Several empty buildings in Oxford have recently been opened as squatted social centres. In August an empty industrial workshop on Randolph Street was squatted. After several "Free Uni" events (sharing skills and ideas), community meals, film and info-nights the court process provided only a short delay and then eviction. The building now remains unused.
Undeterred, the social centre, known as "Plebs' College" due to the focus on free education, has re-opened on Union Street, with a multitude of weekly events. Again they are under threat of eviction from a landlord keen to demolish the place and build student flats. This space where people can gather, meet, organise and learn, as equals, free of the usual commercial or bureaucratic pressures, may be a glimpse of another society.
For hints of a more brutal future, we can look at the recent eviction of Dale Farm: an entire community made homeless, while those who resist are kicked, tasered, batoned, pressured-pointed, or beaten, and the media continue their lies.
Which path we take could depend on the actions we all take in the next few years.Read more >>
Welcome to the latest round up of grassroots news from Oxford. It's proven to be another busy month for activists and campaigners in Oxford. Local, national, and international attention has focused on our little city somewhere between London and the Midlands.Read more >>
The campaign to keep publicly funded leisure inside the ring road in East Oxford is starting its second year; we need support from anyone who cares about the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Oxford and how the City Council is ignoring the will of its citizens for its own ends.
Over the last year, the Labour-controlled city council in Oxford has been pushing through plans to close two leisure centres and replace them with an extension onto Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre.
Clearly opposition to the cuts has been at the forefront of many people's thinking during November. This opposition is welcome, and much needed, but let us not forget all the other struggles and positive alternatives that are going on. Here is a round-up of non-cuts news in Oxford during November - peace, migration, zines, water, and food.
Oxford's anti-cuts campaign, a network of service users, unions and student groups, rapidly mobilised an escalating succession of protests in the last two weeks against the planned demolition of the welfare state by the ConDem government.
About 200 people rallied during a day of action against the cuts in Bonn Square on 20th Oct, coinciding with the release of the Comprehensive Spending Review. There were speeches and several people gave us their reactions to the cuts. That same morning, activists dropped a banner on Carfax Tower.
The Oxford Education Campaign, a group of hundreds of Oxford and Oxford Brookes students mobilising independently of their student unions, organised over 1000 protesters to march on the day of Vince Cable’s (Government Business Secretary) scheduled visit (28th Oct). Vince Cable embarrassingly cancelled his talk, but the march occurred as planned and police cordons were broken several times.
Within 48 hours of the education march, the local Vodafone shop on Cornmarket was taken over by 30 protesters as part of a national action against the company, in which over 21 shops were occupied around the UK, for its widely reported £6bn tax evasion.
Throughout the month, the Oxford Save Our Services campaign spoke to the BBC, ITV, and others about the prospect of losing their services. SOS also leafleted in central and East Oxford and engaged with the community about the cuts.
[ Bonn Sq rally: 1 | 2 | 3 | demotix ] [ banner drop ] [ education demo: 1 | 2 | 3 elsewhere: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]
[ vodafone demo: 1 | 2 | elsewhere ] [ Save Our Services | Oxford Education Campaign | UK Uncut ]
Opposition to the planned public sector spending cuts is growing across Oxfordshire and beyond.
In early September there was a sit-in protest in Lloyds Bank in central Oxford. Protesters pointed out that the banks are being funded by the public at the expense of our frontline services including heath care, social services, and housing.
A week later, Oxford Save Our Services held a public meeting to start mapping the cuts in Oxfordshire and to start building resistance to them. Around 50 people - including service users and public sector workers whose jobs could be under threat - all spoke about the cuts that were being made. These ranged from closing the GAP homeless project, stopping schools & parks projects, closing care centres, turning off speed cameras, and much more.
Resistance to the cuts is in fairly early stages, but rapidly gathering momentum. Events coming up in the near future include:
23 September 7pm: Town Hall Oxford Trades Council open community meeting for all groups and unions against the cuts.
27 September: Oxford Save Our Services planning meeting. Update: Meeting details.
3 October: Demonstration at the Tory party conference. Coaches going from Oxford.
20 October (day of the Comprehensive Spending Review): National day of action against the cuts.
On the 13th, 14th, 15th of February 2006 a court case against two Swiss police officers took place in Nyon, Switzerland. Michael Deiss and Claude Poget were charged with causing bodily harm through negligence. They were in court after nearly killing climbers Martin Shaw and Gesine Wenzel during the protests against the G8 in Evian. On Friday 17 February the verdict of this private prosecution came through with an acquittal of the two policemen [Read verdict press release by Martin and Gesine]. Following this verdict, the activists announced that they will appeal against this whitewash of police violence.
In June 2003, an affinity group blockaded the Aubonne Bridge with a climbing action in order to stop a G8 delegation from reaching the summit in Evian. The police cut the climbing rope. As a result both activists were seriously injured, specially Martin Shaw who spent one month in hospital and sustained irreversible injuries. See video and a Photo strory of the event.
Other recent newswire reports: Report of day 3 of the trial | Statement by the Aubonne Support Group on the court proceedings | Activists walk out of court after verdict | Activists appeal against whitewash of police violence.Read more >>
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Oxford social centre - photos and first events!
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new Oxford social centre survives first round of police bullying
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Direct action discussion at Just Do It
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Public sector cuts
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