Issue 5

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An Open Letter to the Minister for Transport

"I do not want to encourage day-dreaming, we are in a world of practical realities..."
- Brian Mawhinney, Minister for Transport [1]

"My people shall never work. Those who work cannot dream, and wisdom comes to us in dreams..."
- Smohalla, Native American, 1887.

"Be Realistic - Demand the Impossible!"
- Graffiti, Paris May '68

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Pollok Free State Lives On!

Pollok Free State still stands despite two massive attempts by Wimpey Construction and the police to evict the camp. The last attack saw 16 arrests, major scuffles with the police and the use of cherrypickers for the first time in this campaign. Despite the attack, and the connected roadblock and school lock-in to prevent the local kids becoming involved, only 12 trees around the periphery of the camp were felled. One Scots Pine was saved by a camper clinging to its bough for some 14 hours, despite several attempts by security to yank him from his perch. The camp remains strongly defiant surrounded by fences, security and police - the fight continues.

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It's (Not Really That) Grim Up North

It is really hard to write a regional round-up without making regionalist assumptions, so I thought I'd get one straight out of the way in the title, hopefully there won't be any more. Here goes. Definitely the major story in the North of England of late has been the M65 extension. The campaign began in May 1994 at Cuerden Valley which has now been totally devastated by Stage One of the £142 million (!) 12 mile M65 road extension, which stretches from Junction 29 on the M6 to Blackburn. There has been serious opposition since work began, with constant direct action, squatting of properties en route, and tree-sitting. The most well publicised period of the campaign has been the recent defence of the Stanworth Valley 'Village in the Sky', at the beginning of Stage Two of the motorway. A small group of people squatted the ancient wood and despite the grim weather conditions, and lack of full time people over winter, they managed to construct the largest tree village in England, if not the world!!!!

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Midlands Report

So just what have we been doing in the Midlands?

Derby

Just 'cos there isn't a Derby EF! listed on the back of the Action Update doesn't mean Tarmac can get away with getting paid over £127 million to trash a whole load of badger setts, archaeology, ecology, trees and the rest. They call it the 'Derby Southem Bypass A564' - we call it a fucking disgrace and a viable target. Actions have been going on, and will certainly continue, a camp has been set up. The actual road forms a shadow M62, linking the M1 to the M6 as well as passing suspiciously close to a new Toyota car factory. The thing is even being built as a dual three lane with hard shoulder in places, with a spur into Derby itself to make sure the local residents get the full benefit of the fucked up air. Contact 01-332-204-097.

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Meanwhile Down in the West Country

This year protest has been growing in the West. The main action has been directed against roads. The road building programme could hit the West badly, opening up its wild parts to industrial development. However the concentration on roads must not let us forget the other crises being created for the West by its economic development.

Mendip Hills, Not Mendip Holes

One of EF!'s longest running campaigns has been against quarries in Somerset. Actions in early '92 and '93 by (the now defunct) South Somerset EF! and many local people resulted in an application to expand Whatley Quarry being turned down. The application would have meant the Quarry ending up twice the size of Shepton Mallet. As per usual the company, ARC, has waited until things cooled down and then reapplied. They hoped that protest would not kick off again. Wrong again.

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London Regional Report

Reclaim the Streets, launched in early '95, exists to act as a catalyst for social revolution, to resist car culture and to end the domination of that representative of global capitalism - the car. It will act as the London contact for EF! A reclamation of that bastion of consumption Camden High Street began what promises to be a long, hot summer of discontent. On Sunday 14th of May around 1.30 pm two respectful old bangers entered the High Street and to the astonishment of passing shoppers ceremoniously piled into each other - CRASH! This was followed by 30 radical peds rushing into the street and jumping onto said bangers, continuing trampoline like... tyres were slashed, decoration added in the form of flying paint and a rather large banner unfurled atop, proclaiming "Kill the Car, Free the City: RECLAIM THE STREETS". Thus commenced the sister of all street parties.

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Be’ Si’n Bod Yn Gymru?

...or What's Going On In Wales

 

The South Wales Valleys are one of the most deprived areas in Western Europe. Living standards are officially the lowest in Britain. These communities were created by 19th century capitalism's dash for growth. Industry needed coal and South Wales was the place to get it. A massive population boom occurred as labour was brought in from surrounding rural areas and from further afield. These new communities were treated like shit and a fine tradition of resistance to their industrial masters began. The last major attempts at insurrection in mainland 'Britain' happened in the Valleys - the Merthyr and Newport risings being the most famous rebellions. As late as the 1920s and '30s troops and tanks had to be sent in to quieten the population. The Great Strike in the '80s saw troops on the streets of South Wales again, albeit in cops' uniforms.[1]

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South East Report

Originally the birthplace of British EF!, the south east has been outshone recently by developments in other regions. However, this looks like it's changing.

