UK Newswire Archive
mY First hearing at court charged with 'threatening and abusive language or behaviour' for shouting "NO MORE WAR!" during the 2 minute silence at the cenotaph remembrance day ceremony.
THREATENING AND ABUSIVE?
I walked across foggy London on Wednesday morning from Westminster to Marylebone and arrived just in time for my 10 o'clock hearing at the Magistrates Court there. The charge was 'threatening and abusive language or behavior likely to cause distress.' Defending myself, I corrected the prosecution's report that I'd shouted "'STOP THE WAR!' several times", I told the magistrate that I'd actually shouted "NO MORE WAR!" 3 times during the 2 minute silence to remember the war dead on Remembrance Sunday in Whitehall within hearing of the Royal Family, politicians and military dignitaries. I also pleaded (or is it pled?) 'Not Guilty' to the charge. 'Abusive' to propogate anti-war propaganda? The magistrate said that there would therefore be a trial that I would have to attend on January 16th next year in the same court house. In the meantime I would no longer have to sign on bail every day.
Talking of the Royals, last Friday morning I came within spitting distance of the Queen and Duke. I was alone on a traffic island crossing over from Parliament Square to Whitehall and I had to stop for this big black car which was approaching. As it passed, quite slowly, I looked at the passengers in the back seat, and lo and behold! it was her majesty and her husband. She was sitting in the corner with her hands on her knees, her expression one of lost worry, his a sneering snarl. As I continued on my way I wondered why I hadn't at least stuck out my tongue. It was the suddenness of it. You don't come across her highness every day.
In fact I nearly saw her again on Tuesday morning. I was on my way back to Parliament Square after taking part in a 'die-in' organised by the Fuel Poverty Action Group, carrying a plywood coffin in a "funeral march" from Westminster to the EDF Energy headquarters in Victoria in order to highlight the collusion between government and the Big 6 energy companies in Britain whose high prices force the poor to cut back on heating, causing deaths of thousands from the cold, when I arrived outside Buckingham Palace and found the way blocked. Iron barrier fences had been erected along the pavement and the road crossing to St James' Park was closed. While I was asking a policeman about the reason (a state visit by the President of Turkey), and for an alternative route, two other cops suddenly approached and stood close to me.
"And what are you up to today, sir?" asked one.
"That's no business of yours," I replied.
"What's your name?"
"I don't have to tell you that."
"If you'll just move over here, sir, we'd like a word with you." He poked me in the side, indicating a space a couple of steps away.
"Don't touch me!" I said indignantly. "That's quite unnecessary. Even an intrusion!"
He poked me again but I didn't move.
"What are you doing walking around in a Tshirt with 'WORLD STRIKE 2012' and 'ABOLISH MONEY' on it?"
"It's a free country. I have the right to wear what I like. I'm a British citizen."
"You're a British subject."
It began to look like a fruitless argument, but the other cop's radio phone went, and he told his mate that they wanted details. He got out his notebook and prepared to write them down.
"Right. If you'll just give me your name and address."
"I don't have to tell you anything. I know my rights. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my way."
And I walked off, leaving the rude rozzer lost for words, and feeling lucky to have escaped their interrogation. At Horseguards Parade I watched from afar as the horsedrawn gaudy coaches bearing the Royals and Turkish visitors arrived and left after a brief ceremony. The lemon-jacketed police presence was high, and the iron fences kept onlookers at a distance. I neither saw nor heard any Kurdish protesters calling for independence, although I'm sure some would have tried to get their message across.
I've been visiting the Occupy London camp in front of St Paul's Cathedral nearly every day since it started a month ago. Usually I have a free cup of tea and chat with camp members and visitors, and listen in on meetings. Occasionally I participate on the 'open mike' sessions where anyone can speak. Usually I talk about the 2012 World Strike and the idea of a moneyless world, and sometimes I perform the 'Sermon on the Mount' which I've learned by heart, but the other day I sang a song, adapting the words of 'The Locomotion' by Little Eva.
"Everybody's taking a brand new stance, now,
Come on baby, do the Revolution!
I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance, now,
Come on baby, do the Revolution!
Stand up! Fight back!
Well, I think you've got the knack!"
Last week activists from Occupy London squatted a UBS bank in the City which had been empty for several years, planning to use it as a 'Bank of Ideas', for meetings, shows and seminars. An impromptu anti-war art gallery was opened on the ground floor and I added a few of my collage pictures to the wall, including one of British Prime Minister David Cameron sitting on the toilet, waving a Union Jack. At least breadline Britain still has freedom of expression. I would have been arrested for 'insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister' if my picture had been of the Turkish PM.
