Notts Trade Union Council organised a march and rally in Nottingham to mark international workers’ day on Saturday 4th May. Trade unionists, anti-cuts activists, socialists and anarchists marched from the Forest Rec to Market Square where speeches were given. The tradition of dissent within the local labour movement continued where it left off last year, with both the prominence of Nottingham South Labour MP, Lillian Greenwood, and Socialist Workers Party loyalist, Richard Buckwell, being contested. Dissenters accused Greenwood of being a “scab” and “Just another Labour drone” whereas Buckwell was condemned for his support of the SWP Central Committee’s handling of rape allegations, leading one participant to conclude that the event was “not a safe space”.
The Nottingham homelessness charity, Framework, has admitted that it is involved in the Work Programme. This is one of the schemes known collectively as workfare, where unemployed people are forced to do unpaid work or face losing their benefits. Under pressure from anti-workfare activists, Framework announced that “we are one of the organisations who participate in delivering the work programme”. Campaigners from Nottingham Against Workfare delivered a letter to Chief Executive Andrew Redfern, encouraging him to withdraw from the work programme. Local activists also called on supporters to campaign on the organisation’s social media pages.
According to East Midlands Anti-fascists, the fascist British National Party has suffered heavy losses at the polls in Thursday’s County Council elections. The party saw its share of the vote drop significantly in all 5 East Midlands counties since the last elections in 2009. Former BNP councillor, Graham Partner, who defended his Coalville seat as a candidate for the newly formed BNP splinter, the British Democrats, was beaten into fourth place. It is thought that the losses were due partly to the rise of UKIP who made a net gain of 20 seats across the region, including 16 in Lincolnshire.
Previous features: East Mids Campaigners Up The Anti as BNP Make Electoral Gains | BNP wins seat in Broxtowe
A campaign has begun to free a man detained by police since 11th April for allegedly making a threatening comment during a DWP interview. According to the campaign website, police were called to Steve Topley’s ESA interview by DWP staff who then escorted him to the QMC where he was kept late into the night and denied contact with his family, despite medical staff finding no reason to detain him. He was arrested by police later that night and charged with “threatening behaviour”. Magistrates denied Steve bail, even under strict conditions, and he has since been remanded to Nottingham Prison. His court case will take place on 26th April at Nottingham Crown Court. The campaign is asking people to contact Steve to let him know that he’s not alone and to let the authorities know that they are concerned about his health and well-being.
Nottingham saw an expression of joy at the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death on Monday. People gathered after work in the Market Square to celebrate the passing of the architect of the crushing of the miners, the poll tax and Britain’s enslavement to neoliberal capitalism. Those present included veterans of the campaign that beat the poll tax and travellers who were repressed by Thatcher’s government as well as people from the younger generations enchained to her dreadful legacy. According to Tash who was there “A couple of bottles of beer were consumed, party poppers let off. Folks were exuberant and many smiles were evident!”
This weekend Animal Rights activists were out in Grantham and at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire to mark Zoo Awareness Weekend. A pop up cinema and stall were set up in Grantham on Friday to spread awareness of the plight of zoo animals and a demo was held at the gates to Twycross Zoo. Those demonstrating protested the fact that “animals used to forests, seas and the sky are trapped in cages, concrete enclosures and glass tanks” and divert funds away from much needed habitat conservation.
Eight years ago, in the run up to the Gleneagles anti-G8 mobilisation, a massive party was held in a squatted warehouse in Nottingham. Shakedown ’05 attracted over 2000 revellers from across the country for the all night event that funded the Horizone camp and direct action against the G8. This weekend Shakedown II will be held to raise money for autonomous projects including the Stop G8 campaign against the return of the G8 to the UK.
On Saturday, 2-300 people gathered at Speakers Corner in Nottingham to demonstrate against the coalition government’s bedroom tax. The government policy will see social tenants with a spare room having £40-£80 per month taken off their housing benefit. According to the protesters, “in Nottingham alone 4746 families will be affected by the Bedroom Tax” which “penalises the disabled, single parents, families of those recently deceased, foster parents and the parents of children in the army or at university”.
On Monday 4th March, precarious workers, students, the unemployed, squatters, and others turned up outside the Nottingham offices of Ingeus and A4e for a demonstration called by Nottingham Against Workfare and Stop G8 Notts. A “Workfare ain’t fair” banner was unfurled and hundreds of leaflets entitled “Workfare is class warfare” were handed out to shoppers, as well as those employed and harassed by A4e and Ingeus.
After a well attended meeting at the Sumac Centre on Monday, a revived Nottingham Indymedia collective have decided to relaunch the site. Publishing is now enabled again so please write articles, promote your events and continue to contribute to our community.
It will only stay open with your support so make sure you publish your news here, join the mailing list and support the collective however you feel able to. Our next meeting will take place on Mon 18th March, 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre and we welcome you to come along.
Previous feature: Indymedia to close unless you get involved
We will hold a public meeting on Monday 18th February, 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre, Nottingham, to discuss the future of Indymedia in the region. We welcome anyone with any interest in the current Nottingham Indymedia site or independent media in general to come with ideas and energy. What happens next will be very dependent on what happens in that meeting.
Following a lot of discussion in our meetings, the Nottingham Indymedia collective has decided to disable publishing on the site from 31st January. The dwindling input into this site from local activists and groups has left us wondering whether the effort that goes into maintaining the site is still needed and wanted.
We will hold a public meeting on 18th February, 7.30pm at the Sumac Centre, Nottingham, to discuss the future of Indymedia in the region. We welcome anyone with any interest in the current Nottingham Indymedia site or independent media in general to come with ideas and energy. What happens next will be very dependent on what happens in that meeting.
Some members of the current collective have been doing what we do for the whole of the 7.5 years that this site has been in existence. We’ve had fun and achieved a lot. Now it’s up to you.
The beginning of 2013 offers an opportunity to look back over our achievements (or lack of) in 2012. While the mainstream media obsessed over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee "celebrations" and the Olympics and Paralympics, Nottingham Indymedia has continued to report on the ongoing campaigns of groups as varied as tax campaigners (Notts Uncut), animal rights activists (opposing the badger cull) and environmentalists (occupying the gas power station at High Marnham).
Unfortunately this year has been notably quieter on the newswire than those which preceded it, a reflection of the current downturn in struggle across the country (although seemingly not elsewhere in Europe). This, coupled with the technical issues which have afflicted the site over the last few months, have posed questions about what - if anything - the future of the project is. This is something Nottingham Indymedia will be exploring - hopefully with input from others in and around the city - early in the new year. Watch this space to see how you can get involved.
Early on Monday 29th October, sixteen people scaled the chimneys of West Burton gas-fired power station in Nottinghamshire, shutting it down and halting further construction. West Burton is one of the first of up to 20 new gas-fired power stations the Government has planned.
The International Day of Action Against McDonalds (16th Oct) was marked by protests against the multinational fast food corporation by protests in Derby and Nottingham. During Saturday lunchtime activists in Derby picketed a city centre branch in protest at its unethical business practices. This was followed by a “mammoth” leaflet distribution on Monday in Nottingham city centre. Activists distributed the very same flyer that led to the infamous McLibel case in the 1980s.