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Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice

Newsletter November 2003


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We had a good cabinet meeting, talked about a lot of issues. Secretary of state and defence brought us up to date about our desires to spread freedom and peace around the world. -- George W Bush

I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinary irresponsible policies, not only in foreign policy and economics but also in social and environmental policy. This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for [US] people to engage in civil disobedience. I think it's time to protest - as much as possible. -- George A Akerlof, Nobel laureate economics, 2001

Bush would cut down a tree and then climb on the stump that remains and give a speach about conservation. -- US Senator John Jerry

Now we know that no other president of the United States has ever lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably . . . The presumption now has to be that he's lying any time that he's saying anything. -- Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst

Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this. -- Willaim Boykin, US Deputy Undersecretary of Defence for Intelligence

I don't formally recognise George Bush because he was not officially elected. So, we are organising an alternative reception for everyone who is not George Bush. We hope to get Michael Moore over as our guest as the alternative voice of the US, then get all the environmental and peace movements here for a "not the George Bush reception". -- Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London


BVEJ

You may be reading this newsletter for the first time as a result of the BVEJ Experiment. To ensure you receive future copies please subscribe.

To participate in the BVEJ Experiment please visit the BVEJ home page and forward a copy of the BVEJ newsletter to everyone you know, ask the recipients to do the same. [BVEJ newsletter #0031 December 2002]

Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice was formed three years ago as a response to the lack of any effective environmental group in the locality, sadly a situation as true today as it was then. Since then the personnel has changed, but we remain true to our founding principles (see links from home page), the only difference is we have gone international, but our roots remain in the Blackwater Valley.

The lack of any effective local environmental groups was not the only formative factor, the lack of any quality local press, we report what you don't read elsewhere. Our other guiding principle was the dismay at the failure of all existing groups to see the wider picture and the need to cooperate.

Locally we focus on Farnborough Airport, Farnborough town centre and exposing corruption in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor. Recently we have taken a closer look at what is happening in Aldershot.

Internationally we are part of the anti-globalisation movement. We highlight the ills of Big Business, as of late Iraq has been the focus of our attention.

Unlike traditional groups, we link together issues, we recognise social, human rights and other issues and link them together. A group fighting rainforest destruction may need our help because it is a British transnational that is carrying out the destruction.

Almost all our back issues are available on our web site, we are slowly slowly, adding more. We used to produce briefings and urgent actions, resources permitting, we may again in the future. We have finally got around to updating our on-line diary (the newsletter contains an edited version).

At the moment newsletter production is our main activity. Our editorial team put together easily digestible articles, often with links and references for more in-depth information.

Latest version of the newsletter usually appears on-line a few days after we have e-mailed out the the newsletter. We will post a notice on Indymedia UK when available.

We would like to be able to put out a hard copy of our newsletter but lack the resources.

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BVEJ mail server

We are not sure if our Yahoo group mail server is working. We are also having problems with our yahoo e-mail account. For some reason it removes line breaks between paragraphs, making the text files difficult, if not impossible, to read (we have got around this by adding the newsletter as an e-mail attachment).

If you don't appear to be receiving an e-mailed newsletter, you can always find it on our website (and we post on Indymedia UK when it's there).


BVEJ website

Our website was down for a few weeks from the end of May 2003. It has since been restored and should be on a faster server, but seems to be running slower. The good news is that as we write, there are no popups. In the meantime, we created a new website.

We are taking the opportunity to completely overhaul both our websites, which we will now run in parallel.

In addition to using our search engine, you can also search the site by going to Google, typing BVEJ, followed by whatever you are searching for.

We will, as before, post on Indymedia UK when a new newsletter is on-line, but to be sure of receipt, please subscribe.


Stop Bush

War criminal George W Bush is coming to Britain.

Bush sees this as a fillip to his election campaign. He was only able to push through the war with Iraq by pointing to support from UK.

Protesters see it differently. Mass demonstrations against Bush, is not going to play well with the electorate back home.

