"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Archive for December, 2010

Great Yarmouth Against Public Service Cuts


This is a vital activity. A full meeting of the Tory-dominated Council will be in session and five delegates from Great Yarmouth and District Trade Union Council are being admitted to the Chamber to ask direct questions at the start of the session.

PLEASE BE THERE TO SUPPORT THEM!

Our questions:

1) Can the Leader of the Council explain the reasons why Great Yarmouth Borough Council is now considering merging local services with South Norfolk District Council? (Put by Alan Stewart)

2) Can the cabinet member responsible for resources confirm how much money has been spent on GYBC early staff severances over each of the last three years and the likely expenditure on early severances in 2011 arising from staff cuts? (Put by Christina Stewart)

3) Can the Cabinet member for resources explain what sustainable improvements (in the light of expected job cuts) have been made in customer service when statistics for April 2010 show the number of unanswered telephone calls for that month was 5,132; this equates to 35% of calls going unanswered, of the 65% of calls answered the average time taken to answer those calls was over 3 minutes. (Put by Lee Sutton)

4) Can the Cabinet member for responsible for the economy provide information as to the Council’s response to the proposed closure of the Coastguard office at Havenbridge House and the impact this will have on the local economy, especially as this will not be the first time central Government have pulled jobs out of Great Yarmouth e.g. HM Revenue & Customs, Ministry of Justice? (Put by Paula Waters-Bunn)

5) A Leisure Strategy for Great Yarmouth 2006-16 adopted in August 2006 whose first priority is to improve the health of local people through physical activity says “any strategy for future pool [swimming] provision should seek to ensure that about 900m2 of water space is available to the wider community, in locations that best meet their needs”. Can the Cabinet member responsible for the strategy confirm that the future of Bradwell’s Phoenix Pool is secure from closure? (Put by Kevin Reynolds)

Come along with your flags, banners and placards and
make a noise for Great Yarmouth!

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Anarchist Black Cross Updated Prisoner List – 30th December 2010


From Leeds ABC

UK and IRELAND

Joe Glenton, Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp, Colchester, CO2 9N, United Kingdom.
A British soldier who refused to return to duty in Afghanistan and went
on to speak at anti-war rallies was sentenced to nine months’
detention in a military prison on 5th of March.

Gaza Protestors
Young people who took part in demonstrations against Isael’s attack on Gaza in January 2009 are being handed down prison sentences for minor offences. Israel’s attack brought tens of thousands on to London’s streets. In the months that followed the demonstrations, over 90 protestors were arrested — most of them Muslims, many of them teenagers — often in intimidating dawn raids, and many are now receiving long sentences.
26 sentenced after pleading guilty, 23 currently in prison, 1 released on appeal, and 3 found not guilty as of late March…
For more information see http://nomoreisolation.wordpress.com/

John Bowden, Prison No. 6729, HMP/YOI Perth, 3 Edinburgh Road, PERTH, PH2 8AT
John Bowden, convicted in 1982 for a brutal murder, has spent his entire adult life in prison. Politicised by his incarceration he’s regularly paid the price for his resistance through long periods of isolation, beatings and treatment amounting to torture. He has never been broken and is one of the UK’s most articulate and vociferous prison writers and a powerful advocate of prisoners rights.

SHAC Trial
In a dangerous precedent, heavy sentences were recently handed out to those involved in a legal campaign against vivisection, on the grounds that they were associated with illegal acts committed autonomously against the same targets, with no proof that they themselves had committed any such acts. For up to date information about these and other animal liberation prisoners see http://www.alfsg.org.uk/current_prisoners.html

BULGARIA

Jock Palfreeman, Sofia Central Prison, 21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
Sofia 1309, Bulgaria.
Jock Palfreeman is a 23 year old Australian who had the courage to stand up against 16 Nazis on a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria. He witnessed the fascists chasing and attacking two young Roma boys. Jock ran to the boys’ aid, he did his best to keep the Nazis at bay by waving a knife at them but they attacked him. Jock was left with nowhere to run and had no choice but to defend himself. Andrey Monov, one of the Nazis, was stabbed and killed and another, Antoan Zahariev was injured. The Roma boys ran away.
Jock has since been tried and sentenced for murder and attempted murder. He has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and has been fined 375,000 Australian dollars.
www.freejock.net

