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(en) Britain, SchNEWS 464, Friday 6th August, 2004 WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER FARE COP!

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 6 Aug 2004 05:55:50 +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
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FIRST FOR PROFIT - "First Drivers in South Yorkshire are making a stand for a decent
working wage in an industry that fails to keep its employees due
to poor working hours, abusive customers and a fat cat
profiteering company that's raking it in on its monopoly control
on most of South Yorkshires services." - Striking First Group bus driver
Eight hundred bus drivers throughout South Yorkshire are on their
third week of indefinite strike in their fight for more pay.
The drivers reckon their demands will cost First Group, the
countries biggest bus company just £368,000 - hardly a dent in its
annual profit of over £160 million. Instead First Group want
drivers to lose the first 3 days of sick pay and two bank holidays
and not back date the pay rise they promised in April.

The strikers also want a quicker increase in pay for new drivers,
who currently have to wait three and a half years to earn more
than £5.85 an hour - just £1.35 an hour more than the national
minimum wage! With picket lines across the region, none of the
companies 307 buses have left their depots and the strike is
staying strong with one of the union organisers saying "We are in
for the long haul".

One striking driver who has worked for the company for more than
20 years said "They offered us an 'improved' three-year deal, but
with so many conditions they were giving with one hand and taking
away with the other." Another driver added "All I can say is sorry
to the public for this action drivers have been forced to take but
I believe I have earned the right for more money this year; after
First made millions we are only after 30p an hour."

Not surprisingly First Group has a major recruitment problem with
a 30 percent turnover of drivers. Many of the drivers working for
First today were the people who worked in the coal mines or steel
industry. As one driver said, "There are people that have worked
on the buses for 20 years and have seen the damage that
privatisation has done.


Buses were 'de-regulated' (that's privatised) in 1986 when the
National Bus Company was broken into 70 chunks and sold for £1
billion. The Conservatives said it would bring in more choice and
cheaper journeys but within ten years of deregulation prices had
soared, there were less routes and twenty five per cent fewer
customers with companies fighting over the most profitable routes.
And after the initial rush of bus companies competing the industry
is now dominated by five big players.

In the fact over the past 25 years, bus fares have risen by 80 per
cent while total motoring costs have remained flat. In places like
South Yorkshire a brilliant bus service that was as "cheap as
chips" was been systematically destroyed and workers pay and
conditions worsened.

When Neo Labour came to power Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
championed the bus as the future 'thoroughbred' of public
transport. He subsidised more rural buses, and encouraged
operators and local authorities to work closely together.
Passenger numbers are even rising in some areas, such as Leeds,
Brighton, Glasgow and Bath - and of course London where buses are
still regulated.

Taxpayers subsidise the nation's bus services to the tune of £1.2
billion a year. But just like the Private Finance Iniative (PFI)
Neo Labour refuse to believe that private companies running our
public services aren't the answer and instead reckon Maggie knew
best. But if they are viewing PFI through rose-tinted spectacles,
god knows what they're wearing to see that bus deregulation works.


A new book by Massimo Florio 'The Great Divestiture' smashes some
of those Thatcher myths. Studying the impact of Britain's
privatisations between 1979 and 1997 Florio takes many of the
supposed truths about privatisation and demolishes them one by

The sell-offs halted the over-manning that was crippling the
nationalised industries. Not true.

The belief that private sector dynamism boosted productivity in
the state owned monsters? Er, nope, no real evidence for that.

So what about the paying customer? Well guess what, Florio's
research found that privatisation benefited the rich at the
expense of the poor. Just take British Telecom. Before
privatisation, BT was not short of money to invest in the future
and was spending more on research and development. State ownership
also meant that there were safeguards for the less well off. After
privatisation this all changed, and the big gains went to business
and users of international calls. In fact the biggest
beneficiaries of privatisation were the wealthiest 10%-20% of the
population; those who bore the costs were the poorest 10%-20%, who
for many years had to pay increased tariffs or fixed charges for
some essential public services; while some lost their jobs or
faced greater job insecurity. As Florio puts it "Privatisation was
an integral part of a series of policies that created a social
rift unequalled anywhere in Europe".

So, privatisation did not result in the waving of a magic
productivity wand, partly because the record of the nationalised
industries was reasonably good, partly because the new managers
proved less innovative than expected, and partly because the new
owners didn't really care so long as the profits and dividends
kept rolling in. What was lost, according to Florio, was the sense
of a public realm, which stemmed from the "incapacity or
unwillingness of governments at the end of the 20th century" to
assume certain social responsibilities. Despite this, this model
of Neo Liberalism is being mimicked across the world and is used
as a stick by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to
bash poorer countries into line.

Next up for privatisation in Britain is the Post Office, which is
already facing massive redundancies, attacks on postie's pay and
conditions, post office closures and a sharp drop in service.
SchNEWS reckons that we'll end up with public services which
aren't public and don't actually provide a service.

