Pay to protest – at what cost ?

 

2013-09-13 16.56.00

The “Time to act” organisers have come out of negotiations with Metropolitan police, the Greater London Authority and Westminster city council having been told they will have to foot a massive bill and organise security for road closures as the police will no longer facilitate the march.

This could go so many ways.

During the summer at Reclaim the Power 2014 the usual day of action went by with out any arrests. We closed down head offices of Cuadrilla, advertising companies, banks, we stopped drilling and closed down sites and the police were noticeable in their lack of action. But what there was, was higher than usual consultations between the Police and Private Companies hired by the Corporations and Institutions and were being played out in a very public way. The security were very heavy in their presence and mingled with the more vulnerable protesters targeting them for conversation with out addressing the fact that they were security sub contracted for the company that was being targeted. When asked to show ID refused and became dismissive or aggressive at times.

G4S demo 2012Imagine if it is a private security company you are protesting against. You could find yourself in the absurd situation say G4S facilitating a protest against G4S and so on. This is a very sinister direction we find ourselves going. Private security can collect data and keep it for as long as they can say there is a valid reason. Where as even though we know they don’t under the data protection act the police are meant to destroy data if not used by a certain time. It is also questionable about the intelligence that is being shared between private security firms and the police considering most firms are run by ex service employees, it’s almost a given that there is mutual aid between the two.

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So with the cut backs is it a case that “our” police force is no longer fit for purpose and can not afford to police the people and are hiring this out to the security services. They can not deny the line between the 2 is so blurry undoubtedly there will be conflicts of interest? Or have they just decided that they shouldn’t have to foot the bill of the actions of the people against these corporations and that the corporations foot the bill so they can get on with “real” police work. Or just the continuing privatisation of our already non -independent police force.

 

On to organised protests that are supported by NGO’s can’t there be the same sort of philosophy used here, that they should contribute as some of these are worth millions, in fact some of them are worth more than the whole police force put together. We could then sell tickets to the Protest make it into a carnival and everyone could make money. Or alternatively we could employ ourselves zero hour contracts to do the security for the day paid for by the supporting NGO’s ( Someone will think of a way ).  But wait, to be in negotiations with the council and the police you have to have notified them that you are planning a demonstration. So it’s simple. Anyone that is seriously angry and wants to protest about something and can’t afford the costs of policing then just don’t tell the police that you are going to do it. No police no violence.

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We must not go down the road of private security firms this is dangerous territory and who would police them? At the moment they are not policed and there are no controls about data they hold on us. Our freedoms such as the right to protest and the freedom of assembly and the rights of association will be null and void. Please “Time to Act ” don’t go down that route.

And just a last thought. What if it’s a counter demonstration who’s going to police that ?

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How much will it really cost?  It’s not the money we should be looking at it is the cost on our freedoms.

Hampstead Mum

 

Introducing Suzi Marsh…

As South East Alliance attempt yet again to come into Cricklewood I thought I would introduce you to some of the sad few that turned up last time. Once again being humiliated by not actually reaching their destination. Their aim was to get to 113 Cricklewood Broadway but as you can see from the picture got as far as 87 lol.

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Firstly we have Suzi Marsh from Casuals United and contributor to the Pie and Mash. Real name Claire Clark, facebook name Claire Bluebelle married to Dave Clark also from Casuals United

    SUZI    SUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

 

Suzi aka Claire Clark and her friends write silly little stories telling people they go where they like. Where as I pointed out in an earlier blog  (1)  “No you fucking don’t” and you didn’t go where you wanted in Cricklewood as can be see by the door number behind you in your pen. They just pump out the usual fascist propaganda feeding off peoples insecurities and creating unfounded fears in our community, anyway, I digress

So who else have we here?

Obviously Paul Pitt  – Aka Paul Propdromou, Mr angry and ex fund raiser for the lovely BNP. We all know enough about him. Nothing of interest here.

