HOW DARE THE the government go on and on about ‘identity theft’ as if it was something new? From the compulsory electoral register, rates & council tax lists and police DNA database they’ve been doing it for decades. Companies have been up to it too – creating massive debit/credit card and loyalty card computer records that are bought and sold by marketing groups to track our purchases and learn what we buy so they can target us with even more unwanted goods.
Now they want even more personal detail - like every address we’ve ever lived at or every name we may have had in the past - never mind ‘biometrics’ - our face, iris pattern or fingerprints. They claim it is to keep us safe from other people but really it’s to keep an eye on anything we do, and anywhere we go.
SELLING YOU TO TESCO
Once this information is out and sitting on a computer disk, it’s hard to get it back. Computer scientists admit that a central database is the worse place to store precious data. Yet the Labour government’s plan to make ID information available across the whole state machine and to offer it to private companies which will mean sharing data between dozens of insecure databases.
The Labour government is using fear to sell it’s ID card and database idea. They go on about organised crime and terrorism, then talk of ID Cards as being about entitlement. This is trying to make people believe that immigrants and ‘benefit cheats’ are making them personally poorer. In fact it’s Labour that is actually making it harder to get disability allowances, hiking council taxes and fees for students, and it's capitalist companies and their shareholders that are profiting from increasing fuel prices, year on year.
WHO’S WATCHING YOU NOW?
The result, if they win the fear argument, will be a surveillance society that is much more than a police state, but an invasion of computerised bureaucracy into every transaction we make with shops and welfare services – imagine having to have an eye-scan just to buy beer or get your prescription – and, for activists, a much reduced ability to protest in safety.
TIME TO REFUSE
It’s time to get ready to refuse. Refuse to register. Renew passports before they add biometrics, which is due to start early next year (Feb 2006) with the addition of a chip containing your digitised photo. Try not to renew driving licenses. New ones already require a photo and we don’t yet know where or when they will start to collect the data. It could happen as soon as the bill is passed even if we don’t fill in an ID form (driving licenses are being used to introduce ID cards in the USA, and Holland). Confound or get off government lists if at all possible. Join or set up a Defy-ID group and use these groups to support each other on the street and in the courts.
If we stand together we can win. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to hide should be very afraid! It’s really much safer to be anonymous, even more so if you want to fight an increasingly oppressive state.
Read the AF’s new pamphlet, Defending Anonymity on the web from www.afed.org.uk, or in print for free (but send SAE) from BM ANARFED, London, WC1N 3XX.
Gate Gourmet Women Speak
Editors note: The women workers, sacked by Gate Gourmet, recently published a statement demanding respect and justice. We are printing extracts below:
“GATE GOURMET IS the world's largest supplier of in-flight meals and operates in over 29 countries. Internationally, the company has been making profits of £1.05bn and has assets of £15 billion. In Britain, Asian women form the majority of the workforce, many of us - mothers and grandmothers are the sole wage earners for our families. Our wages are on average between £6.00 and £7.00 an hour. We had been struggling for one year to get the positions of those of us who were employed on a temporary basis regularised.
The management told us in January 2005 that they were planning to make 670 people redundant because they were surplus workers and negotiations had been going on over this between our union, the TGWU, and the management.
Despite the management's claims that they had surplus workers, on 9 August this year we were told that 130 agency workers were to be employed from the next day onwards. When we came to work at 6am the next morning, we found that the management people were all already there (normally they come in at 9am). At 9 am agency workers were
brought to the wash-up department. We stopped working. Our shop stewards were on that day involved in a negotiation meeting with management, but those that were at work, and in some departments the managers themselves, told us to go to the canteen for a meeting. When we got there we were told by the management that we had five minutes to go back to work otherwise we would be dismissed. We said we wanted to speak to our union representatives. After five minutes the management came and threw letters on to the tables at which we were sitting. They were letters of dismissal already translated into five languages Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati and English obviously they had been prepared in advance.
At this point we realised that an estimated two hundred and fifty security guards and armed police, including a van load with police dogs had entered the premises. As soon as we were told that we were dismissed, the doors of the canteen were locked and no one was allowed to leave. We were told to surrender our ID cards and locker keys but we refused and said we wanted to see our union officials.
However we were not allowed to meet these officials although we were aware that they were in the car park outside. We were not allowed any food or water or access to toilets for six hours. Some of us including those who were pregnant and older women had no choice but to use a
bin from the canteen as a toilet.
At 2.30pm we were surrounded by police and security guards who stood linking arms. Several of us were physicallydragged out by security guards leading to injuries. One of us, Ms Benti Bansal, was sitting at a round table when she was pulled up by her shoulders by two security
guards. Her chair slipped from under her and she fell to the ground, injuring her back and neck. She begged them to let her go but they dragged her across the room. Later she went to hospital and was prescribed medication. Two other women suffered panic attacks when security guards tried to grab their ID cards and locker keys and an ambulance had to be called, and one woman, Ms Rajpreet Dhaliwal, has suffered long term damage and has had to have medical treatment as a result of being prevented from using the toilet for so many hours. ...
