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(en) Britain, Sheffield Anarchists - Issue 2 - The Fargate Speaker - NEW AND IMPROVED

Date Thu, 19 Jul 2007 22:28:36 +0300

The Fargate Speaker is not produced, written, funded or supported by any politician, business, political party, religion or state-funded organisation … WE DO NOT WANT YOUR MONEY! WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO SIGN UP TO A POLITICAL PARTY! … The Fargate Speaker is a community based anticapitalist, anti-fascist, libertarian publication designed to engage with the real issues that concern local people … We welcome letters and contributions from readers - Please contact - fargatespeaker@googlemail.com - application/pdf 266K
We have taken on board all the much welcome advice and criticism from our first issue and have endeavored to bring you a (hopefully much improved) Sheffield anarcho community rag. The more astute amongst you would have spotted odd copies in pubs around the city (and one specsavers opticians), it will also be coming to a letterbox near you very soon...

The Fargate Speaker
- e-mail: Fargatespeaker@googlemail.com


Sheffield is in the middle of a housing
crisis. Every year a city the size of Shef-
field requires an extra 3,000 households
and local authorities continue to fail to
meet this demand. This is while existing
housing has also trebled in price since
the mid-90's. This creates an impossible
situation for those unable to "buy-in" to
the overpriced system or stress and
hardship for those who try. A `Housing
Needs' survey of 2004 found that 12% of
Sheffield households had incomes less
than that needed to afford the cheapest
available mortgage. Today's house
prices are almost 50% higher. Recent
"regeneration" projects (such as those
proposed for Woodside) only seek to
deepen this problem. The council is in-
sistent that only 7% of the planned 283
homes will be up for rent and claim that
affordability will only be considered "if it
stacks up financially". John Clark of
New Deal defended the programme stat-
ing that "people want the opportunity to
buy homes for £150,000". Well unfortu-
nately, most of us will never be able to
afford this "opportunity".
In the past this problem was at least
partly solved by our local council provid-
ing affordable social housing. However,
this option is increasingly coming under
threat. For the most part the expansion
of home ownership in the last twenty
years has been sustained by the sale of
council housing. This approach has
worsened the problem, with the state
only able to sell housing once (and from
a limited stock) and construction of new
housing at historically low levels. In
Sheffield alone the active waiting list for
council housing is now four times larger
than it was six years ago.
As many of us know, this waiting list is
divided between "priority need" and
"general waiting" cases. Many on the
right will claim that the huge backlog of
people on "priority need" (further
lengthening "general waiting") is due to
immigration. They will claim that poor
immigrants are "bumped up" the list due
to large families and poor incomes. In
reality, this is a gross stereotype and
deliberate distortion of the true facts.
Asylum seekers and other vulnerable
immigrants do not get social housing.
The council is encouraged to sell at
least its worst housing to private provid-
ers on juicy NASS contracts from the
home office. Immigrants are not "taking
the housing", the private sector is. In
Sheffield the true cause of the length-
ened priority list has been the addition
of thousands of former tenants moved due to the
demolition (or sale) of their properties. The city
lost 30,000 homes under "Right to Buy" and a fur
ther 8,000 due to demolition. The council is unable
to provide homes for its current tenants let alone
those entering the system.
Sheffield, like many industrial city's, also has
large areas of land and industrial space that are
now falling into disrepair - most of which could be
adapted to provide affordable housing. However
the vast majority have been sold for future
"development" to private firms making them way
beyond the reach of local people. This results in
vast areas of the city wasting away while owners
wait for their investment to become "profitable"
Attempts to force constructive use of abandoned
space have also been strongly opposed by loca
The truth is that the state is the wrong person for
this job. It has been tenants groups, not council
lors or political parties, that have been leading the
charge against any further offload of social hous
ing. The government admits itself that its plans to
expand council housing over the next few years
fall far short of the projected increase in the de-
mand for new households. As the Woodside case
demonstrates, affordability will never be a priority
when the bottom line for the state is profit, no
human need.
Free working class organisations must be the
bedrock of any future system for the managemen
of social housing and the basis of community co
hesion. These groups have proven highly suc
cessful in the past at accessing the needs of the
community and forming constructive solutions to
local issues. There are many examples of this in
practice; Haringey Solidarity Group, founded in
1990 represents a network of local resident's as-
sociations seeking to promote working class soli
darity, tackle anti-social behaviour and support
worker unionisation. When developers tried to
close a café in Broadway Market in East London
local people joined together to occupy the build
ing. When the developers evicted and smashed
the place up, locals re-occupied and repaired the
damage. In Cologne, in opposition to the destruc
tion of the "Barmer Block" estate residents during
the Spring of last year occupied the building and
ran it along democratic lines. All of these repre
sent prime examples of the strength organisation
can bring to our communities and the true power
we have to bring a halt to this crisis.


