THE BATH BOMB
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“I hope I don't have to plan another car crash” Elizabeth Windsor
A Guide To Preparing, Hosting & Enjoying Your Own Personal Royal Wedding Party
CELEBRATIONS ARE RAPIDLY approaching as the country waits in eager anticipation of the holy union of Prince William and Kate Middleton, no relation. Many people have been busying themselves with neighbourhood street parties and other festivities to enjoy on the special day. If, however, like me, you wish to appreciate the marriage ceremony in a more dignified, personal manner, then this is the guide for you.
Like any good host knows, the key to a great party is being prepared. There are several items and devices you'll need to get the most out of the historic day, so you'll want to make sure you don't miss out. First and foremost, you'll require a television. Many people prefer the old-fashioned route of listening in on the wireless but I feel this leaves too much to the imagination; at the very least you should have a 50” H.D. T.V. to fully appreciate the beauty that is Kate Middleton. Second up is curtains. Remember, this is a private party. The street party outside is not welcome. You don't want neighbours' eyes staring in and judging you and the good time you're having. Next is another essential: royal events are rarely short affairs and you need to make sure your party's not over before the wedding's even begun. It's for this reason I recommend lubricant, and plenty of it.
Well, as this is a personal do, the only person to entertain is yourself and with the Windsors on show, this'll be quite a simple task. Just taking a skim through the morning papers should get you well in the mood for the day ahead. Of course, there are many ways to get more out of the occasion than simply turning up. I would certainly be inclined towards procurring some royal merchandise. Here are a few items to ease your day as the host: a drinks hat (hands-free), a mug, tissues, a W.W. vibrator and/or a K.M. fleshlight.
Now to begin. There are those who reckon it's best to get as many in as possible before the day's over; I refute this. Quality over quantity is what I say.
Go at a nice slow pace and let the special occasion build up around you. Take it easy, you'll know when the time is right. It's a long journey ahead, so be sure to use lube right from the off. Have the phone turned off and perhaps the doorbell disengaged. Getting plenty of fluids is important (remember the drinks hat) and eat something before you start. Don't go too furiously whilst ogling at common Kate or horsey William, as Liz might pop on screen and push you over the edge. Don't fear the toys you've just bought, they're modelled on the happy couple and can only improve the day's sensations. Keep applying lube. Once you feel the grand moment coming, don't hold off, just grab the mug, relax and catch your hard work. Finally, clean your disgusting self off and get on with your life.
Two Tales Of One Demo
IN ORDER TO bring you the most in-depth coverage possible of the recent anti-cuts march in London, the Bath Bomb split its forces, disguising one reporter as an N.U.T. union rep, and a second as a hate-filled, balaclava-wearing anarchist bent on destruction; incidentally, very little disguising was necessary on either count. So, first from our union correspondent:
“Saturday 26th March saw public anger over the brutal Con-Dem spending cuts spill onto the streets, in what was the biggest workers' movement protest in over two decades. Over 500,000 people, on ten specially-chartered trains and over 850 coaches, descended to oppose a program that will decimate the lives, jobs and communities of millions.
Starting at Embankment, the demo was alive with chanted angry slogans, set to a soundtrack supplied by dozens of soundsystems, samba and union brass bands. What was notable was that, far from the usual suspects (who we'll hear from later), the march represented a real cross section of society – young and old, student and workers, unemployed (once again, we'll hear from them later), black, white, gay, straight – the feeling was that all of civil society had come together to reject the cuts. And the sheer buzz of being around so many defiant people was inspiring to all assembled. Once the march reached Hyde Park, the masses were treated to a round of pant-shittingly exciting speeches from the likes of Brendon Barber and, disgustingly, Ed Milliband, who had somehow snaked his way on stage to try and con us into voting for his pack of liars. Ironically, this is the same man who presides over a party which, where it controls local councils, is voting through cuts with almost the same gusto as the Con-Dems!
Despite having Red Ed foisted on them, the marchers left in good spirits, knowing that whoever's in power, we were well-supported enough to win. We don't believe for a second that having Labour in will end the government's pro-business/pro-rich agenda, but what we do believe is that if ordinary people are willing to push hard enough, we are unstoppable; and a catalyst of that spirit was in London. As Brendon Barber himself said – the phony war is over. It is now our task to get mobilizing in our workplaces, preparing people to really get stuck in to what is already shaping up to be the fight of a generation!”
