Bath Bomb #27 Out Now

THE BATH BOMB

@nti-copyright: copy and distribute!
Issue #27
free/donation
Feb 10

"I Can't Believe It's Not Better!"

B&NES Cuts It Fine

In the ongoing saga of B&NES Council's job-cutting bonanza, plans have been revealed to go on a massive redundancy spree, starting in April. Since the Bath Bomb got hold of confidential documents and blew B&NES' axing plans out of the water back in November, they have been trying to gloss over and deny what will be a massive attack on public sector employees and service users alike. It now appears that the cuts will come in three stages: presumably a poor attempt at making the redundancies and service slashes seem less numerous, starting in earnest this spring. In the meantime, we have to satisfy ourselves with 70 immediate redundancies, affecting several key departments of the council. In April, the attacks will be switched up a gear, with 400 losses planned. To add insult to injury, those workers lucky enough to keep their jobs will suffer a proposed two-year pay freeze being discussed at Westminster (agreed on by all three mainstream parties) to recoup costs after their mates, the bankers, pissed the economy down the drain. 

Unsurprisingly, redundancies so far won't affect middle or high management, but are instead aimed at the ground-level workers who provide us with services and support. Workers that remain in their departments will also be expected to shoulder the workload of their former colleagues. Council workers have told the Bath Bomb that if the planned redundancies go ahead, it will be literally impossible to run their departments or provide any competent service to the public, as many of the job cuts affect workers with very specific skills and abilities, and departments would be left too understaffed to be fit for purpose. This latest round of attacks on council workers is coupled with mounting plans to privatize our public services and slash the effectiveness of what remains. 

With this only being stage one of a three-pronged attack, we are left wondering what will be left of our public services by the time B&NES have finished mauling them. It's not all doom and gloom though, with local activists, community groups and unions gearing up to fight back and defend our jobs, our services and our communities from the greed-driven onslaught being unleashed on us by these politicians - watch this space for news on the fightback!

Charlie Gets Fat While He Tightens Our Green Belt

Yes, this just in - famous environmentalist and everyone's least favourite jug-eared parasitical tax drain Prince 'Last Tango in Paris' Charles has decided to sell off part of his vast green belt estate to be used for new housing. Around 2,000 new homes are planned for Bath, half of which are to be on Crown-owned lands around Newton St Loe. Conveniently forgetting his supposed 'green credentials' for a second, Charlie has shown his royal streak by being won over by massive amounts of a different type of green – cash.

Local opposition groups have already sprung up in protest at the plans, which will see yet more of our treasured green spaces disappear under concrete. We wouldn't mind so much, were it not for the abundance of disused and dilapidated buildings in Bath that sorely need rennovation and could provide homes for thousands. But once again, we are seeing that the royal family, who only clawed their way to the top through bloodshed and greed, are no friends of ours. What really worries us here at Bath Bomb, however, is once all the green fields have been concreted over, where are we going to take our horses and hounds when the time comes to stick a tail on Charlie and his degenerate ilk and chase them down?

Keep your ear to the ground, as more news of plans to fight the development are popping up all the time, and with the impending concreting of Bathampton Meadows, we've got a proper fight to get stuck into to save the green spaces around Bath!

GOT A STORY? WANT TO RECEIVE THE BATH BOMB BY EMAIL? HOPING TO SUE?
Contact us by emailing bathbombpress[at]yahoo.co.uk. Large print e-versions available on request. And for more info on any of our stories, check out http://www.thebathbomb.blogspot.com

In By The Catflap

The Black Cat, Bath's best autonomous social space, is now up and running again for the new year. The old Black Cat building, on the Upper Bristol Road, was evicted late last year – and then almost immediately reopened by a group of local residents. This new collective ran the centre until early January, when the 'owners' of the building used a back-door legal process to resurrect their previous eviction order – despite such an act being flagrantly unlawful.

The two Black Cat collectives have now joined forces directly to open a new centre in Oldfield Park. Situated at the junction of West Avenue and Cynthia Road, and mere minutes from Oldfield Park Station. Once again the centre will house the Bath FreeShop, an extensive infoshop (including copies of this fine publication), plus an intensive program of dance classes, exhibitions, dub nights, debate clubs, film nights, cafes, open mic nights, and more. A suitable venue is also being sought to hold a follow-up to the last centre's hugely successful benefit gig.

The Black Cat is open right now, unless you're reading this between the hours of about 7pm and 1pm, and would love for you to drop by. They can be contacted at bathsocialcentre[at]googlemail.com, or on 07946 777609. The centre is open most days from 1pm to 7pm, earlier on Sundays, and extra hours as needed for events.

http://bathsocialcentre.blogspot.com

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 and 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

Green Guerillas Hit Bath

The last couple of months have seen a number of mysterious gardens springing up in the Bath area, the most noticeable of these being an ongoing project on Park St, behind St James' Square. The garden has been created by guerrilla gardeners - people who, sick of seeing useable land left uncultivated, have taken it upon themselves to create more local food sources. They've cleared the overgrown area and planted fruit trees and bushes to feed the local populace for free.

