May 2003


 For the past 6 months the National Steering Committee have systematically censored and sabotaged virtually all forms of Direct Action. From the international significance of USAF Fairford, to the Mass Sit-Down on the 15th Feb National Demo, to the Reclaim The Bases Weekend on 5th and 6th April, the Steering Committee has used and abused the national email list and website to squeeze out, downplay, or just plain censor these, and many other actions.

The censorious agenda of the Steering Committee was most plainly exposed during the lead up to the 22nd March Fairford National Demo. Stop The War groups around the country were telephoned by someone claiming to be from the National Steering Committee, who was spreading the message that Fairford had been cancelled. Whether this individual was genuinely from the Steering Committee is unclear, but the issue remains that the Steering Committee refused to use resources at it’s disposal to refute this sabotage, as it clearly suited their censorious agenda to allow Fairford to be damaged in this manner.

The Steering Committee have therefore made it absolutely clear that they have no intention of representing the full spectrum of opinions which make up the coalition, but only those opinions and actions they narrowly approve of. This is the definition of a hijacking, and that is exactly what has occurred. Furthermore, on the 20th June defendants who took part in various forms of Direct Action at Fairford will be making the first UK legal challenge to the legality of the war. It is expected that this landmark event will also be censored by the Steering Committee, and sidelined at conference.

The Steering Committee still has the opportunity to pull back from this active censorship and sabotage of the movement. If it does not then the calls to bypass the Steering Committee will continue to grow. This is one of the first, and in the longer run, as more people become aware of the extent of events, actions and landmark legal cases which have been censored from view, trust in the National Steering Committee will evaporate, andshift to those who diligently bring this information to the movement in it’s uncensored form.

In the interim, ‘National’ events called by the Steering Committee will be referred to only as ‘London’ events in Bristol-Stop-The-War News, and the ‘National’ website will be relegated to an ordinary link in our links page, as it is not representative of the movement, and therefore should not be advertised as such. If people have an issue with this they should refer it back to the Steering Committee. In the interim, ‘National’ Demonstrations will continue to be called ‘National Demonstrations’.

Voice your concerns to the Steering Committee: office@stopwar.org.uk 07951 235 915 or 0207 053 2153/4/5/6

James Venables (Bristol-Stop-The-War Communications)

also …….

Meetings Vs Actions. SWP etc

http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_05_18_tash_lodge_archive.html#94572838

Mark Thomas on the SWP

http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_05_18_tash_lodge_archive.html#94571487

This is a first post to my blog, from my p800. testing, testing, 1 2 3 ……………..

here is what the BBC had said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hereford/worcs/2936390.stm

Thousands of people are taking part in an illegal music festival on agricultural land near Leominster in Herefordshire.

Residents living in the hamlets of Upper Ivington and Hyde Ash claimed around 10,000 people were in the area but West Mercia Police have put the figure at about 3,000.

The gathering at Stretford Court began on Saturday evening and one person has been taken to Hereford General Hospital suffering from the affects of drugs or alcohol.

Local residents have complained of excessive noise and traffic problems in the area.

‘Turn-back’ policy

Nobody has been arrested but West Merica police say they are operating a “turn-back” policy to prevent more people arriving at the site.

A spokesman for the force said they are advising people who are thinking of attending the event, which has been staged illegally, to stay away.

Christine Rosearsh’s house in Hyde Ash is near to where the event is taking place.

She told BBC News Online: “I was out in my garden on Saturday and could hear bits of music and vehicles and it gradually increased throughout the night. It’s a nightmare.

“I didn’t get any sleep and I’ve been told this could last up to three days.”

Mrs Rosearsh said she first phoned the police about 2200 BST on Saturday to complain and made two further calls – the last at 0415 BST – only to be told the police were “monitoring” the situation.

“I’m hopping mad and nobody seems to be helping.

“When I looked out my window at four this morning I was scared because I could see all these people everywhere.

‘Environmental hazard’

“Apparently the entrance to the rave had been blocked off by police and the people were trying to find places nearby to get in.

Local residents have complained about vehicles and mess

“They were opening the gates to fields to get through and leaving them open. The cows were getting out and a neighbour who has young calves was going demented.”

She added: “When I phoned the police, they said they were aware of the rave and that it was unauthorised but could not do anything about it at that time.

“We live right in the middle of the countryside and the lanes around my house are very narrow and they’re all being blocked. Apart from that, people are going to the toilet where they can so it’s an environmental hazard.”

But the partygoers are more laid back about inconvenience to local people.

One said: “I feel a bit of remorse towards them but I think it’s worth it because there are so many people having a good time that I reckon it outweighs a few people being disturbed.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to smash down fences, and normally people are quite good at tidying up the rubbish and stuff.”

