“The Battle of Stokes Croft”
The eviction of our anti-Tesco occupation was dubbed “The Battle of Stokes Croft” by the local newspaper, The Evening Post Pest. We even made it to the national news!
You can see a full rundown of the press coverage here.
Anti-EDL protestors (We Are Bristol organised demonstration at the Bristol Bridge and as the camera pans to the right a group of LGBT activists [judging from the flags]) voice their displeasure at the EDL as they march through Bristol.
Some 250 EDL arrived in the city, the best that their national call out could muster, to spread their message of hatred and racism. They were greeted by some 1500 on the WAB demonstration, along with other action taken by groups such as Bristol Antifa on the day.
Bristol Pride, which happened on the same day, was a great success and wasn’t disrupted by the racist thugs.
In honor of International Women’s Day, the women of the Paris Commune fighting the jackbooted bourgeois troops of Thiers and his reactionary government.
Tonight I had the honor of attending a reception at the Permanent Mission to the UN of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in New York. The reception was in honor of DPRK leader Comrade Kim Jong Il, who passed away last December. Tomorrow, February 16, would have been his 70th birthday.
My comrade Deirdre Griswold presented a message of solidarity from Workers World Party to Sin Son Ho, the DPRK’s permanent representative to the UN. It was a real pleasure to get to chat with members of the mission’s staff, whose determination, personality and good humor are requirements for working and living in the heart of an imperialist power that constantly demonizes their country.
It was interesting to see who else came. Besides Deirdre and me, there were two comrades from the December 12th Movement (an African American communist/Pan Africanist organization based in Brooklyn). There were many older Koreans who support the DPRK, some of whom came from as far as Southern California to attend. There were representatives of several missions, including Cuba, Belarus and Russia. And finally, there were schmoozers from different agencies and NGOs — some clearly not friends of the DPRK — some of whom, I suspect, spend their evenings making the rounds of diplomatic receptions.
We enjoyed a delicious buffet of traditional Korean dishes (octopus is tasty, people!). I almost got into trouble because I thought Soju was something you drink by the bottle, not in a shot glass. Best of all, we got to share our thoughts on the Occupy movement and the emerging class struggles with representatives of a fiercely independent nation that needs the solidarity of people in the U.S. now more than ever.
Am I the only deeply disturbed by the carefree attitude he takes to cozying up to Stalinists?
Must be CIA.
Arsonists attacking commercial properties with links to people’s homes could be shot by police during future riots, an official review of police tactics said.
The use of firearms could be justified given the “immediacy of the risk and the gravity of the consequences”, legal advice published in the review said.
Plastic bullets and water cannon could also be used by officers facing riots similar to those seen this summer, the review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary added.
Police need to be better prepared, trained and ready to protect the public if they are to improve their response to similar scenes of violence and looting in the future, the review found. It called for clear rules of engagement to establish “an agreed envelope of available tactics and associated use of force that are likely to maintain public support”.
These rules could include making clear that armed police could use firearms with live ammunition during “arson attacks on commercial buildings with linkage to residential dwellings”.
The review added that plastic bullets could also be considered when barricades and missiles were used by protesters; during violent attacks on the public in the presence of police; and when other emergency services are threatened. They could also be used when petrol bombs are thrown or during arson attacks.
All of these scenes were experienced by officers this summer.
The review added that water cannon were an “effective means of dispersal and incur fewer injuries to the public” in static and slow-moving scenarios. But it conceded there were none on the mainland UK, they cost more than £1 million each and need to be deployed in twos to be effective.
Water cannon also have to be protected by officers and need access to water as they can empty in “a matter of minutes” if used continuously.
It comes in sharp contrast to a report by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on Monday which said it would have been “inappropriate as well as dangerous to have employed water cannon and baton rounds”. Their use “could have escalated and inflamed the situation further”, the MPs said.
occupy a stately manor home
occupy a literal castle with turrets and suits of armor
Unfortunately, St Matts was built in the 1800s as a teaching college and has never been a stately manor. It has no suits of armour 😦 And we only occupied the buildings built more recently in the 60s or 70s, so we didn’t get to hang out in the turrets …
But yes, Disneyland is our next target!
Students of UWE Occupation proceeded, on Tuesday night, to take the management/administrative building on St Matt’s campus. It was held overnight and in the morning was kept closed to prevent scabs from breaking the strike.
