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(en) UK, THE UNDERDOG #8 - April 2004 - Walthamstow's rabble rousing rebel rag

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(http://www.enrager.net/hosted/wag/underdog8.pdf)
Date Fri, 9 Apr 2004 10:20:04 +0200 (CEST)


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Council cuts `fantastic' children's day centre
Last month Waltham Forest Council agreed to close Queen's Road
Children's Day Centre in Walthamstow. A parent whose 4-year-old
son attends the Centre commented "All the children there are
settled and happy. The staff are fantastic and do a good job
with the children."
Meanwhile, Councillor Chris Robbins, self-styled "Lifelong
Learning Portfolio Holder" told a council meeting that the
Centre had failed to "prove itself" so they have closed it down
to save the Council &70,000.

Now Councillor Robbins we've got
a question. You might have a big
posh job title, but really, who is better
qualified to decide whether to close down
a children's playgroup? You and a few suits
in an ivory towered Council Meeting? Or a
group of parents and toddlers who use
the playgroup every single day? To be hon-
est Robbins, by making such stupid deci-
sions you've "proved yourself" to be self-
serving, callous, and clueless!
Up and down the country, every year
local councillors cause misery to thousands
of workers and residents by taking a big
knife to jobs and services. From local play-
groups to pensioners' afternoon clubs, all
are under threat. If we protest and kick
up a fuss, the odd service may get a re-
prieve until next time. But most of us are
faced with reduced services or worse,
while Council Tax keeps on increasing.
Meanwhile Councillors pat themselves on
the back and have annoying photos taken
of themselves in the local paper (usually
skateboarding or drinking champagne out-
side the Cinema) furthering their careers and
paying themselves expenses. And then they
have the cheek to tell us that they are im-
proving services in the Borough!

"No money left" say the Government
If we want to fight the wholesale sell-off
of our services we need to look at the
bigger picture, and the wider agenda of
the Government. If the Government
wanted to find the money for public
services they could do it tomorrow:
&6.3 billion of tax-payers' money has
so far been blown on wars in Afghani-
stan and Iraq, and the bill is still rising
by around &150 million every month.

Handouts for the rich
The Government gives handouts and ben-
efits to the idle rich in all sorts of scams.
Just last month it was revealed that the
Government gives &3.9 billion a year in ben-
efit (they call it a farm subsidy scheme) to
a bunch of assorted Earls, Dukes and Lords.
The Duke of Westminster, who already owns
large chunks of London's West End and es-
tates in Cheshire, Lancashire and Scotland

gets &1000 a day from the taxpayer! At the
same time, privatisation of services like pub-
lic transport ensures that millions go into
company pockets in subsidies while we pay
through the nose (see WAGN article inside).
So when politicians tell us there's no money,
they're having a laarf!
Resist!
If services are under threat, we should
occupy and take them over. They belong
to us anyway. We can't let the Council
leave buildings empty while people are in
need. Only through workers and people
in the community coming together will we
have a hope of defending our services. We
at The Underdog will be campaigning this
year as in other years, with our kids, work-
mates and other service users to stop any
cuts that the Council is proposing to make.
But we're under no illusion that we'll make
any politicians really change their minds
until we force them to - by getting to-
gether in our communities and workplaces
and taking direct action. Wherever we
are we will push for ordinary people to
set up networks that will organise, meet,
agitate, protest, strike, occupy and fight
back - together.

M a y d a y
Public Meeting Saturday May 1st
`Community organising with
THE UNDERDOG'
2pm Quaker Meeting House 1a Jewel Rd E17
We will also have a stall in the town
square from 11am - 1pm and will be putting
on a fundraising gig in the evening. Contact
us for details or check our website.
www.walthamstowanarchy.org.uk


Alternative Alf Garnett
This'll wipe the smile off yer faces

Our impassioned, if a little irregular columist returns asking:
"Intimidating, aggressive, lazy
and scrounging off the taxpayer"
But are ALL councillors really
this dire?

