IN AT THE DEEP END AS BRISTOL ACTIVISTS SQUAT POOL
Activists across Britain are resisting on a range of different
fronts as neo-liberalism attacks communities and environments. It
seems this new wave of direct action is washing over the country
(See SchNEWS 526, 527).
Its time for another SchNEWS round up.
In Bristol, a city with a long tradition of anarchist community
action, a group of local agitators have dipped a toe into radical
politics in their struggle against the closure of a local swimming
pool. This is their story in (mostly) their own words
For several years, locals have been campaigning against the
closure of their swimming pool, Bristol North Pool. The issue was
one of huge local concern: a petition with over 6000 signatures
was presented to the council, and there was even a Save Bristol
North Pool Party candidate in local elections. Nonetheless, in October
last year, the council closed it. The huge building, which is grade
II listed, and in a prime location, was left standing empty to fall
derelict. Enquiries about its future to the council were met with
the response that discussions have not yet taken place.
An action group came together and planned an occupation of the
building. More people got involved, and came up with the idea of
a community space. Finally, late last Friday night, eleven members
of our group entered the pool through an open window. We stayed
there overnight (with no running, bombing, or petting SchNEWS hopes)
and a public protest hit the streets outside the next morning..
A press release was put out to local media:
We are a group concerned about the disappearance of public
space and the privatisation of public services in Bristol. On Friday
20th January 2006, we reclaimed Bristol North Pool on Gloucester
This year we have witnessed the closure of Speedwell and Filwood
pools, the Robin Cousins sports centre as well as Bristol North.
Weve also seen recent cuts in library services glossed as
restructuring, a process which also threatens our hospitals.
With this protest, we are asking the question, Who owns Bristol?
and providing our own answer.
As part of this community, we want to see more not-for-profit public
spaces, where we can exist as people, not consumers. As a practical
symbol of this we are now rescuing this building from closure and
disuse with the aim of providing a non-commercial space in the local
community. It will be a place where all people in the local area
are free to create, meet, share skills, learn, connect and entertain
in a non-hierarchical environment.
A drumming, singing, banners and free-cake style protest got going
on Saturday 21st. Hundreds of passers-by were made aware of the
issue. Almost all of them were very supportive. The council, clearly
embarrassed by the publicity if not their failure to do anything
with the pool building, acted abnormally quickly. A couple of burly
security staff turned up, switched the alarm off and then left.
At about 5pm on Saturday we received an eviction notice, calling
us to court at 10am on Monday morning. The timing of the summons
meant that we had no opportunity to seek legal advice.
Having barricaded the doors, on Monday about forty people turned
up to protest our eviction, and we handed out flyers and held up
signs saying honk in support to the cars driving past
as we waited to hear the verdict. It finally came wed
lost and could legally be evicted. If the people in the building
resisted eviction, they could be arrested.
There were plenty of media reporters to record the bailiffs arriving
and breaking a window for entry.
Once in, we expected them to immediately go in search of the people
inside. Instead, they spent time smashing open two doors leading
to the outside, for no apparent reason. The council later issued
a press statement saying that £5000 worth of damage had been
caused by the protest, implying that we had caused it!
Eventually all the protesters were evicted. Nonetheless, our efforts
this weekend were far from wasted. We gained an unbelievable level
of community support. On Tuesday we held a meeting about the buildings
future, attended by over 70 people. We discussed how we could reclaim
it for community use and what we could organise in it. All kinds
of ideas, enthusiasm and skills came forward and we are confident
that thanks to the direct action we took, people in the community
have been mobilized to work together and, together, we will succeed
in making Bristol North Pool a community space again.
* More details and some pics at www.bristol.indymedia.org
* If youve got a story of a local action email or call
the SchNEWS hotline.
CRAP ASBO OF THE WEEK
For lighting up
A Berkshire man who puts up a display of Christmas lights each year
to raise money for a local childrens charity has been threatened
with an order by police because of the anti-social behaviour of
the large numbers of people who come to see the spectacle. Thames
Valley Police said more than 40 crimes committed in the area last
year were directly linked to the lights. Vic Moszcyznskis
display raised £5,000 for Daisys Dream, a local charity
working with bereaved children.
