On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.
In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.
The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.Read more >>
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 >>
Early in the morning of 14 March, an Algerian detainee held in Campsfield immigration prison in Oxfordshire forcefully resisted an attempted 'removal' by the immigration authorities. Fellow detainees then tried to intervene in solidarity and a riot soon spread in the detention centre, with facilities smashed and set on fire. 2 detainees and 7 staff were taken into hospital, all suffering smoke inhalation [see reports and updates]. In addition to emergency services, Tornado units (riot squads) from the Prison Service were deployed to deal with the 'disturbances'. According to a written ministerial statement by Immigration minister Liam Byrne, 60 of the detainees at Campsfield House have been transferred to other parts of the Home Office detention estate, but other detainees have remained at the centre, which holds up to 200 detainees and was operating at near full capacity at the time of the riot.Read more >>
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 >>
Public sector cuts
estrecho / madiaq
san francisco bay area
santa cruz, ca
process & imc docs