“Surveillance City Award” 2012 – We lose again!

Wondering around the Silver City of late, as you do, we have been taking note of some brand spanky new CCTV cameras. All over town. They are easy to spot as they have made no attempt to blend them in, hide them on buildings as is the norm. They seem to be an attempt by the police state to say “I’ve got a massive phallic thing and it’s eye is on you, sonny boy!”

Welcome to the Silver City!

They have even appeared in the posh bits of town, the end of town where they often say “what?” at the end of a sentence. Is this to identify any “feral scum” who might head up west should there be a riot? Or to identify the squeezed into rebellion “middle class floater voter” when they take to the streets?

It seems weird to us that in a time of massive cuts to local services there is money for new CCTV surveillance. Once again A.C.C have weird and strange priorities, baffling to the common personage’s like ourselves.

The cameras are kinds new to us also, they do remind one a bit of the ones from the V for Vendetta comic with weird aerials and what not.

They will be speaking to us next, telling us to remain clam, just you wait!

We already knew of the CCTV that tracks licence plates on cars which will identify any undesirables as they approach the city. Makes us glad we cycle everywhere.

Chums from London also said they have facial recognition down there and when you do a quick online search they now have ones that spot crimes automatically This of course allows the double whammy for the operating company of having less staff and more profit. It’s a real win, win situation..

A recent article in the local scandal rag highlighted that Aberdeen has 942 council run CCTV cameras now! More than the combined “coverage” of  Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. One lucky school up here has 51 CCTV units all to themselves. The area also has a 35% child poverty rate, we did wonder if there was any connection, but soon forgot about it due to a re-run of X-Factor being on.

It seems the city council have more cameras on the estates than anywhere else with only about 110 in town.

In the last four years Aberdeen City Council have spent  over a cool £1 million on CCTV and all councils in the UK have spent a happy total of £515 million on CCTV surveillance, clearly they see a link between poverty and crime.

What worries us at  A.A. HQ is the normalisation of the CCTV beasties. We don’t give them a second  glance as a rule but the new additions to Aberdeen’s overcrowded pavements did grab our attentions.  Crime rates have fallen but we have had an increase of police on the beat  so we cannot attribute it all to CCTV, so what the mad rush for more?

They may or may not have a  place and a use in 21st century Scotland but 51 of then at a secondary school seems a tad extreme, does it not? And we are sure that any new development in the city like the proposed City Garden  Project will introduce a good few more into our lives.

 

Although this will allow A.C.C to have a stab at the coveted “Surveillance City Award” which has replaced the dated “City in Bloom” competitions we all used to enjoy. The  current champions and  holders of the “Surveillance City Award”  are Leicester City Council with  mighty 2,083 CCTV cameras!

Which I hear is making our local leaders fume with paranoid jealous rages and mighty, mighty anger.

So, once again, the never seen  man, with the never seen plan, from Aberdeen City Council is off work.  Sick with stress induced stress thus allowing his paranoid voyeuristic minions  too run amok once more; Liberally scattering shiny new CCTV poles about the town in the vain hope of a national award they can plaster over all the “Welcome to Aberdeen” Signs along with “Drive careful now,  We are watching!”

report by The Dirty Hoof.

Blatantly pinched  photo from this website which we enjoy so click OTHER ABERDEEN and enjoy it also. We send our apologies, love and thanks.

Click here for more info from Big Brother Watch:

Click here for a handy schNEWS how to guide on CCTV cameras:

 

 

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Inverness Anarchist Film Festival

On Saturday February 11th in a small community space called the The Bike Shed just outside Inverness town centre, Inverness anarchist Federation put on an anarchist film festival, showing three documentary films – Anarchism in America, an Anarchist’s Story and The Pipe.

There was also space for a chat over sandwihches and homemade Vegan cake, as well as an array of literature to peruse both free and for sale courtesy of AK Press.

People from an assortment of campaigns and organisations came from all around – Aberdeen Anarchists were represented as was Glasgow Anarchist Federation. One committed soul even came as far away as Bradford.


Things kicked off just after 10am with Anarchism in America. Directed by Steven Fischler and Loel Sucher, Anarchism in America sets out to explode some of the myths surrounding anarchism, exploring some of the similarities between anarchism and the American conventions of liberty and individualism. It does so through a series of interviews with the great and good including Murray Bookchin and former Republican speech writer Karl Hess. It also describes some of the key events in American anarchist history such as the case of Sacco and Vanzetti.