So Councillor Terry Wheeler thinks it's a
good idea to blow the whole of
Leytonstone's &10,000 Community Council
budget for a year on injunctions to move
on a few "intimidating" street drinkers.
What a sad example of a politician scape-
goating the homeless in a cheap election
stunt. Its gutting enough to see people
living on the street, barely hanging on to
the edge of society without them getting
put on even more.
Maybe they have been driven to drink
by the pressures of life that we all feel.
Bereavement, unemployment or violence
in the home can leave people vulnerable
and down, and there is less and less help
for those who slip through the net. How
many of us, hand on heart, can say that
we could never end up in the situation of
many with "no fixed abode". Yes, some
people can feel intimidated by beggars,
and no one is saying that all beggars are
saints. But in fact it is those living on the
street who are most at risk from random
attack and other physical injury.
Politicians whip up prejudice to hide the
real reasons behind homelessness. The
root of the problem is how capitalism
throws more and more of us on the scrap-
heap while a few get rich - and don't let
any vote grabbing politician tell you oth-
erwise.

Ye Old Rose and Crown
Come and watch-
EURO 2004 LIVE
On BIG SCREEN in upstairs function room
with food and bar
Also on TV and big screen downstairs
Function room also for hire
53-55 Hoe St. W'tow E17
Tel: 020 8520 6198
-----------------------------------------
If you want to receive each issue of
The Underdog on your doormat send 6
stamps to the following address and we'll
send it to you - free!
Walthamstow Anarchist Group,
PO Box 35832, London E11 3WT
-------------------------------------------

WAGN: Taking you for a ride

You run a well-known rail and underground station. You put a sign up for passengers
using the station saying: "Due to increased anti-social and violent behaviour towards
passenger and staff...."
Now choose one of the following answers below to finish the above sentence:
a) ...I have decided to provide more staff in the booking hall.
b) ...I have decided to improve the lighting and general appearance of the booking hall
c) ...I have decided to close down the booking hall after 9.00pm and force passengers
to walk down a dimly lit tunnel late at night in order to get out of the station.

Did you get the right answer? Well, for
WAGN, who run Walthamstow Central Sta-
tion, the correct answer could be a) or
b), but definitely not c). Sadly last No-
vember the booking hall at Walthamstow
Central Station has been closed from
9.00pm every night in response to alleged
violence and anti-social
behaviour towards pas-
sengers and staff. What
ogic! Over three months
ater the ticket hall re- WAGN
mains closed. Now call us
cynical, but we suspect taking you
that WAGN's decision may
not actually have anything
to do with passenger safety. It's perhaps
more likely that WAGN are closing the book-
ng hall because keeping it open after 9pm
makes no contribution to their profits.

Touting nonsense
WAGN and London Underground blame
ticket touts for causing a hike in fares,
but that's rubbish. The companies who the
Government has flogged our services to
are the ones raising fares. WAGN's parent
company, National Express, announced an
8.3 per cent increase in profits up to
&129.2 million in 2002. In the same year
the Government doled them out an extra
&115 million subsidy - just to make sure
that privatisation is working for the mil-
ionaires who they're shovelling money at
to run a crap service and charge high fares.
Company boss Phil White `earned' &742,000
n 2000 plus &244,656 from share options.
This is a privatisation swindle. For how
many more years will we be subsidising the
profits of these crooks?

We at the Underdog want to see public
services run safely and sensibly. Public
places can be intimidating at night, so the
booking hall should be reopened and
WAGN should be staffing it until late as a
safety measure. To get the booking hall
re-opened, WAGN are going to have to face
pressure from ordinary
passengers. It's difficult
for commuters get to-
gether and organise, but
it's not impossible: with all
that time on our hands
waiting to catch trains
that are running late, a
well-organised protest or
occupation at one of the manager's of-
fices would soon make WAGN start listen-
ing. And after all, a company with an an-
nual profit of nearly &130 million shouldn't
really have a problem with putting some
lights on in a booking hall!

Police protecting profits not passengers

Long-suffering commuters at Walthamstow
Central are often faced at the end of their
journey by up to six police officers, accom-
panied by the same number of London Un-
derground staff, leering and scowling as if
they're waiting for a riot to happen. If you
think they're there for your safety, you'll
be disappointed. Their job is to pounce on
any passenger who fails to have a ticket.
Meanwhile, if anyone feels nervous or in-
timidated by anti-social behaviour further
upstairs, they're on their own. Protecting
the profits of London Underground Limited
is obviously far more important!