Anyone can be a guerilla gardener; just find a few seeds, a disused area and some mates, then pop along in a clandestine fashion and plant your veggies. There are lots of different reasons for guerrilla gardening - some people want to feed themselves, some hope to provide their community with free and local veg, while others, such as the cheeky gardeners who planted ganja in the floral display at the police station a few years back, may have other motives!

You don't need to be part of a group or have much gardening experience to be a guerrilla gardener, but if you want to hook up with a local group, check out the local Transition Towns group at transitionbath[at]googlemail.com. Alternately, there are other communal gardening schemes, such as the allotments in Vicky Park - with Bath people cultivating more and more of the city every day, there's never been a better time to go green!

Wheely Good News

Cycling enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that Bath Cycling Campaign are relaunching that old favourite, the Critical Mass. A Critical Mass is a celebration of pedal power in which cyclists take to the streets en masse to highlight the fun and eco-friendliness of the bicycle. It is a carnivalesque parade, so feel free to dress-up, dress down, or just dress plain old weird (non-fancy dress/ serious 'politico' styles are are also welcome!).

The Critical Mass is a worldwide event that happens regularly in Barcelona, London and New York to name but a few, and is always great fun, so why not come and get involved? The last Bath Critical Mass drew over 50 people and was a great success. The Mass is meeting at 1pm at Kingsmead Square on Saturday the 27th of March.

http://www.bathcyclingcampaign.org.uk

Smile, You're On Camera!

In a humorous turn of events, the obnoxious Bath police spy vehicle has gotten itself into a spot of bother recently after being photographed parked in a disabled-only space! While on her way out, a conscientious member of the public manged to beat the cops' personal voyeur wagon at its own game, snapping a few choice shots of the van in the disabled space. Bath police have since apologised and claimed that they were on “very urgent business“, but won't say what; in other words, they wanted a bite to eat and felt above the law enough to deprive a disabled person of their spot while they went to get it.

So hopefully the sight of a few red-faced spy-cops will bring a smile to the face of all of us who hate police surveillance and the CCTV society, or just find it plain old irritating that the cam-van's threatening, sinister motto “smile, you're on camera” is written in such a lovely, friendly font!

EVENTS

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

Free samba dancing classes, Mondays, 7-8pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Debt advice drop-in, Tuesdays, 4-7pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

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

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

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

Recycle Your Sundays, Sundays, 10.30am, starts Abbey Churchyard, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides, http://www.bathrys.org.uk/ Hazel 01225 469199

Black Cat Centre general meeting, Sundays, 1-3pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Antifascist benefit punk/ska/hip-hop gig, Friday 12th February, doors open 6.30pm, £6 entry, the Croft, 117-119 Stokes Croft, Bristol, featuring La Fraction, Left For Dead, Jakal and Rejected,
http://libcom.org/news/gentle-bonecrusher-life-death-ivan-khutorskoy-171...

Orchard Management Workshop for all levels of experience, Saturday 13th February, 10-3.30pm, the Vine House, Bailbrook Lane, Solsbury Hill, Bath, £15 including light lunch, book with Jim Dowling/e-mail piltonman[at]googlemail.com/ tel 01225 481500

'Incorporating Climate Change into your Community-Led Planning Process', Saturday 13th February, 11-4pm, Brunswick Room, the Guildhall, Bath, re-mail sara_grimes[at]bathnes.gov.uk

Bath FreeShop, Saturday 13th February, 12-3pm, outside Pump Rooms, Stall Street

Broadlands Orchardshare Volunteering Day, Saturday 13th February, 12-4pm, Broadlands Orchard, Box Road, Bathford, http://www.bathford.net/broadlands.php

Allotment Fair, Saturday 13th February, 2-5pm, the Guildhall, Bath, e-mail alotta_thingsgoingon[at]yahoo.co.uk/ tel 01225 332246

EVICT THE BAILIFFS! Punk and folk benefit gig, Saturday 13th February, The Plough, Easton, Bristol, featuring KilnAboy, The Autonomads, Harijan and Hacksaw

AWE Aldermaston blockade, Monday 15th February, starting 7am, there is already a carload going from Bath (4 am start)

Bath Cycling Campaign meeting, Monday 15th February, 7.30pm, the Rising Sun, Grove Street, http://www.bathcyclingcampaign.org.uk

Talk by Alastair McIntosh: 'Engaging the Powers', Monday 15th February, 7.30pm, 3rd Floor, Bush House (above the Arnolfini) 72 Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4QD, £3 entry, http://www.ecoshow.org.uk

