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| Friday 9th June 2006 |
WAKE UP!! ITS YER JERRY
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I think this housebuilding thing started because Tescos
came sniffing around and thats where the big money is.
- a local resident speaking to SchNEWS at the Titnore Woods protest
In a valiant attempt to put an even greater burden on dwindling
water supplies, busy bureaucrats have come up with a scheme to build
another 200,000 new houses in the South East by 2020, with government
white-coats showing their dry wit by claiming that the new builds
will only need an increase of 0.1% of water usage. Either way this
plan is madness considering there are currently 84,000 empty properties
in the South East, and almost 730,000 nationally.
But such senseless decision making becomes much easier to understand
after a few backhanders from corporate cronies like Tescopoloy.
Over in Titnore Woods, Sussex, where there is currently a protest
camp to stop road and housing building developments (See SchNEWS
546), Tescos couldnt resist the money making opportunity
that is a plan to build 875 homes, trashing some ancient woodland
along the way. Apparently the existing superstore which is plonked
right in the midde of the adjacent estates just isnt big enough
for the Tescopoly investors who make their money by the square metre.
One third of the consortium building these new houses in West Durrington
is Persimmon Homes. They offer a pragmatic approach
to corporate social responsibility and shares are up 34% since last
August! Persimmon have their mucky paws in more than 250 development
sites across the UK and their website actively requests that you
give them a shout if youve got a greenfield site that you
want to sell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Company bosses have been wheeling and dealing with likes of Bryant
Homes, who say their not just interested in building new homes
- were creating sustainable places to live, with a real community
spirit, which is news to the hundreds of local residents opposed
to the scheme,
The campaign to stop this destruction has been going strong since
2002, with a series of actions and demonstrations (see www.schnews.org.uk/sotw/titnore.htm).
But now with bureaucratic means of defending the site exhausted,
the camp has been set up with tree-house construction currently
in full swing (literally). And the camp is enjoying good local support,
with one of the many locals on-site lending a hand telling SchNEWS
All different kinds of people in Worthing are thinking and
talking about it - people are really determined.
The proposed Titnore road and house building works would plough
through rare ancient woodland as old as the ice age - but this doesnt
seem to bother the bods in The South Coast Multi Modal Transport
study who were commissioned by the government to come up with a
radical plan to prevent gridlock. Guess what answer
they came up with? Err
you guessed it, build more roads!
But even more profit can be extracted when the words luxury
and housebuilding come together. That agenda, however,
is currently being interrupted over at Home Farm in Stanmer Park,
Brighton. Local renegades, known as Brighton Community Resource
(BCR), had been running a community open house since squatting the
building last month. The house had been empty for over a year, but
now the council has leased it to the newly formed Brighton and Hove
Estates Conservation Trust in another round of dodgy council dealings
and nice little earners. According to the councils own report
it met its consultation commitment by consulting with
the leader of the council and leader of the opposition! Democracy
The Estates Conservation Trust is formed of two local councillors
and four members of the local community who happen to
include the relative of a councillor, the councils Kent based
lawyers and the agricultural estate agents for the council! The
trust was created under the councils remit to open up the
South Downs for public access, and its stated aim is to promote
the conservation and enhancement of the natural and built environment
of South Downs. In reality, however, the trust is a front
organisation which allows the council to utilise an asset protection
loophole and charitable status to (in the councils words)
maximise income whilst at the same time avoiding the creation
of secure tenancies with a right to buy.
Council and Trust spokespeople (not that theres much difference
between the two) have repeatedly lied to the media, claiming that
plans for the building were at an advanced stage, with planning
and listed-building applications already lodged yet it is a matter
of public record that no planning applications for Home Farm had
been lodged, and work on its conversion into two (very profitable)
cottages due to begin in July. BCR fixed up the building,
resumed gardening, hosted an art exhibition and managed to resist
an earlier eviction attempt on Monday as 50 community members and
a manikin made a Home Alone style barricade. Not such
good news later this week though, as the house was evicted early
on Thursday (8th June) morning. But the fights not over and
campaigners are expecting more support to come from local community
groups, such as the Friends of Stanmer Park, over the next few days.