In the Far East and Australia, Bush has been met by mass demonstrations. It's now our turn to show the war criminal he is not wanted.

The US wish to see the whole of central London turned into an exclusion zone, battlefield weapons on the streets. The government want to see the march diverted from Parliament Square, Downing Street and Whitehall.

And so it was to be. Neither government nor Bush got their way. The protesters were on the streets, 110,00 if you believe the police, 200,000 if you believe Stop the War. The largest past-war demo seen on the streets of London in the middle of the week. Plus 14,000 police at an estimated cost of £5 million.

The highlight of the anti-Bush protests was a toppling of a statue of George W in Trafalgar Square. There were then further anti-Bush protests when Bush went to the north of England to visit the parliamentary constituency of his buddy Tony Blair.

The protests against Bush were top BBC news stories at home, together with massive bombing of British interests in Turkey, and Michael Jackson being turned into the police in handcuffs to face charges of child abuse (which he strenuously denies). The same news stories featured on BBC World Service, ensuring the unpopularity of Bush was relayed around the world. Even US mainstream broadcasters such as CNN were obliged to cover the scale of the anti-Bush protests.

Whilst people were on the streets of London protesting about the visit of Bush, less we forget about globalisation, people were on the streets of Miami, protesting about FTAA.

UK Protesters Topple Bush (In Effigy); Miami Police Weaponized and Violent, Indymedia, 21 November 2003

Resistance to US Imperialism, Indymedia, 20 November 2003

Bush Not Welcome!, Indymedia, 19 November 2003

Anti-FTAA protests begin in Miami amidst police harassment, Indymedia, 17 November 2003


Jessica Lynch

Jessica Lynch was captured in a fierce firefight in Iraq. Brave Jessica fought to the bitter end, until her ammo ran out. The nasty Iraqis raped this lovely American girl. Courageous US commandos then mounted a daring raid to save Jessica.

Er, no, not quite.

Private Jessica Lynch was an army clerk. She took a wrong turn in her jeep, had an accident and ended up in Iraqi hands. Her rifle jammed and she did not fire off a single shot. Far from molesting young Jessica, the Iraqis looked after her and gave her excellent medical attention. The brave rescuers were able to walk into the hospital. The medics who had been looking after Jessica were only too happy to hand her over to her rescuers.


Democracy

Democracy US style, has about as much to do with democracy, as food McDonald's style, has to do with food. -- Keith Parkins

George W Bush wants to introduce democracy to the Middle East.

No, we didn't dream it, Bush actually said it, the man who stole the US election, who is in hock to big business, wants to introduce democracy to the Middle East.

The US has an excellent record on introducing democracy. A quick would tour gives many examples: Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Chile, Brazil, why list individual countries, lets just say, Latin America.

But let's be generous to Bush. That was the past, before his time, other US administrations. So let's look at the present day: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Sates, Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics.

So what exactly does George W mean when he says 'introduce democracy to the Middle East'?

We don't have democracy now in the Middle East. But the problem to US eyes is that it is not 'democracy' subservient to US interests, subservient to global corporations.

Now we can see the sort of democracy George W is looking for. The type that opens up the country, both its people and its resources, to exploitation by big businesses, where money decides who the candidates are, where money decides who runs the country and how it is run, and the only role of the people is to cast a ballot on election day to give a veneer of legitimacy, but it will do as the mainstream media will carry the propaganda for what a day for democracy.

Iraq, if we put to one side the illegitimate war and occupation, is an opportunity lost. We have the chance to install, with the co-operation of the people of Iraq, real democracy. By real democracy, I do not mean the failed Western model of representative democracy, but participatory democracy, of which several examples have recently emerged in Latin America, where power has been taken by the people,where local areas have been turned into autonomous zones, where it is the people who decide what is best for them, not corrupt politicians in the pocket of big business.