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Next up we have baby faced Kevin Layzell who runs the BNP youth group. To me he looks like he has some kind of mental health issues as he seems to show no emotions or facial expressions just cold distant and unloved ….awwwww bless. Hobbies dressing up.

Georgeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee                                     bbbbbbbbbb

 

Then we have the riff raff Chris Reed seen here grassing to the police “and this footprint on my shirt officer is from them Lefties”

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and runner up Roy Price Junior

Royyyyyyyyyyyyyy

I will leave you with a few more pictures of this fascist group who have tried to come into our neighbourhood and intimidate the community spreading their vile hate only to be fucked out with their tail between their legs. South East Alliance you are not welcome in my community and you will be met every time by a community that agrees Cricklewood is a fascist free zone

Pricks

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(1)  https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/

https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/you-go-where-you-want-dont-make-me-laugh-part-2/

https://www.facebook.com/chris.reed.14811?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/paul.pitt.509?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/kevin.layzell.1?fref=ts https:

https://www.facebook.com/dave.clark.75470316?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/claire.clark.7359?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/roy.price.9638?fref=ts

No Pasaran

The Hampstead mum

JOIN US HERE >> https://www.facebook.com/events/302253526614084/

No Pasaran Cricklewood – Part 3 19/7/14

FASHHHHHHH

The crack was good in Cricklewood

As we paved the way

To ruin the day

for Paul Pitt and the S.E.A

 

With the unsuccessful and  feeble attempt made by South East Alliance to march down Cricklewood on 14th June and having had their noses put out of place by the antifa . The fascists have decided to attempt it a second time.

 Photo by Ninja Antifa

And once again they will be met with resistance. The local community got together and  North West United was born. Since then the campaign to keep the fascists of our streets has gone into over drive. Leading figures of the community have signed letters and locals have been busy leafleting every day. Posters have appeared at every corner, lamppost and glance in Kilburn and Cricklewood.

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Banner workshops where held and many a slogan was painted. So tonight the night before we decided to go and carry out some banner drops. Here is a little peek at what went down in Cricklewood.

 

 

No Pasaran

The Hampstead mum.

Part 2 – https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/you-go-where-you-want-dont-make-me-laugh-part-2/

Part 1 https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/

 

 

Occupy Wonga May Day

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With the banking crisis seeming a distant memory to some the knock on effect is becoming very evident. People having spent all their savings, given up their holidays and the cars have been sold on at rubbish prices. What we are seeing now is the people that have used all their reserves are now loosing the fight. The appearance of payday loan companies on every high street and in some deprived areas 2 or 3 tells us that for many of us these companies are now part of the fabric of our existence. There are lots of reasons for the increased use of these companies rising cost of living, energy prices, bedroom tax, cuts in benefits and wage freezes. If you are disabled you are 3 times more likely to take out a payday loan than any other group of people. To me this is the cruel reality that the crisis has hit our most vulnerable and working classes whilst the bankers that we bailed out are once again enjoying their bonuses and record profits.

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On May day Occupy London decided to take to the streets to highlight the immoral business of Payday loans and in particular the company Wonga. The reason that Wonga stood out above other payday loan companies was because of their slick style of marketing. They have flooded our screens with adverts involving nice friendly old folks. The very people we associate with stability and honesty. The adverts are everywhere, everyone knows the Wonga puppets. With outrageous APR and openly admitting that their market is in deprived areas there is nothing nice, safe or friendly about this company. If anything their techniques are sinister. Advertising on children’s T.V. is blatantly grooming our children into perceiving the life of debt as normal. This is not OK on any level and an abuse of people we should as a social country be protecting. The payments to MP’s, the involvement in local councils shows how entrenched they have become in our so called democratically elected bodies. Debt is the new commodity.

So we set about researching our prey and wow that proved to be very difficult. The company carries out all it’s business on line. The people behind the company are nicely tucked away in foreign lands and found that the company had no presence on the ground. No one you can go and talk to if your struggling, no phone numbers if you are in need of advice or guidance. They did once have an office that was owned by the Queen who also has some interest in these companies along with the Church of England , the Roman Catholic Church, We could target any number of companies involved in Wonga but we wanted Wonga itself.