---------------------------------------
Met piggies bank cash again
Every year is a rollover for the Met police
when it comes to their financial budget.
This years funding comes in at a
whopping &2.3 billion. We are left
wondering if such a huge sum of
our hard earned, forced from
our pockets by the State, is be-
ing well spent, especially given
the complete failure of the
Met to actually make London
a safe place to live.
This amount represents a six percent
(&135.5m) increase on last years budget.
Of this &66.7m is put down to inflation,
which still leaves a real increase of &68.8m.
Of the &2.9 billion total expenditure, 78%
or &2.2 billion goes on pay and overtime.
The amount of overtime dished out to the
capitals Police and Traffic Wardens totals
&131m, or 6% of this amount. Not a bad
little earner.
As anarchists we see crime and
the apparent need for a police
force as a result of inequalities
in wealth and power created
by capitalism. The police don't
make the streets safer, they are
there to protect the wealth and prop-
erty of the rich. Lets tackle the problem
of anti-social crime at the root by getting
rid of the system that creates it. Then the
money hungry coppers can all go too, and
find something more productive and ben-
eficial to society to do with their time.

UCKG in second child abuse scandal

The Universal Church for the Kingdom of
God (UCKG), owners of Walthamstow's EMD
cinema, have been involved in another
child abuse scandal. It has emerged that
the church, heavily implicated in the case
of the torture and murder Victoria Climbie,
were questioned by police in a separate
incident in Haringey. This second case led

to a man being
jailed for 5 years
following a `cam-
paign of cruelty'
against his 9 year
old son, including
branding him
with an iron, be-
cause he
thought he was
possessed by
the devil. The
family had at-
tended the
UCKG "Help Cen-
tre" in Finsbury
Park.APastor has
since admitted
that he believed
the child to be
possessed by
the devil and that
he `flew around
during the night eating people'. Thankfully
this incident did not end in the death of an
innocent child.
We at The Underdog believe that for as long
as churches like the UCKG exist there will
be a danger that adults will be persuaded
that the root of their childrens behavioural
problems is supernatural. There is a direct
connection be-
tween the
superstitionism
preached by the
likes of the
UCKG and inci-
dents of child
abuse such as
this. Teaching
people that
children are
possesed by the
devil does not
e n c o u r a g e
their good
treatment.This
is a reason why
we have con-
sistently argued
that the UCKG
have no place in
Waltham Forest,
or anywhere else.

Members of the Walthamstow Anarchist Group
were amongst a posse of local residents who
redecorated the front of the closed EMD cin-
ema. The UCKG have shut it for a year now.
They can't turn it in to a church so why haven't
they sold it on and cleared out? The answer is
anyones guess...
For more info visit www.reclaimourcinema.org

Democracy in action

Aren't Community Council great? You
don't just get to vote on giving &10,000
to a bunch of Council lawyers to mount
injunctions to harass the homeless (see
Alternative Alf Garnett column in this
issue). No, you can also vote on vital
things like the colour of hanging baskets
on the Lea Bridge Road, or the location
of new litter bins? That's democracy in
action.
But it's funny that there's some things
we don't seem to get a say on: like
whether to hand out &261,000 to Coun-
cil Chief Executive Simon "it's not my
fault" White. Who could argue with
throwing & million of taxpayer's money
at Mr White for screwing up our Borough
for the past 4 years?
We suggest that the new Community
Councils give the appearance of "doing
something" by allowing the "community"
to "have our say". It's a clever diversion
while councillors are free to carry on
messing up the rest of our lives at the
regular Council meetings. Community
Councils are in danger of being a collec-
tion of busy-bodies sounding off while
councillors pretend to "hear what they
say". At worst they're a platform for coun-
cillors to appeal to the lynch mob mental-
ity by picking on a group of people to
scapegoat, stirring up prejudice and try-
ing to win a few votes.
---------------------------------------
Really? How interesting...
Waltham Forest has the seventh high-
est number of people trapped in lifts
in London. In an average week, the
Fire Service attend between 18 and
19 of these incidents.
---------------------------------------

