A DAY! A-DAY!
Six months behind schedule, the JobSeekers Allowance finally replaces Income Support and Unemployment Benefit on Monday. Under the JSA, JobCentres will have more power to direct claimants to be more 'employable' - the 'wrong' attitude. 'wrong' haircut' or insufficient evidence that you have been 'actively seeking work' could mean penalties. The new computer system in Job Centres allows 'client advisers' to match claimants to vacancies each time you sign on - you could be offered a job at £2.50 an hour on the spot, and, again, a refusal will mean penalties. Worse, the penalty increases from 40% of benefit being deducted to 100%.
If JobCentres force claimants to work no matter how low the pay, then employers have no incentive to offer decent wages. This creates a bosses market; existing workers will have to price themselves down and work harder just to hold on to their jobs. The JSA reveals our shared interest: by refusing low-paid jobs, claimants maintain the bargaining power of those in work.
The bosses in the Employment Service have been frightened so much by actions by claimants' groups over the past few months that they are now trying to divide dole workers from claimants by suggesting that claimants' groups are organising physical attacks on staff. A recent leaked internal document to district managers advises them to call the cops at the merest hint of any kind of demo, and discusses 'compensation' should staff be attacked or have personal property damaged by campaigning claimants. While planning to sack around 10,000 of their staff, put the rest on short term contracts and pay them peanuts, the ES bosses now try to present themselves as their protectors!
Meanwhile, a leaked letter from one of the bosses in the Benefits Agency admits that the JSA will be in complete chaos this Monday! Not only are they in trouble with their new computer systems, but BA staff have been decidedly uncooperative. BA workers will be on strike for the first two days of the JSA. At the same time claimants groups across the country will be taking action, occupying and picketing ES and BA offices. The only way we are going to make the JSA unworkable for everyone, not just the most individually resourceful, is through collective action - this is what really frightens the state. Actions against the JSA this Monday 7th October - London: Westminster Central Hall, 1pm / Brighton: Churchill Square, 12 midday. Be there!!
THE BATTLE OF CABLE STREET- 60 YEARS ON
4th October marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, a commemoration of the thousands of people who used direct action to stop a mass fascist demonstration in the East End.
Sir Oswald Mosley led the Blackshirts and the British Union of Fascists (BUF) intending to seize upon the despair and insecurity of mass unemployment to incite hatred and violence. When Mosley announced he would be holding a "provocative march" in October 1936, the people of London were in uproar.
"Four local mayors pleaded with the Tory Home Secretary for the march to be banned - but to no avail. The Jewish Peoples Council against Fascism collected a petition of 100,000 signatures calling, unsuccessfully, for the march to be banned."
On 4th October 1936 , 3,000 fascists assembled at Royal Mint Street, protected by 6,000 police. What the BUF and police were not expecting was the extent of the resistance they were to face. 25,000 anti fascist demonstrators presented a mass battle of resistance, white-washing the route of the march.
Children's marbles were used to keep the mounted police at bay. Elderly residents threw bags of soot and milk bottles from buildings. An anti-fascist tram driver abandoned his vehicle, blocking the way to Commercial Road, while a lorry was overturned, donated for the cause.
After hours of fighting, "Counter demonstrators against the fascists were so great that the narrow thoroughfares...were completely impassable."
The anti fascist demonstrators were victorious. Mosley left with his tail between his legs, whinging "...the British government has openly surrendered to Red Terror."
Friday October 4th should be remembered as a milestone in anti-fascist history and for the effectiveness of resistance and direct action. Fascist and Far Right organisations are still prevalent, but as those who fought in The Battle of Cable Street cried, "THEY SHALL NOT PASS!!" Hats off to all a quarter of a million of you !!!
** Anti Fascist Action (AFA) have set up The Cable Street Fund for AFA prisoners and defendant welfare. Please send any donations to: The Cable Street Fund do AFA, BM 1734, London WC1N 3XX
**Recommended reading 'The Battle of Cable Street' by the Cable Street Group. Available at £2.99 from 178 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BJ.
EXODUS MAN CLEARED
On Monday, Luton Crown Court cleared Exodus Peace Steward Paul Taylor (Biggs) of two counts of GBH and one of ABH. He was originally framed on a trumped up murder charge, which was dropped on the day the case came to court, due to insufficient evidence (see SchNEWS 54). The next battle the dedicated party and housing collective face is a threat to Long Meadow Community Farm, which has been verbally sold to persons unknown.., despite them putting In an offer for the property. SchNEWS has been assured they will put up a fight for their rights.
OPEN CAST VICTORY
Plans for an open cast mine at Sharlston, near Wakefield, have been rejected by the Dept of the Environment this week. The town's deep mining colliery was closed down four years ago as part of Hesseltine's declination of 'unprofitable' pits. Within weeks H.J. Banks, the company responsible for open cast mines in Yorkshie and Wales, hhad announced plans to extract 30,000 tonnes of coal from the site over the next two years. Banks, who have been targeted before by Earth First! told us that they remain undaunted by the recent stream of refusals for their open cast mine site. A spokesman described planning procedures as a "lottery" and claimed that developers needed to work on persuading communities, instead of focusing on environmental concerns. In future they intend to work closely with road builders, extracting coal and minerals to provide a suitable surface for road construction.
Are you a 'lentil snorter'? Named yourself after a character from the Legend of King Arthur, The Hobbit or Alice in Wonderland? Well you better watch out! A founding statement from AHA (Anti-Hippy Action) proclaims the direct action movement "is being sabotaged by a shadowy group of soap dodging troublemakers. In a word - hippies.And if they reckon you've got 'soya bean curd for brains' AHA are gonna get you - with a campaign of sustained pisstaking to humiliate and demoralise, boasting: "We intend to have trained squads of activists at all demonstrations ready to reduce any hippie element to tears in the hope of making them either go home or cut their hair." So be warned, there will be no platforms for hippies at AHA. And certainly no sandals.
The SchNEWS advises all readers to Let It Be. All you need is love. Just remember even if you decide to take direct action you will receive No Reply from your MP. In My Lifetime there will be a Revolution. Think For Yourself in these terms and don't be the Fool on the Hill worshipping Penny Lane. Then you will be content. Oh, and why don't we do it in the road? Er, honest.
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Massive respect to all our new friends in Liverpool - especially the Lark Lane posse (u know who u are)
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