And on the subject of fighting...
“We formed up with the South London Workers feeder march from Kennington Park, and set off to join the main demo. Led by a distinctly Trojan-looking giant horse, alongside many a fluttering red'n'black and the London Solidarity Federation banner, it made an important statement that anarchists were part of the day's action, rather than holding ourselves as aloof and 'more revolutionary than thou' elsewhere. Though our methods sometimes get a little more energetic than the static vigils and tidy A-to-Benn marches deployed by others, it is only through a diversity of tactics – legal or otherwise – that we will topple these Tory scum. After all, “if voting ever changed anything, they'd make it illegal.”
Despite all the prior police threats, the Met seemed strangely stand-offish. Around Trafalgar Square, the various groups and sub-marches split off until the sprawling 500-strong 'Armed Wing of the T.U.C.' converged, running down Picadilly with riot police in tow, beyond the haze of smoke bombs and firecrackers. Navigating by the sound of sirens and helicoptor, the majority of the crowd were uniformed in black and face masks, alongside local youth, all vigilant and mobile against any kettling – either to protect their own identity, or to provide deniability for comrades. Tax dodger or upper class companies like Boots, Starbucks and the Ritz were attacked, alongside racks of Barclays-branded bikes, but a flair of cheeky opportunism lashed out at whatever targets the cops failed to protect, such as McDonalds and, bizarrely, Ann Summers.
The big horse later erupted into flame at Oxford Circus (not quite to the “London's Burning” magnitude that the banner promised), and U.K. Uncut flash mobs occupied banks and outlets along Oxford Street. As mentioned, the Met response was suspiciously low-key, which the mainstream media made much of in their later angry critiques. But what seems more likely is that the police were making the day an example to support their own anti-cuts struggle – 'the police are a necessary force to hold back the violent hordes, and if funding is cut, there will be another repeat of March 26th.' Of course, once the cameras went home, the police got back to rioting as usual, with 202 arrests on the day (including 187 who negotiated to voluntarily end the Fortnum & Mason occupation, under a promise of no arrests; never trust a copper, boys and girls) and over 40 injuries, including 18 filth; they also targeted legal observers for unlawful detention.
And yet the aims of the police and T.U.C. seem largely the same – whilst their constituent unions have been striking and fighting back continuously, the T.U.C. were forced into taking some action, if only to masquerade as 'leaders'. Hence the six-month late march, with its contingent of private security mercenaries to keep the rabble in line. And when Barber and co demanded that volunteer stewards hand in details of known 'trouble-makers' to the police, several stewards had the grace to resign. But now they've marched their troops to the top of the hill and slithered off, what next for the movement? It seems likely that industrial action in isolation won't be enough, and neither will direct action alone (the day's actions cost the West End maybe 15% of its £30 million Saturday take); a greater unity is needed, including students and pensioners, but also an empowered claimants union, too. Twenty years back the Poll Tax was defeated because it was impossible to impose. These cuts are a much more ambitious assault, but once again we need to ensure that they become impossible to implement.”
Grayling The Sadist
FIGURES RECENTLY ANNOUNCED by The Sadist suggest that 500,000 persons, a third of those previously considered incapable of work, will be moved from sickness benefit to J.S.A. The Sadist claims that these people are in fact entirely healthy and ready for immediate employment. This is a clear case of Tory redefinition of illness, to skimp on money and societal responsibilities. But does it go deeper than that? It turns out that private companies will be payed £14,000 from the public purse when hiring a 'formerly' vulnerable person – three years' worth of incapacity benefit. This means several things, all woefully negative: cleaning and other such companies will deliberately hire those questionably (at the very least!) capable for work over those already job-seeking; because of said firms' revolving door employment policy, these people will likely lose their job way before three years are up; and finally this results in wasted public spending, jeopardised lives and the only beneficiary is once again private interest. The Sadist couldn't care less about the poor and vulnerable, only the fun in hurting them.
With Friends Bidgood, Who Needs Enemies?