I've spent the last couple of days selecting treasures from the collection of photos, videos and essays collected on the Money-Free.ning site and transferring them to storage on my Facebook page. When Money-Free was set up over 3 years ago, Ning provided a free platform, but recently they began charging, and due to lack of funding, founder Davy King has reluctantly decided to close the site down. Shame. It was a very useful repository. Check it out before it shuts.
Here's a song by Leon Rosselson which I came across recently that I would have definitely included in the anti-war forum on the site. As a reason and defense for my 'crime' of shouting "NO MORE WAR!" during the 2 minute silence at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Whitehall, the lyrics seem to sum it all up perfectly:
It was Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph
The rain was falling fast
The Queen was there with her entourage
Watching the Old Comrades march past.
There were wreaths of scarlet flowers
And we wore our poppies with pride
The brass bands played funeral music
And one or two people cried.
When Big Ben chimed eleven
We solemnly bared our heads
And stood for the two minutes' silence
To remember the glorious dead.
It was at that sacred moment
That I heard an eerie sound
A ghastly, ghostly stirring
Seemed to come from under the ground.
And a voice rose up out of the darkness
A voice that was coarse and ill bred
Saying ‘I am the voice of the fallen
And I am the voice of the dead.
I speak for the silent slaughtered
The ones who rot under the grass
And we don't want your two minutes' silence
So stuff it up your arse.'
Then I thought I heard an explosion
And a kind of a sob or a laugh
And a strange aroma of corpses
Hung round the Cenotaph.
The Queen stood straight as a ramrod
And none of the mourners stirred
In spite of the two minutes' silence
No-one had heard a word.
Though it seems a small bunch of fanatics
Had tried to dishonour the day
By shouting ‘Remember Iraq'
But they were soon hustled away.
Then the two minutes' silence was over
And we heard the wind and the rain
And from Horse Guards Parade a gun sounded
And normal life started again.
It was Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph
The Queen was dressed in black
And the bishop conducted a service
For the ones who never came back.
In the run up to the mass actions and strikes on November 30 the government has begin its predicatble divisive counter attacks. It is encouaging people to be traitors to their class and to do the work of colleagues who are on strike. Lets just remind ourselves what a scab is.
Here is one description .......
After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab.
A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue.
Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.
When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.
No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.
Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.
Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver.
Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commision in the british army.
The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.
Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country.
A scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.
Author --- Jack London (1876-1916)
Sir Ian Blair, ex Commissioner of the Met Police was meant to give a talk at Sussex university last night, but students disrupted it - see the report below.
24-11-2011 18:07Time 25 November · 09:30 - 12:30
Location north gate University of Birmingham.
Solidarity action in support of the Northgate occupation at the University of Birmingham
24-11-2011 16:22The government’s white paper outlines the proposed changes to the structure of higher education. Currently there is a quota of 406,000 university places. Under the proposed changes, 85,000 of these places will be opened up to competition. Of these 85,000 20,000 places will be competed for by universities charging £7,500, 65,000 will be for students who achieved AAB or above at A-level. This will lead to a two-tiered system, with a small number of elite universities and a lower pool of universities offering poorly funded, badly taught programs. These will be mainly provided by for-profit companies who’ll be given access to government-backed loans.
24-11-2011 16:18At 23:30 as the occupiers were settling down for the night, university security began harassing the students. Simon Furse a second year International relations student said “It was disgraceful, I have never seen like it university security are just hired thugs who seem to enjoy violence and causing distress with no regard to the law. I was at the window that we use as an entrance to the occupation. The security guard tried to drag someone out of the window. We peacefully resisted and got the person inside at which point the security guard kept the window open and punched me three times in the face. The security then adopted a policy of open harassment ringing the doorbell for long periods of time, knocking on all the windows, pointing lights and cameras into the toilet and shouting insults and abuse.”
WHEN?: Friday Nov. 25, 7pm
Sunday Nov. 27, from 12pm all afternoon & Tuesday Nov. 29, all day.
On Thursday 24th November at 4:30pm, there will be loud and colourful demonstration at the historic Old Bailey*, supported by the IWW and Occupy London. The people who clean the offices of the law firm, McGrigors, at the Old Bailey, are protesting against the illegal practices, bullying and the union-busting treatment they have received by Apollo Cleaning Services.
