Glasgow Defence Campaign – For immediate release

Two arrests on peaceful Glasgow Against Atos protest

22 Feb, Glasgow – Two supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (Glasgow) were today violently arrested, Friday 22 February, shortly after 2pm outside the Royal Bank of Scotland on Gordon Street, Glasgow city centre. They were taking part in a peaceful rolling picket organised by Glasgow Against ATOS, a campaign committed to opposing the French multinational ATOS and the government’s attack on welfare.

Both those arrested were taken to Stewart Street police station and were released at approximately 18:30. They are facing charges of liberating a prisoner from custody, resisting arrest and using a megaphone. Court date is set for Friday 22 March, for which solidarity protests are being organised. In an outrageous attack on democratic rights, their bail conditions include a ban on attending demonstrations in Glasgow city centre. This is the real reason behind these arrests: to disrupt and destroy political activity.

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Glasgow: Labour council passes £40m cuts budget – where is the resistance?

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters joined parents and former users of St. Brides Primary swimming pool protesting outside Glasgow City Chambers today, Thursday 7 February. The pool is one of four currently facing closure, including special needs schools Abercorn and Ashcraig. Swimming pools were not the only concern.

Today’s budget, with £42mn worth of cutbacks, was passed by the majority Labour Council and supported by the SNP (bar a token budget amendment they proposed). To the people of Glasgow, walking and driving past the Chambers, unaware of the future misery being signed and sealed in their names, our message is clear and urgent; unite your communities and struggles and fight back against all cutbacks!

The cuts budget in Glasgow is clear in who is to suffer. It is targeting the most vulnerable, with plans to shutdown three disability day care centres in Maryhill, Summerston and Cardonald and reduce the number of teaching staff specially trained to provide support for pupils with additional learning needs (£2.4mn reduction). It is targeting the lives of the elderly by maintaining the increased costs of emergency alarms for older people. And it is targeting the lives of the young, with a 10% increase in council nursery charges and raised cost of primary schools meals (doubling the price of breakfasts to £1 and lunches to £1.50 from their current £1.15 by 2014).

Among the list of other measures to increase costs and lower living standards we see a 5% upping of the cost of Glasgow Life gyms, swimming pools and fitness classes for young and middle aged adults who are not club members (membership will be charged from March 2013).

As always, it will be the working class and poor who will bear the brunt of the cuts, those who cannot afford the luxuries of private healthcare and childcare; it is not the children of the middle class and elites who will have to worry about the rising cost of school meals.

Sadly most people in Glasgow will not become aware of these cuts until there affected by them. On that note we condemn the silencing of protest which took place today outside the Chambers. The Trade Unions which last week helped organise a mass protest on the very same spot, on the day of the budget sat on their hands and buttoned their lips, in order to allow their Labour party chums to pass their budget without disturbance. The innumerable campaigns established by the opportunist left in the past two years – Coalition of Resistance, Unite the Resistance, Right to Work, Defend Glasgow Services etc etc – were exposed once more as so many empty words. It will be the people themselves who lead the fight, not those who hand themselves titles and represent nothing but their own narrow interests.

The hypocrisy of the unions and others in their empty promises of ‘action against the cuts’ is matched only by the hypocrisy of Glasgow’s Labour Council which has been boasting about the sports legacy that the 2014 Commonwealth Games will bring to Glasgow for the last 6 years.  With the passing of this budget the council have confirmed that this legacy will be reserved for those with money to burn. Glasgow’s poor will be side-lined from sport and instead ‘reserved’ a place in the ranks of the 15,000 strong unpaid volunteer army set up to help run the Games (what a legacy!).

