. Meet outside Shell Centre, Waterloo, 1pm, 0181 202 6292
SUN 10th Walk the route of the proposed M66 in Manchester - and join the action camps 0161 628 4727
BACK TO WORK?
The Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) is set to come in next October. This new legislation will force many unemployed people into crap jobs and will undermine the pay and conditions of everyone with a job. 70,000 people will lose all benefits and have nothing to live on and the government will save £200 million to use on pre-election tax cuts. The JSA isn't going to create a single new job with half the staff in the unemployment service set to lose their jobs. There's going to be a national strike against the JSA next Thursday, the 30th, organised by the Civil Public Service Association (CPSA). At least 27 dole offices are expected to be out on strike including Brighton. There's a picket outside the job centres before 9am (with North St job centre being the main one in Brighton) so turn up and give them your support. For more information on the Campaign against the JSA ring 01865 723750.
Shell Oil, the scum bags whose destruction of the Ogoni land in Nigeria led to the execution of nine people last week (see SchNEWS 49) are now claiming in national newspaper ads that their death was the fault of world-wide protests! A National Day of Action last Saturday saw at least 100 petrol stations picketed 0171 359 4837. This coming Tuesday (28th) John Wybrewon, Shell's Corporate Affairs main man, is giving a talk in Brighton. If you'd like to ask him about the Ogoni people meet 6pm at the East Slope Bar, Falmer University. Meanwhile $HELL are looking for a new Marketing and Publicity Officer who will "encourage action by local people to improve the quality of life at neighbour-hood level in ways that respect the earth's resources." Just like those nine executed Ogoni people were? Call 0121 212 9221 if you'd like to apply.
SchNEWS IN BRIEF
France's fourth nuclear test exploded on Tuesday in Mururoa. The bomb was equivalent to 40,000 tons of TNT Youth CND have organised an action in response to this latest outrage, next Tuesday, starting at5pm. They are encouraging people to dress up as death for a torch-lit death march from the French Embassy to the Conservative Party central office 0l7l 607 3616
*** Richard O'Brien was killed by the Met police a year and a half ago. They were supposedly arresting him for being drunk and disorderly but somehow found it necessary to beat the shit out of him in front of his 14-year-old son, who heard him shout "I can't breathe, you win". A copper replied "We always win?' It is one of only 5 cases where a jury gave a verdict of "unlawful killing" against the police and criminal proceedings against the cops involved can now begin
*** James Mirrian Promotions aims "to organise grass routes and underground culture around the cause of homelessness" using music, art, performance, literature. More info: 11 Styles House, The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 7D.
*** Fort Trollheim one of the protest camps set up along the proposed Honiton to Exeter route needs help! The camp occupies a former woodland which has been destroyed by the DoT. People always seem to go to the more well-known Fairmile site but the trolls also need sorted people, tools, tarps, donations... 01404 815729
*** 2 road protesters in Wells were found not guilty of CJA trespass laws cos they had permission to be there. Sort it out.
GET CONSCIOUS III
The latest in-yer-face video full of naughty activists is out at the end of next week. The vid contains amongst others: STANWORTH VALLEY EVICTION, THE NEIGHBOURS GUIDE TO DIRECT ACTION!, CLAREMONT RD, JSA, THE HUNT SAB GUIDE TO UNLAWFUL ARRESTS, ECSTACY, SEA SABS, TSG TRAINING CENTRE TOUR, DAVID BELLAMY BEING CRAP, JUSTICE? & CINEMA ON TOUR - and more! The video is available free, on the condition that a communal showing is put on, donations taken (and some sent to us!), and the tape is returned so it can be sent out to someone else. Conscious Cinema is currently running at a £200 per month loss.... The only way it can keep going is for donations to come in! More info from (and donations to): Conscious Cinema, P0 Box 2679, BRIGHTON BN2 1UJ
High St shops are still openly selling nuts - just days after the death of 16-yr-old Debbie Sanders. Over 35 people have died in the UK since records began six years ago from an extreme reaction to nuts, known as Anaphylaxis. And it was revealed that up to three-quarters of under 18s consume nuts regularly. A spokeswoman from the Dept of Health told SchNEWS: "The lethal dose is tiny - even half a walnut can do it."*
These shocking facts have not stopped the pushers knocking out 'pots' with trade names like SunPat, Meridian and Sainsbury's Own. They even carry their own 'logos', or 'stamps', such as a rising sun, or laughing children.
Debbie's distraught mum appealed to youngsters not to be drawn in by the flashy packaging and the lovely gooey substance in the mouth. She declared: "This evil nut culture must die, like my daughter has died."
Attractive Di Bulkam, 58, neighbour of the dead girl stormed: "These shops should be burned to the ground and the pushers jailed for the rest of their days. Do they not realise they've taken a life?"
A special SchNEWS investigation has uncovered Brighton-based Infinity Foods as a major dealer in a nutty turf war. They are flooding the market with a pure form of the substance at just 98p for 225gs, known to users as 'organic'. Nuts can be taken in a variety of forms as a dip, a 'sandwich' or even mixed as deadly cocktails with Jelly. Addicts report late-night cravings. One user admitted: "I can't think about anything else. It's ruining my life."
Former US leader Jimmy Carter, who became known as the Peanut President, made dirty money growing fields of the stuff. One unrepentant addict told SchNEWS: "People die from extreme reactions to all kinds of things - like penicillin, alcohol or even Ecstasy' But added:
"IT'S NOT GOING TO STOP ME ENJOYING A TASTY SATAY SAUCE."
* true, not a spoof (source: Dept of Heath)
5 MILLION USERS IT'S TIME TO TALK SERIOUSLY ABOUT E
This article is to highlight the ridiculous media hysteria about Ecstasy following the tragic death of Leah Betts and is not meant to offend.
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Here's to Volume Two . TURN IT UP!
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