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With May day looming we still had no target, and Wonga soon to be floated on the stock market we still felt was our only option. So we continued, we had meetings, we promoted, we designed, we invited, we had banner making workshops, we reviewed press lists, we looked at Wonga’s relationships with government bodies , football teams and we had sleepless nights. The more we researched the more we knew that we were spot on. We organised speakers for the day David Graeber to talk about debt and Barb Jacobson to talk about Basic income. We also had people from DPAC (Disabled People against the Cuts) and Fuel Poverty action to talk about how these companies where effecting their members. After the speeches Occupy London were to hold a roving GA which was to have no agenda. The agenda to be decided by the people that were in attendance. Democracy at it’s purest level. It was all in place we just had nowhere to go.

As you often find with things that are right and just, information comes from the strangest of places and a little bird told us that Wonga had recently taken the whole 4th floor of the famous Black cat building in Camden town. This was a cause for a minor celebration in itself. We now had a physical target. Armed with this information we ran some checks and found a little piece in the Telegraph from February confirming this. But nowhere else was there any information relating to the company being in the building. Names of all the other companies residing there where proudly displaid in the foyer to the left of reception, Asos, various advertising companies, Cancer research, but nothing that indicated that Wonga had any presence. Our reconnaissance team casually walked into the building and asked the receptionist innocently if they could talk to somebody from Wonga about their loan and on cue the receptionist confirmed that Wonga were there by saying that they do not see anybody regarding loans and that needs to be done on-line. Even a joke was passed about how they where unapproachable. So content in the knowledge that the company were there we had a renewed enthusiasm and preparations continued.

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May day arrived and the rain came with it. As in tradition all the unions and various social organisations gathered in Clerkenwell Green. The day was set as a memorial for Bob Crow and Tony Benn and as such had a huge turn out. The plan for the day was to join the parade and show our respects to the 2 icons of the left at Trafalgar Square. Then Occupy London was to move on from the march and go and Occupy Wonga. From the moment we arrived we had our assigned police presence. Not approaching us but writing in their little note books our descriptions, our movements and the general observations of our activities. I must add here that nothing that was arranged was done in secret and our facebook presence and event page was very public for all to see. We had no intent of criminal activity just a simple protest.

We marched proudly with the May Day parade and paid our respects to Tony and Bob. Listened to the tributes and stood in the pouring rain with thousands of comrades. It was special. Whilst this was going on we a received a phone call from a friend who just thought he would let us know he had been in Camden and there were vans of TSG parked outside the building and police lining the steps. This only confirmed to me that we had hit the target and it seemed the police had already been there from time.

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Come 3.00 O’clock people were getting twitchy and it was cold and wet. Even with the weather we managed to pull around 300 protesters as we marched from Trafalgar with our sound system, our banner and the press. We had a nice little mix going on, we had Anti-capitalists, Anarchists, Academics, Activists (loving the A list). We marched towards Camden stopping the traffic, closing the roads, Police frantically on the radio. Asking along the way “Can you tell us where your going?” Oh the games they play.

BmjudxMIEAEoX-pWe arrived at the Wonga offices to be greeted by lines of police guarding the building. A line on the bottom steps, with a second line half way and a line across the door. The side slopes entrances where we had hoped to be able to take the people in the wheel chairs to gain entry to the offices was blocked. So with a little jostling and pushing our entry to the building to protest at the company was denied. Our requests to talk to a representative of Wonga had been prevented by the assumption that we were there to commit a crime (I shall return to this important point). So we chanted and used the loud speaker to announce our presence. It wasn’t long before half the workers were hanging out of the windows a welcome break of the daily grind of selling shit to people.

