| Friday 24th
2006 | Issue 570
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER TAKING THE CREDIT...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Of Debt | Crap Arrest Of The Week | Wel-unfare
| Down Under The Thumb | Party
& Protest | Diamond Geezer? | On
Guardia | Hellfire To Pay | ...and
Its Buy Nothing Day this Saturday (25th November), but
with £1,300,000,000,000 of consumer debt in the UK, it would
appear that the zombies in the malls arent listening.
And in the mad plunge to the tills that is Christmas, theres
plenty more stuff for us to buy with so called interest free
credit to help us get what we want straight away. All the
talk of action to tackle climate change conveniently ignores the
obvious solution: stop buying stuff! The churning out of all those
consumer goodies is whats killing the eco system. Air freighted
broccoli; plastic-wrapped apples; solar powered wind chimes; patio
heaters is any of this stuff worth the price were paying?
Overdrafts, bank loans and credit cards are keeping the world economy
bouncing along. The plasma telly might cost a grand, but if you
chuck it on the plastic its yours right away (at no extra
cost, of course). And how much unsolicited post have you thrown
away (well, recycled) offering you instant access to consumerist
heaven with an unsecured personal loan? Everyone from Tesco to the
RAC is getting on in the act. And millions of families are using
credit just to keep above the breadline.
Surrounded by multi-million pound advertising campaigns using the
latest psychological gimmickry to persuade you to keep them cash
registers ringing, no wonder so many people find themselves out
of their depth. Personal lending is one of the few aspects of banks
financial behaviour that isnt rigorously controlled by law
- instead its governed by a voluntary code of conduct. Banks
and other loan sharks actively chase those with a history of not
being able to handle their finances. Lower down the food chain some
lending organisations trawl through court listings looking for those
on the receiving end of county court judgements to make generous
offers of the turn all your little problems into one big problem
The Home Credit industry is booming and no wonder -
it typically charges its unemployed borrowers interest rates of
more than 400%! The main loan shark is Provident Personal Credit
which is greedily pushing its way into recently de-regulated Eastern
Debt is a big, booming business, and those making the cash are
the usual suspects based in Londons boardrooms. The debt
sale and purchase market in the UK has been mushrooming, as
financial institutions buy up banks debts for a fraction of
their value to then hassle the hell out of the debtors to pay up.
Around £4.5billion worth of debt has been sold for a cut price
£300million, and so far collectors have squeezed almost £500million
out of people in debt. Nice little earner!
Apartheid profiteers Barclays are the real financial muscle behind
companies like Cabot, which is hosting next weeks debt
collections conference. Jointly organized with industry rag,
Credit Today, the conference is a snip at 500 quid plus
VAT (but dont try sticking on yer card). Once youve
been to the gripping workshop on What every Debt Collections
Manager wants for Christmas! youll no doubt be
starving hungry for the evening meal (a networking bargain at £1,275).
Meanwhile new powers for bailiffs to enter houses (see SchNEWS
565) will make debt recovery that much easier and
profits that much bigger.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The amount of consumer debt in the UK would be enough to buy you
236 years of food for the worlds starving children or keep
the Iraq war going for 23 years. It could also buy you 4 billion
of Ecotopias (www.ecotopia.co.uk)
panda friendly bamboo flat screen computer monitors.
Surely a better bet? Yep, they might look nice, but do you really
need to replace your (albeit old fashioned) but perfectly working
computer monitor and shove its remains into landfill?
Ethical consumption and Fairer Trade are increasingly been used
to justify continued guilt-free consumption, so hey! why not stick
those hemp trousers on your Greenpeace credit card?! But Fair Trade
is becoming more about big business than small producers: When
Fair Trade roses came in, says Paul Monaghan of the Co-operative
Group, Sainsburys got them first. We were all fighting
over the roses! Now, even Nestle is moving in on the Fair
Trade game (see SchNEWS 515), animal testers
LOreal have bought the Body Shop (see SchNEWS
542) and Bono Ltd launched product RED this year
(see SchNEWS 544). Its sugar
coating on a bitter pill that can prevent us from focusing on the
real issues argues Indian activist Anuradha Mittal.
