6th October 2006 |
WAKE UP! IT'S YER WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON...
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Did It My Zimbabwe | Crap Arrest Of The Week
| Shake Pineapple | Mosley
On Down | Thai Stick | Inside
SchNEWS | NOTT A JOT | SchNEWS
in Brief | Ape Shit | ...and
DID IT MY ZIMBABWE
Strikes, Striking and Strikers in Mugabes Zimbabwe
Workers resistance in Zimbabwe has been on the rise recently,
with street demos, trade union action and new forms of resistance
such as the Uhuru Street Soccer Battles. The ruling
elite is attempting to silence opposition with the usual combination
of police brutality and state propaganda. Injustice is commonplace,
but Zimbabweans are showing great creativity in the struggle for
Lifes been tough for most Zimbabweans ever since an increasingly
unpopular Robert Mugabe began his reign of power. Illegal large-scale
slum demolition has left may of the countrys poor homeless.
Despite the west imposing economic sanctions, Mugabes grip
on power remains strong - elections happen but theyre rigged.
Anger amongst his population centres around redistribution of land
issues as war veterans were promised land after the struggle for
Since then western media has focussed on the controversy surrounding
the redistribution of large estates belonging to whites. Weve
heard a lot about the plight of the white dispossessed (many of
whom were granted British citizenship without all the hurdles faced
by less fortunate refugees) but very little about the plight of
the average Zimbabwean and a growing popular resistance. As many
farms have been handed over to cronies of the leadership with little
agricultural experience, Zimbabwe now faces a potential famine.
Western economic sanctions have led Mugabe into negotiation with
the Russians and Chinese over access to Zimbabwes mineral
resources. The South African government, who essentially have the
power to shut down Zimbabwe, are doing nothing either by employing
a stance of quiet diplomacy. Still the people refuse
to be silenced, but in a brutal dictatorship they are having to
find new ways to protest against their situation.
On the 25th of September, 27 people were left battered after baton-wielding
cops crushed a protest by pressure group National Constitutional
Assembly in the capital, Harare. This came just weeks after leading
members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were arrested and
assaulted in custody. Theyd been nicked for protesting and
trying to raise awareness by denouncing fuel and food shortages
as well drawing attention to the crippling 1,200% inflation and
80% unemployment rates. Their chants, however were manipulated by
the press who reported only that the protesters had been calling
the police dogs.
Unfortunately Mugabes bite is every bit as bad as his bark
and there are many examples of human-rights and freedoms being violated
by his dogs. Lawyers representing arrested trade-union
leaders and opposition activists say their clients were assaulted
by police while in detention, with several sustaining broken bones
and showing signs of having been severely beaten on the feet. Armed
police pounced on leading members of the union as they prepared
to petition the Finance minister and march on the offices of the
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe. From the look of it they
were attacked by the police as soon as they were herded into cells,
says Lawyer Alec Muchadehama of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Whilst the activists were being detained, Muchadehama pleaded with
the officers to allow them immediate medical treatment and, after
much police stalling the detainees were eventually granted treatment
under police escorts. The ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo had both
MORE THAN A MATCH
The case is now being taken up in court with police representatives
claiming that the broken limbs and bruises are not a result of police
brutality but were actually self-inflicted! Police claim that all
the detainees simultaneously fell out of a moving police van. Surprisingly
this did not impress the magistrate who has ordered a fresh investigation.
However its doubtful any truth will emerge as the Criminal
Investigation Department undertaking the investigation are confining
the scope of the inquiry only to finding out who exactly was responsible
for leaving the paddy-wagon door open.
Meanwhile Mugabe is showing his support for the force used, saying
that Police were right in dealing sternly...because the trade
unionists want to become a law unto themselves. The 82 year
old dictator went on state TV to warn others that when the
police say move, move. If you dont move, you invite the police
to use force.
But some activists have been busy coming up with novel ways to
subvert the system and avoid the old mans whip by deciding
to grab them by the balls. The recent and growing wave
of resistance has become more creative than ever, shown by the Uhuru
Network which took over the streets in the densely populated Hararian
suburbs for the second round of their Uhuru Street Soccer Battles.
Uhuru, (swahili for freedom) a network of community youth fighting
for social justice, organised the guerilla soccer event in the middle
of September with two mock teams the Vagari (residents) played
versus Kaunzuru (the local council). The dusty street became a pitched
battle of ideas, the vagri defending stoutly against the cheating
antics of the Kanzuru team, and attacking them with flair. They
refused to be intimidated by any penalties faced as a result of
their play, and went on to be victorious (and who said footballs
rigged?). Passers-by began cheering for Vagari, urged on by a subversive
commentator relaying the action. Fliers at the games spoke of the
increased water rates and other supplementary charges
and urged the residents, the true vagari, to resist the council.
Uhuru Sasa! Freedom Now! was the chant that signalled
full time as Uhuru members and others made their way from the Soccer
Battles to the Toyi Toyi Slam. Organised by Uhurus Toyi Toyi
Arts Kollektive, the Slam is a monthly event that aims to create
a freedom space for underground, radical Hip Hop, Poetry and Theatre
and the Book café, Harare, was soon filled with underground
MCs and poets encouraging the need for change through revolutionary
rhymes. Zimbabwe is a country rife with political and social injustice
which has been made clear during the events of the past months.
