UK Newswire Archive
30-11-2010 14:59Forthcoming film shows from East London community action group Action East End
Students at Nottingham University have occupied The Great Hall in The Trent Building on University Park.
1. We demand that the University of Nottingham lobby the Russell Group and the government and issue a statement condemning all cuts to higher education, the EMA and the rise in tuition fees.
2. We demand that the University of Nottingham implement a complete open book policy in regards to existing budget constraints
3. We demand that the University of Nottingham ensure no redundancies for teaching, research or support staff.
4. Ensure that no victimization or repercussions for anyone participating in the occupation.
5. Allow free access in and out of the building.
The Students are Revolting
The SLADE SCHOOL OF ART has just been occupied by students, which means two buildings in the stunning UCL campus are now under occupation. They are planning 3 days of alternative education, art, activism and disobedience this weekend, from Friday night 3rd to Sunday 5th December.
Last evening’s rather spontaneous meetings of reps from across art colleges was really a great turn out, with students from the following universities: Kingston, UAL ( LCC, Central St Martins, Chelsea, Camberwell, Byam Shaw), Courtauld, Brikbeck, Slade, Goldsmiths, as well as members of the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and the Carrot Workers Collective. No RCA reps were present but there were links to RCA activists in the group.
In this meeting we discussed a broader co-ordination of artistic action that we are going to realise within the next week, I hope I speak for the whole group when I say we are all really excited about the outcomes.
Open Planning meetings will take place for all who want to attend at 7pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings THIS WEEK.
Meetings will be held at the top of the stairs in the main Slade building on Gower Street, across from UCL.
It would be great if all groups could send a rep to help to build the programme. (Issa to help with programme)
Contacts at the Slade are:
0789 442 7355
0776 709 1945
Lollipop Ladies: ensuring your children get through education safely.
30-11-2010 13:47Follow the cat and mouse game from London as protesters try to avoid being kettled by a massive police presence. Groups of people were walking, running etc around the main West End and Parliament areas. Cops seem to be kettling small groups.
A march of around 300 students starting out from Leeds University to the town hall, convened in protest at proposed increases in tuition fees and cuts to the education budget, was kettled by police shortly after departure at 11.00am this morning.
30-11-2010 12:52Kent EDL are planning to hold a meeting tomorrow December 1st at O' Connells bar in Chatham,Kent.
30-11-2010 12:45Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo
Is new documentary telling the story of Guantánamo: torture, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons. Examining how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international law, rounding up prisoners in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening and often for large bounty payments. Focusing on the stories of three prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes, 'Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo' is powerful rebuke to the myth that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst”.
(Spectacle Productions, 2009; 75 mins., directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington)
Omar Deghayes (Guantanamo 'Detainee') and Poly Nash (Director) will be present to introduce the film.
Notts SOS is pleased to announce a weekend of anti-cuts action in Nottingham. The campaign is growing and many more people are taking action. Visit Notts SOS website for more events and information.
Saturday 4th Dec: Protest against corporate tax evasion - starts at Clumber St. at 1pm.
Sunday 5th Dec: 3rd day of action against education cuts and fees - starts Market Square at 12 noon.
Follow links for more details. Do come and support these actions.
Next Notts SOS meeting: Monday 6th Dec at 7.30pm (for venue see details on website).
Labour's Lewisham Council votes Mayor Bullock's cuts in behind closed doors, and defends the vote by riot police.
At first, it seemed like a small turnout at the demo called by Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance (LACA). The police were expecting decent numbers, and were there to contain a repeat of what happened a couple of weeks ago when the protesters forced the meeting to adjourn. This time we were going to be in the public gallery with a maximum of 40 people.
As I was queueing up for the search and pat down, the 150/200 strong march from Goldsmiths arrived. Speeches were held and all seemed to be going according to time-worn liberal traditions, until a masked protester appeared on the roof of the Town Hall with a banner saying: ‘Commons not Cuts’. They were letting people in 5 by 5 and sending them up in the lift. When it was our turn the security guard said:
‘Believe me, I want to be here as much as you.’
‘No, you don’t understand, we do want to be here.’
As we are waiting in the lobby to be sent up, the crowd charges the door shouting: ‘Let us in!’. The door opens and police tumble in backwards, dancing with protesters. About 20 of us are in. The police scramble to push us out or detain us. I jump in to de-arrest someone and get punched in the face. The security guards are out of control. There are several bloody faces. The glass at the front of the building cracks from the commotion outside. Someone sets of a smoke bomb. We try and board the lift, but the police and guards yank us out. We are trapped in the lobby. CID arrive – it is stalemate – no one is going in or out for the time being. A second smoke bomb is set off and the fire alarm starts. The guards get rid of this one as well. The people from the gallery are sent down and yanked out of the stairwell – they either end up in our group or ejected through the front. The officers draw their batons and tasers – their pupils are dilated. We start shouting: ‘Don’t do what you did to Ian Tomlinson!’ That stops them in their tracks. We call out the numbers of the most violent ones. One by one we get shoved down the stairs and out the back. I get thrown backwards and break my fall by dragging a couple of cops down.