TO THE GROUND
Updates from local campaigns recently covered in SchNEWS...
DALKEITH PARK: This week the treehouses at Dalkeith Park
protest camp were evicted - with the last camp taken by bailiffs
on Wednesday with thirty one arrests. (For background see SchNEWS
526). But as tree felling got under way work was stalled by
the discovery of yet another camp in the path of the destruction
in the form of protesters bunkering down in tunnels. In fact it
was a badger sett - and now because of badgers protected status,
the developers have to wait until the council decide what to do
with this final line of eco-resistance. A road-busting spokesbadger
said that they will stay underground while their human counterparts
pursue legal means to halt the destruction of the park. See www.save-dalkeith-park.org.uk
CAMP BLING: Meanwhile, in Essex, residents of Camp Bling
and pressure group Parklife are keeping up the pressure on the local
council in their fight against a proposed dual carriageway. An extensive
and deep tunnel was unveiled at Camp Bling on Wednesday, adding
to the defenses of the camp against eviction, and Government Offices
were occupied by activists on Monday. Officials are meeting today
(Friday) - behind closed doors of course - to decide the future
of the road scheme. A final decision is expected in spring. Watch
(or go to www.savepriorypark.org)
34 Broadway Market, HACKNEY: After the public meeting about
the eviction of Tonys Café on January 16th which over
200 attended and where Reverend Campbell Taylor (who chaired
the meeting) told the councilors in ungodly fashion, Why cant
you (the council) admit that youve fucked up, The cafe
is still open but under eviction alert (for more see SchNEWS
* On Friday 27th Jan (today) at 10.30am, Spirit who continues
to run the Nutritious Food Gallery, the shop he has worked and lived
at since 1993 (though it is now a squat) - is in Shoreditch County
Court, and could be facing imminent eviction.
* For more see http://34broadwaymarket.omweb.org/modules/wakka/HomePage
Suttongrad Social Centre is a long-squatted community space
at 2-4 Sutton St, Whitechapel, London E1. The multicultural group
of campaigners, musicians, and artists who call it home face immediate
eviction from today, from a council keen to develop the land into
a car park. Urgent help is needed from 8.30am onwards.
Two weeks after Tony Bliar promised ABSOs for kiddies with his
Nuff Respect campaign (see SchNEWS 527) up to 200 youths
demonstrated in Leeds, last Saturday (21st) against the encroaching
police state. The police and their corporate pals in local shopping
centres have been planning to issue a dispersal order for parts
of Leeds City Centre which will give the coppers the power to disperse
groups of three or more youths for whatever reason tickles their
fancy (regardless of whether hoodies are being warn or not). Last
Saturdays demo kicked off earlier than anticipated when a
Leeds Corn Exchange security guard called the police with a view
to stopping the action. Undeterred the crowd paid a visit to the
local nick in Millgarth street and went on to a rally back at the
Corn Exchange with chants of being young is not a crime!
and twos company, threes illegal! Theres
a fuller report of the action, with pictures, at www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/01/332120.html
Dutch Ploughshares activist Turi Vaccaro has been sentenced
to six months following his disarming of two F16 bombers. His action
was carried out to remember the 60th anniversary of the bombing
of Hiroshima. He also has to either pay 750,000 euros compensation
for the damage he caused or spend a further year in prison. Send
letters of support to Turi Vaccaro, HvB De Boschpoort, Nassausingel
26, 4811 DG Breda, The Netherlands.