Workshop: 'Community Benefits of Renewable Energy', Tuesday 16th February, 6-9pm, Council Chamber, The Hollies, Midsomer Norton, e-mail sara_grimes[at]bathnes.gov.uk/ tel 01225 477548

Tue 16 Feb - Transition Film: 'Hawaii: Message in the Waves', Tuesday 16th February, doors open 7.15pm, the Minerva Centre, 8 Combe Park, Lower Weston, Bath BA1 3NP, http://www.transitionbath.org

'Junk Poetry' open mic night, Thursday 18th February, 7.30pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Camp for Climate Action national gathering, Friday 19th-Sunday 21st February, Bridewell, Bristol

Transition Bath open review: 'How are we doing?', Monday 22nd February, 7.15pm, back room of the Bell, Walcot Street, Bath, bring food to share, http://www.transitionbath.org

Free yoga class, Wednesday 24th February, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Film: 'Matwan', Thursday 25th February, 7pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Free yoga class, Wednesday 3rd March, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

North Somerset Council Meeting on future of Bristol Airport expansion, Wednesday 3rd March, 6pm, Town Hall, Weston Super Mare, come along to the meeting and show councillors your concerns, http://www.stopbia.com

Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 4th March, 7.30-9pm, downstairs at The Hobgoblin, St James Parade, http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com

Bath Animal Action meeting, Monday 8th March, 8-9pm, The Bell, Walcot Street

Exhibition: 'Loss of Innocence: Gaza Children's Artwork', Monday 8th March-Wednesday 17th March (not Sundays), mostly 10-4pm, St John' Church, Frome, ffi e-mail adam.stout[at]virgin.net

Free yoga class, Wednesday 10th March, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Bath Stop the War Coalition public meeting, Wednesday 10th March, 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, York Street, Bath

Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 10th March, 8pm, the Rising Sun, Grove Street

Radical debate club: 'When environmentalism becomes fascism', Thursday 11th March, 7-9pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Free yoga class, Wednesday 17th March, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Bath tree-planting project day, Saturday 20th March, more details tbc

Free yoga class, Wednesday 24th March, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Bath Critical Mass, Saturday 27th March, 1pm start, Kingsmead Square

Trapese Collective course: 'Tools for Social Change', training in grassroot organising for social change, Saturday 27th March-3rd April, Ragman's Lane Farm, Forest of Dean, £175-£350, limited places available so book early! http://www.stuffit.org/trapese/ragm.pdf

Free yoga class, Wednesday 31st March, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Free yoga class, Wednesday 7th April, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Radical debate club: 'Radicalism & religion', Thursday 8th April, 7-9pm, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Free yoga class, Wednesday 14th April, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

Free yoga class, Wednesday 21st April, 10.30-11.30am, Black Cat Centre, http://www.blackcatcentre.blogspot.com

World Day for Lab Animals march in London, Saturday 24th April, coach 8.30am, leaving Bristol Temple Meads, £10 ticket

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

Insane In The B&NES

Meanwhile, back to other news. The Save Bathampton Meadows campaign to save, err, Bathampton Meadows, recently suffered a blow when B&NES Council gave themselves permission to proceed with their four-stage Bath Transport Plan – including the wildlife-devouring Bus Rapid Transit route, the expansion of two existing Park & Ride schemes, and the sacrifice of the Meadows to be gloriously reborn as a new flood-prone P&R. The much-hated A36/A46 link road plan still remains too, despite constant public denial. Though the Council's complete lack of transparency and democratic representation (66% of Bathonians objected to the Bathampton scheme in Nov 08) defied all expectations, and the traffic congestion and air quality benefits (less than 1%, according to government studies) of the plan are implausible at best, B&NES' true motive is clear as glass: money. Yep, the £5.75 million carrot of government grant has got them all wet, and residents or the environment can fuck off.

In response, the seven-year strong SBM lot hosted a packed-out community meeting in Batheaston on the 27th of last month. The campaign is now psyching themselves up for a pincer attack legal challenge, taking first the Secretary of State to court, and then B&NES... if they can afford it. To this end the 'protest company' VeraCity Ltd have been formed, and with court costs expected between £10,000 and £30,000 (with even the sending of a letter costing £500, those solicitors get pricey!) they are now eager for investors to share out the burden of a quid each. Paradoxically, most of these challenges take six years, but VeraCity are only being given three months.

B&NES have now started tending out for construction, spin and architects contracts with which to waste their money. With luck, any info about companies showing interest will come to light either on our own blogspot, or the SBM one.