We then had a  break for lunch and a some time to catch up with old friends and make some new.

The second film, an Anarchist’s Story tells the remarkable tale of Scot Ethel Macdonald who went to Spain to report on the civil war, first by mail and then later as a radio broadcaster for Barcelona’s anarchist radio, work which as well as assisting Spanish anarchists escape the authorities, landed her in hot water.

Ethel MacDonald broadcasting in Spain 1937

She was arrested and imprisoned, only to be released due to the intervention of British Labour politician Fenner Brockway.The “Bellshill Girl Anarchist” returned to her native Glasgow in November 1937 where she continued her political work, rallying support for the Spanish Resistance.

The final film The Pipe is a Film Four production about the controversial Corrib Gas Pipeline and the battle which ensues between Royal Dutch Shell, the Irish authorities and the local residents.

It describes the highs and lows of the Shell to Sea campaign, the conflicts with the Garda both on land and at sea and the imprisonment of the Rossport Five.

All in all it was a terrific day and a great start for Inverness Anarchist Federation.

Here’s to many more such events!

Report by [D.I]

Contact Inverness Anachist federation: inverness.af@gmail.com

Click here to buy Anarchism in America from AK Press.

Click here to watch an Anarchist’s Story.

Click here to watch a trailer of The Pipe.

 

The Dirty Hoof…

Most regular readers of the Hoof probably think that the slave trade was abolished in 1833 when it became unprofitable for our corporate handlers. Why bother trudging all the way to Africa? It was far cheaper using the new urban poor; Especially, if you built slums right next door for them to live in or even better a slum town next to your factory where you can control EVERY aspect of their lives.

History Repeating

The debt crisis of 1719 saw the government of the time sell The South Sea Company half of the public debt for exclusive trading rights to the rich West Indies and for the profitable African slave trade. Not much seems to have changed government thinking since then, only the price and the management buzz words. The debt crisis of 2008 has seen them reintroduce the slave trade. HUZZAH! Although, it’s now called WORKFARE and is probably talked about as, “a dynamic public private partnership to synergise the reemployment of our indissoluble disengaged workforce”.

Benefactors from the slave trad…sorry, WONKFORCE really are in a win, win situation with unemployment so high they will have lots of slav…sorry, sorry WORKFARCE personnel to call on, ensuring that they keep unemployment high by not creating any jobs thus ensuring that they will have plenty of sla…again, sorry…WORKFART personnel ready to help out and engage in a meaningful way with their community once more.

“Who are the new slave masters?” I hear you ask. The new slave masters (Under the ever watchful eye of Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Slavery, Community Destruction and Welfare Removal) are Jobcentres and private employment provider companies such as Serco and G4S who have placed over 20,000 people into the WORKFARE system since May 2011. The private employment provider companies such as Serco and G4S receive payment for each person they get back into WORKFARE so there is clearly a big incentive for them to get as much people through the WORKFARE system as possible.

So, vast corporations, not content with having lots of slaves in sweaty tax free work-zones around the world are getting in on the game back in the UK. TK Maxx, Wilkinson’s, Tesco, Primark, Matalan and many, many other major retailers are using unemployed people who are sent to work for them without pay, holidays, and pensions and with very little chance of permanent employment at the end of the scheme. City councils and hospitals always keen to follow the corporate model have also been getting involved. There can be no doubt about it slavery is a very good way to cut costs and maximise profits for shareholders.

 

The Private concerns – Holland & Barrett who have cut down on overtime for staff because workfare can fill the gaps –  Tesco  – HMV – one manager described their workfare worker as “our free person” – Catherine C Baxendale Tesco director is a private donator to the conservative party  – Matalan – “we are always grateful of the extra help, especially during busy times”  – – Bookers Wholesale  – Sainsbury’s  – Argos  – Maplin  – TK Maxx  – Primark  – Boots  – McDonald’s  – Burger King  – Arcadia group of clothes stores owned  Sir Philip Green, Government advisor and tax avoider  –  Superdrug.

