GAGGED! #13 Autumn 2006 - South Wales Anarchist Newsletter

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GAGGED! #13 Autumn 2006 - South Wales Anarchist Newsletter

GAGGED! #13 Autumn 2006 - South Wales Anarchist Newsletter • Against Power & Profit • Anti-Copyright
it's alot prettier on .pdf - theres pics too -
http://lists.riseup.net/www/d_read/gagged/gagged13.pdf

AGAINST THE WAR MACHINE
When faced with the wholesale destruction of a people in such uncompromising terms as the recent mass destruction of south Lebanon by the Israeli military - a billion dollar war machine unleashing wave after wave of explosive & chemical attack on innocent civilians trapped by purposely destroyed roads & bridges where even the red cross get targeted - it is easy to feel helpless. What can we here at home do to stop or even oppose this?
It’s no wonder that many see that a walk around London or a rally in Cardiff as the only way they can manifest a symbolic opposition. However there is another course of action. Israel is heavily armed by western powers, the US delivers fresh cargos of armaments every day, transported in planes that refuel in the UK on their way to Israel. One of these airbases is Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
On 13th August with the destruction of South Lebanon in full swing CAN & GA went down to blockade the airbase on a day of action called by the local peace group. Not only to show our opposition to the war but also to physically put ourselves in the way, to disrupt the smooth running of the base. The blockade was successful for a few hours before 4 activists were arrested. Though it didn’t stop a single bomb from being transported, it was a rational response to the insane slaughter being helped here in the UK. If all anti-war activities were at the sites where war is being waged from they would be more effective than strolls around city centres that do little in actually opposing the war machine.
The attack on south Lebanon was the first in decades where Israel was driven back. It wasn't a regular army that gave Israel such a kicking, it was the population of South Lebanon & the many Palestinian refugees taking shelter there. These ordinary people resisted & they won- against one of the largest an best armed forces in the world. Hopefully, this amazing achievement marks a turning point in Israel's illegal war.

POWER DESTROYS
Hundreds of environmental activists from across the UK & beyond gathered for a 10 day action camp in an area of North Yorkshire nicknamed ‘Megawatt valley’ (due to the large number of fossil fuel power stations located there) to oppose the causes of climate change. Dubbed the ‘Camp for Climate Action’ it was billed as a mix of workshops, meetings, socialising, information sharing & action. Taking place on squatted land, it was self run on the neighbourhood system that was used in the eco-village set up for last years anti-G8 protests. CAN & GA were, as ever in attendance, taking part in the ‘Westside’ neighbourhood with activists from Aberystwyth, Bristol, Birmingham & Liverpool. Over 160 workshops took place covering climate change & what we can do to stop it. However the main focus of the camp was the “Reclaim Power” day of action against Drax power station which the camp was set up in the shadow of. Drax is the biggest power station in the UK burning enough coal to emit 20.8 million tones of Carbon Dioxide a year more than a 1/4 of the total CO2 emitted by all Britain's motorists.
About 600 people poured out of the camp on August 31st with the publicly stated aim of ‘shutting down drax’. Though over 3,000 police headed by ‘Forward Intelligence Teams’ from London, Manchester, Stafford & Gwent(!) with CS gas, batons, riot gear, horses & dogs got in the way a fair bit some activists were able to get inside the plant. Starting at 4.30am when 7 activists occupied a Drax lighting tower. Actions continued until friday morning with many more people breaching the perimeter of the fence. 39 were arrested in the end & though Drax was not shut for good it was the first time environmentalists had taken on one of the key components of the pollution infrastructure that is responsible for climate change. There is no future whilst such places continue to exist.

