Solidarity with Heathrow 13 activists.

Among thirteen defendants threatened with incarceration are two members of our One Big Union. Fellow Workers  Ella Gilbert from Norwich and Bec Sanderson from Machynlleth. We express our solidarity and admiration for their courage.

An injury to one is an injury to all!

More information at Plane Stupid .

#Heathrow13 Trial Verdict – Press Release

Runway Occupation on Trial – Verdicts

Monday, January 20th, 2016, London – Today in Willesden Magistrates Court, the thirteen Plane Stupid activists who occupied Heathrow’s north runway for six hours on the 13th of July last year were all convicted of aggravated trespass and being airside without lawful authority. The Judge has asked them all to return in 3 weeks on the 24th February for sentencing and has advised all defendants to prepare for immediate custodial sentences.

The thirteen defendants released the following statement, in response to their convictions:

“Today’s judgement demonstrates that the legal system does not yet recognise that climate defence is not an offence. We took action because we saw that it was sorely needed. When the democratic, legislative and processes have failed, it takes the actions of ordinary people to change them.”

“We are very grateful for all the messages of support and solidarity we have received from all over the world, and are immensely proud of the action we took to combat emissions from aviation. Climate change and air pollution from Heathrow are killing people now, and the government’s response is to spend millions making the problem bigger. As long as airport expansion is on the agenda, Plane Stupid will be here. We’re in it for the long haul.“

Most of the defence’s witness evidence was not heard in court, and none of the witnesses were allowed to appear in court. John McDonnell was not heard in full due to the Judge having already accepted the points he was addressing, and therefore ruling the statement irrelevant.

Her ruling on John McDonnell’s evidence is available here –

http://planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/20/judge-wrights-ruling-john-mcdonnells-witness-statement

And John McDonnell’s full statement is available here –

http://planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/20/witness-statement-john-mcdonnell-mp

Statements from three local residents from the Heathrow area were read out, detailing the debilitating and life-threatening medical conditions they were suffering from as a consequence of living near to the airport.

Character references for the defendants were also read out in court, from a variety of public figures including High Court Judge Peter Jackson and a long list of barristers and solicitors.

Alice Bowes-Larkin, one of the UK’s leading climate scientists, and a specialist in the climate impacts of aviation, submitted a statement which was read to the court. It mentioned that Heathrow “is the airport with the highest CO2 contribution in the world in terms of combined international and domestic flights” and “this puts Heathrow expansion at odds with the UK Government’s commitment to avoiding a ‘well below’ 2’C target, unless a major programme of efficiency and biofuel development are delivered in tandem.”

Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for the London mayoral elections, came to court to support the defendants, despite her evidence having been ruled as inadmissible by the judge. Her statement is available here –

http://planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/20/sian-berry-statement

George Monbiot’s statement was also ruled inadmissible, and is available here –

http://planestupid.com/blogs/2016/01/20/george-monbiot-statement

Writing on how the activists will be seen in the future, he said:

“They will be regarded not as outlaws and subversives, but as democratic heroes. Succeeding generations, struggling with the impacts that our government’s failures to take action on climate change bequeathed them, are likely to be amazed that they could have been seen in any other light.”

In all, of the ten defence witnesses, only four had their evidence allowed, and none were permitted to appear in court.

The runway occupation, under the banner of anti-aviation expansion group Plane Stupid and the first on a Heathrow runway, lasted six hours and delayed or cancelled dozens of flights. The activists, who are all pleading not guilty, are accused of aggravated trespass and trespassing airside without authority.

The defendants are Sheila Menon, 43, of Hackney, east London, Rebecca Holly Sanderson, 27, of Machynlleth, Powys; Richard Steven Hawkins, 32, and Kara Lauren Moses, 31, both of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth; Ella Gilbert, 23, of Finsbury Park, north London; Melanie Strickland, 32, of Waltham Forest, north-east London; Danielle Louise Paffard, 28, of Peckham, south-east London; Graham Edward James Thompson, 42, of Hackney, north-east London; Cameron Joseph Kaye, 23, Edward Thacker, 26, Alistair Craig Tamlit, 27, and Sam Sender, 23, all of West Drayton, west London; and Robert Anthony Basto, 67, of Reigate, Surrey.

ENDS

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They Are Coming For Our Kids! Jobcentre Harassment To Start From 12 Years Old.

the void

ids-dead-teddySchool-children as young as 12 are to face Jobcentre harassment coercing them to join unpaid work schemes when they leave education the DWP have announced today.

Jobcentres busy-bodies are to be sent out into schools in a chilling move that  Iain Duncan Smith has pledged  will have a ‘dramatic’ impact on the nation’s children and encourage social mobility.  Yet this, of course, is a bare-faced lie.  There is no mention of going to college, university, or even starting a real job in today’s gushing DWP press release announcing the scheme.  Instead children will be encouraged into unpaid Work Experience, unpaid traineeships, or poverty paid so-called Apprenticeships which are little more than an excuse for companies like McDonalds to dodge paying their workers the minimum wage.  This scheme is merely the latest shabby attempt to indoctrinate young people into accepting the life of low paid, insecure, shitty jobs – or…

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Crabgrass: internet organising tool from Riseup.

