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The free weekly direct action newsheet published in Brighton since 1994 - Copyleft - Information for Action


....The Last Word From SchNEWS

The SchNEWS crew have decided to call it a day. We might stick out unexpected one-offs when the mood takes us but this will be the last issue of Brighton's very own 'direct action newsletter'.

It's been twenty years give or take, from humble beginnings in a now legendary squatted Court House to humbler endings in a ramshackle office out the back of an anarchist social centre. The SchNEWS back catalogue is a history of two decades worth of party and protest, from Reclaim the Streets to Reclaim the Power, from anti-globalisation to anti-fracking, from Bogota to Balcombe (via Newbury).

This year we blew the lid off the Infrastructure Bill (and even got a mention in the House of Lords), shone a light on the privatisation of probation, took on Michael Gove's rewrite of the First World War, stood with Anti-Fascist massive in Tower Hamlets, and took aim how the British government was arming Israel during the bombing of Gaza.

Much as we'd like to say that the time for talking is over and we're about to launch an underground guerrilla war from a network of bunkers along the South Coast the truth is that we're throwing in the towel because of a lack of the people and interest required to keep going.

In many ways the format that SchNEWS originally came out in - a weekly printed A4 sheet - now looks like something Gerrard Winstanley might have knocked out. In the era of Twitter and Tumblr it seems deliberately archaic.

In a world where anyone can self-publish, and corporate-owned social media platforms are the primary form of public expression, grassroots media faces many challenges. In theory, the fact that anyone can start a blog or website should lead to a more democratic form of journalism. However, while certainly adding to the ferment of debate, these platforms haven't actually strengthened our collective voice as a movement.


Playing the Facebook game demands a huge amount of energy, and the corporate monster is not a level playing field. With complex advertising deals and algorithms determining what you do or don't see, maintaining an impact on social media requires hours and hours per week of social networking. For us, that hasn't been feasible.

The pattern we observe is not people reporting from the front, but an increasing reliance on mainstream sources for actual news, padded out with a series of personal reflections. Rather than having a media that can reach out, we are confined to an internet echo chamber.

The very speed of real-time news has meant that it is only salaried commentators who can keep up. The demand for news this instant leaves activists fighting for social change playing catch-up, while their actions are reported and analysed by corporate media. By the time you're out of the cop shop and in front of a computer, the twitterati have beaten you to it.

Some corporate platforms even look grassroots: take Vice as a pernicious example. They're all over activism, and some of their stuff is good. But the company is part-owned by Murdoch's Fox News, they won't tell you how to get involved in direct action, and they're unlikely to be interested until your campaign is already a big deal.

There is a real dearth of genuine grassroots media in the UK right now. But more than ever we need a genuine radical media - we are faced with a dying planet, mega corporations seizing control under the wing of militarised nation states, and a widening gap between rich and poor. We need to create vibrant alternative news platforms which inform and inspire.

The SchNEWS collective is taking a break before launching back into the radical media world to forge new networks, with a new model and new enthusiasm. Watch this space.

In the meantime thank you to everyone over the years who has participated by donating, writing, distributing, doing the accounts, keeping the office tidy, making tea, mailing out , manning info stalls, film making, fund raising, making us laugh, supplying crap puns, but most of all getting out there and sticking it to the Man.

And always remember "If you're not pissed off - you're not paying attention"

There are 37 comments on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 26th September 2014 @ 9:49 AM
Bollocks. While i've been wiping my arse with the Fail on a daily basis, yours is the only bloody worthwhile read - not least because it's a succintly put tirade against what actually IS up with the world.
My kids have been raised on your fayre; enlightenment is easy when you know where to look - how will I educate both them and me now you're off? Utterly selfish as that point is, you have been a distinctly rational, completely coherent voice in the whole echo chamber that is the media.
Ive nothing but total love and respect for you; you're entirely entitled to take a breather - like many others i've failed to get around to doing my bit too so fair play to you for wanting to lend your astonishing commitment in another direction.
Enormous thanks, appreciation and love to you for all the achievements you've notched up, all the illumination you've shed on our frankly farcical world, all the funny stuff and well, just all of it.
You leave a powerful legacy and a history that is regarded as seriously as any other works of literature (you are a point of ref for numerous university courses for those that dont know) and i salute you.
You could kick me for failing to put this much effort into supporting you and thatd be fair enough too ;-) but you're spot on in all your reasons so im looking forward to buying whatever i dont have in my collection and meeting your new incarnation.
Love n light to you all. Hope the piss up lasts for days n hope you're back soon. The only other worthwhile writers are few and far between and you leave a gaping hole.
Added By: Jes - 26th September 2014 @ 10:19 AM
Trusting your judgement, Schnewsers, but totally agreeing with anonymous above... Enough appreciation is unlikely to be shown for such an imperatively valiant stand. Looking forward to your return in whichever guise you adopt....but bits of A4 paper rock, Seesaws.
Added By: vapidness - 26th September 2014 @ 10:56 AM
In the meantime at least there's libcom
Added By: Anonymous - 26th September 2014 @ 12:09 PM
As a long term email reader, I'm sad to see Schnews go. A4 paper is still a great format, although I was getting the email version for most of the last few years. Agree with your critique of online activism. The real trick is not to get the message out on modern medium, it's to get people to stop clicking like buttons and get out into the real world
Added By: Clive - 26th September 2014 @ 2:38 PM
Thank you all.
Added By: Anonymous - 26th September 2014 @ 3:05 PM
Respect x
Added By: Thankyou Schnews, - 26th September 2014 @ 4:31 PM
I am 30something, so, found your schnewsletter in grubbs as a teen.


