Skip to content or view mobile version

Home | Mobile | Editorial | Mission | Privacy | About | Contact | Help | Security | Support

A network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues.

Council threatens dissident with ASBO!

Mike Lane | 30.03.2005 22:38 | Liverpool

Political activist and council tenant in Manchester is threatened with an ASBO and eviction for posting anti-war in Iraq leaflets.

I predicted some months ago that it would only be a matter of time before local government service providers and agencies started to use the harassment laws to silence political dissidents. The article below surely proves that we are slowly having our civil liberties and freedom of speech destroyed.

Manchester Evening News
(300,000 readers)

Eviction Threat to activist tenant


A COUNCIL tenant who put anti war leaflets through his neighbour’s letterboxes could face eviction.

Communist Melvyn Drage was stunned to be given an anti social behaviour interview after his notes led to a series of complaints.

Mike lane, they were not notes they were Communist Party of Great Britain leaflets.

Manchester council officers warned the 48-year-old graduate he was in breach of his tenancy when his political views affected the “peace” of others and they threatened to take action if he refused to stop.

Mr Drage, of new Moston, said: “This is a complete overreaction and entirely political. I could not believe what the council were doing.

“If I was a Christian and wanted to give out leaflets that would be all right. I don’t see how putting a leaflet through somebody’s door can be a nuisance. If people don’t like it they can put it in the bin. I find the material put out by the Labour Party offensive but I don’t think someone should be evicted for posting it.”

Mr Drage, who lives in the Bradford Court tower block, posted 50 the leaflets headed: “End the occupation: victory to the Iraqi resistance,” to neighbouring flats.

Tenants complained at what they saw as a call for the defeat of British troops.

Mr Drage was called for an anti social behaviour warning interview and told to stop handing out leaflets or risk “further action” – usually a final warning followed by an appeal to the courts. That can end with an eviction, an injunction to stop or an anti social behaviour order, with the threat of up to five years in jail.

Mr Drage said he was prepared to fight the case under the Humane Rights Act.

Manchester council’s assistant housing director, Mike Stevens, said: “We recognise that Mr Drage has a right to hold his political views and express them.

However, we have received a number of complaints from residents who find some aspects of the contents of his leaflets offensive.”

Mike Lane: They were not Mr Drage’s leaflets. They were leaflets published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, of which Mr Drage is a member.

The leaflet in question said:

Heading in large letters:

End the occupation: victory to the Iraqi resistance!
No war for oil!

The contents of the leaflets were:

Today, when the war for cheap oil has only made oil more expensive, and resistance in Iraq is inspiring resistance all over the globe, even the friends of imperialism are forced to acknowledge the truth of Mao’s famous dictum that “imperialism lifts the rock only to drop it on it’s own feet”. The imperialists’ dreams for a pliant and plundered Iraq are lying in tatters.

Sovereign government?

Since the alleged hand over of power in June, the US’s latest stooge in Iraq is the puppet lyad Allowi, a CIA agent and gangster, exiled to London for the last 30 years. Allawi recently proved his credentials by pulling out a pistol and murdering six prisoners merely suspected of belonging to the resistance.

Totally ignoring the fact that the Iraqi people are fighting tooth and nail to get rid of them, Downing Street and the White House say their troops will stay on for just as long as the new government wants them. They have installed a puppet government that will never ask for the imperialist troops to leave and are setting up sham elections where only pro-occupation/pro-imperialist candidates will be allowed to stand. The imperialists are determined to make their puppet government permanent.

Meanwhile all power rests with the US embassy, which, with a staff of 3,000, is the US’s colonial office, while ambassador John Negroponte now controls the real business of Iraq, with 165,000 troops, five offices around the country and an $18.4bn budget for reconstruction (most of which is actually being spent on the military).

Warmongers exposed

One by one the justifications given by the British and the US for launching the invasion have collapsed.

It has been proven that Iraq never had WMD and that the imperialists knew that all along. Moreover, possession of such weapons is not actually a crime.

The invasion as liberation argument has been decimated by revelations of systematic abuse and torture of prisoners. In fact, these practices are nothing new. British imperialism has been using the same techniques for centauries against national liberation fighters in India, Kenya, Malaysia, Ireland, ect.

While Washington officials issue statements about the dawning of a new democracy, the US appointed government is introducing martial law and the death penalty and closing down anti-occupation media. While the international press is filled with assurances of Iraqi sovereignty, Iraq’s elected president, Saddam Hussein, is held in jail by US soldiers.