Such physical assaults, bullying, intimidation, and attacks on our dignity should not be acceptable in any workplace in the 21st century. It is also not acceptable that we still do not know what our position is - while it has been reported in the press that a deal has been agreed, none of the workers has been given any information about who is to be offered their jobs back, who will face compulsory redundancy and who will be simply sacked. Currently we are being forced to try to survive on £50 a week.
We urge you to support our struggle for justice.”
Further information tel: 0207 267 0923
Rossport Speaking Tour
ROSSPORT SOLIDARITY CAMP was born in June of this year. It is the first protest camp around an ecological theme to take place in Ireland for several years. It is located on the wild rugged coastline of
north-west Mayo, in the far west of Ireland.
The camp began after local opponents of Shell’s plan to build an unprecedented high pressure gas pipeline through the hamlet of Rossport invited us there to
back up their struggle. Five of these local activists, aka “The Rossport Five”, were subsequently imprisoned for refusing to
obey a court order forbidding them from preventing contractors hired by Shell access to their farms and those of their neighbours. After 3 months in prison,
they were released when Shell asked that the court order be lifted.
The struggle has won significant victories in securing their release, and in preventing Shell building the development this year, as they had planned to do, but the battle is far from over, as the Rossport Five said on the their release: “The campaign has now begun in earnest.”
Thus far Shell has faced continual picketing of all their construction sites, a threatened blockade by fishing boats of their off-shore pipeline construction, and a variety of solidarity actions across the island and beyond.
Rossport Solidarity Camp plans to re-launch in March 2006 as a much bigger operation.
Two participants in Rossport Solidarity Camp will be on a speaking tour of Britain in November, one of them will also be speaking about Cork Harbour Action Group, a non-violent direct action group engaged with a community struggle against the construction of incineration facilities in Ringaskiddy, County Cork.
Rossport Speaking Tour Dates
Tuesday November 8th 7.30 pm Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High street, London E1 (nearest tube Aldgate East), hosted by the Anarchist Federation.
November 9th 7pm, Oxford Action Resource Centre.
November 10th 7pm, International Community Center, 61b Mansfield Rd.
Saturday 12th November, 7pm to 3am, RampArts social center (www.ramparts.co.nr) which is a non-hierarchical, autonomous space that was squatted in May 2004, situated in the Whitechapel area, East End of London. There will also be benefit gig for the
campaign with food & drink + music.
Monday 14th November, 7.30pm, Tyneside Irish Centre, hosted by Why Don’t You?
Thursday Nov 17th 7.30pm, London Action Resource Centre
(www.londonarc.org), hosted by London Rising Tide.
Punk Football – F’CUM
NO, THE HEADLINE is not to do with some copyright issue forbidding the use of the Manchester United brand name.
F.C. United of Manchester is a new football club which was set up in the summer of 2005 by disaffected and disenfranchised Manchester United supporters who were fed up of being trapped in their allotted seats, viewed as customers rather than fans and then finally seeing their club saddled with over £500million pounds worth of debt to finance the takeover by American business tycoon Malcolm Glazer after having fought off a similar takeover by Rupert Murdochs’ SkyTV in 1998.
It is run on the Industrial and Provident Society company model (or ‘punk football’ as some prefer to call it!), is member owned and run on a non-profit making basis and it has a constitution based around 7 core principals:
1. The Board will be democratically elected by its members.
2. Decisions taken by the membership will be decided on a one member, one vote basis.
3. The club will develop strong links with the local community and strive to be accessible to all, discriminating against none.
4. The club will endeavour to make admission prices as affordable as possible, to as wide a constituency as possible.
5. The club will encourage young, local participation - playing and supporting - whenever possible.
6. The Board will strive wherever possible to avoid outright commercialism.
7. The club will remain a non-profit organisation.
With admission prices of £7 for adults and £2 for U-18’s the Northwest counties league division 2 team have recently been drawing crowds of over 3,000. The atmosphere at games has been compared to that of the 70’s, all ages with grins from ear to ear, standing and singing for 90 minutes, scarves twirling, congas spontaneously forming and even retro wooden rattles (for those that remember)! Inside the ground at home games there is no longer a police presence (and very little outside) as the fans have become pretty much self-policed.
Any fans who feel the need to run on the pitch are met with cries of “Stay off the f**king pitch” from those fans that now see the connection between club fines and the money paid at the turnstiles. Then after the game the singing continues in the local pubs with the players, not something you’re likely to catch Rio et al doing! The lack of attachment fans feel with players like Rio Ferdinand can be heard in the chant “I don’t care about Rio, he don’t care about me, all I care about is watching F.C.”
Whether this will be the start of the end for commercial football is yet to be seen but it’s safe to say even if the Glazer family offered free tickets to F.C. United fans they would probably turn around and say “F’CUM.”!
For more info go to the official site at www.fc-utd.co.uk or the unofficial www.fcunitedofmanchester.co.uk
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