remember there is always the wayback archive :


Saved 632 times between January 17, 1999 and September 24, 2014.

PLEASE DONATE TODAY. Your generosity preserves knowledge for future generations. Thank you.
Added By: Ange - 26th September 2014 @ 4:53 PM
I echo all the comments too by anonymous, I've always wondered how/where your news has been obtained, I will have to look much harder. I'm full of admiration and appreciation for all your reporting over the years. Big love and respect, thank you for everything. xx
Added By: Schnews Reader. - 26th September 2014 @ 7:16 PM

Thank you so very much for all you have done.
I am sure Gerrard Winstanley would have been a sound subscriber too.
Kudos comrades.
Added By: Anonymous - 26th September 2014 @ 7:32 PM
The only paper i trust.

Thank you for everything - not least giving me interesting points of analysis throughout my degree all those years ago.

Good luck for whatever comes next.

Added By: Gerard - 26th September 2014 @ 7:39 PM
Catch your breath and see you round the corner, spreading the good word in other guises! Well done all - and what anonymous said, too.
Added By: mr apoxy resin - 27th September 2014 @ 12:58 AM

Schnuff Said

Added By: Anonymous - 27th September 2014 @ 4:30 AM
NOOOOO!!!!!! Sad times indeed to say goodbye to a truly grassroots organisation that informed and inspired myself and countless others...letting us know that we are not alone in being pissed off about the way our 'society' is structured, and that we CAN do something about it, that people ARE doing something about it, and how YOU can get involved.

To all the people that have given their time, energy and resources to research, write and distribute this newsletter- week after week- to inform and inspire all of us with integrity and humour for the past 20 years... we thank you!!

For the amazing work you have done for prisoners everywhere- political or otherwise- in creating a support network, facilitating much needed legal advice and financial aid, (including me personally)- we salute you!!!

For all the actions and projects that have happened, and will continue to happen, because of the conversations you have inspired at demos, protest sites, parties, festivals and Brighton based pubs and burger shops ;) - your legacy lives on...

So long, and thanks for all the SchNEWS!!

Love and Rage xxxxx
Added By: Steven - 27th September 2014 @ 3:27 PM
dear all, thanks so much for all your amazing work over the years! I'm very sorry to hear that you are throwing in the towel with this venture. However I completely understand your reasons. I myself gave up on print media in about 2005 because the amount of work compared with the benefit was just unsustainable.

Someone above mentioned libcom.org: we have a large following on social media and a big readership, however we desperately need people to do news style coverage like you guys did. So then if you are looking for somewhere to publish news which will get out of people we hope you would consider making use of our site. Depending on what you wanted there are a variety of options, such as having a libcom blog perhaps? Anyway for free to drop us a line: libcom.org at gmail.com.

Anyway, thanks again for all the information and the lolz, and all the best for the future!
Added By: Sarah - 27th September 2014 @ 7:28 PM
Added By: An old Corporate Watcher as was - 27th September 2014 @ 8:02 PM
Thank you all and long live the rant sheet you can still read in the bath. The trick to it is to stick to it, stop the click click to it and JUST DO IT. See you out here sometime when the kids have grown up and the secret millionaires have visited us all. Xxxx
Added By: :( - 27th September 2014 @ 8:58 PM
I'm gonna miss you, Schnews. Margaret Mead said, 'never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' You helped to inspire and inform an awful lot of these thoughtful citizens - thank you.
Looking forward to your next incarnation, though.
Added By: world traveller from Brighton - 27th September 2014 @ 10:09 PM
On one of my travels over 10 years ago, I was passing through Christchurch New Zealand, one of the most southern cities on the planet.

A gentleman of our ilk was handing out A4 sheets of paper. I took one and was so proud to see schnews, we chatted for a while.

He had photocopied and regularly distributed schnews.

The message has been spread far and wide and you should be very proud!

