the pork-bolter
No 52, March 2003

War on democracy! War on humanity!

"THE question is not whether we can change the murderous march of the powerful. The question we should be asking is: could we live with the shame of not having done everything possible to prevent and stop this war? No honest man or woman can remain silent and indifferent at this moment. All of us, each one in our own voice, in our own way, in our own language, by our own action, must say ‘NO’." Letter Against The War, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, Mexico, February 2003.

UP until now The Porkbolter has been fairly restrained about our war coverage. As a local community newsletter we feel it’s our primary duty to report on local community issues, rather than on events taking part on a wider stage that we in Worthing have little chance of influencing. But the situation around the attack against Iraq has reached the point where the dividing lines between parochial and international, individual and global, have become meaningless.

All around the world ordinary people, most of whom have never felt inclined to protest about anything before, are standing up to be counted in their opposition to the American war-mongers. Even in those states whose rulers have placed them in the US camp the vast majority are opposed to military action and millions are in open revolt. Governments may support the American line, but countries do not. Right-wing media magnate and prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is not Italy any more than Tony Blair speaks for the British public or, for that matter, Saddam Hussein is a reflection of the ordinary Iraqi people whose lives and families will be reduced to a bloody pulp by the war.

Never before has the gulf between rulers and ruled been so obvious, never before have the claims of those in power to represent their populations been so transparent, never before has the notion that our capitalist society is "democratic" been so clearly a lie. Tony Blair has made much over the last six years of "listening" to the people, of designing policies in response to the public’s anxieties and demands. It was all just spin all along, of course, but even that shallow pretence went out of the window the moment he saw the "mother of all focus groups" (as one commentator described the February 15 anti-war march) coming down Whitehall.

Gone were the shifting and self-contradicting arguments - not to mention the forged dossiers and botch-job student thesis ‘intelligence’ - detailing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, or terrorists linked to Iraq, or weapons of destruction being stolen from Iraq by terrorists, or Saddam oppressing his own people, and so on ad nauseam. Gone also, until next needed to scare the public, were the tanks at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and the high security alert that had coincidentally made them so essential in the run-up to what proved to be the biggest protest in British history. All of that was abandoned. Instead we had Tony Blair declaring that he was right, we were all wrong, and nothing we could do was ever going to change his mind. There you are, pure power laid bare. Are you ever going to bother voting again?

Meanwhile, all the millions opposed to the war have been left with a challenge. What do we do now? Democratic means have been tried and ignored. What now? Give up and settle down to watch the whole horrific slaughter on CNN? There are beguiling voices saying you should do just that. The war will be nothing to worry about, they say. It’ll all be over by Easter. Maybe it will. Iraq is hardly a military threat to be feared by the immensely powerful US armed forces and their British stooges - sorry, allies. But that will not be the end of the nightmare. It will be just the start. If the US gets away with launching this attack, despite the complete absence of any good reason and the outright opposition of most of the planet’s population, it will think it can get away with anything. Who knows who will be next? Iran? North Korea? China? Germany? France? The Isle of Wight?

In a way it doesn’t matter, because the US has made it clear it is embarking on a "war on terrorism" in which terrorists are defined as anyone not under complete US control. We will be launched into a permanent war. And with the permanent war will come permanent terrorist alerts, permanent suspension of civil liberties, permanent persecution of any voices, no matter how small and peaceful, raised against the rampant power-hungry colossus of American corporate global domination. Many of you will no doubt be aware of that old chestnut of a hypothetical question - if you could go back in time and try to change history, when would you go back to and what would you do? It’s not hypothetical any more. The time is now. And what you are going to do about it is entirely up to you and your conscience.


Brave fight against peace

RUMOURS abound that a new pro-war pressure group has been set up in Worthing, though it is not clear whether it involves letter-writing military enthusiasts John "The Cowboy" Vaughan and Steve "Too Much Violence on the Telly but Not Enough In Real Life" Stevens. The organisation is apparently called Worthing Against Peace and it is a coalition of the local branches of The Royal Gullible Society, Worthing Hitler Association and the South Heene American Line-Dancing Militia. Elements from the Sussex pro-hunting lobby are also said to be involved, under the stirring slogan "Defend Bloodsports - Support the War!" They are rumoured to be meeting regularly in the toilets at McDonald’s in Montague Place, where they hold readings of old editorials from The Sun, gaze lovingly at old, suspiciously stained, photographs of Margaret Thatcher and daydream quietly of small foreign children having their limbs blown off by the very latest in high-tech American weaponry.