MARCH THE 22ND and 24th saw thousands of university and college lecturers across the country strike against attacks on their pensions, as part of the wider scale Con-Dem assault on Higher Education. In Bath, picket lines were mounted at City of Bath College, the University of Bath and Bath Spa University, joined by some students and locals in solidarity. Though pensions are currently £10,000 and college lecturers' wages are capped at £28,000 – soon to be dropping further – that didn't stop the B.B.C.'s misinformation campaign hyperventilating about fictitious £36K wage packets. Bath Uni's Student Union voted to support the strike, carried out by 50 staff, and an online poll revealed that over 80% of its students supported the lecturers. But this groundswell of support makes the decision of Bath Spa S.U. President Richard Bidgood to condemn the strikes, alongside the rest of his leadership, all the more disgusting. Well known for being an odious, careerist joke of a union rep, Bidgood, rather than joining the majority of students, bleated about the strike being “inappropriate”, and stuck a knife firmly in the back of those people who work so hard to supply him his education. All this after 68% of Bath Spa students voted in favour of the strike, in a poll set by Bidgood himself – democracy or what?
Lets not forget, this is the same man who refused to support a national day of protests against tuition fee hikes and the scrapping of E.M.A., because he didn't want to be associated with the nasty ruffians who act to defend education for future generations. With Bidgood and his cabal getting further and further out of touch with the demands and needs of the average student they're elected to represent, isn't it about time the students of Bath Spa took a stand and (wait for the pun...) Bidgood-bye to bad rubbish?
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Out With The Tory Cuts
OVER HALF A million took to the streets of London on Saturday 26th March, and its power came from numbers and the social power they represent. But where do we go from here?
Activists in the trade unions are calling for joint action across unions to defend wages, services, jobs and pensions. At the march, Len McClusky, leader of Unite (Britain's biggest union), told the rallly: “This is only the start. We need a plan of resistance, including co-ordinated strike action.” And Mark Sewotka of the P.C.S said “Imagine what a difference it would make if we didn't only march together, but took strike action together.” So, at a busy meeting in Bristol on Monday 4th April, workers pledged to organise to fight back against the government's attacks; unions including U.C.U., N.U.T. and P.C.S. are planning a one-day strike on 30th June. It is now imperative that those of us in unions get involved, and those of us not need to join workers on their lines.
The campaign against wealthy tax evaders/avoiders needs to step up, too. The wealth of the richest 10% in Britain is £4,000 billion, and a one-off tax of 20% on this group would raise £800 billion, wiping Britain's debt in one fell swoop. The campaign against stores like TopShop and Vodafone needs to continue – the rich, not us, should pay for their crisis. Furthermore, we need to stay united in the anti-cuts movement – which includes not crumbling into secularism and laughable old rivalries. All forms of dissent are acceptable, and needed.
In other news:
* As expected, all three M.o.D. sites in Bath – Foxhill, Ensleigh and Warminster Road – are to be closed by 2013. Although some will relocate to Corsham and over-crowded Abbeywood in Bristol, the majority of the 2,600 jobs will vanish. As well as up-ending the lives of workers and their families, the local economy in these areas will be left for dead, leaving miniature ghost-towns. Adding insult to injury, the civil servants' union P.C.S. has had union reps' facility time removed by Cabinet directive, and at least two national reps have been sacked, as the Con-Dems continue their work to dissolve unions
