BACK ISSUES

SchNEWS 775, 17th June 2011
Flaming June? - Is the big fight on? Union responses to the Tory cuts have so far been fairly muted - the M26 outing, resembling a cross between a family picnic and a Labour Party rally. However on June 30th the largest public sector strikes since the 80s are planned. With the Daily Mail claiming that ‘Union Barons’ plan to ‘unleash hell’, what’s actually going to happen?

SchNEWS 774, 10th June 2011
Going to Hell-as - Over a thousand migrants have been arrested and made homeless over the last two months after the Greek government launched a sweeping crackdown in the port city of Igoumenitsa. Last month the Greek government announced the scorched earth policy at Igoumenitsa alongside plans to begin the construction of 14 new detention and deportation centres.

SchNEWS 773, 27th May 2011
No Spain, No Gain - We've got the Arab Spring – what about a European summer? It's a week since thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators pitched up in central Madrid - and revolution fever is spreading across Europe like nits in a playground. With the Spanish sit-in still going strong, street demonstrations have also hit Greece, Georgia, and, er, Bristol. Protests are spreading to Italy, France, Portugal, Austria even German - could it be that last year's initial protests against austerity measures are maturing, one year on, into a broader demand for political reform?

SchNEWS 772, 20th May 2011
A Bit of Hows Yer Intifada? - A mass non-violent (or at least unarmed) resistance movement is on the move in Palestine. Inspired by the events in neighbouring Arab countries but drawing on decades of resistance - the Third Intifada may be here. The waves of the Arab movement are beginning to lap at the Israeli shore.

SchNEWS 771, 13th May 2011
Fracking Hell - A few months since Fukishima, nearly a year since Deepwater Horizon but the global elite aren’t resting on their laurels and it looks like we won’t have to wait too long for the fossil fuel industry to cause the next environmental apocalypse. New kid on the block is the appropriately named ‘fracking’ – or, more explicitly: hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers thousands of feet deep – and its coming here soon.

SchNEWS 770, 6th May 2011
Baa Baa Black Block - Operation Brontide swung into full force last week, coincidentally just before the Royal wedding. Cops claim to be after 276 people for offences including violent disorder and criminal damage committed during the March for the Alternative on 26th March. In fact this is  a legally dubious fishing exercise designed to seize equipment and display state power.

SchNEWS 769, 29th April 2011
Stoking the Fires - Last Thursday (21st), the Stokes Croft area of Bristol was the scene of violent clashes between police and protesters of  he kind not seen in the city since 1980. The hours of rioting that lasted from 9pm until five or six the following morning were prompted firstly by the eviction of the Telepathic Heights squat, and then tapped into deep anger in the community against the opening of another unwanted Tesco store

SchNEWS 768, 22nd April 2011
Watch My Lips - A hunger strike by 6 Iranian asylum seekers, five of whom have sewn their mouths shut, is currently in progress in London. Three are camping outside Amnesty International's offices in Clerkenwell, and three are at the Home Office in Croydon.

SchNEWS 767, 15th April 2011
Taking Libya-Ties - Medyan Daireh, a Brighton-based Al Jazeera journalist who has previously covered conflicts in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Turkey and Kosovo has just returned from a stint in Libya. He covered the uprising against Colonel Gadaffi, spent weeks living with the rebels and visited all of the rebel-controlled areas. SchNEWS took the opportunity to get his views on the rebels’ struggle and the situation in Libya:

Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Friday 24th June 2011 | Issue 776

WAKE UP!! IT'S YER LAST CHANCE TO SEIZE...

SchNEWS

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Story Links : Squatting on Heaven's Door | Fair and Square: R.I.P. Brian Haw | EDL: Ruck on Tommy | What's the Pig Idea? | Not Back to Iraq | Greek Chorus of Doom | And Finally

SQUATTING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR

AS TORIES THREATEN HALLOWED ANCIENT SQUATTING RIGHTS

As expected: Following the opportunistic yelps of a jumped-up tory media-whore (see SchNEWS 764), against the background of a right-wing ideological crusade, the criminalisation of squatting is now on parliament’s agenda. This week the government announced a brief consultation period was under-way on the issue of occupation without authorisation. The sights of the Tory legislative blunderbuss are slowly being zeroed in, battle lines are being drawn and arguments rehearsed. As every day goes by, the corporate press prejudice people further against one of the few remaining laws that empowers the many against the few.

