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(en) SchNEWS 375, Friday 4th October, 2002

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Mon, 7 Oct 2002 11:05:40 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Don't panic, you've not missed an issue. Last weeks was a double so we've
missed out issue 374.




 Two large marches in a week sounds like a good thing - politics out on the
street where it belongs. But
 according to most of the media, making sure foxes die is more important
than making sure innocent Iraqi
 civilians don't.

 It was a tale of two very contrasting marches: The Countryside Alliance's
'Liberty and Livelihood' march attracted
 mass media hype for the three weeks leading up to it and plenty after it,
while the Stop The War demo was draped
 with a raft of 'conservative' estimates of numbers in the papers - think of
the police estimate and halve it. The Stop
 The War march brought together a 400,000 strong crowd - the most racially
diverse group SchNEWS has ever seen
 on a demo - with the clear message that Iraq must not be bombed, and
supporting the related issue of ending
 Israel's occupation of Palestine. The Countryside Alliance could hardly
claim the same clarity of purpose. They were
 out on the streets for... er apart from being pro-fox hunting what the fox
were they on about?

 The supposed Liberty and Livelihood message was that the Countryside
Alliance are the guardians of the
 misunderstood rural way of life championing 'country ways', one of which
just so happens to be killing for fun... but
 hey, they've been doing it for ages so doesn't that make it a minority
right? The Alliance claim to be finding time to
 fight just about every rural issue that springs to mind, whether it be
broadband internet access for rural poor,
 questioning pricing practices of supermarkets or campaigning for the
provision of public services throughout our
 green and pleasant land.

 The truth is far more sinister. The Countryside Alliance does little more
than pay lip-service to major countryside
 issues by creating a broad base of touchy-feely policies muddying rural
issues with the political dead dog that is

 Last year the Countryside Alliance spent three million pounds on their
pro-bloodsports campaign, compared to
 £200,000 on all other campaigns. Yet the CA policy statement only mentions
the hunting issue once - why? What
 do the CA have to hide, other than the fact that they know that the media
war surrounding the hunting issue is all but
 lost, that the great British public will never come to accept the hunting
of wild animals and that the only way to stop
 the ban is through the back door? Under such circumstances it should come
as no surprise that the CA are keen to
 wrap themselves in just about any rural flag they can lay their hands on,
whether it be protecting rural post offices or
 fighting modern threats to the tweed industry.

 It's when the Countryside Alliance claim to represent all country folk -
including the small farmers and rural
 labourers - that the smell of manure really wafts in. How can the CA
justify putting so much into fighting to protect the
 bloodlust of an elite landed gentry with huge arable estates funded by
massive subsidies? According to ActionAid's
 Farmgate report: the developing impact of agricultural subsidies, 80% of
subsidies are swallowed up by 20% of the
 richest 'farmers'. Meanwhile the remaining majority are being driven
against the wall as they try to cope with
 inadequate subsidies and farm gate prices lower than those of production.


 As Charles Secrett of Friends of the Earth, put it: "the Countryside
Alliance spends way too much time worrying
 about hunting, and not nearly enough working on the major threats to rural
life... Unless there is a new system of
 sustainable food production, the next Countryside March may find there are
very few farmers left to mobilise."

 Well what are the real issues facing country folk on a daily basis? The
right to hunt foxes? Spokesman for the foxes,
 Basil Brush, said "Not in my back yard old boy! Boom boom." Brendan Boal
recently spent nine days interviewing
 small farmers in Devon and Dorset, who voiced concerns over issues as
diverse as low milk prices, abusive
 business practices of supermarkets and the impact of rich urban 'incomers'
buying up their 'weekend country
 retreats' and destroying the social structure of rural communities. When
asked about the significance of the
 Countryside Alliance, however, Brendan said that the overwhelming response
was very much to the effect: "they're
 nothing to do with the likes of us, the whole thing is for... hunting
people." While Brendon and his team travelled
 from farm to farm (sustainably by bicycle you'll be pleased to know) he
observed that "what was noticeable on our
 travels was the preponderance of Alliance placards outside of expensive
homes that were clearly no longer working
 farms. In short, the very incomers [that] farmers feel alienated from are
the ones that are providing a large measure
 of support for the CA."

 Last week some country folk from the Wye Valley told SchNEWS about the
plight of rural and farm labourers - those
 who have worked on the land over generations but are not farm owners - who
are in fact the majority of rural folk.
 "The large scale argo-businesses, and the massive supermarket food
distribution stitch up crushs small farms
 who can't compete with the economies of scale, and the intense
mechanisation takes away many rural jobs." "We
 know of rural workers who were threatened with the sack if they didn't come
down for the march last week." A MORI
 poll at the march found that 73% of marchers thought that hunting should
not be the key concern of the Countryside