* March kicked off with an anti-cuts rally in Swindon on the 5th, where ten Bathonians and Bristol Anarchist Federation folks joined 30 other locals, for a pleasant round of speeches and impromptu march to the local Vodafone; at the same time as a gaggle of hysteric police wrestled laughably to hold back a mischief of anarchos, two-faced Labour politician Cunty McBullshit condemned the frolics, straight after talking some spiel about “now is the time to fight.” Saturday 19th then saw Bristolians hold a 'Turning Banks into Libraries' blockade and poetry reading in the centre, and in Bath, Wednesday 23rd saw a shy gathering of 15 students and Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance outside the Guildhall, to mark budget day. Then, the 9th April saw a 23-strong blockade of Burtons on Union Street, over the hypocrisy of owner Philip Green's £285 million tax avoidance, whilst at the same time advising the Con-Dems on their cuts program. Bath police tried hard to incite the blockade to violence, but were heard lamenting into their radios “unfortunately, they're peaceful at the moment.” Whilst the banks were bailed out to the tune of £1 trillion back in '07, R.B.S. recently handed £28 million in shares to its nine top execs, and Barclays announced pay-outs of £110 million for its top five. Their boss, Bob Diamond, walked away with £11.5 million – 1,000 times the wage of the average cashier, 542 nurses, or 380,000 E.M.A.s. Oh, and he also graciously plans to accept a £9 million bonus: and why not? Meanwhile, in Bristol, 340 staff posts are on the out, the Tenant Support Service budget is to be slashed by 20%, as is the Safer Homes Project (to the tune of £150K); in Bath, 300 council jobs are to go
* Speaking of E.M.A., just two days after the big T.U.C. kick-off which Education Secretary Michael Gove swore would have no impact on his anti-education policies, he seems to have choked on some of his words. Gove shamefacedly mumbled plans in the Commons about a new £180 million bursary scheme, and a 'discretionary fund' weekly payment for the poorest students in schools and colleges. Though the piddly pennies amount to less than half of the previous E.M.A., it hints at what a good extra shove might achieve
* On Monday 18th April, the staff of Bristol's Jobcentre Plus Contact Centre were out on strike, outraged by declining work conditions and customer service as a result of bosses' unrealistic targets. Another 36 offices around the U.K. were also out
* Wasting £3 billion in reorganisation, Andrew Lansley's planned ground-breaking sell-off of the N.H.S. would see £80 billion (80% of its budget) slipped to G.P. Consortia and, by extension, vultures like Bupa and Virgin Healthcare. In the process, 50,000 jobs are expected to depart, including 27,000 in nursing. Locally, private company bodge ups are already a regular occurrence, with their mistakes remedied by the R.U.H. But Lansley's plans will further remove state responsibility in health provision, and any accountability, and the P.C.T.s are being dismantled right now. On top of that, private providers were to be 'compensated' with an 16% premium permitted to compete with N.H.S. subsidies; but now, Cameron is getting all touchy-feely and making a show of reining in his underling's undemocratic plot. What's the bet that he'd rather destroy the service in stealth later, than do it publicly now?
* The uni fees nightmare is fast becoming reality, as more and more universities opt to set fees at the £9K mark. The University of Bath joins Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham and others, in their joint plot to re-create two-tier education, where the haves get the best, and the have-nots can fuck off
* In a continuation of the Tory gold-rush privatisation of fundamental public services, 'Communities' Secretary Eric Pickles announced last month plans to dismantle the T.U.P.E. code. This code previously ensured that jobs out-sourced from the public to the private sector were still guaranteed the same pay and conditions they previously enjoyed. Now, new starters will see more minimum wage McJobs, with no sick pay, holidays or pensions... The savings will no doubt be re-invested in white long-haired cats, monocles, high-backed revolving chairs, and maniacal laughter
* Another sick joke came in the form of the Tax Payers' Alliance, and their proposed pro-cuts rally in London on the 14th May. Apparent plans for the Tax Dodgers Alliance involve assembling outside F.&M. to applaud that company's unpaid £40 million debt. We can only hope that London's finest go easy.
drawing classes: 'Remembering the Present', Mondays & Tuesdays, Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
London Road Food Co-op, Wednesdays, 5-7p.m., Riverside Community Centre, London Road, tel 07837 784715; http://www.londonroadfoodcoop.blogspot.com
film: Factory Film Nights, Wednesdays, 7p.m., the Factory social centre, 26th Portland Square, Bristol, free entry; http://freefactory.wordpress.com
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 11a.m.-3p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