* Last Monday, a peace activist from New York State, Daniel
Burns, was sentenced to six months in prison for splattering
his own blood. He, and three others due for sentencing this week
under the same charges, happened to be in a military recruiting
station at the time, and left their own claret statement all over
windows, walls, pictures and a starsnstripes as a protest
against the soon-to-start Iraq invasion. The so-called Saint Patricks
Four were convicted for damaging government property and entering
a military recruiting station for unlawful purposes. Blood, of course,
is only lawfully spilt on government property if its the government
doing the spilling. For more see www.stpatricksfour.org
Next month, the Italian city of Turin has the dubious honour
of hosting the Winter Olympics. Many Italians are opposed to
this televised corporate sport fest, with all the so-called investment
going into the hands of a few big companies.
Protests have been hotting up over a high speed rail link which
will cut a path of devastation through the Susa Valley - just so
Turin and the Alps have got a fast link for the games. For several
weeks the railway has been interrupted with demonstrations, road
blockades, and graffiti messages against the railway line and the
police occupation of Susa Valley cover the area. On Tuesday a protest
camp in the valley was violently evicted by police - 20 people including
five police officers were hospitalized by the clashes. Earlier that
day a major highway and the streets of Bussoleno were barricaded.
The car of the President of the Piemonte region, two police cars,
and an Olympics store were attacked. Presumably a few new personal
bests were set.
* Publicity seeking anarchists tried to snatch the Olympic torch
as it was being paraded through the streets of Trento in northern
Italy by Italian athlete Eleonora Berlanda. The action was to highlight
the corporate exploitation of the Olympics, especially Coca Colas
sponsorship of the Olympic flame. The four naughty anarchists were
arrested were charged with theft, causing injury, violence, and
resistance. Still in the Olympics its not the result, its
the taking part that counts. Gold medals all round!
- Theres a Vigil in memory of Bereket Yohannes this
Sunday (29th) 12pm at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre,
Colnbrook bypass. Bereket, from the African country of Eritrea,
became the 7th asylum seeker to suicide in a UK detention centre.
61 detainees in Harmondsworth have signed a joint statement concerning
conditions there - with some refusing food until demands are met.
07947 615341 www.ncadc.org.uk/newszine66/bereket.html
- After the vigil visit a detainee in Harmondsworth or Colnbrook
- but bring two forms of ID
- New issue of Readings Gay Bishop is
out, this month looking at health services for local residents.
To see a copy email: email@example.com
- Next Tuesday (31st) Corporate Crime in Iraq
discussion on the future of Iraqs resources in the face
of western corporate piracy. Basement Social Centre, 24 Lever
Street, Manchester 7:30pm 0161 273 8283 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Could Dan Glass or anyone who knows how to get in touch
with him contact the post Dublin Mayday 04 legal support group
- David Jones - EDO MBMs managing director - has
resigned. He was responsible for the injunction taken out on protesters
(See SchNEWS 521) Did he jump or was
he pushed? See www.roughmusic.org.uk/#eight
- Bristle Book Out Now - The Bristle team have brought
out a great 200 page full colour book of stencils, murals, graffiti,
and subverts from around Bristol. £5 from Kebele Kulture
Project. £6 by post (cheques to Bristle) c/o
14 Robertson Rd, Easton, Bristol BS5 6JY. www.bristle.org.uk
A national ID card for the UK is overly ambitious, extremely
expensive and will not be a panacea against terrorism or fraud,
although it will make a company like mine very happy. - Roberto
Tavano, biometrics specialist for Unisys.
Having covered the litany of expensive privatisation balls-ups
which Neo Labour have presided over as they outsource and corporatise
public records, it didnt come as a surprise to SchNEWS when
computer boffins claimed the proposed ID card and accompanying national
database would be another monumental IT cock-up (See SchNEWS
431). Not only is the ID card and database a violation of civil
rights, it is also due to run on technologies which will cost a
and then not even work.
Now Corporate Watch have published a report which looks at what
the IT corporations who stand to take the contracts for the ID card
are saying privately about the technology. And guess what - the
companies themselves are saying it will be a disaster.