TROUBLE IN THE PIPELINE
OPPOSITION TO THE BIG WELSH GAS PROJECT ESCALATES AS SAFETY CONCERNS MOUNT
Communities & campaigners affected by the massive LNG gas pipeline worming it’s way across West Wales have vowed to take direct action to halt construction work until safety fears are addressed.
The project, first mooted 2 years ago when plans were announced to develop 2 massive LNG terminals at Milford Haven, has hit a major hitch in it’s construction programme: the communities it affects don’t want it.
Controversy first erupted around the pipeline when it was revealed that that it would run through the Brecon Beacons National Park, an untouched area of outstanding natural beauty. The Park Authority has come out publicly against the project, claiming it will cut a swathe “the width of a motorway” through one of the most fragile & beautiful areas in the whole of Wales. The Northern flank of the park, which the pipeline crosses, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The government claims LNG will be essential to meet the shortfall in the UK’s energy needs as North Sea gas supplies peak & decline. Opposition groups contend that LNG is unsafe technology & that it will increase our dependence on fossil fuels from the Middle East.
Many are also concerned that safety corners are being cut to maximise profit. These concerns have been heightened by National Grid’s public admission that it has no experience of running a 48” pipeline at 94bar pressure; it will be the biggest pipeline of it’s kind in Europe. Accidents like the massive pipeline explosion that killed 12 campers at Carlsbad, New Mexico in 2000 occurred in remote areas & ran at a much lower pressure.
Safety fears are particularly acute in the small mining villages of Trebanos & Pontardawe, in the Swansea valley, where the pipeline runs close to residential areas & even schools. Trebanos in particular has been designated by the British Geological Survey as an area of Geological instability & National Grid plans to blast with explosives to bring the pipeline through the area. Local's have held up work for the last 2 months & support for their fight is rapidly growing. A further public meeting is planned in the area for the 7th of September. The fight goes on!
Many communities are angry at the lack of proper consultation over the project & the environmental destruction being wrecked. Direct action is planned over the coming weeks to highlight the plight of the communities affected. For further info contact Jim at serengoch@hotmail.com or 07933082239 www.safehavenforum.co.uk

G8 2006 - St. Petersburg

PROTEST…. …& POLICE & PRISON

All forms of protest had been made illegal by the Russian state for the duration of the summit. Yet the small anarchist movement in St Petersburg & Moscow were determined that a voice of dissent would be heard.
Getting to St Petersburg at all seemed an achievement. Three cyclists who cycled all the way from Berlin were thrown straight into prison for ten days. Dozens of people had been pulled of trains & arrested for carrying anti-G8 materials. Many of these had also been sentenced to ten days in prison, & given the condition of Russian prisons this was not a pleasant prospect.
On the second day of the summit around 50 anarchists attempted to blockade one of the hotels used by summit delegates, well aware that arrest & a short prison sentence were almost inevitable. They blocked the road & prevented cars from leaving the hotel until the infamous Russian riot police, the OMON, appeared to clear the protest away. Almost all were arrested.
Later in the day around 150 activists staged a carnival procession in opposition to the G8. This was also broken up by police & a further 20 were arrested.
The brutality & harsh sentences that activists had feared did not materialise. In the international spotlight, sentences were light (only two or three days imprisonment) & those in prison were treated fairly well, given the poor conditions that are normal in Russian police cells & detention centres.
But in any event the maximum legal sentence of 15 days is a lot less harsh than the sentence people could have received under the British system. After months of answering police bail & attending court hearings we would have faced up to three months in prison for ‘inciting’ an unauthorised demonstration (s14 Public Order Act). Under Russian law a mother with young
children cannot be imprisoned for this offence. Not so in the UK, where the courts seem even more keen to lock up the carers of children.
It’s true that the Russian police have been known to give a kicking to some of the people they lock up. But there are countless instances of the UK police doing that too. All in all, the Russian criminal justice system seems a lot more reasonable (for minor offences) than our own system. Which has to make you wonder just how bad ours is…