Bathampton Community Growers workday, Thursdays, 10a.m.-dusk, Mill Lane, Bathampton, e-mail thelostplot[at]googlemail.com/ tel Chris 07792 444628
Bathampton Community Supported Agriculture project: fruit picking, Thursdays and Sundays, 10-2p.m., F.F.I. e-mail csa[at]transitionbath.org; http://www.bathamptoncsa.wordpress.com
Bath Stop The War Coalition vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, Bath Abbey Courtyard
Bradford-On-Avon peace vigil, Saturdays, 11.30a.m.-12.30, by the peace statue opposite Westbury Gardens by the Town Bridge, Bradford-On-Avon
exhibition: 'Remembering the Present', Saturdays, 12-4p.m., Stokes Croft Museum, 81-83 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.stokescroftmuseum.info
Recycle Your Sundays, Sundays, 10.30a.m., starts Abbey Churchyard, the regular series of sociable, easy-paced cycle rides; F.F.I. see http://www.bathrys.org.uk/ tel Hazel 01225 469199
Taunton anti-cuts protests, Sundays, 1p.m., Taunton centre memorial; http://www.tauntonac.wordpress.com
vegan cake bake benefit sale, Friday 22nd April, 11-3p.m., Emporium, 37 Stokes Croft, Bristol; F.F.I. e-mail barc[at]hotmail.co.uk
Sizewell Anti-Nuke Camp, Friday 22nd to Monday 25th April, Sizewell, Suffolk, IP16 4UE; http://www.sizewellcamp.org.uk
Pay It Forward free activities week, Saturday 23rd to Friday 29th April, Bristol; http://www.3ca.org.uk
South Coast Camp for Climate Action, Saturday 23rd April to Sunday 1st May, Brighton; F.F.I. e-mail southcoastcamp[at]riseup.net; http://brightonclimateaction.org.uk
Common Place Social Centre closing weekend, Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th April, 5p.m., Common Place Social Centre, 23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds; http://www.thecommonplace.org.uk
Rossport Solidarity Info Night, Sunday 24th April, 6p.m., Kebele Community Co-op, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol; http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.org
demo: Tour the Vivisectors!, Tuesday 26th April, 12-1p.m. (A.X.A. at Spectrum House, Bond Street, central Bristol), 2-3p.m. (AstraZeneca at Avlon Works, Severn Road in Hallen) and 4-5p.m. (Astra Tech at Brunel Way, Stonehouse, in Gloucestershire); F.F.I. tel 07794 891226 or e-mail barc[at]hotmail.co.uk
Bristol Palestine Solidarity meeting, Tuesday 26th April, 7.30-9p.m., upstairs at Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.bristolpsc.info
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 26th April, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street; http://www.bathanticutsalliance.blogspot.com
Republican Picnic Against Parasites, Friday 29th April, meet Victoria Park war memorial 12 midday; http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
Alternative Royal Wedding Party, Friday 29th April, 12-9p.m., Trinity Community Centre, Bristol; http://www.3ca.org.uk
Not The Royal Wedding Street Party, Friday 29th April, 11.30a.m., Earlham Street, London; http://www.republic.org.uk
325 punk & hardcore benefit gig, Friday 29th April, 8p.m., the White Heart, Whitehall Road, Easton, Bristol; feat. Oi Polloi, Divine Spark, War/System & Casus; £6 entry; http://www.bastardsquadcollective.wordpress.com
demo: Bath Trades Council May Day, Saturday 30th April, 11.30a.m.-12.30, outside Marks & Spencers on Stall Street
street party & protest: Mayday, Mayday!, Saturday 30th April; F.F.I. tel 07950 889281 or e-mail brightonmayday[at]gmail.com; http://www.brightonmayday.wordpress.com
Bath Activist Network meeting, Thursday 5th May, 7.30-9p.m., downstairs at the Hobgoblin, St James Parade; http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
films & talk: 'The Road to Haymarket, May Day, and its Relevance Today', Monday 2nd May, 7.30p.m., Cube Microplex, Dove Street South, Bristol; £4 or £3 entry, but no one turned away through lack of funds; http://wwwbristolanarchistbookfair.org
film & talk: '¡Viva Mexico!', Wednesday 4th May, 7:30-10.30p.m., Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol; http://www.kiptik.org
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair ska & punk benefit gig, Wednesday 4th May, 8p.m., the Plough, Kilburn Street, Easton, Bristol; feat. Thee Infidels, Luvdump & Po-Lice; £4 entry; http://bastardsquadcollective.wordpress.com
raffle, art sale & DJs: 'Art For Africa' Malawi benefit, Friday 6th May, 7p.m., venue T.B.C.; http://www.temwa.org
talk: 'Soccer vs. the State: Tackling Football and Radical Politics', Friday 6th May, 7.30-9.30p.m., Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Road, Easton, Bristol; http://www.brh.org.uk/2011/04/08/radical-history-zone-2