FRANCE

On November 11th 2008, French Anti-Terrorism Police arrested around twenty people, mostly in Tarnac, a small village in the Corrèze region of central France. Nine were subsequently accused of “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” in connection with the sabotage of train lines which had caused delays on the French railways, five of them were released on bail and two remain in custody. Very little evidence has been presented against them, but central to the prosecution is their alleged authorship of a book, The Coming Insurrection, and their association with what the French government has termed the “anarcho-autonomous movement”. They and others are the victims of a witch-hunt in which the word “terrorism” is applied to any ideas and practices which challenge the status quo. An international movement is emerging in their support.
http://tarnac9.wordpress.com/
email contact: ussupportcommittee (at) gmail.com
To send letters, postcards, notes to the imprisoned, write to:
Comité de soutien aux inculpés de Tarnac, le bourg, 19170 Tarnac, France

GERMANY

Thomas Meyer Falk, JVA Bruchsal, Zelle 3117, Schoenbornstr. 32, 76646 Bruchsal, Germany:
In 1996, Thomas was sent down for a bank robbery. He’ll be inside until at least 2010. Because of his strong beliefs, he’s been subject to very harsh repression – kept in solitary, daily cell raids, suppression and censorship of mail, no access to education. In 2007, he has finally been moved out of solitary and can now participate in education and other activities. When writing, it’s useful to include up to 3 IRC’s (International reply coupons available from the post office) at a time.
For more info email: thomas_m_f@so36.net
or see http://www.freedom-for-thomas.de/
Aachen 4
On the 28th June 2004, near Aachen in the area of the German/Dutch border, police stopped a car with four people, including Spanish anarchist fugitives Jose Delgado and Gabriel Pombo da Silva, Begonia Pombo da Silva (Gabriel’s sister) and Bart de Geeter. The car attempted to escape, and shots were exchanged between the police and the fleeing car.
Jose Fernandez Delgado: 14 years in prison
Gabriel Pombo da Silva: 13 years in prison
Gabriel Pombo da Silva, JVA Aachen, Krefelder Str. 251, 52070 Aachen, Germany
Jose Fernandez Delgado, Aachenerstr. 47, 53359 Rheinbach, Germany

Munich Squatters
Three young squatters are serving 5 years sentences after throwing stones at the police evicting their squat in 2007, an action which was inflated by the authorities into a charge of attempted murder:
Lukas Winkler, Marktplatz 1, 96157 Ebrach, Germany
Stephanie Träger, JVA Aichach, Münchner Straße 33, 86551 Aichach, Germany
Sven Maurer, Marktplatz 1, 96157 Ebrach, Germany
Also see http://www.hausbesetzerinnensoli.de.vu
Laurynas Mogila, c/o JVA Moabit, Alt-Moabit 12a, 10559 Berlin, Germany, Buch-Nr. 890/09-0
Was arrested last year in March for attacking a police van and a police officer during a squatter’s demonstration in Berlin. In June he was sentenced to 15 months and will be in prison until May 2010.

GREECE
Alfredo Bonanno and Christos Stratigopoulos, Dikastikes Filakes Koridallos, T.K. 18110, Athens, Greece.
The anarchists Alfredo and Christos are in prison of Korydallos, Greece.
Christos is accused of armed robbery and Alfredo for complicity. The lawyers made a request for Alfredo because of his health conditions to keep him under house detention.
For more information:smolikas2[at]gmail.gr
Yiorgos Voutsis-Vogiatzis, ASKA Filakes Kassavetias, Post Code 37100, Volos, Magnesia, Greece. Arrested in Oct 2007, and admitted to bank robbery, which he called an action against the the slavery of wage labour.
Yiannis Dimitrakis, Filakes Domokou, Post Code 35010, Fthiotida, Greece. Anarchist sentenced to 35 years for armed robbery of a bank
Ilias Nikolau, Prevantorio Amfissas, Post Code 33100, Amfissa, Fokida, Greece. Accused of an arson attack on a police station.
Polikarpos Georgiadis, A’ Pteriga, Filakes Koridallou, 18110, Koridallos, Athens, Greece. Polikarpos is accused of involvement in the kidnapping of a senior economic official.
Panagiotis Masouras, Filakes Anilikon Avlona, 19011 ,Avlona, Attiki, Greece
Haris Hatzimichelakis, ASKA Filakes Kassavetias, Post Code 37100, Volos, Magnesia, Greece
Accused of being members of the urban guerilla group “Conspriracy of the Cells of Fire“.

