Wearing protective radiation suits and wielding home-made greenwash detection and clean-up equipment, The Greenwash Guerrillas were on site to declare the event a 'Toxic Greenwash Hazard', whilst passers-by and would-be attendees were advised to move away from the building. Those insisting on entry were warned that direct physical contact with the levels of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) anticipated could cause long-term damage to spiritual health. Not to mention the likelihood of becoming a bit-player in a Shell-choreographed CSR soap opera. Full Report and PhotosRead more >>
Indymedia cinema and the RampART Creative Centre have been hosting a week long festival of documentary films from India. From Monday 10th to Saturday 16th January, each day focused on a particular social or political issue. This festival brings to London’s East End some documentaries that are rarely seen, inside or outside India, with the intention of creating spaces for debate. Some disturbing, some impassioned, others humorous, all inspiring and controversial, these films provide a glimpse into some of the most difficult challenges facing Indian society.
During film festivals in India attempts have been made to censor films covering these events. Now the same is happening in London. Last week, the ramparts social centre started to receive threatening emails, and anonymous comments posted on the ramparts web pages  from people trying to force the venue to cancel the film festival. They claim that the films present Hinduism in a bad light and that the organisers have an anti-Hindu agenda. The threats began after an email posted on nationalist Hindu mailing list alerted members of right wing Hindu groups such as the BJP and the VHP (both part of the Sangh Parivar, the family of Hindu fundamentalist organizations spawned and led by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh). However, of course, the organizers refused to bow to the threats and the festival went on as other venues came forward to offer alternative places to show the film should disruption take place. In the end, there was no disruption, and attendance was very good. Read more >>
Reports from the villages of Palestine from the 20th of December through to the New Year. On arriving here the first thing that I realise is that there is so much to do here because the military repression occurs throughout this land on every level. Not just in the incursions and massacres that we see so often on TV but in simple things that we as non Palestinians take for granted like there being a separate and inferior road system for Palestinans to use, and the fast super high way settler roads for those with the Isreali car nuimber plate. The Apartheid here is a rigorous and active racism.Read more >>
This last year has been a pretty active and productive year for the social centres movement in the UK...
At the begining of the year, the Wombles occupied 93 Fortess Rd for several months before moving into the ex-Grand Banks in Tufnell Park. Both occupations saw successfully resistance against eviction and were highly successful and popular. After eviction in August the wombles took a break to concentrate on the 'Beyond ESF event' but they'll be back in 2005.
Perhaps also to return in 2005, Use Your Loaf, an ex-bakery in Deptford which had been occupied as a centre for social solidarity since summer 2002, but was finally evicted in September. Currently without a building, the collective has remained active and are having a xmas party this coming Friday.
Also having a party on the Friday 17th AND Saturday 18th Dec, the 'rampART' in East London [details] . The building opened around six months ago and has been host to a wide variety of political and cultural events. To celebrate and raise funds to cover bills, there is a two day festival with bands, workshops, DJs, fashion show, VJs, films etc. Full details on www.rampart.co.nr
Court proceedings are underway once more in Barcelona to evict some thirty residents from their home, and over one hundred neighbours from their gardens and collective autonomous land, in order to sell the land to property developers. When the building was first occupied it was in a state of imminent collapse, it has taken three years of hard work and money to save the building.
Previous attempts to prosecute the residents of Can Masdeu for occupying, utilising and renovating the building have failed. In May 2002 Can Masdeu squatters and their supporters resisted for a full week an eviction attempt. [See photos 1 | 2]
On sunday 28 of November, there was a curious demonstration at the finish line of the Nike Run London Race at London's Surrey Quays, as various space-hijackers, culture jammers and No Sweat campaigners came together to engage in a spot of coporate image sabotage.
After spending an afternoon painting banners and customising clothing with Nike swooshes, the anti-corporate activists set off for the event. As the estimated 30,000 runners were arriving at the end of the race, the protesters stood next to the finish line whilst holding banners that read "Sweatshops ROCK!", "Child Labour is good for the economy!", "We need little hands to do the small stiching" and "Brand Your Kids". Another protester set up his very own Sweatshop, selling a spoof Nike perfume "Sweat".
The Nike organisers were getting suitably annoyed by the protests, but there was little they could do as the finish line was in a public park, and as such it was public not private property. Read full report and photos.
