Gagged 12 Anarchist Newsletter of South East Wales

Anarchist Newsletter of South-East Wales • Against Power & Profit • Anti-Copyright

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Housing Stock Transfer - Don't be Conned!

The Welsh Assembly Government is demanding all homes meet "Welsh Quality Housing Standard" (WQHS) but is unwilling to invest properly for fear of increasing 'public sector borrowing requirements'. Desperate to dodge these difficulties several south Wales councils are resorting to lies & deceptions to offload their housing stock to private landlords.

Tenants & members of Tenant Compacts should be aware that a 'Community Housing Mutual' (CHM) is in reality a 'Registered Social Landlord' (RSL). The propaganda churned out by Councils claims this model will empower tenants like a co-operative or Tenant Management Organisation would. It will not! Tenants will only be allowed to elect a few fellow tenants onto the board. They will have no say over which council officials or professional private business members make up the rest of it. The structure of the board would ensure that the elected tenants could be outvoted on any decision or proposal. The principle of the co-operative movement is that people get together to create & manage something for themselves from the bottom up, on a small scale. Successful housing co-ops do exist, as well as co-operative food stores & bookshops.

Though CHM might have a 'not for profit' label, it is meaningless. BUPA is 'not for profit', but would you trust it to run the NHS? They are not being set up because tenants want them. The driving force is coming from the top, the government's privatisation policy & the desires of private investors.
The difference with RSLs is that they borrow money from banks, behave like private companies & can provide fat-cat salaries for senior executives. Money borrowed has to be paid back with interest, meaning higher rents & the introduction of new 'service charges'. The culture within such organisations is based around keeping the banks happy, branching out into market development to maximise returns - in other words, profit. Sunderland Housing Group (an RSL) set up a profit making subsidiary to build new homes for sale on the private market. With 'regeneration' comes the bulldozing of tenants' homes & a lack of affordable houses (the waiting list in Sunderland has gone from 5,000 before the transfer, to more than 19,000 after).

Tenant Compact members should be aware of the other side of the argument when it comes to housing stock transfer. That councils have chosen to ignore it speaks volumes.

As anarchists we want all housing to be socially owned & held in common by everyone in a genuinely co-operative manner that will truly empower people. But at this time whilst the most affordable housing supposedly managed for the good the tenants is in danger of being privatised by Torfean, Monmouthshire & Newport councils we are supportive of the campaigns by ‘Wales Against Stock transfer’ (WASTe) & 'Defend Council Housing' which backs the fourth option of direct government investment in repairing & updating of homes to 'Welsh Quality Housing Standard'. In 2003/4 tenants paid, on average, £2650 in rent but only received £1773 in services (Government figures) that leaves £877 per tenant that could be used to fund the investment programme required to fund homes reaching the 'WQHS', which will according to Institute of Welsh Affairs will cost £3.3 million over 30 years. Stock transfer leads to higher rents - with it a higher housing benefit bill for the treasury, estimates based on 1 million housing transfers put this at approximately £249 billion per annum.

Government ministers claim stock transfer means more improvements for less money. The opposite is true stock transfer wastes billions.
see: www.walesagainststocktransfer.org.uk & www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk for info

HUNGER FOR A NEW LIFE!

On Saturday 8th April, over 300 people from all over Britain (including south wales) converged outside Harmondsworth & Colnbrook, two of the UK’s ten detention centres to protest the racist & unjust immigration & border regime as well as the brutal treatment that inmates face within detention prisons.

The demonstration began at around 11.30 but a large police presence forced the majority of demonstrators into a ‘pen’ outside the detention centres preventing inmates & demonstrators establishing a line of sight. However, around 40 activists who approached Colnbrook from the rear were able to make contact with the inmates who could be seen waving through windows & banging could be heard. While a choir & brass section played a number of activists went over a small wooden fence to bang on the huge perimeter fence in solidarity with the inmates. Police then began to forcefully move the activists who continued to bang on the fence while being pushed, shoved & knocked the full length of the fence & onto the main road. As many officers lost their cool, more arrived & were able to construct a poorly organised ‘bubble’ around the activists.
Inside of the prisons, inmates were forbidden to go into the exercise yard or near the windows in case they make contact with protesters. A number of inmates were beaten by guards when they tried to see the protesters outside & were forced (in many cases violently) back into their cells.
In protest at their inhumane treatment by security guards, 150 inmates in Colnbrook refused food & water on that day beginning an indefinite hunger strike with one hunger striker stating:

"The hunger strike in Colnbrook will go ahead until we're dead, because to deport us to our countries is like killing us. So we've decided to die with hunger".

