On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.
In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.
The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.
Shared National Day of Asylum Seekers Taking Action
This Saturday 29th June will see protests across the country by asylum seekers and supporters calling for 'Dignity not Destitution'.
In June 2012, 250 asylum seekers and supporters marched through Bristol to tell people our problems and to demand Dignity For Asylum Seekers [ Report | Press Release ]. This gave us more confidence to speak out. After last year's march we campaigned to get Bristol City Council to support us. We are pleased to say that in January they voted overwhelmingly to support us and condemn the government’s policy on forced destitution. Now, we are joining together with groups around the country to take action on the same day to say that forced destitution is wrong. Read the full article for details of events around the country.
Protests took place outside stores across Britain on 3rd March 2012 as campaigners stepped up their opposition to the ConDem workfare slavery scheme, (started under Labour,) by taking the online campaigns, which have resulted in many firms pulling out, onto the streets .
In Edinburgh two Tescos were 'invaded' and pickets were mounted outside a Poundland and British Heart Foundation store. The Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty delivered a letter to the BHF store insisting “that BHF withdraws completely from the Work Programme and all workfare schemes”
Bristol cops arrested two protestors at a picket of a McDonalds, and a solidarity action was held outside Trinity Road cop-shop later in the day. In Birmingham about 50 campaigners stopped off at Sainsburies and Superdrug to congratulate them on pulling out the scheme, whilst pickets were held at Poundland and McDonalds. In Sheffield campaigners who were chucked out of a Tesco on West Street, continued their tour with visits to stores which included Marks and Spencers, McDonalds and Primark. Nottingham campaigners picketed Wilkinsons before moving on to other stores
In Lewisham, McDonalds, Boots, Greggs, BHS and Primark werre targeted by a group of about 30, whilst Oxford Street saw a few dozen campaigners target outlets including McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Holiday Inn in a game of cat and mouse awith the police. On Friday Ian Duncan-Smith was challenged by protestors as he arrived at a conference in Tottenham. He insisted that "workfare is a brilliant scheme".
Newswire: Workfare conference cancelled due to protest | Workfare Unravels | 'It's exploitation and it's repellent' | Tesco’s Secret Workfare Slaves | Demo shuts Westminster Tesco | GMB Union Promotes Workfare as Answer | DWP Locks Down FOI Responses | Legal Challenge to Government’s slave labour scheme
The Black Rose Centre is a new social centre project (PDF Flyer) at 268 Verdon Street, established by the Sheffield Social Centre Collective. This is the first time that the Social Centre Collective has had a permanent space, previously there have been weekend events held by the collective such as the Free Schools in 2011 and 2010 and there were two, short lived, squatted buildings in 2009.
On Wednesday 22nd of February at 7:30pm there will be a discussion on setting up a Sheffield Wide Class Struggle Anarchist Group following a screening of An Anarchist's Story. On Friday 24th February at 6pm there will be the opening of QUEER: an exhibition of local artists' work in response to "LGBT History Month", the deadline for submissions for the show is Wednesday 22nd February.
On 4th Feburary 2012 Sheffield Pizza Hut Workers Union, part of the IWW, held a protest outside Pizza Hut in Crookes, Sheffield over their ongoing dispute over workers terms and conditions. Solidarity potests were held in Brighton, Bradford, Glasgow, London, Birmingham, Bristol [1, 2], Hull, Liverpool, Calais, Portland, Vancouver and Berlin.
The dispute centers on several specifics aspect of the workers terms and conditions, pay for working on bank holidays, mileage rates and also recognition of the union. Whilst it has been standard practice to pay workers an enhanced rate for working bank holidays, Pizza Hut has decided that it will only pay the standard rate. Delivery drivers who use their own vehicles are given an allowance of 60p per delivery, a static rate which has remained unchanged for several years despite the soaring cost of fuel. Furthermore, "The Pizza Hut Workers Union also has concerns outside of this dispute, including delivery staffs safety gear, a decreasing pay packet that falls behind inflation and a demand for a real living wage for all Pizza Hut workers."
