SchNEWS calls it a day after 20 years on the frontline

One of the leading voices of grassroots activism, SchNEWS, is calling it a day. As the farewell message on its website says: “The SchNEWS back catalogue is a history of two decades worth of party and protest, from Reclaim the Streets to Reclaim the Power, from anti-globalisation to anti-fracking, from Bogota to Balcombe (via Newbury).”

The main reason for saying goodbye seems to be burnout: “a lack of the people and interest required to keep going”. When the publication began 20 years ago when the world was a very different place and alternative media was still dominated by print copy. Originally a weekly double sided A4 newssheet, it “now looks like something Gerard Winstanley might have knocked out”, according to the SchNEWS crew.

The newssheet was dropped some time ago in favour of an online-only presence but the crew say that it is increasingly hard for activists to keep up with the 24 hour rolling news of today and social media such as Facebook which “demands a huge amount of energy, and the corporate monster is not a level playing field.”

So it’s a sad farewell but one tinged with glorious memories and by way of a thank you I’d like to mention the unstinting support given to the animal rights movement as it’s fought state repression over the last decade.

The SchNews collective say they will be “launching back into the radical media world” after taking a break so good luck to them in their new venture whenever it happens.

“And always remember “If you’re not pissed off – you’re not paying attention”

http://www.schnews.org.uk/stories/AND-FINALLY/

 

 

 

Comment: Scottish independence referendum

Now that the dust has settled, after all that we have gone through, what are we left with? Did we get any closer to getting what we want? To knowing what we want?

freescotlandThe referendum brought some truths about Scottish people to the fore. The spectrum of grass-roots organising showed how diverse we are across the country. People rallied from all avenues to shout their support for autonomy; it was a triumph against the homogeny prescribed by the British state. It was hugely inspiring to read online the broad spectrum of places people came from to reach their decision. Their journeys were unique, defined by roots, geographic locality and personal experiences. Scotland is after all a synthetic construct in the same way that the UK is, forged by power and greed in times of yore. The needs of the counties and urban centres and rural communities and in-betweens are starkly different – and so they should be. Diversity is a positive thing for our culture, economy and ideologies.

So it is a wonder that so much diversity came together in one vision. A mish-mash of hopes and dreams focussed on the same tangible thing. At the core of it we were all set out to tackle the same deep-seeded issues: the abject poverty, extreme inequality, dispossession and disempowerment are plain to see. So if the referendum has shown us that we are all different then it also has shown us that in some ways at least we are all the same. The Yes campaign was defined by unlikely comrades and surprising unity. The grass-roots voices of the independence charge prove that there is much common ground amongst diverse voices. Even across the ideological yes/no line many people voted with hopes of more power to the people of Scotland, for increasing self-determination via a ‘devo-max’ but concerned about going the whole hog. There was even some shared ideology amongst the entire electorate; despite the split result more than 80% of people in Scotland who could vote voted because they felt that their opinion mattered. We agreed that we should all have a say.

This all reveals that we need to search for ideals that are universal across the political and social spectrum in order to create a common good. We need answers that run deep within human nature to resolve our shared issues and provide self-determination. For hundreds of years people have hoped that independence for Scotland will bring us control over our own lives and that would make our lives better. Is this where we can find the root to our common quest? Burns asked “where is thy soul of freedom…?”

Birth-right in land

People have been asking the same questions we asked during the run-up to the referendum for some time. In 1689 John Locke wrote an anonymous letter entitled Two Treatises of Government which was to become outlawed and associated with the American and French revolution. In it he stated that “men [and women], having been once born have a right to their preservation, and consequently to… things as Nature affords for their subsistence.”

Locke clearly felt that people deserve and have a right to a fair use of the earth, and that this is necessary for self-determination. He was not the first or the last to utter such sentiments. In 1775, in a speech which had him expelled from the Newcastle philosophers, Thomas Spence said that “[all people should] have as equal and just a property in land as they have in liberty, air of the light and heat of the sun.” This was Spence’s ticket to universal freedom, a natural right like others we take for granted.

So just as the question is centuries old, the answer has been uttered down the ages. True self-determination requires a fair right to the things of life; a birthright in land. That “every man [or woman] has a right to an equal share of the soil, in its original state” proclaimed Scotland’s William Ogilvie in 1782 in his Essay on the Right of Property in Land. “The earth having been given to mankind in common occupancy, each individual seems to have by nature a right to possess and cultivate an equal share.”