On April 15th over 120 inmates at Haslar detention centre, Portsmouth, began a hunger strike against arbitrary detention & in solidarity with the inmates at Colnbrook who remain on indefinite hunger strike.

On Thursday 20th April around 20 Turkish Kurdish inmates in Harmondsworth began a hunger strike. Meanwhile on the same day a solidarity demonstration took place on Queen Street, Cardiff. About 30 people & a ‘No Borders, No Nations, No Deportation’ banner gathered to hand out flyers & talk to people about the situation of the hunger strikers & immigration detention & borders in general.

Despite recent media bile & hysterics about asylum seeker criminals, we believe that the real crime is the imprisonment of thousands of people whose only crime is to dream & seek out a new life free of pain, fear & poverty. We call for the ABOLITION OF ALL BORDER CONTROLS & FOR ALL DETENTION PRISONS

Cardiff airport: flying into a storm...?

“Air travel is the world's fastest growing source of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which cause climate change.� That’s the verdict from Airportwatch.org.uk, along with huge numbers of environmental groups & research bodies. Yet despite the fact that aviation is killing our planet, Cardiff Airport is planning a multi-million pound expansion to damaging flights in & out of Wales. At a recent public meeting, the airport’s head of commercial development, Steve Hodgetts, was exposed as telling porkies to shore up the arguments in favour of more flying. After claiming that aviation contributes less than 1% to the total of carbon emissions in the UK, persistent questioning from the public forced Hodgetts to admit that this figure was arrived at without counting the emissions from international travel (the huge bulk of UK flights)!

At the meeting the airport made it clear that it does not answer to the wishes of the people of South Wales – only the national government (i.e. big business). Even though the airport claims that expansion will bring economic benefits, Friends of the Earth estimate that by 2020 Wales alone will lose around £19billion from money leaving the country, with Welsh tourists spending abroad over four times what tourists spend here. The airport’s profits come at a cost to the local economy which hurts everyone in Wales, not just those lucky enough to afford a holiday in the sun. The BBC recently reported that the campaign of direct action against the road building frenzy of the 1990s contributed to doubling the costs involved in some cases. Given the airport’s lack of local accountability, perhaps it needs to start thinking about how much more its expansion plans might cost if they run into concerted resistance? More info: www.airportwatch.org.uk TO BE SHUT DOWN.

The STATE We’re In!

On the 23rd March ‘Aerolink 2006’ was held at the National Cricket Centre in Cardiff. Aerolink is an aerospace “International Industry meet the Buyer Event" with an exhibition & conference. Arms dealers BAe Systems, Rolls Royce & Thales were in attendance, as were the police to protect these dealers in death & make sure business ran smoothly. However a protester was able to walk right past police & security into the sports hall filled with suited & name-tagged war profiteers, glossy weapon brochures, films of the latest fighter planes, military salesmen & cosy, private cubicles where you could go & speak to a salesmen in a ‘secure space’. When the protester sensed he'd out stayed his welcome, he began handing out information leaflets complete with photos of victims of BAe war machinery. However distribution was soon disrupted by security asking "have you paid?" tickets being £175 "what do you think?" was the reply. The protester agreed to leave & headed for the door when the (better late than never) cops grabbed his arm, stopping him leaving.

The protester finally left the building in the arms of the coppers after personal details & a search of his bag were requested & (legally) refused. The redfaced & ever angering coppers couldn't tolerate not getting their own way & politely offered the protester arrest under trespass or breach of the peace.

It’s ironic that a protester can be arrested & locked up for 4 hours under beach of peace when being surrounded by so many murdering businessmen. The crime (actual wording on custody record) was the person, when asked, refused to leave, so was then arrested to prevent a breach of the peace. Refused! Surely they mean prevented. It’s got to be a spelling mistake. The police surely wouldn't lie! Would they? It couldn't have been that they just wanted the details of the protester could it!

The moral of the story is, profit from death & destruction, wear a nice suit & you'll be protected by the state. Distribute leaflets, question or attempt to stop the war machine & you'll be locked up. Wonder why we’re against the State!?

At the end of the day protesters gathered outside the cricket club hall to confront the businessmen about their involvement in killing people all over the world. A banner that read ‘The arms trade, it’s just not cricket!’ was hung on the side of the building. Flyers with information & pictures of victims of war were handed out. The response from salesmen was ‘war makes money, it’s an honest trade’ or quite simply ‘we don’t care’. Maybe they’d care if it was their children with their heads blown off.