Newswire: Pizza Hut Workers Demand A Proper Slice | Solidarity Picket Glasgow With IWW Pizza Hut Workers Report | London Wobs' Solidarity Picket with IWW Pizza Hut | Pizza Hut Solidarity in Bradford | SchNEWS: Gimme A Slice OF The Action | Pizza Hut solidarity in Brighton | Solidarity Picket in Bristol with IWW Pizza Hut Workers | Birmingham IWW Solidarity Picket with IWW Pizza Hut Union
On Saturday night there a Occupy Sheffield Benefit Bonanza at the Dove and Rainbow with Roy Bailey at 8pm. Last winter Roy Bailey played a set at the Sheffield University Occupation and you can listen to that here.
Sheffield Cathedral has served court papers on Occupy Sheffield, there is to be a court hearing on Thursday 26th January and the Cathedral, representing the establishment, is trying to scare Occupy Sheffield and especially the people named in the papers with the threat of costs being awarded against them. The Citadel of Hope has been secured for a month following a court case and agreement with the owner.
Newswire: Occupy Sheffield's Rally for the 99% | Cooperatives, Credit Unions and Experience of a Social Care Coop | Richard Murphy Talk on UK Tax from Occupy Conference | What the Third National Occupy UK Conference Can Teach Us
As UK occupations squat more buildings the police, many of whom have criminal records, are flouting the law to harass protesters, the Lords are debating making squatting residential buildings illegal, the government plans to make hundreds of thousands homeless and Occupy LSX is threatened with eviction.
On 8th January 2012 40-50 police officers raided the Railton Hotel, next to the train station in Lancaster, which had been squatted by Occupy Lancaster the day before. At approximately 8.15 pm, the police used a battering ram to break through the front door. Once they had gained entry, the police arrested the four occupants who were inside at the time. The Occupiers secured the building legally, and displayed notices of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 on the exterior of the building, but the police paid no heed to the law and Occupy Lancaster are now seeking legal advice.
Also on 8th January undercover police arrested 3 occupiers at Occupy Liverpool on suspicion of possession; none were found to be in possession of "controlled substances". Twenty or so police then surrounded the occupied building stating that it was a crime scene and laid siege to it for 3 hours. Like Occupy Lancaster a Section 6 notice was displayed but the police acted as as if squatting was already illegal.
Newswire: Eviction - Press Release: 9/1/12 from Occupy Lancaster! | Legal help required | Police Harass Occupy Liverpool at Legal Squat | Police raid on Occupy Lancaster | Occupy Sheffield Statement on the occupation of the Citadel Of Hope | Salvation Army Citadel Occupied and renamed Citadel Of Hope
On 5th November a Occupy Sheffield camp was established outside Sheffield Cathedral (map). After discussing where to camp at a meeting on the steps of the City Hall it was agreed to set up camp at the Cathedral. Posters and flyers you can print, to spread the word, have been produced by the Sheffield Equality Group.
Newswire: #OccupySheffield 15th October Solidarity Protest | Occupy Sheffield General Assembly 24th Oct | Occupy Sheffield Meeting Tonight | Sheffield Occupied! | Help needed at Occupy Sheffield! | Billy Bragg to sing at Occupy Sheffield | SmashEDO Tour comes to #OccupySheffield | Smash EDO Talk at Occupy Sheffield | Billy Bragg at Occupy Sheffield | Occupy Movement: where next? | Occupy Anthems - Gamblin's for Fools | The 1%'s New Battle: Selling War on Iran | Sheffield University occupied | EveryBody Out | Sheffield Occupation Official Statement | Occupy Planet Earth: Resisting the Militarisation of State Power | Sheffield University Occupation: Official Statement on the Court Injunction
UK Occupations: Bath | Birmingham | Bournemouth | Bradford | Brighton | Bristol | Cardiff | Edinburgh | Glasgow | Leeds | London Finsbury Square | London Stock Exchange | Newcastle | Norwich | Nottingham
UPDATE: Audio recordings of 3 workshops and the plenary are available.