ITALY

There’s a steady stream of reports of extensive repression from Italy. Ecological anarchists, squatters and ALF activists are more and more active, but are also facing more arrests, raids and random fit-ups.

Il Silvestre Defendants

Eleven eco-anarchists in Italy were arrested on charges relating to alleged involvement in the magazine ‘Terra Selvaggia’, and accused of forming themselves into a direct action group known as COR (Revolutionary Offensive Cells) and carrying out a number of actions including acts of arson, targeting right wing politicians and targeting the construction site of a police station. There was practically no evidence against the 11, other than the fact Il Silvestre had published a COR press release in their magazine Wild Earth. However despite the lack of evidence, six of the eleven defendants were found guilty and have been handed sentences of between 3½ years to 6 years imprisonment.. 11 people faced trial. All are linked to the eco-anarchist group Il Silvestre. All were accused of COR activities.
To write to their support group:
Casella Postale 351, Livorno Centro, 57123 Livorno – ITALY, email: anarchicisolidali@virgilio.it
Daniele Casalini & Francesco Gioia have been aquited of the charges of blowing up electricity pylons but were found guilty and sentenced to four years for bank robbery. Also a third person, Leonardo Landi, has been sentenced to 6 years for robbery but found not guilty of subversive association:
Leonardo Landi, Carcere San Michele, Via Casale, 50/A, 15122 San Michele (AL), Italy.
Two people arrested in pre-trial detention on charges of attempted sabotage, car theft and subversive association:
Sergio Maria Stefani, Carcere San Michele, Via Casale, 50/A, 15122 San, Michele (AL), Italy.
Freed in early August 2010.

RUSSIA
Aleksey Bychin, SIZO 47/2, ul. Akademika Lebedeva, dom. 39, 195005 St. Peterburg, Russia.
Antifascist sentenced in May 2009 to 5 years for fighting with neo-nazis. Continues to de held in prison despite previous update the he had been released. [13/11/10]

Pavel Delidon Anarchist and Animal Rights activist Pavel Delidon was in dispute with his employer over some wages which he had not received. Pavel allegedly took direct action to try and gather his wages and has subsequently been jailed, for merely trying to take money owed to him.
Update: Just heard that Pavel has been released. [23/10/20]

SPAIN

The Cordoba Four
The Malaga court of appeal sentenced the anarchists Giovani Barcia, Michele Pontolillo and Claudio Lavaza, already sentenced to 11 years on September 1999, for an incident in the Italian vice-consulate in December 1996. Three persons wearing balaclavas imprisoned the consul and an employee, sending a message of solidarity to the Italian prisoners jailed by the Judge Marini (the judge who built a false accusation against Italian anarchists) and disappeared with passports and some money. These three Italians were convicted of this, as well as a previous bank robbery with sentences of 49 years for Claudio, 48 years for Giorgio and Giovani, 3 years for Michele. Write to them:
Claudio Lavazza, C.P. Teixerio – Curtis, Mod. 11, Carretera de Paradela s/n, 15310 A Coruña, Spain.
Giorgio Rodriguez
Disappeared when out of prison on three days release Summer 2009.
Giovanni Barcia, C.P.El Acebuche, Ctra. Cueva de los Úbeda, km 2,5, 04071.- El Acebuche, Almería, Spain.

Jose María Pirla Olivan
CP de Albolote. Ctra. Comarcal 220, Km. 6 – 18220, Albolote (Granada), Spain.
An anarchist comrade who has been in prison for 30 years and who currently has an on-going campaign for his release. See: Campaign To Release Jose Maria Pirla Oliván.