Still the Iraqi puppet council are learning from their Yanqui Imperial masters, the big contracts go to Betchel and Halliburton, lower down the food chain, the puppets hand out the contracts to their favoured relatives.

Keith Parkins, Democracy US style, Indymedia UK, 21 November 2003


Bolivia - Que Se Vayan Todos

For nearly two decades, Bolivia, like Argentina, has, followed the IMF neoliberal prescription to the letter. Public services have been cut, everything that can, has been privatized. Bolivia is now the poorest country in Latin America. -- Keith Parkins

We have to see what is happening in Bolivia as part of a larger set of problems in the Andean region and in overall Latin America. -- Nancy Birdsall, director of the Washington-based Center for Global Development

Bolivia’s capital city La Paz means ‘peace’ in Spanish but over the past month this high altitude town, drenched in tear gas and dead bodies, has come to resemble anything but peace. With tens of thousands of people flooding into the streets, setting up burning barricades and hurling sticks of dynamite at a murderous military, the country is teetering on the brink of full-blown revolution. -- SchNEWS

They come to surround us with planes and helicopters and tanks. Not even animals are killed like this. -- Aymara woman in El Alto

In some of the world’s most humble people, the would-be makers of economic commandments may well have met their match. -- David Schultz, Cochabamba-based democracy activist

Bolivia, is the poorest country in Latin America, as a consequence of following US and IMF imposed neoliberal agendas. Part of that agenda was to privatise water. In Cochabamba, the local water company, Servicio del Agua Potable y Alcantarillado, was sold at a knock down price to International Water, a subsidiary of the US Bechtel. Water prices were hiked, the collection of rainwater made illegal. In a city where the minimum wage is less than $100 a month, the local people found they were paying as much for water as food. The people mobilised, La Coordinadora de Defense del Agua y de la Vida was formed. The city was shut down, martial law declared, and protesters shot and at least one killed. Bechtel employees were forced to flee the country. The government was forced to hand the water company back to the people. The Cochabamba Declaration calls for the protection of universal water rights. The reaction of Bechtel has been to sue the Bolivian government for lost profits.

It is now proposed to sell the country's natural gas to US and Mexico, to lower the external debt. The country will see a return of less than 20%, and even these crumbs wouldn’t reach the mouths of the poor. The ordinary people have risen up and said no. No to neoliberalism, no to the looting of their resources by the US.

Despite Sanchez De Lozada's attempts to diffuse the Bolivian uprising with dubious offers of a referendum on gas exports, protesters continue to demand nothing less than his resignation. Fighting spread throughout Bolivia, with major clashes between police and protesters taking place as far away as Patamacaya, 60 miles west of La Paz. The heaviest fighting, however, moved from El Alto to La Paz, where barricades and a general strike ground the economy to a halt. As a tenuous ring of riot police surround the Presidential Palace, protesters continued to widen their barricades with a network of trenches about the city. Miners from outlying regions streamed towards the capital, bearing dynamite and arms, to confront the sections of the military still loyal to El Goni.

The military executed soldiers who refused to fire upon civilians. 26 people were killed in El Alto, as the army cracked down on protests against the sale of the country's natural gas to multinational corporations. Conscript soldiers have been tortured and 15 of them executed for refusing to shoot on civilians.

Thousands of women of the union Central Obrera Boliviana went on hunger strike in Catholic churches, and even traditionally conservative cities such as Santa Cruz were blockaded by protesters. Especially prominent among the protesters were indigenous people who filled the streets of La Paz, struggling against an apartheid-like government led by predominantly European-descended elite.

Protesters in El Alto had been maintaining the most intense road blockades in the country for weeks, cutting off the main route to La Paz, resulting in severe shortages of gasoline, food and other supplies. Escalating government repression against weeks of protests and strikes killed more than 50 people in three days. After the massacre, the main focus of the fights moved to La Paz where the government is situated. Here again at least 20 civilian deaths occurred.

