Bath Bomb #23 Out Now

THE BATH BOMB
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Issue #23
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June 09

“Nick Griffin: if you’re reading this, we’re in your house”

Pulling A Fash One: Bath 3, BNP 0

The BNP went three goals down on Friday the 22nd May in the continuing grudge match between themselves and the people of Bath. This time the venue was the prestigious BRLSi, on Queen Square. Nearly 100 people from a variety of backgrounds (including antifa, anarchists, greens, IWW, socialists and a good number of pissed off Bathonians) responded to a call out from Bath Activist Network to protest a hustings meeting featuring the fascist BNP.

The demo was a huge success, seeing the front doors blockaded for nearly two hours, preventing the meeting from going ahead. The majority of speakers due to represent their parties pulled out of the meeting and opted to speak on the street instead, many making the decision to do so on the night. A tiny mob of eight fascists, most from out of town, turned up and made a pitiful attempt to force their way in before giving up and spending the rest of the night moaning to the police (one of whom had an anti-BNP leaflet mysteriously taped to his back). Bristol-based BNP member Clive Courtney was arrested after shoving a local man to the ground.

The blockade ended when the 50 police who were eventually drafted in demanded that the demo move out of the public view - protesters unanimously refused, and the picket was violently broken up, allowing the fascists entry to a deserted building, as the real democracy was in full swing on the streets! While addressing the empty room, BNP Chippenham MEP candidate Jeremy Wotherspoon denied being racist, said he recently ‘shook hands with a negro’ (his words, not ours).

In an interesting side note, members of the public let protesters know that the police were describing them as 'scum' and activists have some interesting video footage of angry, rotund Bristol BNP high-up Mark Warren-Clutterbuck having a private chat and a laugh with senior police. The BNP requested that once the blockade was ended, they should be allowed to move in en masse - a request that the police were all too willing to facilitate. The back-patting and obvious mutual support between the cops and Nazis was sickening, but on the night the facts spoke for themselves - public support was overwhelmingly in favour of the blockade, and the 'no platform for fascists' position.

The BNP still features hatemonger activists convicted of bombings, murder and assault, internally calls for a reduction in democratic decision-making in the party, and only permits white ethnic, ‘indigenous’ Brits to join as full members. It is impossible for the BNP to publicly advertise, or hold a meeting without protection from the police and a huge and angry reaction from the vast majority of the public. Well done to everyone who turned up and showed once again that the BNP are not welcome in civilised society, let alone Bath. It’s just a shame that the BRLSi organizers toothlessly felt obliged to provide the BNP the credibility they so crave by inviting them; hopefully, there won’t be a next time. And if you do have any info on BNP activity in your area, email either bathactivistnet [at] yahoo.co.uk, or phone 08451 265011.

http://bristolantifa.org
http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/inyourtown/corsham/4365146.Corsham_...

Eco Battle For Bathampton: Round 2

News has reached us that B&NES Council has made the public-friendly decision of approving the massively unpopular drain on financial and environmental resources that is the park and ride at Bathampton Meadows. The park and ride, part of a ludicrously expensive, environmentally/socially destructive and massively flawed transport package, is to be built on the ancient meadowlands which are part of the Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and contain two ancient monuments. The location is poorly-chosen and the council themselves have conceded that the traffic easing effects of the park and ride will be ‘minimal’.

Maybe the council have forgotten the headache that was caused last time the authorities tried to bulldoze the natural habitats surrounding Bathampton. In 1994, a large tree camp was set up to oppose the Bathampton A36/A46 link road, costing the authorities thousands in security costs and putting the project way behind schedule. The same looks set to happen again, with local activists honing their eco-defence skills. Rest assured that if the bulldozers roll in, so will scores of angry locals and activists determined to fight for the meadow inch by inch. The council’s disregard for the environment looks set to ignite a battle that will be giving them serious headaches for years to come. You can still write letters of objection to the scheme, and a template letter can be found at http://www.savebathamptonmeadows.org.uk, and, short notice, push a ‘call in’ for a public enquiry by the 23rd of this month.