Presenting we.riseup.net

For the last eight years, we have been developing a web application called “Crabgrass,” running at https://we.riseup.net. For many people, this site has been quite useful, with tens of thousands of active users. However, we have never announced this service publicly, until now. We finally feel that the code is mature enough that we want to climb every mountain top and scream at the top of our collective lungs “Crabgrass is here!” Or maybe we should just tell all our Riseup users about it in a newsletter? Yeah, probably that last one.

What is Crabgrass?

In a nutshell, Crabgrass is a simple way for groups to edit shared wiki pages. Crabgrass, however, has a few features that make it unique in the world of collaborative web applications. In particular, Crabgrass is designed to allow people to privately collaborate within a group and with other groups. Uniquely, Crabgrass allows for powerful searches, including full text searching, across the entire universe of things you have access to.

At Riseup, we believe that all technology encodes systems of power. In the long run, the only way for us to use technology for good is to create or deploy technology that reflects the way we want to connect with each other, and not the way that the surveillance economy wants us to. Crabgrass was designed by and for people practicing bottom-up, democratic organizing.

Crabgrass has been our collective’s communication tool for internal organizing for the last eight years. We use it for everything: we have many internal committees set up, we document all our minutes and research, we upload files and images, we use it for group discussions for big issues we need to mull over, and we use polls and voting in order to find consensus and make decisions. There is no way our distracted brains would be able to keep track of everything otherwise. Riseup would not exist without it!

Why Pigeon thinks you all should use Crabgrass

The collective member who primarily writes these newsletters, Feral Rock Pigeon, has this to say about Crabgrass: “I am the least technical of all the Riseup members, and I find myself constantly muddling through this technological world. I am required to use the Google stuff (drive, docs, etc.) for some non-Riseup work, and I am always lost navigating through the fog. Ugh. In contrast, I started using Crabgrass a long time ago, never got any training in it, and have always been able to track and see everything I needed in logical way.”

There you have it! We did not pay her anything for this endorsement!

Help us improve crabgrass

Lots of people are using we.riseup.net  to organize in their collectives and movements. That’s exactly what it is meant for–self organization of social movements. Crabgrass is driven by people who care about it becoming a better tool for themselves, their groups and everyone.

Maybe you’ve chopped vegetables or washed teargas from peoples eyes at a protest. Maybe you’ve helped setup a barricade or tidied up the space it was meant to protect. Let’s apply the same spirit of self-directed mutual help to the improvement of this collective space. If you have 15 minutes please join us in building the platform we all want in order to build the world we want.

See https://github.com/riseuplabs/crabgrass-core

And a big shout out to aliaksandrb who for the past couple months arose from the ether to send daily bug and feature patches that have already gone live. AMAZING. If you are a developer, it’s a great time to get involved.

Some warnings

We recognize that Crabgrass has some bugs, and we are actively working to fix those. We are excited about this new release, but recognize that it is not perfect, and we will continue to iron out problems, as well as adding new functionality. We know that many people want calendaring functionality, and etherpad/ethercalc integration.

Also, please realize that putting something in Crabgrass does not inherently mean it is secure. If somebody with access to a page makes it public, then that page is public to any human or robot on the internet. So, as with any communication tool, it is important that you talk about your security protocols, and have some understanding of how the tool works. Understand who has access to a page, and that those with certain access can share the information (inadvertently or not) with others, by directly sharing the page, inviting others to the group, or having their account compromised.

Crabgrass does not feature end-to-end encryption: like with email, the Riseup collective has access to all the information on Crabgrass. There is currently no good way to support client-side encryption for a web application in a manner that prevents the provider from gaining access to the data. Nevertheless, we do plan to support some limited forms of client-side encryption in the future.

Keep it alive!

We have devoted thousands of hours to developing Crabgrass and maintaining the service. If you use it, please help us cover the costs of keeping it going. As always, please donate

The London Clearances

architectsforsocialhousing

I want to begin with those often-quoted words scribbled down by Marx 170 years ago: ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.’ This famous statement poses the question of the role of knowledge within the relations of power. It’s a role we should consider within the housing movement when engaging in what is not an academic debate, but a struggle for survival.

1. The Housing Crisis

In the lead up to the recent Labour Party leadership elections, Architects for Social Housing (ASH) was contacted by some people making a film for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. They asked us if there were any policy changes in housing we wanted to see brought in. We said ‘Yeah, one or two . . .’ In terms of policies, the failures of Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to guarantee affordable housing…

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Fuck austerity, free education now!

