We are Rave Aid Crew. Covid-19 has caused all of our venues and nightclubs to close. As a result, there has been resurgence in illegal events, free parties and raves across the UK.
We do not condone or condemn illegal events or drug use. However, we are realistic: both these things will inevitably happen, and it is important that there is a harm reduction response when they do. There is a large team of experienced welfare volunteers ready to dedicate their time and energy to keeping ravers safe.
Currently, there is no harm reduction response to illegal raves in the UK. The level of drug use is typically above and beyond what you would find at a mainstream festival, and our response must be tailored with this in mind. Partnering with Chill-Villainz, a new grassroots free party-focussed welfare service, we aim to change this.’
Some of our messaging is quite different than what other harm reduction organisations normally say. This is on purpose: messaging suitable for someone who is taking their first pill at a festival has to be very different to messaging suitable for people who typically take 4+ different drugs over the course of a 48-hour bender. In order to keep people engaged our advice must be realistic to their patterns of drug use, and not appear condescending.’
Whilst everyone is getting giddy about the pubs reopening and black friday bullshit, the Tories are scheming some alarming new legislation prohibiting the right to protest. The new ‘Protection of the Police and Public Bill’ is planned for 2021.
Down the long trail of Cox’s walk that traces the outer edge of Sydenham Hill Wood in South East London, lie two much contested oak trees. Both 100 years old, they are still considered young in the huge potential life span of an ancient oak. Each tree holds a magnitude of life, an entire ecosystem in itself. Insects, fungi, birds, all manner of creatures and plants all interact symbiotically with these mature trees. The intricate system of nature hosted by a tree of such an age is irreplacable.
However, the future of this mighty pair of oaks is under grave threat. Southwark Council has plans to fell both trees in order make way for the repairs to a footbridge that falls between them. The community group has demonstrated how felling of the trees can be averted in alternative plans to repair the footbridge. Insisting that infact the destruction of the trees will increase the the instability of the land around the bridge further undermining safe passage. The council have responded to the group saying the doomed future of the trees is unavoidable and pushed the development plans through.
On Monday morning of the 16thNovember, the fellers were turned away by one brave lady refusing to move from infront of the trees. Since, there has been no further attempts to continue the planned works and committed members from the community group have maintained a 24/7 presence on site. Despite growing petition numbers, media attention and pleas to the council, the ultimate barrier to these works will be this direct protection from those who are willing to take the matter in to their own hands.
The latest move from Southwark to evict the community group is the application for a court injunction which will make physical presence on site an offence. The coming days will decide the dicey future of these trees but physical presence on site, injuction or not, will no doubt be crucial. There is only a week left until the planning application goes through manditory reconsideration so this final push to keep guard of the oaks must hold fast. Get down there to support if you can.
Since the previous post, there have been some very positive developments regarding the oak trees in Sydenham woods. Firstly, the high court judge REJECTED the application for an injunction! After this, the occupiers held fast for further week until Southwark Council’s planning permission lapsed on the 3rd of December. This means the application must be reapplied for before the trees can be lawfully felled. Victory!!!
Over the weekend around Nantes, the free party community held a series of festivities in reaction to the violent state repression of the scene. Friday commenced with a solidarity demo outside the central courthouse in Nantes. The demo was held in solidarity with a truck driver from a previous street party in memory of Steve, (a raver murdered by cops in Nantes). With symbolic lunacy, the court was accusing the driver of using a soundsystem as a weapon. The case made evident how much of a threat soundsystem culture is to state control. The driver was later found not guilty.
All through Friday, news was trickling through that emergency legal restrictions were being put in place all through the region exclusively for this weekend to put a stop to any kind of musical gathering. Groups of more than 6 people were made illegal, vehicles over 3 ½ tonnes carrying sound equipment banned and the sale of any off licence alcohol prohibited. As we entered the city we experienced this kind of hostile environment through heavy police presence. There were patrols searching and questioning any suspect vehicles.
The demo was followed by a moving street party in the evening accompanied by a portable sound system, instruments and an enthused crowd. The moving mass swept through the busy touristic area and attracted more to the procession. The central point held a sustained crowd, which was dispersed a few hours in, riot cops throwing tear gas and seizure of the trailer soundsystem. The riot cops continued to charge and fling tear gas grenades. In an area full of bars and restaurants, people unassocaited with the demo also had to flee for safety. People slowly disappated as the night went on, but the day’s events were not yet over as many headed straight to the party scheduled for the evening.
The conovy, hundreds long, left around half midnight with next to no police presence at the meeting point. After driving round multiple entry points, vehicles were efficiently escorted in to various parking fields. The gendarmerie were actually forced to help escort party goers on to the site due to the sheer numbers of vehicles so close to busy highways. The location was ideal, being so close to Nantes many people were cycling and taking public transport.
The party went strong over the weekend, with multiple crews coming together to build a heavy wall of sound. Despite the minimal police presence onsite, there was an attempted seizure. However, people power averted this as crowds managed to escort the police out. Around 2000 people attended and many remained on site in to Monday. The weekend sent out a clear message, our sound is stronger than their repression. There were frequent drones and low flying helicopters roaring over head but all drowned out by the thumping heart of the party. By Sunday, the police had gained controlled of the exits, searching some vehicles, testing drivers and asking for papers. On the whole though, it was fairly relaxed for party goers to vacate the area.
Despite state measures to prevent the weekend’s events, all were carried out confidently with mass attendence. Every act of defiance creates deeper cracks in their control. Free party for free people.
Hope everyone is as happy and healthy as they can be in these turbulent times. We are sad to have not made it out this summer to our usual run of festivals and events. Instead, we have taken this time to reflect and grow, working on plans for next season and hoping to have more of a presence in the upcoming months. Watch this space for updates! Look out for one another. With love, screwthis xxxx
After creating a symbolic platform through squatting Paddington Green Police Station (evicted today) the people of the Green AntiCapitalist Front are holding a week of action. Get involved this week with workshops, talks, film screenings, actions and join the rally on Friday!