With the whole country revolting the government was forced to order further troops and tanks to the capital. At the same time tens of thousands of protesters started to march from Oruro and Achacachi to support the rioters in La Paz, and miners announced the occupation of mining companies owned by the president. The President, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, has postponed a decision on the gas plan but continues to resist calls for his resignation despite the withdrawal of support of three ministers and the condemnation of the Vice-President.

After a month on the streets, 81 killed, the US-backed president was forced to resign. Mainstream media in the UK has been remarkably silent about the entire affair.

The WTO talks collapsed at Cancun (BVEJ newsletter #0041 October 2003) and for once the US did not get its way. It is now trying to bully countries directly through bilateral talks and hopes to force through the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which will impose GATS via the back door. But as civil society demonstrated at Seattle and Cancun, the Zapatistas in Chiapas, and PT in Brazil, and the current uprising in Bolivia, we are no longer prepared to accept neoliberal policies where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and rights transfer from people to corporations.


Georgia

Three weeks of street protest after the rigged elections (2 November 2003), the people stormed the parliament building and forced the corrupt president to flee for his life (22 November 2002)

The ex-Soviet republic of Georgia was prosperous in Soviet times, a decade of corruption and half the population are now below the poverty line.

When the people stormed the parliament building the president had no support, the army and police stood to one side and let the people through.

But was it in reality a CIA coup to force through the Baku Ceyan pipeline?

Keith Parkins, Georgia, Indymedia, 25 November 2003

Keith Parkins, Was Georgia a CIA coup?, Indymedia UK, 27 November 2003


FTAA

It is sometimes easy to forget, in the midst of a furious crowd, that all our liberties were acquired not through polite representation, but by means of insurrection and protest. - George Monbiot

While George Bush was telling us Brits how his country values its “civil rights” and “freedom” people demonstrating against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) meeting in Miami were experiencing something a little different.

Thousands of militarised police, in full riot gear, armed with everything from tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bags, electrified shields, tanks, water cannons, automatic and semi-automatic weapons, were busy violently arresting peaceful demonstrators, in some cases with tazers, in others at gun point. Buses filled with union members were prevented from joining permitted marches; human rights activists had guns pointed at their heads at military-style checkpoints. Embedded journalists similar to those used in Iraq meant any independent ones were attacked, arrested and had cameras stolen.

Over 270 were nicked - 50 of them while holding a peaceful vigil outside the jail in solidarity with those inside! Those in prison reported sexual assaults and beatings with two men locked in small, dog-kennel size cages and sprayed with freezing water and pepper spray.

125 were injured, and a Centre looking after those injured was itself attacked by the robocops. One doctor remarked, “I’ve worked in emergency rooms, but this is really some of the worst onslaught of injuries I have ever seen.”

For months beforehand, Police Chief John Timoney had portrayed protestors as terrorists and the gathering in Miami as a siege of the city. To cope with these ‘terrorists’ the Miami police had managed to get $8.5 million earmarked for Iraq, to spend on “non-lethal” weapons. New laws meant that groups of seven or more people were forbidden to stop on the pavement for longer than 29 minutes without a permit. The City Council decided not to criminalize puppets but did ban materials such as stilts “more than three quarters inch in its thickest dimension” and “containers of any kind.” All coconuts were removed from palm trees in case they were used as weapons!

Ed Hale, resident and singer for the rock group Transcendence complained that “Downtown Miami seemed like a third world dictatorship. What we saw tells us a lot about the system that brings together corporations and governments in an Enron-esque marriage of corruption. A virtual army of 2,500 police used every brutal and sneaky tactic in the book to defend the corporate profit interests that are at stake in the FTAA against diverse demonstrators whose only crime was telling the truth about the global corporate takeover.”

Miami Mayor Manny Diaz however disagreed describing the police presence as “a model for homeland defense.” But then Miami, in the state of Florida, is the home of George’s brother Jeb Bush who so helpfully fiddled the election result to make his brother president in the first place.

