Resistance issue 137, December/January 2011/2012

Full text and PDF of the Anarchist Federation's monthly bulletin.

Anarchists Join with Sparks and Students in London on 9 November
At 7am on the morning of 9 November, sparks (striking electricians), students and their supporters including anarchists took the streets outside the Pinnacle Building site before marching to the Cannon Street construction site. The protesters refused to be stopped by police and pushed through police lines. Eventually they reached Cannon Street at around 9am. The protesters were not going to be intimidated by the police and were angry, active and clearly visible.

The students were out in force against tuition fees and cuts and privatisation of education for universities, colleges and schools, as well as the government’s draconian and savage assault on the welfare system in this country. The government’s attack on young people is not just by age but by class and it amounts to one of the biggest generational betrayals in peacetime history.

The scrapping of the EMA will lead students away from further education and their prospects of getting a job and paying into a pension scheme grow more and more remote.

The sparks have already taken their own actions across the country against the top six construction companies who want to pay the workers 35% lower wages and to worsen conditions at work. Many of these workers are in the UNITE trade union but the workers have done these actions independently and even against the wishes of UNITE.

After a tour of the building sites, the sparks visited St Paul’s where the Occupy London protest camp was based.

Earlier speakers at the sparks demo urged people to join the student march. The sparks travelled to the Shard construction site and Blackfriars, but were then kettled by the police to prevent them joining the student march. Anarchists made an impressive and supportive presence at the both the sparks and the student marches.

The main change from last year’s student demos was the tactics of the police, following the embarrassment of recent demonstrations when in many cases fit and youthful protestors simply out ran the police and vented their anger on government property. This time the police were eager to intimidate and repress the movement as much as possible. At the front of the march there was a line of police whose job it was to keep the march at a slow pace; police on horseback followed the march along its route and every road to the side of route was blocked by steel barriers, sandbags and cops in full riot gear. Although the attempt to join the two national demos failed, it goes to show that many people do see the connection between all the attacks on the working class and they do intend to link struggles to better combat the ruling class.

Erosion of Workers’ Rights
On the 8th and 9th of October the Rebellious Media Conference was held in London bringing together activists, independent news organisations and world renowned academics for discussions on how radical and independent media can make its voice heard in an industry dominated by mainstream, corporate media outlets. The conference - organised by Peace News, Ceasefire, NUJ, Red Pepper, Undercurrents and visionOntv - attracted such speakers as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Michael Albert and Greg Philo.

Alongside the numerous talks and forums that took place over the two days, attendees had the opportunity to pick up various anarchist publications with stalls from the likes of Freedom Press, SchNews and New Internationalist and learn more about the work of organisations such as Corporate Watch and Ceasefire amongst many, many others.

The first day of the conference took place at the Institute of Education (UCL) kicking off with Chomsky’s talk to a full Logan Hall. Chomsky spoke at length of the Occupy Wall Street movement that was at that time sweeping across the US, criticising its reformist nature and calling on the demonstrators to radicalise their demands through a deeper analyse of the power structures that the elite use to maintain their dominance. Talks were scheduled for the entire day across the institute on a variety of topics with grassroots, radical short films being screened at lunchtime.

The second day saw the conference move to Friends House with focus turning to the more practical aspects of producing radical media with seminars on photography, writing press releases, translation and how to make the most of social media networks. These provided attendees with the opportunity to meet other producers of radical media and to exchange ideas and experiences in open forums. The conference was then wrapped up with closing speeches from a panel that included Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert with the latter calling for greater mutual aid between radical media organisations.

The conference was well summed up, however, by Becky Hogge, who after being asked how the conference could have been “more radical” stated that what mattered was not what had been said over the course of the weekend but what each one of those present did once the conference had finished.

Direct Action Gets the Goods
Laura, who was working at the Hartley pub in South London, had her contract terminated after she refused to work because she hadn’t been paid for 6 weeks, that is over £700 she had to live without since mid-September. The employers had numerous opportunities to pay and had broken many promises, ignored calls, not replied to emails and sent her round in circles passing responsibility amongst themselves. It was only after Laura contacted South London Solidarity Federation and mobilised friends and family to support her that they paid around half the money she was owed. After phone calls, emails and the threat of a picket the pub boss caved in and paid the full amount.