Resistance continues

If they had been less blinded by the promises of fabulous profits, or less desperate to control Iraqi oil and find a way out of imperialism’s ever-worsening crisis of overproduction, the invaders might have been better placed to learn from their own history that the people’s will for liberation is stronger than atom bombs. (Paul Robeson).

Thanks to the massive popular resistance, the US is finding it increasingly difficult to find willing collaborators. Whole sections of the Iraqi police regularly change sides and many cities have become no-go areas for the occupation.

Targeting of infrastructure by the resistance means that the occupiers are unable to provide the basic necessities of life.

Most importantly of all, targeting the oil refineries and pipelines has robbed the occupation of the means to pay its astronomical overheads.

As more foreign soldiers are killed or captured, countries that were press ganged into providing a veneer of international backing are withdrawing their troops, leaving the US and Britain isolated and exposed.

Our tasks

Imperialism does not care for liberty or democracy – if it did, it would give support to countries such as Cuba and North Korea (DPRK), countries where democracy and freedom are living laws rather than dead letters (and introduce them at home!)

The real problem for people all over the Middle East is continued imperialist interference, which has subjected them to a century of war in its quest to control the regions black gold.

The CPGB-ML’s is clear. There was never any justification for war in Iraq, which is an imperialist war for plunder and domination.

Such wars of aggression of aggression were condemned at the Nuremberg Tribunal after WW11 as the highest against humanity and, if we do not wish to be implicated in these crimes, we must do everything in our power to stop Britain’s participation.

This means refusing to cooperate in any way with the war effort – be it serving in the forces, making weapons, transporting equipment or putting out propaganda. Individually, we may be powerless, but collectively, the British working class has the ultimate veto over the war – they cannot fight it without us.

Marx wrote long ago that no nation that oppresses another can itself be free. British workers will never achieve anything for themselves while they continue to allow the British ruling class to plunder and pillage the rest of the world.
That is because of the fabulous wealth gained from looting abroad enables the bourgeoisie to bribe a section of the working class with better wages and conditions, converting them into what Lenin called a “labour aristocracy”, a better off section of workers that will fight tooth and nail to preserve its privilege, which can only be by preserving imperialism.

The labour aristocracy has succeeded in monopolising the leadership of the working class and in neutralising it. It is these leaders who are so keen to channel the anti-war movement into harmless, respectable activity such as lobbies and demonstrations. Not one of them ever tries to harness the real power of working people against the war – their ability to work itself.

That is why Lenin called these workers the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement. They do from within what the capitalists could not do from without.

If the profits from imperialist plunder were to dry up, then so would the privileges of these workers and the British working class would be one step closer to throwing off the chains of imperialist slavery for good.

Solidarity with the Iraqi people is not a question of altruism but a matter of the greatest importance and urgency for British workers. The Iraqi resistance is fighting on the front line against our common enemy – and every defeat inflicted makes our enemy a little weaker and our task a little easier.

Let us therefore work wholeheartedly for the defeat of British imperialism in Iraq.


Mike Lane
- e-mail: -
- Homepage: http://-


Hide the following 14 comments

offensive literature

31.03.2005 00:12

So doesn't this set a precedent then for all other literature which 'offends'?
Isn't there an election coming up and therefore a number of leaflets likely to cause 'offense' will be arriving?
Be sure to get the name of anyone leafleting door to door if you suspect the leaflets contents may cause offense ;)

......just a thought......



31.03.2005 10:32

should be locked up before they shoot us or put us all in gulags. Don't post your commie rubbish here, post it on the Havana Indymedia site. Oh, there isn't one, I wonder why.

T. Rotsky

re: commies

31.03.2005 11:05

T. Rotsky try not to be such a sectarian twat - think just a few secs before you open your mouth/put fingers to keyboard and think about the broader implications of this (never mind the difference between Communists, Trotskyites, Anarcho-Syndicalists etc etc), unless you just want to defend your own ideology with knee-jerk simplifications of history and diversity. Perhaps you've heard of Pastor Niemoller...(if you haven't, search t'internet for his famous & oh so relevant quote)

Anyway, lets talk about the implications of an ASBO against someone for dishing out leaflets or other campaigning things we might do (which does NOT include posting to Indymedia I'll add!), and perhaps even, what we might do about it?


Another nutter

31.03.2005 14:22

Wanna know why the Communist party of Great Britain has never managed to achieve any real progress in its many years of existence?

Because they rely on nutters and exploit the naivety of socially excluded loners. Who else would wish victory to the Iraqi 'resistance'?