So What is wrong with the G8?
The G8 are a self-imposed World Government that the World never asked for, never voted for, & doesn’t want. In a world controlled by the G8, individual nations (including the UK) have very little opportunity to make their own policy. Almost everything is determined by the G8.
Economic policy: It's all about privatisation. At the moment the big push is to force all countries to privatise their education & health care. This gives huge money-making opportunities to American companies who have made education & healthcare into a very profitable business. It also means that you only get decent healthcare & education if you can pay for it. This policy is well established in Africa, is being followed now in Russia, & is on its way to the UK very soon.
Energy policy: One word. Oil. Or maybe gas too. A big issue for Russia, who have lots of the stuff & want to make more money out of it & for the US who are fighting wars in the middle east to make sure they have lots of it too. Control over oil & gas is vital if you want to control other nation states. As for global warming, the G8 response is pretty non-existent, apart from building more nuclear power stations.
Foreign policy: America insists on being able to bomb the hell out of whoever they like in order to guarantee their oil supplies (& to keep those pesky anti-american muslims under control). Other G8 countries pretty much go along with this, because they want to stay in the G8 club, & because they’d like to get their hands on a bit of that oil too. The people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Syria etc just don’t matter that much.
Third World Poverty: Oh yes. Remember Make Poverty History? & Bob Geldof? Lots of fine words from Gordon Brown & Tony Blair about giving more money? One year on & we take more from the third world, & give less. Poverty increases. Attempts by African governments to improve the health & education of their people are scuppered by G8 Economic Policy (see above). This is not an accident, it is the deliberate outcome of G8 policy.

Life in Russia
Western lifestyle is available if you have the money, but the reality is that very few can afford to buy from the western shops or eat in the expensive cafes & restaurants. Life for most is sheer hard work, long hours, overcrowded housing & an often inadequate diet. Health care & education are deteriorating. The state is refusing to pay old age pensions, meaning many older people are found begging in metro stations. Government employees, including the police, are badly paid & make a living through extracting bribes. Many Russians are looking to western capitalism to solve these problems, but the practice of making big business out of people’s basic needs –like water, heating, education & health – is likely to make the poor poorer, not richer.
In the outskirts of Moscow, the efforts of three families to save their homes have become a focus of discontent over living conditions in the city. These people lived in very basic conditions in what we would regard as little more than a shack, but it was a reasonable living space, & had a small piece of land, enough to grow vegetables to supplement the tiny family income.
But the land they were on was earmarked for the construction of yet more apartment blocks. The families would be re-housed in one of these new blocks, but they were unlikely to get more than a cramped one or two roomed flat. That is one or two rooms, not bedrooms, for a family of 4 or 5.
Amazingly, given the culture of fear for authorities & police that exists, these families have resisted two attempts to evict them. With support from the people in their local community they have turned away bulldozers & riot police. They now have a protest camp on their small piece of land, proudly displaying the newspaper cuttings about their resistance. It is likely that eventually they will lose this battle but the fact that they fought it in the first place is a remarkable thing.

G8 2007 – Germany
The protests in St Petersburg were always going to be much smaller, quieter affairs than those which occurred at other summits but were no less worthwhile for that. Opposition to other summits have been staggeringly effective. In 2003 delegates couldn’t get to the summit in the French town of Evian as anarchists defied tear gas & rubber bullets to close the roads. In Scotland in 2005 the blockades of the roads to Gleneagles –(including anarchists who shut down the main six lane Motorway for six hours) prevented any full meetings taking place on the first day of the summit.
Next year the G8 summit will be in east Germany. This is likely to be the biggest G8 opposition since Genoa in 2001, perhaps the biggest ever. South Wales anarchists will, of course, be going. You are welcome to join us.

