WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! IT'S YER FAR WRITE...
SchNEWS, Issue 687, Friday 14th August 2009
FASH GET THE BRUM RUSH
AS ANTI-FASCISTS CLASH WITH THE FAR RIGHT IN BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE
Last Saturday, business-as-usual shopping at the Bull Ring in central
Birmingham was brought to a halt as sporadic street fighting broke out
between a burgeoning new section of the far right in Britain –
the English Defence League (EDL) – there to demonstrate against
‘Islamic fundamentalism’ (read: any Muslims), and
anti-fascists alongside the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) umbrella
group. The mainstream media obligingly printed pictures of white lads
being beaten up by Asians, fuelling the fires of racial hatred. Around
400 anti-fascists – mostly local youths - did a good job of
kicking the arses of some 150 EDL bandwagoners. In total 35 were
arrested and three injured.
The English Defence League, and Casuals United, are supposedly
non-BNP, non-NF multi-racial groups united against Islamic
fundamentalism and Sharia Law in Britain. But a handful aside, all the
faces on their side of the demo were white. Casuals United are the
product of a recruitment drive on the football terraces – a
common practise in eastern Europe, with footy supporters seen to be
patriotic and with a gang mentality. Despite maintaining the charade
that they aren’t linked to the BNP, the EDL were started by a
BNP member, are fronted by known Combat 18 members, and you
couldn’t slide a rizla through the gap between the BNP and EDL
agendas, apart from the EDL trying to draw British Afro-Caribbeans
into the Islamophobic mix. They say the UAF is a government backed
campaign to target them – admittedly it has support from Labour
MPs as well as SWP involvement - but the fact is that regardless of
the UAF, anti-fascists have actual broad public support, and the
The rise of the EDL this year has followed demonstrations and
scuffles at several Military parades in Luton and other towns between
far right nationalists versus Asian and white anti-fascists (See
SchNEWS 670, 671). In Luton the National Front demonstrated on April
13th, and on May 24th the EDL demonstrated there – both times
mosques and other properties were attacked in Muslim-heavy areas of
town. Far-right groups are planning to return in larger numbers over
the August bank holiday at the Harrow mosque in North West London, and
are threatening another demo in Manchester in early October.
The public presence of British racist nationalists and xenophobes
continues to increase – as is typical in times of economic
hardship - however the up-for-it anti-fascist movement is also growing
stronger but needs increased support, particularly out on the street.
* Mobilisation against BNP’s Red, White and Blue festival
– August 15th - against the BNP as they try to have their
celebration of island-mentality xenophobia. Meet at Market Pl Codnor,
Ripley, Derbyshire DE5 at 9am followed by a National Rally at 11am,
* See these websites www.uaf.org.uk
FROM RUSSIA WITH HATE
If you think confronting the BNP is unpleasant enough, be thankful
you aren't fightin the fash in the mean streets of Moscow. Since the
collapse of the USSR, and the resultant political and social
free-for-all that followed, there has been a steady escalation of
violence. And not only from the mafia-esque crime groups working with
the remains of the 'old' government to carve up the economy and engage
in oligarchical corporate plundering – and bump off anyone who
complains, interferers or asks too many questions (see SchNEWS 686).
The harsh new realities of everyday life for ordinary Russians
discovering that the great new 'democratic', 'capitalist' future was
an even bigger stinking lie than communism, have led to an increase in
disaffected youth forming extremist groups - and others mobilising to
confront them or defend themselves from their persecutory actions.
Conflict between groups of bulletheaded swastika-styled skinheads
(curiously often also attracted to obtaining jobs in the police) and
bulletheaded militant anarchists/anti-fash skinheads has been becoming
Since a 20-year-old anti-fascist punk musician named Timur Kacharava
was stabbed to death by a dozen Nazi skinheads in Moscow city centre
in 2005 (and the activist with him, Maxim Zgibai, sustained multiple
knife wounds and severe brain damage but survived), many anti-fash
have taken to carrying knives to defend themselves in event of attack.
Well they can't look to the cops for assistance – look at the
numerous reported incidents of the police arresting and beating
antifascists and anarchists during rallies.
Consider the case of antifascist Alexei Bychin who, last year, was
jumped by two men who were witnessed approaching him shouting
“Sieg Heil” and making Nazi salutes, and attacked him with
a broken bottle. He managed to deflect a head blow, receiving a cut to
his arm (confirmed by expert testimony), and defended himself,
inflicting stab wounds on the men in the attempt to get away.
