UK Newswire Archive
16-08-2011 17:43Sorry about the journalistic tone of the article but with minimal press coverage there is no reference point. This is the story of the siege of Normandie tower
16-08-2011 16:08In memory of Simon Levin (see http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/07/481974.html)
Liberty, formally known as the National Council for Civil Liberties, is the pressure group that works to promote human rights and civil liberties in the UK. Take a look at the recent postings to their website.
From August 9:
"Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected - people have been injured, property damaged and our communities ransacked.
In very testing circumstances, the response of both the police and Government has been measured and proportionate so far - we welcome this and hope it will continue.
It is clear that this completely destructive lawlessness has no rational connection with the shooting in Tottenham.
Nonetheless it is vital that the IPCC undertakes a speedy and thorough investigation into the death. This wanton violent disorder serves only to distract from that vital inquiry."
From August 12:
"Over the past few days, police chiefs have been robust in rejecting calls for military intervention, water cannon and plastic bullets - and have instead redeployed and inflated the number of officers on the street to good effect.
Tim Godwin, acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said that he would rather be the last man left in Scotland Yard, with all his management team out on the streets, than call for the army. Sir Hugh Orde, head of ACPO, dismissed the use of both water cannon and baton rounds as inappropriate for the current circumstances and flatly stated that ‘to suggest human rights get in the way of effective policing is simply wrong'."
16-08-2011 10:55The Land is Ours & Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) in association with Reclaim the Fields organised a land occupation in St Werburghs, Bristol, on Sunday 7th August.
The Land is Ours & Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) in association with Reclaim the Fields organised a land occupation in St Werburghs, Bristol, on Sunday 7th August. Workshops were held on topics such as the effects of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the squash campaign against the governments's proposed changes to squatting laws in the UK.The full article includes a detailed report and photos of the convergence and occupation.
The Reclaim the Fields South-West Gathering was held on the weekend of the 6th -7th August in Bristol, venue: The Factory, 2-8 Cave Street, St Pauls, Bristol.
The Land is Ours & Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) in association with Reclaim the Fields organised a land occupation in St Werburghs, Bristol, on Sunday 7th August. Read the report below as to what happened (this was the 2nd day of Reclaim the Fields SW Gathering which this event merged with). [Photos at end of report].
On Sunday 7th August, TLIO, Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) and Reclaim the Fields occupied a piece of land in St Werburghs, just North of inner-city Bristol, called “Narroways Hill” - well-known to Bristolians and known locally simply as “The Hill”. Narroways Hill is a little grassy & wooded ridge dissected by railway lines and is an area of outstanding natural beauty (non-officially designated), located via a public footpath at the end of Mina Road. A former railway embankment, this area of green space lined and interspersed with small woods and flanked by a steep railway embankment on one side was purchased by Bristol City Council in the late 1990s. It became a Millennium Green in the year 2000, with a 999 year lease to keep it free and open to the local people and allow wildlife to thrive. Since 2000, it has been owned by the Narroways Millennium Green Trust, who manage it as a nature reserve.
We got onto the site later than planned at 1.30pm for this 1-day land occupation, an event we arranged for the purpose of providing a space for workshops and discussion, plus outdoors activity such as plant id to take advantage of being in an area of great environmental value. TLIO, Bham and Reclaim the Fields sought to tread lightly on the ground there; our intention was not to use groundsheets, and to confine our occupation to one section of the flat ground area of chalk grassland below the steep railway embankment so as not to disturb such rare grassland species such as Field Scabious, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Greater Knapweed and Sainfoin present in the chalk grassland (the grassland is apparantly also home to butterfly such as Marbled White, Common Blue and Small Copper).* As soon as we got onto the site, we got on with the business of erecting the yurt (now owned by BHAM) and later on a 20 x 20 marquee. A fire was lit on an existing fire-pit using wood we took onto the site, for the purpose of cooking food. [*we were only made aware of the environmental sensitivity of some of these rare species upon arriving on the site by a member of the trust; however, we continued in the full-knowledge that our occupation would have a low-impact as was our intention since we expected no more than 30-40 in attendance, which proved to be the case at any one time].
Reclaim the Fields had been already hosting their South-West Gathering the day before on the 6th August (which they were having over the whole weekend - details below) at The Factory social centre in St Pauls, with various workshops and activities. This land occupation provided a space for them to decamp to in the open air, as pre-arranged, and so the first few hours of this gathering was taken up by Reclaim the Fields concluding various talks and practical workshops such as producing seed bombs, most of which took place in the yurt during intermittant afternoon rain, which delayed us putting up the marquee. The raising of the marquee was completed assiduously and was another practical workshop for all involved like the yurt, after which we converged and gave time for people to announce which workshops/talks they would like to do/hear next. A few were identified, which were pre-advertised. One person announced they would do a foraging/plant id walk in half-an hour, and then asked “..and if anyone knows anything about foraging, that would be great!”
