ALMOs corruption speech

Former health secretary Frank Dobson of the privatisation obsessed labour Party said: “If they sent in international observers from the UN to look at these ALMO ballots they’d be denounced as invalid. Vote for the ALMO and you’ll get your house done up – don’t vote for the almo and you’ll live in a shit-heap for ever more. Now is that a fair choice?”

Dobson claimed that government-backed ballots on the future management of council housing would be denounced as invalid if they were scrutinised by United Nations election observers.

Speaking at Defend Council Housing’s annual conference, Mr Dobson claimed that local referendums on whether tenants would accept new management for their council housing involved “rigging, bribery and corruption of every sort that you can imagine”.

Alt Housing Conference 2005

This years venue is at Open Arts Platform, Old Seager Distillery, Deptford, London . It’s on Saturday, 29 October 2005 from10am till 5pm and admission is FREE. You should attend.

Visting the Alternative Housing Conference site will give you an idea of what previous yeards have covered with everything from Squat Social centres, planning law for eco-projects, earth ships, and fund raising for alt. communties. There is also audio from previous years.

This year’s conference will be following a slightly different vein to the usual “Alternative Housing” focus; instead it tries to fuse the aims of independent community/ co-operative groups in South East London that are aiming to realise the “Social Economy” in our area and “media-centric” groups which are trying to realise a means of networking the wide, disparate range of community groups. We shall examine what is happening in South East London, how community groups are using media (or not) to gain presence, how art/ media/ design could aid the social economy, demonstrating how the social economy is beneficial to the world of art/ media/ design, using real projects to demonstrate these points. The aim of the conference is to see how the two areas (Social Economy and Art/ Media/ Design) can aid one another in their aims/ goals and how media is being used in a constructive and positive manner.

The conference will be accompanied by workshops that will give those wishing to start a projects practical advice on how to go about setting up and how to finance themselves.

THEME:
The theme reads: “Progressing the Social Economy through Art/ Media/Design and vice versa…” thus:

“Progressing”: progress, taking further, enhancing, developing, evolving

“Social Economy”: the economic system made up community/ co-operative/business groups which embrace both financial and social goals, such as housing co-operatives, workers co-operatives. The social economy is the sector of activity that functions for social purposes. It seeks to achieve all or some of the following criteria: sustainable and self financing; activity of benefit to those who are involved in it; to address the needs of those who are currently disadvantaged; to encourage the ethic of self help; to replace dependency with self reliance; to enhance the social fabric of a community. For the full description visit the Social Economy Info Sheet

“Art/ Media/ Design”: “Art” (any medium, galleries, studios), “Media” (radio, TV, music, print, advertising, internet (web and infrastructure)) and “Design” (graphic,interior, advertising, product) are wide, generic terms to incorporate a range of media options and infrastructure which relate to the making the Social Economy visible.

“vice versa”: as art/ media/ design can help the social economy, the social economy can certainly help make art accessible to more people through its supportive network and cheaper living, working and running costs.

For more information visit their site or contact James McDonald on 02086927316.

Travellers Fight for Homes

Travellers Tell Officials; “We’ll Fight For Our Homes”

The first-ever talks with local government officials to take place at Dale Farm, the 85-family community threatened with destruction by Basildon district council, appears have produced a positive outcome. Residents’ spokesman Richard Sheridan has welcomed a proposal from Philip Hamberger, assistant to chief executive Bala Mahedram, to set up an inter-community public meeting at Crays Hill later this autumn. “We’re obliged to promote good community relations,” newly-appointed diversity consultant Fola Kudehinbu, told the meeting held at the home of resident Mary Ann McCarthy. (13 Sept). Mrs McCarthy said all the residents wanted was to be left in peace to enjoy the homes they had created on the land they had purchased. They wanted nothing from the council except a piece of paper granting planning permission.

What no one wanted, she said, was for the council to send in bulldozers and crush everything that belonged to them, along with their hopes and dreams for a better future for their children and grandchildren. “I don’t want to see all the children shouting and screaming,” Mrs McCarthy told Mr Hamberger. “We’ll put up a fight if you send the bailiffs in here.”

