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(en) SchNEWS 428, Friday 24th October, 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 24 Oct 2003 08:32:39 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

"When the revolution comes, we'll get rid of the police cos
there'll be no more crime... yeah right. Anarchist utopias are all
very well, but anti-social behaviour is carving up communities in
the here and now, and 'blueprints for the future' don't take
knives off throats." - Bristol resident
Last week, without the help of apathetic police, archaic laws, or
an out-of-touch government, the people of Greater Leys estate in
Oxford did something for themselves. They decided they'd had just
about enough of teenagers terrorising their neighborhood and
issued an 'eviction notice' to the gang in the local park where
they hang out.

The gang had taken control of the park, which people have to cross
to get to the only local shop, and their threats and intimidation
were escalating - one youngster was smashed in the face with a
sawn-off pool cue, another slashed with a knife. One mother who
turned to the cops after both her sons were attacked was told
there was nothing they could do. She is now living in fear of
reprisals after one of the ringleaders threatened to burn her
house down.

Another local resident, Jane Lacey, said "What we are trying to do
is show them (the gang) that they're not big or clever doing this
stuff - they're screwing the community and they will be despised
for it. We also want the parents of the gang members to sit up and
take notice before it's too late and their kids become totally
beyond control."

Despite the picket and eviction being organised through word of
mouth, the gang got wind of the plan and stayed away, but
residents promised to step up their campaign if the attacks and
muggings continue. Already the family of one of the gang members
has approached the family of two of the victims with an assurance
that he will be a good boy from now on.

In Manchester, anti-mugging patrols happen on an irregular basis
in part of the Hulme estate. Mick from Hulme told SchNEWS, "There
are a lot of community activists and anarchists on the estate.
Residents keep in touch with an email list called "shout".
Whenever anyone gets mugged or attacked someone sends a "shout"
out to the list. Often people then take it upon themselves to
arrange a time to do an anti-mugging patrol.

It's not aggressive. Residents sit out around a fire or listen to
a radio at the end of one of the streets. We tell passers by what
we are doing and get a favourable response. We can't be everywhere
on the estate at once, but the fact that there are people out and
about seems to be very good at preventing muggers, at least for
the period of the patrols. It also builds the kind of community
spirit that prevents this kind of crime in the first place.

The people that have been mugged really appreciate this informal
scheme as it is obvious for them that they live in an area where
people do care about their neighbours. It turns around the "victim
mentality" by doing something active and positive. I think the
general consensus on the estate is that we'd rather do things this
way than get CCTV. But maybe that's cos we're all so dodgy!"

In the Easton area of Bristol - getting over-run with crack
selling yardies - locals who are tired of waiting for police who
never come have taken things into their own hands too. They 'cut
off' pay phones regularly used for drug dealing and spray painted
'heroin for sale' at a place of blatant public smack dealing. One
of the members of the community, Flaco, points out "This isn't
about vigilantism, but about taking control back from all bogus
authority - whether that authority is backed by parliament, or by
a pistol in the boot of a BMW."


So what do we do about anti-social behaviour? Introduce more laws
that ultimately get used on protestors? Stalking laws were
introduced to protect women but have now been used on protestors,
while an animal rights activist has already been issued with an
interim Anti Social Behaviour Order. So while it's quite obvious
to some of us that more laws aren't the answer, then what is? If
people are getting the crap beaten out of them while just going to
the shop, or the local playground is full of needles, it really
doesn't help anyone to say, "Don't worry- wait for the revolution
and then everything will be alright."