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, Saturday 7th May, 10.30-6.30p.m., Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol; free entry; http://www.bristolanarchistbookfair.org
Bristol Anarchist Bookfair punk & folk & hip hop & ska after party, Saturday 7th May, 9-2a.m., Attic Bar, Stokes Croft, Bristol; feat. Anklylym, Colectif Mary Read, China Shop Bull & Aberrant; £5 entry; http://www.kebelesound.wordpress.com
Bath Animal Action & Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 9th May, 8-9p.m., The Bell, Walcot Street, e-mail bathanimalaction[at]yahoo.co.uk; http://www.bathanimalaction.com
Transition Bath in Action Group meeting, Tuesday 10th May, 7.30-9.30p.m., United Reform Church Halls, Grove Street; http://www.transitionbath.org/tbag-meeting
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 10th May, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street; http://www.bathanticutsalliance.blogspot.com
Bath Green Drinks, Wednesday 11th May, 8p.m., the Rising Sun, Grove Street
Bath FreeShop, Saturday 14th May, 12-3p.m., outside the Pump Rooms, Stall Street
Taunton Food Fair, Saturday 14th May, Taunton
demo: Tax Dodgers Alliance 'Rally Against Debt' (and counter demo), Saturday 14th May; http://rallyagainstdebt.org
free garden party, Sunday 15th May, 12-9p.m., Trinity Community Centre, Bristol; http://www.3ca.org.uk
8-week course: 'Mindful Communication', starts Tuesday 17th May, 5p.m., Bristol Buddhist Centre, 162 Gloucester Road, Bristol; F.F.I. tel 01179 249991; £200-£500; http://www.bristol-buddhist-centre.org or http://seedofpeace.org/?p=1406
workshop: 'Weaving Magic – Skills for resilient projects', Wednesday 18th to Thursday 9th May, 10-5p.m., St. Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, Bristol; £70-£110; http://www.shiftbristol.org.uk/?page_id=92
day school: 'Beyond Borders', Saturday 21st May, 11.30a.m., Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Road, Easton, Bristol; https://network23.org/bristolnoborders
Bristol No Borders punk & folk & ska benefit gig, Saturday 21st May, 7.30p.m., the Plough, Kilburn Street, Easton, Bristol; feat. KilnAboy, Spanner, Anarcho Folko & Na, No and the Nachos; £5 or £4 entry; https://network23.org/bristolnoborders
Bath Hunt Saboteurs meeting, Monday 23rd May, 8-9p.m., The Bell, Walcot Street, tel 07854 062336
conference: 'The Seven Ages of Dylan', Tuesday 24th May, 11a.m., Department of English at the University of Bristol; http://dylan-at-seventy.weebly.com/index.html
Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance meeting, Tuesday 24th May, 8p.m., the Bell, Walcot Street; http://www.bathanticutsalliance.blogspot.com
Taunton Activist Collective punk & ska benefit, Saturday 28th May, 7p.m., Unity House, Bridgwater; feat. Officer Down, Po-Lice, 51st State & Shavin Mavis; £3 entry
Transition community picnic & acoustic music, Friday 17th June, from 6p.m., Smallcombe Community Nuttery
talk: B.&N.E.S. Youth Climate Summit, Wednesday 29th June to Thursday 30th June, University of Bath; http://www.ycs.greenvisionmovement.org.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 and greens, and people who just want to change Bath for the better. For details on meetings, demos, or just to get in touch, e-mail bathactivistnet[at]yahoo.co.uk, or see our website: http://www.bathactivistnetwork.blogspot.com
Keeping It Brief
* BIG A, LITTLE A (Board): as B.&N.E.S. continue to brown nose unsustainable big business, they've shat on independent retail yet again, with their current controversial drive to squeeze yet more cash from local traders. The mugging this time is over the common A-board, an anti-personnel disaster waiting to happen. Hoping to introduce a £100-a-piece permit scheme, the Tory licensing committee is concerned that these weapons of mass destruction could be capable of inflicting serious multiple injuries, as seen by the regular three-high pedestrian pile-up of bleeding, war-torn shoppers staining the pavements up and down Walcot Street. Staff of the over-stretched, soon-to-be privatised R.U.H. are said to welcome the move
* We've never liked the idea of using Bath Bomb as a vehicle for oblique threats to restaurateurs who may or may not be reading, and now is no exception; so it comes as little surprise to find that the Bath Priory and Queen's Berry Hotels are now proudly schlopping animal abusing 'delicacy of despair' foie gras onto their customers' plates, despite Bath Animal Action's local high profile campaign. Expect a visit soon!