One of the main campaigns in the south east of late has of course been against live exports. Months of daily direct action by the local community led to the trade being halted at Shoreham, (See 'Shoreham Harbour: Live Exports and Community Defence' in this issue), but since much of the exports have moved to Dover, protests have not been half as effective. Shoreham's success lay in the fact that the port was right in the middle of the town - at Dover it is at the bottom of the cliffs. Although the live export direct action at Shoreham is over, the battle still continues in the courts. Hundreds have been arrested and a number are presently on remand. A revenge action against the courts and the police was organised and around 50 turned up. The plan was to blockade the courts in the morning to fuck up the schedule. The police do not like demos being organised against them and they called in cops from four towns under the name Operation Grain (?). The doors to the courts were locked, so most of the crowd moved onto the dual carriageway. After a bit of a dance with the cops, everyone pretended to disperse while in fact they regrouped down at the McDonalds. It was lunchtime and the restaurant was significantly more empty than usual. One twat got arrested after climbing into the cab of a Shell tanker in the traffic jam and allegedly locking himself in. The battles at the port itself are far from over. Shoreham is ranked second or third in the national hierarchy of timber importers, carrying timber from the Baltic, Scandinavia, Brazil, British Columbia, Russia and many other wildernesses. Shoreham hosts petrol storage bays for BP and Texaco. In protest against oil exploration in Ecuador (and everywhere else), two activists chained up the entrance gates to the Texaco bay and promptly scarpered. Watching from the road above they were happy to see five tankers line up trying to get in and three trying to get out. The blockade only lasted for about twenty minutes, (by which time the guard had located a pair of bolt croppers), but was very cost effective - costing South Downs EF! nothing at all - they had cut the chain from a car park. SDEF! are planning a major dock action in the near future - Oct/Nov. This will be a national mobilisation. The details will be in the October edition of the EF! AU.

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World Roundup

All over the world people are fighting back. In this issue alone stories of resistance are heard from Australia, Russia, Canada, Poland, France, the Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Mexico, America, Germany, Eire, the Czech Republic, Italy, India, Norway and Holland. Reading these accounts two things strike you immediately.

Firstly, we are not alone - we are part of a movement that spans the globe. Whether you're barricading a house, stealing some food from your local mega-store, locked on to a bulldozer, or for that matter trashing the damned things, you can be certain that in numerous places around the globe, people are doing exactly the same. Wherever there is oppression, exploitation and destruction, there is resistance.

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Report from Across the Atlantic

By Orin Langelle, Native Forest Network

Solidarity and greetings from the U$A; stolen land from the invasion and occupation that started 503 years ago.

The farce of so-called democracy in this country has taken a further swing toward perfecting fascism with the installation of a rightwing Republican majority party. The 'liberal' Democratic jokes lost control of both the House and Senate in the past November elections, leaving their figurehead Clinton as El Presidente. Clinton's leadership has already pushed and gotten approval for an insidious Crime Bill (more prisons and cops on the street) and GATT (Gangster's Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). GATT furthers the New World Order with the multinationals and their puppet governments here and elsewhere.

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Vancouver Earth First! News

Ed.note. Vancouver is part of British Columbia, Canada. The area has a long tradition of ecological resistance. Most of what is called British Columbia is land beyond the treaty boundary: Land which was and continues to be taken by force from the native peoples and given to the multinationals. For the tribals of the Nuu-chahnulth nation ecocide = genocide. For the past 12 years a concerted campaign of resistance has included road blockades, tree sits, land occupations, marine blockades, tree spiking (24,000 in one stretch alone), bridge burning, digger burning, numerous imprisonments, boat sinking etc. This campaign has been waged jointly by native peoples and groups like EF! Hundreds were arrested last year defending the old growth forests. The campaign has been taken to Britain with numerous actions such as mill closures, supermarkets actions, office occupations and dock actions, (A good text to read is 'Stop Destroying Native Lands: Corporate Scum Get The Fuck Out! ' by Terra Prima!, available from Dead Trees EF!).