It is believed the land where the rave is being held is in receivership and is being sold by Barclay’s Bank.

Officials from Herefordshire Council are currently in meetings with the emergency services about the situation.

BBC Your perspective on the world: 10-16 May 2003

Your part in the news is important to us and we’d like to see the images you are taking using the latest digital technology.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/2780295.stm#

have already received thousands of fantastic images from around the world so why not send us yours.

Each week our picture editor will select and publish the best of those here each Friday – so do keep on sending them in.

Remember, whilst we are after news images we’re also interested in your visual interpretation of global issues.

Any pictures directly related to a current news event may be used immediately within a picture gallery or story.

How to submit a picture

So if you think you have a photograph worth looking at, if you found yourself in the right place at the right time,

send it to BBC News Online.

If you want to e-mail it to us, send it to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

If you want to send your picture from your mobile phone, dial 07970 885089. You can send them from any network or phone. Please send the large full size images (usually 640×480 pixels) taken by the mobiles otherwise they are too small to publish.

Don’t forget to include your name and some background information as to what the image is about and why you took the picture as this will increase your chances of selection.

HOWEVER. As this technology is so exciting and immediate innit? is does represent a further turn of the screw, in trying to keep copyright, AND get a reward for a photographers labour. In the ‘activism’ front though, I expect it is possible to take a picture of, say a police line, with the digital camera of a mobile phone, upload to the the BBC, and have it on the Six O’clock News !! and not get paid!!

Here are their terms ……..

——————————————————————————–

If you submit an image, you do so in accordance with the BBC’s Terms and Conditions.

In contributing to BBC News Online you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media. (See the Terms and Conditions for the full terms of our rights.)

It’s important to note, however, that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to BBC News Online. This means you are perfectly free to take what you have produced and re-publish it somewhere else. Please note that if your image is accepted, we will publish your name alongside it on the BBC News website. The BBC cannot guarantee that all pictures will be published and we reserve the right to edit your comments.

How many meetings have I attended with people, on different issues, only for nothing significant to happen, beyond an agreement the meet again, or, see you on the next demo!

Green matters, ‘alternatives’ and action, have mostly implied ‘building things up’ [positive alternatives] a lot of recent protest has been ‘down with’ etc ….. Some of us think that simply marching with a message on a banner, to try and influence politics to our way of thinking, [especially in bloody London, again], has not worked for years. Worth the effort of course, but not enough on its own. It is of course a deficit in the democratic process.

For years many of us have decided that rather than have a meeting about it, [whatever], it is a better use of time and energy to go out into the world and stand in-front of the machine and be obstructive to it! And at other times, to find alternative and sustainable ways of life, and live it! This does not require a meeting, just simple action.

I though it relevant to draw attention to another yahoo group thinggy,

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/directactionagainstwar

I’ve been on for a while and a recent post that seems to illustrate exactly what some of us are saying. Especially about Londoncentric and politic orgs and in this instant, the lack of ‘Coalition’.

The future strategy of the STWC is mapped out by the SWP’s John Rees, a leading member of the STWC at http://www.swp.org.uk/SR/274/SR1.HTM

The coalition aims to become a social democratic alliance run by the SWP that ignores/fails to understand the growth of the global justice movement

I get the impression that there are lots of agendas / political ambitions, that I know little of [or care!]. With this war stuff, it was about an attempt at building coalitions, like , greenies, CND, the left, straight politico, non-politicos, hippies, ravers, anarcho etc. most of these folks have got an attitude about meetings. Not meeting people though, that’s good. But meeting under rules, that’s frequently boring. Now the methods that we had tried have failed, it is all falling apart now, with little else to bind the coalition together.

My support, and I think quite a few others, was / is for opposition to the war. Not the left analyses on the state of things. They have always made me a little tired.

The different agendas of folks had become had, AGAIN, become apparent back in march / april. Many thought the idea of yet another march in London, was only going to be of advantage to the coach companies. Other felt we were past all that, and it was necessary to ‘go to the bases’ and be obstructive!

Menwith Hill, Fairford. Fylingdales, Reclaim the Bases, Fasleine, Northwood, were all suggested many turned out, but ‘the party machine’ was conspicuous in is absence in all these cases. It even got at far in argument that the SWP, not the police, had put about emails and rumours that the Fairford actions had been cancelled, so that more would go to london for the march. And hence further some folks ‘political ambitions’

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/directactionagainstwar/message/929 and messages afterwards.

Many of us remain active, but think boring meetings, follow by a march saying ‘down with sommat’, is not going sell many onions. I wonder if the three days after mayday march in nottingham, might have illustrated that to some. I doubt it.