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It was all a little too hectic to pull off a GA so we voted and got consensus to hold an open mike and so the speeches began and they were brilliant. David talking about the commodity debt and Barb explaining that if everybody was given a basic living income there would be no place for these comapnies. The speech from the DPAC member was emotional and depressing but the reality of the effects have to be heard. Fuel poverty action backed up the horrendous figures of people that had died because of fuel poverty and the use of pay day loans to try and meet the ever rising fossil fuel energy bills. Everybody had something to say, a pensioner said it perfectly when he said that at his age he shouldn’t have to be out on the streets protesting against the vile money lenders who trade in peoples misery.

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The police had relaxed and you could see as individuals they were nodding in agreement to the emotive speeches. You know that there was nothing that was being said that they couldn’t disagree with. A police officer came over and told us that all the employees had been sent home that we were “shouting at empty offices” as though that was a loss. Where I would had taken that as a win. The police protecting the building for hours before we got there, and the employees being sent home early. I bet they were well happy having an afternoon off rather than having to sell their souls to the money lenders. We finished our speeches and we told Wonga that this was only the start and we had them in their sights and we would be back. All in all a successful start to the Occupy Wonga campaign. At the end of the talks we cleared up any mess that had managed to accumulate i.e. soggy placards and the odd water bottle. The police watched us clean up in what could be only described as a look of respect on their faces. So we all drifted off some to dry off, some to the pub to feed back on the action and how we could improve it, what worked, what didn’t and some went to the students May Day Carnival.

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 So back to the police. It was evident that Wonga had been informed that a protest was being arranged targeting the payday loan companies. Yet there was no talk or plans of any criminal activity this was just an ordinary everyday protest at the corrupt and immoral finance system. So when did our police force become a private police force. Surely the police should only be in attendance if they are called because a criminal activity is taking place when infact the criminal/immoral activity that is taking place is by the very company they are protecting. I thought that was what companies like this had security for? Whilst outside the building we noticed that along side various inspectors we had been graced with the presence of a gold commander . Something I haven’t seen in years. Did it really warrant a Gold commander on the ground. What is the threat here? What role are the police playing here when they can inform a company that a protest is going to take place and then protect the building for the said company. That surely is not policing ? This is where once again they have crossed the line and become the enemy of the people rather than the servants of the people. One of the foundation stones of democracy is to be able to protest the Right to protest and the freedom of association. The police are here to protect the very people these companies are targeting but alas they have shown us their lack of independence. Maybe the day has come that we set up our own police force? Have we been left with any other options.

Debt Bondage, Payday loans and modern day slavery

During my childhood I was given an insight to social stigmas and problems from a very early age, things I do believe shaped and made me the fighter I am today. Fortunate enough to live in the countryside we had a house where unmarried mothers came to stay during their pregnancies, my parents looking after them during this time of rejection. Then there was the constant flow of children arriving for short breaks and holidays. Children from “deprived areas” as they were referred to some of these children having been removed from homes for protection and others on respite holidays giving their parents a rest. Then there was the penpals as I knew them. Back in the 70’s my father decided whilst all this was going on to sponsor some children in Tamil Nadu. This was way before large NGO’s created schemes you could buy in your local charity shops or adverts that brought you “their” stories in-between episodes of Big brother for as little as £5 per month. I was curious as to this other world but only to find out it was a harsh and brutal world.  So this is were I had my first lesson on the subject of debt bondage.

This is what I learnt. 70’s Sivakasi Tamil in Tamil Nadu was an area where a lot of third world slave labour was used to produce goods for the western market way before you started seeing made in China embossed on the bottom of your new plastic toy. This is how it worked. Families lived in small settlements in semi industrial conditions. Sometimes the land wasn’t theirs, neither were they squatters so they did not have anywhere to grow anything or they came from nearby villages. It turns out that the children my father was sponsoring worked in one of these settlements/villages and were making match boxes.