SWEDEN

Jonatan Strandberg, Anstalten Storboda, 19595 Rosersberg, Sweden.
Serving a sentence for ELF actions in which a communication tower connected to the Department of Defence was sabotaged with a firebomb, and a building crane in a urban sprawl project and seperately a logging truck were sabotaged.

Fittja 10
Ten people charged with preparing an arson and one with rioting as well. Three nights before, unrest broke out after a police intervention at a youth center.For more information see:
http://anarkisterna.com/abc/2009/11/06/support-the-fittja-10/
You can send letters through ABC, Box 4081, 102 62 Stockholm and we’ll hand them on or send messages to abc-stockholm[at]anarkisterna.com.
Remember that everything will be read by the prosecutor.

SWITZERLAND

Marco Camenisch, Penitencier de Bochuz, Case Postale 150,CH -350 Orbe, Switzerland
Marco is a Swiss anarchist and evironmental activists who has been in prison since 1989. He is serving a 18 year sentence: 10 years for using explosives to destroy electricity pylons leading from nuclear power stations and 8 years for the murder of a Swiss Border Guard whilst on the run. In 2002 Marco completed a 12-year sentence in Italy for destroying electricity pylons in Italy as part of a sabotage campain against the nuclear industry.
Solidarity is our weapon: let’s use this weapon by sending cards and greetings to Marco. [9/10/10]

Luca Bernasconi c/o regionalgefängnis thun, allmendstr. 34, ch-3600 thun,Switzerland
Costantino Ragusa c/o regionalgefängnis bern, genfergasse 22, ch-3001, Switzerland
Silvia Guerini c/o regionalgefängnis biel, spitalstr. 18, ch-2502
biel, Switzerland


FoodCycle Norwich Social for Volunteers and Local Organisations.


Friday, 14 January 2011 · 19:00 – 21:00
Friends Meeting House
Upper Goat Lane
Norwich, United Kingdom

FoodCycle Norwich have decided to use this first event as a dummy run / volunteers social as they have yet to get a supermarket to commit to donating regularly. However, the fantastic food photograpy company Brandbank have supplied them with enough food for one meal and the promise of more in the new year. Although they still need a supermarket’s commitment, this is great news and a massive step forward.

Please come along to this meeting where we will eat, chat and discuss forming smaller volunteer groups with specific focuses such as fundraising, publicity and creative activities.


Opinion: Out With The Old Politics


by Laurie Penny

Ed Miliband’s pitiful offer of 1p membership won’t tempt the young back to parliamentary politics.

Democracy is going cheap. Just in time for the January sales, the party responsible for introducing tuition fees has decided that it wants to jump on the youth protest bandwagon. “Join the party for one penny, and we will be your voice,” writes Ed Miliband in a rather desperate Christmas message to under-25s.

Labour is making a fundamental error, however, in assuming that these young protesters want or need anybody to “be our voice”. Parliamentary politics has sold the young out, and whatever bargain-basement price tag mainstream parties slap on their membership, they aren’t buying it any more.

The young people of Britain do not need leaders, and the new wave of activists has no interest in the ideological bureaucracy of the old left. Their energy and creativity is disseminated via networks rather than organisations, and many young people have neither the time nor the inclination to wait for any political party to decide what direction they should take. The Liberal Democrats represented the last hope that parliamentary democracy might have something to offer the young, and that hope has been exquisitely betrayed – no wonder, then, that the new movements have responded by rejecting the old order entirely.

What we are seeing here is no less than a fundamental reimagining of the British left: an organic reworking which rejects the old deferential structures of union-led action and interminable infighting among indistinguishable splinter parties for something far more inclusive and fast-moving. These new groups are principled and theoretically well-versed, but have no truck with the narcissism of small differences that used to corrupt even the most well-meaning of leftwing movements.