Sundays (thanks to the iron fist of organised religion) used to
be a weekly buy nothing day, but now its much more a case
of what would Jesus buy? Reverend Billy from the Church
of Stop Shopping has other ideas though, predicting a disastrous
dash to the Shopocalypse if we dont stop buying right now.
Billys Retail Interventions bring direct action
to the shop front with sermons from the Slow Down Your Consumption
School of Divinity, hitting big corporate brands like Starbucks
and creating Commercial Free Zones in city centres.
You can read the Reverends sermons more fully at www.revbilly.com
Billys also written a letter to Bono, asking him to ditch
his RED card and start giving to, rather than profiting from, African
poverty. Read more at www.dearbono.org
Theres more info on UK based actions and related info at www.buynothingday.co.uk
and you can find out more about Buy Nothing Christmas at www.adbusters.org
Arrest Of The Week
For assault and vinegar...?
As one late night carb-lover in Southgate, norf London found out
recently, when the chips are down cops can take littering very seriously.
Waiting at a bus stop the unfortunate criminal had the misfortune
to drop a couple of fries in sight of cops.
One officer took the deep-fried-illegality more seriously than
most and told our would-be litterer, If you dont pick
those up Ill arrest you.
When told it seemed a little daft to arrest him for dropping chips,
the cop grabbed his arm - spilling the entire contents on the ground
- and (wrapping him in newspaper) bundled the him into the back
of a police van, for the heinous crime of littering. He was released
after 4 hours in the cells, no doubt with a chip on his shoulder...
With the governments own research showing that debt hits
the poorest hardest, whats the proposed solution? Yep, thats
right its time to cut benefits again!
The Welfare Reform Bill is winding its way through parliament,
promising a Pathway to Employment for the sick and disabled.
Incapacity Benefit claimants will soon be summonsed to attend work
focussed interviews as the government aims to get 400,000
people off the benefit and into low-end, dull, monotonous, minimum
wage jobs. 300,000 lone parents are to be targeted too, as the new
Employment and Support Allowance starts to replace Income Support.
Clamp Down Britain continues unabashed with the usual Anti Social
Behaviour stuff thrown in for good measure; this time proposals
include cuts to benefits for parents of unruly kids.
The Coalition Against the Welfare Reform Bill are planning a Day
of Action on the 4th December 2006. Meet 11am at the St Stephens
Entrance to Parliament. www.swansheffield.org.uk
Protests kicked off in Melbourne this week in response to the G20
Finance Ministers meeting. Inside the marbled halls of the Grand
Hyatt Hotel, oil and mining interests joined ministers and special
guest war mongering World Bank boss Paul Wolfowitz (see SchNEWS
490) for the launch of the Energy and Minerals Business Council,
organised by Australias two big mining corporations BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto. The G20 became the focus for two days of direct action
and police repression.
As delegates flew in on Friday they were greeted with a day of
decentralised actions around the city centre with office occupations
at Tenix (involved in defence projects and production), an army
recruitment office and five branches of ANZ bank closing
all city centre branches for the day. One hundred people occupied
the offices of Oricas, a company who produces cyanide for the gold
mining industry. Mirroring last years G8, Make Poverty History
organised a grandstanding rock-fest with U2 and Pearl Jam. No summit
is complete without Bono, who told the crowd Politicians have
to do what you tell them to do, before a heroic attempt to
get the Australian govt to up its foreign aid by a few points of
After a large carnival-style march on Saturday, with Oxfam and
Make Poverty History all hitched on a liberal bandwagon called StopG20,
things kicked off when a group of 100 tooled-up coppers waded into
the crowd at dusk following the trashing of a police wagon. A pink
Cadillac filled with larger than life mock-ups of endangered species,
a sound system and several locked-on people, was attacked by truncheon
wielding cops. In the argy-bargy several were injured, with one
hospitalised and the Indymedia van was used as a makeshift ambulance
for a concussed protester. Snatch squads entered the crowd, nicking
around ten people, although some de-arrested themselves in the scuffle.
