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08-05-2012 15:34 | 0 comment(s)

Occupy Brookes camp emerges

the camp blossoms..

Update (20/05/12): After a month, Occupy Brookes decided to pack up. The camp's demands were almost entirely ignored by management but many people nevertheless felt it was a valuable experience, building links, raising awareness, and establishing a precedent for action that can be taken further in the future.

Since Wednesday 18th April, a group of Oxford Brookes students and supporters have been camping in front of Gipsy Lane campus to demand free education for all, and more specifically and immediately, that the University switch from fee waivers to bursaries.

The camp has now survived over two weeks of extremely wet weather, hosted various workshops and discussions, and received lots of verbal support and sympathy. A letter containing 3 basic demands was sent to the authorities early on, but there has been no substantial response from them, and the group's next steps have yet to be decided.

Anyone supportive or curious is very welcome to come visit or stay, and upcoming workshops and meetings are listed on the blog.

[ Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 ] [ Photos ] [ Video ] [ Blog ] [ Fee waivers explanation ]


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.


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.

30-11-2010 17:37 | 0 comment(s)

Radcliffe Camera becomes Radical Campus

occupation starts

One of Oxford University's most emblematic buildings, the Radcliffe Camera library, was occupied for around 30 hours last week by students and residents campaigning against education cuts.

The occupation followed a mass demo and was part of a national day of action. The occupiers demanded the University oppose the cuts, and commit not to raise fees, privatise or punish those involved. They called for free and public education for all, and put this into practice by holding teach-ins, mass meetings and dancing in the newly liberated space, while the upstairs room was reserved for quiet study.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the authorities stopped this 'Free University' from thriving by doing their best to prevent people coming in, and, after the occupiers refused to compromise on their demands, by smashing their way in and aggressively evicting everyone.

Meanwhile an anti-cuts demo on Saturday led to an impromptu bank occupation and a second day of action on Tuesday saw the County Council offices briefly occupied, Castle Hill reclaimed and shopping centres invaded!

[ RadCam reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 ] [ RadCam videos: 1 | 2 | 3 ]
[ occupation blog ] [ demo: 1 | 2 ] [ Day X2: 1 | 2 ] [ Oxford Education Campaign ]


13-01-2008 11:30 | 1 comment(s)

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

That piece of fencing isn't going up...
Update (20/01/08): The Bonn Square treesit ended after Gabriel came down from the tree. He was in need of food and water after the police and council had cut off all supplies (even arresting those who attempted to get water to him) and had to be given medical attention. The tree was felled and several activists were arrested trying to prevent the felling. Meanwhile the campaign to save other trees in the area from the Westgate expansion continues.

The beginning of 2008 saw more resistance to the ongoing gentrification of Oxford. On the 4th January a sycamore, reportedly 100 years old, was occupied by a sole protester (with plenty of support from below) to prevent it being felled for the 'redevelopment' of Bonn Square. They have since been served with a court summons and could do with support on Monday 14th January from 10am at Oxford County Court.

Meanwhile, the Westgate Partnership have been merrily chainsawing trees to make way for the Westgate expansion (which is technically different from the Bonn Square project, but linked to the West End 'regeneration'). This is despite the fact that a public inquiry is still going on over the demolition of Abbey Place sheltered housing - a clear indication of what the developers think of the legal process.

On Wednesday 9th January there was an impromptu day of action at the back of the Westgate centre where some trees had already been cut down. This protest led to the arrest of Councillor Glass Woodin and also saw one of the London Plane trees being occupied for over 24 hours. The bad weather on the 10th saw off - no pun intended - any more tree carnage.

There was a protest about the Westgate expansion on Saturday 12th January which saw at least 100 people reclaiming Bonn Square.

Meanwhile, Oxford County Council are meeting soon to decide whether to grant Radley Lakes Town Green status. If successful, this would prevent NPower using the lakes as a dumping ground for their waste ash. Save Radley Lakes need supporters on Monday 14th from 1:30pm at County Hall, Castle St.

[ Early reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | Video ]    [ Later actions: 1 (with video) | 2 | 3 ]    [ Bonn Sq: demo | mass action ]    [ starvation policy: 1 | 2 ]    [ Bonn Sq chainsawed: 1 | 2 | photos ]    [ Westgate trees spiked ]


19-06-2007 13:56 | 2 comment(s)

A Tale Of Two Gardens

Common Ground / Barracks Lane gardens
"They left the land to rot, covered in trash and needles. They hope the buildings will fall down, so they can justify flogging to the highest bidder [...] Reading Borough Council call it development, regeneration. We call it gentrification, exclusion."