Once outside a group leaves singing: ‘Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend. Harry Roberts is our friend, he kills coppers.’ We make our way to the front, where riot police has arrived with shields, horses and dogs. About 10 vans have blocked the South Circular. ITV is there. There are more charges to the front door. I hear that the meeting has been adjourned. CID target one of the protesters and after attempt to stop them, manage to arrest him. The crowd slowly disperses. We hit the pub.
About an hour after the meeting was adjourned, the cuts vote took place behind closed doors (so much for democracy!). It was 36 for, 3 against, 11 abstentions. All Labour councillors voted in favour of the cuts, the Tory and Green councillors voted against, and the Lib Dems abstained. There is seamless progression from what happened outside Lewisham Town Hall to what happened inside. A council, whose members were elected to serve the people, totally betrayed them by acting on the orders of an unelected ConDem junta which has no legitimacy and even less, a mandate for the most vicious cuts we have seen this side of the 1930's. The people gathered outside to protest and assert their right of witness. The answer was riot shields, horses, dogs and brutuality to bring home the will of the bond markets to municipal politics.
BLOGS with pics and videos:
CORPORATE with blog videos:
Police are already lining up in Whitehall in preparation for today's protests.
After the Lewisham Council meeting was disrupted last night [video] with mainstream reporting 4 arrests, there is a call for the 2nd day of action, or DayX2, against the cuts today. A Kettle Carnival is announced for noon at Trafalgar Square, as well as a Black Triangle action against Disability Cuts at South Bank at 12:30, followed by a march by the
So far the day is promising snowball fights and other merryment.
Inspired by the recent student protests and angry about proposed local cuts people in Lewisham stormed the Town Hall where a vote on the cuts was taking place after the number of people allowed into the meeting was cut.
Around 100 people tried to force their way into the building. Extra riot police were sent to the town hall along with police horses and dogs to disperse the protest using force.
The lobby at the town hall which drew several hundred people was also supported by students from Goldsmiths College.
Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance said "a peaceful lobby was denied democratic rights as we attempted to enter Lewisham town hall to make our voices against the cuts heard. Police brutally attacked protesters with batons, shields. There were so many cops that the south circular outside the town hall was closed due to the number of police cars and vans."
BLOGS + PRESS:
Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance
Call out: http://anticuts.org.uk/?p=966
The Mayor has presented the budget, but we can still stop the cuts
Town Hall (Catford), 6:30PM, Monday 29 Nov.
Come and tell the councillors to vote against the cuts, outside (and inside) the council meeting. No closures of libraries, Early Childhood centres, Open Doors advice services, no job losses, no privatisation!
We know many councillors do not want cuts, but feel pressured into voting for them. Our message to them is simple: Vote for what you believe in, how would you even consider any other action?
Letter to Labour Party Councillors:
Dear Labour Councillor
On 29th November you will be asked to vote for a budget, which will have devastating effects on the people of Lewisham you have been elected to represent.
The ConDem government has cut local government funding this year. But they plan more cuts next year and the year after that. If we give in now they will be back for more and more and more. This is an ideological attack on our welfare services. The poor are being made to pay for a financial crisis, which was caused by greed for profit.
The coalition government has a choice. These cuts are not inevitable. In fact the money to offset the deficit is readily available:
• There is £120 billion tax gap of avoided and uncollected tax
• The UK holds £850 billion in banking assets from the bailout – this is more than the national debt
• The UK government “owes” £200 billion of debt to the Bank of England – solely owned by the UK government.
Simply accepting these cuts without resistance is totally unacceptable. We are asking you to stand by your party principles and protect the people who elected you from these draconian cuts.
There are things you can cut without affecting jobs and services. For example:
• Cut top management pay
• Sack the consultants
• Pass a No Cuts budget
Help us to build the anti cuts movement in Lewisham, by mobilising the unions, tenants associations, and community activists with the central demand that the coalition government restores the money for local services.
• Don’t vote for the budget on the 29th.
• Don’t tell the people of Lewisham that there is no alternative.