The media and organised left have united in scapegoating the autonomous
masked-up Arterial Bloc.
On Sunday the police repression continued with people being snatched
off the street, as well as a police baton charge injuring a group
of 50 protesters at the Melbourne Museum, where the G20 delegates
were being treated to a bit of well earned r&r. One of the Lentil
As Anything catering crew for the G20 Alternatives Conference
was snatched, as well as Drasko Boljevic, who was bundled into the
back of a van, tied up, trousers pulled down, and physically and
verbally terrorised by police for 25 minutes before being taken
into custody. During interrogation Drasko found out hed been
arrested for assaulting a policewoman at the G20 protests, and had
been mistaken for someone they were chasing. He wasnt actually
at the protests that day, or even in town, and once the police established
this he was out but regardless of whether he was or wasnt
there this was top notch over the top policing.
For more see http://melbourne.indymedia.org
** Other news from Oz this week: in Tasmania, anti-logging
protesters halted operations for the day in the Weld Valley, with
three arrests for trespass in a newly established exclusion zone.
This comes after protests and actions escalated following police
raids which evicted two protest camps last week. At stake is the
old growth forest in the Weld Valley some of the tallest
trees in the southern hemisphere which live for over 2000 years,
as well as giant caves which show evidence of human occupation going
back the last Ice Age. Protests are expected to continue in what
has been a five year campaign. For more see www.huon.org
- NOVEMBER: 25th-Defy-ID National Gathering, Nottingham.
11am onwards at the Sumac Centre, to organise resistance to ID
Cards and the National ID Register. Food and accommodation available.
- 25 - Benefit for Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) at the Afro
Carribean Centre, Park St, Hull, nr Silhouettes. 6.30pm - 10.40pm.
£5/£3.50 with DJs
- 25 Bikeride from Oxford to Campsfield Refugee Detention
Centre. Meet at Martyrs Memorial, Oxford (near The Randolph
and Debenhams), 11:15am. This event repeats on the last Saturday
of every month. www.closecampsfield.org.uk
- 25 Conference about Omar Deghayes, Brighton resident
in Guantanamo Bay. Speakers include Craig Murray, Milan Rai,
as well as testimonies from Omars family. 11:30am-4pm, 10/11
Pavilion Parade, Brighton Free entry. Call 07985 408124 see also
- 25 Demo against the BNPs annual conference in
Blackpool. Meet at 12 noon, the square at the top of Victoria
Street, Blackpool at the side entrance to the Winter Gardens.
- 25 Demo to stop the demolition of The Queens
Pub, Queens Market, Upton Park, East London (Upton Pk tube)
12-3pm at the pub. Fight gentrification and the destruction
of communities for the Olympics. Call 0208 472 5933 www.friendsofqueensmarket.org.uk
- 26 - South West Permaculture Convergence, by the Bristol
Permaculture Group at St Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Rd,
Bristol, BS2 9TJ. With talks & workshops from 9.30am til late,
plus vegan food and live music. £6.
- 26 - Anniversary demo at Campsfield Refugees Detention Centre.
Close All 174 Detention Centres In Europe! No Fortress Europe!
At Campsfield IRC main gates, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford.
12pm 2pm. Call 07791 744260 www.ncadc.org.uk
- 26 - Bilston Glen Protest Camp free cafe., cinema, live
music from 12 noon. 7 miles south of Edinburgh. For more see www.bilstonglen-abs.org.uk
Site mob - 0775 328 0009.