Council Strike

On March 28th over a million Local Government workers took part in a one-day strike that resulted in the biggest walk out since the 1926 General Strike. In Wales over 80,000 stayed away from work & the lack of support staff meant the closure of 740 Welsh Schools.
The day of action by 11 unions was part of a defence of the Local Government Pension Scheme, which is currently under attack. Ironically legislation which will mean, amongst other things, that council workers have to work longer, was laid before parliament the same day as the Government agreed improvements to their own already outrageous pension scheme.

Needless to say, the media came down heavily on the employers side claiming council workers are fat cats & changes had to be made because people are living longer & arguing that the pension scheme costs the council tax payer a fortune. The fact is, the average pension for council workers is £3,800 a year, manual workers such as bin men are living no longer now than they did 20 years ago & the scheme counts for a mere 2% of the council tax bill. Claims that the unions had gone into strike action rather than talks were ridiculous, as the unions had been trying to negotiate for over two years.

Terry Evans, a UNISON activist, said “Council workers have always been poorly paid but it has traditionally been a secure job with a good pension. Privatisation has put pay to the concept of a job for life & now they want to make us work till we drop. We are not asking for anything extra, we just want them to stick to the pension arrangements we signed up for & have been paying for since we started work. We are being told that we must wake up to the real world & bring our pensions in line with the private sector. That is like saying ‘we have been mugged so you must be as well’. Well we are not going to join in a race to the bottom.�

Throughout Wales the strike was solid with around 98% staying away from work. Public displays of anger such as rallies & marches took place throughout Wales.

The solidarity of the action took the employers by surprise & the announcement of further days of action, including selective all out action, resulted in calls for further negotiation. An offer is now on the table, which is considered serious enough to suspend further action. The offer includes protection for staff already in the scheme. Grassroots activists are urging national negotiators not to settle for a compromise on anything but the workers terms.

Stroll against climate change

On Saturday 22nd April about 150 people gathered in Cardiff to march against Climate Change. As the future of the planet becomes more uncertain the mainstream media & the government are finally talking about the effects of climate change. But is a bit of talk & a stroll around a city going to combat climate change? Well, we had the march &…nothing’s changed. It’s brilliant to raise awareness about upcoming dangers but it means nothing if serious action isn’t taken. Even corporations are talking about climate change as if they care, when it’s actually just PR to make sure you keep buying their products guilt free! Whilst they continue to destroy the environment in the search for cheap resources!) For example, BP claims to be the ‘green’ oil company, but they are publicly committing to expand their fossil fuel production by at least 3.5% a year & spend less that 1% of profits on renewable energy. As the planet is getting hot & furious, so must the resistance! Action must be taken for finding alternative ways of living, & action must be taken against climate killers. A camp against climate change is happening in the North of England on 26th August to 4th September with the aim of bringing together people campaigning against the many industries that are at the root causes of climate change & people promoting practical, human-scale solutions. More info: www.climatecamp.org.uk

PIPELINE!

A 115 mile long Liqufied Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline is planned stretching from two terminals at Milford Haven to Gloucestershire. Work on the first section of the Pipeline which runs to Aberdulais is already underway, a pressure reduction station is also planned at Cilfrew. The pipeline goes through many areas of natural beauty & very close to many homes. Resistance by community groups has already begun. More information next issue.

South Wales Sabs look back on a long season

With the "ban" in place from the start of the season, Sabs were interested to see Hunt activities & surprise, surprise (sabs were not) we found every hunt still hunting & killing animals; making use of the loopholes in the law saying that they are "hound exercising, flushing to guns or bird of prey". South Wales Hunt Sabs visited Cotswold Vale Farmers, Brecon & Tal-y-bont, Llanyibbi, Ledbury, Leadon Vale Bassets, Gelligaer Farmers, Monmouth, Llanginor, Golden Valley, & Glyn Celyn Beagle Hunt - none were keen to see us & took great measures to avoid us - blocking our landrover in, using false vehicles to avoid being followed or just staying great distances away. Cops were called on numerous occasions, only to be respond with dumb questions like "how do you know they’re hunting?".