Take Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former chair of QinetiQ for instance,
quoted as saying: The requirement for 100% accuracy is
huge and I dont think weve ever seen a system which
is 100% accurate. The report finds concerns about the
lack of transparency, the inability to manage an IT project of this
massive scale, and biometric scanning (eg iris, face or fingerprint
recognition) technology which is too unreliable. For more see www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=2298
It all went pear shaped for an Israeli fruit importer in court
this week when seven protestors who had blockaded Carmel Agrexcos
premises in Uxbridge back in November 2004, were acquitted of aggravated
Carmel Agrexco is 50% owned by the Israeli state and is the largest
importer of Israeli produce into the EU. They deal extensively with
produce from settlements in the Occupied Territories.
Before taking part in this action many of the defendants had witnessed
first hand the suffering of Palestinian communities under the brutal
Israeli occupation, having served as volunteers with the International
Solidarity Movement (ISM), documenting human rights abuses by the
IDF in the West Bank and Gaza, and taking part in non-violent civil
resistance to the occupation organised by Palestinian civilian committees.
The action, which shut the factory down for a day, was taken as
part of a week of protest against the apartheid wall, built by the
Israeli state on Palestinian land. The 9 metre high wall, condemned
by the International Court of Justice, is called a security
fence by the Israelis.
In a bizarre case of life imitating court, the case was thrown
out because Agrexco themselves had built a security fence at their
depot on land they didnt own! The fence had been erected some
years earlier to keep out undesirables. The protesters
werent on Agrexcos land so they werent trespassing
- aggravated or not. How dya like them apples?
There will be a press conference next Tuesday at the Conway Hall,
25 Red Lion Square from 6.30pm.
Dennis Sherez died in his sleep on Tuesday January 17th
aged 29. Much loved in Brighton as a founder of Bust the Box, his
irreverent and eclectic music has been inspiration and delight to
thousands at free parties and festivals for many years. There are
very few people who through their words and actions give so much
magic to the lives of so many. Dennis friends will remember
him for his determination to cut through the bullshit and speak
his mind. He always found time for his friends and it is with much
love and respect that we will raise our glasses to his memory each
time we hear one of his favourite tunes for years to come.
Taser International, creators of the stun gun used
and loved by police forces around the world (including here), have
been taking a battering of late. On top of the 200 or so deaths
the non-lethal weapon has been linked with in North
America alone, the company will soon face US cops who are suing
the company for injuries caused by electro-muscular disruption during
training (See SchNEWS 509).
A chink of light could be shining out of the gloom though. Hope
comes from an ongoing case over the mysterious death of 35 year
old David Glowczenski, who met his maker shortly after meeting his
local constabulary last year. While Davids injuries corresponded
exactly to the wounds a Taser inflicts, his family are being told
that David in fact died of ... Excited Delirium.
This rare medical condition is characterised by a sudden onset
and the group most at risk are young men in police custody. In fact,
the doctor who arrived at this verdict admits he doesnt
understand the condition fully either. Still, dont sweat
the small stuff, doc, your conclusion might get the boys at Taser
off the hook, free to get back to making a killing on the non-lethal
Remember kids, Tasers dont kill people, Excited Delirium
The new SchMOVIES 2005 DVD hits the big screen at
the Duke Of Yorks cinema, London Rd, Brighton (Tel:
01273 602503) on Feb 1st at 6.30pm. Also screening on the
same bill is Bury My Heart In Palestine, an account
of a visit by three Brighton filmmakers to Palestine in 2003
- for more see www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org
And its a benefit for Smash EDO and SchNEWS. (£6.50/£5.50
conc, £5 members)
* More on Smash EDO see www.smashedo.org.uk
* Order copies of SchMOVIES 2005 DVD see www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies
SchNEWS warns all readers - dont squat in the pool - youre
bound to be asked to leave... Honest!
AT TEN' - A Decade of Party & Protest - £9 inc p&p
- Peace de
Resistance - issues 351-401. £7 inc p&p
- SchNEWS of
the World - isues 300 - 250. £4 inc p&p.
- SchNEWS and
SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. £4 inc p&p.
- The SchQUALL
book Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 and a whole lot more £2.00 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.