This is a situation many of us find ourselves in at some point at work. Not being paid for shifts or long periods of time is such a common occurrence that it is often seen as a trivial matter. With the prospect of going round in circles with managers or time consuming legal proceedings, it is easy to let them win. But by taking direct action together with our workmates, friends and family we can improve our working

Atos Festive Month of Actions
With thousands to face homelessness in the New Year due to housing benefit cuts, the harassment and further impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of disabled people due to punitive ‘assessments’, the continued persecution of people on sickness benefits, soaring unemployment and forced labour in the name of Workfare, a truly Victorian Christmas is on the cards for millions of us.

Whilst Atos CEO and disability denier Keith Wilman tucks into his organic Christmas turkey or multi-millionaire poverty pimp Emma Harrison of A4e hangs tinsel in her tax-payer funded stately home, millions of disabled, low paid, unemployed or sick people are facing a future of poverty, worsening health and homelessness.

Parents will be spending Christmas terrified that the new demands of conditionality for benefits, such as forcing single mothers into workfare schemes, will leave them unable to properly care for their children. People with life-threatening conditions or mental health problems will be terrified that their upcoming Atos assessment, notoriously flawed as it is, will further strip them of vital benefits.

Tens of thousands of low-waged families are about to be socially cleansed from city centres due to housing benefit cuts whilst unemployed people face the prospect of being forced to work full time and still survive on just a few pounds a day. The Welfare Reform Bill will see millions of disabled people forced into a similar, if not identical, testing regime for the new Personal Independence Payment that has tragically led to suicides amongst people already forced to undertake Atos’ Work Capability Assessments.

For the last year disabled people, claimant activists and supporters have been protesting against the inhumane treatment being inflicted on already vulnerable people. Scores of protests have been held outside (and sometimes inside) the offices of Atos ‘Healthcare’, the largest ever march of disabled people and supporters has taken place, protests have been held outside the Daily Mail, A4e offices and other workfare providers and online activity about benefit issues has exploded. Still the Tory Government pushes ahead, with their Lib Dem lap dogs never far ahead.

We need more than ever to increase the pressure and fight these attacks on our most basic needs and very survival. Organise and help spread the word now, please list all local actions, protests below and we will do our best to help promote and support all events as well as list them here.

Alternatively why not gather up your friends and turn up to spread seasonal cheer at your local Atos unannounced and then tell us about it afterwards. Everyone loves a surprise guest at Christmas!

London
16th December – 2pm
Triton Square, London NW1
A Real Victorian Christmas Party and Picnic at Triton Square

Power to the People: Electricity Workers Say no to Austerity
Greek electricity company workers have taken a militant stand against the government’s latest wave of austerity measures. Members of GENOP-DEI, the union of the Public Power Corporation, occupied the building issuing electricity disconnection orders for households that have failed to pay their bills.

As of a few weeks ago, the latest bills now include the latest property tax imposed by the government, typically including hundreds of Euros per property, making payment for thousands a non-option. This is in addition to the spiralling energy costs, job losses and declining wages since the crisis, leading many to rely on wood burners for their heat over the winter months. Members of the union had already cut power to the Health Ministry during the preceding week.

The response of the newly formed national unity government was swift, with riot police raiding the offices and arresting fifteen workers. The struggle, however, continues and in response GENOP-DEI has called a 48-hour strike. Workers also occupied a power station in Northern Greece.

These actions are a part of escalating resistance to the newest austerity deal. Transport workers have beenholding stoppages against staff cuts while pharmacies were also closed in Athens this past month to protest the failure of health insurers to settle debts. Struggles are ongoing amongst students and education workers (see last month’s Resistance).

