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Defendants’ meeting – Saturday 2nd April – 2pm – University of London Student Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY
Were you either charged with an offence or bailed to return to a police station soon? We know it’s a worrying time and information can be difficult to come by. We also know from previous experience that it can be isolating and intimidating. The best way to deal with this is to meet others in the same position as yourself and stick together. The police want you to feel isolated and alone – but meeting and talking with other people facing the same pressures, and working together, can make everyone stronger.
So, we are calling a DEFENDANTS’ MEETING on Saturday 2nd April – 2pm – University of London Student Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY
It could help your case to attend and it will definitely help your confidence. This is a meeting for DEFENDANTS ONLY. If you are not a defendant or accompanying a defendant you WILL be asked to leave.
If you haven’t been arrested, but you are worried you MAY yet be arrested, or if your face has been publicised as somebody the police want to question, it’s probably best to stay away. BUT don’t be put off from coming if you have already been arrested: attending meetings does not breach your bail conditions.
There will be people with legal knowledge, and we can talk about police use of bail conditions. But, the major part of the meeting will be for defendants to come together and decide if they want a defence campaign, and if so, what type of campaign they want: campaigns like this need to be led by the defendants themselves.
Please pass this on to anybody you know who may have been arrested and charged or on police bail, and please circulate as widely as possible, to anybody who may know of anybody arrested.
Above all – DON’T BE AFRAID! Many people support you and are willing to help, some of us have been in this position ourselves in the past. The police are not all-powerful, they can be challenged, and even getting charged does not mean you will be convicted. Defence campaigns in the past have helped people to win in court, and helped to win support for people facing charges.
This meeting is being organized by the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (www.ldmg.org.uk ) and the Green & Black Cross (www.greenandblackcross.org).
Following a call out by Queer Resistance, the newly formed group of queers from across the UK working to oppose the cuts, it was tremendous to see a turnout of around 3-400 queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people from around the UK for a Pink & Black Bloc at the March for the Alternative, called by the TUC, on Saturday 26th March.
As a result, there was a visible queer presence proud to be part of the fight against the cuts, with an array of banners, placards and pink umbrellas as well as vocal chanting, marching in solidarity alongside at least 500,000 other people, including local anti cuts groups, pensioners, students, public sector workers, unions and people from all walks of life.
The group met up in the morning at Soho Square with LGBTQ people from all over, including London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Cambridge.. Queer Youth Network joined as the group created a wonderful march through Soho, linking up with other LGBTQ groups at Cambridge Circus including Queers Against the Cuts, TUC LGBT and NUS LGBT. It then proceeded down Charing Cross on the way to the start of the March, with the colourful demonstration receiving waves from passers-by. Feedback through the day was tremendous, such as two pensioners commenting: “I like walking with those Queer Resistance people. It’s nice to walk with them” and some young people saying that the group was inspirational. With its own sound system and megaphone, the crowds were kept amused with witty repartee about the cuts as the very long March weaved through London.
Next steps for the resistance
There are a number of upcoming activities for Queer Resistance, which people from across the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer communities as well as their friends and allies are invited to join and become a part of. They aim to give each other moral support and provide safety in numbers. Do wear pink and black, bring any queer banners, placards or signs that you have, or just turn up and join with them.
On Saturday 2nd April, Queer Resistance will be gathering for a picnic at 12 midday in Soho Square, London, to discuss activity to date and plan for future actions.
At 3pm on the same day representatives of Queer Resistance will be joining other anti cuts groups for the United Anti Cuts Assembly, an open mass meeting at UCL to reflect on the March for the Alternative and organise the next stage of the movement. More details available at http://anticuts.com/2011/03/29/united-anti-cuts-assembly-saturday-2nd-april/ / http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=210282135649223.
Impact of cuts deepens
Following the financial crisis and the bank bailouts paid with public money, the ruling elite is using the current economic situation as justification to push through brutal cuts to public spending in education, housing, benefits and healthcare. These cuts will have a serious effect on a diverse range of important communities in the UK, not least LGBTQ people. Now is the time to resist these needless ideological cuts, push for the alternatives and fight for your community, your society and your values.
The rise of tuition fees will impact students who are not supported financially by their family and this means the effect will inevitably be felt by many LGBTQ students, as many have increased risk of being estranged from their families.
Other plans include severe cutbacks in NHS spending, meaning local authorities will have to abandon services they regard as ‘non-essential’. This will undoubtedly put sexual health and HIV services at risk at a local level – latest news indicates a 43% cut in funding for HIV services in London. Plans to devolve spending decisions to doctor-led consortia will also create a postcode lottery for health services, effectively leaving those who want to surgically transition unable to do so.
Cuts to education and community resources may mean a further lack of awareness about LGBTQ people in our society and potential rises in homophobic and transphobic attitudes. At the same time, an increase in unemployment and cuts in benefits is likely to lead to the scapegoating of already marginalised groups, including LGBTQ people, with resultant increases in homophobic and transphobic attacks. This is particularly worrying, given that the work of many charities working with victims of hate crimes and domestic abuse, like Galop and Broken Rainbow, are already suffering from the effects of underfunding.
The slashing of the benefits system and legal aid will compound problems for those who need help the most, including the disabled and those unable to work within the LGBTQ communities.
We also aims to challenge the common portrayal of the LGBTQ community as part of a wealthy and influential professional elite, when in reality many are often economically and socially disadvantaged members of UK society.
For many of us, March 26th was set to be the big one. The anger and spontaneity of the student movement, but joined by other people from all walks of life who’s very survival is being threatened by the cuts. We wanted to join the dots and link our various struggles in an all out class war against those who now can’t even be bothered to give us the crumbs from their table. To make them long for the days when we’d accept that pittance and leave them alone.
