Bath Bomb #20 Out Now

THE BATH BOMB

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Issue #20
free/donation
Mar 09

“News and abuse from Bath and beyond”

Somer Tenants Do ‘Ave ‘Em

Ever got that sinking feeling that your landlord is a little more concerned with cash than your wellbeing? That must be the feeling amongst Somer tenants who now face a well-above-inflation rent hike of 7.5%. Somer’s justification? They say that their rent is below the local average, and that they need the money for maintenance work. Hmm... A couple of points spring to mind here that may go some way to debunking Somer’s greedy little lies. One, being a supposedly social housing trust, specifically set up for people on low-to-no incomes, having a lower than average rent rate is nothing to boast about – it is the sole function of Somer to provide low cost housing for Bath residents after all. Their claim to provide “lower than regional average” rent also falls down when a brief look at local property websites reveals the regional average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom flat to be a whopping £894.00! In an area with a far higher than usual (you might say disgustingly high) percentage of toffs, the rent is obviously going to be wildly beyond the budget of the average person in social housing. Somer also claims to need the additional rent money for maintenance work. Okay, this sounds reasonable, but should that cash be sucked from the pockets of residents or from the coffers of Somer’s directors? A recent advert to recruit another director to Somer reveals a £125,000 annual salary (plus bonuses, plus 10% car allowance) – so who best should shell out for the work? And what have our brave Council done to come to our aid? Don Foster – as well his other admittedly urgent duties of posing for the local press with mouthfuls of banana (what are you good for?) – has asked Somer to introduce the hike over two years instead of one. We’ll, we’ve got news for you Donny boy, whether they ram it home hard, or slide it in gently, we’re still getting screwed! With the recession worsening, Somer have once again showed that they value profit over people and that the Council prioritises business interests over Bath residents. If we want fair rent, it looks like we’ll have to fight for it ourselves, and not rely on Dodgy Don’s dastardly deals with degenerate directors to denigrate dwellings.

On a similar note, it turns out that the equally dodgy Nightstone housing association are leaning on elderly residents on Walcot Street to move out, as they want to bump up the rent and lure in young professionals instead. But the residents are still refusing to budge – we’ll keep you posted.

http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/news/Somer-tenants-face-7-35-rent-rise/artic...
http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/news/slip-ups-banana-record-attempt/article-...

Game On!

Whilst big business and the state claimed “We didn't know” when the economic collapse kicked in last year, anybody with half a brain could see the recession coming from miles away. Maybe all these wealthy capitalists thought it was just a game. Well now it is: BAN presents the 'It's Not My Responsibility' game on Saturday the 14th March! The game is played with two teams, one representing liberty, and the other representing well-dressed big business and the state. The game is played with pre-provided big balloons, and the idea is to bounce away the responsibility balloons – (Boo! Hiss!) Credit Crunch, Bankruptcy, Unemployment, Surveillance, Competition, Bailiffs – whilst sharing the balloons representing the more anarchic side of life – Freedom, Community, Cooperation, Ethical Living, Fun, Courage... The more people the merrier, so come and join this creative opportunity to share wisdom with the people of Bath, and the odd tourist. Meet at the FreeShop stall outside the Pump Rooms on Stall Street Saturday at 1.30pm, and let the games commence at 2pm. Bring musical instruments, a sense of playfulness, and pom-poms to cheer on your side. Oh, and dress to impress!