Long live schnews!!
Added By: Anonymous - 27th September 2014 @ 10:14 PM
Good bye and thank you xxxx
Added By: johnnysolstice - 28th September 2014 @ 2:26 AM
Added By: Rupture - 28th September 2014 @ 9:39 AM
Respect guys. Respect.
You've done an amazing job over the years and were a true inspiration for us to go and create our own zine for the free-party scene, giving ourselves a voice.
I'm so glad to see in your closing statement that you will only be taking a break and that we can expect you to come again with a fresh angle on the amazingly important work you do!
Enjoy your well deserved break. x
Added By: Anonymous - 28th September 2014 @ 5:12 PM
Cheers all, it's been emotional. Thank you for all your efforts over the years
Added By: Anonymous - 28th September 2014 @ 7:55 PM
In the early days of Reclaim the Streets, the A4 schnews flyer handed out at events was the best way to find out about the next one.

schnews definitely improved the quality of my life.
Added By: Dr.woooo - 29th September 2014 @ 2:13 PM
So much love and respect. So lovely to meet john in oz in 200?
Added By: Sue - 29th September 2014 @ 4:59 PM
Sad to read this, a real end of an era! I do I understand your reasons though.
It almost seems like you have always been there, I thought you started before The Courthouse, (I was there, painting walls!) we often had a pile of SchNews on the Head mag stall and used to give them out at Symbiosis parties and you were part of the fabric of Brighton for me in those days. I still have your first two books on my shelf, may be time for another read!
It's true testament to you all and your passion that you have kept going all this time.
I wish you all lots of luck, thanks for all you've done. Have a good rest, you deserve it! x
Added By: Ted - 29th September 2014 @ 7:38 PM
Thanks for your hard work over the years...I was a roads protester at Solsbury Hill, Fairmile, Newbury, etc when I first started reading the Schnews...the fight against the CJA/CJB, RTS, Hunt Sabs among other activities...best 'Crap arrest of the week'? when we tied a security guard into a portaloo...hahaha, happy memories. It was always important to read about other activists around the country during long winter months en camp awaiting evictions, etc...Schnews and other publications were a lifeline in days before internet...good luck for the future
Added By: Geoff - 29th September 2014 @ 9:26 PM
Thanks for all the great work over the years; Good Luck with the next phase
Added By: Ben Samuel - 29th September 2014 @ 10:52 PM
I didn't know vice were part owned by Murdoch. And the fact they're distributed by YouTube which is full of sensational adverts means, if you're not paying for it, you are the product.
Added By: MARTYN HEALER - 29th September 2014 @ 11:37 PM
Blessings and thank you to everyone who had a big and little part ,never underestimate the importance you all had,its been legendary ,it is a sad sad day for me , love to all of you ...
Added By: Anonymous - 30th September 2014 @ 8:12 AM
I will always love you Schnews. Thanks for the good times. Thanks for being there. The world is really going to miss you.
Added By: Illya - 30th September 2014 @ 8:37 AM

Sorry to see you go - I can still remember your stall at Strawberry Fair one (or more?) sunny Saturday afternoon(s?), and buying SchNEWS SQUALL the 2001 yearbook, which does still grace my bookshelf. Well, all good things have to come to an end, they say, but then other new good things come into existence. Bless you all and your good works.
Added By: Anonymous - 30th September 2014 @ 2:40 PM
Gutted to see you are finally shutting up shop!
I've been an avid reader of your since moving to Brighton more than 12 years ago, first picking up the print version on a weekly basis while having a breakie in the Dumb Waiter or whilst checking out the latest gigs in the Punker Bunker, and then more recently keeping an eye on what's going on through keeping you as my home page.

Yours is the only source of news I would really trust. You will be sorely missed.

Thanks for all the hard work keeping us all informed over the years!
Added By: Rob - 30th September 2014 @ 4:53 PM
A shame to think I won't have my weekly blast of real news any more to look forward to, but onwards and upwards. Good luck in everything you do in the future.
Added By: Anonymous - 1st October 2014 @ 12:37 AM
Huge respect and thanks for all of your contributions for even as they started to fall on deaf ears like mine, they are eventually awakening, thanks so you and others like you, though you may never know the true effect of your work. Many Thanks, Wishing you all well xxx
Added By: Anonymous - 1st October 2014 @ 6:40 PM
Thanks fr all you efforts
Added By: stanley - 2nd October 2014 @ 5:17 PM
thank you. well done. good luck.
Added By: Dave - 4th October 2014 @ 1:22 AM
1994 in a pub upstairs. Leicester, Anti Criminal Justice Bill. Travelers, anarchists, flufifies, spikies, ravers, Mods, house heads, young trade unionists, trots, soon to be very famous artists, Schnew is handed over. Eyes are opened. Never to be closed. Desert Storm Drive into Park Lane. Police decide to vacate Hyde Park for reasons best known to themselves. 20 years later schnews is still touching people.

When a business moves on or sells: part of its value is its 'Brand' Schnews has enormous capital. Just because you cant update as often as you'd like. Don't chuck it in. Your social capital (as they say) is Huge: Like you wouldn't believe.

Either way what ever you do. I love and respect you all. And your work. Fight the power until the people are the power. xx
SchNEWS On Twitter...
Twitter: @SchNEWS