Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle: Martyrs Festival and rally: 17-19 July 2015

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Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2014, photo by Wheelz.

It’s our fifth anniversary! Usual deal: scaring the taxpayers, winding up the Tankies – Winning friends, influencing people and impressing them with our revolutionary praxis. Every year we welcome comrades from as far afield as Wales, France, Spain and the Midlands; we enjoy frank but good-natured debate with fellow trade unionists and activists alike. A small contingent doesn’t want us there, but sod ‘em – The Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers was an example of working-class self-organisation – Stalin would have had them shot. Still we hope to extend our safe spaces policy to all festival-goers; their kids will learn to swear without our help and please be kind to the cosplay cops, the council would charge a fortune to close the public highway.

Visit our stall in the Martyrs Marquee, if you’d like to help run it, or you have anything you’d like to give away / accept donations for please contact us An advance party will pitch tents on Friday afternoon, we corral them together so that people can get to know each other. If you’re just marching with us on Sunday 19th July, Meet up as usual 1:30 pm outside the Martyrs Museum; bring your flags and banners, this year’s theme will be politicians heads on spikes…

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Freedom Press

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Cancellation of the conference on Israel and international law by Southampton University.

Dear All,

please read below a statement by our Chairman Professor Suleiman Sharkh and sign and share this petition calling upon the university to overturn this decision:

From PSC Southampton.

e-mail

Website

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Dear Colleagues,

As some of you may know, I am one of the organisers of the conference. The conference was approved by the University back in 2014 and we followed all the procedures and collaborated fully from the start. We have been transparent throughout.

Some of you may wonder why I am involved in organising a law conference. The obvious answer is that understanding the law is essential to engineering and it is indeed part of our curriculum – it is a requirement of accreditation. My own research on smart electricity grids and smart metering involves understanding the legal issues that arise from the development of the technology, particularly with regards to privacy of the data collected by the smart meters.

Also, as many of you know, I am a Palestinian. I grew up in Gaza, but my family is originally from a town called Majdal Asqlan (now called Ashkelon by Israel). In November 1948, six months after the establishment of the State of Israel and after the wars have ended, the town was bombed and many people were killed. Those who survived were herded towards Gaza, crawling on their hand in knees in the thorny field. Since then we have lived in squalid refugee camps. I walked around in the sand soiled by the open sewers with my bare feet. I got my first shoes when I went to school at the age of six.

International Law was responsible for our misery. It was used to legalise the theft of our homes and it continues to be used to legalise the on-going oppression of my people by the State of Israel. The questions asked by the conference are therefore questions that I have been asking all my life. They are important questions that need to be answered. However answering these questions risks exposing the true face of Israel, and risks reminding the world of the uncomfortable truth about the crimes that were committed against the Palestinian people. As a result, the pro-Israel lobby exerted huge pressure on the University, which has resulted in the withdrawal of the permission to hold the conference.

The attached statement explains our point of view, and why the University’s Senior Management decision is wrong in law. This decision will have a direct impact on you and your freedom of speech.

I am a Southampton graduate. This is my University. Studying and working at Southampton is the best thing that happened to me. It broadened my mind, it showed me that there are alternatives to violence and hatred, namely respectful debate and love. I care greatly about the University and its reputation and hence the reason for deciding, with a very heavy heart, to take legal action to reverse the decision to cancel the conference.

The main press may give you the impression that this was going to be an anti-Semitic conference. This is absolutely not true. My fellow organiser, Professor Oren Ben-Dor is a Jew. We have many Jewish supporter. And I am glad that many Jews immigrated to Palestine to be a safe haven and I welcome more Jews to live in Palestine. My main aim is to achieve justice, freedom and equality for my people to live side by side with Jews and all people in historic Palestine (and I do not mind if it is called Israel). I want it to be a safer haven for Jews. I hope the conference will be a small step in that direction.

Finally, I want to assure you that there will be no spontaneous demonstrations or any violence from supporters of the conference. We will conduct our protests in a very dignified manner, within the law, with full collaboration with the Police and the University. I will never accept any harm to be done to the University and the wonderful people who work and study here, who keep it the fantastic place of scholarship and learning that it is.

