On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.
In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.
The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.
In the face of massive cuts to Oxfordshire's public services, a group of activists and campaigners are determined to fight the Con-Dem government's austerity package and their plans to privatise services that should rightly belong to all of us.
The group has recently campaign on youth services, NHS reforms, and welfare reforms for people with disabilities.
The press release for the event didn't mention the arms industry related work that takes place there but simply stated that, "The Nuclear AMRC is a new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, with the backing of the Government and leading companies involved in building the new generation of civil nuclear power stations."
The day before, Stuart Parkinson, executive director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, speaking at the Sheffield CND AGM exposed the often used argument about job creation for facilities of this nature — only 3,000 are employed in the defence sector in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and the money invested could generate far more jobs in sustainable industries.
Newswire: Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Protest | Protest at the Queen's visit to the Rotherham Death Park | Royal Visit to Death Park! 18th Nov. 2010 | Nuclear Dawn at Rotherhams Advanced Manufacturing Park | Stuart Parkinson: Arms Conversion for a Low Carbon Economy
Thousands have marched, a government department has been broken into, and a Scottish branch of Lloyds TSB has been occupied by pissed-off pensioners...It must be the (OK, somewhat quiet compared to France) start of the anti-cuts revolt!
Opposition to the planned public sector spending cuts is growing across Oxfordshire and beyond.
In early September there was a sit-in protest in Lloyds Bank in central Oxford. Protesters pointed out that the banks are being funded by the public at the expense of our frontline services including heath care, social services, and housing.
A week later, Oxford Save Our Services held a public meeting to start mapping the cuts in Oxfordshire and to start building resistance to them. Around 50 people - including service users and public sector workers whose jobs could be under threat - all spoke about the cuts that were being made. These ranged from closing the GAP homeless project, stopping schools & parks projects, closing care centres, turning off speed cameras, and much more.
Resistance to the cuts is in fairly early stages, but rapidly gathering momentum. Events coming up in the near future include:
23 September 7pm: Town Hall Oxford Trades Council open community meeting for all groups and unions against the cuts.
27 September: Oxford Save Our Services planning meeting. Update: Meeting details.
3 October: Demonstration at the Tory party conference. Coaches going from Oxford.
20 October (day of the Comprehensive Spending Review): National day of action against the cuts.
Having spent £25m on the branding rights to London's new cycle hire scheme, the bright sparks in the Barclays marketing department have started a dialogue with the public which could last for several years. The scheme is part of a private finance initiative providing thousands of rental bikes in return for painting London's roadways in the bank's corporate colours.
Only minutes after the bank unveiled the bikes-for-rent in partnership with the city's Conservative administration, situationist guerrilla teams struck in the night to add their own mobile advertising messages under the Barclays logo. One of the messages, "Funding depleted uranium birth defects in Iraq", was particularly timely. New studies suggest that the ongoing genetic damage caused by the U.S. attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004 may be worse than that caused by the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 65 years ago.
Barclays was also targeted in Cambridge on Friday 30th July 2010.
This week sees GM firmly back in the spotlight. On Wednesday the EU took a huge step in pushing forward the genetic modification agenda by copping out of regulation and putting the decision on whether to GM grow or not back into the hands of national governments. The European Commission approved changes to the rules which may break the deadlock that has prevented any significant cultivation of GM crops in Europe. What does this mean for GM production in the UK and other nation-states? And where does this leave the resistance movement?
In response to America's largest ever environmental disaster, Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, said, “I'd like my life back.” He seemed to have forgotten about the 11 workers who died on BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig when it exploded 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, on 20th April 2010.
This Saturday (15th) people will be protesting at various places around central London to give the new 'stable, national interest' coalition a warm welcome.
SchNEWS gives a round-up of all the events taking place over the weekend to get your action-hungry teeth stuck into.
On Saturday February 6th, the Save Victoria Baths campaign held a demo in protest at the council's plans to shut Victoria Leisure Centre on April 1st. The event was well attended and attracted a fair amount of media attention. Although the council seems to have made its decision, campaigners believe the fight is far from over. They will hand over a petition against the closure on Monday February 8th.
The campaign has also announced on its website that users of the Victoria Leisure Centre have formally threatened legal action against the council over its sudden announcement that the centre will be closing on April 1st. The legal action asks the council to withdraw the decision and keep the centre open whilst the planning process is undertaken, echoing the appeals of the campaign. London public law firm, Pierce Glynn are acting on behalf of the users, seeking a judicial review, accusing the council of failing to take into account the fact that no planning application has been submitted, that this process will take at least several months, and failing to take into account the impact this will have on users, especially disabled ones.