• Join us at our next planning meeting to discuss how we can build the movement agains the cuts:
7th December Amersham Arms, New Cross Rd 7pm
Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance
30-11-2010 10:54On 24th November, as part of the first National Day of Action Against Fees and Cuts, the Radcliffe Camera, a central library of Oxford University, was stormed and occupied by around 200 people. The building was occupied for 28 hours until being raided and evicted by police. The occupation involved students from Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University, Ruskin, and many other educational institutions in Oxford. The intention of the occupation was to open the university library as a resource for the entire community. However, police and security colluded to deny access to anyone who attempted to enter. Below is a text begun within the Radcliffe Camera and completed after eviction. It was composed by a few not all of the those involved in the Radcliffe Camera Occupation, and neccessarily does not represent everyone's views.
Video of clashes with police at Lewisham Town Hall 29/11/10 when protesters interrupted a crucial council meeting.
30-11-2010 07:23ANGRY clashes broke out in Lewisham, London, on Monday night as police stopped campaigners from attending a key council meeting.
At 11.00am defence barrister, Mr Edward Rees QC opens the case for the defence.
He calls the first witness, one of the defendants SS.
She has been employed by Greenpeace for 8 years, although, this was not an ‘official’ Greenpeace action. In fact she took a short holiday in order to do it. Money had been raised by an assortment of donations. She said that her attitudes about climate change had developed over the last 10 years but her involvement with Greenpeace and other influences. She sited a pamphlet she remembered reading in 2001 titled ‘Millions at Risk’ that was one of her first awakenings about the nature of the likely consequences of climate change.
SS mentions Dr. James Hansen as another influence and an earlier publication ‘Climate Change and Trace Gases’ as impressing on the need for change.
She says she was part of a team that presented climate change issues to political party conferences, sometimes including the head of the Meteorological Office.
For her, there is little doubt that there is a link between different amounts of carbon in the atmosphere and the resultant climatic changes. Another work sited to illustrate these concerns: Mark Lynas - Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet.
Mr Rees asks her, what are climate changes causes?
The emitting of far to much CO2 by burning fossil fuels since the industrial revolution. Coal IS the biggest contributor to these changes and the most polluting. The resulting CO2 causes changes in the composition of the atmosphere. Interacting with the CO2, the suns rays then create a ‘greenhouse effect’ as more heat is absorbed.
SS goes on to explain the additional concern of ‘tipping points’. These are thresholds beyond which climate change spirals out of control. Instead of linear relationships, conditions change beyond predictions and control. Reductions in carbon emissions are thus required now. We could be within 10 years of tipping points being reached before irreversibility. Within the 8 years with Greenpeace as a climate campaign assistant, she has been a political advisor to politicians of all parties. Greenpeace however is non-political and supports no particular parties.
She goes onto to explain meeting with groups like the Environmental Audit Committee and party conferences. Mr Rees is showing that SS had engaged in the political process and not engaged in the ‘bit of the jolly’ the prosecution were trying to suggest. SS had previously met with environment ministers, Gordon Brown, the then Chancellor. Members of the European Parliament MEP’s in meetings about European Environmental Targets, and the attempts to influence politicians to engage in CO2 limiting processes. But as far as she could see, little change was affected. She now works as a forest campaigner dealing with issues of de-forestation.
Mr Rees asks what has that got to do with climate change? Forests by absorbing CO2 assist in keeping the balance. Forest burning contributes to CO2 emissions and a ‘domino effect’ is brought about. Trees store and absorb carbon, thus less trees = less CO2 absorbed. Half of all species in the world are to be found in the Amazon. Effects of climate changes would be unknown in the region.
SS says she is also aware of frightening projections in the reduced scale of the ice caps, perhaps in her lifetime. Again, there is a potential tipping point. The ice will thus reflect less heat. The resultant ‘darker oceans’ will absorb more heat, accelerating the process of further melting. The consequences are unknown, of the excessive heating of the oceans. The collective processes are leading to organisms ‘soaking up’ less carbon.
Climate change is leading to an increase in flooding worldwide. She has had some personal experience of this. The burning of coal and the resulting carbon emitted is causally linked to this increase in flooding. It is an alarming prospect and it is necessary to think about alternatives like, wind and solar power.
E-on are burning coal because it’s cheaper. When dealing with politicians she is very pessimistic about their political will to bring about the required changes. Going on to the Kyoto Treaty, the international agreement to limit greenhouse gases., she points out that it has not bought about the required restrictions. With limited ratifications, the USA had watered down meaningful requirements and politicians remained intransient. SS says this had made her very pessimistic about the ability of politicians to affect change. On to the Copenhagen Conference, there is still no optimism in setting target or agreements of the required changes that are needed.