Saying ‘no’ to the US bullies

WORTHING Against War has been continuing its fight against Bush and Blair’s war with a hectic series of activities.

February 8. More than 320 people turned up for the anti-war protest in Montague Place. After speeches and singing, the crowd set off on an impressive march through South Street and Chapel Road to the war memorial outside the town hall.

February 15. A strong contingent from Worthing headed off to London to join the biggest protest in British history. Millions say ‘no!’

March 1. A group from Worthing Against War supported the anti-war protest in Brighton city centre, which was declared “unlawful” by police because the 300 protesters declined to follow the route dictated to them by the force. The cops over-reacted as usual! Sussex Action for Peace

March 3. A delegation of 15 WAW supporters delivered letters to Worthing Borough Council’s Lib Dem leaders urging them to pass an anti-war resolution at their next meeting.

March 5. Students from Worthing College in Bolsover Road demonstrated for peace on the nearby roundabout. Worthing High School students also staged a protest, which resulted in a police guard on the school gate. Young people thinking for themselves! Quick, call the cops!

March 8. WAW staged a mass die-in protest in Worthing town centre, complete with wailing siren.

If war goes ahead, people are urged to gather at 6pm at the clock tower outside the Guildbourne Centre in Worthing on the evening after the bombing begins for a noisy expression of anger. Bring whistles, banners, pots and pans.

WAW is holding an Anti-War Day in Worthing on Saturday March 29 at the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road. There will be meditation from 10.30am, then from 12 noon to 2pm videos and a fund-raising soup kitchen. Speakers from 2.30pm include Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Dr Judith Cook of Medact, Yakoub Purches of Worthing Islamic Society and the excellent Colin Chalmers from Sussex direct action newsletter SchNEWS.

And a Rock Against War gig is being held on Saturday April 5, 7-11pm at The Vintner’s Parrot (back room), Warwick St, Worthing.

Next Worthing Against War meetings on Tuesdays March 18 and April 1, 7.45pm, upstairs at The Downview pub opposite West Worthing station.

Latest Worthing anti-war info


Town Hall tradition

WE were delighted to see that Worthing’s latest Mayor-elect, James Doyle, is a sprightly 38 years old, rather than the traditional 103. That’s one mayoral tradition laid to rest (if he actually takes over the role after the elections), but what about the other one we mention from time to time - that all Worthing Mayors seem, like present incumbent and fellow Lib Dem Eric Mardell, to be Freemasons? We have written the following letter to the illustrious politician:

Dear Mr Doyle,

We would like to congratulate you on your selection as Mayor-elect and in extending a warm porcine hand of friendship wonder if you would take a few seconds to tick one of the boxes below for our ongoing survey of mayoral interests:

a) I am a Freemason.

b) I am not a Freemason.

c) I am a Freemason but I’m not going to admit it to you lot.

If we don’t hear from you, we will naturally put you down as a ‘c’.

Yours,

Pinky Perkins,

The Porkbolter

A full update on Mr Doyle’s reply in the next issue!


Are the homeless human?

POOR, homeless people don’t count as human beings. That seemed to be the opinion of big-hearted Worthing Guardian reporter Brian Stephens in his front page article on January 31. Talking of plans to get rid of "vagrants" from Liverpool Gardens, he wrote: "The council hopes that a £100,000-plus makeover of the gardens will make them more accessible to the public, whose presence could discourage itinerants from using the area." So "the public" only refers to people with jobs, homes and cars, does it? And where exactly are you supposed to spend your days if you sleep out on the streets or in a hostel that chucks you outside every morning? Isn’t it a hard enough life being homeless anyway, without being denied the right to sit on a park bench on a patch of grass and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air? Or should you just be shunted out of sight so you don’t get in the way of the consumer clones and retail retards?