The November 17th commemoration march, an event that has traditionally been a display of anarchist influence, involved over fifty thousand people this year with many marching behind both a new slogan, “then with tanks, now with banks” (in reference to the tanks that were used to crush the student uprising during the military Junta) as well as the resurrection of an old one (from the Civil War), “when the people are confronted with the threat of tyranny, they either chose the chains or guns”. Unions are expected to hold another general strike at the beginning of this month.

Sparks take their message to the boss’s front door
On 23 November 200 sparks and supporters gathered outside Kings Cross station in London for a short demonstration outside one of the gates of the Crossrail site. Police arrived issued with tazers and after some speeches the crowd moved round to the back of the station where the street was blocked. After ten minutes or so the crowd then blocked the road outside The Guardian’s offices. An ambulance was allowed through and the crowd got back on the move. Sixty electricians then occupied the head office of the Gratte Brothers, the smallest of the seven companies pulling out of the JIB, for an hour. The doors were chained and the police had to resort to bolt cutters to remove the electricians. One of the sparks had this to say: “Cops got in through a fire exit but could not throw us out. No arrests all peaceful. Sparks showed that they can take the message to the employers front door literally.”

Getting Ready to Strike
So this is my first strike ever and it’s been an interesting experience observing the dynamics between management, workforce and unison in the build up. We’ve had a couple of pensions’ briefings, which were commendably open to everyone irrespective of union membership, however only at one location out of 100s. The union also sent an email out claiming the membership were requesting that we don’t have picket lines because they’re, “old fashioned” and instead have a rally in town. I sent them an arsey email and there seems now be a move to have a large picket at a central location i.e. the local hospital followed by a rally. I’ve said I’d rather build for a picket in my own workplace as it’s a chance to engage and they’ve given me their blessing to do that. Whether this is genuine lack of militancy from the workforce or an attempt to funnel dissent into a harmless rally or both I couldn’t say at this stage.

As stated above there’s been a concerted push from above to put pressure on strikers to reveal they’re striking and to stop taking sick leave. But equally going by conversations I’ve had there doesn’t seem to be much of push from middle management and other staff to implement or comply with this. So be interesting to see whether this gets pushed in the run up to the strike. Unison seems either unwilling or unable to resist these moves.

Speaking to people in my workplace there’s obvious support for the strike, if scepticism that it will achieve its aims (which I share). But also it’s obvious we’re working with a workforce that except for a minority of older members have little or no experience of industrial action, (me included!). I’ve been asked if we get paid for being on strike, people saying they can’t strike because they didn’t receive a ballot and people saying they can’t strike because they haven’t got a pension. Fairly basic stuff but something that we must deal with if we’re to organise.

It’s obvious to me there is explicit and wide ranging dissatisfaction and will to resist these measures (I’m losing 25% of my pension, retiring 3 years later and paying an extra £250 a year and I’m one of the better one’s off in this) but it’s atomised and. Sadly I can’t see anyway round this other than slow and patient building of confidence and explicit explanations of why solidarity is important etc.

Within my department my boss is striking, as our two members of staff. The other two have said they’re not going to cross picket lines. I’ve taken this as a green light to try and persuade the 110 members of bank staff we have to not come in. This is fun.

Quantitative Easing - Creating Money for Rich People
Here’s a funny thing – the Royal College of Nurses predict that 26,000 nurses are currently losing their jobs as a result of public service cuts. At Whipps Cross Hospital east London, staff has been asked to work a day for free because the hospital is in so much debt. At the Tory conference, Old Etonians George Osborne and David Cameron repeated ad nauseum that there’s no money, no money for schools, for elderly care, for the NHS, for councils, even for the armed forces. At the same time as they tell us that we have to make the cuts, the government (more accurately the Bank of England) is spending a whopping £270 billion. This is new money the government has created. In the old days they would have printed it. Today it is done electronically. What is the purpose of this quantitative easing? Will it be used to keep the libraries open? Will it be used to stop NHS waiting lists growing? Will our public sector transport system get a well-needed cash injection? No. This money won’t be heading into the real economy. Instead, the government will be shoving it towards the City of London to buy up bonds. The theory is that this will keep interest rates low, make credit more easily available and stimulate the economy. Does it work? No. Interest rates are already at a historic low. A recent independent review of the last round of quantitative easing (QE) launched by Gordon Brown found that the only people who benefited were City firms. Although QE is described as ‘new’ it isn’t. This is just a new version of monetarism. Monetarism didn’t work in the 1980s and isn’t working now.

