The Bath Bomb
"All the news the Chron didn't Use!"
Reds, Shite And Booze
Saturday the 16th of August was to be the second annual Red, White and Blue Festival of the BNP, a so-called family event, held on the farm of former Tory councillor Alan Warner, in Denby, Derbyshire. Though pitching themselves as the media-friendly 'Nazi-Lite' face of modern nationalism, Nick Griffin's party still can't quite drag itself away from its hardline right-wing roots, as betrayed in the program's highlights: talks on 'heritage and culture', night-time navigation and survival skills, kooky Morris-style dancing around a horse skull, stalls selling Union Jack attired golliwogs, and let's not forget the Hitler Youth-esque kids' camp, teaching 12-year-olds live ammo marksmanship, knife-fighting, techniques for dealing with 'Marxist teachers,' and how to make 'Dutch arrow' throwing spears (erm.. that doesn't sound very British). However, this insanity isn't the sort of shit that ordinary people stand for and, whilst residents and local activists have been making plans to shut it down, nationally, Antifa and the organised Left converged.
Though the powers-that-be have no issue with the fascist nature of the event, as soon as they realised the storm of resistance that was building, police banned the festival's music and liquor licenses - but didn't subject the festival to even a modicum of the hassle they did with Climate Camp. Their true colours shined even more so on the day, releasing hoodied-up agents provocateurs into the 400-strong SWP, UAF, TUC-dominated march and rally, and Merseyside cops outdid themselves by phoning and attempting to fit up known anti-fascist activists by offering supposed lifts to the demo. Whilst the marchers were engaging in token pushy-shovey and chanting with the police line (a lip service gesture to democratic freedom was made in the form of 30 protesters escorted to the entrance to the festival for an insulting 15 minutes, against a hail of BNP abuse), Antifa made their own plans. That morning, 80 masked up and made their way through the undergrowth to confront the fash directly, intending to set up a system of roadblocks and sabotage. However, following the first barricade, police violence forced them back and into a string of running battles - culminating in more than 30 arrests and one injured cop.
So unfortunately, RWB wasn't crashed, but was surrounded by chaos (as well as drunken sieg-heils) and villagers are now pleading with the BNP not to come back; to add your voice to this request, contact Alan Warner (The Bungalow, Codnor Denby Lane, Denby Village, Derbyshire, DE5 8PT, 01773 748129/ 07810 383595, or email@example.com) or organiser David Shapcott (6 The Spinney, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0PB, 07871 029681). But Antifa's antics do bring up serious questions - considering the strategic importance of the BNP's RWB, why did so few opponents put in an appearance? And how did small, yet admittedly rabid, clusters of cops put superior numbers of determined militants to rout and infighting, with thrown bricks occasionally hitting their own? Beyond talk of machismo, organisation and violence, perhaps more activists need to focus on their own personal limits and be honest with themselves over what threats they are prepared to face... Not only for the success of individual actions and the movements' credibility, but also in terms of both our own safety and that of our comrades And next year, let’s really stop them!
Sainsbury’s And Tesco - Destroying Communities All Over The World
While Tesco threatens to infest Bath with crappy 'food' and depressing, repetitive jobs under patronizing bosses who don't care about you, Sainsbury’s look set to crawl their way into Odd Down. The site proposed by Storegap Commercial and Odd Down Developments would be the same size as Bath's Morrisons. If you're in favour of good quality food products made with a regard to animal welfare and environmental sustainability, worker's rights and the fair distributions of wealth - or if you simply hate being rushed around as if you were in a chaotic cattle market every time you go out to buy groceries, while being blinded by artificial lighting - we'd love to have you on board our campaign, aimed at resisting supermarket expansion and creating viable alternatives. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
A brief update on the Tesco Express on Bathwick Hill - originally due to open early this year, now, due to the actions of local community and activists, it's still yet to open its doors due to the enforcement of the conditions they tried to weasel out of completing.
Watching/Smashing Up The Watchers
Your faithful, yet paranoid journalists here at Bath Bomb towers have given many column inches over the past few months to the increasing surveillance we are subjected to nowadays. Britain is now the most surveillance-heavy country in the world, narrowly besting notable competitors such as China and the good ol' US of A. Industry insiders have agreed that CCTV is almost useless in dealing with real crimes, such as rape and murder, and only really comes in useful when dealing with those things that only politicians and the rich count as crimes, such as shoplifting. Taking into account their inefficiency at solving serious crime, it can be sensibly assumed that the prime function of CCTV (on which our pervy government spends millions each year) is social control; of spreading the idea that you cannot step out of line because you are always being watched. Well, now, finally, we have a chance to strike back! October the 11th is an international day of protest and decentralised action against CCTV and surveillance. Want to be part of the fun? A plastic bag or well aimed spray can blast can temporarily disable a CCTV camera, while hammers and screwdrivers can do a much less subtle, yet longer lasting job! Wondering how to access those cameras in hard to reach places? A paintbrush tied to a bamboo stick does the trick! There are literally hundreds of legal and illegal ways we can strike back against big brother, so let's use the 11th as an opportunity to show the state we can live outside of their control, laws, authority and oppression. If nothing else, use the day as a chance to look a CCTV camera (or community support officer) dead in the eye, flip a finger and defiantly shout (safe in the knowledge that thousands across the globe are doing the same thing) 'stop looking at me funnily you weirdos!'.