First workshop was from a guy from the Squash Campaign (http://www.squashcampaign.org/) – a new campaign which set up several months ago to coordinate a campaign against the government’s proposals to ‘criminalise squatting’. The Government announced in June that it intends to bring in legislation at the start of 2012 (to be in force ahead of the Olympics perhaps?) to make occupying a private property illegally a criminal offence, launching a consultation on the proposals at the time. He gave a detailed talk about the government proposals, the government consultation and the incidence of concerted biased media reporting against squatting in the lead up to the government announcement of their proposals and Squash’s detailed multi-pronged response – for instance, Squash’s attempts so far to counteract the negative media against squatting through press releases, press briefing papers, the online campaign and zines. The speaker also mentioned what is possibly the most significant project Squash may be doing at present, which is to conduct a research study into the extent and breadth of squatting across the UK, which will be peer-reviewed and completed ahead of the appearance of any potential government legislation should it arise.
The government's proposals will not include previously announced plans to make any unauthorised access to land a criminal offence, such as camping on private land, under a mooted new law of 'Intentional Trespass' which seems to now have been abandoned.
After that, whilst most people went off to explore the site doing a foraging/plant id trail, some people continuing making seeds bombs and a few others went about starting to prepare hot food, daal and chapattis, which was richly enjoyed by all later on.
After most people had reconverged after food, James Armstrong from TLIO then gave a workshop on the subject of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - as a protection-racket for large landowners and corporations. James first began by quoting examples of CAP recipients and the amount of money they have received, such as the Queen who got £1,183,508 over 2 years just for privately-owning Sandringham (20,000 acres, £81 million to British Sugar in 2009 for building a biofuel plant, and £19 million per annum to sugar/biofuel broker Czarnikow (E129 million across Europe). Tate & Lyle across Europe get E828 million. The figures for the UK-only were retrieved from the DEFRA website, but are now no longer available following an annoucement by the government that it would not be in the public interest to reveal these figures belonging to the Royal Family! (read here). James revealed how even getting an official figure of the UK's contribution to the EU proved exacting, after no reply from the Office of National Statistics (it was finally revealed by the Treasury in a written correspondence; puzzling however how the figure quoted of £10.3 billion was ommitted from the Annual Abstract of Statistics by the ONS). After explaining the origins of CAP and how the new system of Single-Farm Payments (reformed from the previous system of production-subsidies) still rewards the largest landowners, this time quite unashamedly in accordance of land-area, he went onto a discussion around the subject of comparing this situation with the original objective of what CAP actually stands for – which was to “reward agricultural-workers” (Treaty of Rome). In a situation of widespread closures of small farms, the merits of this were discussed. James identified that in order to maintain a fig-leaf of public accountability, the EU issued a questionnaire on the CAP as part of a consultation over it’s ongoing reform. However, the EU managed to get just 196 respondents to the questionnaire in the entire UK!!! James also identified how this questionnaire was filled up with loaded questions, such as “do you believe agriculture is important in the EU?”, suggesting the existing framework should continue which a positive response from a respondent would consent to. James then briefly introduced his own questionnaire, which he had been doing all afternoon to people individually. In it are questions about the reality of the CAP, (ie; who it benefits, amount of money for whom, asking people’s opinions on whether these aspects are a good or bad thing). We also touched on the subject of supermarket power and further trends in agricultural intensification with megafarms and related animal welfare issues.
By the end of this workshop, we decided it was time to pack up, which we did in no time at-all. Then, as we proceeded to leave the site, 4 members of the Narroways Millennium Green Trust caught up with us, to complain about our occupation on the land, claiming we were disturbing an important area of wildlife and rare flora. After some discussion, we were able to appreciate eachother’s concerns, with our reassurance of our “tread lightly” intentions taken on board, including the fact that we did not start a new fire pit, instead using an existing one (one of a few there). It was acknowledged by the trust members that over this summer and previous ones, there has been a frequent incidence of Saturday night parties on the top of the embankment, and so, the area is flooded with people on a regular basis, which they suggested is a main reason why species count of the rare chalk grassland plants on the site have reduced over the course of time the trust has been managing the land!