The answer's not easy - community action against "anti-social
behaviour" does have to be well handled and can be a magnet for
thugs, vigilantes and right-wing reactionaries or people who want
the police to have even more powers and more CCTV. In Easton,
Bristol, the members of the community groups who came together
agreed about the need for do-it-yourself action but found
themselves divided on issues like installing CCTV cameras. The
beating to death of Josie Dwyer, a Dublin heroin addict, by a
vigilante mob, is a particularly grim example of what can go

It is a serious problem that has to be faced, as a member of the
Independent Working Class Association who won their first ever
councilor in Greater Leys said "Issues like this have proved a
major weakness for much of the orthodox Left - 'The issue is
difficult, so let's avoid it.' But isn't that what radical
politics should be about - providing practical solutions to
problems, despite difficulties and dangers? If you can't do that,
why should anyone have any faith in your ability to solve bigger
political problems? I often get the feeling the Left is more
comfortable talking about 'revolution' or 'stopping the war',
precisely because those questions don't demand an immediate test
of their politics..."

Individually the people of Greater Leys were vulnerable to
attack - but collectively, by coming together as a community, they
could tell the gang "Your behaviour isn't acceptable". As
communities get stronger and people get to know each other, they
can tackle all sorts of issues - like why there aren't decent bus
services or shops in their area. And if people from 'radical'
politics are involved, local communities might just start taking
their ideas seriously.

As one person from Oxford commented "We look to the Piqueteras in
Argentina, the Zapatistas in Chiapas, and praise them for their
direct action and seizing power and running their own communities
without the aid of corrupt politicians. And yet, when the
community-minded citizens in Oxford do the same thing, they are
slagged off. We should be learning by their example, giving
support, and helping other communities to take control of their
own space. If they don't, no one else will do it for them."

More on the Blackbird Leys campaign www.bliwca.fsnet.co.uk


Crap Arrest Of The Week

For throwing a teabag
Yep you read it right, not a rock, a bottle or even a bomb but a
harmless old teabag. A seventeen year old girl was recently
nicked, charged and then sentenced to nine months community
service (!) for throwing said tea bag at an animal abusers car
during a demonstration outside the National Institute of Medical
Research, a government sponsored vivisection lab in north London.
Another protestor was charged with endangering a driver because he
took a picture using a flash! 12 officers came to the house of the
teenager to arrest her. Now that's what SchNEWS reckons is real
anti social behaviour.



"From the governments point of view, the Anti-Social Behaviour
Bill is more important for what it says than what it does- but,
unfortunately, it will also manage to impose some extremely
oppressive controls on vulnerable people" - Legal Action Group

While communities have been organising themselves, MPs this week
have been debating the legal nitty-gritty of their new Anti-Social
Behaviour Bill. Keep your radar switched on as this Bill is part
of the government's wider campaign that originated with the Crime
and Disorder Act 1998, and, though relatively minor in itself,
it's important cos it's worded to allow nasty new clauses to be
attached to existing Criminal Justice laws.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill is supposedly being put in place to
give cops greater powers to 'protect' communities and deal with
troublemakers such as 'deviant' kids in 'dysfunctional' families;
it also allows for the dispersal of groups of two or more young
people to prevent the 'risk' of disorder. Clause 59 of the bill,
introduced quietly at a later stage, amends the Public Order Act
1986 so that the police can impose conditions on 'public
assemblies' also consisting of just two people! The original
powers were designed to prevent serious public trouble, but:

"LAG fears that those who will be the target of the bill's powers
are likely also to be the 'victims' that it claims to protect.
People who depend on the state for housing, income, education and
support services are always subject to the changing fashions of
welfare provision... The resulting insecurities that such people
experience make them more vulnerable to this current moral
crusade." - LAG Editorial

Remember the Public Order Act 1986? That made it difficult to have
festies, with strict restrictions on numbers. Then came the 1994
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, tightening the law even
further. Those laws have had massive effects on festivals,
protests, public assembly and free community events not approved
by the cops or the council. The rise of Neo-Labour and its crusade
against 'terror' has meant further clampdowns.

If this new Act is passed cops will more easily be able to ban
protestors and partygoers from gathering for demos or knees-ups of
two or more people; they will be able to arrest people
'trespassing' either outside or in disused buildings and they will
be able to slap restriction orders on protestors and ravers alike.