So in organising, debating with friends, discussing on facebook and shouting at politicians what are we working towards with attempting to gain self-determination? Where are we going with a call for independence and the fall-out of a ‘no’ vote? “It is not enough that men [or women] should vote” stated Henry George in his 1879 socio-economic epic Progress and Poverty. “It is not enough that they should be theoretically equal before the law. They must have liberty to avail themselves of the opportunities and means of life; they must stand on equal terms with reference to the bounty of nature…. This is the universal law. This is the lesson of the centuries.”

If we all truly desire equality and liberty – a meaningful self-determination – then we must recognise a birthright in land as essential to this task. Recognise that everyone on this piece of rock, whether you consider that Scotland or something else, deserves the “right to their preservation”. That we have all found ourselves, through the immense improbability of creation, on this earth and for that simple fact we all deserve fair use of what can be produced from the soil. We need to bring a birthright in land to the debate. The earth beneath our feet is the most basic of all requirements, the most vital for all our needs, but so unjustly divided up and so bizarrely accepted by society. This is the ancient elephant in the room.

So as Henry George insists, to achieve self-determination we don’t just need a vote for an independent Scotland, we need to express a natural right to land. This doesn’t mean the same use of land; it doesn’t mean everybody growing vegetables; it doesn’t mean partitioning into equal chunks. It means that many more people should have access to land; that access to land would encourage creativity and ingenuity; that the acute concentration of land ownership drives extreme inequality. Give people access to that which is held unfairly by so few and see what they can do for themselves. That is what will reduce inequality and empower people and that is what we want.

Whether you voted yes or no you did so to express a basic right, one on a list of undeniable rights. Add a birthright in land to that list. It may well be the answer to our questions.

Johnny Marten

Talk at London Anarchist Bookfair

I increasingly feel ill at ease in London, to be honest, but the one thing that keeps pulling me back there is the superb annual Anarchist Bookfair. I will be doing a talk – with discussion – at the event on Saturday October 18, from 5pm to 6pm in Room 321.

It’s going under the title “Born Free!” and will be based around my latest book. The Stifled Soul of Humankind. I will explore the deep need for freedom that lies at the heart of human nature, discussing its metaphysical significance and the way that it resurfaces throughout history, in forms appropriate to that particular time – for instance in the the Brethren of the Free Spirit, Anabaptists, Ranters, Romantic Revolutionaries and, of course, in anarchists…

Having just about managed to give a brief account of my ideas in French, at a meeting last weekend, it will be a relief to be able to let rip in my native language.

Entry to the bookfair is completely free (though you can make a donation to help cover costs) and it is always worth attending. It is at Queen Mary University of London in Mile End Road (Mile End tube) from 10am to 7pm on Saturday October 18 2014. See you there!

Talking Sh*te

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A year after the Unite union “raised with management” the issue of having just 8 toilets for 650 workers; and with no sign of the company, Hitachi Zosen Inova, taking any notice (quelle suprise?), the workers decided to take some action and walkout on a wildcat.

Shock horror, just hours later Hitachi Zosen Inova were sending emissaries to the picket line with offers of more facilities and full time cleaning staff.

Well done to the workers for taking action.

Direct action gets results – TUC talking gets shite all.

 

 

“There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class – the rich class – that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Those words were uttered in a rare moment of candour – or should that be arrogance – by US billionaire Warren Buffet. He was telling the truth. The term “class war” is usually attributed to someone on the left stoking up flames of resentment but it is really being waged all the time by the rich and powerful against the poor, downtrodden, weak and helpless

Take today as an example. Those multi-millionaire Tory ministers, George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith, heaped scorn and misery on working class people with announcements that include benefit cuts, permanent workfare, food stamp style smart cards and, unbelievably, harassment for children from jobcentre staff going into schools!

This is the Tory vision for Britain – permanent class war. What can we do about it? Well we know from experience that we can’t trust Labour. Parties of the left always promise better but end up doing no more than sugar coating the poison they administer to us.

The only way we can challenge the system – capitalism, the state, the ruling class – is by organising ourselves in our communities and fighting back. And on that note another thing happened today: the latest mailout from Haringey Solidarity Group fell through my letterbox. HSG is a refreshingly old skool anarcho/anti-capitalist group that has monthly meetings, organises demos and produces a regular newsletter, Totally Independent.

The headline in the latest edition which arrived today is “WHY WE HATE CAPITALISM” (all upper case) and I thought it was worth sharing that article with you because it encapsulates very well what we face and what needs to be done.