Greece: Down with the Stalinists and Bureaucrats!
This article is about the 48-hour general strike demonstrations of 19-20 October in Greece. It comments on the change of the police doctrine towards a “softer management of demonstrations” and the role of the Stalinists in “self-policing” the protests. This is a translation of an article written by TPTG (Ta Paidia Tis Galarias – ” The children of the gallery”). TPTG are an anti-authoritarian communist group from Athens who see communism not as a political ideology or dogma, but as a practical necessity stemming from the concrete, daily struggles of the proletariat within and against it.

We all experienced the nightmare that the Greek stalinists in co-operation with other leftist trade unionists and the cops created during the 48-hour strike in Greece on October 19 and 20 and some comrades in the anti-authoritarian milieu are badly wounded. We refer to the policing role of the KKE members: they were stationed in military formation in the area around the parliament, armed with helmets and sticks, facing the demonstrators with the riot squads behind them, preventing anyone from approaching, even asking for reporters’ identities and attacking fiercely later those in the crowd who defied their cordons.

As the clashes started, the riot squads came for their protection attacking people with chemicals and flash-bang grenades evacuating the area. It was revealed later that the stalinists had made an agreement with the police so as to be allowed to police the demo themselves. According to our information, similar agreements were made between the KKE and other left parties’ or groupuscules’ unionists so that each was alloted a special place near the parliament accepting KKE’s hegemony. They later supported fully KKE in its denunciation of the ‘anarcho-fascists’, ‘parastatals’ etc, namely all those who were not part of the deal, not willing to accept it and tried to break their cordons.

As the capitalist attack deepens, this Greek style of ‘self-policing’ of ‘problematic’ crowd events has signalled the comeback with a vengeance of the left political parties and the left unionist bureaucracy against a proletarian crowd that had managed to escape their mortal embrace last June in the squares movement (albeit in a very contradictory way). We can’t say whether this concerted public-order policing by the KKE and the professional police with the approval of most of the left and leftist organisations and unions is the visible part (in the streets) of a deal for a national unity government, but it certainly revealed very dramatically that the capitalist state has a lot of left-wing reserves as well as alternative police methods against us, as we argued in our two letters* on the progress of our enemies. Have a look at this extract we translated from an article in yesterday’s Eleftherotypia, a liberal newspaper of wide circulation:

“It is obvious that attempts are being made at readapting the doctrine of the security forces’ involvement in the social reactions, which will escalate continuously. A society that suffers badly from the economic measures cannot bebeaten up by the forces of repression which have not found or do not want to find a way to isolate those who regard violence as an end in itself.

The events of recent days, if not marked by the death of the 53-year-old PAME trade unionist, could be seen as a sign of an effective change of the police doctrine towards a softer management of demonstrations.

Indeed, in those two days that police were fully in a transitory phase in terms of its leadership team, the risk was double. Initially, the apparatus was led for two days by those available since changes in leadership were announced simultaneously with the big demonstrations. And even with the participation of Christofareizis C., who was recalled from retirement, the designer of the MAT [TN: the riot squad] in the ’90s, whose name was associated with the attack against pensioners out of Maximou [TN: the Presidential Mansion] in 1995. The other change observed was the return of the doctrine of self-control and inconspicuous granting of power to organized unions to self-guard the demonstrations.

What happened on Thursday with PAME guarding its demo not only in a defensive but also in an offensive way at the Unknown Soldier monument was the beginning of a new tactic which gives room for self-regulation to the demonstrators that will have the first say in the prevention of the intrusion of troublemakers in the body of the mobilizations. And this is risky, because the incredible violence between protesters, while the police was discreetly absent, could have had more serious consequences. Although any police involvement might have had even worse consequences. In any case this tactic is likely to be applied again after consultations have been made.