Even if there was such a thing as honest counter-imperialist armed resistance in Iraq, and even if by some miracle they drove out the occupation, the Baath and its hordes of torturers, kidnappers, rapists and other devaints would regain power within days.

In fact the Baath is using the crazed religious fanatics and smalltime criminals who have called themselves 'resistance'. The Baath sits back, and waits for the right time to make its move, and take control of the situation. I think most people here know that as far as the occupaiers are concerend, the Baath was the preferred choice when leftists threatened to take control of Iraq. In every situation around the world, whenever progressive forces looked like they were close to victory, a right-wing dictatorship suddenyl gained arms, information, money and was granted immediate approval and diplomatic recognition upon its bloody victory.

The 'resistance' have no real program and their only contribution is to make Iraq more of a killing field than it already is. The only ones profiting out of this are Saddam and his gangs.

This 'resistance' does not tolerate women's rights, unionisation, the welfare state, sexual freedom, religious freedom, or legal due process. Yet a misguided activist spends hours supporting this gang of criminals- ones who would have him shot like a dog. Why would they do that? Because he's a self-confessed communist. Funny old world, where 'communists' spread the ideas that threaten the very existence of humanity and civilisation.

Abu Burkan

Defend the Right to Protest

31.03.2005 22:19

This is not the first, nor will it be the first time that Councils have tried this tactic to prevent any resistance to the state. This will continue if we let it.


Not really the point

01.04.2005 08:29

Dear Mr Ali 'why I voted in the Iraqi elections' Burkan

Democracy in Iraq is not the issue here. Democracy in Britain is.

self-confessed communist

The right to be a Stalinist crazy

01.04.2005 11:21

Looking at the leaflet that has caused offence - well, it certainly is offensive, unless you do actually think that in North Korea, liberty and democracy are living realities. And personally i think that Stalinism is pretty anti-social, when you think about it.

But the principle is pretty clear, as most people here have said. Everyone, including Stalinist crazies have the right to try and persuade people of their point of view and push their little leaflets through your door. To describe calling for the defeat of the British Army abroad as anti-social behaviour meriting the threat of imprisonment is outrageous.

This is yet another misuse of the increasingly over-used Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and another reason why this legislation should be re-examined and scrapped.

Alex Higgins
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

Abuse of Asbos

01.04.2005 14:59

Apart from cluttering it up with communist crap, which guaranteed no one would read what was otherwise and excellent leaflet on Iraq, the leaflet was no different to any other leaflets on Iraq.

If this was a genuine attempt to inform people on Iraq, why clutter the leaflet with communist crap? All this did was guarantee it would go straight in the bin. By all means push out crap on communism, its a free country, but don't distract from what is going on in Iraq.

This could have helped inform a few people on the the truth on Iraq. An opportunity wasted.

But then who said communists had brains?

But does it deserve an Asbo? The obvious answer is no. If it did, then every piece of junk mail through my letterbox would also deserve an Asbo.

What we are seeing is exactly as described by Mike Lane, a crude attempt to silence political dissent.

The same was tried in Aldershot with community activist Peter Sandy (now an independent councillor).

Pavilion Housing Association tried to silence Peter Sandy with an Asbo. He called their bluff. They rapidly backed down, but they were seen in their true light as bully boys trying to intimidate a tenant.

They also threatened him with eviction.

Pavilion is an example of just how bad housing associations can be and a warning to anyone thinking of voting yes to council house privatisation.,GGLD:2005-03,GGLD:en&q=Pavilion+site%3Awww%2Eindymedia%2Eorg%2Euk

Melvyn Drage is an activist tenant. Now we are getting somewhere.

Like Peter Sandy, he should call their bluff. If the case goes to court, highly unlikely, he should ensure his tenant activism gets a good airing.

Is Melvyn Drage in breach of his tenancy agreement? Highly unlikely. Again the parallels with Peter Sandy are remarkable.

If this ever gets into court, which is highly unlikely, it would be a massive own goal.

I find Tony Blair offensive, I find his fascist views offensive, even more so I find his illegal war on Iraq obscene. Does this mean I get every neo-Labour aparatchik five years in prison if they dare to abuse my letterbox with their views?

Also see

Keith Parkins, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Indymedia UK, 28 June 2004

Keith Parkins, Misuse of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Indymedia UK, 5 July 2004

I won't bother to comment on the purile comments!


Stalin good, BNP bad.

01.04.2005 20:04

Alex Higgins says 'Everyone, including Stalinist crazies have the right to try and persuade people of their point of view and push their little leaflets through your door.'