"Priority Need" - a sensible idea to give housing to those in
difficult circumstances, e.g. women escaping violence,
people with poor health problems.
"Right to Buy" - A Thatcherite policy designed to fleece
money. £39 billion has been raised in selling houses, 75% of
this has been taken by the government.
"Regeneration" - demolishing council homes and handing
over the sites to developers, pricing us out of our homes.

he Bulgarian cultural attaché and George's widow plant a tree
n Caborn's Corner. May 1983
Plans for a massive TESCO superstore (the
sales floor is set to be 80,000 square feet) on
Spital Hill, as well as drawing opposition from
local residents, falls over an important part of
Sheffield history. Caborn's Corner, a small
triangle of land located at the junction of Spi-
tal Hill and Carlisle Street, comes within the
area marked by TESCO for "redevelopment".
Caborn's Corner represents an important
part of Sheffield history. Dedicated to famous
trade unionist and founder of Sheffield Cam-
paign Against Racism George Caborn,
Caborn's Corner has long been a traditional
assembly point for local political marches and
rallies. George worked hard in the area both
as a militant trade unionist and community
activist and is still thought of fondly amongst
local people. When he died in 1982, the city
council decided to turn the site into a garden
to honor his dedication to equality and justice.
In 1983 the Bulgarian Cultural Attaché visited
the site as a show of respect for his political
service and a plaque still remains on the site
to commemorate this moment. The area has
fallen into neglect over recent years and does
demand restoration. TESCO, however, has so
far made no concrete commitment for the
preservation of the site's historical integrity.
In a letter to the Burngreave Messenger (15th
March 2007) Max Curtis, a spokesman for
TESCO, has stated that only on the provision
of enough "public interest" could keeping the
plaque dedicated to the history of the site be
"included in our list of considerations". That
TESCO, a company with such an appalling
record of union-busting and poor worker's
rights, should even be entrusted with the fu-
ture of this site only adds insult to injury (and
George's legacy).

To find out more information on TESCO's
impact on both a local and international level:

If you want to see the plans for the new
TESCO, you can pick up a leaflet about it in
Burngreave Library or New Roots café.


I T ' S A L L I N T H E N A M E
Believe it or not, The Fargate Speaker is
not the first news sheet to be produced by
local anarchists. The Sheffield Anarchist,
first published in June 1891, was the product
of an anarchist split from the Sheffield Social-
ist Society (formed in 1886). The publication
didn't last long attracting prosecutions from
its very first issue. Only eight issues were
produced in the end, the last of which was
published in October of the same year. Set-
backs aside, the Fargate monolith ­ which
also no longer exists ­ also used to be the
regular speaking pitch for Sheffield anar-
chists. The group even unfurled its "No
Gods, No Masters" banner for the first time at
the monolith on 1st May 1891. Every Sunday,
members of the group would go to the mono-
lith to agitate local people over the evils of
government and the tyranny of the church
(much to the displeasure of the rowdy mob of
church goers in attendance). We at the Far-
gate Speaker are indebted to these pioneers
and like them hope very much to stay true to
this city's long tradition of radical, working
class politics.

Sour Grapes? ­ a satirical ad placed in The Sheffield Anarchist

A policeman whose job involved the moni-
toring of sex offenders was jailed this month
for grooming a 13-year-old girl by bombard-
ing her with x-rated texts and internet mes-
PC Burton, who was working at Ecclesfield
Police Station at the time of the offence in
May 2006, was sentenced to two years in
prison after pleading guilty to the charge.
This is not the first time Sheffield bobby's
have been caught out over acts of "sexual
misconduct". In 2003, PC Richard Sweet
was spared jail time after prosecution for
the distribution of internet child porn.
Sweet used a fake chat room identity to
build up a host of images of youngsters en-
gaged in sexual acts.