 Next week half a million foxes are marching to Hyde Park to hear Basil
Brush talk about the ban on chicken hunting,
 but apparently most foxes are more worried about the threat of hunting.
Boom boom.
 Recommended reading
 'The rich at Play: Fox hunting, land ownership and the countryside alliance
' by RPM 07967 886257
 'The World is Not For Sale: farmers against junk food' by Jose Bove and
Francois Dufour. (Verso 2001)
 'Farmgate: The developmental impact of agricultural subsidies' compiled by
ActionAid. 0207 561 7614


 Crap Arrest of the Week

 For being in a park!
 Hundreds of people were arrested in Washington DC last weekend for the
cheek of being in a park on a permitted
 demo during protests against the IMF/World Bank. People were "pre-emptively
arrested" in Pershing Park by riot
 cops, handcuffed for over 22 hours, given barely any water or food, denied
access to lawyers and made to spend
 the night on a wooden floor while half hog-tied. Most were charged with a
misdemeanour equivalent to a traffic

 For more about the protests and the usual American protest clampdown


 No Dutch Luck!

 On Thursday (3rd Oct), Colin Davies, owner of The Dutch Experience Café in
Stockport was sentenced to three
 years in prison at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court, after being
found guilty on all eight of the charges he
 was facing. The heaviest sentences were for the November 20th offences
because he'd carried on opening the café
 after the September busts. Colin Davies "persistently flouted the law" by
being involved with cannabis even while he
 was on bail for other drug-related offences, even though he uses it a pain
killer for back injuries he sustained in a
 work accident in 1995.

 There may be an appeal, but in the meantime, when we know which prison
Colin is going to end up in we will give
 details for letters of support. After already doing 9 months on remand, he
will have another 9 to still do. Colin's dad
 was also in court to face charges of perjury.

 Just to rub it in, that afternoon The Dutch Experience Café was raided by
hoards of police, including the 'Special
 Colin Squad', who spent the afternoon preventing the café from re-opening.


 Polish Top TEN

 Missed out on Newbury? Well get over to Poland where the country is being
inflicted with a huge road building
 programme inflicted upon it - and the environmental and social costs of
being in 'Europe' mount up. The rail system which served
 the country for years is being starved of funds, and the tentacles of TEN
are extending eastward. TEN - the Trans
 Europe Network - is the world's biggest transport project pushed by the
transport and oil industry to help the
 movement of consumer goods across Europe, and is currently reaching the new
frontiers of countries soon to join
 the EU like Poland. The Poles are bringing in new legislation which will
enable roads to go ahead without
 environmental impact studies and force people in the road's path to sell at
a price offered to them. As the motorway
 services, concrete ramps and truck parks spew forth over Poland, the
average Pole had better think about getting a
 car and ditching public transport if they want to be like us in the EU
club. So - if you're up for a bit of digger diving...
 pbielski@ore.most.org.pl www.aseed.net

 * Bialowieza Forest, Poland - Europe's last primeval forest of high
bio-diverstiy including bison, wolf, lynx, and
 much more is under threat from logging. www.zb.eco.pl/gb/3/workshop.htm


 Inside SchNEWS

 On 4th September, anarchist George Karakasian was sentenced by a Cyprus
court to 7 months in prison for
 'assaulting a police officer' at a demo outside the Israeli ambassador's
home. George also received a fine for
 'possession of an explosive device': an old bullet found when his home was
raided following the demo.
 The charge of 'causing serious physical injury to a police officer' was
incurred by no more than a grasp at the cop's
 hat; by contrast, George was then dragged inside the ambassador's home and
beaten by five state riotcops, whilst
 they shouted 'fuck your anarchy' at him. After being hospitalised with his
injuries, he discovered when he attempted
 to pick up his case notes that his medical records had mysteriously
'disappeared'. Send letters of support to
 George to Leukosia, Central Prison of Cyprus, Wing 2B 6523, Nicosia,

 * Did anyone see Philip Paden, get arrested in Wardour Street at 8.50pm
during this year's Mayday
 demonstrations? He's charged with affray and accused of using a plastic
dustbin lid to hit police officer's shields.
 Philip was wearing a white paper suit, white arm guard and holding a pink
plastic dustbin lid. If you can help call his
 solicitor Andrew Katzen 0208 986 8336.


 Fight War, Not Wars

 The Stop The War Coalition has called for a day of action on the 31st
October to oppose the possibility of full-scale
 war on Iraq. They have suggested occupations, teach-ins and blockades as
suitable actions for the day.
 A London-based group of activists have called for help organising a series
of proposed actions on the day including
 an anti-war themed Critical Mass, a tour of London's military offices, and
a set of moving blockades. Until they get
 more help with organisation these suggestions will remain merely ideas, so
if you've got any time or ideas to
 contribute get in touch. http://www.cm-london.cjb.net
 * There's lots of other anti-war events planned for this month, including a
'stop 'star wars' and stop the bombing of
 Iraq' demonstration at US spy-base Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, on 12th
October 12noon-4pm, organised by the
 Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases 01943 466405
www.caab.org.uk. On the same day there's a
 Stop the War Teach-in at London's SOAS University: a day of lectures,
discussion, debates and film covering all
 aspects of Bush and Blair's "War on Terror." In the Main Building from
 * For full listings of regular anti-war activities check out


 SchNEWS in brief

** Last chance to hear Native American activist Rod Coronado's perspective
on ecological direct action next
Thursday (10) at the Friends Meeting House, Hill St., (off Corporation St.
in the city centre) Coventry.

