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SchNEWSs ANNUAL STATE OF THE INDIG-NATION ADDRESS
For eleven years now SchNEWS has been reporting on anti-capitalist
and anti-authority struggles from Bognor to Bogota. A year since
the G8 and where do we stand as a movement? Although there are signs
of mini-resurgences in direct-action politics there is as yet nothing
like the mass numbers who participated in the 90s. Many see
the political situation as hopeless, the state and corporations
as all-powerful. Yet the cracks are really beginning to show.
At the height of the 90s wave of direct action, concepts
such as the non-viability of industrial capitalism, the dangers
of climate change, wars being fought for the benefit of multi-national
corporations, that states are inevitably authoritarian - were (in
the developed world at least) effectively conspiracy theories held
by minorities. Even organic agriculture was considered a joke. Since
J18 (June 18 1999 see SchNEWS 217) capitalism
has become more examined in the UK mainstream media, and the twin
concepts of the free market and infinite economic growth are being
revealed for the hollow sham they are. This redefinition of capitalism
as an agenda / ideology rather than just the way things are
/ the natural state of affairs is possibly one of the greatest
successes of the movement. There is now also widespread scepticism
about the introduction of the clampdown state with its reliance
on surveillance, ID cards and armed goons to keep us all in line.
You dont have to be a black block anarchist to see that the
banning of protest in Parliament square and the gunning down of
terrorist suspects are symbols of ominous authoritarianism.
Another development has been the acceptance by huge numbers of
people that the government is perfectly capable of going to war
with a mercenary corporatist agenda. The million and a half who
marched against the war may not want a revolution but as they grow
disillusioned of petitioning politicians with little results, and
having witnessed police repression of local demos in many towns
they may one day come to see one as necessary.
With oil now hitting $75 dollars an increasingly-scarce barrel,
climate change becoming increasingly obvious, and the crackdown
really getting underway, it is clear that a huge transition in the
way we live, travel and consume is inevitable. The collapse is upon
us - the only question is: who will control that transition?
The government nuclear-powered-police-state solution will encounter
greater opposition as the consequences for Joe Public become clearer.
David Attenborough might pop up on the telly to tell us that we
can keep on living as we used to if we just change our lightbulbs,
but this centre-ground is becoming an isolated island. Not so much
rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic as washing the windows
on the World Trade Centre.
BABYLON IS BURNING
The economy is being kept afloat by a debt-fuelled consumer boom
and we are engaged in a disastrous resource war. Overt corruption
in political life has been oozing to the surface once again. The
electoral system and the mainstream media will try and palm us off
with Blair Mark II, and Cameron may be elected, but it will only
be by a thin wedge of the population. Voting numbers are in free
fall as parliamentary politics entirely loses its credibility. One
small-minded answer to this impasse is nationalism: The rise of
the BNP (although exaggerated by the press) is fuelled by an inability
to provide solutions within a neo-liberal framework. The BNP have
a whole section of their website dedicated to Peak Oil.
The catalyst for bringing these issues to a head for the public
will be when the economy goes into recession. Capitalism cannot
grow infinitely on a finite planet. Eventually the monster will
devour its own tail. Neo-Labour has had the luck of being in power
during a period when the ruthless imposition of neo-liberalism has
enabled the flow of cheap consumer goods to subsidise the lifestyle
of the West. As Americas inability to project its power globally
is displayed daily in the quagmire of Iraq, others at the back of
the global classroom have begun to seriously act up. The system
of global dominance that underpins our wasteful, exploitative system
is under severe threat. It may be that the effects take years to
be felt here but the very fact that the government has felt
the need to introduce so much repressive legislation at a time of
relative domestic content (compared to say the industrial unrest
of the 70s and early 80s) indicates that they are fully aware of
the looming crisis.
The future of Middle England, the main pillar of support for the
centre right consensus, is in jeopardy. Britains personal
debt is increasing by £1 million every four minutes. Personal
debt where the family home is used as collateral has grown 52% in
the last five years. A recession with its inevitable round of house
repossessions will have a far greater impact this time around. Will
people stand by this time and allow the banks to board up their
homes? In Argentina in 2002 it was when the middle classes slipped
into bankruptcy and joined forces with those lower in the social
pecking order that change became possible (See SchNEWS 350). But
when the same situation washes over in the West, who will bail out
the leaking neo-liberal boat? Their vision is unsustainable in every
sense of the word.
As the centre declines new ideas will come into circulation. At
the moment apathy and alienation are obstacles to be reckoned with,
and will be as long as politics is still identified
with mainstream media / electoral soap operas. And as the global
crisis bites those who feel theyve earned their right to security
we will see a rise in political engagement but what alternative
models will be on offer for them? All those involved in the creation
of a sustainable future, from compost loos to class war, may
not have a blueprint for utopia but they / we can input ideas into
the bottom-up transformation of society, bypassing the media machine
by linking up with other grassroots struggles.
The libertarian direct action movement is now smaller and fragmented
and we need to engage with other social networks without losing
sight of our values and analysis. For example, large amounts of
activist energy has gone into the social centre experiment. It is
possible social centres may become beacons of organisation but equally
possible that they will cause us to develop a ghettoized siege mentality.