The proposed Ratcliffe action occurred before Copenhagen but she was aware of limitations on the build up to the Conference. Of course the conference didn’t result in any agreement on targets. To this day, this remains the case. She says politics is clearly hopeless in bringing about changes and she remains pessimistic about bring about the required changes by political argument. Politicians are ‘carrying on’ without view to the consequences.
Thus, she takes direct action. She did so to save 150,000 tons in carbon, that Ratcliffe emits a week. Every ton counts towards effects and deaths. Thus stopping emission even for this short time, will saves lives, species, flooding, peoples’ livelihoods and property. Dealing with the proposed action, SS was part of the planning. Since Mid January 2009 to their arrest in April planning continued with the associated timeline. Later, she gives a briefing at the Iona School, in the lagal system and advice on arrest. This is based on the Climate Camp ‘bust card’ with advice to remain silent on questioning. The defendant followed this advice.
On the day, people were to split into groups, some would lock onto the coal conveyors, some to climb a chimney. Entrance was to be achieved by simply driving through the front gate, only minimal opposition was to be expected since this would have been on the Bank Holiday weekend.
The Black team were to head for the conveyor, press the emergency stop button and occupy that plant.
Green team would climb a chimney, SS said she was part of that team. The object was to prevent the re-starting of the station. She said her main object was to stop emissions but realised ther would be press interest and would make the most of it.
Orange group to occupy the gates.
Silver group to surround the chimney.
Gold group to go to the control room and to explain action to staff. With a view to advising on safety measures.
Mr Rees takes her back to the school and the police action. The police broke in casing the damage previously described to the school. Those present caused none of the resulting damage. Police would not let supporting groups back into the school to clean up after events. Preferring that the owners claimed on the insurance, adding to the costs of the operation of course.
Miss Felicity Gerry for the prosecution starts her cross examination. Confirming SS was involved in elements of the planning of the operations. Agreeing she was and confirming she was conspiring to close down the power station. She seeks to divide the defendants into ‘chiefs and indians’ but this wasn’t accepted.
Miss Geery went on to the ‘Ecological Show Stoppers’ Leaflet. This document was a complete sham. A cover to assemble the group. Just going to a workshop if challenged. Some people knew what they were going to without specifics, others were curious.
The prosecution tries to suggest no carbon would in fact be saved ! SS replies that if they had been successful a gas-fired station might have been stated instead with less CO2 resulting. The object was also to highlight the proposed construction of the Kingsnorth Station. But the reason for going to Ratcliffe was because it was owned by E-on and the second largest emitter of CO2 in the UK.
Miss Geery then goes on to highlight efforts that people made in hiding laptops, sim cards phones etc, and trying to flush materials down the toilet. Defendants did all this because they knew their action were unreasonable.. Legal briefings were necessary because they knew they were committing a crime. SS responds that there is a difference between trespassing as against the crimes against the lives and conditions of millions of people.
Attempts to say activists were on the fringes of society and actions can result in disengaging the public. By taking such direct action, there is a risk of loosing public support for an issue. She seeks to marginalise their efforts.
The prosecution returns to criticising the defences argument of an existing ‘democratic deficit’. Miss Geery suggest all are remiss in not taking every opportunity in engaging with the public in argument in a variety of groupings.
The prosecution then went on to suggest a bizarre list of ways that the activists could better have spent their time.
• Woman’s Institute
• Scout Groups
• Police Federation
• Trade Unions
• Conservative Party meetings
• Canvasing for politicians
• Bingo Halls
Establishing her own credentials Miss Geery does this by letting the jury know that she bought second hand clothes and had a compost toilet, before the judge told her that her personal life wasn’t relevant to the court case.
She cited Paul McCartney and Coldplay’s Chris Martin as examples of effective environmentalism, through their involvement with ‘Meat Free Mondays’. Instead of closing down power stations, she suggested that the defendants would be better off searching for celebrity endorsements for the likes of ‘Turn-off Tuesdays” or “Switch-Off Sundays.” Finally, she suggested that the money that was spent on the action would have been better off hiring Cheryl Cole to model second hand fashions!!!!!!!
SS does agree that people do need to take individual action in their own lives. But this is simply note enough, next to the size of the issues / probems.
For the defence, Mr Rees again get SS to reiterate the scale and magnitude of the required changes. That celebrity endorsement and action that people , just as individuals can make is not enough.
Witness SS stands down and court retires till after lunch.
IPCC Report: Millions At Risk Of Hunger And Water Stress In Asia Unless Global Greenhouse Emissions Cut
James Hansen - National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Mark Lynas - Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
From Cancún to Copenhagen: A year in climate change : As delegates from around the world descend on Cancún, Mexico, we reflect on 12 months of climate talks
In the afternoon, the defence calls Dr. James E. Hansen, Head of National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Goddard Institute. Mr Rees takes the jury through his large number of accolades and his experience since 1977. He advised the Climate Task Force during the Bush administration on the role of humans in accelerating climate changes.
