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(en) Britain, AF_resistance] Issue 79 - November 2005

Date Sat, 19 Nov 2005 00:42:26 +0200

ID Cards - Stealing Our Identity
HOW DARE THE the government go on and on about 'identity theft' as
if it was something new? From the compulsory electoral register,
rates & council tax lists and police DNA database they've been doing
it for decades. Companies have been up to it too - creating massive
debit/credit card and loyalty card computer records that are bought
and sold by marketing groups to track our purchases and learn what
we buy so they can target us with even more unwanted goods.
Now they want even more personal detail - like every address we've
ever lived at or every name we may have had in the past - never
mind 'biometrics' - our face, iris pattern or fingerprints. They
claim it is to keep us safe from other people but really it's to
keep an eye on anything we do, and anywhere we go.
Once this information is out and sitting on a computer disk, it's
hard to get it back. Computer scientists admit that a central
database is the worse place to store precious data. Yet the Labour
government's plan to make ID information available across the whole
state machine and to offer it to private companies which will mean
sharing data between dozens of insecure databases.
The Labour government is using fear to sell it's ID card and
database idea. They go on about organised crime and terrorism, then
talk of ID Cards as being about entitlement. This is trying to make
people believe that immigrants and 'benefit cheats' are making them
personally poorer. In fact it's Labour that is actually making it
harder to get disability allowances, hiking council taxes and fees
for students, and it's capitalist companies and their shareholders
that are profiting from increasing fuel prices, year on year.
The result, if they win the fear argument, will be a surveillance
society that is much more than a police state, but an invasion of
computerised bureaucracy into every transaction we make with shops
and welfare services - imagine having to have an eye-scan just to
buy beer or get your prescription - and, for activists, a much
reduced ability to protest in safety.
It's time to get ready to refuse. Refuse to register. Renew
passports before they add biometrics, which is due to start early
next year (Feb 2006) with the addition of a chip containing your
digitised photo. Try not to renew driving licenses. New ones already
require a photo and we don't yet know where or when they will start
to collect the data. It could happen as soon as the bill is passed
even if we don't fill in an ID form (driving licenses are being used
to introduce ID cards in the USA). Confound or get off government
lists if at all possible. Join or set up a Defy-ID group and use
these groups to support each other on the street and in the courts.
If we stand together we can win. Anyone who thinks they have
nothing to hide should be very afraid! It's really much safer to be
anonymous, even more so if you want to fight an increasingly
oppressive state.
Read the AF's new pamphlet, Defending Anonymity, on the web from
www.afed.org.uk, or in print for free (but send SAE) from BM
ANARFED, London, WC1N 3XX.

Gate Gourmet Women Speak

Editors note: The women workers, sacked by Gate Gourmet, recently
published a statement demanding respect and justice. We are
printing extracts below:

GATE GOURMET IS the world's largest supplier of in-flight meals and
operates in over 29 countries. Internationally, the company has been
making profits of £1.05bn and has assets of £15 billion. In Britain,
Asian women form the majority of the workforce, many of us - mothers
and grandmothers are the sole wage earners for our families. Our
wages are on average between £6.00 and £7.00 an hour. We had been
struggling for one year to get the positions of those of us who were
employed on a temporary basis regularised.
The management told us in January 2005 that they were planning to
make 670 people redundant because they were surplus workers and
negotiations had been going on over this between our union, the
TGWU, and the management.
Despite the management's claims that they had surplus workers, on
9 August this year we were told that 130 agency workers were to be
employed from the next day onwards. When we came to work at 6am the
next morning, we found that the management people were all already
there (normally they come in at 9am). At 9 am agency workers were
brought to the wash-up department. We stopped working. Our shop
stewards were on that day involved in a negotiation meeting with
management, but those that were at work, and in some departments the
managers themselves, told us to go to the canteen for a meeting.
When we got there we were told by the management that we had five
minutes to go back to work otherwise we would be dismissed. We said
we wanted to speak to our union representatives. After five minutes
the management came and threw letters on to the tables at which we
were sitting. They were letters of dismissal already translated into
five languages Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati and English obviously
they had been prepared in advance.
At this point we realised that an estimated two hundred and fifty
security guards and armed police, including a van load with police
dogs had entered the premises. As soon as we were told that we were
dismissed, the doors of the canteen were locked and no one was
allowed to leave. We were told to surrender our ID cards and locker
keys but we refused and said we wanted to see our union officials.
However we were not allowed to meet these officials although we
were aware that they were in the car park outside. We were not
allowed any food or water or access to toilets for six hours. Some
of us including those who were pregnant and older women had no
choice but to use a bin from the canteen as a toilet.
At 2.30pm we were surrounded by police and security guards who
stood linking arms. Several of us were physicallydragged out by
security guards leading to injuries. One of us, Ms Benti Bansal, was
sitting at a round table when she was pulled up by her shoulders by
two security
guards. Her chair slipped from under her and she fell to the ground,
injuring her back and neck. She begged them to let her go but they
dragged her across the room. Later she went to hospital and was
prescribed medication. Two other women suffered panic attacks when
security guards tried to grab their ID cards and locker keys and an
ambulance had to be called, and one woman, Ms Rajpreet Dhaliwal, has
suffered long term damage and has had to have medical treatment as a
result of being prevented from using the toilet for so many
hours. ...
Such physical assaults, bullying, intimidation, and attacks on our
dignity should not be acceptable in any workplace in the 21st
century. It is also not acceptable that we still do not know what
our position is - while it has been reported in the press that a
deal has been agreed, none of the workers has been given any
information about who is to be offered their jobs back, who will
face compulsory redundancy and who will be simply sacked. Currently
we are being forced to try to survive on £50 a week.
We urge you to support our struggle for justice.
Further information tel: 0207 267 0923