Yours sincerely

Suleiman

Professor Suleiman Sharkh

Court hearing expected next week in challenge to UK university’s ban on Israel conference

Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Southampton Branch Film show Saturday 28 February 2015

Uriel Orlow: Unmade Film Saturday 28 February 2015

Private View 1.30-3.30pm All Welcome

Unmade Film is an ambitious body of work by Uriel Orlow shown for the first time in its entirety in the UK. The work takes the form of an impossible film, fragmented into its constituent parts. A collection of audio-visual works that point to the structure of a film but never fully became one, Unmade Film as its starting point the emblematic yet wholly invisible Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, formerly on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The multi-part work evolved out of long-term research and collaborations with actors, musicians, pupils and psychologists in East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Uriel Orlow In Conversation with Oren Ben-Dor and Jumana Emil Abboud 12.30-1.30pm Booking essential

Before the Private View of Unmade Film, join Uriel Orlow in conversation with Oren Ben-Dor (Professor of Law and Philosophy at University of Southampton) and Jumana Emil Abboud (Associate Director, Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem). To book:

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Next week Students for Palestine will be running Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Southampton with the following events:

Monday February 23rd, 7 to 8.30pm: Boycott Israeli Apartheid – Beyond the Propaganda. Nuffield Theatre, Lecture Theatre A (building 06/ room 1077)

The first event of Israeli Apartheid Week 2015 – a panel event on the growing BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Movement to put peaceful pressure on Israel to respect human rights, international law, and basic dignity.

The panel will discuss the principles and importance of BDS, and will address common myths and misinformation surrounding BDS, with time for the panel to answer your questions about the Boycott movement. We will be joined by a trio of eminent panellists from various backgrounds, consisting of:

Professor Suleiman Sharkh: Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Dan Judelson: Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Rena Zuabi: Students for Justice in Palestine

Wednesday February 25th, 6.30 to 8pm: Murder Merchants – Israel and the Arms Trade*. University of Southampton Murray Building (building 58, room 1009)

The second panel event of Israeli Apartheid Week at Southampton will explore the murky world of the international Arms Trade, and the way in which the thriving trade in weapons and military technology between the UK and Israel facilitates and rewards the atrocities Israel commits against the Palestinian people, with the massacres of last summer being just one example.

The arms trade between the UK and Israel is a glaring example of our country’s complicity in Israel’s actions, and companies involved in the arms trade profit directly from the frequently illegal actions of the Israeli state and military. There is therefore a very strong case to be made for boycotting and divesting from these complicit companies, especially in our unique position as students.

We are honoured to be joined by three brilliant activists and speakers for this panel, who will give a fascinating insight into the world of arms dealing, explore what is to be done, and answer any questions you may have:

Mike Deas: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, The Electronic Intifada
Ryvka Barnard: War on Want, Jadaliyya
Maya Evans: Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade

Friday February 27th, 6.30 to 8.15pm: Roadmap to Apartheid – Film Screening*. Nuffield Theatre, Lecture Theatre A (building 06/ room 1077)

If seeing the words “Apartheid” and “Israel” together shocks, confuses, or even angers you, Roadmap to Apartheid is essential viewing to understand the rationale for the description.

This award-winning documentary, directed by a white South African and a Jewish Israeli, examines and explains the Apartheid analysis, demonstrating how it applies to the situation faced by Palestinians, and why it is a analysis that is increasingly being used in discourse over Israel/Palestine.

Using a facts-based analytical approach, with input from a great variety of respected analysts and commentators, combined with archival material and anecdotes from South Africans, the film forms a complete picture as to why the analogy is being used with increasing frequency and potency – come along and bring your friends!

Map of Highfield Campus showing the location of the Nuffield Building and building 58.

Portsmouth branch group of Palestine Solidarity Campaign is holding a Palestine Day on Saturday 28th from 12 to 5pm.