As Statewatch point out "Left unchecked, basic freedoms and
democratic standards - freedom of movement, freedom of expression
and the right to protest, freedom from surveillance in everyday
life, accountability, scrutiny and data protection - will be
whittled away one by one threatening the very democracy being
defended by the 'war on terrorism.'"

Check out LAG editorial:

Statewatch: www.statewatch.org/news/2003/oct/22swsub.htm



Ben Thirley, 24, tragically drowned last week. Originally from
Sheffield, he had lived recently years in Bristol, Brighton and
finally Bath. He was best known in Brighton after being involved
in squats most significantly the Harvest Forestry squat in
opposition to the Sainsbury development (as well as helping out
with other things including SchNEWS). Always lending a hand, and
everybody's mate, our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
His funeral takes place next Friday (31st) in Sheffield.


Bush-me, Bull-you

Warmongers that prey together, stay together. Literally, in the
case of Tony & George. Bush will be in the UK from 19-21st Nov. As
well as a full state banquet (courtesy of the tax-payer) he will
stay overnight at Blair's tiny Sedgefield constituency house. No
doubt they'll be allowed to stay up late and play Battleships.

With so many people against the war in Iraq, it should mean
anti-Bush action is just as widespread. A special website,
www.resistbush.org, has been set-up to co-ordinate protests during
the visit. At 2pm in Hyde Park there will be a march to Trafalgar
Square, where a statue of Bush will be toppled. Depending on how
cold it is on the day, it is hoped there will be a mass anti-Bush
moon, perfectly expressing the sentiments of most of the UK.
(www.bloggerheads.com/can_weblogs/bush_bum.asp). Anti-Bush bus
passengers should note that with a slight adjustment, signs can
easily be amended to 'Bush Stop.'

On Nov 5th, before Bush's visit, www.burningbush.org.uk is asking
people to put George on their bonfire instead of Guy Fawkes. They
even provide a DIY kit on their website including a Bush mask and
press release for the local paper. As Blair has already visited
his chum several times, to explain where Iraq is, etc. it's not
even clear why Dubya is coming here. Number 10 explains it as "an
important opportunity to deepen our close relationship with a
close international partner". You wonder how close Tony and George
can get without penetration.

With any luck the extent of the protests will make the earth move
for George. Already plans for the Queen and George W Bush to make
a triumphant procession along the Mall have been abandoned because
of fears of anti-war protests. He will travel by helicopter to
avoid protesters lining road routes, other proposed events have
been curtailed or cancelled, and he will not address Parliament
because of fears of a boycott by MPs. Join the discussions

Still at a loss for what to get involved in to show George your
displeasure? Let last weeks' 'Sunday Mirror' be your well-informed
guide: "ANARCHISTS PLOT TO STORM THE PALACE" ran the headline, in
a seasonal nod to Guy Fawkes. "Anarchist groups are secretly
planning to swamp tight security at the palace by sending
thousands of protesters over the wall at the same time," foams the
rag's man-in-the-know, fingering anti-war and anti-capitalist
groups from Justice not Vengeance to rent-a-blame faves Reclaim
the Streets. "They are using the internet and text messages to
organize the attack on the Queen's residence... Secret meetings
have been held across the country to plan the 'Resist Bush'
protests, which include roadblocks and huge rallies. Hundreds of
anti-capitalist hardliners are expected to travel from Paris to
join the demonstrations. They have been involved in violence
across Europe and will be at the European Social Forum prior to Mr
Bush's visit."

So, don't say you weren't warned.


