| Friday 12th May 2006 | Issue
WAKE UP!! ITS YER ALL IN THE SAME BOAT...
Power | Square Mongering | Boat-Ox
Face-off | The Strain In Spain | Woza
Big Idea | Inside SchNEWS | SchNEWS
In Brief | Spirited Away | Base
In Yer Face
| Ray Of Sunshine | Comedy
Of Terrors |
Resistance to police repression grows in Mexico
Texcoco, (just east of Mexico city) a flower market was the
for a bloody showdown between the state and a local community
hell-bent on self-rule and autonomy. All this took place against
the backdrop of the Mexican elections and the Zapatista inspired 'Alternative
is touring the country attempting to build an anti-capitalist
Police had ordered the closure of the flower market, where the local Mayor plans to build a commercial centre, including a Wal-Mart, on the site.
DINNER OF THE WEEK
benefit lunch is finally happening (after it had to be cancelled
last time when the oven packed up). At the Cowley Club, 12
Brighton, Sunday May 21st, from 1pm. Get yer vegan nosh-up and a chance
to have a beef with the SchNEWS writers.
The EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) has pledged to support the residents, and all concerned are gearing up for a bitter struggle for justice.
Market traders had gone
for help to the local revolutionaries, the FPDT (People's
Front in Defence of Land) based in the nearby town of Atenco.
In 2002, a courageous direct action campaign by Atenco residents
managed to stop a massive $2.3 billion airport being built (see SchNEWS 367)
that would have displaced them from their land. They represent
a powerful inspiration of solidarity and resistance to Mexico's
poor, struggling under the neo-liberal lash of the North Americas
Free Trade Agreement. This time though the
authorities were clearly determined to win with overwhelming brute force. With
elections coming up in Mexico, Vicente Fox's government want to show
that they are in the driving seat.
Before dawn on Wednesday May 3rd, 60 flower vendors in Texcoco were setting up their stalls when police attacked them. Residents of Atenco and the FPDT responded by blocking highways. This kicked off a long day of violent clashes.
Some police were beaten by crowds. 15 others were taken hostage, beaten up, and later released to the Red Cross. This drove the police to seek large-scale revenge. The afternoon saw 3000 police enter the fray armed with batons, tear gas and sub-machine guns.The residents built barricades, burnt tyres and armed themselves with machetes (their traditional weapon and work-tool) and Molotov cocktails.
The next day police
launched an invasion of Atenco and held it under siege all day
while they terrorized residents. One activist told SchNEWS that
the police "beat the living shit out of everyone
in sight". Over the two days, hundreds of people
were attacked and hospitalized. One 14-year-old boy was killed
by the impact
of a tear-gas canister hitting him. More than 400 were detained,
of which the authorities only recognized 109. 18 people have
and five foreigners have been deported.
Seven women were raped
in police vans, and sixteen more were sexually assaulted, beaten
and robbed. Many journalists were attacked by police, and also
threatened by protesters angered by the skewed coverage on the
news. When a German photographer was beaten up and arrested by
police, her neighbour asked what she had done, to which a policeman
replied, "She did whatever I say she did."
The police arrested and
beat Igancio de Valle, leader of the FPDT on Wednesday in a deliberate
act of provocation. He is still being held. It is perhaps no co-incidence
that the organisation was providing security for Subcomandante Marcos,
(or Delegate Zero as he is currently known) of the EZLN (the Zapatista
liberation army), during his visit to the area. He said that the
Zapatistas are on red alert, and that 'Alternative Campaign' activities
are on hold while they devote themselves to emergency support for
the people of Atenco. He urged civil society to take action to force
the government to free the political prisoners.
* There have been many solidarity demos across Mexico, the USA, Italy and Catalonia, and at the Mexican Embassy in London. Email email@example.com to get involved.
* For more background
many people can say they've had a law written especially
Haw can. It's the kind of personal touch that makes Neo
Labour Authoritarianism (tm) feel so much cosier than the cold
hands of all those other anonymous regimes.
It's the bar
where everybody knows your name (and where you live). Brian has
camped out in Parliament Square for the last 5 years in protest
SchNEWS 507). He started protesting against the sanctions
on Iraq, then stayed as the US/UK went to against first Afghanistan,
This constant reminder
of their complicity in war crimes didn't go down well
with the political classes and a paragraph of the Serious Organised
Crime and Police Act 2005 (see
SchNEWS 493) was specifically aimed at Brian. Basically it
says that anyone who wants to demonstrate in a 1km zone around
the Mother of
Parliaments must have permission from the police when the demo starts.
But last July, Brian's
crafty lawyers claimed that because he had been on his marathon
demo constantly for the past 5 years, he was exempt from the
act because his protest began before it came into force. Red
faces all round - but the Home Office appealed against
that ruling, probably had a few quiet words in some m'learned
ears and on May 8th, Brian lost his right to demonstrate outside
Whitehall without permission. The government described his behaviour
as 'absurd', and said he could be a security risk.