At the very least, we did succeed in joining up all the various anarchists across London that day who had come from every corner of the country and beyond. Once the bloc converged and headed to its intended target there was no stopping it, and police were either overpowered or outmanoeuvred every time they attempted a challenge. Paint bombs and smoke grenades obstructed the work of various FIT teams who tailed the bloc, which had swelled until it made up a sea of red and black flags.
The mob roamed the streets from Soho to Mayfair and built momentum as it went, leaving graffiti, toppled cops, bewildered tourists and smashed windows in its wake. From HSBC, Santander and Lloyds, to Jewellers, luxury auto dealers and even Ann Summers, countless targets along the improvised route were trashed. But it was on Piccadilly where it was presented the opportunity to unleash its anger upon the ruling class themselves, rather than their symbolic representations. The crowd acknowledged this, and as we approached the building a chant went up –‘THE RITZ, THE RITZ, WE GOTTA GET RID OF THE RITZ.’
They didn’t, of course. But for anyone who witnessed the daring assault on the Ritz Hotel, no doubt remains as to whether would have succeeded in thoroughly scaring the shit out of any rich scum contained within. The Porsche centre in Mayfair was the last to fall, as the mob reached Hyde Park and was finally confronted by large numbers of knuckle-dragging TSG, drooling at the prospect of not having to engage asymmetrically, on unfavourable territory filled with bystanders. The terrible wave of black masked militants finally broke and scattered in every direction.
While some of yesterday’s details and what will become of the movement are still uncertain, one thing is not. All afternoon the West End was ours. And by nightfall when the totality of the days events were revealed, we were witness to scenes unheard of for years as barricades burned in central London.
This is not to fall into the same self-congratulatory trap as morons on the left who would hold hands, sing the Internationale in Hyde Park and call it a day, pretending they’ve struck a critical blow at the very heart of the system. Hundreds of people were arrested or brutalised in Trafalgar square. Some sad misguided individuals are still deluded enough to think they can engage with the police on a human level, which yesterday’s occupation of Fortnum and Mason has shown us can only end in betrayal. The anarchist movement certainly delivered yesterday, but there is still much work to be done. We may have shaken the enclaves of the wealthy to their foundations but we have not dealt them their final hand.
x26radio is a convergence of radical, independent radio projects co-ordinating live audio direct from the streets of London on March 26 from 10am onwards.
x26radio looks to cover the large variety of protest activity that will be happening on the day – from union marches to protest blocs to direct action – keeping protesters informed and listeners the world over abreast of the latest happenings.
TUNE IN! and listen to news round-ups on the hour, every hour, from your mobile phone or computer…
CONTRIBUTE! call 020 3239 4569 to record a message on the day or ahead of time (we’d especially like to hear your news updates, interviews, promotional messages, calls to action, any speeches, music, poetry).
EMBED A PLAYER! check out x26radio.ucrony.net for links to the stream and code to embed a radio player on your website…
DOWNLOAD THE ANDROID APP! check the website soon for a link to the special android application that will help you tune in easily from your mobile phone while roaming the streets…
Links to the stream will also be available on multiple websites, including Indymedia London, Dissident Island and VisionOnTv. If you’re interested in reporting from the streets or syndicating the x26radio archive, email us here or at email@example.com.
Fresh from the success of their International Womens Day show, Whitechapel Anarchist Group members Che and Yodet return to take over the airways on Resonance 104.4 FM for a very special two part show on the Demonstration this Saturday 26th. Guest interviews include Glyn Harries (Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services), Val Swain (FIT Watch), Steve Hedley (RMT), Legal Defence Monitoring Group (LDMG) & Green and Black Street Medics, Sean Dey (Reel News), Dean Talent (Freedom Press), Greg Hall (WAG), Kiren (FE Student), Mark Bergfeld (National Union of Students), Global Women’s Strike, Mark Barrett (People’s Assembly), Queer Resistance (Pink & Black Bloc), UK Uncut, Tony Woods (Haringey Alliance for Public Serices) and Sebastien from the Wivenhoe branch of the CND.
Tune in on 104.4 FM or stream live from the Resonance FM Website this FRIDAY 25TH MARCH Part one 11am-12pm Part two 1pm-2pm.
If you want to be in the loop on March 26th do not miss!!
This coming Saturday 26th March 2011 the Many Headed Hydra will be stirred from it’s sleep and lay siege to the City of Capital.
The smashed windows at Millbank in November last year represented the destruction of the old epoch as the seeds of youth took root entering a new political age, a refreshing uncharted terrain spurned by passion, enthusiasm and creativity driven by a burning optimism. Rapidly the dimension of street based anti-authoritarian politics flourished, the violent unrelenting attack upon the struggling population by an agenda of cutting public services while massaging bankers swollen pockets, opened up the floodgates with a thousand flowers of resistance blooming and up for the fight.
The economic situation spirals further out of control due to it’s inherent nature of mass exploitation being built upon shifting sands, the rich getting richer while the poor starve to death will always come back to bite you. Locals have taken to the streets en mass attacking the Town Halls, flash mobs have blocked the flow of profit by blocking corporate shop entrances, occupations of campuses have become hubs of debate and activity. Internationally the ideas of freedom, liberation and revolution have come to life against terrifying oppressive forces, the touchpaper has been lit and truly engulfed the World with inspiration. This is not the Poll Tax and this is not Stop The War. This is something very new.
It’s time to use our imaginations and go further.
See you on the streets.