He published work titled ‘Storm of my Grandchildren’, Mr Rees asks about the reference to grandchildren? It takes decades for full effects of any changes to take place. But it’s put to him you can’t predict the weather a week ahead in Nottingham, so how on earth can we predict these climate effects decades ahead.
There are trends. For the planet to be in equilibrium, energy radiating would be equal to the energy received. Human processes have been upsetting this balance. CO2, methane and other gases absorb infra-red. There is little effect on the radiation coming in but it does prevent heat leaving at the same rate, acting like a blanket around the earth. That all is getting warmer, there is no significant challenge to these concepts.
Additionally, there is an amplifying feedback. As the planet becomes warmer, the ice surface diminishes. Thus the larger area of ‘darker oceans’ heats up faster. A slow change but inexorable and would take millennium to return to an equilibrium. As oceans become warmer, it gives up CO2 to the atmosphere, another amplifying feedback.
Mr Rees asks how we know this process is anything to do with human interventions. It is now clear that human influences far exceed natural changes. 10,000 times faster than changes before the industrial revolution. Referring to changes since the last ice age, there will of course be natural changes, but humans are contributing to these cycles.
Asked what if nothing is done, what’s the impact? Dr Hansen says disintegration of the ice sheets, extermination of species and taking tens of thousands of years to regenerate. Thus, our grandchildren will inherit a more desolate planet than we have inhabited. We are approaching tipping points when these processes will become alarming. There is disagreement about the rates of change, but, large agreement about it consequences. Being shown many maps, graphs and charts, Dr Hansen interprets ranges of effects leading to ocean rising levels. In Europe, there are higher human populations living next to coasts because of historical maritime commerce. There are of course grave effects awaiting the millions of Bangladesh and numerous islands. The IPCC says that ‘business as usual’ will result in catastrophic rises in ocean levels within this century.
Mr Rees says we now come to ‘King Coal’ why is this fuel significant? Dr Hansen say that it’s because the stocks are so much larger than oil and gas reserves in the earth. Further all resources are finite, with the approach of ‘peak oil’, oil and gas will become more expensive as it becomes more problematic to extract dwindling reserves. Burning coal is the dirtiest of fuels and should be left in the ground. We simply must phase out coal burning for energy generation.
Why is urgent to take action now? It’s because it’s plain that we are approaching these tipping points, and we need to limit amounts of additional CO2 emissions or it wont be possible to avoid passing them. Thus causing distress to future generations. Resulting in imbalances in processes for a very long time. Current governmental target are meaningless without phasing out coal burning. ‘Business as Usual’, might lead to 5degC increase in this century and the planet wont look like it has for the last 10,000 years.
Dr Hansen says it is obvious that unless coal is not burnt, then governments are lying in what they say are their stated aims. I can see why young people are upset when faced with such deception. Referring to the fluctuations in climate described in the many graphs, charts and maps it is apparent humans are changing what is normal.
Miss Gerry cross-examines. Dr Hansen says he’s done his best to educate the public on shortcoming governments. They are mainly influenced in policy by fossil fuel industries. The public needs to be better informed to thus bring about political pressure. He appears pessimistic that governments are listening to peoples concerns.
If we shut all the power stations, and coal mines, what are the alternatives? At present, we don’t have an alternative. Simply improving energy efficiency is not enough. What can ordinary people do? Influence politicians. Burning materials slower wont do it. People see companies lobbying for ‘business as usual’ as having a disproportionate effect on policy. Deniers and contrarians are given equal weight, but they shouldn’t be since opinions are well out of proportions in numbers believing their is nothing to worry about.
He says the media is failing to give the public an explanation on these issues. Sometimes they are funded by corporations with their own agendas. The public cannot hold the politician to account if they are under informed.
Miss Gerry asks if we carry on, are we all going to die? Dr Hansen says yes, we are all going to die anyway. But during the lifetime of our children, there will be many changes to our planets distress.
Governments continue to ignore their responsibility to young people.
There was then a ripple of applause from the public and disapproving looks from court officials. You’re not supposed to do this in courts!
Dr. James E. Hansen : Storms of My Grandchildren:
The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. ISBN-13: 978-1608192007
Dr. James E. Hansen, Head of National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Goddard Institute http://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/jhansen.html
The case continues a bit more …….. etc
Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham. UK
Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]
"It is not enough to curse the darkness.
It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"