The ChariteesAge Concern  – Barnados  – British Heart Foundation  – Cancer Research  – Capability Scotland – Gorgie City Farm – Marie Curie -PDSA -Saffron Acres Project – Salvation Army  – Shelter

The Public concerns – The Royal MailNewham Council  – Whittington Hospital – porters and receptionists  – Haringey CouncilWho have decimated their parks staff and intend to “bridge the gap” with Community Payback and workfare placements  – Finsbury Park Business Forum – Wardens are deployed around stations in North London. In 2010, 800 paid station staff were made redundant across the Underground.

 

Whips in the Mind.

A spokesperson from Matalan said: “We obviously get people who want to work and we are always grateful of the extra help, especially during busy times.” The discount retailer added the placements gave participants a chance to “Try the job out to see if it’s the right career for them,” and that they gain “a wealth of valuable experience and get a chance to engage with their community. The best bit about it all of course is that we don’t need whips anymore, which might tire our arms out. We simply report them to a Jobcentre Plus for not working hard enough and they will remove all their benefits which will probably make them and their families destitute”

Matalan, which posted profits of £73 million in February 2011, said it did not know how many people have participated in its placements across the country as these are managed on a store-by-store, ship-by-ship basis but they were very much looking forward to the 500, 000 public sector employees about to become unemployed.

Other shocking examples of exploitation in the modern slave trade include two tradespersons tasked to build a new house which would have cost around £3000 for their labour. They received £67.50 per week each for the work, with the threat of having their benefits stopped if they chose not to do the work. So if you take an average 37 hour week you can work out the approximate hourly rate of £1.80!

When we called the Office of Slavery, Community Destruction and Welfare Removal at Westminster to challenge the legality of working below the minimum wage a senior Civil Servant told us “£1.80 and hour is probably far too much for the working class to earn, they will only go and spend their money on gin and dog fighting and other common pastimes. Anyway, they can always get their kids out working. Chimneys will always need sweeping.”

A former staff member at Newham Council, who wishes to remain anonymous, described the reaction of staff when they found out that one of their colleagues was only receiving benefits for her work:

“I went to [her] leaving do … We were all so sorry to see her go. She was an older lady and was one of the most hard-working and genuinely helpful admin staff we’d ever had. Worked her hours plus more and nothing was ever too much trouble for her. We honestly didn’t know why she was leaving after only six months. She’d worked a minimum of 37 hours per week (often more) and been the backbone of service delivery. The basic starting wage for that level is around £17,000 but for the work she was doing I would have expected her to be started at a few thousand more.

Yet all she was getting was JSA and the fares for her lengthy bus journeys, while people doing identical work were getting a salary, paid leave and pension contributions.

We were horrified.

Wrongly, we assumed this woman would be hired back as proper staff within days. The role was needed; she’d proven herself to be a fantastic worker, was well regarded and knew the systems. But no, the post was suddenly deemed no longer required and this lady never came back to us. She did exactly the same job as paid staff, yet didn’t get the same salary. This is illegal if the reason is age or race, but perfectly acceptable if someone has claimed a state benefit. It’s exploitation and it’s repellent.”

Newham Council has not responded to our repeated enquiries from the Dirty Hoof about its use of slaves but we were told that when the councillors return from their fact finding mission to Africa they would promptly ignore our request.

Our thanks, love, solidarity and apologies go to corporate Watch & Boycott Workfare for the background, links, information and interviews.

Please use the links for more information!

 www.corporatewatch.org

www.boycottworkfare.org

N30 Big Breakfast….Super GO Breakfast teams!

Supporting N30 picket lines.

Aberdeen Anarchists  & Aberdeen Against Austerity teamed up to visit as many picket lines as possible with hot tea and coffee, morning rowies, sandwiches and solidarity for the striking workers on N30.

We started early and visited our first picket lines at Aberdeen Royal
Infirmary, the Marine Lab and Kittybrewster Depot while other Super GO
Breakfast teams visited their local picket lines before our meet up at the town court house at 8am.

We spent the next few hours visiting as many picket lines as possible,
covering as many unions and places of work as we could. In total we
delivered breakfast for 22 picket lines where we were met with smiles and solidarity. People seemed really appreciative of our efforts which really made dragging our sorry bums out of bed at 6am very worthwhile. We even bumped into the Fire Brigade Union who were out doing the same.