The event will be held at St. Swithuns Church Community Centre, 105 Waverley Rd, Southsea, PO5 2PL, Map with the following talks:

12am: Palestine and Sport – Red Card Israel Racism – Gareth Edwards (Lecturer in Sports History)
1pm: lunch (free Palestinian food)
2pm: Health and Education in Palestine – Aimee Shalan (Director of Friends of Birzeit University)
3pm: Why is Gaza Blockaded – Kevin Ovenden (Viva Palestinia Organiser)
4pm: BDS – The Way Forward – Salim Alam (Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Campaigns Director)

Free entry, all welcome. For further details about the events  e mail. Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

Bournemouth fascists blamed for doughnut famine in Chandlers Ford.

Comrades in Chandlers Ford turned out earlier today to oppose a handful of heavily refreshed fascists who had come to shout at a Methodist church, apparently on the grounds that there might be some Muslims inside, prompting what must be the largest police operation the sleepy town has ever seen. The fascists mainly comprised Bournemouth EDL, inc Hazel and Whicher, a dope fiend from the island, and some teens in parkas who turned up right at the end perhaps wishing the trains ran on time. Poor showing from Hampshire; Rob Brammer (pictured) was conspicuous by his absence, he seems to have disappeared from both the streets and the internet. Perhaps he’s been locked up, or just pissed off with the coffee money – if anyone knows, give us a shout, we’re almost interested.

The eddles made total cocks of themselves, having been drinking since mid-day, so that by the time they reached the church they were too pissed to chant coherently. A half-hearted ‘je suis charlie’ was intoned in that studied mockney voice they all put on. The irony of English fascists spouting pidgin French in support of a left-wing magazine lost on them. Apart from “eee edl” the rest of it was unintelligible across the serried ranks of plod and we were a good deal closer than the folks in the church. They took to shouting “go home” to people in cars who probably were, a bit rude when you’re from the next county. The residents were bemused, antifascists requested to mind their language by filth, because this is “a nice middle class area” – in case we’d forgotten whose side they’re on. The fantasist facebook group ‘pie n mash squad’ posted this:weirdos

Whatever do they mean? maybe they had a barney amongst themselves in the pub beforehand. After about an hour the fascists’ charlie had worn off and they called a taxi. Our lot went for a drink leaving Costas and Waitrose swarming with Babylon, if you’re after a doughnut in Chandlers Ford tonight you’re out of luck.

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch: Medical Aid for Palestinians.

You might like to learn about the amazing work that Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing on behalf of the people of Gaza. As you may be aware tens of thousands of people in Gaza are going to be homeless this winter, including newly orphaned children and bereaved families. Medical Aid for Palestinians are doing everything they can to try to provide them with the basics that they will need to at least get through the winter months such as blankets, food packages, mattresses, and hygiene kits. Would you like to help them reach a few more of the many thousands who are suffering? Maybe you’ll make a donation to their Gaza Winter Crisis Appeal (think of it as buying a Christmas present that you know someone definitely DOES need and want!) to help them to do just that:

Palestine Solidarity Campaign is not an aid organisation, but as a branch group we support the work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and have often donated a proportion of the proceeds of our annual sponsored walk to them. It would, however, be unsatisfactory to focus exclusively upon aid given that this is a man-made problem that can be resolved with sufficient political will. Medical Aid for Palestinians are also well aware of that and also try to promote awareness of what is happening and why. This point was also made by Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert who was working in Gaza at the time of the mass bombing in the Summer. As Mads Gilbert has put it prevention is always better than cure in the area of public health, and so it would be irresponsible for him to not focus on the root causes of the problems faced by the people of Gaza.

Please consider joining Palestine Solidarity Campaign as an individual member. Even if you aren’t able to make it along to any of our local events this is still a powerful way of supporting our organisation at a national level and ensuring that we can continue to advocate on behalf of the long-suffering people of Palestine and advance their cause.

For a powerful interview with Mads Gilbert see:

For a brief summary of events of the past year by our Chairman Hugh Lanning and a link to our annual report see:

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch. ‘Open Bethlehem’ Film showing.