In response Mr Hamberger said he personally could not alter the decision made by the council to spend £2 million on an eviction operation. For now it was up to the courts. But whoever was left at Dale Farm, whether 20% or 50% of the present population, his purpose was to improve relations.

“You can’t improve relations by evicting people,” interjected Wickford resident Anna Kobayashi. “We have a hundred Travellers coming to our church and that to my mind is real community relations.”

Mr Sheridan said he was determined to see 100% of the people remained. “We don’t want you to spend £2 million trying to get us off here – keep your money and leave us to live happily ever after.”

He suggested that the council could help promote a better image of Travellers simply by using different language. For start, the word encampment should be dropped and Dale Farm described instead as a village.

Dale Farm campaigner Grattan Puxon pointed out that on past evidence of the way bailiff company Constant & Co. operate, Basildon council would be breaking the law should direct action be ordered. In particular, he warned against the use of heavy machinery belonging to HE Services.

“Video evidence,” said Mr Puxon, “shows Constant terrorising children and wantonly burning property. These eviction operations contravene health and safety regulations.”

He reminded the council officials that at the recent eviction involving families at nearby Hovefields Avenue Constant and HE Services had acted in contempt of a high court injunction by sending a bulldozer crashing through fences on the property of Mrs Gilheaney, of Ash
View.

Before the meeting, residents removed a barrier of gas-canisters, which had hampered letter deliveries to Dale Farm. They have been replaced by a steel-gate and barbed-wire, limiting access along the private road to authorised vehicles only.

******************************************************

If readers wish to protest the use of bulldozers here is a sample email

Dear Mr Hugh Edeleanu,

At a recent eviction (26 July) at Wickford, Essex,one of your bulldozers crushed the fencing on the property of Mrs Gilheaney, of Ash View, in an act of trespass that was in contempt of a High Court Injunction.

We ask you not to further damage your own image by hiring out your machinery and drivers to Constant & Co, the “Gypsy eviction specialists”.

In particular, we request that you take no part in the bulldozing of the 85 homes at Dale Farm, Crays Hills, Essex, as planned by Basildon district council. Human Rights Monitors will be video-filmingthis operation, if it takes place

ASS 30th Birthday & Bookfair

Its 30 years of ASS this October ( OK you can quibble about the date as some count Feb and some June I believe – Mr P will probably correct me :) ) .

ASS will be at the the wonderful Anarchist Bookfair – which is on Saturday 22nd October at the Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road ( next door to the nice n cheap Coronet pub ) .

At the Bookfair we will be announcing our change of address ( the new office will then be ready, honest ) to above Freedom Bookshop at Angel alley, Whitechapel High St. as well as dispensing advice, flogging handbooks, and looking for staff!

With regard to after the Bookfair ASS will be going to the amazing 4th Okupational Hazard SquatFest in London where we will have a stall ….

New Random Artists Show

“[T]emporary [A]utonomous [A]rt featuring The Plot Thickens” is an art show in an (as yet) undisclosed reclaimed space in London – Details of the secret gallery will be revealed closer to the time. The (weekend) show runs from the 2nd to the 4th of September.

Following their history of utilising under-used spaces to celebrate art, Random Artists will once again reclaim wasted space to create a open access community gallery as part of this years Walthamstow Festival arts trail. They are interested in all forms of work from new and local artist as well as previously exhibited artists.

The show will also feature documentation and artwork from “The Plot Thickens” returning from a European tour in Berlin and Prague. “The Plot Thickens” is an ongoing exhibition of sound installations, paintings, photographs and sculptures by Hekate, Pitchless and Random Artists inspired by the story; The Reset Button.

The Plot Thickens shown again over 14th-17th September in the Bristol area. If you are interested in exhibiting work or would like to know more check out www.randomartists.org.

Nottingham Squatting Project

Nottingham Indymedia launches with feature on a community squatting project, a feature on squatting and also a straw bale eco-building project on allottments near the city centre ( St Annes ). They must certainly be busy up there.