In Reading, a group of local activists and residents have reclaimed a plot of land left empty by the local council, transforming it into an attractive community garden. After months of hard work, they went public with banners and door-to-door flyering, advertising the opening day and encouraging the neighbours to see the garden as common land for all to enjoy. The councils response? Injunctions and threats of eviction. Undeterred, the group pushed ahead with the opening day, which was a great success.

A few legal hearings later, the council have their eviction orders, and are expected to try and evict the garden and adjacent squatted building on Wednesday 20th June. Help is needed to resist the eviction - meet 9:30am at the garden.

Meanwhile, in Oxford, locals have turned an area of derelict garages into a similar community space - in this case, with the permission and help of the local council (undoubtably because access issues make the site unsuitable for developers).

They held their official opening on Saturday 16th, also a varied and wonderful community event. In a sickening counterpart to events in Reading, council bureaucrats and the local Blairite MP used the project as cover to prop up their own crumbling reputations, to the discomfort of many of those present.

[ Reading: eviction callout | eviction hearing | detailed report | injunction hearing + demo | opening day report + pics | opening announcement | local mainstream coverage ]
[ Oxford: opening day pics | opening announcement ]


27-01-2007 12:06 | 4 comment(s)

Radley Lakes Resistance

Radley Lakes

Update (15/02/07): Tree felling and preparation work has started, and sporadic actions are taking places to try to block this work. More help is needed.

Update (06/02/07): The eviction took place on Tuesday 6th February. Bailiffs wearing balaclavas smashed their way in through a set of downstairs windows early in the morning, but it still took them several hours to clear the house after one of the squatters locked on. "We may have lost round one but we will re-group and consider our next course of action. We are not finished yet[...]" - quote attributed to one of the squatters by the Oxford Mail.

URGENT CALL to defend the occupation of Sandles, Thrupp Lake.

On Wednesday 24th January, energy company RWE Npower was granted an order to evict this lakeside property with immediate effect. Meanwhile, at the property extremely robust defences are being built with a view to delaying the destruction of this area of outstanding natural beauty. This is an URGENT CALL for people to join them in resisting the coming eviction. Please phone the site mobile 07772 055 384 straight away.

Npower, who run the notoriously polluting Didcot Power Station, want to fill the lakes with toxic fly ash, a by-product of coal-burning.

A massive campaign by local people has been ignored by both company and the authorities. Oxfordshire County Council has so far facilitated npower's dumping. The habitat is home to many protected species, including water voles and rare orchids. There have been reported sightings of otters. Further expertise is requested to gather further evidence of the ecology of the lakes. Boats are also very welcome at the site.

Links: Eviction expected | Videos: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] | Photos | Court Report | Occupation and background | Older Report | Campaign Website | Map


04-12-2006 21:09 | 1 comment(s)

Buy Nothing Day mischief

Trippy Drumming
On Saturday 25th November a host of anti-consumerist actions went off across Oxford shopping centre. The day started with an info-stall, big-brand-bowling and anti-capitalist christmas carols. A congregation of shop-worshippers did the rounds, while another group left subverted till receipts in interesting locations.

As evening fell Breach of the Peace samba band reclaimed Cornmarket to the cry of 'stop shopping, start living', merging beautifully with a local Faslane 365 anti-nuke group who were out and about doing a series of die-ins. Finally a 'merry band of Oxford pixies' reported having cheekily relabelled goods in several chainstores.

Meanwhile many other events took place across the UK.

[ reports: Samba and die-in | Shop worshippers | Relabellers ]
[ related: BoP samba | Faslane 365 | UK feature | radical carols ]


14-05-2006 22:55 | 0 comment(s)

Boatyard evicted

Boatyard itself pretty much secured
Update (31/05/06): The eviction took place today. A large number of cops and bailiffs swamped the site at around 6am. They later brought a crane in to move boats back into the water, and started work on a fence along the waterfront. Some people managed to hold things up by climbing on rooftops, or getting in the way of the craning of the boats, and at least 2 people were arrested. [ photos ]

Update (15/05/06): A small group of bailiffs came and photographed the perimeter of the site around lunchtime today.