Summit For The Weekend

In a few weeks’ time, the leaders of the world’s richest 19 countries, plus delegates from all EU states, will be meeting in London to discuss deepening the global recession. And as it is getting more and more obvious that it is them and their fatcat and banker buddies who have got us into this mess, we’ll be there to meet them! The week of action kicks off with the ‘Put People First’ march on Saturday the 28th. Meeting at 11am at the Embankment, it calls for “jobs, justice and climate” and is shaping up to be pretty huge. The demo will consist of thousands of people who’ve had just enough of ‘business as usual’, as well as the usual suspects: socialists, environmentalists, trade unionists and anarchists. This will be followed up by several midweek events, starting with ‘Storm The Banks’: starting at 11am on Wednesday the 1st of April, four simultaneous protests will make their way into the heart of London’s financial districts, where some will party, some will protest and some will be a little bit naughtier! There’s room enough for all forms of dissent - peaceful protesters, direct action enthusiasts, experienced and inexperienced protestors alike. Towards the end of the event, the Network for Climate Action have called for a camp to be set up in the financial district to oppose the carbon-driven economy that led to this recession – bring a sleeping bag, food, and sense of adventure, ‘cos this one’s not to be missed! The following day will see a series of protests around the venue of the G20 summit (the ExCeL Centre), during which some will attempt to block the delegates out, some will try to get in, and others will hold a rally. The actions are looking to be pretty dynamic, so if you’re feeling pissed of at the state we’re in, then this is the event for you. People will be travelling to all of the events from Bath, so to find someone to travel down with, drop Bath Activist Network an email to the usual address. What will you tell your grandkids when they ask you where you were when the revolution started? (Not up late slaving over two-bit radical news rags, we hope!)

http://www.g-20meltdown.org/
http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/
http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1084&Ite...

Taking Liberties Back

On Sunday the 22nd of March (a week later than usual, for those who’re paying attention), the latest in the series of ‘Bubbling Under’ film screenings will roll at the Porter Cellar on George Street, from 1pm. This month’s film, presented by Bristol Indymedia, will be ‘The Take’: in the wake of Argentina's dramatic economic collapse of 2001, Latin America's most prosperous middle class suddenly found itself wandering a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lay dormant too, until its former employees decided to take it back, and refused to leave! Facing off against bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale, the workers are part of a daring new grassroots movement of workers who occupy bankrupt businesses and create jobs and viable futures in the ruins of crumbling economies – it remains to be seen whether Bathonians will follow suit! Directed by journalist Avi Lewis and writer Naomi Klein.

http://www.thetake.org/index.cfm?page_name=argentina_hostpry_timeline

EVENTS

Bath Hunt Saboteurs meetings, 2nd and 4th Monday of the month, 8pm, The Bell, Walcot Street

London Road Food Co-op, Wednesdays, 4-7pm, Riverside Community Centre, London Road

Bath Stop The War Coalition vigil, Saturdays, 11.30am-12.30, Bath Abbey Courtyard

Bath FreeShop, Saturday 14th March, 12-3pm, outside Pump Rooms, Stall Street

Broadlands Orchardshare Volunteering Day, Saturday 14 Mar, 12-4pm, Broadlands Orchard, Box Road, Bathford, email broadlandsorchardshare [at] googlemail.com or phone 07532 472 256

Reclaiming Public Space street party, Saturday 14th March, 2-3pm, base of Milsom Street

National Squat Meet 2009, Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th March, somewhere in Bristol!, FTI nearer the time site or call 07790073015

‘Building Bridges in the Summer of Rage,’ Wednesday 18th March, 7.30pm, Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol: discussion on anarchist identity and public engagement: sharing ideas and tactics for making anarchism more accessible and visible. Free/donation.

‘ Garbage Warrior’ screening, Thursday 19th March, 7.30pm, upstairs at the Cork, Westgate Street, donation entry

Solidarity picket with EDO Decommissioner defendants on remand in prison, Saturday 21st March, 3pm, meet at corner of Cambridge and Gloucester Road, Bristol, bring flyers, placards, banners and noisemakers: http://decommisioners.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/resistin...rime
Send letters of support and solidarity to the 2 political prisoners: Robert Alford VP 7552 HMP Lewes , 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, Sussex, BN7 1EA; Elija Smith VP 7551 HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Rd, Horfield, BS7 8PS;
See here for info on writing to the prisoners:
http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/things-to-do...mand/

Bubbling Under screening, Sunday 22th March, 1-4pm, Porter Cellar bar, George Street

‘The Age of Stupid’ eco film screenings, Sunday 22nd – Tuesday 24th March, 6pm, 8.30pm & 1pm, Little Theatre, £6.90 entry