Stop the press: at a recent public meeting, we have just heard that the Government Office for the South West have just initiated an ‘Article 14’, a modest-sounding bit of jargon that indicates that they now require more time to consider the scheme – so nothing’s set in concrete yet.

Debt Advice Centre Opens In Twerton

The Bath ‘Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay’ campaign has opened a drop-in centre for advice on debts, benefits, bailiffs and general help with the recession – and possibly any other problems you may have! Pop round the Twerton social centre (4 Day Crescent, Twerton) on Wednesdays between 4pm and 7pm, for a friendly cuppa and a chat with one of our helpful trained volunteers.

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

debt advice drop-in, Wednesdays, 4-7pm, Twerton social centre, Day Crescent

The Lost Plot workday, Thursdays, 10am-dusk, Bathampton

anti-foie gras demo, Fridays, meet Queen Square 7pm

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

Bubbling Under, Sunday 21st June, 1-4pm, Porter Cellar, George Street

Calais No Border Camp, 23rd-29th June, France

Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, Monday 22nd June, venue TBC, 7.30pm, http://www.bathcyclingcampaign.org.uk

Transition Bath talk on public transport issues, Wednesday 24th June, 8pm, Widcombe Social Club

Transition Drinks, Wednesday 24th June, 8pm, upstairs at The Raven

anarcho-punk gig, Friday 26th June, 8pm, The Porter Butt, London Road, Bath, feat. Citizen Fish, A heads, Surrender, Filthy Habits

animal sanctuaries benefit gig Saturday 27th June, 7.30pm, The Plough, Easton, Bristol, feat Babar Luck, Ratface & Tracey Curtis, £4 entry

Recycle Your Sundays, Sunday 28th June, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides, www.rysbath.org.uk/Hazel 01225 469199

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

Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 2nd July, 7.30-9pm, downstairs at The Hobgoblin, St James Parade

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

Film: ‘Wedding in Galilee’, Tuesday 7th July,7.30pm, Masonic Hall, Frome, £5/£3 concessions; presented by Frome Friends of Palestine - part of Frome Festival

Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 8th July, 8.30pm, the Porter, George Street

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

Broadlands Orchardshare Volunteering Day, Saturday 11th July, 12-4pm, Broadlands Orchard, Box Road, Bathford, email broadlandsorchardshare [at] googlemail.com or phone 07532 472 256

Danish Climate Camp, Denmark, Saturday 11th July – Sunday 19th July, http://camp09.dk

Recycle Your Sundays, Sunday 12th July, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides, www.rysbath.org.uk/Hazel 01225 469199

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

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

French Climate Camp Monday, Monday 3rd August – Sunday 9th August, France, http://www.campclimat.org

Belgian/Dutch Climate Action Camp, Monday 3rd August - Sunday 9th August, near Antwerp, http://www.klimaatactiekamp.org

The Camp for Climate Action in Scotland, Monday 3rd – Tuesday 11th August, Scotland, http://climatecampscotland.org.uk

Cymru Climate Camp, Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th August 2009, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, http://climatecampcymru.org

Greek No Borders Camp, Tuesday 25th August – Monday 31st August, Lesvos, Greece, http://lesvos09.antira.info

The Camp for Climate Action 2009, Thursday 27th August and Wednesday 2nd September, London, http://www.climatecamp.org.uk

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, Saturday 12th September, The Island, Silver Street, Bristol, 10.30am-7pm, http://www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org

Bristol Co-Mutiny: Social Change Not Climate Change gathering, Sunday 13th September – Saturday 19th September, http://www.comutiny.wordpress.com

International Day of Climate Action, Saturday 24th October, http://www.350.org/ oct24