Unfortunately for him, one of the assailants turned out to also be
special-task police trainee and, in Russia, the filth always look
after their own. In May he was sentenced to five years in a
maximum-security penal colony for “conscious bodily injury,
dangerous to a person’s life”.
In this week's appeal, the Judge dismissed all the contrary evidence
and refused to consider changing the charges to an “excess of
self defence” which carries a lighter, already-served, maximum
sentence and instead upheld the original harsh punishment in just a
few minutes. His incredulous defence solicitor later said she did not
hold out much hope appealing further to such a biased legal system.
Since Bychin’s arrest, anti-Nazi activists have held protests
in several Russian cities, both to demand his release and demonstrate
against police saturated with nationalist ideas and 'former' Nazi
skinheads and sympathisers.
On Monday, one group displayed a banner saying “Freedom for
Bychin” and a human-sized doll representing a Russian policeman
hanged by a rope around his neck on the embankment of the Griboyedova
Canal in the city centre, declaring “In this figurative way, the
anarchists showed what kind of police reform they want.” It all
makes you long for the quaint argy bargy of Birmingham...
NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND
The workers occupation of the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle
of Wight (see SchNEWS 686) came to an end last Friday with the
remaining six workers leaving minutes before the bailiffs moved in,
two by abseiling down the factory wall, one by leaping 30 feet from
the balcony and the other three using the more conventional method of
walking out the door. The camp outside the factory continues however,
and the last week has seen nationwide acts of solidarity.
According to a SchNEWS reporter at the scene, the camp continues to
grow despite the eviction, as does local support. A handful of workers
remain at the camp with the environment and union activists. Elsewhere
on the island, the rooftop protest of the Vestas site in East Cowes
continues but is due to end today (14th) after 11 days and nights up
on the roof. Far from giving up though, the protesters plan to head
straight for the constituency office of Conservative MP Andrew Turner,
whose nimbyism in opposing construction of a wind farm on the Isle of
Wight contributed to the withdrawal of Vestas from British
Here on the mainland, things kicked off on Monday (10th) with a joint
action by Climate Rush and The Yes Men, who welcomed home Peter
“I’m a kindly pussycat” Mandelson from his holiday
in Corfu by chaining themselves to the gates of his Regent’s
Park home. Following on from this, Wednesday (12th) saw a national day
of solidarity with protests all over the country including Nottingham,
Oxford, Cardiff, and Brighton.
With the campaign still growing nationwide, it’s not too late
to get involved, see http://savevestas.wordpress.com/ for details of
what’s going on in your area.
CELT IN ACTION
As the Scottish Camp for Climate Action at Mainshill draws to a close
after a successful week of workshops and action, the camp has moved
south to the site of yet another open-cast coal mine, this time in
Following last week’s sabotage of a conveyor at a nearby mining
site (see SchNEWS 686), a visit was paid to Lord Home, the Mainshill
site landowner (currently under investigation by the FBI for fraud as
well as by Scotland Yard for false expense claims) who has an
agreement with Scottish Coal to turn over part of his estate for a new
mine. Banners were draped, frisbee games and a picnic were held on
The Camp culminated with a demo against the serious health hazards
for the local community and coal’s contribution to climate
change, outside the offices of South Lanarkshire Council whose members
have approved new coal extraction despite massive local opposition.
Local Councillor Daniel Meikle of the family business Meikle
Construction and chair of the planning committee for many years, was a
particular target for campaigners’ ire.
The Camp also released a dossier entitled ‘Adverse Effects of
Opencast Mining’ which paints an alarming picture of a whole
host of health issues from cancer to asthma and depression, caused not
just by the coal dust, but also by noise and the increase in heavy
* See http://climatecampscotland.org.uk and
Following hot on its heels, Climate Camp Wales premièred on
Wednesday (12th) with around 60 protesters descending on Ffos-y-Fran,
a controversial open-cast coal mine in the Merthyr Tydfil borough,
about four miles from Newport.
The Camp will occupy the site until 16th August, with campaigners
from the six areas of Wales aiming to address the lack of honesty in
government policy - with its grand promises about limiting climate
damaging activities, yet continued investment in and expansion of the
coal mining industry.
Local campaign groups in the region, such as Residents Against
Ffos-y-Fran (RAFF), have been consistently ignored by government and
planners, despite some campaigners living only 36 metres from the
1,000 acre mine. Although a report funded by the Welsh Assembly
expressed concern over the detrimental health effects of the air
pollution and dust particles, objections have so far been discounted.