The squatting community and it’s supporters have to fight their corner without the benefit of funds, media presence or political influence - they must work from the ground up and rely on the ability of people (and in this case, worryingly, politicians) to judge fairly between logical arguments. Some squatters have already risen to the challenge - Squattastic is an irregular though frequent series of open meetings, held in a chain of different squatted properties, mainly in the London area to discuss ways in which this crack down can be combated.

In a more mainstream stylee - The SQUASH Campaign is a dedicated group of activists and researchers who have already given a briefing to Parliament attacking the proposed change to the law - this was presented on May the 18th and was attended and supported by several well-known groups involved with homelessness issues, including Crisis and Shelter.

We are in the midst of a housing crisis in which rents are increasing, people are struggling to get mortgages  and housing benefit is being slashed. This is gonna have a big knock-on effect on homelessness. Meanwhile, 870,000 homes lie empty and there’s enough empty commercial property to create 420,000 new homes. Far from being a social menace - squatting is a positive short-term solution to homelessness, requiring initiative and responsibility. It’s free of government cost and management. To make it illegal right now is both stupid and inhumane could at best be described as foolish, at worst inhumane.

The Tory proposals, whatever concrete form they take in law, will cost a packet to enforce. If you’er kicked out of your squat repeatedly then unless yer a real die-hard then you’re probably gonna end up on housing benefit.  If even half of the government’s conservative estimate of 20,000 squatters were receiving benefits for housing, the cost would be around £50 million a year. The policing and court costs that would result from a change in the law (involving general enforcement, evictions, prosecutions and human rights cases) would also hit the taxpayer in the pocket.  Squatters currently cost the taxpayer nothing.

Yer ever suspicious SchNEWS detects an ulterior motive behind the government’s plans, above and beyond protecting  Mr&Mrs Semi-deatched  while they’re in the Algarve for a fortnight? The law already provides virtually instant eviction for squatters daft enough to crack a family home - this is provided by clauses allowing ‘displaced residential occupiers’ and ‘protected intending occupiers’ to force entry if their homes are occupied.

The new laws are of course designed to protect the commercial sector - and would of course have the effect of criminalising all protest camps. It seems that certain sections of the Conservative government are either blind or uncaring as to the harm that this pandering to business and property-owners will cause to the vulnerable in our society. Squatters won’t be the  only ones directly affected - SchNEWS gives it 24 hours after the law goes through before some dodgy landlord is using it to force through an illegal eviction with police assistance.

* For more info, see the SQUASH campaign’s parliamentary briefing- www.squashcampaign.org/resources

** To get involved in the struggle against the Tory anti-squatting agenda, check out the next Squattastic - info available from their blog, http://squattastic.blogspot.com

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FAIR AND SQUARE: R.I.P. BRIAN HAW

This week peace campaigner Brian Haw passed away after a year-long fight with lung cancer.
Chances are he’ll be remembered for many years to come as an iconic figure in British life. He transformed himself into a fixture in both Parliament Square and public consciousness. His one-man protest began in July 2001, initially against the sanctions regime which was destroying life in Iraq.

Then came 9/11 and the subsequent wars. Haw lived, slept, eulogised and shouted one helluva lot in his one-man peace camp for the last ten years of his life, all for the sake of child victims of war.

At the beginning he represented an outsider’s take on UK foreign policy, ten years later and he was articulating mainstream wisdom; our leaders are crooks and liars who took us into an illegal and unjustifiable war with devastating consequences for millions.

His intransigence was a constant niggle to the authorities. Not many people can say they’ve had laws drafted purely to move them on, but Brian won that honour after the Parliament Square clauses of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 were passed. These failed hilariously when the courts ruled that as his protest  had started before the Act he was the only person in the world it didn’t apply to.

Unable to pass the Brian Haw and Associated Matters Act 2006, the authorities were then forced to adopt more underhand means of getting him to move on, including dubious charges of obstructing the highway, a constant stream of arrests and police harassment. Not to mention fencing off of the entire grassy area of the Square. Westminster Council stooped as low as claiming that the placards had to be cleared away in case terrorists seized an opportunity to stash a bomb amongst the tatty cardboard.

The public unveiling of the Nelson Mandela statue in 2007 had the authorities getting themselves in a twist with that whole tricky democracy / totalitarianism thing: Ironically, Haw was fenced off and hassled to keep him out of the cameras (see SchNEWS 601).

Even though child victims of war remain, Haw’s efforts became more than an anti-war and anti-sanction protest. He was making a statement about freedom of speech and assembly – one he won despite repeated and concerted efforts to get him moving on. For all the criticisms levelled at the guy, he understood one thing well: Irritating those in high places (and surrounding offices) isn’t a crime, it’s a tool. The Square’s going to be quieter without him.

