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Oxford Social Struggles

09-11-2011 13:50 | 2 comment(s)

Glimpses of a possible future

Two possible futures?

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.

Meanwhile, the public occupations spreading in many countries are starting to challenge the economic system and may also evoke a freer and more equal society (though with much work still to do!).

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.


07-02-2011 21:30 | 1 comment(s)

Oxford's January round up

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.


12-01-2011 20:36 | 0 comment(s)

Saving Temple Cowley Pools – the campaign continues into 2011

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.


31-12-2010 18:36 | 0 comment(s)

Oxford Review of the Year

It's been a busy year for activists and grassroots campaigners in Oxford. Peace campaigners have kept up the pressure on the war-mongers, including those at AWE Aldermaston and BAe systems. Campsfield Detention Centre has remained a target for people opposed to the inhumane treatment of migrants. And, of course, the anti-cuts movement has grown from strength to strength closing down shops, occupying buildings, and bringing angry people out on the streets.

04-12-2010 20:26 | 0 comment(s)

November in Oxford - it's not all cuts

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.


01-11-2010 22:49 | 0 comment(s)

Demos, a banner drop and a takeover - this month’s Anti-Cuts Campaign

education demo (photo Adam Ramsay)

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.

Next steps

  • The National Union of Students will march in London on 10th Nov. Over 7000 students and supporters from around the country are expected to attend.
  • The Oxfordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance has called a meeting on 16th Nov, "United Against the Cuts" at Oxford Town Hall at 7.30pm.
  • Nick Clegg will be in town on 17th Nov, to speak at the Oxford Union; if he doesn’t cancel then his presence is likely to galvanise thousands of activists in the region.

[ 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 ]


17-09-2010 18:16 | 1 comment(s)

Opposing the cuts in Oxford

Stuart Speaking

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.

There was a passionate speech from Stuart (pictured) who had been to the Oxfordshire County Council 'Big Debate' meeting calling for solidarity amongst all those seeking to oppose the cuts.

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.

[ Bank sit-in report ] [ Save Our Services meeting: Report | Photos | Audio ]
[ Oxford Save Our Services | Oxford Right to Work | No Shock Doctrine ]


18-02-2006 13:21 | 1 comment(s)

Swiss Police Acquitted in Aubonne Bridge Trial

Martin and Gesine outside Nyon's court with a clear message.

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.

More information: Aubonne Bridge Campaign | IMC-UK Evian G8 page | PigBrother Live Show


20-09-2004 09:23 | 3 comment(s)

Councillors Clash on Indymedia over Housing

Controversy at Oxford City Council hit the pages of Indymedia last month as Green councillor Matt Sellwood accused Labour and Liberal Democrat members of wasting £100,000 in tax payer’s money on the demolition of a block of social housing.

In a newswire item posted to this site Sellwood claimed that the council’s decision to demolish Stephenfield House in Rose Hill with council funds would effectively mean a massive subsidy for the private developer’s brought in to redevelop the site. He further alleged that the new development would not be retained as a 100% social housing as the Green party had demanded.

In a reply posting Labour councillor Rick Muir defended the council’s decision arguing that under government regulations they have no choice but to bring in a private developer. He also claimed that the new development once completed will provide more, not less, social housing.

Meanwhile the practise of squatting empty, unused properties continues to be necessary in a city of massive house prices and waiting lists.

[ Stephenfield House article | Squatters in normal interaction shock ]


23-03-2004 09:10 | 4 comment(s)

Blackwood Tree Camps Evicted - Campaign Continues

Update: 29th March: The Campaign Continues! There are still around 50 trees to be defended, and there are still camps, tree houses being built, and actions taking place - read Blackwood Protest Continues and Status Report. Contractors Costain will also be holding a public meeting to address concerns and answer questions from local residents regarding the Sirhowy Enterprise Way, at 7pm, on Tuesday, March 30, at the Costain's site office, Cwm Philkins, Oakdale.

Early in the morning on Tuesday 23rd March, around 70 Police, Bailiffs and specialist climbers and tunnellers began evicting the tree camps at Blackwood in South Wales - where locals have been campaigning against a new road for over a decade [Pics]. Around 10 people were arrested as they resisted in the trees, on walkways, in nets and in a tunnel, some after breaching cordons. At Camp Kerry, one brave activist still remained at the end of the day, and was able to climb down without being arrested. Most of the trees were destroyed, but campaigners say they will continue to resist.

See Report and Pictures | 1 | 2
Also see collected reports (and pics): Bristol | UK

Evictions continued throughout Wednesday as Bailiffs cut people out of lock-ons and most of the remaining trees were destroyed. Some campaigners remain camped on private land next to the road route and are determined to continue opposing the road scheme. See Report | 2 | 3

Meanwhile in London an attempted eviction was also taking place in Kentish Town. At mid morning bailiffs arrived at several flats that have been home to a group of squatters for some months. Some of the occupiers took to the roof, whilst a crowd of around 100 people gathered in the road in front of the building.


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