We then met up with the Aberdeen Students currently in occupation at the university, to march with them down to the mass rally at the Castlegate(Aberdeen’s traditional place for agitation and rebellion.) It was fantastic to see the occupation going great guns and everyone working very well together. Anarchy in action, jazz hands and solidarity!

The turn out at the rally was very impressive, the biggest I’ve personally seen in Aberdeen since the poll tax days. There was a really good, noisy atmosphere with local speakers representing the unions, students and local community groups. The last speaker was a rep from Aberdeen Anarchists who gave the crowd a little giggle to keep them warm and to go home with.

The atmosphere in town is really positive just now which for Aberdeen is quite amazing. We have far too many people in the dirty oil trade, making too much money to ever get much support from the local press and the private sector. The N30 event has brought together good folks from the Unions, austerity groups, SWP, Anarchists, Students, pensioners and many others who are working together very well and who are determined to build on what we have done so far. We need to keep the solidarity going, stay active and visible and engage with other groups and the public as this is only the start.

Aberdeen Against Austerity and Aberdeen Anarchists would like to send
solidarity and big love to the all the good people from ATUC Council and Club, PCS, Unite, Unison, EIS, UCU, UCATT, GMB, ATL, RMT, SIPTU, CSP, Aspect, AEP, NAHT, AHDS, SWP, Occupy Aberdeen, Occupy Aberdeen University, Black Sheep Collective, everyone we met on the picket lines, anyone we have forgot to mention and to every single person in the UK who took action on N30.

Global Intifada.

Interview with an Egyptian Anarchist

Interview with an anarcho-communist activist in Freedom Square in Cairo

Please tell me your name and what movement you are from.

I’m Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag, A small group of Anarcho-Communists in Egypt.

The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However, due to the internet being cut, information was difficult to find. Can you tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it look like from your perspective? (You can write a lot in this part.)

The situation in Egypt is So crucial right now, it begins with an invitation to the day of rage against Mubarak Regime in January 25th., no one has expected that an invitation to a day of rage from a loose group, Facebook page, not really organized called ” we are all Khalid Said”, Khalid Said is Egyptian Youth who has been killed by Mubarak police in Alexandria last summer, it was that Tuesday who begin everything, it was the spark for the whole fire, on Tuesday big demonstrations were in streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday begins the massacre, it begins with trying to finish the sit-in in Tahrir square on Tuesday late night, and continue in the following days, especially in Suez town, Suez has special value in every Egyptian heart, it was the centre for resistance against Zionist in 1956 and 1967, in the same district, which fought Sharon’s troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak police has made a massacre, at least 4 people killed, 100 injured, Gas Bombs, rubber bullets, Fire Guns, strange yellow substance thrown above people, may be mustard gas, Friday was called the Jumu’ah of Rage, Jumu’ah is Arabic for Friday, it’s the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries also, it’s sacred day in Islam, because the big prayers in this day, called Jumu’ah prayer, it was planned for demonstrations to go on march after this pray, in the noon, the police tried to prevent the marches with all of his power and violence, there was many clashes in Cairo,(in downtown, in Mattareyah (east of Cairo)), all over Egypt, especially in Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla (in delta, one of the centers of working class), from noon to sunset people marched in Cairo to Downtown, to sit-in in Tahrir till Removal of Mubarak regime, Chanting one slogan ” People demand removal of the regime”, at sun set, 5p.m CLT, Mubarak has declared curfew and bringing army into Egyptian towns, this curfew followed by planned escape of police, letting out the criminals and thugs which called Baltagayyah, and police plan great escape of criminals in many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt, no police, many army troops couldn’t control the street, scared people, it followed by news jam in Egyptian TV channels, radios, newspaper about luddites in many towns, about thieves firing at people, people organized ” people committees to secure every street, it was welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in the country, but it also a point we could start from it to build workers councils.

As of Wednesday, there are clashes between pro and anti Mubarak people. Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the “Mubarak supporters?” How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average working class Egyptians?