The protests of the people being affected by the closures of day care centres and swimming pools are a small glimpse of the righteous anger building across this city. To use this anger we must unite it, to unite it we must oppose the age old tools of division, used by the upper classes, most prominently racism. As some of the parents of pupils who use the St. Brides pool stated ‘this is a community fight’ in a deprived and highly diverse area of the city, Govanhill, which is challenging racial as well as class discrimination. The long-time swimming instructor at the school noted that St. Brides ‘is an ideal pool in which children can learn to swim because of its depth and also because it is enclosed which makes it suitable for the members of our Asian is the only school in Glasgow to have Asian girls competing in the swimming pool.’


Save St. Brides swimming pool!

No day centre closures!

Oppose All Cuts!

Unite and Fightback!

FRFI reader on the bedroom tax – 1 February 2013

The bedroom tax that is due to come into effect from April is going to affect all working class people whether it be directly or indirectly. The direct effect will be a tax of 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two extra bedrooms or more for anyone receiving housing benefit, this will be at a cost of £16 per week to the average housing association tenant. Or as in my case the indirect effect  which comes not from a financial burden but in the shape of an attack on my family, friends and community. 

Two examples of how the bedroom tax is going to affect me and my community are my cousin who has recently lost his father who he shared his house with, the same two bedroom house that he has lived in all of his life and a neighbour and friend of mine who has also recently lost his mother who he shared his three bedroom house with again a house where he has spent all of his life. In both case the result of the bedroom tax is going to be a direct choice between putting food in their bellies or paying an extra 14% and 25% in bedroom tax, and when the inevitable happens and they can't pay what is going to happen? At best they are going to be kicked out of their homes that they have been born into and ripped away from their communities that have raised them and be relocated to another part of the town or country, or they will be made homeless. What is their crime? Their crime is  being born poor and having the limited opportunities of employment that result from the social circumstances surrounding working class people and our communities. 

At this time more than ever we must stand together to tackle this absurd capitalist notion that the poorest sections of society have to pay for crises and crimes of the rich ruling class. And if you like me care for your family, friends, neighbours and communities then you must fight for them by organizing among yourselves in preparation for the defence of who and what we care for against the attempts to divide our communities by the rich and ruthless ruling class.

Fight the cuts !!

Danny M, from Hamilton

ATOS kills – kill ATOS! Monthly protest of Glasgow Against ATOS - 25 January 2013

On Friday the 25th January, Glasgow Against ATOS campaigners took to the street for our monthly picket of the Atos premises on Cadogan Street where people are put through the degrading work capability assessments. The protest also included a rolling picket of companies in the Glasgow city centre area who are cohorts of Atos, DWP and the government in their attempts to criminalize the sick and disabled of our country.

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Reclaiming Christmas from Atos in Glasgow! - Dec 2012

On Friday 28 December Glasgow Against Atos campaigners held their end of month action with a Christmas based theme. Declaring the government’s treatment of disability benefit claimants to be humbug and contrary to the festive mood of the season a rolling picket was organised in Glasgow city centre; starting from the Atos assessment centre and finishing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games offices, as Atos are sponsoring the games. One campaigner, dressed up as the Grinch, stated, ‘Christmas, what Christmas? Seventy three people are dying a week across Britain after having their disability benefit cut! Just like the Grinch stole Christmas, Atos are stealing it from people and their families’.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters have been playing a leading role in the campaign alongside other activists from the Black Triangle Disability rights campaign, the Save The Accord campaign, The Irish republican group 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the Socialist party and some individual anarchists. Unfortunately the majority of left groups in Scotland, such as the International Socialist Group, have refused to support the campaign so far.

The campaigns aim is to bring together the claimants, individuals, campaigns and groups in Glasgow who wish to oppose the notorious private multinational Atos. Now that some level of unity has been achieved the next task is to expand the campaign involving more disability claimants and the general public. FRFI supporters will be working to maintain the open and democratic nature of the Glasgow Against Atos campaign which will be vital if the goals outlined above are to be achieved.

Solidarity with the sick and poor!

Victory to Glasgow Against Atos!

More information about Atos and the campaign can be found at: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2719-end-war-on-welfare

Facebook – ‘Glasgow Against-Atos’

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Phone – 07734348065


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