I totally agree with you Alex, although when I made the same kind of point about the BNP on another post some people were very rude to me, and even shocked me by using language so foul I've had to ask my grandma to stop looking at this site.

Don't worry though Alex. You defended free speech for Communists, I defended free speech for the BNP. You should be OK, I get the feeling this site is mainly visited by the Che Guevara T shirt tendency.

Free speech for all!


more loonies

01.04.2005 23:00

Another bunch of loonies.
using big words they don't understand.

freedom of speech only for those who believe in it. Not for BNP scum, fundie scum, and assorted scabs and leeches.

Alex higgins and other bottom-feeders can get away with this freedom of speech abuse because of the oversupply of Che t-shirts: pseudo lefties who don't even know the history of the left. That's why wasted abortions like Abu Hamza can abuse this freedom of speech thing, because those most rabidly defending fundamental freedoms have no idea what they really mean, and are only too happy to jump into bed with the day's cause celebre, regardless of their regressive tendencies.

Abu Burkan

Words we don't understand

02.04.2005 09:51

Abu Burkan,

"Another bunch of loonies. using big words they don't understand."

Abu Burkan, yeah, there are some things here i don't understand. Like what exactly a bottom-feeder is, for instance, and in what way people here are feeding bottoms (don't tell me, btw, i don't really want to know). Let's just put that outburst aside a moment and move on.

More seriously i don't understand how am i abusing freedom of speech by supporting it.

Since you have aggressively insisted that freedom of speech is an idea that i don't even understand, can we look at your definition?

"freedom of speech only for those who believe in it. Not for BNP scum, fundie scum, and assorted scabs and leeches."

Are you aware of the glaring contradiction in this statement? If you demand that freedom of speech be suppressed for those who don't believe in it, then clearly you don't believe in it yourself. "Assorted scabs and leeches" seems like a mighty broad category - i guees that makes for a flexible blacklist.

If you want to discuss what freedom of speech "really means", then how about starting with the basic Enlightenment principle, by now several hundred years old - "I detest what you say but defend to the death your right to say it."

As someone else pointed out, there are two positions you can take on freedom of speech, it's an either/or thing. You can be for it or you can be against it. You can't be for it in some cases only - that's the same as being against it.

The left does indeed have a history of suppressing free speech - and it hasn't exactly been our shining moments. Nobody has the right or the authority take away someone else's freedom to hold opinions, including foul ones, and try and persuade others that they're right.

"Alex higgins and other bottom-feeders can get away with this freedom of speech abuse because of the oversupply of Che t-shirts: pseudo lefties who don't even know the history of the left."

If you have such an understanding of the history of the left, then why resort to absurd stereotypes?

"...only too happy to jump into bed with the day's cause celebre, regardless of their regressive tendencies."

What - defending a Stalinist crazy's right to stick leaflets through a mail-box without being imprisoned? That is the cause celebre? Exactly whose bed am i meant to be in here?

Les, good for you, let me help you out then. I stick anti-fascist badges on, anti-BNP posters on my window and i'm always up for some anti-fascist action. But yes, even Nazis and racists should have their freedom of speech defended, because any suppression of that freedom sets a bad precedent. It's just that the rest of us have the right, and the responsibility, to oppose the BNP everywhere they go.

Like i said, freedom of speech is basically an either/or thing. And this is Indymedia after all.

Yes, i will even defend Abu Burkan's right to call me a know-nothing, Che-shirt wearing, reactionary, pseudo-lefty, embedded bottom-feeder on this website. Whatever that is.

Alex Higgins


02.04.2005 15:43

asbo abuse
there is a new group set up to takle abuse of asbo's i think its called asbo concern but if any one emails me i will forward to address just dont have it here also state watch have got a section on there site called asbo watch check it out

i know some one who got arrested last week for excessive use of a door bell at a police station and he spent the night in a cell these things are a fuckin disgrace! some of the other conditions on his interim asbo are he cant wave his arms in his garden or look out of his bedroom window the guy suffers from learning disabilities and has been locked up twice because of the interim asbo he is in court next week for the asbo and two breaches (for which he can get 5 years on each) if any one wants to give moral support contact me

also check out gaurdian site for an article by matt foot a solicitor involved in the new group you may be able to get a contact for it there

mail e-mail:

Freedom of Speech

03.04.2005 21:04

Regarding Freedom of Speech (and without trying to seem like some sort of middle-class wannabe working class warrior!) I think philosopher Julian Baggini put the idea behind freedom of speech very well in The Guardian on 21/10/04 in his column "Wisdom's Folly". The ASBO thing comes down to what those leaflets were saying, I suppose, but I think that if the leaflets were not inflammatory to people then he should have been warned of the chances of them being and then he could make the choice to continue or not. Just because your convictions say what you are doing is right is not a good enough excuse. As the article says, freedom of speech IS conditional. I (along woth many here I feel) don't know what was on those leaflets so I cannot comment properly on whether the ASBO response was right. What I would say is that ASBOs have worked well with some people and not at all well with others but they do have the effect on many of giving confidence back to communities who are blighted by awful criminal activity. How they are applied is a different matter that only communities themselves can tackle and no amount of sh** on these boards will change that.