The film ‘Open Bethlehem’ is getting rave reviews from many of the people who have seen it. The film’s website give the following background to the making of the film:

“Film director Leila Sansour returns to Bethlehem to make a film about her home town, soon to be encircled by a wall. She left the city as a teenager thinking that Bethlehem was too small and provincial. She never wanted to return but this time she is making an exception. She intends her film to be a tribute to her late father, founder of Bethlehem University, and a man regarded as a hero by his town’s folk. As Bethlehem approaches ruin her decision to flee this sleepy town, taken much to her father’s regret, comes to haunt her.

Armed with her camera and a dilapidated family car that keeps breaking down, Leila plans to make an epic film about a legendary town in crisis but just few months into filming her life and the film take an unexpected turn when cousin Carol, Leila’s last relative in town, persuades her to stay to start a campaign to save the city.”

The film will be shown at the Harbour Lights Picturehouse in Southampton on Wednesday 4th February at 21.00, but only if we can get the necessary number of bookings for it – we currently need about thirty more. If you would like to see the film and to support a showing of it in Southampton please book here:

For further details about the film via the film’s web-site

Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Website
Blog

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch.

Dear All,

I’m sure that we will have all been shocked and alarmed to learn about the murders of Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, Rabbi Kalman Zeev Levine, 55, and Zidan Nahad Seif, 30, last Tuesday. Any act of violence, especially one against civilians, marks a profound failure of human imagination and causes a deep and abiding trauma for all involved. Such actions only harm the Palestinian cause and so as Palestinian rights activists we have condemn them for that reason too.

However, what has sadly yet predictably been absent from the main-stream media’s reporting of this issue is the context withing which these events occurred – the on-going oppression, humiliation, kidnapping, torture and killing of Palestinians which are rendered invisible by a media which seems to regard such events as not news-worthy. What have we hear about the 14 year old Palestinian American Orwah Hammas, or 21 year old Mohammed Jawabreh both shot and killed recently by the Israeli military? Or 22 year old Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by the police? Sadly, such non-reporting of Palestinian deaths is almost too commonplace to be noteworthy.

But perhaps most serious of all is the main-stream media’s non-reporting of the arrest, detention, and torture of Palestinian non-violent protesters. Take the case of Abdallah Abu Rahma. Rahma is a leader of the Bilin Popular Committee, which, since 2005, has led unarmed protests against the separation barrier that cuts the West Bank village off from 50 percent of its land. “In Bilin,” Rahma wrote in a 2010 letter, “we have chosen another way. We have chosen to protest nonviolently together with Israeli and international supporters. We have chosen to carry a message of hope and real partnership between Palestinians and Israelis in the face of oppression and injustice.” Rahma’s wife smuggled the letter out of the jail where he was serving a year-long sentence for “incitement” and organising “illegal demonstrations.” Under Military Order 101, which Israel issued when it took over the West Bank in 1967, an “illegal demonstration” is any gathering of 10 or more Palestinians that involves “a political matter or one liable to be interpreted as political.”

Rahma’s case is not unusual. In 2011, Bassem Tamimi was convicted under Military Order 101 for leading illegal protests in the village of Nabi Saleh, which has seen much of its land handed over to the neighboring settlement of Halamish. Many Palestinians were inspired by Obama’s speech in Cairo in June 2009 in which he referenced Gandhi and Martin Luther King to engage in non-violent direct action against illegal Israeli encroachments on their land and were injured and sometimes killed as a result.

Non-violent protest *is and has always been* the main form of Palestinian resistance to the on-going oppression and dispossession that they experience, but is rendered ineffective as a tool of political change by a main-stream media who simply declines to report on it.

Which is why those within the main-stream media who condemn the murders of Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Kalman Zeev Levine, and Zidan Nahad Seif really need to take a look in the mirror. Because *by failing to report on and honour the courage and sacrifice of Palestinian non-violent protesters they themselves have created the conditions in which violent protest comes to be seen (by some) as the only viable and effective form of protest possible.*

As some of you will know I regard campaigning against the selective and biased reporting of this issue as a major campaign objective. Because it is just so obvious and self-evident how distorted people’s perception of this issue becomes when, outside of the major bombing campaigns, they are only hearing about Israeli fatalities.