CCTV News Part Deux
The Bath Bomb can exclusively reveal that Big Brother (as in 1984, not that reality TV farce of squawking, egomaniacal lobotomy-cases) is changing the way it interferes with The People and scapegoats the young. Previously obvious CCTV installations are now being gutted into redundant bluff cameras, with the real camera placements being hidden nearby in tiny black casements, though their lens will still need to be exposed to the light of day. And, it's also recently emerged that sinister scientists at Bath Uni have been spying on Bluetooth users in the city for the last three years, without consent, with 'Cityware' scanners following around 3,000 devices every weekend, following citizens' movements and shopping patterns. Targeted marketing, or marking targets? We've heard it all. Stay out of trouble kids!
Theory Corner Part A: Are All Cops Really Bastards?
After reading the Theory Corner: 'Are All Cops Bastards?' article in July's issue 12, I got the permission of said article's author to have my say on this complex issue. Yes, the police have devolved from your friendly neighbourhood bobby; the one who made you feel a bit safer, who gave you directions and popped round for a cup of tea (how wrong can you go with old TV programmes as your barometer for reality?) They've gone from this to a mindless mass automaton who go on power trips and think that anyone who finds themselves at a demonstration of any sort, be they strong or not so strong, young or not so young, deserves to at best be spoken to in a patronizing manner and at worst be manhandled away and arrested for no good reason.
BUT, and this is a big but. Taking it as read that the ultimate goal of 'changing the world' is, in fact, to make that world a better place for everyone, then we have to realise that cops are in fact human, despite the lengths they can go to try to hide this fact. Take away the uniform, the weapons, the smug above-you attitude and you will find someone with the same basic needs and desires as everyone else. I'm sure the answer is not to engage in this cat-and-mouse relationship with them, slagging them off (though they often have no qualms about doing the same to us - for example the sickening comments on the 'Police Inspector's Blog'), just as that is not the way to go with the Rich, though that is another article. This, to me, seems a lazy way of going about things that will just enable the status quo to be kept; we get to make our jokes about PC Plod and never have to come to terms with the fact that they will be part of this new society.
I don't know what the way forward is, I think it is a slow path, where we get out of our cosy activist corners and mix with people of all walks of life, even those who make us feel ill with what they're doing to the world. We welcome people and talk to them about our way of life, without judging or forcing anyone to see it our way. Some will come over to our side. Some will resist, but we never know what effect our viewpoint is having on them. It is hard to change, and won't happen over night. But only with these small victories and gradual changes will any real and lasting change ever come about. To describe a group of people as largely irredeemable, will cause defensiveness - we have to believe in the possibility in people to change, whether they show us any proof of this or not. You can do so much more with peace and welcome than you can with violence, judgement and isolation - isn't that what 'our side' is all about? After all, this other way's been tried so many times before, in fact it's all we as a human race has ever done, and has it ever worked? With this dismissive attitude we condemn ourselves to a limited success, when with all our skills, energy, ideas and compassion, we can achieve so much more.
http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2008/08/05/young-m...n-go/ (police inspector's blog)
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&...34851 (newsletter issue 12)
Stop The Wars, Stop The Walls & Stop Wall Street
Despite what the Daily Mail would have us believe, we are all now a witness to an unprecedented rise in border management and social control. Neo-Labour is at the forefront of this squeeze, and are holding their annual party conference in Manchester this month. Coinciding with this, with violence peaking in Afghanistan, dragging on in Iraq, and breaking in Georgia, Stop The War have called for a 'Troops Out' march on Saturday the 20th at 12 midday, and the UK No Borders network have also jumped in - anti-authoritarians and all others against borders, states and war can consider themselves humbly invited to join the 'Freedom of Movement' bloc, assembling at the north end of Albert Square - follow the red and black flags!