This situation brought to attention the conflict between land access and conservation protection. The 4 trust members accepted our view that access cannot be denied – access which gypsy travellers for instance have long enjoyed. Meanwhile, we accepted that access is best regulated on a site with sensitive environmental value. We suggested that an area should be earmarked to be not trampled on, save from fencing it off. There was some discussion about whether providing a designated fire-pit alongside clear signage prohibiting open fires on the grassland would be a good idea. The merits of this included discussion on sourcing the wood, as depletion of wood, twigs etc from the area denies local invertebrate life, which in turn has a negative effect up the food chain. Providing a wood pile and having a regular community fire each Saturday night in the Spring and summer were suggested as options for the trust to consider so as to provide a presence in the area so that if open-air raves came onto the site, it might afford protection to the area of chalk grassland as revellers might stay clear of walking down the embankment to a known presence below (or starting up fires). This suggestion was not made to encourage liason with noise abatement regulation from the council, but which would be the local community's prerogative. Again, it raises the interesting issue of how far access should be extended when environmental considerations are important. It raises the question of to what extent regulated access means access is determined on conditions laid down by the local community. This is an important issue.
An additional point, to make, however, as identified in our workshop on the CAP, is that with the nature of wildlife desertification across vast fields of industrial monoculture farming in Britain (vast acres of which as far as the eye can see we are not allowed to walk over), it is for this reason why a site of rare chalk grassland such as this is afforded such rare status as a direct result of the fact that it is rendered an island of rare biodiversity in a sea of sterile biodiversity. Reform of CAP steered back in the direction of small farmers and smallholders would single handedly improve this situation.
The Reclaim the Fields South-West Gathering was held on the weekend of the 6th -7th August in Bristol, venue: The Factory, 2-8 Cave Street, St Pauls, Bristol.
15-08-2011 18:49Nick Clegg ARSONIST - make this go viral ASAP
15-08-2011 18:28The guy behind the #riotcleanup stuff in London is saying that it was "anarchy" in action.
15-08-2011 18:03Sparkasse Bank smashed in Berlin.
15-08-2011 13:25Understanding The Riots – Where Next?
On Sunday 14th August, Nottingham held its annual Caribbean Carnival. Attracting thousands of revellers and spectators.
This year's carnival seems to have had a difficult genesis. Like so many other events it has been hit by the economic crisis and the cuts and takes place on only one day, as opposed to the two of recent years. The disturbances which reached the city the previous week caused many to wonder if the event would go ahead. Fortunately, sense won out over paranoia.
As in previous years, the highlight of the event was a parade from the city centre to the Forest Rec. This year, this took a different route to previous years. Forming up on Castle Gate revellers made their way onto Albert Street, up Wheeler Gate to the Market Square, around the "Nottingham Riviera" up past Speaker's Corner to Parliament Street. From here it turned onto Milton Street, then onto Shakespeare Street and then left onto Dryden Street. From here, like Pride a few weeks back it made its way through various backstreets, before emerging from Addison Street onto Forest Road and then entering the Forest Rec from one of the gates along the top.
The parade included various dancers, some of them in incredible costumes. There were also borrowed council vans (usually used for collecting rubbish) with huge soundystems mounted on them cranking out tunes. This year, the parade included contingents from the Derby and Leicester carnivals which I don't recall from previous years. The march was also graced with the presence of the Lord Mayor and his lady.
Once they reached the rec, the various participating groups queued to perform on the main stage. Those at the back must have waited for well over an hour, bear in mind that this is on top of the time they have spent walking the route. All in all, an impressive feat of stamina.
Despite the events of the previous week, the policing of the event was relatively low key, particularly on the parade. There were quite a few police and PCSOs at the Forest Rec, but probably not anymore than in previous years. As before there were also body scanners and bag checks on people entering the site itself, which caused considerable queues, although people seemed fairly patient. The event was also overseen by both of the council's CCTV vans (at £130,000 a piece it's surprising you don't see both of them more often as a justification for the expense). Whether because or despite of all this, there doesn't appear to have been any trouble (although Notts Police report two arrests for "minor offences").
15-08-2011 11:18OPPORTUNITY MISSED - Pentagon Documents reveal U.S. military were willing to abandon Ireland as a Pitstop in the wake of Ploughshares '03 action at Shannon Airport!
RTE TV News August 12th. 2011 (1 min 52 secs)
In the aftermath of the riots in Nottingham, Council Leader Jon Collins has sought to win some cheap political brownie points with reactionaries by seeking to evict the families of any rioters in council houses. This follows the first riot-related eviction notice given by Wandsworth Council in London on Friday. This double punishment for rioters as well as the collective punishment meted out to their families is not only wrong in itself but will create more of the resentment and social problems that sparked the riots in the first place. It is also extremely hypocritical for Jon Collins to call for the evictions of small-time looters whilst his Council has refused to investigate the misallocation of social housing to employees, relatives and friends of NCH employees in which a number of council members are implicated.