Social centres in the UK have so far struggled to be attractive
to people not already involved in the counterculture. To be successful
these places need to link into local struggles against overdevelopment
and exploitation, and contribute more to local communities. Anyone
remember think globally, act locally? It is important to understand
the international situation but if summit-hopping and sitting in
groovy anarcho-lifestyle hang-outs are to become the backbone of
our movement we are destined for the dustbin of history.
It may be that for the first time in the UK shistory, our
views are no longer confined to a small minority. The anti-war movement
may have reached its peak but great damage has been done to faith
in the status quo and the liberal-authoritarian idea of democracy.
We need a strategy that goes beyond mass-media politics, to convince
a fractured population that there are other solutions and ideas,
and that they are not alone in their fears.
The Global South is rising, and we need to get back out on the
streets and in the trees we have no choice. Be part of history
- dont just let it happen to you...
Are Still All Over The Place
Youve heard the call to arms now
heres just a few of the people you can contact if you want
to get active to help build a new future...
Climate Change: Rising Tide - www.risingtide.org.uk
** Camp For Climate Action - 26- 4 September ten day
camp in north of England to bring together all wanting to work to
tackle climate change. www.climatecamp.org.uk
Peak Oil: (See SchNEWS
499) Oil is an unsuistainable finite resource - and we are about
to hit the down-turn. See www.powerswitch.org.uk
ID Cards: Join the growing fight against a
total surveillance big-brother state (See SchNEWS
466). See www.defy-id.org.uk
Anti-War: Justice Not Vengence - www.j-n-v.org
** Smash EDO - www.smashedo.org.uk
Direct Action against the war machine. Smash Edo campaign to shut
down bomb builders EDO MBM in Brighton. ** Campaign Against Arms
Trade - www.caat.org.uk
** Faslane Peace Camp - www.faslane365.org
Animal Rights: Confronting the abuse of animals
by pharmaceutical corporations ** Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
Speak: fighting the Oxford Animal Lab - www.speakcampaigns.org.uk
Protest Camps: Titnore Woods anti-development
tree-top protest near Worthing (SchNEWS 547)
** Camp Bling road expansion camp in Southend (SchNEWS
Social Centres: Kebele Bristol, Basement
- Manchester, 1 In 12 Club Bradford, Sumac Centre
Nottingham, Cowley Club Brighton, Common Place Leeds,
56A Infoshop, south London. Find details on these and many others
Alternative Media: Indymedia www.indymedia.org.uk
** Ainfos - www.ainfos.ca
** Libcom - www.libcom.org
... et al...
Asylum Seeker Support: National Coalition of Anti-Deportation
Campaigns - www.ncadc.org.uk
** Noborders Network - www.noborder.org
Anti-Fascist: ANTIFA - www.antifa.net
Prisoner Support: Anarchist Black Cross - Support
for anarchists and class war prisoners. www.brightonabc.org.uk
For more groups see our contacts list with 800 entries
on all these topics and much more at www.schnews.org.uk/links
Another year, another chance to be a fly in the ointment of the
worlds ruling elite. For any of you activist-hobbyists out
there, its time to dust off yer demonstatin boots once
again: the G8 cartel meets next week (July 15-17th) in Strelna,
a suburb of St.Petersburg, Russia.
While protesting in Russia is a bit more tricky than gallivanting
up to Gleneagles in the UK, this is not going to stop the activist
circus from going to the party. A cycle caravan has already started
from Berlin to St.Petersburg (reports and photos on Indymedia) and
many others are to converge in Moscow 8-12th of July for a libertarian
forum leading on energy and G8 plans for a nuclear power
renaissance - as a build up event for protests in St. Petersburg.
During the summit there will be clowning around at a social forum
in St. Petersburg and a convergence space in the Kirov stadium (with
an autonomous space).
Even if Russia itself is beyond your reach, dont despair:
on 14th of July there is a call for a Global Day of Action. There
will be protests against neo-liberal politics of the G8 in cities
around the world, and if you cant make one of these you can
always start one of your own...
* For info and links to networks and groups, see www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2006/g8/
Eleven peace activists from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Citizens
Inspection Agency (CIA) got into the US military base at Daws Hill,
Buckinghamshire, last Monday (3rd) and established Camp Freedom
for 24 hours, staying around for the traditional annual celebrations
of July 4th by the US servicemen and families stationed there (this
base has 70 houses and a boarding school for ex-pat American kids).
Once in, they hung banners around and set up tents around the entrance
to the three-storey underground nuclear command bunker at the base.
Daws Hill is a secret communication base for the National Command
Authority which relays information for the US military, and
through which a US president would order an attack. On Tuesday the
entrance to the base was locked with a chain, and a Section 6 notice
on it, to say itd been occupied by squatters.
Eventually, as the campers worried that trigger-happy Americans
might get a bit too merry during celebrations of their national
day, MOD plod were notified of the camp, after which they arrived
on the scene but had to climb the fence to get in because the entrance
was blocked. They werent in the mood to arrest, and eventually
when the protesters decided to leave, they were escorted by police
past the celebrating US families, with the cops really not wanting
to draw attention to the protests.