All welcome to this year's Sheffield Free School event, on Saturday 15th October 2011, from 10am till 8pm, at CADS (Creative Arts Development Space) Snow Lane Entrance, Shalesmoor, S3 7AL (5 mins from city centre, next to "Kit Locker").
This is a Free School NOT of the type created under the present government, but in the long tradition of autonomous self-organised activities. It's being run by the Sheffield Social Centre project, which aims to establish a permanent space for non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist and non-discriminatory activity in Sheffield.
People in Sheffield are coming together to resist the tide of consumer capitalism, exploitation and crisis, creating a space for the free sharing of skills, ideas and knowledge. Come along to the Sheffield Free School ? maybe even to share a skill of your own.
The day's line up includes a whole list of workshops, practical activities, food, film, stalls, fun and friendly stuff.
Following that, everyone's welcome to the evening benefit gig (£4, £3 concessions) at the nearby Redhouse Pub, 168 Solly Street S1 4BB.
After the ‘March for the Alternative’ in London on March 26th, thousands of people joined the TUC ‘Birmingham for the Alternative’ march on the Lib Dem conference on Sunday September 18th. There was a wide range of trade union participation, especially from public sector unions who recently announced a new wave of national strikes for November 30th. Student activists were also present, with a banner drop by the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts reminding conference delegates of Nick Clegg’s broken promises of opposing rises in tuition fees.
Plans for a third TUC demonstration, the Manchester ‘March for the Alternative’, are underway for the first day of the Conservative Party conference on October 2nd. Tens of thousands are expected to march past the conference centre and the ‘ring of steel’ around it, protesting against an agenda of cuts and austerity for the benefit of the rich. A coalition of anarchists, socialists, trade union activists, student unions and democracy campaigners, dubbed Occupy! Manchester, are also calling for an occupation of Albert Square, outside Manchester Town Hall, to create an assembly of protest on the doorstep of the Tory’s conference, and a place for real debate and discussion about the alternatives.
Plans for occupations and assemblies in Britain have been inspired by the large and vibrant student protests that took place last winter and by the popular demonstrations elsewhere. In New York, people’s assemblies were held on Wall Street on September 17th, the occupation there is on-going with a 24 hour camp in Liberty Plaza. a ‘March to Brussels’ has so far reached Paris. In London, another national student demonstration has been called for November 9th.
The incident that led to police raids across the country and 23 arrests occurred on 28th March 2009 when a number of antifascist activists travelled to Welling in south-east London to protest against a neo-Nazi "Blood and Honour" skinhead gig at the Duchess of Edinburgh Pub. No fascists have been arrested or charged or have even appeared as witnesses in the court case and in the absence of any evidence forthcoming from the fascists the Police and Crown Prosecution Service spent a vast amount of time and resources to press charges which are tantamount to a thought crime and if widely applied would in effect make it illegal to organise protests against fascist events. The use of "conspiracy" charges against large groups of activists — charging them for things that might have thought about rather than charging them for anything they have actually done is clearly being done to suit a political agenda which involves the draconian repression of progressive activists, no doubt intended as a "deterrent" to others. While at the same time real corporate criminal conspiracies are covered up and swept under the carpet, contrast the treatment of the activists with the kid-glove treatment by the state of the Murdoch media crime family, as the collusion between powerful media, corrupt police and the political establishment is further exposed.
Articles: Leeds ABC Rebel Night! A benefit for imprisoned antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Freedom: Comrades Jailed | Inside SchNEWS | Support Our Six Proud Antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support
On June 30th thousands of strikers and their supporters gathered in Sheffield for a protest against the governments cuts to public sector pensions and public sector cuts in general. following a rally in Barkers Pool there was a short march down the Moor and back up to Division Street and back to Barkers Pool for a second rally.