“A building empty for many years has been occupied. The neighbours constantly fed up with the council inaction, a mess in the garden, drug abusers round the back of the property, windows smashed. Not something you would like to live next door to. Thus, the group has much community support, and now they’re secure in their new home, there is much tidying up to do and this has already begun.”

Link to the articles by Tash on Nottingham Indymedia

Community Squatting Project

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/08/321108.html

Feature on squatting

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/08/320446.html

Feature On Eco Housing – Straw Bale project

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/08/321023.html

Chavez’ land redistribtion

Venezuela’s Chavez presents land titles to indigenous groups
By Thais Leon
ASSOCIATED PRESS
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20050809-1857-venezuela-indigenouslands.html

6:57 p.m. August 9, 2005

KARI’NA LA ISLA, Venezuela ? Six of Venezuela’s indigenous communities received title to their ancestral lands on Tuesday in a ceremony that Venezuela’s president said reversed centuries of injustice.

President Hugo Chavez said he hoped the government would be able to turn over titles to 15 other indigenous communities by the end of the year.

“What we’re recognizing is the original ownership of these lands,” Chavez said during the ceremony. “Now no one will be able to come and trample over you in the future.”

He was joined by Kari’na Indians wearing traditional dress, face paint and strings of colored beads.

But Chavez warned that the process of granting legal ownership must respect Venezuela’s “territorial unity,” and he urged other indigenous groups not to ask for “infinite expanses of territory.”

“Don’t ask me to give you the state’s rights to exploit mines, to exploit oil,” Chavez said. “Before all else comes national unity.”

The documents recognize land ownership by six indigenous communities with some 4,000 people and territory covering 314,000 acres in the eastern states of Anzoategui and Monagas.

One woman from the Kari’na community thanked Chavez, saying: “He has been the first president who has kept his word to a people who have been stripped of their lands.”

An estimated 300,000 Venezuelans belong to 28 indigenous groups, many living in the country’s sparsely populated southeast.

South American countries have made various efforts to grant indigenous groups legal ownership and control over their traditional territories.

In neighboring Colombia, indigenous groups in officially recognized communities can administer justice, receive state funds and have their own government.

Brazil has set aside more than 12 percent of its territory for indigenous communities, and in Peru various laws declare the rights of indigenous groups to ancestral territory in the Amazon.

But problems have arisen in some countries as miners and loggers have moved onto Indian lands. And in various countries, a key debate has revolved around the state’s rights to what lies underground, such as oil and mineral wealth.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20050809-1857-venezuela-indigenouslands.html

Rave Bill Limits Numbers

As part of the Anti-Social Behaviour bill, the House of Lords in October 2003 passed an ammendment to the Criminal Justice Bill which does the following:

  • reduces the legal definition of a “rave” to be 20, not 100 people
  • makes indoor raves illegal
  • stops organisers moving on to second sites.

Adding to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 with this bill they cite in particular Huntingdon ‘Life’ Sciences activism and rave culture aiming “to ensure that it is no longer commercially viable to organise an unlicensed rave. It should be noted that, for the organisers, raves have been highly profitable events. When speaking to young people who have attended them, many believe that they were badly ripped off. They may have had a good time at a rave, but they certainly paid for it.” ( Baroness Scotland of Asshole 7th Oct 2003 , Hansard) !!

The details are as following:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 200ZA:

After Clause 59, insert the following new clause?
“RAVES
(1) Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) (powers in relation to raves) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1) for “100” substitute “20”.
(3) After subsection (1) insert?
“(1A) This section also applies to a gathering if?
(a) it is a gathering on land of 20 or more persons who are trespassing on the land; and
(a) it would be a gathering of a kind mentioned in subsection (1) above if it took place on land in the open air.”
(4) In subsection (2) omit “in the open air”.
(5) In subsection (7) for “this section” substitute “subsection (6) above”.
(6) After subsection (7) insert?
“(7A) A person commits an offence if?

7 Oct 2003 : Column 264

(a) he knows that a direction under subsection (2) above has been given which applies to him, and
(b) he makes preparations for or attends a gathering to which this section applies within the period of 24 hours starting when the direction was given.
(7B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7A) above is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.””