This action was one of several around the country under the name
From America Independence Day appropriately held on July
4th - with veteran peace campaigner Lindis Percy leading a demo
of 100 at the Menwith Hill US spy base in North Yorkshire (for more
and the Feltwell US bases traditional July 4th funfair for
servicemens families, which had a group of peace campaigners
as an added attraction.
The underground complex at Daws Hill was built during the heady
cold war days of the 1980s, and has an electric fence around it
ready to switch on to keep the hoards out. It was the site of a
peace camp from 1982-84, established with Faslane, Molesworth, Lakenheath
and others after the Greenham Common all-women peace camp (see www.greenhamwpc.org.uk).
* There will be The Big Demo at RAF Lakenheath - the biggest
US air force base in Europe on October 1st at the Lakenheath
Main Gate. For more see www.motherearth.org/lakenheathaction
Carol Fisher was stapling an anti-Bush poster to phone poles in
Cleveland USA last January, when two police officers approached
and told her that posting was illegal. She said she was willing
to take it down but before she could do so, one of the officers
suddenly backed her against a shop window and demanded her to show
him her ID. Carol didnt refuse to do so, but offered to get
the ID from her car. Strangely, the officers didnt give her
the chance and instead cuffed her hands and threw her on the pavement,
holding down her face. Carol called out in protest to bystanders
but never made any aggressive moves against the officers. She was
the one being assaulted, then taken to hospital and later charged
with two counts of felony assault.
As if that wasnt enough, she was recently found guilty in
a strongly biased court-hearing on 2nd of June, with conflicting
evidence given by heavily-coached witnesses, was forced
to undergo a psychiatric examination and finally sentenced to two
months in jail, with two years of probation including community
service and mandatory anger management classes. Good old free speech
in the Land of Liberty! The verdict will be appealed as Carol hasnt
committed any of the offences shed been charged with. * For
information and support, see www.worldcantwait.net
- 7, 8 & 10-15th - Indymedia film festival - with films
about topics from climate change to war on terror and more. www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/london
- 8 - Second Sustainable Science Symposium, a day of talks
and workshops hosted by Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
in conjunction with the University of East London with
a focus on architecture and sustainable building technologies,
with other family friendly events. Call 01654 705957 or visit
- 9 - Profiting from the Occupation. Conference with Dr
Mustafa Barghouti (Palestinian Presidential Candidate and MP)
and Elizabeth Corrie (cousin of murdered activist Rachel Corrie)
about how corporations like Caterpillar, Connex and high street
supermarkets are exploiting the Occupation of Palestine, and international
resistance. 10:30am- 7pm, free, Human Rights Action Centre 17-25
New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA web www.waronwant.org
- 10 - Big Aldermaston Blockade. Resist Britains WMD
programme - Stop the next generation of nuclear weapons! Corporate
war profiteers and their military masters are building new nuclear
weapons facilities at Britains nuclear bomb factory at Aldermaston
in Berkshire. Come and join us for a big and practical/active
NVDA blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) www.blockthebuilders.org.uk/action
- 13 Talk from the President of the powerful Iraqi oil
workers union in Basra, Hassan Jumaa who will be speaking
at the Iraq Occupation Focus monthly meeting. Hear about how this
repressed union is fighting the US-led grab for Iraqs oil
resources. 7.30pm, the Indian YMCA, 41 Fitzroy Square, London,
WC1. (tube Warren St). www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk
- 14 - Oscar Olivera, the renowned trade union activist who led
the fight against water privatisation in Cochabamba, Bolivia,
is to talk in Brighton, followed by a short film by the Bolivian
Solidarity Campaign. 7.30pm, at Friends Meeting House, Ship Street,
Brighton, free entry. Call 07886 313196, email email@example.com
- 15 - Titnore Woods Tree Camp Open Day, 12pm. Workshops
include shelter construction, camp cooking, nature trail and more.
for directions and more information.
Losing in the real battlefields of Iraq, the Pentagon is unleashing
virtual wars it can win. Mercenaries 2:World in Flames released
by Pentagon subcontractor Pandemic studios deals with the oh-so
fictional scenario of a power-hungry tyrant messing with Venezuelas
oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a war
zone.. You play a mercenary whose job is to sow mayhem and
devastation until Venezeula achieves democratic norms.
It boasts No morals and no rules has never been so much fun.
Pandemic, who develop battlefield simulations for the Pentagon
and then turn them into family-friendly shoot em ups such
as Full Spectrum Warrior, were recently acquired by none other than
Bono for £300 million. Not content with lecturing about poverty
and flogging (RED) products, hes now considering an X-Box
version of Sunday Bloody Sunday where you play a crack
paratrooper gunning down civil rights demonstrators.
In response, SchNEWSsoft is shortly to release Nihilist Assault
Group: U2 Must Die (for Linux) where your mission is to find
your way through a maze of bullshit at a global summit to hunt down
an ego-mad rock star threatening the public with toxic industrial
hypocrisy. We boast Never has no morals and no rules
ever been so depressing.
SchNEWS warns all readers - if not you then who,
if not now then when... Honest!
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