“Decades from now, history books will record these years of capitalism as the dumbest period in human history. They will tell of a system that created vast wealth for a handful of people while millions struggled to survive. A system that transferred wealth from the poor to the rich. A system that promoted hatred of the poor while worshipping the vile qualities of greed and ignorance.

In 2004 the richest 1000 people owned £200 billion worth of assets, today the own £519 billion. The five richest families own more than the bottom 20% of the population. Last year alone bosses of top companies got an average pay rise of 32%.

Meanwhile 20% of the population, 13 million people, are living in poverty. Eight million of these are members of families IN WORK. The cost of living has risen by 34% since 2004, meaning households with average incomes are now worse off by almost £1,200 a year.

Almost a million people now use food banks. Malnutrition-related hospital admissions have risen by 74% since 2009. Rickets have risen by 25% in just four years. Public health experts warn that the rise of UK malnutrition “has all the signs of a public health emergency.”

This is happening now, in one of the richest countries on earth.

The ruling elite own most of our land, gas, electricity, railways, water and media. Now they want our pensions, NHS, roads, schools and green spaces. They have destroyed the unions, created mass unemployment and are dismembering the welfare state. They make it easier to sack us, make us work longer hours for less pay, force our kids to work for nothing, and raise the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weakening our health and safety laws.

We are being shafted.

So it’s time to get angry, and we need someone to express that anger, as our politicians won’t do it. Someone to fight for the millions of working people who want a decent life for themselves and their kids. Someone who knows that compassion and solidarity are not bullshit. Someone passionate that ordinary people deserve a decent job, home and healthcare. Someone who supports our elderly so they can live out their final years in comfort. Someone who makes sure our sick and disabled can live with dignity. Someone who tells us that the disadvantaged will not be looked down on as scum.

Well, that “someone” is us – all of us. It’s time we stood together and said, enough is enough!”

A very good summary of what’s wrong but it should be added – especially as this blog is Red Black and Green – that capitalism is also responsible for the exploitation of animals and the destruction of the earth itself. A ruling class that doesn’t care about the misery it causes to its own species is hardly likely to care about the suffering of other species or the environment.

The fightback will be not only by and for the working class but also for all the animals tortured and murdered for gain, and the whole biosphere upon which they and us depend for survival. To the bosses and politicians we are all of us just cogs in their profit-driven machine, but if we can organise and resist their insane system and build a new world for human and non-human animals alike, then we can live free, unfettered lives.

http://www.haringey.org.uk/content/home

The latest Totally Independent  http://www.haringey.org.uk/content/images/hsg/newsletters/newsletter-2014-03.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

Crying Wolves – Reading 3 Wanderers 3

Well I saved myself by not bothering with that stupid Derby game so I could give my full attention to what the bleedn’ ‘ell was going on against Wolves.

As I’ve always said Gordon Obita is completely useless. Player of the Year? Idiot of the Week more like.

And Guthrie, plodding great fat northern pillock, just wanted to get himself sent off so he could go back to his retirement.

Anyway nice to watch them flabby Midlands weirdos spitting blood when Glynn Murray stuffed them at the end.

Charlie got told to shut up twice. I shut him up, then one of our mob told him to shut his face too. Best moment of the afternoon. Wolves third goal was never a goal, he said. Dipstick. Even I could see that one.

Anyway Atkins if you still had Alfie Le Fondre he’d have been your man to win it at the end.

Well that’s my expert view. Much better than anyone else’s including all you idiots who don’t know anything about football.

And that includes whoever does the club website. Even dimwit Charlie got the score right.

http://www.player.readingfc.co.uk/latest-news/article/2282550

3-4

 

 

AVONMOUTH COMPOSTING FACILTY

Another Evading Agency masterstroke of planning. Put thousands of tonnes of SHITE in the open air and mince it up ruining the amenity of thousands of homes and businesses.

When are the EA going to admit they are nothing but a QUANGO and have no experience in managing anything? How many more people’s lives must be RUINED before we collectively get rid of these parasites who do nothing but ponce about painting yellow fishes on drain covers while the country gets flooded with water and waste?

ASU gets called out for redacting “embarrassing” information from its FOIA requests

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Yet another publicized misstep for Arizona State University’s administrators! This article is in direct response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by The Arizona Republic which pertain to the low staffing numbers at ASUPD.