Nottingham ‘Collected’ Work at:

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stopwar_nttm/index.htm

‘Three Days after Mayday, Mayday March in Nottingham [from gallery pages 9 to 11]

http://tash.dns2go.com/xtra/stopwar_nttm/index_9.htm

A friend of mine claims that he and his wife are in the biggest and probably fastest growing political party in Britain – they are both ex members of the Socialist Workers Party. They, like many, found being in the SWP not unlike being in a cult. They too had directives from a central committee or leader, they too had to strictly follow an ideology and they too had to perform daily tasks and rituals, namely selling the paper. If the SWP had the flair of the Hare Krishna’s they would be dancing up and down Oxford St banging drums and chanting “Marx and Trotsky, Marx and Trotsky, Trotsky and Marx.” Unfortunately “flair” is just one of a number of qualities the SWP doesn’t possess – popularity being another that just happens to spring to mind.

The SWP has been criticised for its involvement in the anti war movement. Mainly from the pro war camp, who condemn the SWP for being a “far left” group and therefore by implication too radical. For some the problem with the SWP is the polar opposite – they are too conservative. The SWP domination of the Stop The War Coalition was unsurprising; they are old hands at controlling “popular fronts”. They have to be. Without fronts like Globalise Resistance (commonly known by activists as Monopolise Resistance) they would have shrivelled into political oblivion long ago. What should be surprising is their treatment of the coalition partners. For a group that hates the competitive pressures of capitalism and believes in our ability to co-operate with each other, the SWP are totally incapable of co-operation. Coalition partners found themselves presented with decisions as a fait accompli, the SWP would call a demonstration then inform its partners after the press release had gone out. Not content with dominating the STW they actively undermined protests and demonstrations that were independent of them.

Not only are the SWP incapable of treating individuals from other groups as equals, for many activists the SWP aren’t that “active”. For a bunch of revolutionaries they do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in shopping centres selling the paper and recruiting. Which just doesn’t seem that revolutionary. I don’t recall Che Guevara uttering the words ” You can pay the monthly subs by direct debit if you like.”

On the London demonstration on the 22nd of March it was the SWP stewards who tried to stop protestors taking part in a spontaneous sit down protest outside Downing Street. They have a problem with direct action or civil disobedience, as do some Labour MP’s who have conveniently forgotten that they have their jobs as a result of direct action. One senior member of the SWP and STW steering committee was quoted as saying in full-blown Pravda style “direct action is elitist”. How can protest actions that anyone can organise and commit be elitist? It is natural for the SWP to dislike people organising independently. What use are people who spend the day chaining themselves to the gates of a nuclear base to the SWP. Chained to a fence you can’t even hold a pen to sign the membership form? The SWP’s main priority is recruitment. Why else did they continually call demonstrations week after week during the conflict?

This was a massive tactical error for the anti war movement. When the bombing started many felt dispirited and tired, many were organising and carrying out other actions and protests. More importantly the SWP had not registered with the fact that many people on the massive February demonstration where there because they felt they had been denied a democratic voice. These demonstrations were bound to result in diminishing numbers and to be judged by many as the collapse of the anti war movement. However, if recruitment to your party is the priority the demos were a success. Even if you get only 20,000 people out, they are what market researchers might term a pure market group. They are prime targets for recruitment and who cares if the peace movement breaks in the process.

For many in the anti war and anti globalisation movement the act of creative dissent is a cornerstone to their moral and political philosophy. They want to empower and inspire themselves as well as others. Over a million people marching in London against the war was inspiring. However, on a day to day scale isn’t a group of Quakers spiking the bombers support vehicle at Fairford or a carnival of dissent at RAF Menwith Hill or stopping a bomb convoy by locking on to the vehicle more inspiring then hearing the words “copy of this weeks Socialist Worker comrade?” We don’t know exactly what country Bush will attack next but there is no doubt that he will. The peace movement could do a lot worse than start to organise a coalition free from SWP domination, one that regards peace as the goal and co-operation as a method to get there. . … ….. …… Mark Thomas

My main page for the ‘Stop the War’ Work and Reports: http://tash.dns2go.com/stopwar.htm

Mayday: Stop the War demo, Nottingham

http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_05_04_tash_lodge_archive.html#93740955

Were you can see more of what I mean. Cuckoo in the nest, me thinks .. .. .. ..

Various campaigns exist, as violence here in the inner-city, continues to rise. I walked past a shop in the St Anns district recently and it had a copy of this poster in the window. I was impressed, and though it quite ‘hard-hitting’. What is needed really.

‘Young, Gifted and Dead’

Have mentioned much about this previously, and the police response to it all. Many of us becoming quite scared by the progress.

Mothers Against Guns: Gun Crime, murder and shootings http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_01_26_tash_lodge_archive.html#88374768

Gun Crime and Police response – Collected Links http://tash_lodge.blogspot.com/2003_02_02_tash_lodge_archive.html#88756662

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