We are online!
Check out our new, redesigned website:
More up to date news, lots of interesting
links, and much much more at...
www.walthamstowanarchy.org.uk
Discuss with us:
We have our own online discussion forum at...
www.enrager.net/forums Click on Walthamstow
Anarchist Group and contribute freely :o)
Middle Finger Radio
We host what is probably the worlds largest online library of rebel spoken word.
Go to www.lemming.mahost.org/middlefinger Choose from Chomsky, Komboa
Ervin, Zinn and more. Let us know what you want, and we'll burn you a CD. Easy as.
------------------------------------------

THE UNDERDOG'S
Survival Guide
We continue our regular column on sur-
viving the worst effects of capitalism.
When stopped or arrested by the police:
ON THE STREET
. Ask why you have been stopped and
at the end ask for a record of the search.
. You can be stopped and searched
if the police have a reasonable suspicion
that you are in possession of:
. controlled drugs
. offensive weapon or firearms
. carrying a sharp article
. carrying stolen goods
. if you are in a coach or train, going
to, or you have arrived at, a sports stadium
There are other situations where you can
be stopped and searched, for example: If
police fear there might be serious violence
in a particular area they can stop and search
anyone in that area for up to 24 hours. (Ask
to see the Section 60 order though).
You don't have to give your name when
searched.
IN THE POLICE STATION ON ARREST
Do not panic. You cannot be locked up
indefinitely. The police sometimes keep
you isolated and waiting in the cell to `sof-
ten you up'.
The only information you have to give is
your name, address and date of birth.
Insist on seeing a solicitor (you might have
to wait, but it's always free). Ask them to
be present when you are interviewed.
Do not be put off seeing a solicitor by the
police. It is your right.
We strongly recommend that you DON'T:
write a statement
sign a statement written by the police
sign any police book
Above all else remember:
1) You have nothing to gain and everything
to lose by answering police questions.
2) There is no such thing as a `friendly
chat' to sort things out. Anything you say
can later be used against you.
IN ALL SITUATIONS ALWAYS RELPY "NO
COMMENT".
For information and help in dealing with
the police or the courts contact `Release'
Advice Line :- 020 7729 9904
(10 - 6 Monday to Friday) or Emergency
Helpline :- 020 7603 8654 (at all other times)
The LEGAL DEFENCE AND MONITORING
GROUP can also be contacted for legal
advice: B.M. HAVEN, London WC1N 3XX
Tel: 020 8533 7116

Wot anarchists fink: Work
We continue our series on anarchist ideas
with a look at the world of work.
Lets face it, for most of us work is a pain.
Just look at the faces of the people around
you on the tube or bus on a Monday morn-
ing. Most people look pretty miserable and
like they'd rather be somewhere else.
Spending a large part of our lives doing
tasks we don't want to do is obviously not
normal. This is why so many school leavers
find it hard to adapt and why most of us
never fully accept a life of work except as
a necessary evil. After all, if we want a
roof over our head, clothes, food, maybe
a car, holiday in the sun every now and
again then we have to work - well, within
society as it is currently set up.


Against exploitation
Our dislike for work is in fact an anti-ex-
ploitation instinct. You might say that we
do all choose to go to work. But when the
other options are homeless-
ness and starvation on the one
hand or a life on the dole, this
is no choice. Most of us can
`work' hard without noticing
it when it's creative, worth-
while, or something we want
to do. But too many of us de-
velop a `work ethic' around
our enjoyment of getting things
done, without questioning the
way `work' is unfairly organized
in our society. In fact it took
hundreds of years to persuade
us all to accept the working
week as it is today. We used to follow the
ebb and flow of the activities of daily life,
including a rich social and festival life.
Myths about a `struggle for existence' in
our past as hunter-gathers or peasants hide
the fact that it was capitalism and the in-
dustrial revolution that brought limitless
work hours, repetition and exploitation in
inhuman conditions of wage-slavery.
The point is that we have no choice
but to work on the terms of the people
who own the wealth and run society - the
bosses, bankers, manufacturers and bu-
reaucrats. They make the real decisions
as to how work is arranged and run things
very much in their favour. Their quest for
personal profit means we have to hire our-
selves out to them for a wage and never
receive back the full value of our labour.
We work stupid hours (in the UK, longer
than anyone else in Europe) at things we
don't really want to do. The government
then taxes the hell out of us for good
measure, while the rich avoid paying tax
with off-shore accounts and legal loop-
holes. Even self-employed people, who may
have freed themselves from the grip of an
immediate boss are still getting ripped off
by the banks whose interest they pay
and huge companies whose products they
have to buy. There is no escape from this
relationship of exploitation within society
as it is set up now. This is why we make no
apology for attempting to confront and
subvert this relationship by phoning in sick,
going on strike, engaging in sabotage or
organising to change society all together.
We didn't freely choose this wage slavery
after all.