Yours sincerely,

Adam Waterhouse, Branch Secretary – Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website Blog

For statistics compiled by Alison Weir on relative fatalities and other
important figures see her web-site ‘If American’s Knew’

An article by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House
Demolitions

Local fascists convicted of abuse.

Three Berkshire fascists, and one each from Hants and Dorset were part of a drunken mob that harassed Hosan’s kebab van in Thatcham with racial and religious abuse on the 28th February2014. Full story

Accused were: 22-year-old Rory Rowbottom of Hartmead Road, Thatcham; Julie Anne Worthington, aged 35, of Russell Road, Reading; 50-year-old Simon Brammer of Haywards Close, Southampton, and Gary Hazel, aged 38, of Forsyth Gardens, Bournemouth. 44-year-old Edward Cullerne Scovell of Donnington Gardens, Reading, failed to turn up and was convicted in his absence.

Hazel was fined £200 with £200 costs plus a statutory victim surcharge of £20. Brammer was fined £150 with £100 costs and £20 surcharge. Rowbottom and Worthington were eached fined £100 with £100 costs and £20 surcharge. A warrant was issued for Scovell’s arrest.

Of particular interest to South coast antifascists are Simon ‘Rob’ Brammer, pictured below (with Bournemouth fascist Stu Whicher), minus his customary rubber pig mask (can you tell?) and Gary hazel, who spouted a load of bollocks at their recent regional manifestation and showed up at the opening of UKIP’s latest shop. He still has money for beer as he was spotted drinking in Poole this evening by members of BHstopEDL Poole’s John Hardy Centuria.

Hazel got a mention in Bournemouth’s Echo a couple of years ago posturing as an ‘Animal rights campaigner’ – not a species usually favoured by the burghers of Dorset – anyway let’s just put that to sleep, humanely:

Gary-Hazel-Facebook

Here’s Brammer, on the left (no that’s not the mask), Whicher on the right:

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Bournemouth mobilises against fascism! 23rd August.

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Oppose the racist English Defence League in Bournemouth on 23rd August!

Once again this bizarre right-wing cult threatens one of the most peaceful and diverse communities in the south. Their proposed ‘Bournemouth against the Islamification of Britain’ march is a crude provocation to a section of the population that has been here since before most of them were born.

A broad-based coalition, ‘We are Bournemouth’ comprising unions, community organisations, traders and individuals from all walks of life has called for a massive, inclusive, family-friendly counter demonstration against racism and fascism.

Local antifascist groups such as BHstopEDL, StopEDL Bournemouth and of course ourselves will also be out and about on the day, something for everyone. Bournemouth EDL has a history of importing fascists from elsewhere, notably Southampton and Portsmouth, as the blighters have been quite effectively blocked in their own areas, so we call on antifascists from across the south to join us on the day – who knows, you might get to spot one of your local boneheads!

The EDL, which mostly focuses its hatred on Muslims but attracts every kind of bigot has suffered badly in recent years from defections, criminal convictions and internal splits, but has somehow stayed under the radar in Dorset – mainly because most people have never heard of it or are unaware of its fascist origins and sinister agenda, and because there are few racial tensions here to exploit – let’s keep it that way. Their new chairman Tim Ablitt, who was Dorset organiser for the BNP splinter group ‘British Freedom Party’, lives at Fitzworth Avenue in Poole.

Now, we didn’t make this up, honestly.

berksIt was a response to Bournemouth fascist Gary Hazel‘s plea on farcebook for a field where out-of-towners could get heavily refreshed the night before. The cops having refused the fascists permission to use public campsites – not that any would have them – after telling them they aren’t allowed to cook a pig on the beach.

Details will follow as both march routes are being challenged by the locals, we’ve been forwarding e mail enquiries to BHstopEDL

See you on the streets – they shall not pass!