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(en) SchNEWS 470, Friday 22nd October, 2004 - PLAIN TEXT

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 22 Oct 2004 16:46:18 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Endless Shit Flinging
Thousands of people from more than 70 countries came to a very wet
London last weekend to take part in the European Social Forum
(ESF) and the various autonomous events across the capital. They
came to see if 'another world is possible' , yet as expected, last
weekend was hijacked by people whose vision seems seriously at
odds with many people involved in grassroots politics.
An article about the way the Socialist Workers Party operates is
hardly news. With its paid officials, the biggest leftist grouping
in the UK often try to take control of new movements to feed their
recruitment drives, continually wearing different hats and setting
up front groups to try and catch the protest mood of the moment.
Obsessed with the tradition of marching from A to B ending with us
all having to listen to boring speeches from MPs, they are
antipathy of the direct action anti-capitalist movement.

With the rise of this movement they invented Globalise Resistance,
and quickly dominated the Stop the War Coalition which was big on
marches but crap on civil disobedience. One of their leaders
Lindsay German has actually described direct action as 'elitist.'

So, it's no surprise that they quickly took control of the
organizing of the ESF, presenting people with a stark choice -
either go along with what 'the unions' want, or they withdraw
their funding and the ESF will not happen. A coalition of the
major UK trade justice and environmental NGOs complained in a
letter that they had been keen to get involved in the organising
of the ESF "but have found it difficult to do so because of the
lack of transparency and openness." Autonomous, non-hierarchical,
groups were also amongst those excluded. This hijacking also meant
that the goodwill that these events need to thrive began to


This disenchantment with the way the ESF had been hijacked,
eventually boiled over with the storming of the podium on Saturday
evening which prevented the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone from
speaking. Livingstone is a prominent member of the Labour Party -
the party that took us to war against Iraq and who recently
announced that people should cross a tube workers' picket line.
But his Greater London Authority sponsored the event so of course
he got to speak. A leading SWP hack Alex Callinicos complained
about the "thuggish behaviour" of the "black bloc" and "small and
unrepresentative groups that had been consistently hostile both to
the ESF itself and to the coalition that brought it to London."
Meanwhile Lee Jasper from the National Assembly Against Racism and
a Livingstone side kick, tried to play the race card against those
who stormed the stage. The reality was that the action seemed to
have the support of the majority of the 1,000-strong audience
after the occupiers explained why they were doing it.

Wombling Free?

Outside of the ESF, those involved in the autonomous zones were
facing constant police harassment. Squatters complained that the
ESF had increased police pressure and surveillance on them. One
SchNEWS bod who joined a demo said "Around 30 cyclists and 50
samba drummers visited climate change criminals on Friday as part
of a Rising Tide organized demo. Accompanied by around 150 police,
6 vans and the usual photographers. Nice to know we present such a
threat to civilization. If there is ever a terrorist plot in the
UK we'll be OK as long as they parade through London dressed in

Then of course there's the Met Police's unhealthy obsession with
the Wombles who eventually decided to hire a venue after the cops
promised to evict any squatted social space they tried to take.
This harassment led to some arrests on their way to the anti war
demo at Trafalgar Square. Worse was to come for Javier Ruiz from
the London Indymedia collective, who spoke at both autonomous and
official ESF events. Javier went to the stage at the end of the
anti war march to try and announce that there would be a demo in
support of those nicked. The stewards refused, a scuffle broke
out, and the police were eventually called for by the stewards and
he was beaten and nicked.