Where will BCR will pop up next?
* The Titnore Woods protest camp needs your help now...
food, polyprop rope, building gear and most importantly - people.
For directions to the camp see SchNEWS 546.
See also www.protectourwoodland.co.uk
* For more on South Coast road building programmes see www.scar-uk.co.uk
* Camp Bling at Priory Crescent (A1159), Essex, is stopping
a road expansion which would destroy over 100 trees and the burial
site of a Saxon King. see SchNEWS 514 and www.dragonnetwork.org/campaigns/bling
site phone 07817 182394
* Stansted Airport Expansion also in Essex, where
evil Govt plans would see it grow larger than Heathrow is today,
there has been a long running campaign helped along by well-heeled
nimbys. This Saturday (10th) get along to the 5th Annual
Runway Ramble covering a 5 mile route around the proposed site.
10.30am at The Old Vicarage, Church End, Broxted. For more call
01279 870558, web www.stopstanstedexpansion.com
Best known as an exotic holiday location, complete
with yer sphinx, pyramiddy things and camels, dont remain
in de Nile about the real state of affairs for the local
people fighting to throw off decades of state repression over in
Egypt. Our SchNEWS correspondent has been getting some Cairo-practice,
recently and writes
On Thursday 25th May, after a demo called to mark
the anniversary of a constitutional amendment allowing
opposition figures to stand in elections, two activists were seized,
beaten up and sexually assaulted. Mohammed El-Sharqawi and Karim
El-Shair from the Youth for Change movement were followed
and kidnapped by plain clothes coppers after the demo at the Journalists
Union, just over from the High Court in Cairo. They were remanded
in custody for 15 days for demonstrating without authorisation.
Their lawyer who visited them a few days later reported they had
been beaten black and blue and seriously sexually assaulted. The
pair refused interrogation until they had been seen by a doctor
and had their injuries documented. They had been released from prison
just a few days earlier on May 22nd after being held since 24th
April (el-Sharqawi) and 7th May (El-Shair) on the same charge.
At the demo earlier in the day, a few hundred journalists
and opposition activists had protested against the lack of democratic
freedoms in Egypt; there are currently some 20,000 political prisoners
in Egypt and 800 activists have been detained just in the last month.
Despite pledges by the Mubarek regime not to persecute journalists,
over 100 have been imprisoned in the last 6 years and photographers
regularly have equipment seized or smashed. Thousands of riot police
controlled junctions in neighbouring streets, monitoring the flow
of traffic and pedestrians and sealing off the Journalists Union.
People were allowed in and out of the cordon only after heated debate
and in the presence of media. Groups of hired thugs, known locally
as baltaguia (axemen), stood around to add to the menacing atmosphere.
These are the same thugs who had, the week before, beaten protesters
at another protest following orders from the police.
Under Egyptian emergency law, in place since 1981,
and renewed recently for 2 years pending the drafting of (surprise,
surprise) anti-terrorist legislation, demos have to be authorised
by the authorities of course authorisation practically never
given. A vigil was called the same day at Saad Zaghloul Square
(Saad being an Egyptian nationalist hero) but police sealed
off the area with only a few foreigners and journalists allowed
into the square. Others were politely moved on. When
confronted by a senior police officer as to his business there,
SchNEWSs correspondent played the naive tourist card and asked
what was going on. Our friendly cop, who turned out to be a real
Anglophile and visits England every year, replied that some
troublemakers just wanted to cause trouble... (What else would
troublemakers be doing?)