* You can contribute to the strike fund by sending cheques payable
to the TGWU, c/o Steve Clark, TGWU Regional Office, 55 Call Lane,
Leeds LS1. Email messages of support to martin@tgw910.fsnet.co.uk

* For more on the strike


Crap Arrest Of Ther Week

For wanting more freedom
Elitsa, a 20-year-old Bulgarian anarchist, has become the latest
victim in the Bulgarian government's attempts to criminalize
dissent and label protesters as threats to "national security".
She has been charged with "crimes against the Republic of
Bulgaria" for spreading "fascist ideology and terrorism". Police
thought that she really shouldn't be selling back issues of the
Bulgarian anarchist journal Svoboden Misl (Free Thought). She was
also nicked for handing out and flyposting leaflets calling for
more freedom, equality and people's autonomy. Now any "literature"
she intends to distribute must first be approved by a police



Radio 4A are having a beach party from 9pm onwards on the Brighton
seafront (outside Gemini bar) this Sat (7th) after Gay Pride.
Bring a radio tuned into 101.4fm. Plus catch Radio 4A all the
following weekend in Brighton.



Not content with spending £4.4bn on invading Afghanistan and Iraq,
Chauncellor Gordon Brown recently announced the "biggest planned
increase in defence spending for 20 years". Although the news has
been full of stories about the closure of RAF bases, war spending
will actually increase by almost £4bn to almost £34bn by 2007.
According to the government's defence review, we're promised
high-tech warfare, pre-emptive nuclear strikes and more spies than
ever before.

A chunk of new cash has been allocated to develop
"Network-centric" warfare. The idea is that politicians and their
corporate backers will wage war, in the not too distant future, on
big computer screens in comfortable offices. Spy satellites,
aircraft and soldiers with laptops will all be wired together and
easier to control (lets hope they won't be using Windows!)
Although such a system is supposedly helpful in the fight against
enemies who may be difficult to pin down (guess who?), ministers
hooked on technology have chosen to ignore the less sexy fact that
British squaddies in Iraq are still complaining about their boots
not being suitable for wearing in the desert heat.

Nukes are still in favour too. The Atomic Weapons Establishment at
Aldermaston is to develop a 'necessary' successor to Trident.
These 'efficient' bombs will be complimented by a missile defence
system, in the guise of Star Wars II, at RAF Fylingdales. Spies
are also to be given extra 10%. By 2007, the annual budget for the
security and intelligence agencies - MI5, MI6 and GCHQ - and what
the government calls "civil protection" will total more than £2bn.

After 11th September shares in defence companies soared after more
than a decade in the doldrums caused by the fall of the Berlin
Wall. Whilst companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin stand to
make millions out of this new chunk of taxpayers' money, groups in
Brighton have been acting to kick out local arms dealers EDO MBM.
The company has publicly admitted that their products manufactured
in Brighton have been used in Iraq and are probably being used in
Israel as well. Actions have already taken place including the
shutting down of the factory for a day with a roadblock and
rooftop occupation.

A protest camp will be set up between Sunday 29th August to
Thursday 2nd September as part of the ongoing campaign against the
arms dealer and will start on the Monday with NVDA wokshops. Lifts
can be arranged from Aldermaston to Brighton. Bring tents and
other camping gear. Email: thewallmustfall@hotmail.com

* On Sept. 4 The Iraq War Fat Cat Tour will be exposing the
British companies making a killing in Iraq Meet outside the Shell
Centre (SE1 7NA, near Waterloo station). Email: www.voicesuk.org *
There's a Switch Off Star Wars National demo on Sept. 25 Noon -
4pm Fylingdales Star Wars base. www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk



A Global Day Of Action has been called for Wednesday July 6th
2005, the opening day of the G8 Summit next year. The G8 (Group of
eight most industrialised nations) will meet at Gleneagles Hotel
in Perthshire, about 40 miles north of Edinburgh.

The Dissent! Network has sprung up around the UK to build a
national network and converge on Scotland to disrupt the summit
next year, and there is a call out for simultaneous actions to be
organised in villages, towns and cities around the world.

* The next Dissent! Gathering will take place in Edinburgh on
17-19th September. See www.dissent.org.uk

* SchNEWS has made a high impact 30 second teaser trailer about
the G8 Summit which is free to download at


SchNEWS in brief

** Eviction Alert! A recently established protest camp at Two Mile
Coppice, Weymouth (SchNEWS 463) to stop the destruction of an
ecologically rich habitat has been served its papers. The Eviction
could happen anytime now. More committed activists are urgently
needed to protect this ecologically sensitive site. They are also
in urgent need of long wooden joists for treehouse building,
planks, rope etc. 07800 760257

** Workers at a Wal-Mart store in the Canadian province of Quebec
have won the right to unionise in a landmark first for the world's
largest retailer which employs 1.3m people in the United States
alone. A new report from the University of California said
taxpayers in California pay an annual $86m in public assistance to
workers at Wal-Mart because they earn such low wages relying on
food care, public health insurance and subsidised housing.