Whilst we here in the office have some doubts on the efficiency of wading through all that red tape, this, various NIMBY legalese and Compulsory Purchase Order courtroom battles could very well be the key to save the ecologically-important meadows. And if not, here's to hoping the VC doesn't lead the campaign away from its direct action commitments.

http://www.vcbath.blogspot.com
http://www.newbridgematters.blogspot.com
http://www.response2route.co.uk/wordpress/?p=221
http://www.savebathamptonmeadows.org.uk

A Censorble Response To Islam4UK

A lot has been made lately of the antics of the pro-Sharia Muslim group 'Islam4UK' (a front group for Al-Muhajiroon led by Anjem Choudary), who advocate the turning of Britain into an oppressive Muslim state, complete with capital punishment and flogging for public drunkenness (amidst a host of other gems). They also recently received notoriety for the government's banning of their proposed Wootton Bassett demo - the repatriation town for British war dead. White nationalists were quick to condemn the march, but you don't have to be a flag-waving skinhead to oppose these nutcases.

Since the opening of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, various groups have sunk to using the parading of war casualties in Wootton Bassett as a propaganda tool. While some revel in the body count to promote anti-western sentiment, others like the BNP use coffins and grieving families to fly nationalist flags. The truth, though, is that dead soldiers are neither heroes nor monsters – they're simply men and women who have paid a harsh price for doing the dirty work of corrupt politicians.

Really, the BNP and Islam4UK are both a threat to the working class, and pander to a political elite who desire only to see us divided along their lines of race, religion, gender and sexuality, instead of class. Surely we want to build a society based on tolerance, respect and equality, and must resist the authoritarian regime envisioned by the far right? If so, then we need to wake up and treat these people - no matter the colour of skin or the faith - like the fascists they are. And whilst we can't condone state control and bans, it's the job of our communities to crush them.

To Vote Or Not To Vote?

On Thursday the 11th of February, the Black Cat Centre held a debate on the subject of voting. Should we vote? If so, for whom? If not, why not? I have been asking around to get a feel of what people passing through the centre think, and the results are far from unanimous. They range from not voting as a categorical imperative, to voting for the Tories so the revolution comes, with middle-ground positions as well, contrasting national election with local ones. The debate promised to be mighty interesting.

There is not enough space to explore this issue in depth, so I will use the little I have left to present the act of voting under different lights, which will hopefully allow us to have a constructive exchange. There can be two ends in voting; voting to rule the country, and voting to destroy the system. Those who propose to vote, at least the ones I've spoken to, are referring to the second one; and, you've probably guessed, those who propose that we don't vote are referring to the first; that is, someone has yet to say that we should form a party and win the elections.

There is no disagreement, then, on the right to rule. It doesn't exist. What the people I've spoken to disagree on is whether it does us any good, as an activist movement, that one party or another is behind the wheel. Can it help us build the resistance? Or does voting, as such, undercut it?

Here EDO Again

For the last five years, Brighton-based bastards EDO/ITT have been the subject of a concerted activist campaign initiated when locals learned that EDO supplies the Israeli and US military with bomb release mechanisms and other nasties that have been used in Gaza, Iraq and elsewhere. Since the beginning of the campaign, EDO has been subject to numerous protests, lock-ons, blockades, vandalism and other actions and has seen their share value plummet, and gone through four directors in as many years.

On January the 18th, over 300 people gathered in Brighton to mark the first anniversary of the bombardment of Gaza that EDO made possible. Throughout the day, activists, including Bathonians, dodged batons and police dogs to make their way to the EDO factory, which they eventually did via a little-used footpath. Upon the march reaching the factory, sections of the fencing disappeared, allowing protesters entry to the site, where a brief skirmish with the police ensued. From there, the demo, which by this point had been officially banned by the police, headed back into town to let Brightonians know what grotty death merchants peddle their trade on their doorsteps. It was later discovered that, in anticipation of the protests, the factory had been closed the entire day. To add to EDO's financial misery, later that night the factory was visited and heavily paint-bombed and lock-glued in solidarity with the people of Gaza - not a bad day's work! The campaign against EDO continues, and you can find out more at http://www.smashedo.org.uk

In support of the Brighton demo, BAN supporters and others picketed Barclay's Bank in Bristol. Barclays was targeted because it is the main bank of arms companies. 20 people gave out leaflets and held a banner in support of Elijah Smith, a Bristol-based anti-militarist who has been remanded in custody without a trial for a year following an event last year where EDO was subjected to the single action that brought it closer to collapse. Seven 'de-commissioners' entered the factory and destroyed almost every piece of equipment they could find. There has been a campaign to keep his spirits up, including sending letters and gifts, and even loud gigs held outside the nick by supporters! To send Elijah your support, send him a letter at – Elijah Smith, VP 7551, Sheppey Cluster (Elmley), Church Rd, Eastchurch, Sheerness, Kent, ME 12 4DZ.