For more in depth info on Nike see NoSweat briefing.Read more >>
On Friday 26 of November, a dozen people visited the Icelandic embassy in Knightsbridge, London, to disrupt its operation and express opposition to the Karahnjukar Hydropower Project in Iceland's Eastern Highlands. This scheme is the largest dam project in Iceland. It will be located near Vatnajoekull, Europe's largest glacier, and will dam and divert several glacial rivers. If constructed, it will consist of nine dams, three reservoirs, seven channels and 16 tunnels.
Four activists got into the building, while others hung a banner and leafleted passers by. All the activists who entered the embassy where finally ejected and arrested along with another activist who locked on to the doors [Report].Read more >>
On 23rd November, the Day of the Re-opening of Parliament in London, 4 activists did a series of theatrical die-ins to highlight what they call "the slaughter in Iraq"; they performed several die ins outside Downing Street, outside Parliament - and sensationaly, in yet another government security breah, .... INSIDE the Cabinet Office.
Anti-War protesters made a mockery of Tony Blair's key election pledge of security by entering the government building just minutes after the Queen's speech had announced new measures to tackle terrorism. As the whole of Whitehall bristled with armed police, the protestors by-passed supposedly impenetrable security to gain access to the Cabinet Office, which has a direct underground link to No 10 Downing Street.Read more >>
Most people believe sex workers should not be criminalised. "Paying the Price", the first review of the prostitution laws for 50 years, hides the impact of the prostitution laws on women's and children's safety, protection and welfare, and makes way for more criminalisation. Sex workers and others discuss a response. See Paying the price of criminalisation - A response to the government consultation paper on prostitution by the English Collective of Prostitutes.
International Conference on prostitution, Saturday 4 December 9.30 - 6 pm St Mary's Church, Eversholt St.Read more >>
On the 14th November outside the recording studios in Hampstead where "Do They Know It's Christmas" - Band AID 20 (named after the 20-year anniversary of the original) was being re-recorded, demonstrations took place by protesters arguing that Band Aid is little more than a screen "whitewashing the real issues behind world poverty". Shouts of 'real aid, not band aid', 'don't whitewash Africa' and boo's were audiable over the screams of fans and onlookers. One protester was arrested for handing out leaflets explaining the reasons for the protest - [read full report].
Protesters from the Dissent! Network, organising against the G8 Summit, argue that the song is obnoxious, patronising and out of date with the real situation in Africa
"This isn't about creating a record to support people in Africa- this is a kodak moment for Bono, Midge Ure and for Blair to manipulate public opinion and push through a destructive economic agenda to serve Western economic interests."
As Britain gears up for the G8 summit next July, Blair's government together with Bono and Geldof are doing everything they can to convince the public into believing that real action is being taken on issues such as Climate change and poverty in Africa.
The original Band AID single produced in 1984 raised £9.5 million. The 2003 G8 summit in Evian cost £400 million. The security budget for the 2005 summit in Scotland is set at £150 million. The war in Iraq has so far cost the UK taxpayer £80 billion pounds and rising. The continuing loss of life due to poverty and war is unquantifyable.
International development campaigners - the World Development Movement (WDM) - also condemned the lyrics as promoting a "negative and inaccurate picture of Africa and its problems." The organisation, which has been campaigning on issues effecting Africa for over 30 years and was one of the founders of both the fair trade movement and Jubilee 2000, drew attention to several lines in the song which it described as "patronising, false and out of date".
Director of WDM, Mark Curtis said on Tuesday 14th: "The song perpetuates the myth that Africa’s problems can somehow be blamed on lack of rainfall and failed harvests. It conjures up an image of a continent inhabited entirely by starving children with flies on their faces sitting in the sunbaked bed of a dried up stream."
"African poverty is not an unfortunate accident of geography and climate. It is largely the result of damaging policies such as free trade forced on Africa by rich countries."
Several initiatives are now underway to re-write the lyrics - upload your own, or send lyrics or recorded audio files to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the latest round of attacks on Fallujah by "coalition" forces started in earnest two weeks ago, and amid fears of a massive civilian death toll in the Iraqui city, London has seen a series of protests, actions and blockades in the Whitehall and Westminster area.