SchNEWS In Brief

** Benefit gig for the protest camp at Sherwood Forest this Sunday
(26) at The Maze, 257 Mansfield Road, Nottm £5 / £3 . 8pm till 12

** On Monday, tens of thousands marched to La Paz, celebrating the
resignation of President Lozada (see last weeks SchNEWS). The
marches came after new president, Carlos Mesa, a millionaire media
mogul, named his new cabinet. Bolivians must wait and see if this
unlikely revolutionary will bring about any real change. For more
check out Bolivia Watch on www.zmag.org/

** Halloween anti-war demo in Brighton, meeting near the Old
Steine fountain, 5:30pm. Ghosts of anger theme!

** Rail union RMT have called for a return the daily inspection of
tube tracks or they will consider themselves "in dispute" with
Jarvis-owned Metronet, "responsible" for track maintainance.
Profit-hungry Metronet insist on checking tracks only once every 3
days leading to two tube derailments over the past week. Good old
Jarvis have had to hand back control of national rail maintenance
because of their appalling safety record

** A campaign is being launched to oppose plans for the Oxford
Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre to become a Foundation Trust. Get
along to the meeting 6th November Quarry Village Hall Quarry Road
Oxford 7.30pm www.oxfordsa.org.uk/campaigns

** Many video collectives sprang up in the wake of the Argentinian
crisis in 2001 to document the struggle to build a new society. A
selection of some of the best ones will be shown next Thursday
(30) at The Other Cinema, 11 Rupert Street, London W1. 9pm. £5/7
unwaged/waged. Tel: 020 7437 0757 www.indymedia.org.uk

** The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal campaign have produced a 32 track
double CD including tracks from Primal Scream, Chumbawumba, Asian
Dub Foundation, Zion Train and Smith & Mighty. 150 minutes in
total plus booklet £15. Mumia is the ex Black Panther fitted up by
the Philadelphia police who has been on death row for 22 years


Inside SchNEWS

75 year old Environmental activist Betty Krawczyk, was last week
sentenced to six months in jail after she was found guilty of
criminal contempt of court for continuing to participate in
physical blockades of logging roads in British Columbia. Betty is
no stranger to prison, with the judge saying "her confinement to
be comparable to a self-inflicted wound."

Write to Betty, 03793924, Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women,
7900 Fraser Park dr., Burnaby, British Colombia, V5J 5HI


...and finally...

Here cum da judge
"Witnesses saw the judge simply raise his gown, open his trousers
and perform unmistakable movements," said French newspaper
Charente Libre, whose reporter was in court when an un-named judge
began masturbating openly while an attorney was pleading his case.
"The justice minister has asked a judicial council to review the
case. Punishment is likely to involve a temporary suspension from
duty," said an official spokesman. We thought no one gave a toss
about justice.



SchNEWS warns all readers if you can't vandal the same old yob
story - that's your problem.


South Coast Indymedia

Do you live in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire or Surrey? Well if you do
you're about to have your very own local Indymedia website.

Indymedia websites are an alternative news and information point,
(free of corporate strings). And unlike most other news, it is
written (filmed, photographed, recorded etc) and posted by people
like you or I.

It is envisioned that South East Indymedia could perform a fairly
local function (at least initally anyway) - of being an exchange
point of information, networking and offering a publishing point
for local news other media continually ignore.

If you live in the area, and would like to be part of this
Indymedia please contact SchNEWS, and we will let you know about
the next meeting, and/or put you on the SE Indymedia mailing list.
We stress that for this site to work well it needs participation
from people all over the region.


SchNEWS Tour of Britain?

Having spent 9 years in a dingey office in Brighton we've decided
we want to see a bit of the world, you know, live a little!
Infact, we're thinking of doing a tour of Britain! We'd like to do
talks about SchNEWS, about setting up local newsletters, show some
films, play some music, maybe have a beer or 3. And to test the
water we're going to do a night in Southampton!

Here's how it's (hopefully) gonna work. Some people from (or near)
Southampton are going to email us back (webmaster@schnews.org.uk)
We'll send some more details to them all, with the hope that
they'll all get together to sort out: a date, a venue, publicity
(we'll send some posters), floor space for 3 SchNEWS bods, maybe a
DJ. Then, on the night, we'd turn up with all the gear, do the
thing, sleep over and then be off. Simple.

So, if you live in or around Southampton and are interested in
making this happen then please email us back. If that all goes to
plan then we'll be asking people all around the country to do the



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SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £6!! Past books are
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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
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Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk


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