Earlier in the day there was a Sheffield Uncut action and there is a Uncut - 'Teach In' planned for Saturday 2nd July, 12pm, City Hall steps.
On June 30th over 800,000 public sector workers will be on strike against attacks on their pensions. This is a key fight for everyone who wants to defend public services and oppose cuts to pensions, benefits services and our communities. Strikers and anti-cuts campaigners from across South Yorkshire will be marching through Sheffield, please join them.
Thu 30 Jun 2011, 12 noon assemble at Peace Gardens; 1pm rally Barkers Pool, organised by Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance, supported by Sheffield Trades Council.
Other protests listed on j30strike.org are, a student march around the pickets, meet on Howard Street (Sheffield Hallam Uni main entrance) at 9am and Sheffield Uncut action, meet at tram stop outside the Cathedral at 10am.
Two of the key tools that Indymedia activists use for communication and collaboration are email lists and wiki pages. UK Indymedia activists have made extensive use of lists hosted by the global Indymedia list server and of the global Indymedia wiki over the last decade. But at the end of May 2011 key lists were shutdown without agreement and wiki accounts deleted.
In response to this situation, new email lists have been set up for people who wish to contact the site admins or to be involved in discussions about features and moderation. There is also a new wiki site for UK Indymedia related documents. In addition there is now a new Users list for users of this site to raise matters which are not covered by the Moderation, Features or Tech lists.
In the past Sheffield Indymedia has hosted its own fringe documentary film festival alongside the international annual event hosted at the Showroom Cinema, this year Access Space are hosting Open Splice: an afternoon of short open source documentaries on Friday 10th. Although we don't have the time and energy for our own screenings this this year the main event has a number of great looking films of interest to activists, including the première of the new British Film about climate change related direct action, Just Do It and the UK première of If a Tree Falls about the Earth Liberation Front.
Saturday May 21st saw the return of the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair, now in its second year. This year it attracted over 250 people and throughout the day it had a good crowd of people attending meetings, watching films, hanging out in the cafe space and checking out a good range of groups and stalls. The venue was certainly an improvement on last year (we had day light and windows for a start!) and was decorated with loads of different banners, flags and posters brought by various groups on the day.
Photos | Audio: Elephants, Dogmas and Taboos: a Friendly Critique of Anarchism | Anarchism 101 | Anarchist Studies Network Book Launch | Sheffield Social Centre: Why? What? Where? | Luddites Organising Forum
The weekend 19th to the 21st May 2011 saw the second Sheffield Temporary Autonomous Arts event take place in a disused industrial unit on Bowdon Street. The event was organised by the Art and Soul Kollective and followed on from their event last year.
Sheffield's second annual anarchist book fair will be held Saturday 21st May from 10:00 - 18:00 @ Bank Street Arts, 32-40 Bank Street (A much brighter venue than last year!). There will be meetings and presentations throughout the day as well as some film screenings (a new feature for this year). There is also a a social/fund raiser in the evening 8:00 til 2:00, @ the Redhouse, 168 Solly Street.
Sheffield Indymedia will be screening the LibDem Conference protest video over lunch and also hosting an open discussion, with the Mayday Collective, from 5-6pm, about what is happening with UK Indymedia. Come along and have your say about the future of the site! See also the report and audio from the 2010 Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair.
Links: Sheffield Bookfair Website
On 1st May 2011 the UK Indymedia Network forked into two autonomous projects, running two different websites, UK Indymedia and Be The Media. Also, a snapshot of the UK Indymedia site as it existed on the date of the the fork was created as an archive.