Faslane 365
There is a cunning plan to blockade Faslane every day for a year. It will be a year-long rolling civil resistance campaign.
On a beautiful summer’s evening in 1999, three women – Ellen Moxley, Ulla Roder & Angie Zelter – boarded a barge moored on a Scottish Loch & threw some computers & other equipment overboard. The barge was a floating laboratory; the equipment belonged to Her Majesty’s Government; & its purpose was to improve the ‘invisibility’ of the Trident nuclear submarines in the water. In court Sheriff Margaret Gimblett acquitted ‘The Trident Three’, on the basis that they were global citizens preventing a far greater crime – the nuclear threat.
Since 1996 hundreds of people & groups have pledged & acted to disarm Britain’s nuclear weapons in peaceful & practical ways & one of these has been the regular blockading of the naval base at Faslane, where the four Trident submarines are docked. The last big blockade (at the time of the G8 being foisted on Scotland) was truly inspiring - with its good humour, creativity & determination.
The point is that soon the Government plans to ‘update’ the whole Trident system (cost unused.. £25 billion; cost if ever used.. unthinkable). We know Trident is illegal under international law, immoral & a serious threat to our health. Time to deploy our weapons of mass disruption!
If we build enough support the campaign will start on October 1st. Groups of 100 strong, or more, from across Britain & beyond, are now committing to go to Faslane to do whatever is possible to close it for business over a 48-hour period. It’s a chance to bring far more people than ever before to witness the site of Britain’s nuclear arsenal & to demonstrate our opposition. With a new group arriving every day the defenders of ‘Law & Order’ (or should that be ‘War & Borders’?) will face a totally different ball game to a blockade once every few months. All action is pledged to be non-violent. Groups will be making the connections between nuclear weapons & the serious concerns that face us - such as injustice, poverty, human rights, health & climate change. 33 groups are signed up so far.
In South Wales we are asking as many people as possible to take part on the ‘Red Dragon’ days of November 13th & 14th & there are lots of ways you can get involved. Some excellent resources, help & training are available. To find out more, visit www.faslane365.org or contact Marie on 01495 220400.

Remember Spain! 70 years since the Spanish Civil War & Revolution
The Kate Sharpley Library is a treasure trove for those wanting to learn more about anarchist history from around the world. In existence for over 25 years, the library itself is now home to over 10,000 English language documents, with many more in other languages. From this invaluable resource, the library volunteers regularly produce affordably priced pamphlets that contain nuggets of anarchist history unavailable elsewhere. One example of this is the recent publication of Elias Manzanera’s account of his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War, “The Iron Column: Testament of a Revolutionary”. As Ramón Liarte writes in the introduction, “Manzanera’s intention was to leave us a moral & ethical testament from the Iron Column, summarised & put together in such a way as to be illuminating for its members & outsiders alike”. Manzanera’s story is a fascinating recollection of the events of 1936-1939, although it is not the place to start if you’ve never read anything on this period. At a measly £3 this pamphlet is typical of the KSL approach, so if you’ve not checked them out yet, have a look at their online catalogue & bulletin now! www.katesharpleylibrary.net BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX

Alfa's story
In mid-June in a Cardiff nightclub, Alfa Diallo was attacked. A man offered him a drink and Alfa responded "No thank you I don't drink". He was shouted at, pushed, punched & called a nigger. He & his attacker were escorted outside where he was punched & kicked some more. The bouncers called the cops, who turned up, saw the colour of Alfa's skin & searched him, finding his asylum documents. They took him to the station, unaware of what was going on. Sometime later immigration officers came & took him to Dungavel, one of Britain's 8 detention centres, in Scotland.
Alfa had been inside for two weeks when we spoke to him. Scared & confused, he still hadn't been told why he'd been detained. All his belongings had been taken from him & he had no access to legal advice or representation. A solicitor was found that was willing to visit & see if he could help, but on the day they arranged to meet Alfa was moved to Harmondsworth, one of two detention prisons near Heathrow airport. Just after the move he was put in segregation where amongst other things he lost his phone privileges. We were told that he'd been "a naughty boy" & that they couldn't tell us when Alfa would be let out of segregation & get his 'privileges' back.
Over the next week, & despite many phone calls & heated exchanges with phone answerers at Harmondsworth, Alfa was uncontactable. After a week of this we were told that Alfa had been taken into police custody a few days previously. A few phone calls later we managed to find Alfa & speak to him - he was now being held in Colnbrook, Heathrow's other prison next door. We spoke a number of times over the next few days. He was very worried & felt that he could be deported any minute - a few days later he was. He never did get to see a legal professional - apart from all those involved in processing what will be seen by the government as a successfully executed deportation. Another number for the statistics. Another shining example of the governments 'firmer, faster, fairer' migration regime. A regime that doesn't discriminate in terms of who it locks up - men, women & children - all are fair game!
Maybe Alfa got lucky & returned to smiling faces & people who cared for him. Let's hope so! Not like those who, often after years in detention, are finally released only to find themselves destitute - being unable to work or to claim any state support - or those that, as well as this, are threatened with having their children taking into care, all as a means of "influencing" them to "voluntarily return". Nor like those that are returned to the prospect of torture, & murder. All because they happen to be born in one place rather than another.