** Next Tuesday (10) Indymedia Cinema will be showing two films
about the Kalahari Desert Bushmen, plus speakers and short film
from Survival International on the current situation of San
Bushmen and other indigenous peoples. 8pm @ The Ritzy, Brixton,
Coldharbour Lane, Brixton

** Queer Mutiny North is planning a DIY queer night in a squat on
September 3rd. 07763754356 www.queermutiny-north.da.ru

** On July 21st, the day after the transport white paper was
announced, a delegation of roads protesters went to the Dept of
Transport to remind them what happened to the last roads
programme... for pictures see www.roadalert.org.uk To read about
what happened to the last roads programme go to www.leedsef.org.uk


Inside SchNEWS

The US Patriot Act, passed after 9/11, enshrines in law the Big
Brother State like no other Act before it... Sherman Austin felt
its sting when he was sentenced to one year in prison and 3 years
probation for creating an anarchist website, "Raise The Fist".
Sherman has recently been released from prison to a half-way
house, where he will stay until the end of the month. Upon
release, he won't be able to use a mobile phone, computer or any
other digital device unless approved by the State for the next
three years! He is also forbidden contact with any "anarchist"
groups. A doctors report on Sherman said he was "a mild-mannered
man who's social idealism took on a violent tone when associating
with such groups." Judge Wilson said "this is a case which has
national and international overtones".

Raise the Fist is unavailable at the moment but you can find out
more at www.freesherman.org

Details on the Patriot Act

* Billy Cotterell, arrested last March in connection with ongoing
arson attacks on SUV dealers in California, is now facing the
possibility of life in prison without parole. 23 year old Billy,
maintains his innocence and this move by the FBI is regarded as a
political attack on the eco direct action movement in the USA.
Write to William Cottrell #29526112 , Metropolitan Detention
Center PO Box 1500 Los Angeles, CA 90053 www.freebillycottrell.org

* AHOY INMATEYS!!! Haven Book Distribution have a brand spanking
new catalogue out! Haven provide books and magazines for the price
of a second class stamp to prisoners in any one of the 159 (and
rising) prisons in the UK. Send a 2nd class stamp to Haven
Distribution, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3XX for a
free catalogue.


Positive SchNEWS

The idea is simple one. If you can't afford to pay - don't. And if
you get caught - well, if you're a member of Planka.nu, they will
pay your fine for you!

Set up in 2001 by some anarchist syndicalists in Stockholm, Sweden
the idea has now spread to Gothenburg, and Helsinki in Finland.

"P-kassan" is your insurance for when you caught bunking. You pay
a small amount according to your income and days you want to
travel to a fund and if you get caught your fine is paid. The idea
of this is not new with students in the university cities running
smaller schemes - the difference this time, is that the anarchists
"have a greater goal than just helping each other to freeride. We
want free public transportation, owned by us together and
controlled by the workers in it."

A small tax rise on the richest could make public transport free.
And how much would companies save if they got rid of all the
ticket machines, inspectors and barriers? "Lots of money goes to
these systems which leads to nothing but a bad mood in our common

"In the long run free public transportation would lead to other
positive effects, like a better urban environment with less
traffic jams. Today car traffic is prioritized at the expense of
public transportation. Roads are financed by tax money and are
free to use, but the public transportation is financed by fares.
It is rather strange that the authorities punish those who choose
the means of travel that suits the environment best."



Mobile phone masts have been a creeping feature on the landscape
over recent years, but the health aspects of the masts rarely get
transmitted, and the masts go up without interference. But last
week in Donegal people decided that they'd rather have their
health than O2 mobile coverage, and tore down a mast which had
been put up locally. The company had planning permission for the
mast refused twice because of health and environmental factors,
but still put it up anyway. Soon after the erection, the mast was
pulled down and blockaded.

To find out about the risks of mobile phone masts and opposition
to them in Britain see www.mastsanity.org



Mobile phone masts have been a creeping feature on the landscape
over recent years, but the health aspects of the masts rarely get
transmitted, and the masts go up without interference. But last
week in Donegal people decided that they'd rather have their
health than O2 mobile coverage, and tore down a mast which had
been put up locally. The company had planning permission for the
mast refused twice because of health and environmental factors,
but still put it up anyway. Soon after the erection, the mast was
pulled down and blockaded.


To find out about the risks of mobile phone masts and opposition
to them in Britain see www.mastsanity.org


..and finally...

Sniffing has been taken to a new level by Todd, a police sniffer
dog of five years experience. After searching an abandoned car in
a field for drugs he became ill and later died of a suspected
amphetamine overdose. Perhaps because of the dog's insatiable
habit, police were unable to find any drugs on the scene, but the
dogs handler, Roger Moore (we can't make this stuff up), is
understandably upset. Without a hint of irony Lancashire Police
told reporters that Spaniel sniffer dogs tend to be "quite daft,
but very very very keen".


SchNEWS warns all bus passengers - all's fare in love and class
war. 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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PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £6.50!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - a snip at £2; Survival Handbook issues
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - sold out;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of contacts,
comedy etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop or

Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
issues)or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is
post-free to prisoners.


SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk Web: www.schnews.org.uk


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