Racist BIAstards Feel The Heat In Bristol
In other immigration-related news, No Borders activists recently paid a visit to the British Immigration Authority offices in Portishead. BIA round up failed immigration applicants for forced deportation. Favourite tactics include 'dawn raids', intended to round up the whole family before the kids can get to school. Recent brave deeds by our jackbooted friends have included the forced removal of a Columbian single mother from the Bristol area, her 7-year-old son sending a letter to his class mates from a detention centre reading 'I don't know why I am here, they have put me in prison, but I promise I haven't done anything wrong'. When activists arrived at the Portishead BIA centre, from which Bath and Bristol dawn raids are launched, the buildings’ locks were glued, the entire fleet of vehicles used for dawn raids were destroyed with spanners, etching fluid and paint stripper and the slogan 'racist thugs work here' was daubed over walls for all to see. BIA represent the sharp end of the state's racist war on asylum seekers, who, having fled persecution, terror and torture, ask only for a safe place to live, and not to be deported to certain death and imprisonment. Unfortunately, the majority find out the hard way that government the world over is a brutal mechanism for the repression and incarceration of ordinary people. We must stand side by side with other oppressed peoples struggling for a decent standard of life, and like the BIA saboteurs, fight for a world without borders or governments, and respond by any means necessary to the violent and destructive forces of state and capital.
Frothy Cinematic Undercurrents
After the summer break, the Bubbling Under series of radical film lunches will return to the big[ish]screen at the Porter Cellar, starting again on Sunday the 28th September, from 1 til 4pm, free entry. This month, we will be showing a couple of filmlets - one about the recent Camp for Climate Action in Kent, and the other about the upcoming Shut I.T.T./Smash EDO day of action in Brighton, following up on June's successful Carnival Against the Arms Trade. Come along for great grub, food for thought, and mediocre company! Drop us a line if you have any ideas for upcoming films, to show on the third Sunday of the month.
Theory Corner Part B: Metamorphosis and Liberation
It's all too easy to feel helpless in the face of the state, like a tiny cog in a towering machine. Religion and television preach the importance of "finding yourself" and "staying true" to that self once you've found it. But we shouldn't feel trapped and limited by our genes and the experiences and conditioning society has given us - we have no true self and life should be about creating it, not finding it! As human beings we have a vast potential for self-change. The awareness of the ability you possess to change yourself can be extremely liberating. It's important to start small - choose a habit at random you wish to adopt or eliminate. At first, this should be something so simple you can't fail at it, like having an extra sugar in your tea each morning. Keep the same goal for two or three weeks, and scribble it on a post-it note and stick it to the fridge, if this helps you remember. There are all sorts of self-hypnosis techniques that can help. Focusing intently on your goal while in an altered state of consciousness accessed by meditation, dancing, drumming, chanting, orgasm, art… (try staring intently at yourself in a mirror while trying not to let your eyes distort the image) are all ways to do this. Remember to ground afterwards! Laughter helps.
It's important to set a new target once you're done with the old one. Start small and your confidence and self-discipline will grow so long as you make willed self-change a habit. Work up to bigger goals and you'll realise that things you thought you couldn't do are totally possible - confronting a phobia, going vegan, taking direct action. Eliminating fears and smashing taboos (eating food from skips, acting oddly in public) can be so empowering and widen your range of possible experiences.
Bath Hunt Sabs Meeting, 8pm, Bell
London Rd Food Co-op, Riverside Community Centre, 4-7pm
Bath Stop The War Vigil, Abbey Courtyard, 11.30-12.30
Saturday 20th Sept
No Wars No Borders, All Saints Park, Manchester, 12.30
Friday 26th Sept
Anti-foie gras demo, outside Minibar, John St, 7-9pm
Sunday 28th Sept
Bubbling Under, the Porter Cellar Bar 1-4pm
Wednesday 1st Oct
Bath Animal Action meeting, back room of the Bell, 7.30-8.30pm
Thursday 2nd Oct
Bath Activist Network meeting, Hobgoblin, downstairs 7.30-9pm
Friday & Saturday 3-4th Oct
No Borders Fest, TJs, Newport
Saturday 11th October
Day of action against surveillance
Saturday 11th Oct
Westside Climate Camp Gathering, Windmill Hill City Farm, Bristol, 10-5
Saturday 11th Oct
Bath Freeshop, Stall St, 12-3pm
Wednesday 15th Oct
Smash I.T.T, opp Falmer Station, Brighton, meet 12noon
For further info on any of our stories see www.myspace.com/bathbomb
And now, to the disclaimer: As anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of each contributor. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat on. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer does not necessarily represent the views of any other contributor...
Q: Who Are Bath Activist Network? A: A local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers' rights and more. Helping to produce The Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals to greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, ring us on 07949 611912, email email@example.com, or see our website: www.myspace.com/bathactivistnetwork
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