FASHWATCH
Tiny nazi group the ‘British People's Party' have had their South Wales Organiser, ‘Darren’ & another called ‘Gail’ arrested & charged with 'incitement to racial hatred'. These two appear to be the whole of the Welsh section of this White Nationalist party. We hope they both have a miserable time & feel all the brutality of the British justice system.

COPWATCH
On August 31st 5 cops were caught scoffing at a Swansea cafe while their squad car was illegally parked. This comes two months after a South Wales Police officer was done for leaving a van on double yellows while he fetched a takeaway. A Police spokesman promised an inquiry & appropriate action would be considered. Maybe compulsory introduction of the Atkins diet?

Landless in Brazil from our S. America correspondent!
Brazil'’s Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST), is the largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million landless members organised in 23 out of 27 states. The MST carries out long-overdue land reform in a country mired by unjust land distribution. In Brazil, 1.6% of the landowners control 46.8% of the land on which crops can be grown. Just 3% of the population owns two-thirds of all arable land.
Since 1985, the MST has peacefully occupied unused land where they have established cooperative farms, constructed houses, clinics and schools for children & adults, & promoted indigenous cultures & a healthy & sustainable environment & gender equality.
The MST’'s success lies in its ability to organise & educate. Members have not only managed to secure land, & therefore food security for their families, but also continue to develop a sustainable socio-economic model that offers a concrete alternative to today’s
globalization that puts profits before people.
On March 8th, International Women’s Day, 2000 women activists from La Via Campesina, a Latin-America-wide land reform organisation of which the MST is a part, invaded a tree nursery belonging to Aracruz Cellulose in Barra Ribeiro in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. They trashed it.
The idea was to draw attention to the company’s appaling record in planting eucalyptus & driving indigenous tribes off their land in order to do so. The Brazilian government are seen as stalling on the land reform issue. The MST are showing direct action is the only way forward. www.mstbrazil.org

VOTE NO! TO STOCK TRANSFER
Balloting on transfer in 2006 are Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Swansea & Rhondda Cynon Taff. Stock Transfer is a method of privatisation by the back door, and councils across South Wales are desperately trying to convince tenants that they would be better off with a ‘Registered Social Landlord’ than the council themselves. Bridgend has already managed to privatise, but in North Wales Wrexham tenants resisted the sell out & voted NO! in overwhelming numbers.
The transfer of council housing to an RSL means the loss of secure tenancies, a less democratic housing service, increased homelessness & big pay rises for senior managers. Rent guarantees & glossy promises made before votes have been broken after as they are legally worthless.
The promised improvements that are being used as a carrot to entice tenants to vote yes would, according to the National Audit Office, be £1,300 cheaper per home if done by the Council themselves!
Tenants' secure tenancies are lost after transfer, becoming '‘assured’ tenancies' which make eviction easier. Councils have a statutory duty to provide homes for the homeless. This will disappear once they have offloaded all their housing stock.
Don’t believe their lies! Vote NO! More info: www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk

Diary Dates
September
11th- Cardiff Anarchist Network meeting, 8.30pm, upstairs of Glamorgan Council Staff Club, corner of Quay St & Westgate St, Cardiff city. Fortnightly.