1.3.2.2_1Here you were with entire communities relying on one company. I can’t imagine what the conditions were like but when you see how they treat the children in the textile industries in the 21st century I dread what abuses were taking place back then. Now most children work from their homes so companies can not be accused of hiring children in their factories and the term “cottage Industry ” is widely used.  And this is how it was explained to me as a child the only version you could tell if you hadn’t seen evidence of abuse yourself. That the boys parents worked for the match box factory and had fallen into debt. The initial debt would have been against their pay at the end of the week, obviously if you couldn’t afford to survive with out these payday loans than how would you survive and pay them off as well? Paying for living, food, and so the cycle goes on. These debts had to be serviced to stop them from increasing and the way this was happening was children having to work in debt bondage, sometimes having to make 3000 match boxes a week even before you started paying off your debts. Children as young as 3 would be working long days so their parents may even have half a chance of paying back their debts to the company. There were stories of children working 18 hour days and illnesses caused by the work they were doing and basically a horrific life was portrayed to me and it has stayed with me. Bonded labour is one of the worst forms of labour not only for children but also for adults. In India bonded labour has been illegal since 1976 when Parliament enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act. However the practice is still widespread.

ChildrenFireworksMoving forward to the early 90’s and living on a large North London council estate most of the families were working on the lowest wages or living on benefits. The minimum wage having not yet been put into place. Every Monday would be the same. Monday the day that mothers got the child benefit. Monday the day you would see them walking around the balconies up and down the flights of steps shouting at each other when the door wasn’t opened, the Loan Sharks!!!!  Weekly I used to pass comment on their illegal activities and every time I saw them knocking on a door I would question their morality. There were times I even saw them walk to the post office with the debtors. Out and out extortion. I could feel the pressure they were under, I myself had pawned jewellery and had debts that made me lose sleep and worry about opening my post but never opening my door to out and out scum threatening you in your own space for money.

loaN SHARKSo here we are in 2014 and what has changed?  Loan sharks have suddenly become “Pay Day” loan companies. How did these loan sharks become legit?  Companies like Wonga  have somehow have managed to use the Internet and slick advertising to make you think that they have become the good guys and help you. Helping you feed your family, pay your fuel bills, pay your bedroom tax and keep the wolf from the door, But they are the wolf.  The advertising companies themselves being complicit in the act of conditioning us, using OAP characters, people that we associate safety and stability. Advertising on children’s TV grooming our children for a life of debt bondage. The banking crisis has caused a gap in the money lending system and it has been filled by this immoral and disgusting type of lending. Wonga adverts are misleading and confusing, the enormous interest rates validated by the company in the fact that they are short term loans and clients being able to pay them back with in the month. The  reality is the loan companies are hoping you won’t be able to pay them back, that is how they make their money. They are the enemy of the working class. Rather than deal with the ever increasing problems caused by payday loan companies the Government has  transferred regulatory responsibility for the payday lending sector to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since 1st April 2014. This however does not mean that immediate regulations will be put into place. The FCA does not currently believe that an interest rate cap is the most effective way to address consumer detriment.

So Nothing is changing we have wage slavery and we are on our way to total debt bondage. The cycle continues and the Capitalist system manages to control us and keep us on this wheel of servitude. How long before our children become responsible for their parents debts. I am sure if they can find a way this will become practice before long. This situation has to change. In the words of Rousseau “Man was born free and he is everywhere in chains”  The time for change is right here right now. Occupy London, DPAC, Queer Resistance, The Resistance Movement of the UK, Class War (Not the Political party), and Fuel Poverty Action along with many other groups have come together to take to the streets on May Day.

Time to  take back what is ours

Time to take to the streets

Time for change.

All details on the event page

        https://www.facebook.com/events/246946885491263

In the words of Warren Buffet “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class that’s making war, and we are winning “

Not for much longer Mr Buffett the times are a changing. See you at the barricades.

http://www.hum-coolie.com/on-child-labour.htm
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-London
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Wonga
https://www.facebook.com/groups/DPAC2011
https://www.facebook.com/qresistance
https://www.facebook.com/ClassWarAnarchism
https://www.facebook.com/UKResistance?ref=hl