** This Sunday (6) there's a Leeds Underground Film Festival - Another World
is Possible running from 1-9
pm @ City Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1. Films include 'Argentina In
Revolt', 'Gaza Strip' and
'Another World Is Possible' made by 33 Italian Directors about G8 summit in
Genoa. Admission free.

** There's a national demo this Saturday (5) in support of the Hackney
Library strike - meet 12 noon, Hackney
Town Hall. The bankrupt Labour led council is currently recruiting scabs to
break the 10-month-old strike.
0207 8356 8710 unilibs@yahoo.com

** An Orwellian political satire book 'Hard Choices' by Brighton writer
Carol Hayman is now on the web after
being dropped by publishers Times-Warner because it was too close to the
bone post 9-11. Read it at

** A new email list has been set up to discuss Solstice celebrations "that
include the possibility of amplified
music in the Wiltshire area and near Stonehenge if at all possible!"

** Party this weekend at Squatgate Park, 167 London Road, Brighton 12noon to
9pm - bring your own CD's
and vinyl

** And don't forget pre SchNEWS 8th birthday benefit night upstairs at the
Albert Pub, Trafalgar St on October
14th with L.S.D.S, Miss CMC & MAMA, Judge Trev, Jelly & more.

** RIP Martin Callaghan, much loved Liverpool activist - who once spent a
year in a tree-house at the M65
Stanworth Valley road protest, and later worked on festivals, allotments and
community direct action with


 Positive SchNEWS

 Congratulations to Greenleaf Bookshop of Bristol, who celebrated their 20th
anniversary last month. Give them, and
 other independent bookstores, your support. Greenleaf, 82 Colston St,
Bristol, BS1 5BB 0117 921 1369

 * SchNEWS now has a list of radical bookshops and distributers on our
website - let us know if we've missed any.


 Campaign Briefs

 Last Friday more than a hundred protesters on skateboards, bikes and feet
reclaimed the streets in protest against
 plans that will destroy parts of Lancaster. Chelverton, a mega construction
company backed by Carillion (formerly
 known as Tarmac), and Richardson Developments are planning to rip the soul
out of Lancaster by building a
 63,000 square feet super-store, dozens of "large-scale" retail units and a
major new road on land between the
 tranquil Lancaster canal and the city centre. According to the council's
own studies this would close down local
 traders in the city centre as well as in neighbouring Morecambe, never mind
more traffic, noise and pollution. The
 plans also threaten the Homeless Action Centre, the Polish Centre and the
Musician's Co-op (well-used rehearsal
 rooms and recording studio). Stop Chelverton! really need to hear from
anyone who is fighting the company
 elsewhere or knows anything about them. 01524 383 012.
stopchelverton@gmx.net www.nephridium.org/lancaster

 *A group has been set up to campaign against a planned Safeway's expansion
in Bridport, because they know that
 the store would add to problems of rural exclusion, reducing access for
those who use public transport and leading
 to the closure of local shops. The campaign group has organised a benefit
gig with Billy Bragg and local performers
 for 12th October @ Bridport Arts Centre, 7.30pm.

 * The revised plans for redevelopment of land at Brighton Station including
a giant Sainsbury's can be seen at the
 council offices in Bartholomew Square from next Wednesday. BUDD (Brighton
Urban Design & Development) have
 organised a public meeting on October 24th at the Brighthelm Centre, North
Rd, Brighton 7.30pm to discuss the
 revised application. 07966 528944 www.buddbrighton.org


 ...and finally...

 It would be funny - if it wasn't so tragic - the way British justice works.
Martin Maynard, the man who nearly killed the
 hunt sab Steve Christmas (see SchNEWS 274) by deliberately running him over
in his Land Rover had his court
 case last week.

 Steve, who was very lucky not to die, suffered a crushed pelvis, four
broken ribs, a damaged lung and severe
 internal bleeding. He also had a metre of intestine removed and metal plate
fitted in two different operations in
 hospital where he was on the critical list for months. So after Maynard was
arrested you would have bet your last
 quid on him going down for a long time. But no. After not turning up for
court a total of four times, and the police not
 bothering with an arrest warrant, last week he finally made it into the
dock. He must have been the judges best mate
 because the charges of GBH with intent were dropped to driving without
insurance or license and he was fined the
 sum total of £75 plus costs. Meanwhile four women could be going to jail
when their court case begins next week.
 After Maynard tried to kill Steve, other hunt sabs were quite
understandably angry and held a demo outside the
 hunt's kennel. A few windows were broken by people unknown but the women
have been caught by the catch all
 conspiracy laws. www.sahc.org.uk


 SchNEWS warns all cuntryside dwellers - Bean there, dung that.That's why we
're non-compost mentis.That be the
 truth , Squire.


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