15th - International Day Of Action Against the Icelandic State & Alcoa www.savingiceland.org

16th - Rally & demo against animal testing at Wickham Labs in Hampshire. www.swatonline.co.uk

18th- Gwent Anarchists meeting. 8.30pm, The Murenger, Newport. Fortnightly.

19th - Justice in the Middle East. Silent March, starts Despenser Gardens, Riverside, Cardiff at 2.30pm. Please wear black.

19-21th - IMF/World Bank meeting, in Singapore. www.targetwto.revolt.org

25th- CAN meeting

October
2nd- Gwent Anarchists meeting

9th- CAN meeting

9th-"Sack Parliament"- Blockade of Houses of Parliament, 1pm. MPs & Lords are returning from their summer recess, stop them getting back inside to continue planning their wars. www.sackparliament.org.uk

16th-Gwent Anarchists meeting

21st - Anarchist Bookfair 10am-7pm, at the Voluntary Sector Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Rd, London, N7 6PA. www.anarchistbookfair.org

23rd-CAN meeting

28th - World Development Movement Campaigner Convention - Cardiff: Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton, 10.30am to 4.30pm Free 0800 328 2153 www.wdm.org.uk

30th - Gwent Anarchists meeting

November
4th- 1pm - March for Global Climate Justice - US embassy, via Berkley Square & Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar square www.globalclimatecampaign.org

6th - CAN meeting

13th - Gwent Anarchists meeting

20th - CAN meeting

27th - Gwent Anarchists meeting

Gagged! is produced by GA & CAN. Both are very simular, contact your local group or set one up!
Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) is a collective of people who want to pursue political demonstrations through direct action. There is no membership, no leaders, just like minded individuals. Email: cardiffanarchists@riseup.net Web: cardiff.revolt.org

Gwent Anarchists are like-minded individuals believing in autonomy, respect & justice; against all forms of exploitation & bigotry. Aiming to increase the knowledge of & create a resistance to governments & big business abusing people & the earth. Post: PO Box 70, Newport NP20 5XX Email: gwentanarchists@yahoo.co.uk

No Borders South Wales organises on migration issues & acts to break down boundaries; racial, cultural, gender, sexual, class & political that divide us. Email: noborderswales@riseup.net

South Wales Against the G8 (SWAG8) is a coalition of groups wishing to mobilise against this year's G8 Summit both in east Germany & in the UK. Email: swageight@yahoo.co.uk

Anarchist Federation Cymru is the regional contact of an organisation of class struggle anarchists in Britain & Ireland which aims to abolish capitalism & all oppression to create a free & equal society. Email: wales@afed.cjb.net Web: www.afed.org.uk

Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) aims to create physical space in Cardiff for groups & individuals who cannot or will not work within the constraints of governmental or corporate control. Email: thepad@riseup.net Phone: 07910973876 Web: www.thepad.org.uk

Queer Mutiny Cardiff creating an alternative to the commercial gay scene. Opposing gender & sexual binarism, collapsing boundaries & challenging hierarchy. Web: www.cardiffqueermutiny.co.uk

Western Animal Rights Network (WARN) is a regional animal rights network Web: www.warnetwork.org RHONDDA Email:rhonddaanimalrights@yahoo.co.uk Swansea Email: swansea_ar@webtribe.net CARDIFF Email: swarn@riseup.net

Eatoutveganwales hold free vegan food fairs & produce the welsh vegan guide Web: www.eatoutveganwales.org Email: eatoutveganwales@yahoo.co.uk

South Wales Hunt Sabs saving animals’ lives now, actively sabotaging bloodsports. Newport: PO Box 1894, Newport NP19 4WZ. 0770815642 Swansea: PO Box 7, Swansea, SA9 2YE 01792475092

Keep up to date with news from all over the world like the sort you find in Gagged! online on a variety of websites, here are a few that we'd recommend: www.schnews.org.uk www.indymedia.org.uk www.libcom.org www.anarkismo.net www.infoshop.org