Exclusive: Dirty Don’s Dodgy Expenses

With the ample evidence pouring out of the cash trough that is Westminster to attest to the corrupt nature of the vast majority of our MPs, it may come as no surprise to many of you that our own ‘Dodgy’ Don Foster MP is also apparently on the take. Our favourite everyman has been claiming a staggering £380 per week allowance for his second home (£230 above the national average, and working out to a huge £19,760 per year). In addition to this, Mr Foster’s ‘miscellaneous’ claims per year total over £5,000 and have risen by 60% since 2001. Obviously as Don gets more and more used to rubbing shoulders with the shower of cheats and liars that pass themselves off as our leaders, he gets more and more comfortable with helping himself to a plush life using our cash. But, on a salary of a mere £65,000 a year, can we blame poor Don for claiming an additional total of £92,000, including expenses, secretarial services and ‘miscellaneous’ expenses in 2007?

As if this weren’t enough, Don makes a nice little earner for his political career by accepting huge wedges of cash; £99,015.09 in 2007 alone to be exact, from a shady character with his roots in white collar crime. The super rich and super crooked Paul Strasburger is a local millionaire, owner of no less than three local estate agents and by far the largest bankroller of the local Lib Dems. While hugely distasteful, being a millionaire and a land shark is not technically a crime. What IS straying towards the illegal however is Strasburger’s dealings with a certain Michael Brown, another bankroller of the Lib Dems. While on the run for theft and money laundering (Brown is now hiding out in the Caribbean) police took an interest in searching the home of Strasburger who had put his house forward as Brown’s bail address. This is just another example of big business scratching the back of politicians – the old boys’ club in action – and adds to the image we are seeing more and more of the rich and political classes sneering at us while they rob for the poor and keep for themselves. Yet still, we can’t hold Don and his Dodgy big business pals solely responsible; after all, when in Rome...

...And The BNP Are At It, Too!

Wonk-eyed Nazi Nick Griffin has gone to great lengths to distance his party from their white supremacist, fascist image, dressing the party up as an alternative to corrupt mainstream politicians. But while the party has temporarily un-stiffened their arms, and tries not to be openly racist (an attempt foiled by even the lightest scrutiny), a brief look over their expenses claims show them to be just as bad as the rest. In Barking and Dagenham, seven BNP councillors attended only 27% of meetings while still pocketing their full £9,801 allowance. A BNP councillor in Sandwell attended none of the meetings at which he was expected and took the full allowance while the party’s 2007 accounts failed their audit as several grand of expenditure was not properly recorded. They have also been in trouble recently after being caught claiming some paid-up party members were self employed to avoid paying income tax and NI contributions. So, as well as being obviously racist (Nick Griffin recently expressed a hope of igniting a racial war while addressing a KKK rally in the USA, and has published books denying the Holocaust), violent and generally repressive and obnoxious, it turns out that the BNP are just as corrupt as the rest of them, and have been joining all the other parties in wallowing in unearned piles of our cash. Bastards, the lot of ‘em!

Nobody Wins Euro Elections

The recent European elections were a resounding defeat for mainstream political parties – and another example of how undemocratic the European Parliament actually is. Labour suffered their biggest setback since the birth of Tony Blair, UKIP struggled to keep the votes they already had, whilst leftist mainstream parties such as the Greens made significant gains. However, the real winner was Nobody. Europe-wide, an incredible 57% voted for Nobody – 65% in the UK – an astonishing mandate for social change on a scale unseen since the inception of the Liberal party in the 1870s.

Unfortunately, and to the disgust of a disillusioned electorate across the continent, the EU REFUSED to acknowledge these votes, and declared that all the seats fairly won by Nobody would be REDISTRIBUTED amongst the other parties. And so we have a situation where parties such as the BNP, who took LESS votes in this election than the last, have taken seats in the EU Parliament for the first time in history.

In France in 2007 the state’s refusal to recognize a 16% vote for Nobody led to rioting in most major cities. Earlier this year, the Icelandic government’s refusal to allow Nobody to take positions of power democratically theirs contributed to the popular overthrow of that government. With the anger currently brewing across Europe, can similar uprisings be far away?