The noble Lord said: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, for raising the issue of raves. He, like me, during our many years in local government, probably experienced the unpleasant side effects of raves?in our postbags and on our telephones at weekends?from members of the public, who were understandably and properly complaining about them and the anti-social behaviour which can arise.

We all know that raves can disrupt the peace and tranquillity of many local communities, in particular during the spring and summer months. I could regale noble Lords with certain unpleasant experiences during my time as leader of my local authority. Because of the hour I shall not do so. However, it should be understood that the Government understand the impact of raves on local communities and we are keen to deal with the problem. We are also grateful that that keenness to act is shared across the Committee.

I recognise that the effect of raves is not limited to the duration of the event itself. These gatherings can bring noise nuisance and traffic congestion on small, wholly unsuited roads. Rubbish may be deposited in often very attractive surroundings.

The legislation relating to raves goes back to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It was introduced as a response to what the government of the day saw as the growing phenomenon of the rave and the difficulties that this type of unstructured event were likely to cause. Since the introduction of that legislation, we know that the tactics of rave organisers have changed and we recognise the need for the legislation to be updated. In my experience, rave organisers are clever and use the best of modern technology, in particular the mobile phone, to make their arrangements. It is therefore necessary to disrupt those tactics and, in essence, that is what this proposed legislation seeks to do.

The issues relating to raves were raised during the Commons stage of the Bill. Further, it is a matter often raised by members of the public in correspondence. We are pleased to have this opportunity to table amendments in this Bill to Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Raves have been organised in buildings such as barns and disused warehouses. In the past the police have been powerless to act as the current legislation applies only to land in the open air. We therefore propose to extend the legislative powers to include indoor trespassory raves.

Rave organisers have been restricting the number at events to below 100 people in order to frustrate the operation of current legislation, so we propose to amend it to include indoor and outdoor events where

7 Oct 2003 : Column 265

20 or more people are present. This aims to ensure that it is no longer commercially viable to organise an unlicensed rave. It should be noted that, for the organisers, raves have been highly profitable events. When speaking to young people who have attended them, many believe that they were badly ripped off. They may have had a good time at a rave, but they certainly paid for it.

Finally, the police have reported many occasions where rave organisers who have been given a direction to leave have simply moved to another area?a fallback position?to set up another rave. Again, I came across that problem during my time in local government. We propose to make it an offence for a person on whom a direction has been served to attend another trespassory rave within 24 hours of the direction being given.

The proposals will not be perfect and catch every event, but we think that most of the events that in the past have led to problems should be curtailed. The Government believe that these amendments will strengthen the current powers so that the police can provide relief to communities. They will be warmly welcomed by the Association of Chief Police Officers and, no doubt, by officers working on the ground.

I hope that the noble Lord opposite will welcome these government amendments and that, in the circumstances, he will not feel the need to press his own amendments. I beg to move.

Part 8
Public order and trespass
62 Public assemblies
In section 16 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (which defines ?public
assembly? for the purposes of the power in section 14 of that Act to impose 5
conditions on public assemblies), in the definition of ?public assembly? for ?20?
substitute ?2?.
63 Bookmark: j6666Raves
(1) Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) (powers in
relation to raves) is amended as follows. 10
(2) In subsection (1) for ?100? substitute ?20?.
(3) After subsection (1) insert?
?(1A) This section also applies to a gathering if?
(a) it is a gathering on land of 20 or more persons who are
trespassing on the land; and 15
(b) it would be a gathering of a kind mentioned in subsection (1)
above if it took place on land in the open air.?
(4) In subsection (2) omit ?in the open air?.
(5) In subsection (7) for ?this section? substitute ?subsection (6) above?.
(6) After subsection (7) insert? 20
?(7A) A person commits an offence if?
(a) he knows that a direction under subsection (2) above has been
given which applies to him, and
(b) he makes preparations for or attends a gathering to which this
section applies within the period of 24 hours starting when the 25
direction was given.
(7B) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7A) above is liable on
summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three
months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.?
64 Bookmark: JNC21Aggravated trespass 30
(1) The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c. 33) is amended as follows.
(2) In section 68 (offence of aggravated trespass), in subsection (1) (which defines
the offence by reference to trespass on land in the open air and lawful activity
on land in the open air) omit ?in the open air? in both places where those words
appear. 35
(3) In section 69 (powers to remove persons committing or participating in
aggravated trespass), in subsection (1) (which confers the power by reference
to trespass on land in the open air) omit ?in the open air? in both places where
those words appear.

