WAKE UP!! WAKE UP!! It's yer opening soon on Broadway ...
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Anti-austerity activists UK Uncut have announced a day of action against tax dodging giant Vodaphone for the 14th June, six weeks before the company's AGM. The evil Star Wars-misappropriating company has paid no corporation tax at all in the last few years, whilst making profits of billions of pounds. Unlike when Joe Bloggs forgets to mention a few days of cash-in-hand work in his tax return, HMRC had negotiations with Vodaphone which resulted in a £12 billion reduction to their bill.
You might remember all this from back in 2010, when UK Uncut formed out of an occupation of Vodaphone's flagship store. Activists are putting Vodaphone back in the spotlight, and plan to transform dozens of Vodaphone shops into homes and homeless shelters for a day. The aim is to remind them of the connection between tax avoidance and the austerity agenda.
The housing crisis and cuts go hand in hand. Austerity has resulted in more tenants being taken to court and evicted, both by private landlords and social housing associations. With rents rising faster than wages and benefits, it's no surprise that people fall into arrears. Politicians seem to forget those evicted are not just statistics but real people.
Some, such as UK Uncut, suggest that more housebuilding is the answer to the housing crisis. But the problem is more that there isn't enough truly affordable housing: New housing developments tend to involve dodgy corporations trashing the planet to sell houses to those who are at least moderately well-off. DIY alternative housing, like squatting or living in vehicles, has become more difficult not just through laws like the ban on squatting residential buildings but also from an accumulation of smaller legal and financial pressures.
Still, moving into Vodaphone shops for a day to draw attention to the crisis seems like a pretty good plan. If you can't find one of those you could try one of the many branches of Barclays, HSBC, Boots, or Tesco. Perhaps you'd prefer a 90s boy band mansion, so they can never forget the shame of taking the piss.
Travelling Anarchist Circus in Wales
New kids on the block, the Anarchist Action Network, are planning a week-long 'Newport Rising' festival in Newport from 26th May to 1st June. With the venue to be announced nearer the time, there's already a packed schedule of talks planned including on workfare, the Bedroom Tax, fracking, fighting racism and cuts, as well as art, live music, free food, and free books.
“The festival isn't about recruiting people to our groups or causes. We're not going to be handing out membership forms or flogging propaganda disguised as newspapers. We're going to be spreading information about anarchism, about practical things we can do to improve our lives and about why we should take a stand against NATO this September.”
The Anarchist Action Network are a UK-wide group who initially came together as the Stop G8 network in 2013 and this year are looking to diversify. They say, “The purpose it to increase awareness of activism and build resistance to the NATO summit which is taking place in Newport on September 4th and 5th. It's an event for people who may not be aware of anarchism, or have only seen a skewed version of what it is in the media. We're hoping Newport will be the first of a series of events around the country.” The festival comes ahead of a busy summer of anti-NATO protests, with a week of action planned for 30th August - 5th September, and talks of a mass action day on the 4th September.
Climate Games in Holland
Earth First activists in the Netherlands are taking an innovative approach to targeting the coal industry this June 14th. They're planning a mass outdoor game/ direct action stunt called (inventively) 'Climate Games'. It's a bit like 'Capture the Flag'.
The Games target an old power station, the Hemwig, in Amsterdam, and follows a tumultuous period in Dutch energy policy. In 2013 the Dutch government formed the 'energieakkoord' (energy agreement) and said five old coal power plants would close in Holland.
A campaign spokesperson says it was initially seen as “great news” by green activists, “...but then the greatness was somewhat outshined by news of three huge new coal power plants opening in 2014 – which is still not widely known by the public - and two older coal power plants staying open”.
The Hemwig is one of the old plants that's going to continue operating. All this despite the fact that coal is the most polluting source of fossil fuel.
Players are asked to participate in a living strategy game, forming their own teams and scoring points by planting flags at different locations. During the game you get up to 10 points for planting a flag near the power plant, and getting one inside earns you 50 points. Other activities score you points too, which are listed on the website.
Making the games a bit more tricky will be the Blue Team - cops and security guards - that no doubt will join in on the day, making it as difficult as possible.
Not shy of social media, organisers are encouraging people to share their publicity on social media for extra points. Doesn't sound very security savvy, but there's advice on the website including to create a new account for Facebook and Twitter, linked to a new email address, and to have a new sim/mobile. With live scoring updated online on the day it's all very 21st Century, although there is an alternative option for non-Facebook and Twitter users.
SchNEWS spoke to an organiser. “We want people to come from all over. At the moment apart from the Netherlands we are expecting a lot of people from Germany as well as smaller groups from other countries. If people need accommodation and they let us know in advance we will sort it out for them. Please get in touch and get involved, and it's up to you what level of participation you choose to take”.
There is more detailed information available on the website available in Dutch and English. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Following the game there will be an after party at an undisclosed location.
BRITAIN FIRST WORSTED IN SWANLEY SHOWDOWN
Anti-fascists prepare a warm welcome for EDL splinter groups in Cricklewood, North London, this Saturday ...
Mass squatting action in metal recycling plant pulled off in style, after brutal policing leaves hundreds of undocumented people without shelter.
Israeli arms dealers do business at Farnborough Airshow even as the bombs drop on Gaza.
Immigration rights activists descend on Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres to bring a message of solidarity and resistance.
An update on Brighton Hospitality workers and their work around employability rights, unionisation and campaign success.
The US and the EU are negotiating a new trade agreement – TTIP – which amounts to the biggest transfer of power to corporations seen in recent years.