Liberating our potential
We hope to see a popular revolution in
which people destroy this relationship of
exploitation. Some will take over their
workplaces and run them as equals, oth-
ers will choose to close them and do some-
thing else more creative or socially
useful.For starters this will mean a hell of
a lot less will need to be done. All of the
pointless tasks that merely generate profit
for capitalists will be out of the window.
All that will be left are the jobs that con-
tribute to the wealth and wellbeing to
each of us and to society as a whole.
The Russian anarchist
Kropotkin studied agriculture
and industry and calculated
that if all of us shared the
tasks related to survival -
food, clothing and shelter -
we'd only need to do 2 five-
hour days each a week. The
rest of the time would then
be for socializing, music, fun,
science and exploring our
potential. This is even with-
out the improvements in
methods of such things as
food production. Our energy
could be applied to providing for the needs
for all. Instead capitalism creates artificial
competition, unemployment and scarcity
with a profit system that see the idle rich
leeching off the rest of us.
We should organise `work' on OUR
TERMS. If we do, pretty soon we'll need a
new word for it, as our creativity and en-
thusiasm is liberated. Anything less and
we're mere slaves to a system.
----------------------------------

If you need a copy of
The Underdog in LARGE
TEXT or would like a
taped copy, we would
be happy to supply
either. You can also
download The Underdog
from our website.

Walthamstow Anarchist Group
PO Box 35832
London E11 3WT
Tel: 07810 288 889
www.walthamstowanarchy.org.uk
info@walthamstowanarchy.org.uk

Get involved with
THE UNDERDOG
The Underdog is Walthamstow's only TRULY
independent paper. We have no rich back-
ers, and we tell it how it is. We distribute
on the street, in community centres,
pubs, cafes, shops and by delivering door-
to door. If you like what you read, we
always welcome help: You may have local
news, gossip, or opinions, letters or
comments about anything we have writ-
ten. Or you may be able to help with dis-
tribution -perhaps in your street. If you
want us to post the next 6 issues to you
as soon as it comes out, just send us 6
first class stamps. We also pay for this
ourselves so if you want to bung us a few
quid towards the next issue, this would
be much appreciated.

W@G
The Underdog is produced by the
Walthamstow Anarchist Group. We are a
group of Waltham Forest residents who are
sick of the system of capitalism which al-
lows the rich and the bosses to exploit
and control the rest of us. We promote
working class resistance and self-organi-
sation and through this aim to create a
new society where people live together in
freedom and as equals. We believe in di-
rect action as a method by which we work-
ing class people can begin to take control
of our communities and workplaces now
and in doing so build a movement strong
enough to challenge the entire system.
If you want to get in touch you can e-mail
us, phone or text us or drop us a line at,
or visit our website. We also meet fort-
nightly at a local venue and you are wel-
come to meet up with us for a chat if you
are interested in getting involved.
----------------------------------
Interested in anarchism?
Want to find out more?
Apart from contacting us to arrange meet-
ing up, a short train, bus or tube ride away
is Freedom Bookshop. Tucked away be-
hind KFC, up Angel Alley on Whitechapel
High St, you'll find it packed full of anar-
chist books, magazines and papers and will
probably find someone to talk with about
anarchism if you like. Open 12-6 Mon - Sat.
Freedom Bookshop, 84b Whitechapel High
St, London - nearest tube Aldgate East.
Otherwise you can visit the excellent
online resource www.enrager.net
Groups we support:
Anarchist Federation
84b Whitechapel High St
London
E1 7QX
www.afed.org.uk
Solidarity Federation
PO Box 469,
Preston
PR1 8FX
www.solfed.org.uk


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