Myrtle Piggott 8.5.24 - 5.2.03

MYRTLE Piggott’s sudden and untimely death came as a bitter blow to her family and friends. She was well loved, and it was ‘standing room only’ at the Humanist service at Worthing Crematorium where her life was celebrated. She was a committed peace activist, a member of CND and staunch supporter of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign for which she fundraised, and collected and packed vital equipment for containers to be sent to the Cuban people. She helped set up and run a Woodcraft Folk group for the children, was a member of the local folk dance group, supported the principle of the co-operative movement, and loved music and reading. She was warm and caring, always ready to help with such good humour, we will remember and miss her. As she said in her will "don’t make a fuss, keep it simple - life goes on and there’s much to be done".

PORK-SCRATCHINGS

SUPERB news from the Titnore campaign. The two remaining people arrested on the May 26 demo have had their cautions lifted, after involving lawyers. Following the dramatic collapse of a woman’s prosecution because of video evidence disproving police claims, this means all three so-called 'troublemakers' have had their names cleared! Meanwhile, no new planning application had been submitted as we went to press. But the developers’ consortium are trying to use smarmy PR firm Green Issues to confuse public opinion by presenting the argument as a choice of 'options' around the exact form of their massive money-making 900-home estate. There is only one option as far as we can see, and that is for them to take their greedy porkin’ hands off our countryside!
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RESIDENTS in the Beeches Avenue area also face a long struggle to stop developers Hargreaves from building over the Downs behind their homes. Despite council support, the land has not yet been included in the proposed National Park area and the powerful property firm has also now formally submitted its plans for 90 homes on the treasured green space.
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MANY people have been sickened by Government plans to fine parents who take their children on holiday during term time, thus penalising less well-off families who simply can’t afford peak holiday rates - or the threatened fine. One response to this latest attempt to impose totalitarian control over people’s lives (Do they own our kids? Is it a school or a prison?) is to take the perfectly legal option of pulling your children out of school altogether and educating them at home. Contact Education Otherwise www.education-otherwise.org [UPDATED CONTACT DETAILS SUBMITTED FEB 2008: Education Otherwise, PO Box 325, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE34 3XW. Tel:0845 478 6345. Email: eoemailhelpline@education-otherwise.org]
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DID you know? West Sussex County Council is bringing in a new "call centre" for enquiries at a cost of £2.3 million, is increasing staffing by nearly 350, has committed £200,000 of our money to a legal fight against the new South Downs National Park, and given its chief executive an 11% pay rise, to £150,000. It has also put up council tax by 18.5%. Marvellous!
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"INTERCEPTION of telephone calls, email and post by police and the intelligence services has more than doubled since Labour came to power and is higher than at any time since the start of the second world war," (The Guardian, Jan 28). Note the link between wars and theft of freedom. Speaking of which, opponents of war and tyranny are heartily recommended to get hold of a copy of a new booklet by the Kate Sharpley Library (£2 from BM Hurricane, London WC1N 3XX). No War But The Class War! - Libertarian Anti-Militarism Then and Now, edited by Anna Key.
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WANT to get out and about more in the Worthing area? Why not contact rdocwra@hotmail.com for details of the ongoing Green Social evenings or check out Sunny Worthing Arts Group’s website at www.swagonline.org?

Torture is the kindest way

"TORTURE of political opponents," said the Minister for Human Rights yesterday, "has long been regarded as totally unacceptable in a civilised democratic society. However, in line with our forward-thinking American allies, the British Government has now decided that use of strategic pain and physical duress is a legitimate and useful approach to information retrieval in the Glorious Global War on Terrorism. With that in mind, we are passing legislation to ensure all citizens carry on their person at all times a new Torture Entitlement Card, on which must be marked the form of torture least bearable to the holder and most likely to result in early capitulation, with commensurate improvements in interview efficiency and costing implications. Let’s all work together to make torture as painless as possible for those entrusted to carry it out and as painful as necessary to destroy all who dare to defy us."

Got swine fever yet?

The Pork-Bolter is a local totally independent volunteer-produced newsletter with a pig-headed dislike of official lies and hypocrisy. Drop us a line at PO Box 4144, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7NZ. You can also send e-mail porkbolter@eco-action.org. Free e-mail subscriptions are available. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of at least £3 payable to The Porkbolter.

Published and printed by The Pork-Bolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ.

No copyright, no excuses - get out on the streets!


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Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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