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EDL: RUCK ON TOMMY

An attempted EDL attack on an anti-fascist benefit in Leeds was beaten off last Saturday. According to one eye-witness,“Around twenty of them tried to force their way through the door. They were forced back and soon legged it across the road where they had to resort to chucking bricks at the building.” This was the latest in series of EDL attacks on anti-fascist and left wing events The ‘Rage against Racism’ event was ambushed when only band members, bar staff and organisers were around. Cops arrived though and three of the invading group, identified as Bradford EDL, were nicked for their troubles. The gig, headlined by punk stalwarts the Oppressed, went ahead with a couple of boarded up windows. More R.A.R events are planned.

Across the country the EDL seem to be ramping up their efforts again with an attempt at multiple simultaneous demos across the country on July 9th - in Middlesbrough, Halifax, Derby, Cambridge and Plymouth. Previous regional demos have been characterised by low turn-outs as the rank and file only mobilise for the big ones. However they’ve also made threats to march through Tower Hamlets on 27th August. Previous attempts to do this have been abandoned as a ‘suicide mission’. Anti-fascists have promised to oppose them at every turn.

Police responses to future demos could be interesting as, following EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s arrest for public order offences, the EDL have decided to no longer cooperate with the police. Tommy’s not taken too kindly to his bail conditions (not that any of them would so much as ruffle a hunt sab’s feathers) and thrown his toys out the pram, stating:  “there will no longer be any Police Liaison...at all levels”.

* See www.uaf.org.uk and www.brightonantifascists.wordpress.com

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WHAT'S THE PIG IDEA?

Planning is underway for a US-style intensive pig farm in Foston, Derbyshire. The massive development would house 2,500 adult and 25,000 growing pigs – with 1,000 being sent to slaughter on a weekly basis.

Incredulously, the company Midland Pig Producers are billing this hell-hole as a green energy solution, by incorporating a biomass plant to recycle ‘retained gasses’. For a factory pig, even your farts can be commodified.  They also claim ‘there will be no significant impact on the fauna, flora, or water courses in the area as a result of this development’- a blatant gloss-over the fact that 30 acres of greenfield site will be bulldozed for the new factory.

Environmental and animal rights abuses notwithstanding, the introduction of intensive mega-farms in the UK is also a dark economic path. Able to operate on economies of scale, the mega farms will  push many smaller farms out of business. Eventually the whole of Norfolk will have to be covered over and turned into a single mega-hyper-giga farm.  

7,500 objections to the planning permission have been lodged so far. To send an objection or sign the petition see www.pigbusiness.co.uk

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NOT BACK TO IRAQ

A combination of courtroom and street level tactics saw a planned deportation flight to Iraq cancelled on Tuesday. This was to be the first mass deportation charter flight to Iraq.  About 70 Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds, were due to be forcibly flown on a specially chartered flight from an undisclosed airport at 11pm.

No Borders and refugee solidarity activists blockaded the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigration prisons, near Heathrow airport, to hold up transport onto the flight. Lying in the road with lock-ons, they held the blockade for around five hours. Meanwhile lawyers on behalf of the Immigration Advisory service succeeded in getting an injunction against the deportations - meaning the blockade was able to pack up at 9pm with no arrests.

* See www.noborders.org.uk

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GREEK CHORUS OF DOOM

Next Tuesday (28th) the perilous Greek parliament will vote on whether to impose new, even more savage EU-IMF austerity measures in return for being loaned the next €12bn instalment of a bailout agreed last year. If they don’t, and the loans are withheld, they will default on loan payments in July, sparking economic chaos in European finance markets. If they do, more and more of the Greek public are likely to come out in open revolt (see SchNEWS 775, 771).  

Greece are €350bn in debt. This is 150% of GDP – all the money they get in each year, before spending anything at all on government, the public sector, defence, law, health etc. etc. And they currently spend 110% of GDP on all that. This not only leaves them unable to make debt repayments, it means they need to borrow more just to stand still. And the debt mountain just keeps rising – and faster than any foreseeable future scenario could ever start paying it off.

A leading economist this week claimed just this, having run a model where Greece successfully imposed all austerity and enforced privatisation measures, and somehow managed to get ‘highly optimistic’ 3% growth (even the rich countries are predicting levels of less 2% anywhere in Europe). By 2015 their debt mountain will be near €400bn. Meanwhile in reality, all the public sector cuts and collapse of services are reducing the size of the economy and GDP, actually increasing the spiral of unserviceable debt.    