The camp is offering a variety of workshops from herbalism and low
impact development to direct action and lobbying, as well as providing
information about current climate campaigns such as those at Vestas
and Rossport. This Friday sees a ‘green awareness day’,
organised by residents in the Merthyr Tydfil area. The event, taking
place in the town market, will include representatives from
sustainable energy firms, the local council’s recycling
department, Friends of the Earth and the Climate Camp.
For directions and how to get involved see: www.climatecampcymru.org
CIGGY STUBBED OUT?
As the British festival scene continues to assess the ramifications
of the Big Green Gathering being shut down by a police campaign (See
SchNEWS 685), SchNEWS was contacted this week by people living at the
Cigarrones travellers site in southern Spain, to tell us that this
site is also being clamped down on by authorities and currently in a
very precarious state.
The site, near Orgiva, Andalusia has been a popular park-up for
(mostly) British travellers for 19 years, and alongside other nearby
sites/camps like El Morion and Beneficio, has become a big part of the
story of what happened to the British traveller/free festival scene
after it was repeatedly attacked by the UK Govt - from the Battle Of
The Beanfield in 1985 (See SchNEWS 678) through to the criminalisation
of ravers and travellers by the Criminal Justice Act in 1994 (See
This April, as Ciggy prepared to hold the 13th annual Dragon Festival
on the site, the local authorities and local landowners conspired to
make the site not viable for a festival or park-up by digging some
2,500 6ft x 6ft holes in the dry riverbed land, on the pretext of
planting trees – many of which have since died in the parched
land. The excavations have also damaged the roots and killed several
large established trees. Untaxed and unroadworthy live-in vehicles on
the land were towed off and scrapped by police.
The free Dragon festival did go ahead this year, although it was a
tamer affair than usual as the sound system rigs were set up on
another site. Afterwards, several people who owned land used for the
Dragon were fined 30,000 Euros for holding an unlicensed event.
Apparently it’s been other ‘posh neighbour’ Brits
who own nearby land that have supported the clampdown, objecting to
one of the most popular and anarchic free festivals in Europe, albeit
with its reputation for being a noisy 24/7 ‘avin’ it
Cigarrones hasn’t been a Temporary Autonomous Zone –
it’s been a permanent one, and quite blatantly so – but
the authorities and police have been winding up the pressure in recent
years on the large traveller and hippy contingent that the Orgiva area
has become a centre for, and getting hotter on such things as
unlicensed live-in vehicles and cannabis cultivation. During the
summer months sites in the area often dwindle as people head north to
avoid the baking heat, but it’s now questionable whether
Cigarrones will be a viable site for those returning in the autumn.
Some parts of the site have been bought and people remain there, but
the rest of the site which was squatted is now more like a bomb site
than a travellers site.
If there is an agenda beyond simply clamping down on travellers, it
could be that there’s a sandstone quarry nearby, and the plan is
to quarry the dry riverbed that the site sits on. Standing in the way
are the parts of the site which are privately owned. It could be the
end of an era at Cigarrones, but no doubt other sites will be expanded
or new ones created, and hopefully the Dragon will reappear next year
in another form.
* See www.partyvibe.com/conspiracy
BAD KOREA CHOICE
Earlier this month, a 77 day worker occupation of South Korean car
manufacturer Ssangyong came to an ugly end when 100 commandos and 300
riot police stormed the factory, resulting in a pitched battle with
the militant strikers. The aftermath has seen mass arrests and
prosecutions of union members and workers.
The sit-in began in late May when the struggling Ssanyong, under
bankruptcy protection, announced plans to make 2,646 workers
redundant. While over 1,600 workers left the company voluntarily, over
a thousand others opposed the move and around 800 of them occupied the
factory’s paint shop in protest.
Despite worker offers to reduce hours and participate in temporary
layoffs, the stand-off remained until the August 5th when the state
moved in. In the ensuing chaos, strikers attempted to hold the police
at bay with fire bombs, hand made cannons, catapults and strategically
lit fires, but were eventually overran by police lowered onto the roof
in modified shipping containers and shimmying down ropes suspended
Some 64 people involved in the occupation have since been arrested
including all of the core union leaders. A number also face
investigation for acts of violence against police officers and the
company’s security personnel.
Prosecutors and police have even raised the spectre of reds under the
bed during the investigation, claiming, “Outside forces with a
strongly pro-communist character were involved in the strike”
and that “ideological documents” were found suggesting
that there were plans to “establish a military committee”,
charges that have yet to be substantiated in any way.
It is also noticeable that all the attention has been focused on the
actions of the union while ignoring the illegal and violent acts
perpetrated by the company and the police. There has been no mention
of any police facing any charges for the indiscriminate assaults on
fallen union members during the raid. Moreover, although company
employees were booked without detention, none have been arrested for
attacking members of civic groups with pieces of wood in front of the
factory‘s main gate.
Police are also doing nothing about the fact that the company
violated the Fire Services Act by cutting off electricity and water
for fire hydrants, the Emergency Medical Service Act by preventing
medical personnel from entering or exiting the occupied factory, and
denying basic human rights by blocking individuals from bringing the
workers water and food.
Civic groups and labour organizations have been unanimous in
criticising the hard-line and anti-labour stance of the prosecutors
and police and warn that more strikes could result from the
Disarm DSEi 2009
Destroy the Banks! Destroy the Investors! Destroy the Arms Trade!
DSEi - the world’s largest arms fair - is back on at the ExCel
Centre, Docklands, East London, September 8th-11th. Demo on 8th at a
location in London - www.dsei.org
August 16th - DSEi Public Meeting - Stop the arms before they get to
DSEi Arms Fair. Call for actions at local arms dealers/factories in
fortnight running up to the DSEi Arms Fair at the ExCel Centre. 2pm,
Calthorpe Arms, Grays Inn Rd, London, WC1X
After the tumultuous insurrectionary events in Athens last December
(see SchNEWS 659), one arrested protester – Thodoros Iliopoulos
- remains in jail, and is now a month into a hunger strike. He was one
of many people rounded up and arrested more or less at random in
retaliatory police sweep-up operations during the riots. All except
Thodoros have since been bailed, and he remains inside on charges he
insists are fictitious and politically motivated. On July 9th the
court of appeals made explicit, in rejecting his application, that it
did so on the grounds that Thodoros is an ‘anarchist’ and
therefore a “danger for democracy”.
Since then, Thodoros has been on hunger strike in protest. He has now
not eaten in over a month and his health is extremely poor. Despite
the recommendations of doctors, the prison management delayed
permission to transport Thodoris to a hospital until day 34 and his
life is now in danger, as his protest is continuing.
Six days of solid rioting – which kicked off after police shot
dead a 15 year old punk - saw banks and government buildings burned to
the ground, police stations besieged by thousands of angry
demonstrators chucking molotovs, universities occupied and a general
strike called. The Greek cops are notorious for their brutality and
racism, and links to far right groups. Since the riots the state has
regained control and things have since settled down into their
previous repression groove. In July, 3000+ protesters in Omonoia
Square, central Athens, clashed with heavily armoured riot police who
deployed tear gas and stun grenades – and molotov-hurling nazis
working within the police front line.
To read Thodoros impassioned protest statement and keep up with
Greece ‘after the riots’, see www.occupiedlondon.org/blog
It’s not all roses at present in wealthy expatriate capitalist
playground Dubai, which, in recent years, has rapidly transformed
itself into a international city-star by using legions of slave-like
poorly paid immigrant workers to thrust ever bigger money-worshipping
skyscrapers into the desert skyline, while luring in jet-set
capitalists with 6 star luxury beach resorts to make it a hub of world
trade and tax free haven.
Whilst most of this stinks, at least be comforted by the knowledge
that it stinks for many of the rich inhabitants too. Literally.
Because, in typical lawless capitalist style, they’ve cut costs
and been dumping their waste in the sea. A lovely mixture of raw
sewage and chemical waste has been washing up in the local surf,
wrinkling more than few posh noses.
“It’s a cesspool. Our tests show too many E.coli to
count. It’s like swimming in a toilet,” said Keith
‘it’s all a bit’ Mutch, poor manager of the Offshore
Sailing Club, which has posted warnings and been forced to cancel
regattas (aahh, shame!).
The stench, and health risks, have forced the closure of swathes of
prestigious beach front as the stinking rich bicker with the
authorities over who is to blame and how to sort it out. Meanwhile,
due to the lack of rainfall and weak tides, it seems the elites will
be swimming with turds at leisure as well as at work for some time to
SchNEWS is in no way insinuating that all football fans are fodder
for the far right. See http://sloughtownsoapbox.blogspot.com