West Country Activist: Aug/Sept 99
ISSUE 15 (all opinions expressed are those of the authors)
The World Wide Web Worker's Union is currently being set up, aiming to promote solidarity and help fight for worker's rights. A global union has much potential, and the Bristol - based initiative needs volunteers, ideas and information. The website is at http://w4u.dhs.org/
The next gathering will take place in Totnes in November. The date is yet to be confirmed and anyone interested in helping with general organisation, publicity, fundraising, workshops, entertainment etc, please get in touch ( WCA new postal address (below) or usual E - mail ) as soon as possible. In the meantime, donations to help cover the costs of the gathering ( approx. £200 - £300 ) can be sent to the same address.
Glastonbury residents are fighting the installation of an Orange phone transmitter in a local church tower. Radiation from such masts is linked with headaches, tiredness and cancer. Recently, people in radiation suits surrounded the church tower with helium-filled, aluminium foil balloons to disrupt the signal.
At the Earth First! Summer gathering, activists from the South West agreed on the need to strengthen links between groups and individuals in the region. Inspired by the successes of regional actions elsewhere in the country, there was a proposal for regular regional actions in the South West. The idea is that one group takes on organising an action in their area which people from across the South West come and support, different groups taking on the responsibility each time.
Targets should ideally be of mutual interest to all groups involved. After the action there should be a chance to socialise, and agree on the next regional action. In this way we can build trust and understanding, discuss the day's action and have an idea of how to prepare for next time.
The first regional action will be in solidarity with West Papua, and the indigenous struggle against the Indonesian government, Western mining and logging companies and capitalist "progress". It will take place in Bristol on October 4th. Legal briefing; 7pm, Oct. 3rd, Kebele. There will be accommodation the night before and after the action. For more details contact S.W.A.R.M. ( South West Active Resistance Movement ) via WCA at the new postal address or the usual E - mail address.
After two years of a determined direct action campaign, Hillgrove farm, breeder of cats for the vivisection industry, has finally closed down. Police costs stand at £3 million. All the cats were handed over to the RSPCA for re-homing. This success has again shown the strength of mass direct action, and that no animal abusers are untouchable. This is a major victory but there are still thousands of animals being bred for experiments in this country. For details of other campaigns contact Bristol Animal Rights Network ( B.A.R.N. ).
COWS WITH GUNS
In Gloucester a pantomime cow was arrested for threatening behaviour and harassment after saying "Moo!" during a demonstration against Mcdonald's. Both ends of the cow were held for six hours, and are due to appear in Gloucester .Magistrates Court at 9.45 am on 13th September
FUR FARM DEMOS
Woodview Farm, Youlstone, Bude saw 2 Summer demonstrations starting in Bude town centre including a funeral procession . Hundreds of leaflets were given out leaving locals & tourists in no doubt of this barbarity on their doorstep. The demos ended at the farm where 30,000 mink are incarcerated. Animals on fur farms suffer all year round: the misery is compounded by the summer heat & humidity. Drinking water reaches high temperatures & lactating mothers dry up. More info: see contacts.
FUNBLOCK Eclipse frenzy meant more harassment for travellers and rebel revellers in Cornwall. After two days of partying, police attempts to steal soundsystems at a dance near Newquay were thwarted by ravers quite literally fighting for their right to party. There were several visits to hospital as bricks and bottles connected. The police retaliated by spraying two children with CS gas, but the party continued for several days.
Meanwhile, the local paper received a warning of a June 18th style RTS in Penzance. It was a hoax, and the only people to turn up were the police, sweltering in their black boiler suits. Similarly, fears that riotous anarchists were coming to disrupt the eclipse by painting the Men-An-Tol ancient site white like a polo mint proved unfounded. Uncanny - so unpredictable! Instead people there partied all night before the eclipse, without any trouble. Since then there have been several evictions of traveller sites, and media - fuelled prejudice and paranoia remains rife.
Radio Interference broadcast for ten hours on the 10th of July in support of the Bristol Reclaim The Streets party. A large team produced a range of programming which included plays, rants, poetry, local singer/songwriters, music, subverts and news. There are plans to broadcast to a wider area with programming produced by different groups in support of anarchist principles. Anyone interested in producing programmes or giving money or energy can contact Interference FM via WCA.+ Listen out on 11th September for a special broadcast as part of the International Day of Arts for Mumia Abu Jamal. 107.4 FM. Benefit tapes available from Kebele.
