Through a politics of fear, we are being frightened into
abandoning our liberties in the name of protection from terrorist
attack. In reality these anti-terror measures make us less secure,
bringing us closer to a police state. Now more than ever,
everyone is needed to demonstrate their opposition. -
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities
Its time to stand up for everyones freedom
to leaflet, picket, assemble and march against injustice and oppression.
Such rights and freedoms have not been handed down by the powers-that-be,
but won through struggles over the last 100 years or more.
Freedom To Protest Conference (see below).
Last week 600 people were stopped and searched in Brighton under
Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, during the Labour Party Conference
in Brighton. According to the Home Office, Stop and search
under Section 44 is an important tool in the on-going fight against
terrorism and that the use of the powers was intelligence-led
and based on an assessment of the threat against the UK. But
with 600 searches and no terrorists arrested, SchNEWS reckon thats
a pretty poor level of intelligence. So for four days we got a taste
of what black and Muslim communities have been experiencing for
The widespread use of the Terrorism Act to stifle dissent has only
come to media attention thanks to the silencing of 82 year old Walter
Wolfgang during Jack Straws speech at the party conference.
Wolfgangs unprompted ad-lib ruined the Neo-Labour choreographed
political theatre production. So he was thrown out and then detained
for a search under Section 44 to stop him getting back in. Sussex
Police apologised to him of course - but only because they were
getting grief for it in the Daily Mail. The other 599 searched can
get stuffed. What the public got was a glimpse of something that
SchNEWS has been banging on about for years.
Without hammering home the obvious, Section 44 has nothing to do
with stopping terrorism, its just another tool the cops can
use to push people back into line people who have the wrong
ideas about democracy or who live in a community under suspicion.
But its not like the Terrorism Act is the only thing that
police have been using to batter anyone who protests over the past
few years. From Anti-Social Behaviour Orders to the Serious Organised
Crime and Police Act, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 etc
etc. New laws have been enacted and old laws dusted off and reviewed
to snuff out dissent. Any gathering of two or more people can be
made subject to police control under a recent (2003) modification
of the 1981 Public Order Act - and still they want more.
Laws are coming in that will not just hinder free movement and
assembly but will firmly infringe on freedom of speech. The government
proposes to make the glorification of terrorism - (whatever
that means) a criminal offence. That has serious implications for
anyone writing about why our society finds itself at war.
Heres a snapshot of the 21st century liberty
* Injunctions under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
creating exclusion zones around vivisection labs and arms factories.
Examples include Smash EDOs campaign against Brighton arms
manufacturer EDO-MBM (www.smashedo.org.uk),
(where two protesters face prison for breaching the injunction)
and several animal rights groups including Stop Huntingdon Animal
and Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs (not that it stopped them winning!
see SchNEWS 509)
* Sections 145 & 146 of the Serious Organised Crime Act
2005 specifically criminalised protest outside animal
research facilities. Seven people are awaiting trial on this
* In 2003 when RAF Fairford was used as a launch base for
bombing raids on Iraq, cops used Section 44 powers on demonstrators
995 times, with some people being searched multiple times.
* This September, six students and graduates of Lancaster University
the George Fox 6 - were convicted of aggravated
trespass for handing out leaflets at a corporate/academia
cosy-up on the campus featuring suits from BAE Systems, Shell, GlaxoSmithKline,
et al gathered to talk about how to commercialise university
research. So handing out a leaflet is now disruption.
* Gate Gourmet workers are attacked under Thatcher-era Trade
Union Laws (See SchNEWS 510).
* The government can now declare exclusion zones at will
with Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime Act. Since August
1st this year when the law came into force, the square kilometre
around parliament has become such an exclusion zone, with all protests
without prior police permission banned. Regular picnics
are being held there to hamper the law, with seventeen arrested
so far, but the snacking goes on. (see www1.atwiki.com/picnic)
From ASBOs to Guantanamo
if you wanted to list all the infringements
of civil liberties by UK Plc in the last ten years youd have
to write a book.
But the fight back for civil liberties is gaining momentum. Activists
and communities have always resisted repressive laws and now coalitions
of those most affected by this repression are being built. As the
Freedom to Protest conference organisers say We believe that
oppressive laws can be made unworkable by determination and solidarity
among those affected, by mass defiance, and by turning the tables
on those who would try to silence and suppress dissent.
*Top legal advice for all activists freeB.E.A.G.L.E.S. www.freebeagles.org
To Protest Conference
Sharing experiences, and promoting mutual aid & co-ordination
between protestors threatened by repressive laws and to develop
effective strategies for standing up for our freedom to protest
The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7. October
23rd, 11am-5pm. To get involved in the conference contact
them see www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For Being a Vagabond...
Heres a taste of those 19th century methods: on September
10th, one of the George Fox 6* had a stall confiscated
in Lancaster City Centre under the 1824 Vagrancy Act (originally
brought it to use against returning soldiers from Napoleonic wars,
left injured, battle scarred and with nowhere to go and no money).