While Bush has waxed lyrical that the FTAA is “a free-trade system that links all of the Americas” and “the brilliant new dawn of a splendid new world” others have called it “NAFTA on steroids.” NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement (see SchNEWS 200) signed between Mexico, Canada and the States was another one of those free trade deals that we were told would benefit everyone. Except that the only people it has benefited has been surprise, surprise multinational corporations. Just check out Chapter 11 of NAFTA which allows corporations to sue if they think certain environmental laws are stopping them making a profit!

So why do people let them get away with this? As Kevin Danaher from Global Exchange put it “If you’re going to only have the elite, the billionaires, making the policy, how are you going to keep everyone else away from that table? Shoot ’em. … The US is the mother country of protectionism. (It) wouldn’t have a computer industry or an airline industry or a railroad industry or an auto industry if it wasn’t for (this protectionism). The free market ideology is this bullshit that they put out there to pry open Third World countries and to keep people here stupid and think, “Oh, get the government out of the way. Let capital decide how the world will be run.” Well, duh. If you let capital decide how the world is going to run, they’ll cut down every tree, they’ll kill every fish, they’ll push our wages down to zero, they’ll pollute the shit out of everything, because all they care about is making money.”

In the end the business community didn’t get their way and FTAA finished a day early with the Washington Post reporting that “corporate lobbyists... fumed at the outcome.” Not surprising really when all they’d agreed to was to continue talks in the future.

As one of those journalists who refused to be ‘embedded’ Jeremy Scahill from Democracy Now! said “In the times in which we live, this is what democracy looks like. Thousands of soldiers, calling themselves police, deployed in US cities to protect the power brokers from the masses.” But with several cities sending law enforcement observers to the protests to study what some are now referring to as the “Miami Model” anyone who tries to exercise their ‘civil rights’ and ‘freedom’ in the Land of the Free better be ready to be beaten to a pulp.

‘Shafted: Free Trade and America’s Working Poor’ where farmers, fishermen, garment workers etc. describe the ruin that free trade agreements have unleashed on them. To order copies

The FBI has been busy collecting information on anti-war demonstrations and has asked agencies for any suspicious activity to be reported to its counterterrorism squads. “It’s obvious that there are individuals capable of violence at these events.” one FBI official said. Yep, just take a look at the Miami stormtroppers.

Miami Lice, SchNews, 28 November 2003

Keith Parkins, FTAA, November 2003


McDonald's

One of the most successful anti-McD's actions on International Anti-McDonald's Day (16 October 2003) was in Newcastle. Why, because the people protesting took the time to relate to those who use McDonald's. It is poor working class who suffer from McDonald's, it is they who eat their shit food. It was poor working class who used to run, and often owned, the little side street cafés, which are now an endangered species. It is the poor working class who have lost their jobs. It is brainless students who work in McD's, taking jobs that even the poor working class will not take, but by doing so, driving out of business corner cafés, and driving down working class wages.

Picture the scene in Iraq one year on. There has been hardly any electricity for 18 months, very little water and no-one’s been paid by the occupying forces since they invaded. Attacks by the resistance are running at about one an hour and lots of U.S. and British troops prefer the option of court marshal and jail rather than being target practice for Iraqis. So what does Iraq need? Well according to “well placed banking and commercial sources” loads of brand spanking new McDonald's! That’s right, within a year from now these same people envisage the streets of Baghdad to be covered in burger wrappers instead of spent bullets and bomb craters. So the US want to replace the guns with a longer, more drawn out killer instead eh?

McDonald's employees in Paris have been on strike for 6 months and counting. Not only are they on strike they’re also occupying the restaurant 24/7 shutting it down and turning it into a giant banner for their cause.


