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(en) Britain, New Anarchist Newssheet Hits Merseyside Streets!

Date Fri, 11 Jan 2008 16:40:27 +0200



A group of Merseyside anarchists have produced the first edition of our new
newssheet, 'Shout!'. There are articles on Capital of Culture (or capitalist
vultures), academy schools, the postal strike, the plans for the new Royal
hospital, where our recycling REALLY goes, and asylum seeker support. Click for
the PDF if you want to read and distribute, or simply scroll down for the text
version. ---- Liverpool: Capital of Vultures ---- When Liverpool was made the
European Capital of Culture 2008 there were parties in the streets. ----
Liverpudlians were told to have new hope and the publicity machine pumped out
images of smiling and excited scousers. An estimated 2 million more visitors are
expected to come to the city, bringing money and investment that is expected to
improve Liverpool's economic state. And yet, as the years have passed and with
2008 on our doorstep, the city still looks like a bomb has hit it. Derelict
homes in the suburbs and massive building sites in the city centre, new shops
for wealthy visitors and smaller hospitals for the people that live here. There
is an increasing feeling of unrest in the city and residents are starting to
feel cheated. So what is really going on?

Whose Culture?
The capital of culture is not for the people of Liverpool, whatever councillors
might say about 'regeneration'. Instead it's an invitation for big business to
come into the city like a flock of vultures and pick up all the tastiest scraps,
leaving the rest of us nothing. Huge grants of European and government money,
sweetheart deals and a captive audience. All in return for a handful of
temporary, dead-end jobs with no skills or long term prospects and a
'regeneration' scheme more concerned with getting visitors, and their money, in
and out than creating a decent city for people to live in. The ones who benefit
will be the owners of multinational corporations who don't even live in the
city. It is just another move towards making every city in the world have
exactly the same shops where everyone can buy exactly the same clothes with
their ever smaller wage packets.

Where?s the Money?
Liverpool council were given a HUGE cash injection by the government. The
promise then was that the people of Liverpool would not have to pay any more tax
to fund the event. So what the hell happened this year? Suddenly the council are
£29 million short of funding and it needs £7 million of this just to maintain
council services. Well the council can't borrow money off the government because
they are now forwarding their money to the Olympic games (another bonanza for
the already rich). So they have decided to go against what they said a few years
ago and tax the people of Liverpool, re-mortgage buildings like Millennium House
and take out a huge £20m loan that people like us will have to pay for later.
The council tax increase is expected to be 3.7%.

Shops not Homes
And what about housing? Well according to a BBC report, house prices are going
up since the award came to the city. Many people in working class areas are
struggling to keep up with their rents, and some in Toxteth and Edge Lane are
even fighting compulsory purchase orders, which threaten to steal their homes
for a fraction of their worth, so yet more developers can come in!

All the investment appears to be going to the centre of Liverpool. The further
into the suburbs you go the worse it gets. There are areas of Liverpool that are
becoming no-go areas with gang culture on the rise and derelict buildings
everywhere. Will the effects of capital of culture really benefit these people?
Will it reach out into the lives the need the help the most? That?s for you to
decide.

Not surprisingly, with all the extra money sloshing around, Liverpool?s
politicians and bureaucrats have their noses firmly in the trough. Read up on
all the dirt at http://liverpoolsubculture.blogspot.com

Education, Education, Privatisation!
So the capital of culture award has turned the city of Liverpool into the centre
of a feeding frenzy for multinational companies. Gentrification is pushing the
working class out into the run-down suburbs. Opportunities for getting a decent
job or trade under your belt are getting fewer and fewer. Is there any other way
that capitalism is destroying our lives? Well rest assured that now you can send
your children to a brand new academy school.

The North Liverpool Academy is the amalgamation of students from Anfield and
Breckfield schools. In 2006 the government decided to blend together the most
'failing' schools in Liverpool, throw in a dash of money from a sponsor in the
private sector (Stanley Fink from stockbrokers Man Group Plc) and season it with
a specialisation in Business and Enterprise. What a great idea! It is too early
to tell what the outcome will be. However, merging failing schools in the past
has not brought great improvements. Ofsted inspectors branded the Bexley
Business Academy in Kent as 'inadequate', highlighting poor teaching and lower
than expected exam results.

So much of this country has been privatised. Has capitalism finally infiltrated
our schools as well?

Mersey Posties Show the Way
This summer and autumn, Merseyside postal workers were on the front line of
action against Royal Mail's proposed new contracts, which threaten jobs,
pensions and working conditions, whilst opening the door to a sell-off of the
postal service.

Posties in Liverpool and Birkenhead were among the most militant in the country,
taking illegal 'wildcat' action for over a week, after they got back from an
official strike to find Royal Mail had changed their working hours without
consultation. Eventually the strike was defeated and Royal Mail got what they
wanted, but only because workers were stabbed in the back by their 'leaders',
and were unable to create strong enough links with other workers facing cuts.

Unions Cave In
When Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) finally reached an
agreement, it quickly became clear that union bureaucrats had gladly caved in to
pressure from post bosses on one side, and the government on the other. The new
deal contained almost exactly the same terms that CWU general secretary Billy
Hayes had denounced as a 'carve up' between Royal Mail bosses and their 'rich
mates' just three months earlier, so posties have been expressing dismay and anger.