This all means that without a different approach one thing is inevitable. Greece will default. But when?

Sooner will mean that the other Eurozone countries (mainly Germany and France) and will have to swallow up to €250bn of losses (Greek banks have around 25% of the debt) and deal with the political turmoil and fallout. Would contagion bring down Ireland, Portugal or Spain? Would it push the Eurozone into recession, would the masses in all these countries start thinking ‘if Greece, why not us...?’

Later and Eurozone countries will merely face ever larger losses and all the same problems as above.

But nonetheless the EU’s major interests just can’t seem to agree that major debt restructuring is the best bet forward, and seem paralysed into merely committing more and more of their taxpayers cash to loanshark bailouts that can never be repayed.

Whatever happens this coming week, Greece is a simmering pot ready to boil over - either financially or socially. Will the power elite find a radical way out of the crazy financial system death-slide in time?  

How ironic if the ‘birth place of democracy’ is where the final downfall of the liberal democracy Euro-cartel begins. We for one will welcome abject poverty and our new Chinese overlords with humble gratitude and servility.   

May EU live in interesting times...

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AND FINALLY

If Europe’s richest and most powerful can’t find a solution to Greece’s problems, perhaps they should take a leaf out of Greek Orthodox Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki’s good book. He came out on TV this week with a plea for help from the Almighty. No not Barak Obama, but God himself.

His holiness read a specially penned ‘debt relief prayer’, including the lines: “Oh Lord, we confess that we have sinned as a state and as a people in the management of the economic and monetary benefits entrusted to us … But no one is perfect and without sin on Earth … We ask for Your mercy and request that you continue to support us.”

It is unclear when he expects the multi-billion cheques from heaven to start arriving.

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers, beware Greek bearer-bonds. Honest.

 

SchMOVIES

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARCHIVE - Part one of the SchMOVIES collection 2009-2010 - This DVD features a number of films which were held by Sussex police for over a year following the raid and confiscation of all SchMOVIES equipment during an intelligence gathering operation in June 2009 related to the Smash EDO campaign.

REPORTS FROM THE VERGE - Smash EDO/ITT Anthology 2005-2009 - A new collection of twelve SchMOVIES covering the Smash EDO/ITT's campaign efforts to shut down the Brighton based bomb factory since the company sought its draconian injunction against protesters in 2005.

UNCERTIFIED - OUT NOW on DVD- SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2008 - Films on this DVD include... The saga of On The verge – the film they tried to ban, the Newhaven anti-incinerator campaign, Forgive us our trespasses - as squatters take over an abandoned Brighton church, Titnore Woods update, protests against BNP festival and more... To view some of these films click here

ON THE VERGE - The Smash EDO Campaign Film - is out on DVD. The film police tried to ban - the account of the four year campaign to close down a weapons parts manufacturer in Brighton, EDO-MBM. 90 minutes, £6 including p&p (profits to Smash EDO)

TAKE THREE - SchMOVIES Collection DVD 2007 featuring thirteen short direct action films produced by SchMOVIES in 2007, covering Hill Of Tara Protests, Smash EDO, Naked Bike Ride, The No Borders Camp at Gatwick, Class War plus many others. £6 including p&p.

V For Video Activist - the SchMOVIES 2006 DVD Collection - twelve short films produced by SchMOVIES in 2006. only £6 including p&p.

SchMOVIES DVD Collection 2005 - all the best films produced by SchMOVIES in 2005. Running out of copies but still available for £6 including p&p.

SchNEWS Books

SchNEWS At Ten - A Decade of Party & Protest - 300 pages, £5 inc p&p (within UK)

Peace de Resistance - issues 351-401, 300 pages, £5 inc p&p

SchNEWS of the World - issues 300 - 250, 300 pages,£4 inc p&p.

SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001 - SchNEWS and Squall back to back again - issues 251-300, 300 pages, £4 inc p&p.

SchQUALL - SchNEWS and Squall back to back - issues 201-250 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Survival Guide - issues 151-200 - Sold out - Sorry

SchNEWS Annual - issues 101-150 - Sold out - Sorry

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

These books are mostly collections of 50 issues of SchNEWS from each year, containing an extra 200-odd pages of extra articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow pages” list of contacts, comedy etc. SchNEWS At Ten is a ten-year round-up, containing a lot of new articles.

Subscribe 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.