Yobs on the streets

When the revolution comes, we’ll get rid of the police cos there’ll be no more crime... yeah right. Anarchist utopias are all very well, but anti-social behaviour is carving up communities in the here and now, and ‘blueprints for the future’ don’t take knives off throats. -- Bristol resident

We look to the Piqueteras in Argentina, the Zapatistas in Chiapas, and praise them for their direct action and seizing power and running their own communities without the aid of corrupt politicians. And yet, when the community-minded citizens in Oxford do the same thing, they are slagged off. We should be learning by their example, giving support, and helping other communities to take control of their own space. If they don’t, no one else will do it for them. -- Keith Parkins

Last month, without the help of apathetic police, archaic laws, or an out-of-touch government, the people of Greater Leys estate in Oxford did something for themselves. They decided they’d had just about enough of teenagers terrorising their neighborhood and issued an ‘eviction notice’ to the gang in the local park where they hang out.

The gang had taken control of the park, which people have to cross to get to the only local shop, and their threats and intimidation were escalating - one youngster was smashed in the face with a sawn-off pool cue, another slashed with a knife. One mother who turned to the cops after both her sons were attacked was told there was nothing they could do. She is now living in fear of reprisals after one of the ringleaders threatened to burn her house down.

Another local resident, Jane Lacey, said “What we are trying to do is show them (the gang) that they’re not big or clever doing this stuff - they’re screwing the community and they will be despised for it. We also want the parents of the gang members to sit up and take notice before it’s too late and their kids become totally beyond control.”

Despite the picket and eviction being organised through word of mouth, the gang got wind of the plan and stayed away, but residents promised to step up their campaign if the attacks and muggings continue. Already the family of one of the gang members has approached the family of two of the victims with an assurance that he will be a good boy from now on.

In Manchester, anti-mugging patrols happen on an irregular basis in part of the Hulme estate. Mick from Hulme told SchNEWS, “There are a lot of community activists and anarchists on the estate. Residents keep in touch with an e-mail list called “shout”. Whenever anyone gets mugged or attacked someone sends a “shout” out to the list. Often people then take it upon themselves to arrange a time to do an anti-mugging patrol.

It’s not aggressive. Residents sit out around a fire or listen to a radio at the end of one of the streets. We tell passers by what we are doing and get a favourable response. We can’t be everywhere on the estate at once, but the fact that there are people out and about seems to be very good at preventing muggers, at least for the period of the patrols. It also builds the kind of community spirit that prevents this kind of crime in the first place.

The people that have been mugged really appreciate this informal scheme as it is obvious for them that they live in an area where people do care about their neighbours. It turns around the “victim mentality” by doing something active and positive. I think the general consensus on the estate is that we’d rather do things this way than get CCTV. But maybe that’s cos we’re all so dodgy!”

In the Easton area of Bristol – getting over-run with crack selling Yardies – locals who are tired of waiting for police who never come have taken things into their own hands too. They ‘cut off’ pay phones regularly used for drug dealing and spray painted ‘heroin for sale’ at a place of blatant public smack dealing. One of the members of the community, Flaco, points out “This isn’t about vigilantism, but about taking control back from all bogus authority – whether that authority is backed by parliament, or by a pistol in the boot of a BMW.”

Locally, we see teenage scum terrorising local residents on Pavilion estates in Aldershot and in Aldershot town centre. In North Camp, a large teenage gang regularly congregates by the pond.

The reaction of the police, Rushmoor and Pavilion is to sit back and do nothing. In part this is that despite reams of draconian legislation to clampdown on anti-social behaviour, the hands of the police are often tied, and when they are not tied, they use whatever powers they have to clamp down on lawful protest.

So what do we do about anti-social behaviour? Introduce yet more laws that ultimately get used on protesters?

Stalking laws were introduced to protect women but have instead been used on protesters. One animal rights activist has already been issued with an interim Anti-Social Behaviour Order, and local activist Peter Sandy has been threatened with anti-social behaviour orders by Pavilion.

So while it’s quite obvious to may of us that more laws aren’t necessarily the answer, then what is?