These started on Sunday 31st October with road blocks and the scaling of the gates to Downing Street, as well as the Foreign Office being splatterd with blood red paint [pics]. On Sunday 7th, there was a protest at Parliament Square, followed by campaigners laying flowers at the Cenotaph, before locking on and blocking Whitehall [see reports and pics 1, 2, 3, 4]. The next evening, on Monday the 8th, demonstrators meet up for non-violen direct action against the attack. They started by blocking the road at the top of Whitehall, followed by a loud protest in Leicester Square where the Queen was attending a cinema premiere. The action ended with a blockade in Picadilly Circus [Report]. On Wednesday the 10th demonstrators blocked Piccadilly Circus [Report and Pics]. And on Friday the 12th a rally for peace and protest against the attack on Fallujah took place in Brixton.
For more information on protests around the UK see: Indymedia-UK full feature
Photos from Fallujah | Interview with a Fallujah refugee
News from Iraq: Al-Muajaha | Electronic Iraq | Iraqi blog | Juan Cole blog | Empire Notes blog | also see Jo Wilding and her blog.
UK Protest + Iraq Info Upcoming London Events | Voices in the Wilderness | Stop the War Coalition | Justice Not Vengeance | Iraq Occupation Focus | Jubilee Iraq.
Britain continues to hold 14 foreign nationals who have never been charged with any offence. The supposed evidence against them remains secret. They were never questioned by the police. They have not been put on trial.
These men are detained under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which allows the Home Secretary to detain indefinitely any foreign nationals if he has 'reasonable suspicion' that they have links with 'international terrorism'. At hearings last year, the government acknowledged that some of the 'evidence' could have been obtained by torturing detainees elsewhere, e.g. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
On Sunday 3 October, around 100 people gathered outside Belmarsh Prison in south east London to protest against the indefinite internment of the 14 prisoners, and to demand the repeal of the UK's anti-terrorism laws. A wide range of people were present, from Muslim leaders to grass roots activists, incluiding Lawyers and anti-racism campaigners. A number of speeches were made, and an open microphone included poetry and music. Photos 1 | 2.Read more >>
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected to come to London this month to attend the third European Social Forum taking place between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th (although many other ESF related events start earlier). Around 1,000 people have been registering per day and paying £20 or £30 to attend (nb the first 20,000 will recieve a free three day travelcard). The ESF will be a massive event that will see hundred of seminars, workshops, and cultural events taking place at Alexandra Palace and in the Bloosmbury area of London. However, with less than two weeks to go before the ESF begins, there is a potentially politically embarrassing severe accomodation crisis, with thousands wanting to come from europe unsure if they can afford London prices and requesting free accomodation. Recently several coordinations of the Babels volunteer interpreters threatened to quit over what they claim is a looming accommodation and reimbursement crisis [see response].
Over the last year the ESF organising process has repeatedly been accused of being untransparent and non-participatory. Accusations have centred around the actions of the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Action and the political and financial control of Mayor Ken Livingstone's Greater London Authority (GLA). Much has been written about this, for a sample see: UK NGO Letter | esf2004.net | Radical Philosphy Critique | ESF technology, media centres, and politics | Enrager | Weekly Worker (extensive reports)
Partly in response to this there are now several Autonomous Spaces and initiatives with well over two hundred workshops and seminars and other events scheduled from Wednesday 13th - Sunday 17th (read more).
Indymedia is organising a four-day Indymedia centre to facilitate reporting and DIY media production. Themes will include Surveillance and the Security State, Biometric ID Cards, Migrants and Noborders, Gender, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Creative Commons, Corporate media and Alternative media etc. Thursday 14th sees the European Forum on Communication Rights, Friday 15th sees a full day programme including a workshop and launch presentation on the "Eyes on International Financial Institutions (IFIs)" film portal website [www.ifiwatch.tv]. Saturday also sees the 10th Birthday Conference of SchNEWS.
Other alt-media initiatives includes an ESF Breakfast Radio Show on Resonance FM and 24/7 streaming ESF coverage from rampART radio. Further sources of information will include info-points located at the Camden Centre, the rampART and LARC.
LISTEN NOW - STREAMING AUDIO FROM LONDONRead more >>
The campaign continues:updateT-Mobile wish to erect an enormous mobile phone mast in Richmond Road, Hackney. This will be next to London Fields park, a few metres away from a housing estate, on on the pavement! Hackney Council asked if anybody objected, and naturally many did. So the planning permission was turned down. Read more >>
Public sector cuts