* The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair and/or Christmas will come early this year, taking place on Saturday 7th May at Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, above 'the Canteen' cafe. Free entry and wheelchair accessible, there will be workshops, stalls, a kids space, and a vegan cafe. And books. Expect funny-looking drop-outs in black, gorgeous cakes and an equally gorgeous Bath Bomb stall
* Last month the national Camp for Climate Action collective met and sombrely published online their decision to abandon the done-to-death 'Climate Camp' model of eco-protest. But with campaigns still fighting tooth and nail against G.M. crops, nuclear power, fossil fuel extraction and greenfield development, the swampies are still going strong
* Injustice Secretary Kenneth Clarke is pushing forward yet more anti-squatter/traveller laws, if the next three months' research committee goes his way. Weeping over the nightmare of landlords and big companies having to piss away miniscule fractions of their profits on evicting the homeless or politically active from their second/third homes or ten-year vacant derelict office blocks, would-be home-makers may face jail, and police could gain the right to legally to smash their way in and do landlords' dirty work... like they don't already! Could this mark the end of the beloved Section 6?
* Back at the beginning of the month, naval rating Ryan Donovan of the nuclear sub H.M.S. Astute demonstrated an appropriate respect for authority and gunned down two Lieutenant Commanders, killing one. He was overpowered, though, before he managed to relieve any more brass of command, as with the visiting V.I.P.s. As you may know, fragging has long been a useful tool for grunts to put officers in their place – that is, six feet under
* As well as Gadaffi the Clown's gonzo antics in Libya, the to-do spread last month to Syria, where at least 61 are confirmed dead, alongside the burning of Baath party offices, and the President's minor concession of releasing 200 political prisoners. The revolution bug also broke out against King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, where top military ranks and tribal leaders defected
* The citizens of Wisconsin in the U.S. outdid themselves in February, when Republican Governor Scott Walker tried to introduce an anti-union bill. The response: a state-wide constant rolling blockade 10,000 strong, and teachers taking mass sick days. There was even a strange move to bring in Obama or Bob the Builder to help. Beat the bosses? Yes, we can.
The Bath Priory:
The Bath Priory Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, Weston Road, Bath, BA1 2XT
tel: 01225 331922
fax: 01225 448276
The Queen's Berry Hotel:
Queen's Berry Hotel, Russel Street, Bath, BA1 2QF
tel: 01225 447928
fax: 01225 446065
Black Bloc Rockin' Beats
AS ANYONE WHO has been within a mile of a TV, radio, computer or newspaper will know, the largely peaceful anti-cuts march in London on the 26th March was joined by a large contingent of 'troublemakers' who left corporate targets throughout London a smashed up, paint-spattered mess. While T.U.C. bureaucrats and careerist M.P.s alike clamoured to condemn the property damage in the most vitriolic terms possible, and the corporate media jettisoned semen over images of masked-up protestors trashing H.S.B.C., the rest of us are still trying to decide what to make of it all. It certainly made for dramatic reporting, but what did it achieve? The insurance will cover the smashed windows and business went back to normal, but many will take the view that an expression of anger against the cuts and bailouts was made, and battlelines redefined.
The most important thing to take out of this, however, is the complete lack of context applied by the media. Every single day, banks invest in arms companies putting weapons in the hands of child soldiers, propping up corrupt regimes, and financing the coal/oil/blood diamond-extraction trades whilst, in this country, bankers increase their bonuses and profits at our expense. The difference between the banks and the bank smashers? The minor damage inflicted by the indoor-fresh-air-enthusiasts was committed outside the bounds of this country's laws, while the exploitation meted out by banks is made legitimate by a legal system that has always favoured the rich. The fact that Cameron stands up and condemns the rioters just weeks after returning from his arms trade roadshow tour of the Middle East, smacks of the rank hypocrisy of a state that smiles on daily human rights abuses carried out by banks, 'defence' firms and corrupt politicians, but punishes the breakage of an inexpensive bit of glass with potential imprisonment. Maybe a smashed window won't usher in revolution, but is it any wonder that some will be frustrated enough to throw the odd brick? Surely we would be better informed if, instead of focusing on imaginative new window displays, the media told us the (albeit less sexy) story of the thousands of families booted out of their homes, starved, shot, bombed and tortured in the elite's perfectly legal pursuit of ever more profit.