Hunt violence is on the increase, on January2nd at Gelligaer Farmers hunt we picked up on CB radios ‘a fox has just crossed over into the valley’, then ‘they got the fox’. Our Landrover was surrounded, punched, kicked, rocked & had a tyre slashed by farmers on quad bikes.
Whilst filming the Golden Valley hunt illegally hunting on January 14th, three sabs were assaulted, one being dragged off his landrover bonnet & having his video camera stolen then smashed up. A police helicopter arrived & a hunt supporter was arrested & charged with three assaults & criminal damage. Whilst sabs "thank" the cops for their response its a shame they cant deploy their resources to stop illegal hunting in the first place.

In response to the Worcestershire Hunt intimidating & assaulting sabs we joined hunt saboteurs from across the country to sab the Worcestershire hunt on January 28th. Early on we were successful in taking the full pack of hounds from them but were attacked without warning by hunt supporters later on. Both a hunt saboteur & a hunt supporter were taken to hospital with head injuries.

At a meet of the Gelligaer Farmers hunt on February 11th, the hunt even attacked a Channel 4 journalist who was documenting the day!
On February 25th the Leadon Vale Basset Hounds were well & truly sabbed. We saw the hunt’s beagles hunting close behind a hare just minutes after leaving the meet. We chased after them & the hunt decided to pack-up after just 50 minutes!

Using horn calls & a Gizmo (a recording of other hounds, played through an amp), we managed took the hounds from the Cotswold Vale Farmers hunt on March 11th, leading them away from the fox they had been chasing. Later on in the day the hunt’s whipper-in, Nick Target, attempted to steal one of the saboteur’s video cameras, failed, & became very violent. 8 police cars & a helicopter turned up, not to police the hunt, but to police the sabs! The police blocked our vehicles on the road, manhandled sabs in the field & nearly ran one sab over.

We sabbed the Cotswold Vale Farmers on March 18th. who, fuming at the presence of the sabs, even kicked a saboteur in front of the police! As the group took some of the hounds from the hunt using horn calls, they were attacked by the hunt & their followers. two sabs needed hospital treatment, both having surgical staples to head wounds & one with broken ribs, cops arrested & released one hunt supporter with no charge,(even though it was caught on tape!). The group stayed with the hunt until the end of the day, the police told them they would arrest any sabs they could catch to prevent a breach of the peace!

That's it for another season, south wales sabs would like to say a big cheers to Birmingham, Worcestershire, Bristol, Bath, Pewsy Vale, Sheffield, Northants & Nottingham sabs for the hook ups & help, CHEERS!

In a band..?

Interested in helping Revolutionary causes in South Wales..?
wanna play gigs for drunken anarchists..?
All you dreams can come true when you contact: buckfast4breakfast@hotmail.com

World Animal Day

Saturday 22nd April was World Lab Animal Day. South Wales Animal Rights activists joined others from all over the UK in Oxford for a rally & march against Oxford University trying to build a new animal testing laboratory. The University has been trying to obtain an injunction against activists even entering the city, the last court hearing was held in secret, but the judge did not allow the injunction, adjourning the case until 18th May.
After some rousing speeches 2000 or so protesters headed off making lots of noise, then fell silent as we proceed along the High street to the library where a horrific model of a monkey being experimented on was revealed which the police had previously tried to cover, it being too upsetting for the public, it can go on behind closed doors, but a model of the torture & suffering cannot be seen by the public! The march passed off peacefully, despite usual police provocation, & finished with speeches & delicious vegan food by Veggies!
Opposition to the G8 is as important as ever

Working locally against the policies & practices of the G8 is essential but mass mobilisations are crucial. They are a rallying call to the millions who oppose the G8 in their daily lives, a direct challenge to their ability to control movement & repress dissent, & a chance to show our collective strength. On July 15th 2006 there will be a mass mobilisation against the G8 in St Petersburg, Russia. There has been a call for international support for this mobilisation. Russian activists have called for as many internationals as possible to the G8 summit. g8-2006.plentyfact.net

Gagged! can be found at: CARDIFF: Spillers Records, Hayes Island. Europa Cafe Bar, Castle Street. AJs Cafe, City Road. Ozone Cafe, Charles Street. Buzz & Co, High Street Arcade. Spice of Life, Inverness Place. Claire's Buttons, Castle Arcade. CHEPSTOW: Tattoos, Beaufort Square. CWMBRAN: Metalbodies, Inshops. NEWPORT:The Murenger, High Street. Le Pub, Caxton Place. Rockaway Records, Indoor Market. Meze Bar, Market Street. Negative Zone, Indoor Market.O.S.S.S, Market Arcade. TJs, Clarence Place. & all sorts of other strange places. Send an email to gagged-subscribe@lists.riseup.net to subscribe online. Help distribute Gagged!