In this critical period it was clear that Chr. Papoutsis [TN: Minister of Public Order, or in the neo-orwellian language of PASOK government, Minister of Citizen Protection] wished for a softer administration at all levels of the Staff and not only at the leadership. That is why he transfered hardline officers that he thought they were damaging the image of the police due to the behaviour of policemen who had seriously injured protesters and professional journalists in recent months, during demonstrations. Obviously, for reasons of balance, the minister also hired an experienced veteran and put him in the position of the operation consultant.

For over a year, the minister has been talking about a lack of democracy in the security forces and has threatened that he will not hesitate to attack some structures, units and commanders. Certainly these commanders were appointed by the same government two years ago, when the offensive doctrine was applied for the regaining of the streets, according to the official announcement that had been made then.

The murder of student Al. Grigoropoulos had repercussions on the police as they were delegitimised in huge parts of the society, i.e. they were marginalized socially and professionally. There is an attempt now by the Ministry of Citizen Protection to reverse this disturbance of professional self-image and behaviour, in the worst period in decades, as the economic crisis is ruining people and cracks in social cohesion are increasing.” [TN: It is not surprising then that some riot squads were telling the demonstrators that they were there for their protection!] (Greek Police: softly-softly is the new doctrine, Eleftherotypia, 23/11/2011)

However, the struggle against the cops of all colours and their diverse methods as well as against the capitalist attack on the working class goes on!

TPTG
www.tptg.gr

New Riot Statistics Revealed
New and more comprehensive statistics about the riots in August have been recently released by the government. These new statistics reveal some of the lies about the riots that politicians and right wing commentators have been spreading. The first and maybe most disgusting lie that the statistics have swept aside is the assertion that the violent aspects of the riots were directly connected to peoples ethnic backgrounds and that members of ethnic minorities (particularly black people) are somehow more prone to crime than others. In fact the statistics showed that there was almost a fifty-fifty split when it came to the number of white people charged and people of ethnic minority groups charged. Overall 45% of those charged were white, 46% were black, 7% were Asian and 5% were labelled as “other”.

Now, a committed personal racist still might argue that the percentage of people from ethnic minority groups who were charged is still larger in proportion than the percentage of the population that is not white, but when you consider that these riots were partly motivated by poverty and the percentage of non-white people in poverty in Britain is far higher than the percentage of white people in poverty it’s clear that the colour of somebody’s skin has nothing to do with whether they riot or not. Capitalism, on the other hand, has everything to do with it.

The other lie that was quickly destroyed by the recent statistics is the one propagated by politicians in particular who claimed that organised criminal gangs played a pivotal or even a leading role in the riots. Part of the implication of this was that what was needed to solve the problem was tougher policing of poorer communities.

The statistics, however, reveal that this is complete rubbish; only 13% of those charged were gang members. Although three quarters of those brought to court had previous cautions or convictions, this is a result of the fact that the riots occurred mainly in some of the most poverty stricken areas of the country.

The statistics show that many of the people in the riots were trapped in poverty, that 35% of those charged were receiving unemployment benefits and 42% of young people charged were claiming free school meals.

The people who really caused the riots of August cannot be found in the working class communities of Tottenham, Hackney and Brixton. Instead, you will find the most violent and mindless members of our society in Parliament, in the CEO offices of banks and the police station at the end of the street.

A Council Worker’s Perspective on Disability Cuts
I arrive at my Bristol City Council office with a knot in my stomach. What service will I have to take away from someone today?

My work is to meet people who because of where they are on the dis/ability spectrum find parts of daily living more tricky and to put in place support they might need, such as support with personal care, eating and drinking, accessing the community. Or rather, I used to. With £7.3million cut from Bristol’s Health and Social Care budget, there is a large and growing gap between the support people need and want and what Bristol City Council says they can have.

An example: an elderly woman I am assessing tells me how happy she is with her carer who visits each morning for 45 minutes. “I wouldn’t have anyone to chat with if it wasn’t for her. We chat about the headlines and stuff like that. It’s lovely. I’d like her to come more often”.