Under the act you are deemed a vagabond through the Exposure
of Wounds and Deformities to obtain or gather Alms - apparently
the police decided that the pictures of the wounds and deformities
on his anti-vivisection leaflets meant he was begging!
WHEEL MEET AGAIN
Cyclists on last months London Critical Mass ride found themselves
being issued with letters from the Met, threatening arrests at future
rides, unless the organisers give notice of the route
at least six days in advance, and warning that the police can impose
restrictions on the rides. The letter states the Met are reviewing
their policy towards Critical Mass. So
yer bike for the Capitals Biggest Mass Ever on Friday the 28th.
Meet up point is on the South Bank, under Waterloo Bridge at 6pm.
There is no set route and anyone is free to join - as long as youre
on unpowered wheels. See www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk
for a copy of the Mets hate mail to CM and the Masses response to
it. These rides have been taking place in London for 11 years with
no trouble, so this sudden intolerance can only be seen as further
erosion of our freedom of movement.
* Last month in Budapest, Hungary the worlds biggest ever
Critical Mass took place, with an estimated 24,000 to 30,000 cyclists
The Rossport 5, five Irish protestors sent to prison
for refusing to allow Shell onto their land, have been freed after
94 days inside. The five protesters were part of a wider campaign
against the usual combination of environmental destruction, dodgy
business deals and casual disregard for the health and safety of
local residents (see SchNEWS 506).
The oil and gas multinational is hoping to build a dangerous high
pressure gas pipeline just meters away from local residents
homes and has failed to carry out the necessary tests to ensure
the scheme is safe. Last Friday in response to the plan to destroy
9km of the beautiful, wild North West coast of Ireland, demonstrators
dumped two tonnes of sand in front of Shells South Bank Headquarters,
hanging a 40ft banner in protest at the proposed Irish pipeline.
Amnesty International have released a report condemning a consortium
of oil companies (led by ExxonMobil, who else?) for overriding human
rights in Africa. The focus is on a pipeline being built from Chad
to Cameroon and details abuse of farmers in the region. See www.amnesty.org
for the full report.
SchNEWS in brief
- Last Saturday 150 German neo-Nazis plans to march
through Leipzig were thwarted by a blockade of up to a thousand
anti-fascists. The police sent the Nazis packing after four hours
of waiting in the rain. www.mob-action.de/bilder/categories.php?cat_id=131
- How will ID cards change our society? with
Tom Hickey, Phil Booth, and David Shayler next Monday (10th) at
Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, University of Brighton
- Brightons Rebel Alliance is back - find out about
campaigning groups in the town by popping along to the Albert
Pub, Trafalgar Street next Wednesday (12th) 6pm
- Laudelino Iglesias Martinez who spent more than 23 years
in Spanish prisons will be speaking next Wednesday (12th) at LARC
62 Fieldgate ST London E1 7:30, 0207 3779088
- Sunday 9th October at 3.45pm there will be a meeting to help
maintain and develop the protests in Parliament Square in
defiance of the new restrictions. At the Indian YMCA , 41 Fitzroy
Square, near Warren Street/Goodge St tubes. www.indianymca.org
- Three speakers from Women of Zimbabwe Arise, the womens
group resisting the Mugabe regime on the streets of Bulawayo and
Harare and incurring arrest, detention, sexual abuse and torture
as a result, will be touring the UK between 18 and 23 October.
There will be a London meeting on 20 October at 7pm at the Human
Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA.Organised
by Amnesty International UK. email@example.com
WOLF AT THE DOOR
In August, Bangladeshis received an unwelcome visit from Paul Wolfowitz,
the new head of the World Bank. Hes on a visiting tour of
Asia sizing up countries for extortionate loans. Its easy
to see why the Bank was described as massively destructive
by NGOs and academics at a recent meeting: the number of people
living in absolute poverty in Bangladesh has doubled from 30 million
to 60 million since the country first started receiving World Bank
aid in 1972.
Although poverty is (of course) at the heart of the Banks
agenda, Bangladesh also happens to have large reserves of natural
gas, which the government has been busy selling off to various multinational
companies in return for backhanders and free SUVs (can you think
of a more appropriate gift from an oil company?). Another Privatisation
Board was set up in 1993 and (once again) UK plc, together with
their pals at the World Bank, is helping fund the bureaucracys
work. With this assistance in 2002 Bangladesh managed to top Transparency
Internationals public sector corruption list. Nevertheless
the sell off which causes such high levels of corruption continues
Commenting on the spontaneous and lively discussions
at Gleneagles in July, Wolfowitz promised the World Banks
support in tackling the problem of climate change in the developing
world. But, despite a 50% increase in Bangladeshs carbon
emissions during the 1990s, the Bank is promoting the continued
export of the gas to high energy use countries like the US and Canada.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) could offer a real alternative to diesel
as it can cut toxic soot pollution by up to 90%, while smog-forming
pollution is reduced by around 25%. The gas is now widely used in
cars and motorcycle rickshaws and could help Bangladesh develop
in a more environmentally sustainable way. Another successful World
Bank project there then.