Wisdom's folly

No. 02

Julian Baggini
Thursday October 21, 2004
The Guardian

I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.
- Voltaire
A newspaper publishes false allegations which ruin someone's career. A group of men call "nigger" across the street to a lone black man. A woman in a male-dominated office faces a constant trickle of sexist language from her colleagues. Was Voltaire seriously suggesting that though we can disagree with what is said in each case, each speaker had a perfect right to say it?

Hopefully not. The principle of free speech that Voltaire championed applies only to the arena of civilised discussion. No opinion is so vile that it should not be discussed openly and rejected on the basis of vigorous debate, not censorship.

Problems arise, however, when we fail to see that our words are not just audible expressions of thought but acts with consequences. The journalist isn't merely expressing an opinion, she is actually harming a person's life. The racist creates fear and incites violence. The sexist buttresses unequal practices in the workplace. We don't just utter words - we do things with them. Sexist language in the workplace or racist abuse in the street is not a contribution to debate, but an attack on the rights of others, deliberate or otherwise. What is going on in such cases is more than just speech, which is why appeals to freedom of speech are not enough to justify permitting language that causes harm.

The complication is that words are always to some extent acts as well as utterances. Hence the frequent complaint that merely giving prejudiced views a hearing "legitimatises" them. It is a complication we must live with. The boundaries of acceptable free speech cannot be drawn precisely and will always be disputed, hopefully by rational debate.

Hope that helps!! I think it is the best short article on freedom of speech I have heard for many a year. Damn those proper philosophers instead of us amateur wannabe ones!

Phil the Pill

Upcoming Coverage
View and post events
Upcoming Events UK
24th October, London: 2015 London Anarchist Bookfair
2nd - 8th November: Wrexham, Wales, UK & Everywhere: Week of Action Against the North Wales Prison & the Prison Industrial Complex. Cymraeg: Wythnos o Weithredu yn Erbyn Carchar Gogledd Cymru

Ongoing UK
Every Tuesday 6pm-8pm, Yorkshire: Demo/vigil at NSA/NRO Menwith Hill US Spy Base More info: CAAB.

Every Tuesday, UK & worldwide: Counter Terror Tuesdays. Call the US Embassy nearest to you to protest Obama's Terror Tuesdays. More info here

Every day, London: Vigil for Julian Assange outside Ecuadorian Embassy

Parliament Sq Protest: see topic page
Ongoing Global
Rossport, Ireland: see topic page
Israel-Palestine: Israel Indymedia | Palestine Indymedia
Oaxaca: Chiapas Indymedia
All Regions
South Coast
Other Local IMCs
Bristol/South West
Social Media
You can follow @ukindymedia on and Twitter. We are working on a Twitter policy. We do not use Facebook, and advise you not to either.
Support Us
We need help paying the bills for hosting this site, please consider supporting us financially.
Other Media Projects
Dissident Island Radio
Corporate Watch
Media Lens
Earth First! Action Update
Earth First! Action Reports
All Topics
Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Public sector cuts
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements
Major Reports
NATO 2014
G8 2013
2011 Census Resistance
Occupy Everywhere
August Riots
Dale Farm
J30 Strike
Flotilla to Gaza
Mayday 2010
Tar Sands
G20 London Summit
University Occupations for Gaza
Indymedia Server Seizure
COP15 Climate Summit 2009
Carmel Agrexco
G8 Japan 2008
Stop Sequani
Stop RWB
Climate Camp 2008
Oaxaca Uprising
Rossport Solidarity
Smash EDO
Past Major Reports
Encrypted Page
You are viewing this page using an encrypted connection. If you bookmark this page or send its address in an email you might want to use the un-encrypted address of this page.
If you recieved a warning about an untrusted root certificate please install the CAcert root certificate, for more information see the security page.

Global IMC Network

satellite tv


estrecho / madiaq
la plana
northern england
nottingham imc
united kingdom

Latin America
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
puerto rico


South Asia

United States
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

West Asia


fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs