UK Newswire Archive
16-02-2011 21:47Thousands of students marched on a meeting of Glasgow University bosses today in protest at "market-driven" attacks on courses. It took place as the court - the university's senior management - decided whether to consult staff over planned cuts.
Workers at Nottinghamshire County Council are to strike on Thursday 24th February, following the announcement of a yes vote in the ballot for industrial action.
The strike has been planned to be on the same day as the council sets its budget. Notts County Unison are also organising a march and a rally at County Hall, West Bridgford.
The march was originally to have begun from Bridge Field in West Bridgford. However, Tory-run Rushcliffe Borough Council have refused permission for the union to use the land, claiming that do otherwise might be seen as "supporting a political initiative".
Unison have condemned the council's decision, but relocated the meet point to Victoria Embankment, where marchers will be gathering from 10am.
The strike and march are part of a wider campaign campaign against services and job cuts, and the prospect of council services being privatised. Further strike action is likely after the 24th.
Unison contend that the cuts being made by the council are politically motivated and have called for the authority to tap into its £159m reserves to reduce the impact of cutbacks in funding from central government.
16-02-2011 20:37The PLO is reshuffling its negotiations department as well as the cabinet of the self-ruled Palestinian Authority (PA) and has called for presidential, legislative and local elections by next September to empower itself with electoral legitimacy ahead of that deadline, encouraged by what the Quartet perceives as a “really important moment of opportunity,” in the words of the Quartet’s representative the former UK prime minister Tony Blair.
The third edition of the Notts SOS newsletter is now available. This weeks edition includes reports on action around libraries, Sherwood Forest and tax avoiding companies. There's also a list of upcoming events.
16-02-2011 19:51On Saturday 19 February and attempt will be made to transform banks as homeless centres.
16-02-2011 19:42Campaigners are urging Edward Woollard’s supporters to take part in a government consultation before it ends on March 4, and to let justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke know their views on the sentencing and rehabilitation of offenders, and why they think Edward Woollard’s sentence is in complete contradiction to the aims of the government’s Green Paper, Breaking the cycle.
16-02-2011 19:37Union members from Moldova’s bankrupt Glodeni-Zahar sugar company – formerly the largest in the country - made the 3-hour journey to the capital Chisinau today to demonstrate in defence of their wages and their union leaders’ freedom. Workers at the plant, which at its peak employed some 500 people, have not been paid their wages since June 2009.
On Sunday Night, windows were smashed at Atos Origin offices in Beeston. Also, a graffitti message reading "Atos profits from oppression" was left on the entrance to the site. Atos is responsible for designing and implementing the tests used to determine eligability for incapacity benefits etc, and so this was an act of solidarity with all those who have had their lives turned upside down by being thrown off their benefits. Atos make a profit out of our misery.
As the government increasingly pushes its ruthless agenda in cuts to social welfare, it is companies such as Atos who are paid to do the dirty work. We are being forced into work, to chain ourselves to an unstable, exploitative and inhuman labour market that makes us ill. It will always be politicians and business owners who benefit from our wage slavery. Poeple who refuse, or are unable, to be pliant and flexible workers are being punished for not conforming to the demands of the economic system, and it is from this oppression that companies such as Atos profit.
We believe that the work that healthcare professionals carry out for Atos is in direct conflict with the duty of care that should be shown to people in need of medical help. Atos' money has paid for their ethics to be put aside so that profit can be made for the company at the expense of people's health.
Atos are becoming experts in the business of identifying groups to contain and exclude them. They were one of the groups who tendered for the government's ID cards contracts whilst the scheme was still going ahead.
This is a message to Atos and other companies who profit from this system of denial and abuse that our rage will bring down your empires.
16-02-2011 19:15The cow prison project, originally proposed by Nocton Dairies, has been scrapped following massive opposition.
16-02-2011 18:11Protesters held a lobby this afternoon at Southampton City Council's budget-setting meeting, before a break-off group managed to break through security and got into the building, banging on the door of the Council Chamber minutes before £25m of cuts were finalised.
Every Wednesday: Tree planting near Hebden Bridge.
16-02-2011 17:27Assemble 11.00am
Rally: 12.00pm, College Green. This is the Saturday before Bristol City Council sets its cuts budget. Let's show them that the people of Bristol are prepared to defend our public service." Full article.
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair adds; "Around the world, social movements of people are rising up in anger against their corrupt and dictatorial leaders, and against an economic system that demands that they pay the costs of the present worldwide crisis of capitalism - whilst the rich just get richer. ... Across Europe late 2010 saw an increase in struggles led, as is often the case to begin with, by youth and students. The ongoing conflicts across Greece since 2008 have threatened to become generalised across Europe. The UK has not been immune to this, as nationwide student & youth protests demonstrated late last year. Bristol too was briefly touched by the energy, dynamism and fearlessness of these protests. The British ruling class - the corporations, bosses, politicians and state - are shitting themselves. They are desperate to avoid a rallying point around which disparate struggles can coalesce. The cracks in their coalitions are evident, the party political opposition is non-existent." Full article.
| Demo on 19th | Cairo, Tunis, Athens, Algiers, Belarus, London, Sana’a, Manama, Tehran…Bristol? (bristolanarchistbookfair.org) | Staying Safe On Demonstrations | Cut The War Not The Poor - 26th February 2011 | Anti-cuts protest and banner drop in Taunton | Support for imprisoned student as Met cops pay out to G20 protesters (bristolabc.wordpress.com) | A Very Civilised Protest (Well it is Bath darlings) | www.bristolanticutsalliance.org.uk |
Plus plans have been announced for a lobby of Bristol council house on 22 February (budget setting day!)
16-02-2011 17:18Today three BP petrol stations in the Quinton, Longbridge and Selly Park areas of Birmingham were shutdown.
Preparing for anti-cuts protests on 26th of March - a personal rallying call
I'm an individual. I belong to and represent no organisation. I have no authority and don't want it. This is just commentary, suggestion, a discussion starter. I'm an individual who has been to many protests and have often been left questioning their effectiveness. We need effective protest right now and that's what this is about. It is also about taking things further than the TUC will want to take things in March.
First some basics. What do I mean by effective protest and why take things further than the TUC will take it? The major parties, in common with most Western countries, have in the last few decades given up on any social principles (if they had any) in favour of becoming more 'business-friendly' – ie. The only people they really represent is those who already have money. The Labour party is less openly nasty about it, but much of what the Tories are doing ('modernising' the NHS for example) are built on the 'reforms' of New Labour. Labour will not give back what the Tories are stealing. There is no organised force to make them do it, while the 'business community' is very organised in getting what they want. We have to understand that this is not about getting 'nicer' people into power, but about changing the power dynamics to force them to follow different rules.
What this means is that the purpose of protest should not be persuasion – or not persuading the government anyway. Persuading other people, yes, but the government? They understand power, not persuasion, and will justify whatever they are forced to do. Furthermore, trying to build a better world through lobbying for government policy changes is a losing proposition. You can make some temporary gains, but those who hold the reigns of power will always take them back in the long run - if you let them. That is why we are now gradually losing the welfare state and other things we thought we had forever. I think we need to understand that there is no fundamental decency or altruism we can count on within the political system to stop undermining our quality of life once they have gone so far. Humans might have those qualities but the machinery of government and the economy does not.
So 'protest' needs to be about (a) undermining the real power and perceived legitimacy of the government and (b) trying to build alternative and more democratic powers between ourselves that will enable us to challenge the government, or at least hold it in check. The second of these is a long term project and I won't say much about it here, except I wish it were happening more quickly.
The first also needs to be cranked up a gear, and I think we can do something about that more easily in the short term. Marching from A to B with the TUC does not undermine government power/legitimacy, but nor, frankly, does the kind of untargetted street demonstrations I have been involved in from the early 2000s 'anti-capitalist' demonstrations to the recent NCAFC-called demonstration in January 2011.