Trapped into selling my time and humanity in return for a wage, I tell her between gritted angry teeth that while she and I both know she needs more than 45 minutes worth of social contact a day, her *eligible need *could be met with a 30 minute visit.

Sadness passes between us. I can barely imagine how important this time must be for someone who has no other social contact all day. As 15 minutes gets knocked off her support plan gone is time to chat and time to relax her frail body in the bath. Her home instead becomes part of the morning rush hour, as underpaid carers from over-profiting care agencies rush in, around and out.

This is a glimpse of her suffering caused by £1500 being cut from my department’s budget. That leaves another £7,298 500 worth of suffering to be accounted for across the city. I encourage those who see how cuts and privatisation are affecting people to speak out, or to find a mate and speak out even louder.

Rebels with a Cause
On the 8th and 9th of October the Rebellious Media Conference was held in London bringing together activists, independent news organisations and world renowned academics for discussions on how radical and independent media can make its voice heard in an industry dominated by mainstream, corporate media outlets. The conference - organised by Peace News, Ceasefire, NUJ, Red Pepper, Undercurrents and visionOntv - attracted such speakers as Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Michael Albert and Greg Philo.

Alongside the numerous talks and forums that took place over the two days, attendees had the opportunity to pick up various anarchist publications with stalls from the likes of Freedom Press, SchNews and New Internationalist and learn more about the work of organisations such as Corporate Watch and Ceasefire amongst many, many others.

The first day of the conference took place at the Institute of Education (UCL) kicking off with Chomsky’s talk to a full Logan Hall. Chomsky spoke at length of the Occupy Wall Street movement that was at that time sweeping across the US, criticising its reformist nature and calling on the demonstrators to radicalise their demands through a deeper analyse of the power structures that the elite use to maintain their dominance. Talks were scheduled for the entire day across the institute on a variety of topics with grassroots, radical short films being screened at lunchtime.

The second day saw the conference move to Friends House with focus turning to the more practical aspects of producing radical media with seminars on photography, writing press releases, translation and how to make the most of social media networks. These provided attendees with the opportunity to meet other producers of radical media and to exchange ideas and experiences in open forums. The conference was then wrapped up with closing speeches from a panel that included Noam Chomsky and Michael Albert with the latter calling for greater mutual aid between radical media organisations.

The conference was well summed up, however, by Becky Hogge, who after being asked how the conference could have been “more radical” stated that what mattered was not what had been said over the course of the weekend but what each one of those present did once the conference had finished.

Bank of Ideas Opens
Occupy London took over a huge abandoned office block in the borough of Hackney belonging to the investment bank UBS in a move it describes as a `public repossession.’ A dozen activists from Occupy London gained access to the building and secured it.

The multimillion-pound complex, which has been empty for several years, is the group’s third space and its first building, adding to its two camps at St Paul’s Courtyard – near the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and at Finsbury Square.

Occupy London supporters Jack Holburn said: “Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and other financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.”

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public. Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure.”

The occupied building was then re-opened as the `Bank of Ideas.’ Sarah Layler of Occupy London added: “The Bank of Ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash. We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

The complex is owned by Sun Street Properties Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS. The property includes 5-29 Sun Street, 5-17 Crown Place, 8-16 Earl Street and 54 Wilson Street.

UBS Bank, which describes itself as a `premier global financial services firm offering wealth management, investment banking, asset management and business banking services’ was the subject of a $60bn bailout from the Swiss government in 2008 after piling up the biggest losses of any European lender from the global credit crisis. Since that time, the bank has cut thousands of jobs.
Prisoner Support

Please write to these class struggle and anti-fascist prisoners incarcerated for their resistance. Stamps can be sent to prisoners so mention the amount you have included.

Anti-Fascist Actions
In June 2011 six anti-fascists were fitted-up on charges of Conspiracy to Cause Violent Disorder and sent to jail for between 15 and 21 months. Thomas Blak has now been released but was deported to his home country of Denmark.