No doubt hes referring to supporters of the
banned pro-reform Kifaya movement, many of whom are in prison. The
US recently murmured about the human rights abuses, but didnt
quite go as far as cutting its $2bn a year worth of funding to the
country, most of which ends up in the hands of the military. President
Mubarek suggested that Bush stop meddling in Egypts internal
affairs and allow change to come from within. But with
poverty levels rocketing from price hikes and the virtual collapse
of the social welfare system, hes gonna need all the military
hardware he got from Uncle Sam to keep his country from changing
from within in a more radical way.
* Find out more on the current situation in Egypt
and blogs such as abuaardvark.typepad.com
Oh no, not another industry front group story! Yep,
this time its the Investment Climate Facility for Africa
- an economic-air conditioning system for hyper-capitalists to:
create a more attractive business environment in Africa.
Greedy investors include Niall FitzGerald, the big cheese over at
animal testing fans Unilever, Benjamin Mkapa the former neo-liberal
president of Tanzania, and Firmino Mucavele of corporate backed
The New Partnership for Africas Development which
has come under heavy criticism for being a little enthusiastic in
the field of privatisation. One of the biggest supporters is Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo who likes to use his armed forces to
attack civilians. But enough of that, the ICF is actually a bit
more honest than other Greenwashers saying that its Success
will be measured solely by higher levels of investment, faster economic
growth, enhanced business opportunities and sustained return on
investments. Workers rights, better standards of living
and access to education are seen as potential threats to a sustained
return on investments and dont even get a mention. If
youre looking to make a socially irresponsible mint in Africa,
check out the hot air at: www.investmentclimatefacility.org
PARTY AND PROTEST
- JUNE 10 Road Block national conference - central Birmingham.
Workshops and guest speakers. For location see www.roadblock.org.uk
- 10 Norwich Anarchist Bookfair - with meetings, food,
bar & music. Blackfriars Hall, Norwich, 10am-6pm. Free
entry. Beards optional. www.norwichanarchists.org
- 10-11th Faslane Peace Camp Birthday Party 24 years in
defiance of the Naval base. Bands, djs, food, bar etc. Accommodation
available, but bring own just in case. Free/donation Call 01436820901
see also www.faslane.co.nr
- 10 Big Sexy Festy Party. 12pm-10pm, Finsbury Park, London.
A free festival a celebrating 10 years of homeless charity Crisis
with donations going to them. Call 07903 968975
- 10 - BASS on the Beach, party on the seafront, 12pm-9pm,
The old paddling pool site, Brighton beach. By Brighton Alliance
Of Sound Systems
- 11 - Rally for Justice, 2pm outside Scotland Yard, London.
Against police terror and Islamaphobia following the botched June
2 police terrorist raid on Forest Gate involving 250
police which saw one innocent man injured by gunfire. Tube
St James Park. Call 07908 750 748
- 15 Picket At Court - Four Palestine Solidarity Campaign
supporters are in court, charged under the Serious Organised Crime
and Police Act 2005 for protesting at Downing Street. Picket of
Magistrates Court, Horseferry Road, London SW1 at 9.30am. www.palestinecampaign.org
- 16-18 Projectile: A festival of anarchist film and culture.
Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2BB. £25/£5/
free for asylum seekers. Accommodation available. www.projectile.org.uk
- 16-21 Sunrise Summer Solstice Celebration The next generation
of global family gathering with music, permaculture and visionary
culture. Fully ecologically-empowered. Site-wide organic policy.
South Somerset, £50 E/B, £60, £15 parking, 01458
for the rest of the Party and Protest guide.
- 24 Greenpeace activists were arrested on Thursday morning
for blocking the main entrance of NATO with a replica B61 nuclear
bomb and dropping a banner from the main NATO building roof calling
for Nukes out of NATO. The protest coincided with
the start of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting debating the future
of NATO. www.greenpeace.org
- The National Coalition of Guantanamo Campaigns has launched
the website www.guantanamo.org.uk
to campaign for the issue of Imprisonment Without Trial in Guantanamo
Bay and similar US prisons around the world. The campaign primarily
fights for the release of the nine British detainees.