Greek Rebellion Info Tour, Friday 27th March, 7.30pm, Kebele, 14 Robertson Rd, Bristol

‘Put People First’ march, Saturday 28th March, 11am, London, http://www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk/

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair 09 punk benefit gig, Sunday 29th March, 7pm, The Junction, Stokes Croft, £5, with Cross-Stitched Eyes, the A-Heads and Jesus Bruiser

‘Green Light’ lecture on wind power, Tuesday 31st March, 7pm, BRLSI, 16-18 Queen Square, £3 waged, £1.50 unwaged

Storm The Banks carnival, Wednesday 1st April, 11am, London, http://www.g-20meltdown.org/

Bath Animal Action meeting, Wednesday 1st April, 7.30-8.30pm, backroom of The Bell, Walcot Street

Anti-G20 protests, Thursday 2nd April, ExCeL centre, London, http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1084&Ite...

‘Chris Carlsson in Conversation,’ Friday 3rd April, 7.30pm, St Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol, talk by the author of ‘Nowtopia’, a founder of critical mass bike-ins, member of San Francisco radical history group, http://www.nowtopia.org

Bath Friends of the Earth meeting, Monday 6th April, 8pm, Stillpoint, Broad Street Place, Broad Street

Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 8th April, 8.30pm, the Rummer, Grand Parade

Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 9th April, 7.30-9pm, downstairs at The Hobgoblin, St James Parade

Bath FreeShop, Saturday 11th April, 12-3pm, outside Pump Rooms, Stall Street

Bath Greenpeace meeting, Monday 13th April, 7.30-9pm, Stillpoint, Broad Street Place

Transition Open Forum, Tuesday 14th April, 7pm, Widcombe Social Club

‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: From Poll Tax Rebellion to Recession Resistance’ talk and film, Thursday 23rd April, 7.30pm, The Cube cinema, Dove Street South, Bristol

World Day for Lab Animals march, Saturday 25th April, Hyde Park, London, coach leaving Bath £10n waged, £8 unwaged, info@wdail.org to book place

Theory Corner: Safety Or Snobbery? B&NES vs. NFA Round 3

Last week, the Chronicle gave front page to the story of a young woman ASBO’d out of Bath for three years, the third homeless person to be similarly ejected in as many months. Yet how much of a threat is the homeless community to the rest of the city’s population? Are they thieving, anti-social and threatening like the Council, or are they on the receiving end of B&NES sycophantic drive to sweep away anything ‘undesirable’ from the eyes of the wealthy? And before we start with the Daily Mail-esque cries of “it’s their own fault,” statistics show that the vast majority of homeless have been the victims of domestic or sexual abuse at a young age, or have served in the armed forces, spat out without the skills to integrate when they cease being useful killers. In this journalist’s experience, I’ve had next to no trouble with Bath’s homeless, and only ever once have been threatened. There are however groups that I have often been made to feel unsafe by – those people who follow the acceptable conventions of successful society, who get hammered in a bar or club ever weekend before spilling out onto the picturesque Georgian streets to puke, threaten passersby and fight the early hours away. So why is it the homeless who bear the brunt of B&NES’ righteous wrath, rather than the better off, drunken little daddy’s boys?

Well, those who choose to get pissed up in bars and clubs pour their paypackets into Bath’s economy. They’re maybe not visibly different from you and I, and they follow more acceptable outlets for anti-social behaviour than Bath’s street dwellers. So a message to the little fascist gatekeepers in office who think it’s okay to decide who stays and who goes: the homeless aren’t a threat and they’re not vermin. You may not like them, or like seeing them, but that’s your fragile sensibilities being offended rather than your wellbeing. B&NES are not expelling the poor for your safety or mine, they’re pursuing gentrification to impress the tourists and keep this looking like a heritage city, whatever that is. The Council’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy is nothing short of classist discrimination that they get away with because chunks of the population view those poorer than they as some undesirable ‘other’, scared of a stereotype rather than fact. Until we address the fundamental problems at the root of our society, rather than allowing those at the top to bully and victimise those in need of solidarity, things can only get worse.