Allegations of torture and assault are being thrown at the police
and human rights are being ignored. As voices are being silenced
and movements crushed, resistance continues and sparks of action
and creativity have not been dampened.
Find out more about the fiery workers revolution at www.zimbabwesituation.com
ARREST OF THE WEEK
For Command and Conker...
Anxious to get kiddies back onto more profitable pastimes such
as the new Xbox 360, Sussex cops are cracking down on conkers.
Seven year old Kiya Jayne and her 11 year old friend Charlie Richardson
were stopped, searched and deprived of their conkers this week-and
handed the relevant paperwork to prove it! Theyd been falsely
told that the conkers were on private property, so hands off or
A spokesperson for Sussex police confirmed that they had seized
a large bag of conkers (estimated street value, two marbles and
a copy of the Beano) and came out with this little chestnut - Forms
are a necessary form of bureaucracy to ensure parents are aware
we have spoken to their children. Well of course. Jolly good
* Meanwhile all-conkering kill-joys Worthing Borough Council have
paid contractors £100 a tree to knock out all the conkers
before thieving kids can get anywhere near them.
If youre the type of person who needs a good reason to send
fruit to politicians, the Burma Campaign have been offering one
this week. Theyre asking people to post pineapples (fresh,
tinned or dried!) to Margaret Beckett to highlight Britains
hypocrisy over Burma. Whilst the European Union has recently banned
EU companies from investing in a Burmese pineapple juice factory,
details emerge about UK plcs investment in Burmas lucrative
oil, gas and timber industries. British territories like Bermuda
act as a back door for shedloads of illegal foreign investment to
boot and assisted by the fuel of the free market (the widespread
abuse of human-rights, slave labour and draconian state control),
businesses have been doing very nicely. Britain has been the second
biggest sugar daddy - propping up the regime with a tidy $1.8 billion
in investment since 1988.
Take oil barons Unocal and Total, who both funnelled their cash
through British territories in an attempt to get round the 1997
US ban on Burmese investment. Their behaviour when building an oil
pipeline resulted in the companies being the first ever to be sued
for genocidal behaviour abroad (not that they admitted it of course,
merely oiled the wheels of justice with a big payout - See SchNEWS
524). Other similar practices are sucking Burma dry of its natural
resources with little fuss being made about it in the western mainstream.
The logging trade has left Burma with the third largest deforestation
rate in the world and forty planned hydro power projects threaten
not only the people but will also have dire consequences for the
Whether giving Margaret can you name anything Ive ever
done in politics Beckett a juicy mailbag will help matters
is unclear, as were sure shell just smoothie it over.
But anything to raise awareness and push Burma up the priority ladder
would be most welcome.
For more see www.burmacampaign.org.uk/pineapple.html
* Just for interests sake, plenty of other high-street multinationals
also have greedy fingers in the what sanctions? pie,
including Daewoo, Proctor & Gamble, Suzuki, Sony, Mitsubishi,
Toyota, Toshiba, Acer, Lacoste, Compaq, Abercrombie, Black &
Decker, Hitachi, Samsung, Sta travel, Harrods, Hobbs and Lillywhites...and
the list goes on...
current ongoing internal disarray, infighting and general incompetent
blockheadedness, the recent electoral creep of the BNP was enough
to make this weeks 70th anniversary of the Battle of Cable
St a poignant and timely one. On October 4th, 1936, tens of thousands
hit the streets in the East End of London for a bit of direct action
to stop Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists from marching
down Cable Street - then a mainly Jewish area (See SchNEWS
93). To commemorate it, why not get yerself down there on Sunday
8th where therell be a free festival from 12-4pm. Cable Street,
London. E1. (Shadwell tube). See www.naar.org.uk
Every coup has a silver lining! Tesco is facing curbs on its power
to extract as much money from the Thai people as possible. The new
military ruling council has been briefing journalists
that it is planning to bring in legislation to curb the growth of
overseas retailers. Tescopoly is the biggest investor in the corporate
food business in Thailand, managing to flog £1bn worth of
stuff from just 200 Tesco Lotus[ branded stores. And
the profiteering wasnt stopping there - Thailand is Tescos
fifth biggest market and company bosses were planning to set up
another 170 stores in the next ten years. Every little dubious military
Its always a joy to get copies of SchNEWS back unopened.
Well it is when they were sent to prisoners and returned because
the addressee has been released. Occasionally one comes back because
its in the wrong type of envelope but we cant
remember a time when its been thrown back at us by a prison bureaucrat
because its unsuitable content. Clearly our politics
is so far off the traditional political scale the poor dears cant
understand it. We obviously need more pictures of rich people getting
their heads kicked in so we can join in solidarity with papers like
Class War which have been deemed too left wing
to be read by prisoners in HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes. Ray Gilbert
and Chris Basher have been told under the 14 day rule
that theyre not to read such scholarly titles as Fight
Racism, Fight Imperialism, Class War, State
Watch and the ever present Socialist Worker.