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Anatopia

Anarchy and Mercedes in Germany

 

Since 4/7/'91 the site where a gigantic test track (12 km long, 3km wide) was planned by the Mercedes company was squatted by youth. They built a village in the moor landscape to protect it and all its rare plants and animals against the diggers. But this protest should be understood as a kind of resistance against all forms of exploitation and as an attempt to live an altemative lifestyle. In 20 caravans and huts built from the garbage of society lived a mixture of very different people coming from all over, different ages, visions of life and protest, and different animals, supported by many guests, friends and travellers. They promoted an autonomous struggle for the survival of the moor, and for the quality of life under absolutely simple conditions (e.g. no electricity, no water taps, no cars, low consumption, using stoves, etc). They cooked together, shared many things and led a vegan lifestyle. The squatters had a lot to do in their village, with visitors and with themselves. Moreover there was a lot of work to draw public attention to their anti-Mercedes protest to get money and to support other groups, projects and movements. A small field was cultivated at a farm near the camp. There was a good sorted Infoshop to spread repressed information and make communication possible.

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What a Joke!

The Berlin Climate Conference Gathering

 

Between March the 28th and the 7th of April over 150 governments and about the same number of multinationals came together supposedly to discuss what to do about the worsening climate crisis. Despite the constant efforts of most of these bodies to discredit those scientists and activists who have exposed global warming, the public realise that something big is happening and that something needs to be done. The world leaders know that to survive they must wallow in greenwash. Resistance to this giant piece of theatre was mixed, and reflected many of the internal contradictions of the 'European youth environmental movement'. [1]

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Symbiosis

Several species of Pineapple Plant (Bromeliaceae) live in the flood basin of the Amazon in America. In this region water levels rise regally by several metres, thus drowning large numbers of plan terrestrial animals. These floods would certainly destroy the ant nests and undermine the ability of the p reproduce, and so the ants have developed a novel method of solving this problem. The ants have moved into the trees. They search the ground for seeds of the pineapple, take them up into the trees and plant them in soil they have already transported from the ground. These seeds germinate and grow, attaching themselves to branches around them and forming a strong nest-like network of roots, stems and leaves. This plant provides the ants with a much stronger nest than the ant could make itself. Their new home means that they no longer have to risk the dangers of the water and can live their lives above flood water levels. The pineapple benefits from being rescued by the ants from the floods. It is also nearer to the sunlight, ground level photosynthesis can sometimes be very low in the tropical forest. Both species gain considerably from this association.

DuPont's Plans in Goa Go Up in Smoke

by Claude Alvares, Third World Network

In the space of a mere weekend, after a series of fast-moving developments, DuPont's proposal to set up Asia's largest Nylon 6.6 plant in Goa, (India) has been literally burnt to cinders.

For seven years now, the villages surrounding the proposed site have carried on a sustained agitation on environmental and other grounds against the project. But the final denouement commenced in late January after police swooped down on eight demonstrators and stripped and beat them up in the police cells.

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Reprieve for Polish Bialowieza Forest

On July 5, the General Director of the National Forests in Poland signed a document declaring an immediate moratorium on logging of old growth trees in the entire area of the Bialowieza Primeval Forest. The decision comes amid mounting pressure from NGOs, forest activists, and scientists world wide to protect Europe's last lowland old-growth forest. Bialowieza is the last wild habitat of the European bison; it is also home to wolf, lynx, beaver, masked shrew, moose, crane, lesser-spotted eagle, black stork and all but one of the European woodpeckers. (see DoD 4).

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The Eternal Threat

Biodiversity Loss and the Fragmentation of the Wild

 

Throughout the earth wild habitats are being cut up, cut down and cut off. One inevitable result of this is fragmentation. By neglect, chance or design the conversion of wild habitat to human-dominated land leaves islands of wild habitat in an ever-rising sea of inhospitable terrain. The result is a very quiet, but huge, profound and disastrous effect on the world's terrestrial ecosystems and the species they contain.

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Bougainville

A Sad and Silent Tragedy in the South Pacific

 

By Martin R. Miriori, Bougainville Interim Peace Office, Solomon Islands

Bougainville was so named by the French explorer, Louis de Bougainville, who sighted the island in 1768. Bougainville is estimated to be approximately 10,620 sq. km, with a population of about 200,000 people. It is approximately 1,000 km from Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. It is divided by a narrow channel of 4-5km from the nearest point of the Solomon Islands, to the south. The main island of Bougainville is approximately 210 km long and about 100 km wide. To the north, lies Buka Island, separated by a passage 800 metres wide, and there are several atolls further north.

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David Bellamy Exposed!

Far from being the environmental advocate many would like us to believe David Bellamy has shown himself to be an ally - not of the ecological movement, but of the multinationals and the rich. This is all the more disgusting as Bellamy, (a trained biologist), is neither ignorant of this system's ecocidal path, nor of those who lead this process, those he now in fact allies himself with.

