Any oppressive laws can be rendered unworkable through
protest, non-co-operation and defiance- Conference leaflet
Last Sundays Freedom to Protest conference brought
together a wide range of grassroots groups concerned about
the continuing threat to freedom in the UK. Amongst others
present were Gate Gourmet strikers, Stop Huntingdon Animal
Cruelty, SMASH EDO, Stop Political Terror, Campaign against
Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC) and of course SchNEWS.
Over two hundred gathered, representing eighty groups, to
share opinions and experiences. As the state tries to clampdown
on all dissent, those it targets are beginning to pull together
and realise their common cause.
One gap to be bridged is the one between activist groups,
who encounter the anti-terror laws when they are labelled
as protestors, and community groups who have no choice about
being targeted. They bear the brunt of stop and search policies
that are equal to the notorious sus laws which
caused widespread inner-city rioting in the 1980s. Large numbers
of arrests have been made under the anti-terror laws, few
of which ever result in charges, seeming to mirror the British
States use of the strategy of disruption
conducted against the Irish community in the 1970s. Meanwhile,
new 21st century methods are used as well, with activists
being hit with injunctions and ASBOs.
Groups, be they ethnic or ideological, that the powers that
be perceive as a threat are being squeezed with a combination
of laws aimed at restricting free speech and free assembly.
Recent developments such as a policy which allows the use
of torture evidence in British courts, while forcibly
deporting suspects to countries which use torture, and government
proposals to introduce three-month internment mean that a
collective movement in defence of basic rights and freedoms
is needed now as never before.
Brighton anti-arms trade activists are in the High Court again
next week. The three day hearing starting on 1st November will decide
whether EDO MBM, Brightons very own bomb builders can be held
responsible for war crimes committed with their merchandise. The
trial is a result of EDO MBM trying to get an injunction to ban
protest outside their factory (see SchNEWS
492). The defendants are reversing the trial by arguing that
they were acting to prevent or detect crime. The court
will be forced to consider graphic evidence of the aftermath of
airstrikes in Iraq and Palestine and of EDOs direct links to arming
the airforces of the UK, US and Israeli governments. The Attorney
Generals office has generously offered to participate in the
trial and have punted up a barrister, no doubt to ensure a full
and fair hearing on the legality of the Iraq war
*Supporters Rally, outside the High Court, the Strand 1ST November
*OCTOBER 31ST Halloween Demo outside the Factory of Death, Home
Farm Rd Brighton. Meet at 4pm at Moulsecoomb station. www.smashedo.org.uk
TEAS UP: TROUBLE BREWING IN
It seems that Sussex police took the planned vigil for the
death of democracy, demo (called by Titnore Emergency Action
(TEA) in Worthing) a little too literally-by trying to ban it. Irony
proof plod Superintendent Lance Gray was scaremongering in local
rag The Argus under the headline Police fears over vigil to
halt new homes and claiming that police have not been
officially notified and fear the protest could become unruly.
He also claimed that you have to inform the police of any protests
by law not yet true, despite Neo Labours best efforts.
The demo is about the plan to build an 875 home housing development
and road-widening at which will ruin the local Titnore Woods, Durrington.
The alarmist Argus report read Notice of the demonstration
has spread by word of mouth and community websites in Worthing
(Are you scared yet?) and referred to a secret protest
(not secret, just badly advertised) in its editorial comment. According
to them The Sussex Force has a good record of working with
lawful protests. The reality of the police approach is, of
course, rather different. Sussex residents in the past have discovered
that the boys in blue want to tell them where and when they can
protest, put limits on numbers, insist on stewards being provided
and even demand that organisers take out public liability insurance.
The protest will go ahead without state authority this Saturday
(29th) at the Titnore Lane roundabout, junction with the A259 next
to Northbrook College, close to Goring by Sea station.(Any outside
agitators from Brighton who want to go, meet at Brighton station
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For being organised!
Milan Rai and Maya Evans face up to one year in jail under the
Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for organising an unauthorised
demonstration, of, er
two. The pair had been protesting opposite
Downing Street at the deaths of over 100,000 civilians in Iraq.
* An Iraq remembrance demo will be held in London on Saturday 29
October at the Edith Cavell Statue, St Martins Place (just
off Trafalgar Sq) from 1-2pm.
US AND THEM
The risk of torture is not confined to national security
deportees but to asylum seekers generally. Freedom from torture,
cruel or degrading treatment or punishment is an absolute right
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
However, deportations of asylum seekers in contravention of these
fundamental rights has become more commonplace due to the War
on Terror. Liz Fekete, author of The Deportation Machine
- Europe, Asylum and Human Rights
Refugee rights are under attack as never before. Migrant, particularly
Muslim, communities, now increasingly live in fear and intimidation
as social tensions escalate following recent tragic events in London.
A raft of tough new anti-terrorism legislation is set to be presented
before Parliament as an uncritical cross-party political consensus
emerges in the wake of the suicide bombings. The rhetoric of the
war on terrorism links asylum seekers to terrorism with
dangerous consequences. Internationally, the Geneva Convention is
being dismantled while, here in the UK, the rights of asylum seekers
are under threat. Human rights abuses are becoming more widespread
as the government sets targets for removal.