Brian retorted, "This
is such a farce. Security? I have been here five years keeping
the security of Parliament. We are not the security risk, we
are not the risk to the world - Bush and Blair are."
in solidarity with Brian Haw this Sunday (14 May), 12 noon, Parliament Square. Brian masks will be provided! Be prepared for possible arrests - for details regarding the legal situation and what do to if arrested see www.parliament-square.org.uk/staying.htm
Castle Mill boatyard in Jericho near Oxford, which
has been squatted since last summer, is in danger of eviction.
This is the last
public boatyard on the Oxford Canal used by residential boat
owners, and operates as a boat maintenance facility. British
Waterways, who own the site, are in the process of flogging it
off for (guess what) luxury housing and want to sell it without
sitting tenants. With an eviction due any time, nine of the narrow
boats - peoples' houses - have been craned on to the wharf for
urgent and needed hull repairs, and are therefore unable to
move. Bailiffs and police came this Wednesday, but couldn't
move the beached boats.
EVICTION ALERT: Bailiffs are due again at the Castle Mill boatyard on Monday May 15th at 10am - get down there to lend support.
For directions and updates call 01865 559481 or visit www.portmeadow.org
- For updates and phone tree text your number to 07788 915545.
THE STRAIN IN SPAIN
in the Galician city of Vigo, strikers clashed with police once again as metal workers demonstrated against poor health and safety practices, and the over-use of temporary contracts, especially in the heavy industries which dominate this part of Spain. Ever sensitive to worker safety, heavy-handed police helped provoke a riot on May 8th and responded with rubber bullets, injuring 27 and arresting 13. The 10,000 workers involved in the protest called for more strikes as they shut down the city with burning barricades, and their trade unions rejected calls for compromise. Businesses responded by locking their customers in shops, preventing them from running away and helping them buy more stuff.
south in Madrid, President Zapatero is none too pleased
with the energy nationalisation plans of Bolivian President
Evo Morales (see
Spanish energy company, Repsol YPF accounted for 26% of
Bolivian gas production through its subsidiary Andina prior to
last week’s nationalisation of the industry. "The
news appears worrying for us" commented a Repsol
we don't have enough information to draw any conclusions".
Perhaps he's been too busy worrying about the state of
his wallet to notice the signs above the petrol stations which
now state that they are now "the
property of Bolivians!"
WOZA BIG IDEA?
100 activists from the WOZA group have been released by Mugabe's
police after 5 days of unlawful detention. They had been arrested
for holding a peaceful march in the city of Bulawayo, demanding
an end to crippling price increases in education. Police were
unable to produce anyone with complaints against the group (except
themselves, of course) and they were duly released. Amongst the 105 imprisoned were a heavily pregnant woman and a disabled old man. Hundreds
of supporters marched through Zimbabwae's capital, Harare, demanding
their release and distributing newspapers listing their demands.
WOZA (Women of Zimbabwae
Arise) was set up to fight the massive increase in the cost of
basic education imposed on Zimbabwe by the corrupt regime - increases
of up to 1000% in some areas. The state also arrested 73 schoolkids
for taking part in the demo and have regularly targeted kids
for intimidation in attempts
to break the spirit of the movement. The children were released
earlier in the week.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone them directly - contact Annie Sibanda on 0026 391 898 110/2.
Daniel McGowan is a US environmental and social
justice activist, unjustly arrested and charged in federal
court on multiple counts of arson, property destruction, and
conspiracy, relating to two incidents that occurred in Oregon
in 2001. He is facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted.
Currently he is out on bail, on house arrest, and electronically
monitored and only allowed outside of his apartment for two
hours a week to see his pre-trial officer.
- For details to support
Daniel or send donations to his campaign see www.supportdaniel.org
- There is a benefit
gig for Daniel McGowan and punk fanzine Last
Hours at The Square
social centre, 17th May, 21 Russell Square, London, from 7pm, £5.
With punk bands, vegan food and other delights.
One name on Charles Clarke's
list of 1000 UK citizens who "should be deported" just
because they were once convicted of something and also happened to
be immigrants (the so-called 'bungle' Clarke lost his
job over) is Chilean born Ernesto Leal (Home Office
ref. L306526). Having escaped Pinochet's Chile over 30 years
ago, Ernesto served a sentence for a charge of grievous bodily harm
in a racially
motivated pub brawl - his only ever offence - but was
then arrested on May 1st and may be deported to Jamaica - a
country he has no connection with, all in the name of a crack-down
This week Ernesto disappeared from HMP Belmarsh for 24 hours and
turned up at Forest Bank HMP in Manchester, even though he is supposed
to be in Croydon today (12th) for a bail hearing - which he may
not be able to get to, delaying his fight to get out on bail. His
family are saying that while he was in Belmarsh he was in lockdown
for 23 hours a day with very limited phone access. His deportation
appeal date has been set for June 2nd - see www.friendsofernesto.org.uk for
updates and details on how to support his case.
premier pirate station Radio 4A is live this
weekend (12-14) 101.4fm www.radio4a.org.uk
- Demo to stop Sealife Centre's
application for seal and otter pools in Brighton.