There was a consensus in the UK Indymedia Network that the project needed to fork, so that Indymedia members with different views could all work on developments they were happy with rather than come into constant conflict. An agreement was made in December to implement the fork on May 1st but the agreement broke down at the eleventh hour. Mayday believed that part of the agreement was that their collective was to have globally recognised Independent Media Centre status at the time of the fork. Be The Media had interpreted this differently and did not see it this way. The consensus that had been thrashed some 4 months before had now snapped and activists, being activists, took action. Be The Media started implementing the changes to the site shortly after midnight on May 1st. Mayday saw what was happening, considered the blocks to have been ignored  and felt that if this proceeded it would have in effect shut down the UK Newswire. After several hours of discussion and consideration they agreed they couldn't let it proceed like this and so, in the early hours of May 1st, sleepless techies migrated the entire web site to a new server, thus effecting the fork on the agreed date but not in the way originally planned.
Articles: I'm glad Indymedia UK is still here! | Autonomy for the UK | What's happening with Indymedia UK? | What's up with UK Indymedia? | Ode to IMC UK: keep it going.... | Britain's Left Defeats Itself Again | IMC UK Shut Down #IMCUKshutdown| The Attempt to Shutdown UK Indymedia
UPDATE: The attempted shutdown took place, see archive.indymedia.org.uk, it was announced by IMC London and has been critiqued, but the lists don't appear to have been shutdown yet. Scotland Indymedia blocked the shutdown for 3 weeks (until they can discuss it face to face).
Some people involved with UK Indymedia have been talking about shutting down the UK IMC site for years , for a variety of reasons; an openly declared disillusionment with the original model of open publishing and wanting to move to pre-moderated newswires which don't allow comments on articles , a dislike of the political content that is carried on the UK site ; a desire to see the traffic, which the UK site gets, redirected to regional IMC sites  and perhaps other motivations. Those wanting the site shutdown have also blocked improvements being made to the UK Indymedia site .
However the activists who have been maintaining the UK IMC site are still committed to running a UK-wide Indymedia open newswire and are not prepared to see the UK Indymedia site shutdown. They believe that the UK Indymedia newswire provides a valuable service for articles and comments and it should be maintained. These activists are also committed to running UK Indymedia in a transparent and open manner and in the spirit of the initial Independent Media Centre. Prior to the UK Indymedia Network meeting in Bradford in December 2010 this group of IMC UK admins applied to the global New IMC process as an autonomous collective with a wish to continue running the UK Indymedia site. Clearly the UK Indymedia site isn't a New IMC, it's been going for a decade (the early IMC UK story is covered in the BeTheMedia article about the impending shutdown), the application was made to make it clear that there was a group of activists who were running and wanted to continue running, the IMC UK site, but with autonomy from the activists running the other Indymedia sites in the UK. The activists running the other Indymedia sites in the UK wanted to take the indymedia.org.uk domain away from the UK Indymedia site and point it to the BeTheMedia site (at the time it was all.indymedia.org.uk, it has subsequently been renamed).
A squatted social centre on The Moor, next door to Debenhams, has opened opened as the 0742 Club following the squatting of the building as a convergence space for the Liberal Democrat Conference protests.
The Collective invites a broad variety of artists, collectives, and political groups to come and make use of the space (which is huge) as well as opening it's doors to those wanting to show independant films (A projector is avaliable), hold poetry sessions, or generally hang out. Spaces can be booked or aquired by inpromtue informal discussion with the residents as and when they are needed, and doors will open on monday to the wider public for the display of an art exhibition, a poetry session (to which any poets are invited to take part in), and the provission of hot beverages.
The Collective also puts out a request for Residential Artists and persons who can help to maintain the security of the space (this does not have to mean every night and day, but it would also be useful to have volunteers willing to stay a night or two).
The 0742 can be contact via its SQAUTLINE on 07806414837 or via the contact number that has already been given out in other articles written in reference to the Centre.
Links: 0742 on Tumblr
Public sector cuts
April 2006 No Borders Days of Action
Art and Activism Caravan 2006
Climate Camp 2006
French CPE uprising 2006
G8 Russia 2006
Lebanon War 2006
March 18 Anti War Protest
Refugee Week 2006
Transnational Day of Action Against Migration Controls
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