TheViolentMinority

Updated leaflet for UK student protests! Also available as a pdf – with space left for upcoming protests and contact details of local groups. Email theviolentminority [at] riseup.net for a copy of the original files.

Fuck debt! Fuck rent! Fuck Austerity! Decent, free education for everyone!

Page 1 of the Leaflet Page 1 of the Leaflet

University has become a scheme to get us to pay for our own job training. Courses are advertised for “transferable skills” and job prospects, while corporations even get a say in course content. The rich are the ones who benefit from this. They profit from trained-up, compliant workers while we foot the bill: it comes out of our wage packets each month as student loan repayments.

If this wasn’t bad enough – a huge amount of student loan money goes to crooks calling themselves landlords. Our rent pays off their mortgages while they sit on their arses watching the…

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The IWW grassroots direct action unionism in 5 easy steps. By the Bristol IWW.

Re-blogged from Bristol IWW,

1. You’re having problems at your workplace. You may not be getting your correct pay, or your correct sickness pay, or holiday entitlement, but you are unsure what to do because you haven’t got anything written, or you do but it doesn’t make any sense to you and nobody has bothered to explain it to you.

You want to do something about it, but you don’t really know what your rights are and what the law says. You may be bullied, harassed or intimidated by colleagues and/or managers, and feel isolated and depressed. Or, perhaps, you may actually like your job, get on with your colleagues and not have any problems at all with it. You may be unemployed, or a student or a retired person. You may think you have nothing in common with people in different circumstances, but we think you do: we think you should all join the IWW. In the IWW we believe that whether you are in work or not right now, you are still part of a society based on paid work and as such you will be affected by it at some point or other.

In the IWW we believe you don’t join the union only when you have a problem that you need an “expert” to fix; we think you should join anyway because being in a grassroots union is a key element of being involved and engaged with the world you live in. We think everyone has the right to take control and power back over their lives and work. We think everyone has the right to learn about employment rights and legislation and become their own “expert”. We become “experts” through formal training courses in casework and organising, but mostly we learn informally, by sharing knowledge and skills and supporting each other. We are grassroots, we are democratic, and we are fighters.

fightingcat2. You are a member now, and suddenly you do have problems in your workplace. Your manager may have decided to change your terms and conditions and demanded you to accept. You may notice you are not getting paid all the hours you are working. You may be under a lot of stress and pressure at work and have to take time off work sick because of it. Who you gonna call? The Wobblies! You arrange to meet with one of our caseworkers and go through things with them. You finally have someone to talk to who will listen to you and give you guidance and support, help you understand the law and what to do.

In the IWW we believe in EMPOWERMENT not delegation: we don’t do things FOR you, we do things WITH you. Once you have a clearer idea of the options available to you, it is up to you to decide what steps to take, knowing that the IWW will have your back. The IWW can help you in many different ways, from standard workplace procedures such as grievances and disciplinaries to more complex casework such as supporting you to take your case to an Employment Tribunal if appropriate. All these words and expression may mean nothing to you at the beginning, and you may feel overwhelmed by it all, but slowly, with the help of your IWW rep, you will become your own “expert”. You will start to understand, learn and feel empowered: knowledge is power.

3. So, your case is ongoing and we are following the standard procedures. We may be supporting to write formal demands to your employer, attending meetings alongside you, helping you to find a good solicitor, advocating on your behalf with your employer or other organisations (such as ACAS).

Sometimes though things don’t work, maybe because your employer is not responding, or because the nature of your employment is such that standard procedures are not appropriate. So, what happens then? Simple: we use direct action. We get together, because together we are stronger, and we get your case “out there”. We may ask people to call or write to your employer and complain about they way they are treating you. We may ask for a boycott of the company you are working for. We may get in touch with local and national press to publicise your case. We may hold a demonstration at your workplace until your employer meets your demands.

This is what we have done recently for one of our members who had her wages withheld by the cafe she worked at. And just in case you are wondering, yes, it did work: direct action does get the goods! Read our report about it “What’s outrageous? Unpaid wages!”.

4. All is over now, your employer has seen sense and you are in the pub celebrating with the Wobblies and your friends. You will feel knackered. You will also feel thrilled, energised, inspired. You will look at yourself in the mirror and know you have had the guts to stand up for your rights, no matter how stressful it has been. You have learned that you are not alone, and you will never feel alone again when standing up to your boss because the IWW will always have your back. So, what next? Well, if you haven’t already done so, you could complete our training courses in casework and organising. You will now have the knowledge and skills to support people in the same situation, and you will have a personal understanding of how it feels to have a dispute with your employer and WIN. The sky is our only limit, for us Wobblies!

5. How do you join? Online, here: https://iww.org.uk/join. If you want to have a chat beforehand, email us at bristol at iww.org.uk

IWW legends Joe Hill and Lucy Parsons

IWW legends Joe Hill and Lucy Parsons