Topple the Toffs!

March 23, 2011

As we have the dubious honour of having posh twat Ed Miliband as our MP we’ve teamed up with the AMP to work on a new ‘TOPPLE THE TOFFS‘ campaign.

The working class are now under constant attack and the poorest sections of society are paying for the mistakes of the rich. And yet we’re expected to believe that a bunch of over-privileged Oxbridge elites are going to deliver a fairer, just society.

Everything that is currently in jeopardy, the NHS, education, libraries, etc – i.e. the welfare state – was created as a concession to a powerful and militant working class who were well organised and prepared to fight for their beliefs. Unfortunately those days are long gone. Three decades of neo-liberal policies from Tory and Labour alike have dis-empowered the working class and nowadays most political parties don’t even bother to pretend that they’re on our side (the BNP allege that they’re pro-working class to try and get votes, but they’re led by a money grabbing toff and their policies are as anti working class as you can get) – apparently, as Lord Prescott once said ‘we’re all middle class now’; try telling that to the pensioner who can’t afford to put the heating on.

We can afford £500 billion to bail out the banks and we can spend billions more on oil-wars, but we can’t afford to take care of the most vulnerable people in our society? Posh Dave reckons we need to take care of each other voluntarily in a nice ‘big society’, but if that’s the case why to we need government? What use is the state? The answer is same as it has always been, NO USE AT ALL!

The simple truth is that ‘representative democracy’ is sooo last millennium. We no longer want or need a layer of corrupt politicians to look after our interests. We have the ability and the technology to take control of our own lives. We just need to find the kind of strength, solidarity and willingness that our grandparents had and fight for what we believe…

And the first thing we need to do is TOPPLE THE TOFFS! 😉

Click here to download the TOFF ALERT poster.

Click here to download the MILIBAND ALERT poster.

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Save the Children revealed today that low income families are still paying more than wealthier families for basic goods and services, paying out nearly £1,300 more each year – a rise of more than 20% since the survey was last carried out in 2007. Services for the poor, from energy to insurance, carry a much higher premium and the poor are particularly susceptible to the robbery level interest rates charged by the legal-loan-sharks – or even, if they’re fortunate enough not to have to rely on the real deal!

The worst offenders are energy companies who charge a ‘poverty premium’ for their services. As the Save the Children article says:

Around 20% is the rising cost of gas and electricity . Average bills for poorer families are £1,134 per year, compared with £881 for wealthier families (before the latest hikes in heating prices are even taken into account). It’s feared that by 2020, the energy poverty premium could be as much as £1,800 per year. Many parents have to choose between a hot meal or heating. Cold living conditions increase children’s susceptibility to illness and damages respiratory health. Education is also affected if there is no warm, peaceful space to do homework.

“You have to prioritise heating because you have to have the house warm enough for kids”. – Lana, mum of two.

It seems very Kafka-esque to punish the poor with financial penalties for being poor (something that every single private company and local authority does on a regular basis), but in essence that’s capitalism – an all out war against the poor!

The only real, long-term defence is to organise against the rigours of capitalism. In impoverished communities this would mean regaining control of the local economy to stop the outflow of money, skills and resources. Most importantly we need to focus on creating bulk-purchasing groups for poorer communities, localised production of food and energy and re-skilling people so that communities are allowed to become ever more self-sufficient.

All debt – whether to privatised companies or central government – is a form of social cancer that debilitates both individuals and communities making them over-reliant on outside influences. Doncaster council – and the usual grant monsters who share their bed – have relied on hand-outs for too long and have failed to use the millions spent in regeneration funding to strengthen the local economy to the degree that we can operate without further hand-outs. Now that our region is facing some of the biggest spending cuts anywhere in the UK we’re screwed – unless we choose to organise effectively.

By effectively we don’t mean placards and protests. Fighting the cuts (aka neoliberal sructural adjustment policies) is important, but we must be honest and admit that ALL of the mainstream parties are comitted to implementing the same policies (the only difference being timescale), so it is unlikely that we will succeed in stopping all but the most  vile of ConDem policies (which will be successes in their own right, but not of the kind which impoverished working-class communities really need). Long term the only hope is to organise sustainable, self-sufficient working class communities. We need something similar to the Transition Town movement, but with a much higher degree of class consiousness and the balls to oppose both the local authorities and the business sector if they stand in our way.

For more details check out the Trapese Collective‘s ‘Rocky Road to Transition

December 9th, 2010, will go down in history as a good day for liberty, justice and freedom. A combination of the student demo and Anonymous’ Operation: Payback activity has empowered thousands of people.

Nobody was under any illusion that government would do anything else but protect the interests of the rich – even if this meant condemning the poorest people in this country to greater deprivation in an uncertain future. Student fees are to be tripled, loss of EMA makes it impossible for many kids to go to college, and an 80% cut in university funding will have a detrimental effect the quality of education on offer (although it’s always worth bearing in mind that Poll Tax was also passed in parliament, so it certainly ain’t over yet!).