- 29 - War In Lebanon Indymedia photographer back from
Lebanon presents slideshow with discussion. 8pm, LARC 62 Fieldgate
St Whitechapel E1, free. 0207 3779088, www.londonarc.org
- Nov 29 - Dec 13 Look out for Mooreen in central
Sheffield a squatted social centre 2 weeks of gigs,
workshops & films. For location call 07989 874965 web www.mooreen.aktivix.org
- DECEMBER: 2 - National anti-war demo at RAF Brize Norton
- where British troops are flown to Iraq and Afghanistan, and
asylum seekers are deported. A demo against militarisation in
the UK. Assemble at 12 noon in Carterton, Oxfordshire. For more
call 07764 563855 www.stopwar.org.uk
For more on the plight of the deportees see www.ncadc.org.uk
- Check out the rest of our party and protest guide at www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm
Housewives choice Leo De Caprio being called on by the Kalahari
Bushmen to help save their land from evil diamond miners? Sounds
like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster - except it happens to
be true (See SchNEWS 514).
Cute-boy De Caprio is star of Blood Reserve, a new movie about
the aforementioned sinister diamond trade. Meanwhile real miners,
TH Diamonds, have just started digging in the Central Kalahari Game
Reserve. The Kalahari bushmen have lived in the area for thousands
of years but are now succumbing to First World diseases, with AIDS
spreading rapidly as their land is opened up to the insatiable demands
of corporate investors. Their very way of life is under the threat
of extinction as they are evicted and forced in to reserves, to
go the same way as the American Indians. They have called on the
millionaire heartthrob to highlight their plight to
the world but, through all the glitz and glamour, will he hear?
Theyve been heavier than usual on the Mayo this week. The
ongoing campaign to block the building of a feckkin great big gas
refinery plant in Rossport, Ireland, is irritating the hell out
of Shell (See SchNEWS 549). When imprisonment
didnt intimidate the aggrieved locals, Shell backed down a
little, hoping the protests would just fade away. Time being money,
now the kid gloves are off and the Guardia are showing themselves
increasingly ready to kick a few heads in if you get in the way
A regular morning rally by the Shell-to-Sea protest group was assaulted
by the baton-wielding fluorescent-jacketed cops, literally battering
a path through to the site for the construction vehicles. Those
who climbed onto the trucks were beaten down and four people were
A boycott of all Shell/Statoil products is already under way and
the blockaders vow to fight on. Watch the footage of the day at
and see www.shelltosea.org
HELLFIRE TO PAY
Last week eleven people were nicked for trespass at a protest at
the Wescam subsidiary of Canadas main weapons manufacturer,
L-3 Communications in Burlington, Ontario. Wescam (We Scam, geddit?),
a bit like Brightons very own EDO-MBM (www.smashedo.org.uk),
is a component factory which builds targeting equipment for the
Predator the unmanned aeroplane which shoots
Hellfire guided-missiles. Hellfire missiles (£55,000 per bang)
are used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and just three weeks ago one fired
from a Predator hit a Pakistani school, killing 80 kids.
The Homes Not Bombs group were told on the day of the action by
police that a blue line painted on the grass near Wescams
entrance was the limit - and if protesters stepped over they would
face serious criminal charges.
Despite being met by 20 security guards, the protesters managed
to place grave markers around the grounds with the names of Afghanis
and Iraqis who have been killed by L-3s handiwork. For two
hours names of the dead were read out, but when a group tried to
walk to Wescams entrance, with a view to presenting company
bosses with a citizens inspection certificate
outlining L-3s war crimes, they were nicked.
Shoved into police cars complete with computers made by
Communications, the arrestees appear in court on December 19th,
when a trial date will be set. See www.homesnotbombs.ca
Are you feeling loaded? No? Well how about some help to put it
into perspective. Not normally people to be swayed by conspicuous
wealth bragging here at SchNEWS, we did appreciate one little internet
find this week: at www.globalrichlist.com
you can enter your yearly income and it will calculate exactly how
rich you are. In the whole world. £14 grand a year gets you
comfortably in the top ten percent, with £20k putting you
in the top 5%. Higher wages than that and youre really living
the super-elite high life. Just £26k a year puts you in the
worlds richest 1%. If SchNEWS was a person, it would be 809,194,122th.
Apparently. Why not visit www.schnews.org.uk/extras/help.htm
to donate and help push us towards that magic 800,000,000 barrier?!
SchNEWS tells all readers - why not stick it all
on the never never spending money you havent got - what the
hell its all about to collapse anyway... Honest!
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