Boaters occupying Castle Mill boatyard in Jericho are facing an eviction sometime in the next three weeks, with a first visit from the bailiffs expected this Monday (15th May).

The yard, an indispensable facility for Oxford's narrowboat community, has been occupied since July last year to block British Waterways' attempt to sell the site on to property developers. The emphasis has been on keeping the site going as a working boatyard, and 8 boats have now been craned onto the yard for essential repairs and maintainence, something that no other yard in the area can do.

Despite boaters raising huge public support, defeating the original plan by Bellway Homes to build housing on the site, getting the city council to pass a motion of support and pointing out British Waterways' obligation in law to provide vital services for Oxford's residential boaters, the eviction and development plans are still ploughing on with a mindless momentum of their own, probably fuelled by Oxford's high property prices.

If you would be able to help out in the event of an eviction, join the phone tree by texting your number to the site mobile (07788 915545), emailing boatyardeviction@yahoo.co.uk or ringing the site office (01865 559481). Or get down to the boatyard in person!

[ latest report | Campaign Website | Other ways to help ]
[ old reports: Bellway plan defeated | Boatyard occupied ]


05-08-2005 17:22 | 0 comment(s)

Keep the Jericho boatyard!

Castle Mill Boatyard

Update (16/09/2005): The boatyard is having an open day on Sunday 25th September, with a buffet, BBQ, exhibition, tat auction, talks, films, music and tons of other entertainment

Update 10/08/2005, from http://www.portmeadow.org/:WE WON !....Planning inspector deems that the BW Bellway plan is not suitable. See latest newswire report.

The Jericho Boatyard was officially handed over to British Waterways on Friday, July 29, but has been occupied since then by people who want to keep it as a boatyard and a community space rather than letting it be sold off to Bellway Homes to build yet more luxury flats.

The boatyard is a vital resource for people who live in boats. British Waterways, the body that is supposed to maintain the UK's canals, is selling off bits of land around the country - Jericho is not the only boatyard that is under threat. British Waterways plans to sell the site to Bellway Homes, which is seeking planning permission (not yet granted) to build luxury flats. There is a need for sustainable and affordable living space in Oxford but this would not be provided by the Bellway development.

The Jericho boatyard is also famous for having inspired Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy. A lot of history and culture would be lost by building over it, making Jericho and Oxford a culturally poorer place.

To keep the site it needs to be occupied all the time, so visitors are always welcome! There's food and tea and plenty to do. The site has only been under occupation for a few days so it's an exciting time and people with ideas and enthusiasm are needed to come and contribute. At the moment it's all of our space - let's keep it that way.

For more info on this follow the Oxford Indymedia newswire or go to http://www.portmeadow.org/ - or just go to the boatyard!

Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | Video | Website: Save Castle Mill Boatyard


12-07-2005 17:23 | 4 comment(s)

Cowley Road Carnival

carnival kids
Hooray! No cars! All the fun of a reclaim the streets action but no hassle from police! Despite the day's greyness Oxford's cultural diversity was celebrated in all its multi colour fabness. The freedom of the streets came to East Oxford in an organised fashion this year celebrating the theme of the 'Earth'.. with everyone dressed up as hippies with lots of green and flowers everywhere.. I even spotted some people dressed up as vegetables.. All with the exception of the cheeky 'G8 leaders' who made a re-appearance to celebrate capitalism and poverty only as they know how, with a brief stop to bow down and worship at Tesco's on their way..

There was some great music to be heard from all walks of life, with artists and performers from the local community and from overseas too... with some specially sponsored graffiti above some local shops to jazz it all up and remind us of a great day had by all.

Check out the main carnival website for more info and photos.

[ main web page ] [ photos: 1 | 2 (lo-res / hi-res) | 3 | G8 leaders ]


29-03-2005 21:40 | 0 comment(s)

Save Castle Mill Boatyard

Castlemill Boatyard
Update (11/03/05): The planning enquiry is ongoing and will continue on 16th-17th May. Meanwhile British Waterways have served a notice for repossession of the site. More details here.

This historic boatyard in the heart of Jericho is about to be closed if the planning enquiry (8th March ongoing) finds in favour of British Waterways and Bellway Homes, (yes you guessed it - more luxury apartments are being planned).