It might have been a bad day for education, but LESSONS HAVE BEEN LEARNT!

  1. So called ‘representative democracy’ has been completely unmasked. Many students voted for the Lib Dems because they knew the Tories were scum and that Labour introduced the fees in the first place. Now they can see the truth. Democracy has become little more than smoke and mirrors used to disguise the fact that the rich use the political and legal systems to rob the poor. Wikileaked runs a constant stream of stories which show that supposedly democratic governments are simply the pawns of corporations (i.e. collectives of rich scum who hide behind a wall of greedy little shareholders) and banks (with the same collection of rich scum in the driving seat). The students were quick to point out that ordinary people stood outside parliament while a collection of bloated millionaires decided upon their future!
  2. This, in turn, further strengthened the battle-lines which are becoming ever clearer to more and more people. We are engaged in out-and-out CLASS WAR – unfortunately, as things stand, we’re losing. In affluent times it was too easy, for too many people, to ignore the truth. They didn’t mind that the rich were getting richer as long as they still got their share of the crumbs. This was a time of a Cold-Class-War in the UK (though globally it was a different story), where the poorest were marginalised and working class communities were denied a voice by virtually all political parties. But when the banks fucked-up somebody had to pay, and it wasn’t going to be the rich!  There are some token gestures from a minority of rich scum, but are we really supposed to be impressed when a handful of billionaires give away some of the fortune when they stole it from the poor in the first place? Now, however, the times they are a changing, the Class War is getting hot and the slums of London are stirring!
  3. Not only are they stirring, but they’re learning new tactics on a daily basis. Despite the media myths about ‘an-aargh-kist influence’, the movements we are witnessing are both organic and horizontal. Yes, as anarchists, we welcome this uprising, but it is a groundswell that is completely independent of any of the usual political parasites. They’re learning as they go and they’re learning fast. The decision to breakaway from kettles and the use of harris fencing to defend themselves from police charges were not the result of an anarchist plot, they were ideas generated moment by moment on Twitter (the harris fencing tactic was actually suggested by a copper on Sky News before being tweeted!).
  4. Twitter also helped to further unmask the media for what they truly are. A combination of Tweets and live TV feeds painted a very different story from the one journalists were portraying. 14 yr old kids being charged by police horses is “crowd control” in media speak. A girl stripped of her clothes by cops is no longer a ‘student’, somebody somewhere decided that reporters should use the word ‘protester’ to help disguise the fact that they’re talking about grown men fighting with teenage girls (Sky’s Kate Burley even called them ‘insurgents’!) Lots of shots of paint-spattered coppers, but none of the wheelchair left empty after the police had dragged the occupant from it. Lots of talk about ‘hospitalised police officers’, but no mention of the 20 yr old student who required emergency brain surgery! We could go on, but you get the drift about the so called ‘free press’ – and MediaLens is far more eloquent about describing the lack of press freedom than we are.
  5. Communication and information technology also came into it’s own when Anonymous (irc chat network irc.anonops.net (6667) – channel #operationpayback) continued their attacks on the corporations complicit in the dirty tricks campaign against Wikileaks (a current list of Wikileaks mirror sites can be found here). The power of this campaign is the fact that the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) application can be downloaded and used by almost anyone regardless of their technical know-how. Obviously we would never encourage illegal activity (but it’s always worth bearing in mind who’s laws we’re talking about here), but the implications are fascinating when some of the most ICT literate people in the country are exactly those who are currently being attacked by the government. Cyberspace is one battlefield where the underdog can still deliver damaging blows to the rich and powerful.
  6. The same technology also renders the bloated bureaucracy of government completely obsolete. The dream of non-hierarchical participatory democracy is now more possible than ever before. Can anybody, anywhere, honestly tell us why the fuck do we need parliament in the third millennium?

A recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report confirms that there are now 2.1 million impoverished children in homes where parents are in work, an increase on previous years and a figure that is set to rise thanks to ConDem policies. A staggering 58% of impoverished children live in homes where one or both parents work, giving lie to the sick Tory myth that child poverty is the fault of idle parents. As co-author of the report, Tom MacInnes says:

“With more than half of all children in poverty belonging to working families, it is simply not possible to base anti-poverty policies on the idea that work alone is a route out of poverty … Child poverty in working households must be given the same focus as out-of-work poverty. Until this happens, debates about poverty will continue to be misleading.”

The  groundbreaking findings presented in Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book, ‘The Spirit Level‘, shows exactly where the problem lies and what needs to be done to truly address this problem. The years of research behind this book have  provided hard evidence to show how almost every social problem – from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy, preventable disease rates to academic achievement  – is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is.