The union tops started undermining the efforts of rank-and-file posties from the
beginning, staggering strikes so as not to cause Royal Mail too much pain, then
calling the legal strikes off entirely for two months of talks! Their greatest
fear is working class people organising themselves and finding they have no use
for their so-called 'representatives'. Many of them have strong links to New
Labour, so while they may occasionally talk 'left', they are in reality lined up
behind Brown's campaign for the slashing and burning of wages and working
conditions.

Winning for Ourselves
But it isn't about the individual politics of the individual reps, it's about a
structure that has been used time and time again to keep working people down. By
refusing to bow before the law, and organising in an anarchic way (without
bosses), the Merseyside posties have set a great example to workers in other
areas and other industries. We don't need to go cap in hand to big business or
to government. We can and must organise our own workplaces, our own
neighbourhoods, and our own lives.

Renewing the Royal? Ripping Off Patients!
The Liverpool Primary Care Trust's (PCT's) plan to rebuild the Royal Liverpool
hospital using a costly PFI scheme rumbles on, and as more details emerge the
deal gets worse and worse. At a cost of £225 million (sure to increase if PFI
schemes elsewhere in the country are anything to go by) the hospital will be
completely rebuilt on a smaller new site with the loss of 200 beds and all kinds
of knock on effects on the quality of care. Worse than this, the Trust will not
own the new building but will instead rent it back from the private company that
builds it, despite having paid for everything in the first place! Only in the
upside down world of business and government could this ever be called
'improving care for patients' and 'value for money'.

The real reason for all this, as always, is profits for the usual suspects.
Refurbishment of the existing buildings, which are just over thirty years old,
was not even seriously considered, despite a sham 'consultation'. As the
'Renewing the Royal' website tells us,

'refurbishment would be an unviable risk for the health treasury and private
sector'. In other words, the money's only there if it can go into private
pockets. The needs of business to make a killing come first; the needs of
patients to go on living are a very poor second.

PFI schemes all over the country have left trusts with unsustainable debts,
leading to cuts in services and job losses. A 2007 report from the independent
Centre for International Public Health Policy in Edinburgh concluded that PFI
schemes are responsible for a wave of cuts over the last few years, cuts that
will only increase over the life of the contracts. Any new scheme adds to this
pressure. Keep Our NHS Public are campaigning hard on Merseyside and are one of
the few forces taking on the trust over this. They meet on the third Wednesday
of every month in the Peoples Centre, Hardman Street, and have an email list at
http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/KeepOurNHSPublicMerseyside.

Councillor Turner ? You're a Joke!
Liverpool was recently voted the least sustainable city in a survey with
nineteen others. While other places are tapping landfill for methane, cutting
car use, building low-carbon houses and creating zero-carbon neighbourhoods,
we're stuck in the ha'penny place. What was the Council environment
spokesperson's response? Cllr Bernie Turner could only bleat about salmon in the
Mersey and parks built 150 years ago. She'll brag about how much recycling we?re
doing. But she won?t tell you huge amounts of what the Council collects is still
going to landfill. Liverpool's bosses want reckless economic expansion, building
more roads to carry more cars, choking the city. Yes, we can spend an hour or so
in a polluted park and the rest of our lives in an urban hellhole where hundreds
die each year from cold, from lung and heart disease or a dozen other diseases
caused by pollution or stress. And they call this 'success', 'progress'.
Councillor Turner, you're a dangerous idiot. And that's no joke.

Stand Up for Asylum Seekers
Liverpool based group Asylum Voice is organising a demonstration in solidarity
with all asylum seekers in this country and especially with those in Liverpool.
We demand the right to work, the right to healthcare, the end of Section 4 and
forced deportations and the end of all border controls. If there are no borders
for the flows of capital in the world, then there should not be any borders for
human beings either. The demonstration takes place on Wednesday 19th December
2007 at Reliance House, Water Street in Liverpool, from 12.30 till 1.30 pm.

This protest is also a reaction to the inhuman treatment of Alphonsus from
Nigeria. The National Asylum Support Service wants to remove him from Liverpool
to Salford, despite the fact that he has secure accommodation here. In Salford
he would find himself isolated, without the support network necessary to
campaign for his right to stay.

Asylum Voice desperately needs to raise funds to launch campaigns against
deportations of people. Therefore any support is very welcome and needed! Asylum
Voice can be contacted at the email address: asylumvoice@yahoo.co.uk. Meet
members of Asylum Voice at their regular meetings every second Thursday in Next
To Nowhere on Bold Street.

Anarchist meetings
Find out what anarchists on Merseyside are up to, or come and help out. All in
Next to Nowhere social centre in the basement, 96 Bold Street
(www.liverpoolsocialcentre.org):
? Anarchist educationals third Thursday of the month (Dec 20th, Jan 17th)
? Liverpool Social Forum second Tuesday of the month (Jan 8th)

Labels: academy schools, anarchism, asylum, Capital Of Culture, CWU, Liverpool,
merseyside, PFI, Royal hospital, social class

posted by Adam Ford at 17:48
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