Voices in the Wilderness delegate Joanne Baker, from Bristol, has just returned from her second sanctions breaking mission to Iraq this summer.Voices in the Wilderness actively challenges US & UK Government sanctions. Activists defy the sanctions regime by delivering medicines; medical supplies; and textbooks to Iraqi hospitals. This could result in possible fines or prison sentences on return. They aim to challenge the lies and misinformation of the governments and the media. Over 1 million Iraqi children have died from the effects of sanctions since the "end" of the gulf war. Air-raids continue almost daily. Yet the media remains largely silent. In Bristol the campaign has organised mass postal sanction-breaking, and worked to raise awareness of the worsening situation. Contact Joanne on (0117) 9026534
The government is continuing with plans to cull thousands of badgers in an experiment to establish links between tuberculosis in cattle and badgers. All the evidence points instead to bad farming methods as being the cause of increased bovine T.B. The cull in the Ross - on Wye area seems to have come to a standstill in the face of opposition.
Many people are needed to monitor the area for M.A.F.F. vehicles. M.A.F.F. premises in Truro have been targeted., with gates padlocked to stop work. Some workers now wear balaclavas to work and cover their registration plates. On 20th August a cage filled with protesters dressed as badgers blocked the road to the M.A.F.F compound, until police finally managed to dismantle it. See contacts.
Squatters fighting to defend Bishopston Community Centre in Bristol were evicted in a dawn raid by over 50 police and bailiffs, on 14th July. For six weeks the centre had been a lively place of resistance, and now it stands boarded up and guarded. Security costs are mounting and the Church have struggled to raise the money for their "vision" ( another church ). On August 1st there was a "pagan's picnic" on the vicar's lawn: an action against church intolerance and bigotry.
The Mexican army has recently occupied key towns and EZLN army bases in the Lacandon jungle. In an attempt to cut off the Zapatistas from the outside world the Mexican government is launching the latest in a long line of offensives against the 'communities in resistance'. UK and US multi-national corporations are queuing up to invest in the area. On October 12th a national action will take place in solidarity with the Zapatistas. Contact Chiapas Link.
The Stop The Avon Ring Road campaign is fighting 32,000 new houses proposed for N.E. Bristol. Many of these will be in - fill development along the Avon Ring Road. Direct action will continue. See contacts.
PRISONER JUSTICE DAYS
Supporters of Gary Mills and Tony Poole who are serving life for the murder of Hensley Wiltshire in 1989 marched from Gloucester hospital to Gloucester police station, tracking Hensley Wiltshire's last movements. The injuries and neglect which caused his death were inflicted while in police custody. Hence the 60% more injuries at post mortem than previously recorded. Other prisoners state they heard him calling to be left alone and another voice say "Shut up you black bastard!".
Despite objections from the police and council, a coffin was carried to the police station, where there was silence in memory of Hensley and all others who have died in police custody. Banners with the names of the 45 black people who have died in police custody since lined the demo. Set Up For Life are campaigning for the release of Gary and Tony but for the system to accept their innocence points the finger at the police, the hospital or both. The police were to determined to gain the conviction, but the killers are still at large. Campaigners will not forget Hensley, and will not rest until Gary and Tony are free. See contacts.
On 9th August about 15 new cars were scratched and spray-painted at a car showroom in Bristol. Also Kelslow Sparkes of Stanton Drew, the main suppliers of plant to the destructive Avon Ring Road were visited in July. Keys were removed from earth movers, wires cut on several vehicles and material added to fuel tanks
In an attempt to set up a sustainable, long - term land occupation, seven activists squatted a disused orchard near Bath on August 15th, after handing out leaflets to locals explaining their plans to make good use of the land. The orchard had not been used for 20 - 30 years, but a woman claiming to own the land turned up at 8.30 the next morning. The next night after a threatening visit from the landowner's son, the group was fired at by three men with air rifles. The group now intends to find some unclaimed land to establish their project.
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