This site has been a boatyard for over 150 years, and continues to provide an essential service for residential and pleasure craft. If this closes, it will force boatowners to travel a day each way to get their MOT equivalent (can you imagine the furore if car drivers were made to do a similar thing?). It is even more essential for emergency repairs as it is the only boatyard in the region which has a crane lift to clean and repair hulls.

[ Reports: 1 | 2 ] [ Video | Boatyard pics ]
[ Campaign Website | Proposed Development | Online Petition ]


09-12-2004 19:09 | 11 comment(s)

Brightening up the bricks

Beautiful street art is popping up all over Oxford. Here's a roundup of the latest pieces. Graffiti is easy (check out the sites below for ideas). Anyone can pick up a piece of chalk - express yourself!

[photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | latest]
[ stencils tutorial | OSI | Wooster collective | war graffiti ]


13-06-2004 11:49 | 1 comment(s)

Oxford dances in the streets for the carnival

pic 3
The sun is shining, the mood is festive, come and celebrate the Cowley Road Carnival!

As part of the Cowley Road Carnival, Oxford indymedia set up its first public live outdoor indymedia centre! It's behind the Zodiac, together with the Hammer and Tongue poetry slam space. It's open to everyone, there are computers to upload pictures and post articles, come and use the media centre!

All day, Oxford Indymedia will offer live reports and pictures from the carnival. Follow the links below, they will be continuously updated with more pictures and reports!

Report | Pictures [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] | Indymedia centre report and pictures


14-04-2004 22:08 | 1 comment(s)

First OCSET Cafe deliciously successful

The first cafe night at the OCSET (new oxford social centre, 220 Cowley Road) took place last night, April 13. Organised as the first of what will be many such evenings, yesterday's cooking affinity group produced mountains of tasty vegan and vegetarian food for the 30-40 people who showed up to complete the friendly and cheerful atmosphere.

We sat at candlelit tables and drank from crystal wine glasses to enjoy the two-course meal [pictures]. One such happy table sat on the pavement outside, giving passers-by an opportunity to see the positive purpose of the OCSET space. Children and pets felt very welcome. Diners contributed a small donation and/or helped to cook, serve and clean.

OCSET is intended as an open space for organising events, of which the cafe is just one, and welcomes everyone's planning and ideas. More cafe evenings are set as groups come together to run them; the next one will be on Tuesday, 20th April, 7:00pm. Skip TESCO, eat at OCSET!

Open Office Invitation!

Also, an office and meeting room for free community use is to be opened at OCSET. We hope to be able to connect ADSL (broadband fast internet connection) soon. To get the office kitted up, what we need now is donations of gear (CPUs, accessories, etc, etc); just drop it in at OCSET.

Oxford indymedia will be running the office space for now, so if any community group would like to use it for a meeting, just contact us by e-mail at imc-oxford [at] lists.indymedia.org, or contact OCSET directly at oxsocial [at] linuxmail.org .


07-04-2004 22:58 | 0 comment(s)

OCSET: New Social Centre Opened in Oxford!

OCSET, the new Oxford Social Centre is now at 220 Cowley Road. Come along!

The office space that has been created in the new oxford social centre is still mainly empty at the moment. It would be perfect for grassroots activist groups looking for a place to meet, etc., and as a space to organise workshops, training, etc. We hope loads of groups will feel able to use OCSET.

The main meeting area would be excellent for workshops, social events, screenings, cultural and artistic activities, etc. Workshops for kids after school or dancing lessons and meetings can be held there too. Other ideas include an alternative library, an infopoint for activism, and many more - it's open to anyone who wants to get involved! Just drop in and arrange a time; there's a calendar on the wall. Bring your own ideas!

Events planned this week:
See the above calendar or the one on the wall in OCSET.

People there need loads of things but mainly more people! Also computers and tools to fix things, sofas to sit on, sofabeds, big cooking pots, plates, cups, food and carpets and bookshelves and the books to go on them. People at OCSET can be reached by email on oxsocial [at] linuxmail.org .

Use the space or lose the space!

Reports: [1] [2] | Pictures: [1] | OCSET (Oxford Social Centre) website: http://free.hostdepartment.com/o/oxsocial/ | General info about squats: Advisory Service for Squatters

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