As part of the Anti-Social Behaviour bill, the House of Lords in October 2003 passed an ammendment to the Criminal Justice Act which does the following:

* Reduces the legal definition of a “rave” to be 20, not 100 people

* makes indoor raves illegal

* stops organisers moving on to second sites.

Olympic Demolition Starts

With news that London is now odds on favourite to win the 2012 Olympic bid work has already started on the site.

The site near Homerton Road and Stratford High Road has seen builders arive Monday morning and starting to demolish buildings. When Su Crawford spoke to them and asked them what they were doing she was told, “It’s for the Olympics, this is going to be the site”

She is trying to organise a demonstration later today ( Monday 6th June ) and will be trying to stop or slow progress on the construction.

There are expected to be ongoing demonstrations and local resistance to the building, what some have seen as part of the ” new fascism”. Privatisation, local and national government corruption are filling the pockets of property developers in the guise of community regeneration ( see Liverpool’s Pathway for instance ). Londoners may have noticed their fares spiralling out of control as ordinary folk fund the business communities schemes.

For the past 20 years ‘urban regeneration’ has been an excuse for corporate chains to turn every high street into an identical area whilst getting public funding (regeneration grants ) and ousting small businessess and the poor.

In a very good article on the No 2 Olympics website Kevin Blowe exposes the main myths surrounding the Olympic bid including the notion that the Games will help the regeneration of east London.

Read his article on the No To Olympics 2012 website here.

RTF 3 – Party June 11th

Springing out of RTS London the Reclaim The Future party promises to be a cracker. It’s on Saturday 11th June in London at a DIY space and runs from 8 in the evening to 8 on Sunday morning.

There’s something for everyone with live techno sets from Geezer and Edit, punk from PAIN and the Inner Terrestrials, reggae from Nomadix Roots, agit folk from Riot Folk from the USA and much more including special guests TBA. The main stage features your comperes Viz and 2000DS/Crowzone Gary. There’s also vegan cafe, Indymedia cinema, comedy, samba, drum and bass, more live music, world beats, more techno, more punk, more folk, more chillout, serious visuals galore, magicians, gabba, Recclaim the Streets artwork plus and a nervous breakdown.

There are 3 live stages including the cabaret ( later doubling as chillout ), drum and bass room, techno rooms, Indymedia cinema,vegan cafe, info stalls and clean toilets and running water. OK this may not be the whole line-up but here goes :-

PAIN
Edit ( live techno )
Geezer ( Live techno )
DJ Zebedee
Debs Elemental
Inner Terrestrials
Gertrude
Naked Ruby
Sondrine ( Mal faiteurs )
Rhythms of Resistance samba band
Pok ( mandolin tunes )
Riot Folk ( US folk collective with sets from Evan Greer, Ryan Harvey, Mark Gunnery, and Christa Daring )
Electricity Comes From other Planets
Jah Free
Nomadix Roots
Pink Pork Chops
Offshore
Squall Jim
Geraldine ( Reclaim The Streets )
12 Volt Vandals ( low fi folk punk )
Ian Saville – Socialist Magician
Jazelle
Lower Depths ( kick-ass 3 piece )
Tofu Silverpants
Dead Cops Now Drum and Bass
Debs Elemental
Viz
Serum Sound system
Recknaw
Siren Sound system
DJ Seed
various VJs

plus more…..

On the day call 02076445155 or 07951868252.

Reviews and more info can be found on the Reclaim The Streets London website http://rts.gn.apc.org

Legal & practical advice for squatters and other homeless people