Meet outside May 13th at 12pm
- There will be a Blockade of Aldermaston Weapons
Base, by Trident Ploughshares,
Mon 15th. Call 0845 4588366 www.blockthebuilders.org.uk/action
- No Widening M1: Problems and Solutions in the Roads - public meeting with
speakers including Becca Lush (Road Block) and Tony Bosworth
(Friends of the Earth). May 18th, 7.15pm, Central United Reform Church, 63
Norfolk Street, Sheffield. Free. Call 07759 851073 www.nowideningm1.org.uk
- Devonport Disarmament Camp 2006 - May 18-21st.
Peace pirate activities at the Devonport naval base. Bring suitable
eye patches, any spare galleons and all your affinity group tricks.
Call 0845 458 8363.
- Yesterday (Weds) 50 students at Sussex University occupied
centre' building on campus in protest against increased
involvement of private enterprise in universities.
BASE IN YER FACE
all know, of course, that in the new world disorder America
gets what it wants, like a spoilt only-child with a submachine
gun. In this case it's a spanky new military base in South
Korea they're after (See
and by heck they're gonna get it. Yeehaw! The plan is
to triple in size the existing Camp Humphreys base in the Pyeongtaek
area, 70km south of Seoul. This has involved getting the compliant
Korean government to take over some 8,000 square km of land and
force anyone in the way off their land. People like those who
had lived in the village of Daechuri for generations. The villagers
have offered spirited resistance in recent months, attempting
through official channels and direct action to avoid the destruction
of their farming community. They joined together with anti-US
civic activists to publicise their plight and successfully managed
to delay things and cause a few headaches in the corridors of
The government finally
responded as governments tend to, and sent in the heavies. After
a series of increasingly brutal attacks, last week hundreds of
police armed with batons arrived to smash up the locals. Over
3000 troops were dispatched to build a 29km fence to claim the
land once and for all. Police and protestors fought fiercely
in an appropriate venue, the Daechuri Elementary School and over
120 people were injured. In the end 400 protestors were detained,
everyone was booted off the land and the area was secured for
the good ol’boys. The school was scheduled for immediate
demolition. Despite the difficulties of disagreeing with a heavy-handed
heavily-armed government regime, protestors are showing that
the human spirit cannot be so easily crushed and have vowed to
fight on, intending to plant a new spring rice crop in spite
of the odds stacked against them.
For more see www.saveptfarmers.org
RAY OF SUNSHINE
gentrification... and for the commons! Today (12th)
will see the opening of a squatted communtiy centre in Brighton
Gardner St, North Laines. The centre aims to be open during the
street theatre festival over the weekend. It will be an autonomous,
drug-and-alcohol-free, centre for workshops, parties, music and
happenings. The building is the old Ray Tindle centre - which
was closed three years ago so half of it could be turned into
yuppy flats, while the rest remained empty. The centre has an
obligatory wishlist of tat - including art supplies, curtains,
people with positive energy and their own tea bags. So come along
and make it happen.
COMEDY OF TERRORS
tried to be funny at the White House Correspondents' Association
dinner a week last Saturday. Or rather he hired a double to do
it for him. But the night was stolen by comedian Stephen Colbert's
merciless stand-up. By
the end of it, Dubya wasn't smiling anymore, and left in silence.
The audience were uncomfortable,
and the best gags didn't get any laughs, as Colbert went
way beyond the harmless routine they expected. The mainstream
pick this up, and portrayed the night as a
success. Have a look for yourself.
The following link is for a movie clip of the last 15 minutes -
A transcript can be seen at www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/30/1441/59811
benefited from an ill-informed electorate's sheer frustration
with the empty promises of mainstream politics, the BNP are sure
to be celebrating the few extra council seats gained this week.
It's not been such a comfortable ride for one of the Barking
and Dagenham councillors though. Whilst the BNP's erection
manifesto may have suggested referendums for parents to decide
if they want to "prohibit the teaching of homosexuality
as an alternative lifestyle choice" in schools, newly-elected
Richard 'Dick Flick' Barnbrook
has been busily denying having been involved in a gay porn film.
The film, called "HMS
Discovery", includes long scenes of men undressing
and fondling each other, full-frontal nudity and a naked man
a sex act on another".
But Barnbrook, credited with writing
and directing the red, white and blue movie, claims, "It was an
art film - end of story. It was not a bloody porn film." He indignantly
added, "The only nudity in it is a couple of guys running in a
he protest too much we wonder? He certainly didn't mention the scenes
of flagellation in which a group of semi-naked men apparently whip a fourth
semi-naked man senseless to the ground - but that's
probably not such a
problem in the BNP.
Whilst it certainly
wasn't gay porn then, its creator was still quick to seemingly
distance himself from it, sounding more like a right-whinger
than a right-winger, saying, "This was done when
I was a student - it was part of my extra education, part of
and that was it… anything to do with my past politics
or my past work, I am not interested in commenting on...This
was sometime back in the mid-80s..." (That old excuse - I
was young, a bit drunk, innocently experimenting... it was the
all used it.)
obviously been a cock up somewhere along the line...
warns all readers - if you're in a Mexican stand-off then
say it with flowers... Honest!
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