An open forum by the Refugee Project has been set up to discuss
the resistance to these measures. They say Much is being done
by existing organisations, but trade unionists, human rights campaigners,
refugee and community organisations, and concerned individuals can
do more by working together.
Speakers include Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer; Nick Hildyard,
Refugee Project; Doug Holton, Stop Deporting Children; Dashty Jamal,
International Federation of Iraqi Refugees; and asylum seekers from
Iraq and Zimbabwee
* 2nd November Committee Room 12, House of Commons, Westminster,
SW1 7pm (SchNEWS asked why they met in the belly of the beast and
were told that it was the only free room in London!) 020 7250 1315
* Also 29th October: Demonstration at Campsfield Detention Centre
12noon - 2pm Demonstration to give support to the detainees inside
Campsfield. Bring musical instruments or saucepans to make a cheerful
20 police vans and around 50 uniformed goons kindly showed up at
a Rolls Royce factory in Derby this Monday, despite the pouring
rain, to look after 40 anti-nuclear protestors. They
thoughtfully penned-in the protestors on arrival for their
own safety. The non-violent protestors had held successful
meetings over the weekend raising awareness about Rolls Royces
production of nuclear reactors for the UKs own nuclear submarine
system, Trident at their Raynesway factory. Some police cars were
even generous enough to accompany the protestors from the church
where they stayed overnight - in order to stop and search them.
Given the weather it seemed very charitable that ten of the protestors
were then whisked off to a drier location downtown for a cup of
tea and a little chat. Not that they really needed a reason, the
officers also arrested a couple of elderly women for dangerously
holding a banner and not moving when asked. Three more people were
detained for 9 hours because the car owner failed to remove a hacksaw
bought from a car boot sale a few days earlier from the boot. Not
exactly the spirit of ecstasy, but the 40 strong group still managed
to get plenty of media exposure and stick two fingers up at appropriate
The in-yer-face shit stirring newssheet, The Bristolian,
has won a £1000 runners-up prize in the first annual Paul
Foot awards for being spiky, angry, iconoclastic, rude, abrasive.
The self proclaimed smiter of the high and mighty beat
the likes of George Monbiot to get on the shortlist but was pipped
at the post by John Sweeney, a journo from the establishment-rattling
Daily Mail (shurley shome mishtake?) for his four year investigation
into shaken baby syndrome. Last year the Bristolian uncovered a
scandal regarding vote-rigging at local council elections. It was
their dirt-digging which led to convictions and resignations. SchNEWS
applauds the Bristolian and urges you to topple your local councillor,
MP or Prime Minister by getting involved with a local newssheet,
demo or direct action.
*How to set up your own local newsletter www.eco-action.org/porkbolter
CRASH FASH BASH
Two dates for your anti fascist diary: BNPs Nasty Nick Griffin
is in Leeds Crown Court Weds Nov 2nd, charged with incitement to
racial hatred. Assemble there 9 am. Rally 12 noon at the Art Gallery,
organised by Yorkshire and Humberside TUC and Unite Against Fascism.
UNITE and Love Music Hate Racism are planning to disrupt a BNP and
Keighley Mums Against Paedophiles demo. 12 noon Keighley, West Yorkshire,
assembly point to be confirmed.
The BNP have their sights set on gaining power in Yorkshire, and
are gathering the support of otherwise seemingly decent people.
Their lies and activities need to be seen for what they are, so
wide support is needed here folks.
Transport info coaches are going from all over the country
- UNITE 020 78334916 www.uaf.org.uk
Hundreds of cyclists in Halloween costumes might not look like
serious criminals, but today they will defy police threats of arrest
under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, in what is expected
to be one of the biggest London Critical Mass rides of the year.
At the last monthly ride, police circulated a letter labelling
Critical Mass (CM) a demonstration and threatening that
participation in this event could render you liable to prosecution
(SchNEWS 515). The ride falls within the
half-mile protest exclusion zone around Parliament (SchNEWS
507) in which demonstrating without police permission is an
arrestable offence. Whether CM can be classed as a demonstration
remains to be seen. New Scotland Yards Superintendent Gomm
doesnt seem too sure about it himself when Cycling
Weekly reminded him that CM participants frequently insist that
they are not demonstrating he replied: Thats a matter
of opinion, before adding I see it as a protest about
cycling conditions. Theyve done a great deal of good for cycling
in London over the years. So we suppose the Clown Army are
protesting about conditions for clowns, then, and demanding more
circus rings? Head to London and get on yer bike - we might even
be there to film you
* Brighton has a critical mass on the last Friday of each month
- starts from the Level at 6pm. www.tinyurl.com/dfkc2
all going to die...