Diary Dates
MAY
15th: CAN meeting, 8.30pm, upstairs at Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street, Cardiff. Fortnightly.
17th: PAD Meeting, 7.30pm upstairs at Glamorgan Staff Club, Westgate Street, Cardiff. weekly.
20th: Global boycott of Procter & Gamble www.uncaged.co.uk/pg
22nd: Gwent Anarchists meeting, 8.30pm at Murenger, High Street, Newport. fortnightly.
24th: PAD Meeting,
26th: Subhumans, The Viktims & This System Kills. £8, 7pm at Tjs, Clarance Place Newport. Classic Anarcho-Punk!
29th: CAN meeting
31st: PAD Meeting
JUNE
3rd - 5th Street Medic Training, London.
Training in the basic information & skills you’d need to provide 1st aid at protests & direct action. www.actionmedics.org.uk
5th: Gwent Anarchists meeting
7th: PAD Meeting
9th - 11th Weekend of Resistance Against "Greenscare" a call out for action & solidarity with earth/animal liberation prisoners everywhere. www.freefreenow.org/june2006.htm
10th: Road Block national conference. Birmingham. www.roadblock.org.uk
12th: CAN meeting
14th: PAD Meeting
15th: Emcee Lynx, Japonica & Pondlife Mcs. £3 8pm at Le Pub, Caxton Place, Newport. Anarchist Hip Hop!
16th: Emcee Lynx, Japonica & Pondlife Mcs. £3 8pm at the Old Howardian, Clifton Street, Cardiff.
19th: Gwent Anarchists meeting
21st: PAD Meeting
25th: Conflict & the Varukers £10 8pm at Clwb Ifor Bach, Womanby Street, Cardiff. Classic Anarcho-punk!
26th: CAN meeting
28th: PAD Meeting

Gagged! is produced by GA & CAN. Both are very simular, contact your local group or set one up!

Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) is a collective of people who want to pursue political demonstrations through direct action. There is no membership, no leaders, just like minded individuals. Email: cardiffanarchists@riseup.net Web: riseup.net/cardiffanarchists

Gwent Anarchists are like-minded individuals believing in autonomy, respect & justice; against all forms of exploitation & bigotry. Aiming to increase the knowledge of & create a resistance to governments & big business abusing people & the earth. Post: PO Box 70, Newport NP20 5XX Email: gwentanarchists@yahoo.co.uk

No Borders South Wales organises on migration issues & acts to break down boundaries; racial, cultural, gender, sexual, class & political that divide us. Email: noborderswales@riseup.net

South Wales Against the G8 (SWAG8) is a coalition of groups wishing to mobilise against this year's G8 Summit both in St Petersburg & in the UK. Email: s_w_a_g_8@yahoo.co.uk

Anarchist Federation Cymru is the regional contact of an organisation of class struggle anarchists in Britain & Ireland which aims to abolish capitalism & all oppression to create a free & equal society. Email: wales@afed.cjb.net Web: www.afed.org.uk

Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) aims to create physical space in Cardiff for groups & individuals who cannot or will not work within the constraints of governmental or corporate control. Email: thepad@riseup.net Phone: 07910973876 Web: www.thepad.org.uk

Queer Mutiny Cardiff creating an alternative to the commercial gay scene. Opposing gender & sexual binarism, collapsing boundaries & challenging hierarchy. Web: www.cardiffqueermutiny.co.uk

Western Animal Rights Network (WARN) is a regional animal rights network Web: www,warnetwork.org RHONDDA Email: rhonddaanimalrights@yahoo.co.uk Swansea Email: swansea_ar@webtribe.net Post: PO Box 7, Swansea, SA9 2YE

Eatoutveganwales hold free vegan food fairs & produce the welsh vegan guide Email: eatoutveganwales@yahoo.co.uk

South Wales Hunt Sabs saving animals’ lives now, actively sabotaging bloodsports. Post: PO Box 1894, Newport NP19 4WZ. Swansea Phone: 01792475092 Newport Phone: 0770815642

Now, in a Minute! are an anti-profit vegan organic kitchen collective. For herbs, spices & revolution! Food not bombs! Email: cardiffkitchencollective@lists.riseup.net

Keep up to date with news from all over the world like the sort you find in Gagged! online on a variety of websites, here are a few that we’d recommend: www.schnews.org.uk www.indymedia.org.uk www.libcom.org www.anarkismo.net www.infoshop.org