And for Sonya: until we sweep the bureaucrats out of our city, don’t let the bastards grind you down.

South West Women Reclaim The Night

On Friday the 20th of February the streets of Bristol were brought to life when 300 women marched in solidarity to demand safer streets and the right to roam at night without fear. The march was wonderfully colourful and comprised a samba band, belly dancers and females, (and some males) of all ages. The response of onlookers was very positive and was often joined by bystanders. The march lasted for two hours and was followed by speeches, fundraising and awareness-raising stalls and music at the Trinity Centre in Lawrence Hill.
This was organised with the intention of achieving three key goals.

Firstly, improvements in rape conviction rates: alarmingly, the conviction rate of rape cases is in decline, being only 4.2% in Avon and Somerset, highlighting yet another major problem with the judicial system. Secondly, the event sought to obtain volunteers and funding for the Bristol Rape Crisis Centre (email info [at] bristolrapecrisis.org.uk for more information). And thirdly, the event also addressed the fact that, whilst sex education is taught widely in schools, there is still a distinct lack of support and education available to youngsters on respectful relationships and safe, consensual sex. Incentives for such support in schools are advocated by various organisations like Women's Aid, and the National Children’s Bureau, whose campaign ‘Beyond Biology’ seeks to help young people prepare for the issues they will face as they grow up. If you would like to encourage your local school to take this issue more seriously, a model letter is available through the following link: http://www.bristolfeministnetwork.com/activism.html.

All in all, the event was a great success and will hopefully bring women a step closer to the freedom they continue to fight for.

Bath Activist Network are a local umbrella group campaigning on issues as diverse as development, environmentalism, anti-war, animal rights, workers’ rights and more. Helping to produce The Bath Bomb, we are open to anyone, and our members range from trade unionists to anarchists, liberals to greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, email bathactivistnet [at] yahoo.co.uk, or see our website: www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com

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Can’t Pay, Shouldn’t Pay

As the recession continues to bite, a group in Bath have had an early tangible success in their effort to stop the working class bearing the brunt of an upper class crisis. A Bath resident approached the group’s regular ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ stall in Whiteway as a sudden job cut had left the family struggling and unable to pay Council Tax. Good ol’ B&NES did the decent thing and immediately resorted to court and repossession threats. Fortunately, the campaign’s legal team were able to intervene, stop the court action, and get repayments fixed at a reasonable, humane level. A small start, of course, and it’s going to be a long fight, but the Whiteway group have experienced solicitors, a high level of community support, and a willingness to put bailiffs in their place, wherever that might be. If you know someone having problems with bailiffs, or have any information on the activities, movements or whereabouts of these parasites, you can contact the campaign confidentially on resistbailiffs [at] yahoo.co.uk, or give them a call on 07794 774938.

Bird Abusers Get Cocky

After a slight lull in the local anti-foie gras campaign (at least we had one issue off) – caused by the scum being driven underground by spirited protests – some optimistically-called restaurateurs decided to stick their heads back above the parapet. Apparently disappointed that the recession has yet to finish them off, the masochists at Beaujolais, off Queen Square, have placed the ‘delicacy’ back on the menu. Not content with attracting the inevitable noisy contingent of animal rights activists to a series of demos outside their premises, they’ve also decided to charge enough that most of their customers will probably be joining the demo once they see the bill... If you’re one of the rare minority of locals who haven’t yet been handed a leaflet about foie gras, it’s a pate made from duck or goose liver. But to get the perfect texture, the unfortunate birds spend the last 12 weeks of their lives in battery cages, being force-fed through a tube shoved down their throats, until their diseased livers swell to ten times the natural size. It’s illegal to produce in the UK, but EU laws allow posh-poseur restaurants to acquire the slop, dodgy black market-style, and sell it on at a huge mark-up to the crowds of wealthy aristo-wannabes who throng Bath centre in the evenings. And so, the first in a short series of weekly demos will be happening soon outside a Beaujolais near you. Save the birds! Starve the rich! After all, what else is there to do on a Friday night?