Theory Corner: A Census Waste
WELL, WHAT WITH our 'in it, on it' commitment to bringing you fresh news on the hour, the National Census will no doubt be old hat by the time you get to read this; but that's never stopped us before. What started out in 1801 as a single sheet of paper, has now swollen into a £480 million-plus black hole, even though we're all meant to be broke. The justifications for this irrelevant invasion of our privacy ranges from helping the state allocate funds to local authorities and future health care (£0.00, anyone?), or formulating future housing and transport strategy. And yet, every single time a new route or development is planned, there will still be a fresh consultation – which, admittedly, they'll ignore. But why bother collating all the info this time around? Surely, it wouldn't be good old-fashioned snooping from Europe's most intrusive surveillance state?
Perhaps more controversial than this decadely intrusion, though, is the company who carried out the harrassment: Lockheed Martin. Based in the U.S., the world's second-largest arms dealer enjoy a one-third share in the notorious Aldermaston A.W.E. and manufacture 'Trident' nuclear missiles (the scrapping of which would save the public £97 billion), and yet their greatest area of growth right now is – you guessed it – 'intelligence and surveillance'. Just as well the coalition handed them the £150 million contract. But I'm sure they won't mis-use all that precious info, right?
But this time around, more and more people are telling them where to stick it, even with the threat of prosecution: 'No Trespass' signs are turning around census delivery agents; “return to sender” and “fuck off” forms are bouncing back through Royal Mail; census form bar codes are being improved with black markers; white candle wax is smearing over “official use” boxes; and, if the forms are to believed, the 'lion tamer in outer space' industry is booming. So that's nice.
Theory Corner 2: Riot Etiquette
“YOU'RE JUST MINDLESS vandals, and it is ruining the message.” “This kind of violence isn't going to get us anywhere.” I wish these were just another set of quotes from Labour Party supporters or reformist T.U.C., but instead these are the words of fellow radicals in the Blac Bloc - the revolution has no use for 'K's. In fact, we're pretty sure the anarchist scene would be better off with no K at all... but that's a whole different story.
So, why were these words uttered? It was not empathy for unfeeling panes of glass, nor was it annoyance that some people had broken the law that the capitalist classes set down. Instead, it was the cold feeling of paint coating the faces and – up until that point – anonymous black hoodies of our comrades, or the sight of a couple running back from a window someone was hitting, or the sound of a would-be supporter's pram pushed at superhuman speed to evade a balloon full of emulsion.
For these reasons, it is necessary to compile the following guide to riot etiquette. These aren't rules to be followed, but just things you might want to think about. Or else.
1) Only Wankers Throw From The Back: how many times do we have to say this? If you can't see your target, or there are more than three people between you and that symbol of bourgeois capitalist imperalism, how can you tell if you will hit home, or simply strike a fellow protester in the back of the head? Simple: you can't! Leave that lightbulb of dulux in your pocket for now. For the record, over 30 head injuries were treated by street medics on the 26th, almost all from 'friendly fire'.
2) Windows Don't Have Feelings, Bystanders Do: two-pronged idea this one. Firstly, it is not worth starting a human-vs.-human
fight over a TopShop window, so stand back! Secondly, it is not worth glass in the face of a protester or random old lady to smash said window, so check the coast is clear, yeah?
3) The Press Are Not Your Friends (even if they are your mates): it doesn't matter how cool that picture of the masked-up guy in that broken bank looks, it's not worth three years (with good behaviour) of anyone's time. Let the cameras snap as you march down the street, let them photograph the damage in your wake, but that middle bit? Best if it stays anonymous. Someone attacking capitalism should be surrounded by comrades – not camera men out to make a quick buck. Remember that the next time you see a window put through.
4) We Don't Condone Anything That's Illegal: mostly because we know the cops can read (!) our freesheets and our Facebook
pages, and saying how we took part in action X or Y via any part of the internet would be very, very silly.
5) We Don't Like Rules: even ones with handy bullet point-style numbers. Just remember – keep yourself safe, keep your friends safe, and don't let some idiots ruin our peaceful, wholesome, smashing the fuck out of Capital and all the pigs who get in our way.
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AND NOW, TO the disclaimer: as anyone is free to contribute, the opinions expressed in each article are not necessarily reflective of all contributors. 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 necessarily reflect the opinions of any other contributor.