As an aside, we have no objection to proposed measures to clear teenagers off the streets, for hanging around. Walk through any continental town and a crowd of teenagers is not threatening. In England it is, for the simple reason they are threatening passers by.

If people are getting the crap beaten out of them by a gang of scum for just going to the shop, or the local playground is full of needles, it really doesn’t help anyone to say, “Don’t worry- wait for the revolution and then everything will be alright.”

The answer is not easy - community action against “anti-social behaviour” does have to be well handled and can be a magnet for thugs, vigilantes and right-wing reactionaries or people who want the police to have even more powers and more CCTV.

In Easton, Bristol, the members of the community groups who came together agreed about the need for do-it-yourself action but found themselves divided on issues like installing CCTV cameras. The beating to death of Josie Dwyer, a Dublin heroin addict, by a vigilante mob, is a particularly grim example of what can go wrong. And we have seen the media whipped up hysteria against pedophiles

It is a serious problem that has to be faced, as a member of the Independent Working Class Association who won their first ever councilor in Greater Leys said “Issues like this have proved a major weakness for much of the orthodox Left – ‘The issue is difficult, so let’s avoid it.’ But isn’t that what radical politics should be about - providing practical solutions to problems, despite difficulties and dangers? If you can’t do that, why should anyone have any faith in your ability to solve bigger political problems? I often get the feeling the Left is more comfortable talking about ‘revolution’ or ‘stopping the war’, precisely because those questions don’t demand an immediate test of their politics...”

Individually the people of Greater Leys were vulnerable to attack – but collectively, by coming together as a community, they could tell the gang “Your behaviour isn’t acceptable”. As communities get stronger and people get to know each other, they can tackle all sorts of issues - like why there aren’t decent bus services or shops in their area. And if people from ‘radical’ politics are involved, local communities might just start taking their ideas seriously.

More and more we have to look to creating our own autonomous spaces. Spaces free of yobs, advertising, corrupt politicians and big business.

Keith Parkins, A sense of the masses - a manifesto for the new revolution, October 2003

Residents to reclaim park from ‘terror gang’, Indymedia UK, 3 October 2003

Residents evict ‘terror gang’ from park, Indymedia UK, 14 October 2003

Keith Parkins, New political initiative, Indymedia UK, 20 October 2003

Yobsmacked, SchNEWS, 24 October 2003


Farnborough Airport Consultative Meeting

Another meeting, another farce.

Lack of publicity, meeting poorly attended by public.

Arsehole Dibbs was as usual a complete arsehole. He started with an attack on Hart, later an attack on Geoff Marks (FARA) because he had requested data on air movements, data that TAG are obliged to supply to Rushmoor under the flawed sect 106 monitoring agreement. This was only resolved by TAG offering to supply the data.

TAG admitted they are not monitoring the use of reverse thrust or the track-keeping of aircraft.

The chairman was a disgrace, falling over backwards to appease TAG. He was later overhead bragging that he had stopped Jenny Radley from raising critical questions.

A detailed report can be found on Indymedia.


Rotten Borough of Rushmoor

An 18% pay increase is being proposed for Borough chief executive Andrew Lloyd.

Now whilst we have nothing against Andrew in person, and he is reasonably competent, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of those employed by the Borough, the same can not be said re the efficient running of the Borough.

The proposed increase comes after Lloyd was given a very expensive Mercedes at taxpayers expense, and travel concessions to the elderly and disabled were slashed to save money.

The increase will bring his pay up to £85,000 per annum.