At the student meetings I have attended in recent weeks, ideological bickering is routinely sidelined in favour of practical planning. Anarchists and social democrats are obliged to work together alongside school pupils who don’t care what flag you march under as long as you’re on the side that puts people before profit. When the Unite leader, Len McLuskey, wrote in these pages this week encouraging union members to lend their support to the “magnificent student movement”, he hit precisely the right note – one that respects the energy of these new networks of resistance without seeking to hijack it. The unions have begun to realise what the Labour party is still too arrogant to consider – that the nature of the fight against bigotry and greed has evolved beyond the traditional hierarchies of the left.

It is highly significant that one of the first things this hydra-headed youth movement set out to achieve was the decapitation of its own official leadership. When Aaron Porter of the National Union of Students was seen to be “dithering” over whether or not to support the protests, there were immediate calls for his resignation – and in subsequent weeks the NUS has proved itself worse than irrelevant as an organising force for demonstrations.

Of course, the old left is not about to disappear completely. It is highly likely that even after a nuclear attack, the only remaining life-forms will be cockroaches and sour-faced vendors of the Socialist Worker. Stunningly, the paper is still being peddled at every demonstration to young cyber-activists for whom the very concept of a newspaper is almost as outdated as the notion of ideological unity as a basis for action.

For these young protesters, the strategic factionalism of the old left is irrelevant. Creative, courageous and inspired by situationism and guerrilla tactics, they have a principled understanding of solidarity. For example, assembling fancy-dress flash mobs in Topshop to protest against corporate tax avoidance may seem frivolous, but this movement is daring to do what no union or political party has yet contemplated – directly challenging the banks and business owners who caused this crisis.

The young people of Britain are no longer prepared to take orders, and are unlikely to pay even a penny for a vacillating, pro-business party to be “our voice”. We have never spoken in just one voice. We speak in hundreds of thousands of voices – voices that are being raised across Europe, not in unison but in harmony. The writing on the wall of the Treasury earlier this month may yet prove prescient: this is just the beginning.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/24/student-protests-young-politics-voices


IWCA’s Economic Democracy: The Need For A Vision.


In politics, being competitive in the realm of ideas is a prerequisite to being competitive anywhere else. The following is the first part of an attempt to start mapping out an explicitly pro-working class vision upon which a wider movement might be built, namely that of economic democracy as opposed to state socialism or ‘free-market’ capitalism.

Part 1 attempts to cover the philosophical underpinning, the ‘why’ of economic democracy.
http://www.iwca.info/?p=10145

Part 2 looks into the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.
http://www.iwca.info/?p=10172


No Need For Public Spending Cuts!


Found on YouTube

Professor Greg Philo explains an imaginitive method of clearing the national debt, but the Labout and Conservative MPs present are not particularly interested.


Cameron To Court Union Leaders In No.10.


Cameron with Union boss recently...

The Daily Mirror today ‘reports’ that secret meetings between David Cameron and TUC officials could start as early as tomorrow.

DAVID Cameron is secretly planning a historic meeting with union bosses in Downing Street this week.
And the PM’s talks with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber could happen as early as tomorrow. But Number 10 has been desperate to keep the meeting secret amid fears Mr Barber could pull out if details were leaked.

There are also fears the summit could spark in-fighting between moderate and hardline unions because of savage job cuts.

It is expected Mr Barber will be offered mince pies in a desperate charm offensive by Mr Cameron aimed at heading off fresh strikes.

He could even pose for an unprecedented handshake outside Number 10 with Mr Cameron – an image
that would horrify both the Tories and union members.

But a senior union source said: “We welcome the change of tone. But we still have a long list of areas where we disagree.”

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/12/19/strike-fears-force-tuc-into-no-10-115875-22794581/

Like us, we’re sure you are in no doubt that these ‘officials’ will do all they can to not ‘rock the boat’ and will make sure their ‘places at the table’ are guaranteed. While trade union grass root members are committed to fighting tooth and nail to save our welfare state, sadly as always, it will be the ‘leadership’ that stifles any serious fightback.

So far it has been students showing the real leadership, the only ‘gesture’ from the TUC has been to call a demo in March 2011. Hardly shows a commitment to fight for all the hard earned rights our forbears lost their lives for does it?

More commentary on this story

here and here.