Aston Hall Hotel: Conference venue where rooms can cost
£149 a night
£149 a night
NHS bosses are under fire after hiring
out a luxury hotel for a senior staff con-
ference while local hospitals are starved
for funding. Sheffield Primary Care Trust,
allowed 11 senior staff to stay over dur-
ing a two-day event at Aston Hall Hotel,
even though it is within driving distance
of their homes. The Trust justified the
expense by claiming management had to
stay overnight because of a "very late"
finish on Wednesday and 8:30am start
the next morning. This is while health
workers have been desperately cam-
paigning for improved pay, conditions
and better quality of patient care. Health
care in Sheffield has been particularly
pushed with the Trust attempting to axe
£3m of the city's budget over the course
of this year. Every year Primary Care
Trusts in Britain receive around 75% of
total NHS funding in order to ensure
"health services are working effectively
and efficiently".

Lies, corruption, failures ... It seems that
Sheffield city council has provided us
with yet another reason for refusing to
waste our time by voting on election day
- it probably wont be counted anyway!!
Telephone and internet voting systems
tested by Sheffield city council have
been dubbed a failure by The Open
Rights Group (an organisation which
aims to protect privacy and identity). The
report stated that it had "no confidence"
in the system and that votes were open
to "error and fraud". Sheffield council
has defended the way the June elections
took place.

The Daily Mail reported no less than fifteen
factual errors in its 6th June article on anti-G8
protests in Germany. These ranged from misin-
formation over the composition and motives of
the marches to more serious errors on the size
of the security operation, the scale of violence
and number of police casualties. For example,
the article reports that 427 police officers had
been injured in clashes with rioters when the
German authorities have stated that only two
had been slightly hurt. It also claimed protes-
tors had "squirted acid" into the faces of police.
This was totally false and actually an injury sus-
tained by two officers from accidentally spray-
ing each other with their own pepper spray!
The liberal press proved no better. Their re-
ports were more concerned with attention-
grabbing "black blocks" and "clown armies"
than the real reasons why people blockade the
summit. They choose to show protestors as
either ridiculously violent or just plain ridicu-
lous. In our local press there has been some
coverage of the widespread anger people feel
at the G8's failure to deliver on its' agreements,
particularly environmental problems and com-
mitments to tackle global poverty (e.g. The
Sheffield Star's 14th June article "G8 Summit is
not fulfilling promises"). Yet, there is no mention
of the mass movement that has (and continues)
to oppose the summit for these very failures.
A key reason why the mainstream media has
begun to see the G8 as responsible for these
social problems is thanks to the determined
efforts of environmentalists, anarchists, and
campaigners of all kinds who oppose the G8. By
continuing to protest and disrupt summits their
message has started to get onto the agenda. So
why does the media continue to deny the same
level and quality of coverage for these people?
Germany and the G8 summit may seem a long
way away from Sheffield. Yet in many ways this
is in itself part of the problem. The G8 summits
represent a way for national leaders, like Bush
and Blair, to manufacture an international politi-
cal consensus without having to answer to their
domestic critics inside and outside of parlia-
ment. The G8 doesn't meet to save the world, it
gets together to streamline human and ecologi-
cal destruction in the name of `business as
usual'. As citizens, we are shut out from this
process; our voices are silenced behind mile-
upon-mile of steel-ringed fence and hundreds of
security personnel. Yet even the simple mes-
sage - that decisions which affect our lives
should not be made behind closed doors -
seems lost amongst the widespread hysteria of
the mainstream press.

The Fargate Speaker is not produced, written, funded or supported by
any politician, business, political party, religion or state-funded
WANT YOU TO SIGN UP TO A POLITICAL PARTY! ... The Fargate Speaker is a
community based anticapitalist, anti-fascist, libertarian publication
designed to engage with the real issues that concern
local people ... We welcome letters and contributions from readers -
Please contact - fargatespeaker@googlemail.com
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