Farnborough town centre

A compulsory purchase order should only be made where there is a compelling case in the public interest. An acquiring authority should be sure that the purposes for which it is making a compulsory purchase order sufficiently justify interfering with the human rights of those with an interest in the land affected, having regard, in particular, to the provisions of Article 1 of The First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and, in the case of a dwelling, Article 8 of the Convention.... Parliament has always taken the view that land should only be taken compulsorily where there is clear evidence that the public benefit will outweigh the private loss. The coming into force of the Human Rights Act has simply served to reinforce that basic requirement. -- govt guidance on CPOs

If there had been widespread consultation, public meetings held, broad consensus reached on the way in which Farnborough town centre should develop, and that was the way in which we were heading, then there would be grounds for serving Compulsory Purchase Orders on anyone who stood in the way, especially if they were fairly compensated, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only has there been no public consultation, but the local community and retailers do not want what KPI are doing to destroy our town centre. In little more than five years they have laid waste to our town centre. [BVEJ newsletters passim]

Apparently, according to Andrew Lloyd (Rushmoor chief executive), the KPI destruction of the northern end of the town centre is being held up by a few greedy individuals who are looking to make a few millions. The reality is they are looking for fair compensation for either being driven out of business or out of their homes.

Always willing to help major developers, Rushmoor are now to serve CPOs on anyone who is in the way. The fact KPI lack full planning consent, is a mere technicality, easily overlooked.

The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is always willing to serve those with the most money.

It is not in the public interest to serve CPOs, it is being done for the private profit of a Kuwaiti-financed property company. The Rushmoor cabinet (14 October 2003) which approved the decision to serve CPOs did not even mention the human rights of those affected.

It's going to take at least a year to serve the CPOs, as the process is quite complex. The process has to be ratified by the Secretary of State, in reality GOSE. There will be the opportunity for objections to be raised, and this may force a Public Inquiry. This has to be gone through for each and every CPO.

Lisa Millar, You'll have to go eventually, Farnborough News, 17 October 2003

Outrage over compulsory purchase order, Farnborough Mail, 14 October 2003

Keith Parkins, Farnborough town centre – compulsory purchase orders, 16 October 2003

Natasha Rawlingson Plant, Traders fear being evicted, Farnborough News, 10 October 2003


Sprawl-Mart

Since October last year, Wal-Mart, or as it’s known in this country Asda, has been trying to build a massive supermarket on the Old Kent Road but thanks to local people, so far they have gotten nowhere. After physically resisting 3 evictions the campaign is still going strong. Old Kent Road, one of the poorest parts of London, doesn’t need another supermarket as there are already three large ones plus many more local shops (which would probably go out of business if another Asda was built). What the area does need is a large community centre. There are 100,000 people living in estates within a mile of the site and understandably there is a high crime and apathy rate in the area.

So a call has gone out for people to come down and help, as the activists say “Whatever help you can offer including people to resist evictions we would be very grateful indeed. We would love to accommodate anyone with skills in permaculture, organics, alternative energy etc. Bearing in mind the conditions are pretty rough (we have had our water and electricity cut off many times). We see this as a wider issue, of globalization, about profit over people and a breakdown in communities internationally.” For directions to the site phone 07906 440336

Will direct action stop a superstore in Farnborough? Not if the people are too pathetic to even get off their backsides and attend council meetings. Even the people directly affected by serving CPOs could not be bothered to attend the cabinet meeting that ratified the decison to serve the CPOs.


Pavilion

New windows and doors are being fitted in estates in Aldershot. The doors don't fit, the windows don't fit, the fitters don't have a clue, many have never before fitted a door or a window in their life.

Gutters are being ripped down, then left for weeks without replacement, water pouring down the walls. Windows and doors are fitted, then walls spray painted, paint blowing everywhere, including on the newly installed doors and windows.

And where is the quality control?

Aldershot activist Peter Sandy was due to have a meeting with Pavilion chief executive Mervyn Jones. Each side was to bring two supporters, three councillors to attend as observers, plus the press as independent witness. The date had been fixed to suit Patrick Kirby. Behind the back of Peter Sandy, two councillors changed the date of the meeting. They told Peter Sandy, and falsely claimed others knew what was happening and had agreed what had been done. No one else had been informed!


Snippets


Diary


News index | | November 2003 |
BVEJ News November 2003
Published by Blackwater Valley Environmental Justice
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