Britain in the third millennium remains stunningly unequal. Classism is as blatant as it is rife. It’s a word that’s out of political favour at the moment, but what we need is a new movement of ‘levellers’. What we need is an urgent and far-reaching levelling of socioeconomic inequality. What we need is class war!

 

The students have shown the rest of us – workers, claimants, parents, carers, academics, idlers, anarchists, etc., etc., etc. – what we should ALL be doing. We feel that the above image, from the 10/11 London demo – says everything we need to know. We need to unite, and we need to act! If not, then we will get the future we fucking deserve!

In South Yorkshire, Sheffield Hallam University has been occupied by students. Find out more here…

http://sheffieldoccupation.tumblr.com/

…and send messages of support to…

occupation.sheffield@gmail.com

At present there are 20 or so other occupations in the UK – full details here – and it’s growing all the time; show them your support! There will be further actions next Tuesday and if you’re able to organise any form of solidarity protest in your area, no matter how small, do it!


Brigade members joined forces with Underclass Rising to offer our support to students in Sheffield today. First to turn  up were thousands of 6th formers who are protesting against the loss of EMA. These youngsters were in fine voice and the anti-Tory songs took us straight back to the 80s – though I’m sure we never swore as much back then, honest 😉 Sadly we only had a few of AMP’s ‘Best Cut’ posters left to give out, which is a shame because they were very warmly received. You can just make some out in the photos (sorry, these ones were taken on a crappy phone, but Underclass Rising will be putting more online soon). We needn’t have worried though, the kids were on form with some brilliant banners. There were obscure ones – “Dis shit wouldn’t go down at hogwarts”, personal ones – a picture of Sam Cam which read “Not the only one being screwed by David!” and ‘to-the-point’ ones – a piece of paper that simply read ‘CUNTS’.

When the uni students turned up the protesters marched through the streets of Sheffield, down to the Town Hall. It was hard to gage how many people were involved, but West St was full from one end to the other with students. It was pretty obvious that the Yorkshire Post‘s estimate of 1000 was complete bollocks (as usual) – and the Posts ‘coverage’ is predictably negative. The support for the student’s cause is damn near universal in Sheffield and everybody was clapping as they passed. We doubt Sheffield has seen many protests like this since the days of CND or the Poll Tax.

Once at the Town Hall we attempted to get an aerial-photo from the upper floors of Barclays Bank – we were stopped on the stairs and asked what we were doing. When we told them, they said “We wouldn’t want to be associated with THEM!”, pointing at the students. There you have it, as if you didn’t know already – an official spokesman for Barclays wants nothing to do with people fighting for fairness, democracy  and justice! FUCKING BANKERS!

There wasn’t much of a police presence at the Hall, but when we walked round the corner, to the Peace Garden, we found that vans and horses were lined up in force. Sadly the boys with billy-clubs would have been more than happy to vent their spleen on Sheffield’s wonderful children 😦 C’mon lads, you really should have joined them on their demo instead of skulking in a corner like the school bully – after all, you’re gonna be victims of the cuts too!

This was one of the most inspirational protests we’ve seen in years. These kids can certainly teach the grown-ups a thing or to. If the adults are afraid to take to the streets because they might lose their jobs then they need to wake up and smell the coffee – cuz you’re definitely gonna lose them – and a whole lot more – if you don’t!

We need to fight the cuts, and then we need to fight the government. If not, then we get the future we deserve!

It’s estimated that the cost of protecting Billy and Cat from the riff-raff… er sorry… we mean the cost of ‘policing the royal couple, Will and Kate, on their big day’ will run to the tune of £80 million.

£80 fucking million! What’s up with having Bill’s little brother ‘H’ on the door and his uncle Andy on the look-out for trouble inside? They’re all military men, surely they can handle it if the Middleton’s decide to kick-off (bound to happen, you know what weddings are like).

In these times of austerity surely £80 million is taking the piss slightly. It’s not as if Bill & Cat are even that famous; not really, not like Katie & Peter (bless ’em) or Posh & Becks.

But at least the happy event will take our minds of the fact that the government is attacking the poorest and most vulnerable people in society and dismantling the welfare-state right in front of our star-struck eyes. Thanks a lot Billy Boy…

A large contingent of anarchists (and a couple of hangers on) assembled on the steps of Doncaster Mansion House today to oppose the Tory cuts.

You may notice some AMP ‘Best Cut‘ posters among the crowd. We gave away hundreds of posters and badges which were very warmly welcomed – one women even noted “I’m not a fan of personal violence, but I’ve got to have one of those!” Class War – Barnsdale Brigade made their presence widely known before catching a train to the Leeds zine fair (Happy Birthday Footprints!) and then to the pub – job done!

A big thanks to our Press Officer, Chairman Mo – an ex-market trader – and his cries of “Get your free Cameron Christmas gift-wrap here!” which managed to drown out the usual trot microphones…