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Critical Mass

Reclaiming Space and Combating the Car

 

"What a difference there was between the old and new parts of Mexico City only twenty years ago. In the old parts of the city, the streets were still true commons. Some people sat on the road to sell vegetables and charcoal. Others put their chairs on the road to sell tequila. Others held their meetings on the road to decide on the new headman for the neighbourhood or to determine the price of a donkey. Others drove their donkeys through the crowd, walking next to the heavily loaded beast of burden; others sat in the saddle. Children played in the gutter, and still people walking could use the road to get from one place to another. Such roads were not built for people. Like any true commons, the street itself was the result of people living there and making the space liveable.

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The Great Experiment

50 years ago this year the American government received word that Japan would surrender within days. Unsurprisingly the US decided surrender was not good enough - it needed to win. Its top military scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory had a new weapon they wanted to play with, and Japan was the ideal testing ground. An experiment was launched with truly apocalyptic results. On the 6th and 9th of August 1945 two nuclear bombs were dropped on the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Five years after the blast 200,000 people had lost their lives from both cities. People who had seemingly survived the initial explosion were now cut down in their thousands by radiation. Future generations were also to suffer still births, deformities, cancer - the list is endless. President Truman expressed satisfaction that ‘the experiment’ had been ‘an overwhelming success’ [1].

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Sick Bastards

The “Problem”:

“The Quashees, (free blacks of Jamaica), content themselves with producing only what is strictly necessary for their own consumption, and, alongside this ‘use value’, regard loafing, (indulgence and idleness), as the real luxury good... they do not care a damn for the sugar and fixed capital invested in the plantations, but rather observe the planters’ impending bankruptcy with an ironic grin of malicious pleasure... They have ceased to be slaves, but not in order to become wage labourers, but, instead, self sustaining peasants working for their own consumption”

Karl Marx, Grundrisse [1]

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Manifesto of the Phantom Tree Planters

Planting trees opens our hearts to Nature's wisdom. Nurturing them gives exposure to life's vulnerability and teaches how to build ecological and human community.

We plant trees not for ourselves, but for those who will follow. Life gives unto life, and by dancing to its rhythms we can enjoy with clear conscience what has been handed down from the past.

Many people have never planted a tree because they think they do not own land This is mistaken. We are all children of the Earth. We share equally in the valleys, hills, rivers and seas. Let us no longer be deceived otherwise!

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Animal Antics

1) 'An Angler was drowned by the fish he was trying to catch. Chris Bowie, 29, from West Palm Beach, Florida, was dragged off his boat and pulled 30ft under by a blue marlin when his hands became tangled in the line during a contest off North Carolina. "It just snatched him off the deck", said a friend.'
- Daily Mail, June 20th 94.

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Tree Spirit and Earth Repair

"Environmental restoration may be the art form of the twenty-first century"
- from Helping Nature Heal (Ten Speed Press, 1991)

Environmental restoration is the other side of the coin to much of the activity that Earth First! has so far been engaged in - that is, grappling with the toxic forces of 'law' and 'order' in a very overt way. Such activity is the defensive work, a holding operation, crucial in many ways and important for bringing people together as a group, cementing the bonds between them in shared, often harrowing experience. However it is important not to get hung up on the adrenaline and peculiar glamour of such frontline situations.

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Dances with Dollars

"The white man made us many promises, but he never kept but one. He promised to take our land and he took it"
- Red Cloud, Sioux Chief, 19th Century

In August "Waterworld", the latest film to star Kevin Costner, will open in Britain. It is the most expensive film ever made. This article is a plea for you to boycott it and take actions against its star.

If this sounds bizarre, read on...

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From Other Sources

"Aside from the machinery of war, all machines of ancient times originated in the needs of the theatre. The crane, the pulley and other hydraulic devices started out as theatrical paraphernalia; it was only much later that they revolutionised production relations. It is a striking fact that no matter how far we go back in time the domination of the earth and of men seems to depend on techniques which serve the purposes not only of work but also of illusion."
- 'The Revolution of Everyday Life', Raul Vaneigem

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Shorham

Live Exports and Community Defence

 

Security Guards at Shoreham

Author's note: For reasons of time, space etc this short article cannot be a full analysis of live-exports in general or Shoreham in particular. Nor can it adequately deal with the thorny issue of 'animal rights'. The focus of this article is on the reaction of the local community to live-exports and the attitude of 'politicos' in Brighton to the growing movement.

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Feral

Fer-al adj. wild, or existing in a state of nature, as freely occurring animals or plants; having reverted to the wild state from domestication.