- Occupied social centre, The Square faces
eviction on 23rd June. Theres a call out for support for
solidarity and convergence on the weekend of the 23-25th June
in Russell Square www.londonsocialcentre.org.uk
- Go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/index.phtml#vote
and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Theres a vote
on whether Animal Rights Activists are justified in targeting
CNT BE SERIOUS
Members of Spanish anarchist trade union, the CNT, who work
at supermarket distribution centre Mercadona, are now into their
75th day of a strike. Things kicked off when company bosses gave
three Barcelona workers the boot for trying to organise fellow workers.
Expecting retaliation Mercadona brought in scab labour before a
strike had even been declared (thats strategic business planning
for you!) The union is calling for the reinstatement of sacked workers,
agreement to negotiated working conditions, improved health and
safety and recognition of the CNT for the purposes of worker negotiation.
for more info.
Brightons very first World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR)
is taking place this Saturday, June 10th. The annual celebration
of cycling and the human body is taking place in dozens of cities
worldwide, to demonstrate the vulnerability of cyclists and protest
against oil dependency.
After initially giving the go-ahead for the full frontal frolics,
prudish Sussex plod have now made a complete U-turn. Chief Superintendent
Jeremy Total Paine has overruled the previous advice
given out by the cops, demanding that all rude bits
are covered up - under threat of arrest under Section 5 of the 1986
Pub(l)ic Order Act (thats for behaviour causing harassment,
alarm or distress to the public, if youre wondering).
This is in contrast to the London ride happening on the same day,
where the Met are letting it all hang out (although were not
sure whether the Mets escort cyclists will be defrocked themselves).
It seems that in Bohemian out there Brighton, the sight
of a naked person is just too much to bare.
Cyclists and skaters are therefore invited by Brightons ride
organisers to respond creatively by wearing fig leaves, fake topiary,
censored signs and pubic wigs. Perhaps leaving the only
tw**s on display to be Sussex Police.
* Following the pre-ride body and bike decorating workshop at 9am,
the Brighton ride will start at 10am from The Level, and tour the
sights before finishing at Black Rock naturist beach. The route
avoids hills for riders comfort!
* The London ride starts at 3pm from Wellington Arch. Both rides
should last just over an hour and a half and you could take part
in both rides if you travel (clothed) by train.
* See also www.worldnakedbikeride.org
Ministers have decided that itd be a great money saving ploy
if access to free legal advice is curtailed. Presumably responding
to the news that over 98% of fast-track asylum cases from Harmondsworth
detention centre are rejected, the Legal Services Commission has
decided that unless a migrant has more than a 40% chance of success
the case must be dropped. In another right wing response to racist
news stories, these new performance indicators are due
to be introduced in October. Last Sunday (1st June) the News of
the World was bragging about how they kidnapped 2 bus loads
of illegal immigrants. Their undercover journalist had been
out and about pretending to be taking people to jobs, instead picking
up migrants in a bus and delivering them to Colnbrook detention
centre (see SchNEWS 545). This Sunday (11th June), theyll
be a demo outside News of the World HQ at 1 Virginia Street (Tower
Hill tube). Check www.ncadc.org.uk
for more info.
Although fast food restaurants may be more likely
to be robbed by their own workers than any other industry in the
world, middle school pupils have revealed something just as interesting.
Twelve year old Jasmine Roberts science project involved testing
the quality of water in the likes of Burger King and McDonalds and
found that the water in the ice contained more bacteria than the
water in the toilets! Jasmine even went on to win the regional science
competition for the quality of her research! To make it a hat trick
SchNEWS found another top food fact: manufactured meat in the US
contains so many potentially poisonous toxins that tests have revealed
that kitchen sinks contain more e-coli bacteria that the rims of
toilets! Check out www.sustainweb.org
for tips on avoiding the Fast Food poison.
SchNEWS warns all nude bike riders - dont
let anything get caught in the chain... honest.
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