From azcentral.com:

When I was a kid back in a more innocent time, the pre-Beatles 1960s, my friends and I occasionally hung out in the magazine section of the local drugstore and flipped through publications that our parents didn’t want us to see.

But it seemed that every time we got to the good stuff, a black bar blocked our view of an offending part. Magazines are less discreet these days, but those black bars still get plenty of use by your government officials. The federal Freedom of Information Act and the Arizona Public Records Law are among statutes that require governments to make their documents available to the people who pay for their bills.

That doesn’t mean they must let you read everything. In certain situations, they are allowed, and sometimes required by law, to redact information in those documents.

That’s when the little black bars get a workout. There are even computer programs like Adobe Acrobat Professional that make it easy to cover up the sensitive parts with solid inkjet lines. But sometimes we in the media believe the government goes too far in obstructing our view of information that is rightfully yours.

On June 2, we requested a copy of any and all minutes of recent meetings of the advisory board to the chief of the campus police at Arizona State University, citing the Arizona Public Records Law.

Reporters Anne Ryman and Rob O’Dell were working on a story, published last Sunday, about the staffing shortages at the university’s Police Department, which was a topic taken up by the advisory board.

The university complied, but with six pages missing from the minutes of the Oct. 17, 2013, meeting. Ryman, as is her right, appealed and asked for the full document. This time, the university provided all the pages, which included comments from officers about the morale problems in the department.

Among their gripes: “… no unity exists in the department.” “The Department is short-staffed by 50-80 officers.”

Still, not everything was there. Eight lines were redacted under the heading Officer Safety Issues. These were concerns expressed by the university’s police officers. We thought the public had a right to know what they were.

The Public Records Law requires that the government state its reason for blacking out information. ASU information officer Julie New­berg said the section was “redacted according to the Best Interest of the State.”

The law does say that “a public officer or public body may refuse to disclose documents that contain information protected by a common law privilege where release of the documents would be harmful to the best interests of the State.”

Our only course of action at that point would have been to take the university to court to obtain the unredacted document.

Except …

Two sources with legitimate access to the full text of the minutes provided us with copies.

So, what was the university hiding?

They didn’t want you to know that the university’s main campus was sometimes staffed by only two officers on a shift. (The department’s own policy requires four.) They also didn’t want you to know that their officers are sometimes unfamiliar with the areas they police during “party patrols” and that they have difficulty communicating with Tempe police officers because they use different equipment.

Harmful information? I don’t think so; the specific understaffed shifts weren’t revealed. More likely, school officials were embarrassed by the short staffing and lack of training.

And under the law, “the cloak of confidentiality may not be used … to save an officer or public body from inconvenience or embarrassment.”

As I recall it, some of those folks in the magazines way back when would have looked better covered by some kind of cloak as well.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Stuart Warner is a senior content manager and Pulitzer Prize-winning editor. He supervises coverage of the border, immigration, higher education, the environment, Maricopa County government and justice enterprise.

The writer, Stuart Warner, hit the nail on the head.

ASU has used this “cloak of confidentiality” for years to conceal the totalitarian leadership which exists both at ASUPD, and also the university at large. Beyond the censoring of public documents, ASUPD has gone even further to prevent exposure and potential embarrassment. ASUPD’s policy manual seeks to broadly sensor the 1st Amendment rights of its employees outside of work by stating, “when reasonable suspicion exists that the police department is being discredited by an employee through electronic media, the employee may be required to allow access to personal accounts or hardware/equipment for inspection.” (PSM-26-102). Therefore, if an employee (even anonymously) brings forth documentation that the department has discredited itself, he/she is the one who falls under scrutiny, NOT the department or the university.

It is becoming more apparent to the public that the ideology found in Michael Crow’s “New American University” has more in common with communism than it does with the democratic principles found in the United States Constitution.

 

 

 

 

Quand Yves Hamelin construit des murs sur le compte des copropriétaires et sans rien leur demander

Yves Hamelin, syndic à Neuilly sur Seine doit s’ennuyer ou avoir besoin d’argent.

Hamelin est arrivé à convaincre la société SEC qui s’occupe de la chaufferie de faire un mur dans les garages pour bien isoler l’endroit qui bloque le cerveau Hamelin et développe sa paranoïa: l’endroit où sont garés les vélos.

Admirons la réalisation d’Hamelin, qui en plus empêche tout éclairage pour les voitures qui se garent à côté.

mur Hamelin SYndic Neuilly

Evidemment tout ça est payé par les copropriétaires, sans qu’Hamelin ait demandé la moindre permission..

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