www.banfoiegras.org.uk

Off The Map, But Still Squatting The Lot

In a follow-up to last month, two days after the illegal eviction of a squatted property in Twerton, members of the Squatters Community Association of Bath retook their home. Despite the first legal hash-job, and Network Rail’s ineptitude in securing the building or indeed the occupiers’ possessions within, the SCABs report that they are currently safe and sound back in from the winter rain, wind, snow (and whatever else the confused climate is passing off as weather), and work has re-commenced eradicating damp and dry rot from the interior of the historic building, replacing damaged beams, rendering the sabotaged power supply safe, and clearing debris. Indeed, whilst Network Rail is more interested in pissing money away on bailiffs and illicit property empire expansion than actually seeing to the work of maintaining its substandard and overpriced rail network, the occupants are getting down to the duty of cleaning away the tangled foliage on the outside of the building, that nearby residents had been demanding for years. In the meantime, further threats of police raids were made on the 18th of last month, but a sixteen-strong resistance demo and communications from the Advisory Service for Squatters persuaded bullyish British Transport Police to no-show.

http://www.squatter.org.uk/

The Daily New Tesco Express

They breed like flies, don’t they? No sooner than the monopolising spoilt brats wheedle their new store onto Bathwick Street, but there’s due to be another one taking over the existing Somerfield in Weston. And they’ve also been upsetting residents by applying for a 6am to 11pm liquor license that the spineless Council will no doubt grant. Must be déjà vu.

http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/news/Concern-Tesco-drinks-licence-bid/articl...

BNP Can’t Do That There Here

What’s in a name? Nick Griffin, leader of far right nationalist BNP, would have posed the exact same question on Sunday the 8th of March, when he was due to talk at a fundraising charity do for the party’s Euro elections. The BNP are so respectable that they were forced to book the function room of the Park Hotel in Gloucestershire under a false name, as usual. However, as antifascists organised to gatecrash, the hotel itself was tipped off as to nature of their hatemongering guests and cancelled, as did their back-up venue. So, instead they all went home, tails between legs. Despite the party’s new drive towards legitimacy – “we’re not racist, but” – the ongoing free ‘Soho Road to the Punjab’ exhibition in Bristol, celebrating 50 years of Bhangra music & culture in the UK (situated in Central Library off College Green), has recently been attacked by racists who stole exhibition materials and left behind a BNP calling card. Equally compromising the party’s be-suited facade is the fact that many high-up members of the group, such as former chief lieutenant Tony Lecomber, dabble in assault, explosives, arson, assault and even the odd attempted contract killing. Fun for all the family, eh?

http://lancasteruaf.blogspot.com/2009/03/anger-as-bnp-l....html
http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/the-real-bnp/BNP terroris...s.php

Erosion Of Civil Liberties: Case #324

Since the 16th of last month, the Terrorism Act 2000 was amended by section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, now making it illegal to take photos, or indeed to “elicit information” about police intelligence services, or the military, which might be “useful to a person... preparing an act of terrorism.” Which seems okay, if you lived in a parallel world where the definition of terror doesn’t get stretched to the point of ridiculousness where leafleters, CND Quakers or letter-writers are considered terrorist: the pen may be mightier than the sword, but it’s hardly on the scale of nailbombs. Previous to this, the presence of cameras has often been a useful tool for keeping police within the law, or at least aiding in prosecutions against them... So remember, gentle tourists, don’t accidentally catch a copper in your holiday snaps, or you might be one of them foreign terrorists, and go down for 10 years.

http://www.bjp-online.com/public/showPage.html?page=839141

And now, to the disclaimer: As anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of each contributor. Naturally, any right-wing or corporate bullshit will be binned and spat on. Needless to say, the opinions of the author of this disclaimer does not necessarily represent the views of any other contributor...

For further info on any of our stories see www.thebathbomb.blogspot.com