By John Zerzan

We exist in a landscape of absence wherein real life is steadily being drained out by debased work, the hollow cycle of consumerism and the mediated emptiness of high tech dependency. Today it is not only the stereotypical yuppie workaholic who tries to cheat despair via activity, preferring not to contemplate a fate no less sterile than that of the planet and (domesticated) subjectivity in general. We are confronted, none the less, by the ruins of nature and the ruin of our own nature, the sheer enormity of the meaninglessness and the inauthentic amounting to a weight of lies. It’s still drudgery and toxicity for the vast majority, while a poverty more absolute than financial renders more vacant the universal Dead Zone of civilisation. ‘Empowerment’ by computerization? Infantilised, more like. An Information Age characterised by increased communication? No, that would presuppose experience worth communicating. A time of unprecedented respect for the individual? Translation: wage-slavery needs the strategy of worker self-management at the point of production to stave off the continuing productivity crisis, and market research must target each ‘life-style’ in the interest of a maximised consumer culture.

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Cyber Nora

Monkeywrenching in Cyberspace

 

Their technology makes them powerful, but it also makes them vulnerable!

“Techno-wizards have been hacking their way into the heart of the American military. The Pentagon confessed yesterday that joyriders have been using the Internet, which links computer systems worldwide, to look at new aircraft and ship design, simulated battle plans and correspondence. The raiders have taken over whole defence systems, and closed them down.

“Michael Higgins, of the Defence Information Systems Agency, said the break-ins are affecting the Defence Department’s military readiness. Hackers need only install a simple programme to snatch every password passing through the system, and store them for later use. Experts estimate that more than a million passwords have been stolen.”

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Paranoia...noia...noia...BOO!

It's Later than you Think!

An account of recent Special Branch harassment of militant greens by Oxford Green Anarchists.

Since March 1995, Hampshire Special Branch have carried out at least 17 raids against green anarchist and animal liberation targets, a dozen of which found their targets and four of which led to arrests for conspiracy to produce materials inciting criminal damage by fire.

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Lettuce to the Cabbage

Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings! We are a group who organise and commit ourselves to the defence of the environment. Most of our members did some volunteering and support actions with some environmental groups. Our dissatisfaction to the compromising postures of most environment groups, compelled us to engage in direct and radical actions. We named our group of mountaineers, climbers, divers, nature lovers, artisans, conservationists and others as 'Volunteers for Earth Defence'.

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Going Green: How to Communicate Your Company's Environmental Commitment

by E. Bruce Harrison

- Reviewed by John C, Stauber, syndicated from Earth First! Journal Mabon 1994

More than any other author Rachel Carson is credited with giving birth to popular ecological awareness. Silent Spring, her bombshell 1962 bestseller, gave a dramatic, prophetic and factual account of massive agrichemical poisoning. Written with the goal of shocking the public, government and industry into action, it sowed seeds of consciousness that burst forth eight years later when millions of people demonstrated in the streets on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

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Coastway 2000

Ribbon of Steel Across Southern England’ & ‘South Coast Rail Strategy’

 

Two recent reports published by East Sussex Transport 2000 and distributed by Alarm UK

With these and other publications, Alarm UK and Transport 2000 claim to be putting forward an agenda which solves the problems of the car culture in an environmentally friendly way. These need to be looked at from the point of view of the people who opened up the debate on transport, and thus made the success of the new rail lobby possible; i.e. us! We who put ourselves physically on the line to stop the roads and forced the industrial development juggernaut into a dialogue with the rail lobby.

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Prisoners of War

Anti-M11ers in Prison for Alleged Sabotage

Long-term anti-M11ers Jim Chambers (PV 2504) and Stuart Edwards (PB 1864) have both been convicted of £50,000 of Criminal Damage to machinery on the London North Circular road. They have both been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Jim has been in prison on remand for nearly 6 months, he is due out sometime this Autumn. Stuart however has been on bail, so he faces 8 months behind bars. A movement should be judged by how it supports its prisoners. They were not expecting to get so long and they really need our support. They are both at: HMP Pentonville, Caledonian road, London, N7 8TT.

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Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Struggle Must Contintue!

On the 17th of August Black Eco-Revolutionary Mumia Abu-Jamal was to be killed by the US state with a lethal injection. 10 days before he was due to be murdered Mumia was given a stay of execution. This is a victory for Mumia and all those around the world struggling to save his life. Without the mounting pressure Mumia would have been murdered by the time you read this. Now is not the time to give up the fight. We must not wait till the last minute again, we must intensify our actions to demand freedom for Mumia and all political prisoners languishing in the jails of the US.

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