In particular I've noticed a tendency for people to call demonstrations, suggest that people can pick their own targets, and that 'all sorts of things will be happening', and then we go on the demonstration and everyone ends up either following 'the route' or wandering the streets in an untargetted way – which causes some minor disruption, but nowhere near as much as we could.
I want to suggest that people get together with their groups/friends, starting today, right now, and start planning to do their own thing for the March march. There seems to be too much assuming that other people will start doing some cool stuff and then you can join in. And mostly it doesn't happen. For individuals it is difficult to do anything about this, but if you are in any kind of group with a few people you trust, I want to ask you to stop assuming that other people will plan the cool actions, and to stop hoping it will happen 'spontaneously' on the day, and just start planning it yourself. If you are in a local anti-cuts group, or a university group, trade union branch or some other group, you have more power to take action than if you were were alone. It might be actions your group can take separate from a main march, it might be actions you can take embedded in a main march, it might be something you can get other people to join in with once you start (take a megaphone or sound system to rally people round you) but please start planning now. If not you, who else?
I think it's worth thinking about the targets a bit. There are symbolic/publicity targets, which will attract attention and make a point. But we have to really bother the government and their business friends if we are to have any chance of changing the power dynamics – so more interesting are disruptive targets, such as blocking major roads or transport hubs – because these cannot be ignored. And perhaps more interesting than these are economic targets, which is about hitting them where it really hurts: preventing the making of money, the money that isn't for us, because those who make it control the politicians who now want to reduce the tax 'burden' on businesses by eliminating our public services. This is an artificial division of targets of course – you can easily think of more types of targets – my division is just to help think about targets strategically.
So here are some examples of such targets, and if you like the targets, then work from this list for the March demo. Please plan something, or nothing will happen. This list isn't to tell people what to do, but it is a plea for a bit more planning so that we can do a bit better than aimlessly wandering the streets causing only minor disruption. Please do work from it as a starting point if you are searching for ideas yourself.
++BBC Television Centre in White City (symbolic/publicity) – for constantly repeating government propaganda that the cuts are necessary
++CBI - 'The Voice of Business', Centrepoint Tower, New Oxford St (symbolic/publicity)
++Lib Dem headquarters/offices, HQ at SW1P 3NB (symbolic if you think breaking the coalition a good interim goal)
++Elephant and Castle roundabout (disruptive)
++Euston Road, a major arterial road through central London (disruptive) – NB police will try to move you on if you stop in a road but walking along it seems to be more tolerated
++St Pancras International Station, a business-oriented transport hub (disruptive/economic)
++Topshop/Boots/Other high street tax dodgers (symbolic/economic)
++Supermarkets – tax dodgers and lobbyists of government, have smaller stores throughout central London (symbolic/economic)
++The City, but not weekends or bank holidays so not much point in March (but the major economic target for future protests) - particularly major Conservative Party funders like ++Bloomberg Tradebook Europe EC2A 1PQ.
Finally, we have to accept that the TUC isn't going to like what some of us do. History shows that as a bureacratic entity they have to protect both their 'respectability' and their money. So they can't push things further than the protest 'allowed' within the anti-protest laws instituted by the Conservatives and Labour. They couldn't support the General Strike in the 1930s and some of their number in the Stop the War Coalition could not take the anti-war movement further when it was clear that A to B marches weren't working. Their positions within legitimate and respectable structures forbid it. But, almost by definition, you cannot challenge the power of government while remaining respectable. We simply have to thank the TUC for their ability to mobilise many people, and then take things further when they will not.
In conclusion, I hope we will all start planning now for the March demonstration and the protests that will come after, and not assume that someone else will plan the actions. I hope we can create concrete plans with considered targets. If you are part of any organised group or just a group of friends you trust, I hope you'll start planning now – and may all your plans come to fruition.