Rossport Speaking Tour

ROSSPORT SOLIDARITY CAMP was born in June of this year. It is the
first protest camp around an ecological theme to take place in
Ireland for several years. It is located on the wild rugged
coastline of
north-west Mayo, in the far west of Ireland.
The camp began after local opponents of Shell's plan to build an
unprecedented high pressure gas pipeline through the hamlet of
Rossport invited us there to
back up their struggle. Five of these local activists, aka 'The
Rossport Five', were subsequently imprisoned for refusing to
obey a court order forbidding them from preventing contractors hired
by Shell access to their farms and those of their neighbours. After
3 months in prison,
they were released when Shell asked that the court order be lifted.
The struggle has won significant victories in securing their
release, and in preventing Shell building the development this year,
as they had planned to do, but the battle is far from over, as the
Rossport Five said on the their release: The campaign has now begun
in earnest.
Thus far Shell has faced continual picketing of all their
construction sites, a threatened blockade by fishing boats of their
off-shore pipeline construction, and a variety of solidarity actions
across the island and beyond.
Rossport Solidarity Camp plans to re-launch in March 2006 as a
much bigger operation.
Two participants in Rossport Solidarity Camp will be on a speaking
tour of Britain in November, one of them will also be speaking about
Cork Harbour Action Group, a non-violent direct action group engaged
with a community struggle against the construction of incineration
facilities in Ringaskiddy, County Cork.

Rossport Speaking Tour Dates

Tuesday November 8th 7.30 pm Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, Angel
Alley, 84b Whitechapel High street, London E1 (nearest tube Aldgate
East), hosted by the Anarchist Federation.
November 9th 7pm, Oxford Action Resource Centre.
November 10th 7pm, International Community Center, 61b Mansfield Rd.
Saturday 12th November, 7pm to 3am, RampArts social center
(www.ramparts.co.nr) which is a non-hierarchical, autonomous space
that was squatted in May 2004, situated in the Whitechapel area,
East End of London. There will also be benefit gig for the
campaign with food & drink + music.
Monday 14th November, 7.30pm, Tyneside Irish Centre, hosted by Why
Don't You?
Thursday Nov 17th 7.30pm, London Action Resource Centre
(www.londonarc.org), hosted by London Rising Tide.
voicemail http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com

Punk Football FCUM
NO, THE HEADLINE is not to do with some copyright issue forbidding
the use of the Manchester United brand name.
F.C. United of Manchester is a new football club which was set up
in the summer of 2005 by disaffected and disenfranchised Manchester
United supporters who were fed up of being trapped in their allotted
seats, viewed as customers rather than fans and then finally seeing
their club saddled with over £500million pounds worth of debt to
finance the takeover by American business tycoon Malcolm Glazer
after having fought off a similar takeover by Rupert Murdochs? SkyTV
in 1998.
It is run on the Industrial and Provident Society company model
(or 'punk football' as some prefer to call it!), is member owned and
run on a non-profit making basis and it has a constitution based
around 7 core principals:
1. The Board will be democratically elected by its members.
2. Decisions taken by the membership will be decided on a one
member, one vote basis.
3. The club will develop strong links with the local community and
strive to be accessible to all, discriminating against none.
4. The club will endeavour to make admission prices as affordable as
possible, to as wide a constituency as possible.
5. The club will encourage young, local participation - playing and
supporting - whenever possible.
6. The Board will strive wherever possible to avoid outright
7. The club will remain a non-profit organisation.
With admission prices of £7 for adults and £2 for U-18's the
Northwest counties league division 2 team have recently been drawing
crowds of over 3,000. The atmosphere at games has been compared to
that of the 70?s, all ages with grins from ear to ear, standing and
singing for 90 minutes, scarves twirling, congas spontaneously
forming and even retro wooden rattles (for those that remember)!
Inside the ground at home games there is no longer a police presence
(and very little outside) as the fans have become pretty much self-
Any fans who feel the need to run on the pitch are met with cries
of 'Stay off the f**king pitch' from those fans that now see the
connection between club fines and the money paid at the turnstiles.
Then after the game the singing continues in the local pubs with the
players, not something you're likely to catch Rio et al doing! The
lack of attachment fans feel with players like Rio Ferdinand can be
heard in the chant 'I don't care about Rio, he don't care about me,
all I care about is watching F.C.'
Whether this will be the start of the end for commercial football
is yet to be seen but it's safe to say even if the Glazer family
offered free tickets to F.C. United fans they would probably turn
around and say 'F'CUM'.!

For more info go to the official site at www.fc-utd.co.uk or the
unofficial www.fcunitedofmanchester.co.uk
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