CANT SAY FAIRER THAN THAT
Rumours that Nestlé, the union-busting, baby-killers, is
to launch a Fair Trade coffee in the UK has led the Fair Trade Foundation
to issue a (really useful) statement neither denying, nor confirming
the companys intentions. The Foundation simply said that any
approach by a major company wishing to enter this market is a sign
of success for all the dedicated shoppers. The rules state
that to display the Fair Trade logo companies must extend
the benefits to as many disadvantaged producers in developing countries
as possible. So what benefits are Nestlé in the business
Theres the benefit of jobs for kids for starters, as Nestlé
buys cocoa from the Ivory Coast and Ghana which has been produced
using child slavery. Meanwhile for company bosses in Colombia and
the Philippines, Nestlé extends the advantage of non-recognition
of Trade Unions and tacit support for the murder of left-wing activists.
For those of you who just hate Mother Nature, Nestlé offers
water-bottling activities in Brazil where the company was found
to have been illegally using underground water supplies belonging
to local communities. For parents theres the convenience of
baby formula which due to predatory marketing may have led to the
deaths of 1.5 million babies. And for those of our readers in countries
facing democratic revolutions, there are the benefits
of expensive court cases as Nestlé sues countries, including
Ethiopia and Iraq, for debts knocked up by evil former dictators
who used the cash to build fancy palaces and buy bigger guns to
Only two years ago, and in response to the growing crisis affecting
farmers who face falling coffee prices, Nestlé said that
it did not believe that the fair-trade approach is a solution
for the coffee crisis. Too much of a dent on profits, you
see. Facing the longest consumer boycott in UK corporate history,
Nestlé is desperate to bring back the punters. Having got
use to paying experts fat salaries to produce reports
extolling the brilliance of the company, the Fair Trade logo is
the next logical step in its greenwash campaign. But not everyones
fooled. Last week the Department of Geography and Sociology at Strathclyde
University decided to adopt an ethical purchase policy and resolved
to boycott products made by Nestlé. The Head of Department,
Professor David Miller commented that Nestlé have repeatedly
refused to put their house in order in relation to marketing baby
milk in the developing world. We hope the boycott will send a signal
that corporations cannot simply ignore their responsibilities to
local communities. Why not extend the benefit of your communitys
hand of friendship to Nestlé and boycott its many goods and
services? 01223 464420 www.babymilkaction.org
UP TO NO GOODFELLAS
Giant bureaucracies they may be but when it comes to an oppurtunity
to make some fresh profits, the mafia cartel that is the IMF, World
Bank and G8 are quicker off the mark than any double-crossed Sicilian
Don. Even before the civil war had ended in Sierra Leone a privatisation
package had been forced down the countrys throat. The plans
centrepiece policy is flogging off the water supply. Not content
with charging Bolivians half their wages for drinkable water (SchNEWS
481) or blowing £1/2m of aid on a pop video extolling
the virtues of privatization in Tanzania (SchNEWS
499), corporate interests are now descending with a vengeance
on Sierra Leone, the worlds second poorest country.
UK plc is leading the deal, lending support to the
establishment of a National Commission for Privatisation. This new
(well paid) bureaucracy intends to oversee the selling off of 24
public enterprises including shipping, roads, airline, telecommunications,
housing and the postal service as well as the water supply in a
country where only one quarter of people have access to safe water
and sanitation. The usual team of highly paid and right-thinking
consultants are on board to ensure that the profits, (rather than
the water), run in the right direction.
And what success they will be building on! In Bolivia, the Bechtel
corporation forced the government to ban the collection of rain
water without a permit so it could make sure it was charging for
all the water that was being drunk. Meanwhile in Tanzania the water
companies took 10% profits from the deal and the right-wing think-tank
the Adam Smith Institute charged £36m for its pop video and
The backlash that followed in Tanzania wasnt surprising,
given that the company involved in the sell off, City Water, hadnt
even got around to laying any water pipes two years into the project!
This time the Sierra Leone contract includes a public relations
campaign to overcome the anticipated public resistance. Not that
anyones bothered to tell the Sierra Leoneans: aid worker Lucinda
Amara told the World Development Movement (WDM) that We didnt
know about the privatisation planned for the Guma Valley Water Company
in Freetown until the WDM told us about it!
Why not let the consultants who have been short listed for the
propaganda campaign know what you think? They can be emailed via
Advertisers are always keen to reach new demographics and co-opt
alternative social sub-groups in the name of edgy post-modern brand
awareness. In this spirit, Citroen identified the perfect people
to try and tempt over to the selling business: the Clandestine Insurrectionary
Revolutionary Clown Army (CIRCA) , as seen at the G8 Summit.
The corporate ring-masters mustve been surprised and disappointed
to receive a response to their offer from Kolonel Klepto, turning
them politely down, saying
we would never help promote
such a stupid thing - we love to be stupid but our stupidity is
based on dignity and love and a deep respect for human beings and
the planet; unfortunately being part of the advertising industry
does not seem to match up to our desires.
Adopt a clown or visit www.clownarmy.org
- and for Kleptos full reply to Citroen see: www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/09/324043.html
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your state of mind that counts... Honest!
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