Does any of this matter? Or does this have all the Monty
Pythonesque hallmarks of the 'Judeans People's Front', something
SchNEWS has been trying to avoid for the past ten years. Well, the
autonomous spaces newspaper reckons it matters "Many people
believe that the process of organising the ESF is just as
important as the event itself... the social forum passes by in a
whirlwind of packed schedules crammed into just a few days, yet
the organising process takes almost a full year. It's in this
process that the real opportunity to build networks and solidarity
lies. And yet it is this process which has been so flawed, and
which has contributed directly to the creation of the Autonomous

Another unhappy lot were Babels, the international volunteer
translators. "Many opportunities of experimentation and innovation
have been missed out on during the organization of this forum
resulting in the exclusion of many. This is in total contradiction
to the Porto Allegre* charter. Instead, the London ESF has
employed classical neoliberal organization, management & service
delivery, with the result that the form has been totally dependent
on the state. This has had disastrous consequence for the
development of our movement."

SchNEWS isn't in the business of squabbling, and our strapline has
always been don't listen to us, but go out there and see things
for yourself. We've been trying to build bridges, not by imposing
what we think is right but by offering skills and solidarity to
anyone who's fighting for a better world. But the actions of the
SWP ruling elite push this tolerance to a limit.

Of course not everything is black and white. Anarchists can forget
about the real world and become obsessed with lifestyle politics
and hairstyles. Not everyone in the SWP is bad, just like many
people in trade unions aren't bad. On the Friday we had a SchNEWS
stall at the offical ESF Alexandra Palace and chatted to some
brilliant people and there were some amazing speakers and
discussions. But as so often, the very people that help build new
movements of struggle, are bypassed, vilified and their ideas
corrupted and turned into ineffective protest in order to build
yet another dead-end party (Let's call this new one Respect) If
Another World is Possible, SchNEWS hopes we aren't just gonna
replace it with one bunch of political cronies for another.

* Porto Allegre is where the first World Social Forum took place

* For more on how the ESF was hijacked



Finally after a year in production, and a decade to make, the
SchNEWS at 10 book is here. Covering the last ten years of direct
action from the M11 link road protests to the war in Iraq. And
seeing as it's coming up to that festival of consumerism that is
Christmas, why don't you buy the SchNEWS at 10 book for your inner
anarchist, and be guilt free in your spending.
To order a copy send a cheque payable to Justice for £9 (£7 + £2
P&P), or order the book in your local bookshop ISBN-09529748 8 6


Crap Arrest Of The Week

For trying to report crap arrests...
At the end of the ESF demo on Sunday in Trafalgar Square an
Indymedia activist wanted to make an announcement on the stage
about a demo in solidarity with the four people who were arrested
and beaten up at Kings Cross earlier in the day to the assembled
70,000 activists. The SWP stewards prevented him from doing so and
called the cops who promptly arrested and beat two more people as



The UK Government can't keep saying they are against torture when
they are making use of the torturers' work elsewhere." - Steve
Crawshaw, the UK head of Human Rights Watch.

Hot news from the War on Terror! You can sleep safer in yer beds
now the UK government has stepped in to rid Uzbekistan of its
deviant president, Islam Karimov... Oh, wait a minute. No, it
seems we're wrong. The US & UK funded White House guest Karimov -
notorious for , amongst many things, boiling dissenters alive- is
not in any danger. The UK government has actually stepped in to
rid Uzbekistan of its deviant British Ambassador, Craig Murray,
whose heinous crime has been to criticise the Uzbek regime, a
prominent ally of America in the 'War on Terror'.

Soon after arriving in Tashkent in 2002, Murray gave a speech to a
human rights group attacking abuses in the country. He then
contacted foreign secretary Jack Straw to question the morality
and reliability of using information from detained militants under
torture, which would be handed to the Americans. He felt the Uzbek
government was torturing people into 'confessing' to convince the
West of its vital role. Murray eventually wound up labelled
'unpatriotic' by the Foreign Office, who said intelligence
gathered through torture (though never directly by the Brits,
naturally!) was 'worth the risk' to protect British nationals. But
Murray kept on, and became the victim of a Foreign Office smear
campaign accusing him of heavy drinking, driving the embassy Land
Rover down stairs and issuing visas in exchange for sex. The
harassment led to a nervous breakdown, and then Murray committed
the worst crime of all: he went public about it. So he was
stripped of his security clearance - he now wouldn't be able to
see the stuff he was angry about - and finally, last week, they
sacked him.