Jon Collins has said that the Council will seek to evict anyone directly involved, or whose children were involved in the disturbances. This is in addition to his call for 'the toughest possible sentences' to be handed out to perpetrators of disorder. So not only does he want rioters to be punished severely by the courts but he then wants to punish them again by making them homeless. It would also be a form of collective punishment, evicting families for the actions of their sons and daughters. This may well win him a few tough guy points amongst hanging-and-flogging voters but it demonstrates that he has a dangerous propensity to take justice into his own hands and punish vulnerable people i.e. people who are eligible for council housing.
It is also extremely short-sighted. The riots were sparked by the Tottenham community's feelings of being victimised, ignored and neglected by the state. Attacks on shops and looting were fuelled by resentment and the action of have-nots to take back what they felt was owed to them. By giving the people who rioted more legitimate reasons to hate the authorities these unjust punishments are making it more likely that disturbances will break out in Nottingham again.
Jon Collins must also think people have short memories. It's not too long ago that his Council's misallocation of social housing was making headlines and he has been implicated in some of these decisions himself. An internal investigation by the Council's Audit Commission investigation into the scandal found over 3,000 instances where council housing was allocated outside of the standard procedures but no houses have been repossessed and no staff have lost their jobs. Indeed the Council refused to call for an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into the police's decision not to investigate the scandal.
Isn't it rank hypocrisy for Jon Collins to be turfing out tennants for completely unrelated crimes whilst there are friends and family members of councillors living in NCH property that may have been misallocated? Wouldn't it have been better for him to get his own house in order and get rid of the housing criminals in his own circle of friends before claiming that others are unfit to live in council housing?
The moves by the City Council to evict rioters and their families need to be strongly resisted. It is an unjust and counter-productive move that is the result of some ill-considered populism and authoritarianism. It will cause long-term resentment and more problems. The real housing scandal should be investigated. No one should be made homeless.
If you think you might be affected by the evictions, NCCLOLs has the lowdown on the Tenancy Agreement, but I'm afraid it doesn't look good. Consider getting some legal advice soon.
Wednesday 7th September
Early morning action around 8.00 am
There will also be a follow up action in the evening around 4.45 to 7.00 pm
We are compiling a list of the anarchist viewpoints on the riots, as well as informed opinion from the radical community, and useful eyewitness accounts. This is intended in some way to counterbalance the mainstream media’s propaganda machine which is following a very State-led narrative designed to reinforce the legitimacy of the social infrastructure which was ruptured, briefly, by the countrywide riots and social unrest of the past few days.
(if you have any links we should include send em in)
» North London Solfed’s statement about the riots
» Fucking Hell! Veteran anarchist Ian Bone gives his view of the riots
» ALARM statement – Understanding the riots- where next?
» Tower Hamlets ALARM – The story so far, in summary
» Haringey Solidarity Group – Some Thoughts About the Tottenham Riots
» Occupied London (Greek anarchists in London) – Eyes wide open in London
» Fitwatch – Fitwatcher’s view of the riots
» Criminality and rewards by an anarchist in Brixton
» Statement on riots by The Porkbolter, long-standing anarchist newsletter in Worthing, Sussex
Other political viewpoints
» North London Unity Demonstration statement
» Free Association – AA+ for the rioters?
» Commune (free communist) paper – nothing to lose nothing to win
» RMT Stratford no.1 branch resolution – The riots
» Red Pepper – riots a grim mirror image of neoliberal britain
» Anti-Cuts Space (London) – A message to a country on fire
» When is a “riot” a revolt? A view of the riots from the US
» Nothing ‘mindless’ about rioters by Dan Hind
» North London – Tottenham Tottenham burning
» North London – Edmonton
» North London – Enfield Police monitor beaten in back of police van
» East London – Hackney (1) it’s all about class
» East London – Hackney (2) report from the Commune paper
» East London – Hackney (3)
» South London – Walworth
» South London – Catford rioting for fun and profit
» Salford and Manchester
Informed mainstream reporting
» London rioters resent media image of hooded teen thug (Reuters)
» Chumbawamba’s Boff Whalley ‘In defence of anarchy’ (Independent)
14-08-2011 20:34An empty industrial workshop in East Oxford has been squatted by a group planning to use it for community and social events, an organising base for local radicals and living space too.