Here at SchNEWS towers we can think of a million better things
to do with the latest copy of Socialist Worker than actually read
it and, thinking about having to plough through all that boring
socialism, some of us can even agree with the prison rule that allows
the banning of reading material that might have an adverse
effect on a prisoners physical or mental condition.
That aside, supporters are arguing that the action by prison officials
breached Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,
the right to freedom of expression. Check out www.mojuk.org.uk
for more info.
NOTT A JOT
Taking the SOCPA legislation (See SchNEWS
483) one step further, and which if rolled out nationally would
chill the bones here at SchNEWS plaza, Nottingham City Council have
brought in sweeping new laws that will seriously affect the distribution
of free activist literature in and around the city. As with fly
posting, laws designed to deal with the activities of commercial
promoters are going to have a serious affect on activism and other
legitimate free speech. What a surprise, a new law claims to be
the solution to one type of problem and then conveniently turns
out to really handy for clamping down on all kinds of other things
- well we never!
In certain areas (already including the city centre) free printed
material may only be given out with permission and a permit from
the council. Activists will now have to either stump up the cash
for the permit (and cross their fingers that their literature meets
with official approval) or ignore the law and face prosecution
and fines up to £2500.
It seems theres a need for some dissent down by the Trent.
See more at www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2006/10/352444.html
SchNEWS in brief
- The Coupe is an exhibition of pics and poetry
about logging and resistance in Tasmania. Showing as part of Brighton
Photo Fringe season throughout October at Brightons premier
anarchist theme pub and cafe, The Cowley Club, London Rd.
- 7th Oct International Day of Action on Migrants
Rights. To March, assemble 12pm at Imperial War Museum Park,
Lambeth Rd, London SE1. Benefit gig from 7.30-2am at Rampart
Social Centre, Rampart Street Whitechapel. Theres a conference
on the following day (8th) at @ Queen Marys University
Mile End Rd E1. For more see www.ncadc.org.uk
- 9th Oct - Sack Parliament Demo 1pm Houses of Parliament,
London. See www.sackparliament.org.uk
- 10-11th - Sustainable Energy & Energy Efficiency Expo.
Showing off the most up-to-date energy efficient products and
services. Grand Hall, Olympia, London. See www.energy-expo.info
- Check out our full party and protest
Animal rights protesters are getting used to a rough deal from
the forces of evil, er lawnorder, but a recent over-reaction
by the London Met has left even hardened demonstrators open mouthed.
Forty supporters of the SPEAK campaign gathered in central London
to protest against companies who fund research at Oxford University.
It was clear from the start of the day that policing would
be different: the usual police officers who normally watch over
the peaceful demonstrations had been replaced by what looked like
extras from a futuristic film, none wearing any numbers that could
identify who they were.
The police began to push protesters, threatening to nick anyone
not complying with their orders to move. Once the protesters had
been forced into a march, the Met imposed section 12 of the public
order act (which allows them to place conditions and limitations
on any march / demonstration) on them for marching!
Campaigners quickly turned the tables on the plod, put their banners
away and walked to the next demo at the Esmee Fairburn Trust, lining
up peacefully outside. The mighty Met could not take this challenge
to their authority and waded into the crowd. One young woman was
hurled to the ground and at least one brave copper couldnt
resist the opportunity to stick the boot in! Other protesters, including
pensioners, were punched and roughly handled.
After a brief withdrawal the group set their sights on the next
target, the offices of the deputy prime minister. John Two
Chins Prescott, was chosen because he dismissed a report by
an independent inspector (appointed by himself) which stated that
Cambridge University should not be given permission to build the
largest primate lab in Europe.
Running out of options to silence the protesters, police issued
a section 14 with the generous offer of allowing a ten
minute demo across the road. This offer was declined by the activists,
who once again set off playing cat and mouse, regrouping and defiantly
staging the best demo of the day outside the Sainsbury Family Trust.
In the words of a 63yr old woman whod met the Met: They
provoked, they pushed, they really tried to cause trouble. I suppose
they want to discourage us but they have not dampened our spirits.
As Tony Tree-Hugger Blair and David Mighy Oak
Cameron busy themselves with spinning the extent of their caring
green policies, theyve not so good at getting their own house
in order. A big renovation of the Houses of Parliament is taking
place, and where have they turned to for some nice quality timber
at the, wink, right price? Greenpeace have proved their place of
choice is, er, the ancient tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea,
home to many unique species of plants, animals such as the tree
kangaroo and the worlds largest butterfly, as well as indigenous
communities dependant on the forest for their livelihood. Robber
barons plunder the rainforest with impunity, their crimes ranging
from illegal logging to corruption, torture and rape as confirmed
by a recent UK Government report.
But none of thats put off our great and good form using a
couple of tons of prime Papua plywood during the reconstruction
- in the one place that wont cause a media storm... the parliament
Still, as far the ruling elite goes, as Greenpeace has now proved
for the fourth time is as many years, why dish out the sterling
when you can just pay guineas?
SchNEWS warns all readers...always take yer free
kicks wisely. Honest!
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