So what exactly was he making a fuss about? Well, Uzbekistan
currently has 6,000 political & religious prisoners, who's torture
and murder are routine. As well as the boiling to death of at
least two detainees, others have had ribs and skulls smashed with
hammers and flesh ripped off with pliers. Some have been forced to
stand for two weeks up to their knees in freezing water. And what
action has been taken by the Anti-Terror Alliance, so keen to
topple 'evil' rights-abuser Saddam Hussein? You guessed it. Bugger
all. In fact, in 2002-3, the US and UK gave $500m in aid to
Uzbekistan, $79m of which went to the cops and intelligence
services responsible for the torture. And in early 2003, Tony
Blair gave the green light to all UK weapons exports to the
regime. So much for an 'ethical foreign policy'... None of which,
of course, has anything to do with Uzbekistan being a 'key western
asset' at the centre of Central Asia's massive oil and gas fields,
or with it being the site of a major 'War On Terror' strategic US
airbase, for the use of which the US slips the regime another
$75m. And remember, the Foreign Office issued a new 'mission
statement' earlier this year. Combating 'global terrorism' and
those shadowy 'weapons of mass destruction' occupied the top two
priorities. Then came combating 'illegal immigration'. Human
Rights came a poor 6th, out of 8...

* The Foreign Office culture of 'turning a blind eye' to
unpleasant, but useful, regimes is of course not restricted to
Uzbekistan. The annual Foreign Office report on human rights was
widely expected to reflect the frustration in Europe with Russia's
unwillingness to curb gross abuses by its military as the war in
Chechnya enters its 5th year. Last years' report had already
warned that these abuses could bolster support for 'extremists'.
However, in the wake of the Beslan school massacre, Jack Straw has
suddenly delayed publication, apparently to allow Russia to focus
on its 'grief and sense of loss' and to 'condemn totally the
terrorists responsible'. Internal leaks, however, indicate he felt
the report was 'too critical' of trigger-happy president Vladimir


More Flinging!!

The SWP are obsessed with the unions, waiting for their big
battalions to stir into action. But at SchNEWS' own conference,
speaker after speaker pointed out that if we are to win the fight
against capitalism, then we won't get anywhere by asking nicely.
This really isn't rocket science yet as Anne Jones talked movingly
of the death of her son, she said it was his friends, not the
unions who had taken direct action to try and get justice for her
son and better working conditions for others. One person asked
"What's the point of fighting organisations that can't fight?"
Take the Transport and General Workers Union who cancelled last
Friday's demo in support of cleaners after Canary Wharf Group took
legal action to stop the demonstration. The cleaners - mainly
women of African and South American origin - clean the desks and
empty the bins of some of the richest bankers in the world for
little more than £5 an hour, minimum holidays and zero pensions.
One key demand from the unions is that employers greet the
cleaners with a "hello" and a smile in the early morning. Now
that's real fighting talk!


Positive SchNEWS

Mega rich football stars don't often appear on the pages of
SchNEWS, but Inter Milan's Argentinean Captain Javier Zanetti
talked his club into donating player fines for late arrival to
help villagers in a Zapatista stronghold in Chiapas rebuild after
they were attacked by the Mexican Army in April.

The donations included £3,475, an ambulance and the captain's
shirt. Zanetti wrote a note to the villagers saying: "We believe
in a better world, in an unglobalised world, enriched by the
cultural differences and customs of all the people. This is why we
want to support you in this struggle to maintain your roots and
fight for your ideals."

The team manager visited the village in June, bringing the
donations and the blessings of the team and its oil baron owner.
The donations helped the villagers to rebuild houses and water
pipelines, and the club has offered to supply football gear and
balls for budding Zapatista footballers.

The Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos expressed his thanks in
an e-mail accompanied with a photo of him wearing the Inter
captain's shirt. "Brothers and sisters of the Italian team, I wish
you the greatest success in your sporting campaign," said the
e-mail. SchNEWS waits to see if Manchester United will follow.