Andy Baker
A5768CE
HMP Highpoint
Stradishall
Newmarket
Suffolk CR8 9YG

Sean Cregan
A5769CE
HMP Coldingley
Shaftesbury Road
Bisley
Surrey GU24 9EX

Phil De Souza
A5766CE
HMP Elmley
Eastchurch
Sheerness
Kent ME12 4AY

Ravinder Gill
A5770CE
HMP Wayland
Griston
Thetford
Norfolk IP25 6RL

Austen Jackson
A5729CE
HMP Stocken
Stocken Hall Road
Sretton
Nr Oakham LE15 7RD

Anti cuts demos

Omar Ibrahim has been sentenced for 18 months for violent disorder during the London anti-cuts demonstration on March 26th 2011.

You can read his ‘Anti-Cuts Prisoner Blog’
bangedupforprotesting

Omar Ibrahim
A0253CH
HMP Wandsworth
Heathfield Road
London SW18 3HS

Joseph Binney is on remand for alleged violent disorder during the London anti-cuts demonstration on March 26th 2011.
Joseph Binney
A5569CH
HMP Wandsworth
Heathfield Road
London SW18 3HS

Harry Webb
Serving a 12 month sentence for violent disorder during the March 26th 2011 anti-cuts demonstration despite having been violently attacked by the police.
Harry Webb
A4895CG
HMP Wandsworth
Heathfield Road
Wandsworth
London
SW18 3HS

Student Demos

James Heslip was sentenced on October 5th 2011 to 12 months for violent disorder during the November 2010 student Millbank protest and occupation. Write him care of
London Anarchist Black Cross
c/o Freedom Bookshop
84b Whitechapel
High Street
London E1 7QX

Benjamin Sunderland
Serving a 12 month sentence for violent disorder during the November 2010 student protests.
Benjamin Sunderland
A6968CH
HMP YOI Portland
104 The Grove
Easton
Portland
Dorset DTS IDL

Zenon Mitchell-Kotsakis
Inside for violent disorder during the November 2010 demonstration and occupation at Millbank.
Zenon Mitchell-Kotsakis
A6970CH
HMP YOI Portland
104 The Grove
Easton
Portland
Dorset DTS IDL

Matt Robinson
Sentenced to 12 months for violent disorder during the November 2010 student demonstration and occupation at Millbank. Matt Robinson
A5988AZ
HMP Wandsworth
Heathfield Road
Wandsworth
London SW18 3HS

For more info on writing to prisoners: check these Anarchist Black Cross websites:
Brighton ABC
http://www.brightonabc.org.uk/
Bristol ABC
http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/
Leeds ABC
http://leedsabc.org/
London ABC
https://network23.org/londonabc/

False Wage Claim
The Daily Mirror ran an article on 10 October by Jeremy Armstrong stating that “Prisoners have been paid more than £70million over the past two years – some of them for doing nothing. Murderers, rapists and robbers pick up an average £9.60 a week to graft behind bars, with a guaranteed £2.50 just for making themselves “available to work”.”

Of course, for media hacks like Armstrong, it’s always murderers, rapists and robbers but not fine-defaulters, expense-fiddling MPs, those with serious drug addiction and mental health problems or those found guilty of victimless crimes such as public order offences, soliticiting and prostitution.

Now, the £70m might be fresh information but the £9.60 figure comes from a 2007 Prison Service survey of wages which in fact does not take full account of all prisoners, including those that have made themselves “available to work” but are banged up 23 hours a day in a local prison where the only work is a very limited number of cleaning, cooking and laundry jobs.

A quick back of a fag packet calculation shows that this £70m could clearly not amount to an average wage of £9.60. Taking an average prison population of 84,800, for the last two financial years (April 2009-April 2011) £70,000,000 divided by 2 years and then by 52 weeks = £673,000 per week in wages paid out. Which amounts to £673,000 divided by the prison population of 84,800 = £7.94 a week average wage. Armstrong cannot even get the prison population record high right; it was 87,673 at the start of October.

This is an edited version of an article written by the Campaign Against Prison Slavery (CAPS).

Look at the CAPS website for more news and analysis on work and exploitation in British prisons.

www.againstprisonslavery.org

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