Art With A Capital 'F'

Those dastardly johnnies from B.A.D. (Bath Arts Dictatorship) have been up to their old tricks again. This lot make up the secretive little cabal of the Bath Festivals committee who hide themselves away in their suite of rooms atop the city's Tourist Information Centre, busily massaging their fantasies and egos, laying down the law to you, the Bath public, on vot you vill and vill not enjoy, ja?

Their latest two fingers-up to public opinion came in the form of a pair of monstrous and ugly mashed-wire-coathanger 'sculptures' by Gloucester 'artist' Sophie Ryder, which were dumped in Abbey Square in early April. These metal horrors have no link whatsoever to Bath, other than as a shop window for Ms Ryder's other output, currently on sale at extortionate prices in the city's Victoria Art Gallery. Are we seeing yet another B&NES-sponsored example of stealing from the poor to give to the rich?

In arguably one of the best and most enjoyable displays of direct-action ad hoc public comment since the Bush shoe-throwing episode, both beasts were pulled (or pushed) over at Easter weekend. The only thing which marred this display of sound artistic judgment was their miraculous resurrection by crane soon afterwards. How much public dosh was wasted on hoisting them back on their plinths?

Was it just coincidence that Bugs Bunny and pal Bully from TV programme 'Bullseye' pitched up at the same time as the Bath Comedy Festival? As they formed a backdrop to the comedy stage itself, how could anybody take them seriously? So is there a bunch of cultural worthies, not a million miles from Kingston Buildings, extracting the urine?

Care In The Co-Mutiny

Activists and groups, dreamers and schemers from across the southwest are coming together from the 12th to the 20th September in Bristol for a week of themed autonomous days of action and practical skill shares, promoting an alternative fairer and more positive future, in contrast to the current nightmare scenario of corporate greed, social injustice and environmental degradation. If you want to get involved and join the Co-Mutineers – you know you do – email comutiny [at] riseup.net.

http://www.comutiny.wordpress.com

Nobody Takes You Seriously Until You Have An Insane Arch-Nemesis

Bath Animal Action’s campaign against foie gras – overpriced liver from tortured ducks and geese, produced under such appalling conditions that only obscure EU trade laws allow its sale in the UK – remains defiant and committed in the face of one of the most reticent restaurateurs yet.

Upmarket tapas restaurant Minibar are still refusing to remove foie gras from their menu, despite bogus claims of ethical concerns, poor sales of the dish, and confessions to the Chronicle that they have a “terrible night” and lose money whenever protesters visit. The reason for this apparently suicidal devotion to cruel cuisine may be related to a small, balding and clearly unstable man claiming to co-own the restaurant. His combination of abuse, mockery and deliberately running down an activist with his expensive 4x4 has brightened up several dull nights already.

Despite an increasingly diverse and desperate array of responses – pushing an activist in the road, claiming to have proof that the food was ethically produced and then refusing to show it, the aforementioned vehicular assault, repeated and groundless threats of arrest from an openly one-sided police farce, and being bored to death for hours by an idiot who could barely hold an opinion for five minutes, let alone an argument – the campaigners have vowed to fight for a foie-gras free Bath!

www.banfoiegras.org.uk/
www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/foiegras/index.html

Upping The Veg-Ante

Last month’s Bristol Vegan Fayre – an annual celebration of vegan food, health and animal-cruelty-free ethics – went shiningly on the 30th and 31st May at Bristol’s Harbourside. Open to people of all dietary decisions, the food and drink flowed freely, particularly the free samples of chocolate and delicious fake meats, and there were stunning displays of Sikh swordfighting, and a solid line-up of reggae and rock over both days. Also on offer were info stalls on nutrition, charities, animal rescue centres and campaigning groups – although unfortunately there were slightly fewer vendors and higher costs this year, and a more commercialised atmosphere than previously: with stalls reflecting the social issues connected to veganism being relegated to out-of-the-way spots in favour of companies intent on tapping into the burgeoning vegan market. Still, a somewhat more grassroots vegan fayre is planned for Bath in late Summer/early September, so keep your eyes peeled.

http://www.bristolveganfayre.co.uk

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: http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com

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