Where there's a Wilton there's a way

Anti-Capitalist Action! 5th-6th November 2004: Business leaders,
politicians and academics are planning on meeting at Wilton Park
Conference Centre near Brighton and Worthing in East Sussex for a
two day Conference called "International Rule Making for Global
Capital Markets". The Conference is to be attended by leading
European Business leaders and is supposed to be informal and "off
the record'. An opportunity for the elite to meet, discuss and

The Dissent! Network, coordinating resistance to the 2005 G8
Summit to be held in Gleneagles www.dissent.org.uk, are planning
on organising resistance! Keep an eye on Indymedia and
www.freewebs.com/shuttheg8 for more information.

Information about the Conference can also be found at the Wilton
Park website www.wiltonpark.org.uk Wilton Park is near the
junction of the A283 and A24, 10 miles north-west of Brighton.

* 'Reflections on Summit Mobilisations' is an excellent new
booklet from the Dissent! Network. For copies send £2 to Box 8,
245 Gladstone St., Nottingham, NG7 6HX www.dissent.org.uk


SchNEWS in brief

** "What is Nanotechnology and should we be worried about it?",
talk next Thursday (28) 6 pm. Cowley Club, 12 London Road,
Brighton 01273 696104 www.cowleyclub.org.uk

** Demo at the US Embassy to encourage the new US president to
take action on climate change, Thursday, November 4th, 6.pm
Lincoln's Inn Fields (Holborn tube) for march to US embassy, 020
8855 3327 www.campaigncc.org

** Make Your Own Bio-Diesel Course at Centre for Alternative
Technology 19-21 Nov, 01654 705981 www.cat.org.uk

** Tues Nov 2 'I'm So Bored With the USA!' US election night
discussion on American imperialism and international
anti-capitalism. Upstairs at Downview pub, opposite West Worthing
station, 7.45pm.

** There's a picket of Marks and Spencer's in Support of the
Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign next Sat (23) from 12pm, Opposite
Churchill Square, Western Road, Brighton. 07900 698550

** Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Transport
2000 and Rising Tide are organizing a 'pledge' to oppose and
actively resist the major expansion of airports in Britain,
planned to double air traffic in the next 20 years. The idea is to
show the government the threat it faces from the large number of
people who oppose this policy. The risk of large scale opposition
will force the government to reconsider its plans.

** Shout for anyone in the Brighton area who can help out editting
the new SchNEWS at 10 film. Premier 6.0 skills preferable.


..and finally...

"We would be ridiculed [if the remarks were published] in
parliament and the media." -Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the
Countryside Alliance. Oooh good - another chance to put the boot
into the foxhunters! The foxhunting brigade has long told us the
lie that they only go fox-hunting to control the numbers of foxes,
which they claim are a pest. But, a letter from Lord Daresbury the
Master of Foxhounds has complained about a "shortage of foxes"!
Yes apparently there aren't enough foxes and landowners should do
more to solve the "problem" through the artificial enhancement of
fox numbers. A bit like Rentokill saying we should encourage more
rats in our cities so they can kill more! The encouragement of
foxes in hunting areas has long been known by anti-bloodsports
campaigners - many hunts use artificial earths - man-made fox
holes - to encourage more foxes to breed and supply food to foxes.

The letter came to light when an email from Simon Hart, the Chief
Executive of the Countryside Alliance was leaked to the media. In
it he says, "the Alliance is here to play its part in securing
hunting's future but we cannot do this if the core arguments are
undermined. I am one of those who has never been happy about our
reliance on the 'pest control' case." Er, that's cos they haven't
got a case! Why don't foxhunters just admit that they go
foxhunting for fun - at least they would be honest bloodthirsty
toffs and bumpkins, instead of lying bloodthirsty toffs and



SchNEWS warns all readers you'd better tow the party line and not
to disrupt any legal activties... Honest!



What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and



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