It’s absolutely wrong to call it clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak, pro-Mubarak demonstration was consisted of many of Baltagayyah and secret police to attack the protesters in Tahrir, it has only began after Mubarak speech yesterday, after Obama speech too, personally I think Mubarak feels like slaughtered ox who try to throw his blood over his slaughters, feels like Nero, who want to burn Egypt before his removal, trying to make people believe he’s a synonym for stability, safety and security, in this way he’s really made some progress, the holy national alliance now has been formed against Tahrirites (Tahrir protesters) and Commune de Tahrir, many people are saying, especially middle-class, demonstrations must end because Egypt has been burned, Famine has begun, and it’s not true at all, it’s only an exaggeration, every revolution has its difficulties, and Mubarak using fear and terror to stay more, personally I’m saying even if the protesters were the responsible of this situation, Even If, Mubarak must leave, must go out, because of his disability to deal with the situation right now.

What do you see happening in the next week? How much is the position taken by the US government affecting the situation there?

Nobody can figure out what would happen tomorrow or next week, Mubarak is an idiot stubborn, and Egyptian media making the biggest media campaign in its history to detain the protests, next Friday, February 4th. There calls for another million march to Tahrir Called “Jumu’ah of salvation”, the position taken by US government affecting us more than demonstration, Mubarak is such a traitor who could kill the whole people, but couldn’t say no to his masters.

What has the participation of class struggle anarchists been? Who are their allies? (obviously keep security in mind)

Anarchism in Egypt is not big trend, you could find some anarchists but not a big trend yet, anarchists in Egypt joined both protests and popular committees to defend streets from thugs, anarchists in Egypt put some hope on this councils, the allies of anarchists in Egypt are the Marxists of course, we are not now in the moment of ideololigical debate, the whole left calls for unity and then argue about anything, anarchists in Egypt are a part of the Egyptian left.

What forms of solidarity can be built between revolutionaries in Egypt and revolutionaries in the “West?” What can be done immediately and what should we do in the long term?

The most difficult obstacle Egyptian revolutionary can front is that the cut of communication, western revolutionaries must put pressure to their government to prevent Egyptian regime from doing this, that’s for now but no one could say what happened in the long term, if the revolution win then the western revolutionaries must build solidarity with their Egyptian comrades against expected aggression from USA, and Israel, if the revolution had been defeated then it would be massacre for all Egyptian revolutionaries.

What will the main tasks be once Mubarak leaves? Has their been much planning about this on the street level? What have anti-capitalist revolutionaries proposed?

the main task now, speaking about street demands is new constitution and provisional government and then new elections, there’s much planning about this issue from many political trends here especially Muslim brotherhood, the anti-capitalist Revolutionaries is not very big in Cairo, the communists, democratic left, Trotskyites calling for the same demands about constitution and new elections, but for us as anarchists, Anti-capital, Anti-state too, we will try to make the committees which has been formed to protect and secure the streets more strong, trying to turn it into real councils.

What do you want to say to revolutionaries abroad?

Dear Comrades all over the world we need solidarity, Big solidarity Campaign and Egyptian Revolution will win.

Scottish Trade Union Council anti-cuts protest

Saturday 23rd of October saw the Scottish Trade Union Council call an anti-cuts march which was attended by upwards of 20,000 people. This was one of the biggest protests Edinburgh has seen for a long time and saw a respectable Anarchist Bloc. Most encouraging of all it was not just made up of the “usual suspects” but saw thousands of people from very varying walks of life. As Edinburgh Anarchists put it :

” We even ended up chatting to the Prison Officers’ Association and Tayside Police Admin(!) How’s that for getting out of the anarchist ghetto?”

This is exactly what is needed to succesfully fight pubic spending cuts and find constructive ways to build our own alteratives. The ability of the Trade Union Council to attract this many people to come out onto the street was impressive and heartening for what often may seem like the decline in strength of trade union movement. lets hope this new found momentum translates into action and grass roots organisation. Whe banded together in defence of one another we are strong enough to resist this coup by the rich. We must fight for every job, every public amenity, every school, every park and anything else they will try to take from the people. It has been a long time since the working class have had a victory in this country, but remember that local community organisations and flat out refusal to co-oprate is what made the poll tax unworkable and eventually brought down Thatcher. By organising as unions, neighbourhood/community groups and anti-cuts networks we can win this . As put in the leaflets we handed out:

We need collective, grassroots responses to our hardships. As anarchists we want better lives for ourselves, our neighbours, our friends and our colleagues. There are alternatives to to a society forced on us by the rich, Let’s build them.”