Apollo Cleaning Services was awarded the cleaning contract on 3rd October. Since then, they have bullied and harassed a pregnant cleaner – whom they told pregnancy was ‘irrelevant’ to her conditions of work. When she complained about the new disregard for health and safety practices her concerns were ignored.
24-11-2011 12:28Pre Durban climate experts' "Planet Under Pressure 2012" conference [26-29th March] will take place at the new London International Convention Centre (ICC) at Excel http://www.excel-london.co.uk/.
The venue may be familiar as that of the annual Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition and associated protest.
Glasgow Feminist Network will hold a candle-lit vigil, at 6:30pm on Friday 25TH November 2011, to mark the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women .
"Egypt, Insights Into a Revolution"
A documentary about the Egyptian revolution
Cairo, April 2011. Two months after the fall of Mubarak regime, bloggers, activists, artists, opinion leaders or simple citizens revisit their Egyptian revolution.
24-11-2011 06:32ANTI-NUCLEAR protesters battled with riot police in France in a bid to stop a train of nuclear waste heading for Germany.
At 10.30am, students, workers and residents from across Bloomsbury occupied a disused University property. From today, 53 Gordon Square will be renamed the "Bloomsbury Social Centre", London, UK. 23/11/2011
Statement from Bloomsbury Social Center
"At 10.30am today, students, workers and residents from across Bloomsbury occupied a disused University property. From today, 53 Gordon Square will be renamed the Bloomsbury Social Centre.
The building has been empty for three years, subject to a legal dispute over its ownership. One of the claimants, the School of Oriental and African Studies, has this year announced that the property is to be redeveloped as a new post-graduate centre. Concurrently, it has announced the appointment of a new dean of post-graduate studies, one of whose perks will be a luxury apartment in the top-floor of the building.
SOAS management are perhaps ignorant of the context in which 53 Gordon Square was left vacantly to rot. Since 2008, the recession has been steadily worsening. House prices have remained unaffordable, living costs for ordinary people have continued to rise, and desperately needed public space has been made over to Big Retail at fire sale prices.
We don’t need any more luxury apartments, any more than we need new senior managers to live in them. The Bloomsbury Social Centre will instead be a real community resource: the material instrument required to build for the November 30th strike. Students, workers and local people are all invited to use it.
We entered through the main door at about 11 a.m., without being blocked. Only SOAS management have raised any dispute on this point. Remember that this is the same institution which in past months has allowed security and police to assault its own students and staff at what would otherwise have been peaceful protests. This morning we were intimidated by CIS security guards; in the afternoon we were intimidated by police, who have tried to smash down doors and made threats of arrests.
Our experience today is akin to (but it is also just a taster of) what communities subject to austerity are everywhere now forced to confront. It is because they confront it — because they must — that austerity policing has everywhere intensified.
In Bloomsbury the recession has been used as an excuse to stagnate wages, casualise employment, and to impose redundancies. It has been used further to separate workers, residents and students. Things have to change. Empty buildings wait across our city. We take heart from the action of Occupy movements around the world, the resistance to austerity measures in Greece, and the militant workers’ movement which is pushing forward the revolutions in Egypt and beyond.
The Bloomsbury Social Centre"
24-11-2011 01:33Earlier today we were told we are already facing disciplinary action and would have to pay the “substantial” cost of the university’s legal fees for an injunction they will take out against us if we do not leave by 9am tomorrow. The threat to the university and the system of public education is so grave that we are more afraid of the risks posed to society at large than our own immediate future. As such we have resolved to stay. We believe that students nationally must take action to defend education, despite the risks.
Wednesday 23 November 2011 [day whatever]
The camp is still there and continues to grow.......
This afternoon, Nottingham was preparing for the 'lets switch on the christmas lights in Mid November shindig'! [ba humbug, really].
Council was expecting around 7000 folks to celebrate this event, but filled the square with all this 'stuff'. God know where they were all supposed to stand.
Anyway, workmen came along and put up an instant fence this afternoon around the camp. Either:
1. To keep the camp protesters in, or
2. Keep the public [and passing drunks] out.
it's a mystery.
As an aside ..... It's worth noting the number of times recently, that policemen are passing by [and in] the camp ..... just to make sure everyone is ok of course......
Loads of earlier postings ...... but, here are the main features
Nottingham is occupied [Feature]
Nottingham Occupation Continues [2nd Feature]
Occupy Notttingham: Moved but still in occupation [3rd Feature]
Occupy Notttingham: Still there [4th Feature]
Nottingham Occupy Nottingham: No plans for eviction. Yet. [5th Feature]
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"