...LAUGHING! Is it a bird or is it a plague?A new
global pandemic threatens to overwhelm the last vestiges of
civilisation. Having so far survived CJD and Mad Cows, SARS,
Nanotechnology, Avian Bird Flu and many other red-alert health
stories, there is a new and even more terrifying threat to
be afraid of. Avoid Reality Syndrome (ARS), nicknamed
Ostrich disease, is believed to have originated
in America but is spreading and now everyone is at risk.
Experts are assuming the mindvirus slipped into the
country whilst TV was parroting the corporate agenda. The
ragin contagion has now infected all UK media, spreading
rapidly as people catch it from exposure to daytime property
shows and celebrity gossip magazines. Early symptoms include
knowing anything whatsoever about Kate Moss, but full blown
ARS can lead to people actually worrying about a dead parrot
in Folkestone (or was it just sleeping?). A spokesman for
a particularly vulnerable group Tabloid Hacks,
who was rummaging through Jordans binbags at the time,
told SchNEWS, I went into this game to seek truth and
confront power and now look at me, Oh God please end the pain
Some journalists are having to wear special corsets designed
to stop them involuntarily sticking their heads under the
ground to avoid noticing all the signs of climate change,
terrorism laws, introduction of a police state etc etc. Some
hacks had been smashing their own faces in trying to bury
them in concrete to avoid any reality, and were sent to hospital
still chanting, No, I cant see all the disasters,
melting ice caps, pollution, nor the clampdowns, restrictions
or need for revolution. Doctors reported seeing the
worst self-inflicted injuries since Anti New Labour protesters
were admitted after banging their heads against brick walls.
As the pandemic spreads, millions are at risk from
being lost in a limbo world where what Bob Geldof thinks is
important. The only cure is to face up to the state were
in with regular inoculations of preventative medicine in the
shape of yer truth dealin SchNEWS (which is why the
cover price is going up 400% next week). We are taking
this threat seriously, said a government spokesman,
and may have to shut down democracy until all the danger
has passed. See full coverage pages 2,5,6,7,13,15,16
and next weeks 8-page pull out How would a totalitarian
state affect house prices?
SchNEWS in brief
- Theres an annual Remembrance Procession for those
who have died in police custody this Saturday organised
by United Families and Friends. Please wear black. No placards
Gather at Trafalgar Square 1pm 07770432439 www.uffc.org
- A new campaign against the widening of the M1 has begun.
The Department of Transport wants to expand the motorway to 4
lanes from Leicester to Leeds. See www.nowideningm1.org.uk
or call 07896 264 519
- Campaign Against the Arms Trade has surveyed UK universities
and found that nearly half are significant investors in the arms
trade. The ten biggest university arms investors collectively
hold over 32 million shares in six UK arms companies. www.caat.org.uk
- Check out a collection of sixteen essays on civil rights, democracy
and terrorism specially written for the recent launch of the European
Civil Liberties Network www.ecln.org
- Sign the pledge of opposition to airport expansion www.airportpledge.org.uk
- ABC public meeting to discuss the F.I.E.S. isolation
units in Spanish prisons. Its two years since anarchists
detained in Barcelona (the Barcelona 6) have struggled against
this high security prison regime. Includes speakers from Spain
calling for solidarity 7pm, Tuesday 1st November, at the Cowley
Club, 12 London Road, Brighton.
Last Saturdays successful 22nd annual scuffle with the Met
was sadly marred by the outbreak of a Bookfair. This years
events were attended by thousands, who while they waited for the
scuffles to kick off became impatient and began swapping information,
making links and selling each other t-shirts and books.
Hundreds of refugees from the bookish jamboree crammed into Wetherspoons
in Holloway Road for the 24th annual London Anarchist Scuffle. A
misguided attempt to play pisspoor techno on some duff portable
speakers gave the staff the excuse to stop serving (well they never
did like music in Wetherspoons) - leading to the only grievance
which really motivates anarchists these days: turning off the beer.
As trustafarians hid under the tables the atmosphere was ripe for
a full and frank airing of ideological differences. Quotes from
Kropotkins Turn that shit off! were batted aside
with references to John Jordans seminal Its my
party and Ill dance down the fires of capital if I want to.
Luckily entertainment soon arrived in the form of the macho idiocy
of the Met. Swaggering into the pub, three coppers nicked someone
for saying Shut up. This rapidly lead to a scuffle,
which bordered on a fracas at times according to one
eyewitness sat on the pavement eating chips.
The Bill were then chased out onto a busy Holloway road by dozens
of well read anarchists. As more and more arrived, the traffic blocked
street was a mass of panicky coppers swinging truncheons at anyone
who came too close as the growing crowd chanted and engaged in the
traditional light scuffling with the boys in blue.
Police in riot gear ended up shoving local Waitrose customers down
the road (leaving a trail of marinated tofu and sun dried tomatoes
spilled in the gutter) Waitrose customers dont expect this
sort of treatment - its only at Lidl or Kwik-Save where its
par for the course.
Ultimately seven were nicked for violent disorder. An eye-linered
skate punk there for the first time described the Annual Scuffle
as very informative about the state of anarchist politics
SchNEWS warns all readers... you cant take our freedom
but we cant take our beer!
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