Come Wednesday morning the majority of occupiers left to support picket lines at the various campuses and afterwards joined the main march in the centre of Bristol. With 20k unionists and supporters out marching, this was the biggest demonstration Bristol has ever seen.
The university Vice Chancellor, Steve West, threatened with the skeleton crew who had been left manning the fort with police intervention and, if they resisted, suspension with the expectation of suspension. As occupiers who were able rushed back to support those still inside, the lock was removed and the occupation ended.
An occupation that lasted three days, supported the biggest UK strike in living memory, and put the fear into management.
Oh … and the UWE flag got switched out for a Red Flag. Because … well just because 😉
Demands for the Government, University and Student Union:
- That neither students nor staff be persecuted for their political convictions or activity thereby.
We call on the Government, the following:
- First and foremost: to settle any ongoing disputes with public sector unions by making the concessions that the workers want.
- To take full responsibility for all disruption that may be caused by public sector industrial action on November 30th.
- To introduce universal, life-long access to education which shall be free at the point of use.
- To withdraw and oppose the higher education White Paper.
- For Liberal Democrat MPs to stand by their election pledges for free education.
- To oppose the abolition and restructuring of PGCE bursaries.
- To reintroduce the Education Maintenance Allowance as it was prior to its abolition.
We call on UWE Vice-Chancellor Steven West, to pledge the following:
- That UWE reverse its lecture workload model changes and settle any ongoing disputes with UCU, or other staff unions, by taking part in the negotiations and making the concessions that the union(s) wants.
- To publicly condemn the higher education White Paper, call for it to be withdrawn and condemn the increasing marketisation of education.
- To guarantee no course closures.
- To reinstate languages courses.
- To guarantee no job cuts with no adverse changes to academic and non-academic staff terms and conditions.
- To recognise an atmosphere of fear amongst staff in tandem with “voluntary redundancies” constitutes job cuts.
- To provide bursaries for all international, home and EU students who need them – not fee waivers.
- To guarantee no cuts to library, student support, and learning resources which includes disability services.
- To guarantee no cuts to access schemes or foundation courses.
- No reprimands for staff who refuse to cross picket lines.
- No reprimands for students who refuse to cross picket lines or are involved in the occupation. Not only ensures that no aggression, interference or disturbance will take place against the occupation, but also takes measures to facilitate our work when appropriate.
- Support for the UCU decision against making lecturers responsible for policing foreign student visas.
- To have representation in the governors’ forum meeting, of at least one person chosen by the occupation.
- Demand Steven West takes full responsibility for disruption caused by past industrial action in the ongoing dispute between UWE and UCU and holds the government responsible for any disruption caused by the strike on November 30th.
- Responds to all (individual and collective) requests for information and provide access to all documents related to the management of our university.
We leave an open invitation for Steven West, V-C, to come and meet with the occupation.
We call on the S.U., to pledge the following:
- Total pro-active support for the November 30th Strike, respective of the mandate through AGM, in media (such as the SU website) and on campuses.
- To respect the mandate from last, and this, years’ AGM to visually support the strikes and occupation with banners, flags, etc.
- To maintain a higher degree of independence from non-elected and non-student officials and staff within the university and student union. (See Paddy’s AGM motion, which was blocked from the floor)
- To become more transparent and open to the student body.
- To advertise and attend a general assembly in order that students are able to voice their concerns with the S.U.
- To re-instate Matt Hollinshead as Chair of Meetings and allow his access to SU spaces, after his unfair, and politically motivated suspension.
- To actively encourage UWESU employees to join trade unions and not to discriminate against trade union members.
- To respond to these demands within 24 hours.
Camila Vallejo, Proud of Being Communist
The Chilean student leader doesn’t mince her words.
“The ideas of communists today have real significance for they make sense in the context of people’s awakening,” said Camila Vallejo, a militant of the Communist Youths and one of the main leaders of the student movement which has been demanding structural reforms of education for six months.
In dialogue with the foreign press, Vallejo said that inequality in Chile “cannot last any longer, it is not sustainable, people don’t tolerate it any more — hence the necessity to raise consciousness but also to analyze what causes inequality and to combat it in an organized manner. That is what we have been proposing, throughout history, as communists.”
“If they ask me what sense it makes to be communist now, I say: more sense than ever. I feel very proud of being communist at this moment,” Vallejo added.
Regarding the student movement she leads, Vallejo emphasized that it must “resist and transcend,” recognizing that it finds itself in a “very difficult” moment due to being worn out by a long period of mobilizations.