It’s always good to be able to share some positive news, even if it’s only of the “things not being quite as bad as they could be” kind, so I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the news that the Heathrow 13 will be getting their sentences suspended, having been warned to expect prison. If you’d been getting yourself ready to do something to support them during the jail terms that looked likely, it’s worth taking a moment to remember that there are several comrades still inside, like Yusef Asad, Daniel Baker and Tony Jones, many of whom are less well-plugged into the sort of support networks that the Heathrow 13 had access to. If you can spare a moment to let them know they’re not forgotten, Daniel Baker (#A6185DP ) and Tony Jones (#A0266DQ) are both in HMP ISIS, Western Way, Thamesmead, SE28 0NZ, while Yusef Asad (#A4424DD) is in Huntercombe Prison, Nuffield, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 5SB.
Oh, and one more piece of good news from the courts: Adam Barr, who’s been facing public order charges for holding a banner showing Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Farage’s faces with the caption “all fucking wankers”, has had his charges dropped, although Tower Hamlets filth say that they “inadvertently destroyed” the banner while they had custody of it. Probably not the first time a piece of evidence has been mysteriously destroyed in that station, I’m guessing. It’s also interesting to note how the usual professional opinion-havers – you know, the ones who’re always so quick to squawk about free speech every time some student says they don’t want to host some journo or academic – managed to completely avoid picking up on this case of someone actually being arrested and prosecuted for saying something.
In workplace news, the big story is of course the doctors’ strike being back on, with industrial action being planned for 8am on Wednesday 9 March to 8am on Friday 11 March, 8am on Wednesday 6 April to 8am on Friday 8 April, and 8am on Tuesday 26 April to 8am on Thursday 28 April. Meanwhile, another well-organised and militant group of workers, tube staff, are reporting a partial victory, as the RMT have managed to stop some ticket office closures. Away from the old well-organised centres of workers’ power, the United Voices of the World union are still building up momentum for their attempt to take on Topshop, and the Angry Workers of the World collective are planning a few strolls around Park Royal and other industrial areas of West London to chat to workers and give out their local paper, and are looking for people to join them – hit them up on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
On the benefits front, Johnny Void has written about why the upcoming YesDSS demo against housing discrimination in Hackney, which is coming up on Saturday 27th, is important, and after that there’s the protest against the DWP putting work coaches in doctor’s surgeries in Islington on Friday March 4th, and at least some of the details for the national day of action against benefit sanctions on the 9th have now been sorted, with events planned in Bradford, Sunderland, Newcastle, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Sheffield and Barnsley.
Other than that, miscellaneous upcoming events that sound worthwhile include the anti-fascist call-out for Manchester this Saturday, while the first weekend in March will see the With Banners Held High festival in Wakefield commemorating the miners’ strike and looking at struggles today, Class War holding a pub crawl through Notting Hill and then a demo on the Sunday opposing the Turkish state’s murderous war against the Kurds – see here for national transport details.