Posts Tagged ‘protest’

This week is national boycott workfare week.  Make sure you check out the Boycott Workfare website.  Each day, you can take part in a different  protest to bring down those companies that have agreed to join in the workfare scheme.  Today’s turn is A4E.  Why not copy and paste the following email and send it to all known A4E email addresses (included below the email)?  Hopefully, if enough of us do it, we will bring down their system.

workfareI believe all companies in the UK should pull together to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage.

Yesterday, aside from a few votes against, Labour lined up with Conservative and Lib Dems to enable the workfare bill to go through by abstaining. Not only did politicians enable a retroactive law be enacted, they also deprived 225,000 people of justice, effectively robbing £130 million in welfare payments people were lawfully due.

You are one of the biggest beneficiaries of Government welfare policy. In 2011 your company’s turnover was £180 million, 100% of which came from the public coffers. Out of this your bosses shared out £11 million between them.

You have a catastrophic record of failing to meet even the paltry minimum targets set by the Department for Work and Pensions for finding people jobs on the workfare scheme, the Work Programme. You have more chance of finding a job without your bullying ‘back to work’ tactics.

Not content with what amounts to the officially sanctioned scam of lucrative welfare to work contracts from your  friends in Government there are numerous accusations of fraud against you, where records are apparently falsified, so that you can claim even more public money for not doing your job. You are further subsidised by the public by your use of mandatory unpaid labour within your company as well. The costs of Workfare are socialised while the profits are privatised.

I have worked with A4E myself regularly in my capacity as a council worker for children and young people’s services.  I am horrified by the fact that you have agreed to sign up to this scheme.  It proves that you have no clue about what is happening at grass root level, where your own employees are truly committed to helping people make the most out of their lives.  It is these same employees that will now be left with doing your dirty work, effectively telling their service users they will be expected to perform slave labour.

Pull out, while you still can.

The email addresses I have sent this to are:

Email A4e: customerservices@a4e.co.uk
Head of Communications: kmccrory@a4e.co.uk
Media Relations Manager: jkerr@a4e.co.uk

adutton@a4e.co.uk

If you know more email addresses, please add them here.

Yesterday, protest was directed at the Salvation Army.  You can still jump on that bandwagon by going to the Boycott Workfare website as well.  Also, make sure you join  the Boycott Welfare Facebook event.

Together, we CAN make a difference!

I hate them.  Not just out of some misplaced sense of jealousy because I don’t drive.  I quite simply can’t drive.  I can park (even parallel), I can change gears, I can reverse around a corner.  What I can’t do, however, is steer.  At all.  In fact, the only car I have ever driven without banging into a curb or driving straight over the roundabout (and I do mean STRAIGHT OVER), was a 1969 Morris Minor.  But I thank my lucky stars for the fact that I can’t drive, because drivers are, quite frankly, wankers.  All of them.  Not just the taxi drivers or the white van men, just all of them!

My Mode of Transportation

I walk and I cycle.  And I have never felt like I couldn’t get anywhere.  If the destination is a little bit too far, I’ll take a train or a bus and walk from there.  Besides the fact that it is reasonably convenient, it is better for the environment and a whole lot better for my health as well.  I try to instil these values into my son as well, who, at just five years old, cycled from my home to the beach, a good hour or so bike ride across hills and busy roads.  Find me a five year old who can do that when he or she has parents that drive everywhere?

My Major Gripe

My major gripe at the moment is with a senior school where I live.  The school is in the middle of a residential area and parents INSIST on driving their kids to school.  As a consequence, the whole residential area is at a complete standstill twice a day.  This wouldn’t annoy me so much, because I don’t actually live in that particular area, so I don’t have a problem with crubs getting destroyed, not being able to get in or out of my own house, or the exhaust fumes.  What does annoy me, however, is that me and my son either cycle or walk there and almost get ran over every bloody time.

What I Have Done

So, I’m seriously pissed off and I’m taking action.  I hate people who complain to others but refuse to stand up and actually do something.  So far, I have done the following:

  • Play lollipop lady every morning by simply jumping in front of the cars and letting everybody pass at a leisurely pace.
  • Petitioning residents to ask for a solution and sending this to the local council.
  • Write to my MP.  He recently wrote a letter saying changing the area into a one way system wasn’t feasible.  Fuck a one way system, parents need to stop dropping their kids off in front of the school.   The school is within walking distance of a town centre, a large supermarket and a number of other main roads, why not drop them off there?
  • Speak to the school.  Who, by the way, casually informed me that the children at their school could not be expected to have sufficient road sense, mainly because the school is responsible for these children and doesn’t want to get sued.  No, of course kids don’t have any bloody road sense if they get driven EVERYWHERE!!!

I am now in the process of making a huge sign with “kids can walk” or another catchy text, which I intend to hold up to the cars whenever I get passed them.  The other thing I have done is scream at any driver who does the typical driver thing and just simply doesn’t look.  If you are a driver, do you have any concept of the fact that you are driving in a huge killing machine?  Getting ran over by a car doesn’t just hurt, it kills.  So open your fucking eyes and pay attention to the rest of the road.  Particularly since I may only be a person on a bike, but I still have right of way!  I don’t have a driver’s license and even I know shark teeth on the road mean you bloody well have to stop.

I would really welcome any ideas anybody else has about what I can do.  I’m getting to the point now that I’m tempted to track the cars and simply slash their tires, or write offensive messages on their cars with battery acid or something (I did write a message of sarcastic thanks in the dust on one of the cars the other day).  So yeah, any thoughts, let me know!

Have you ever wondered whether there is anything you can do to change the world?  The answer to that is that yes, you can.  In fact, too many people right now sit on their sofas and do nothing but complain about today’s world.  They complain about the economy, they complain about the government, they complain about their lives.  But they do nothing about it.  These people, really, have no right to speak.  Tell them that they can make a change and they will say no one will ever listen to them anyway.  They are just one person, so what difference can they make?  In fact, they – and you – can do a lot!

Using Social Media

One great way to get any message that you want to convey across is to use social media.  Facebook is a fantastic medium to reach a really wide audience. There are loads of pages and groups you can join where you can get inspiration.  Not just that, you are instantly not alone.  A word of warning: you will find out who your friends really are.  Many will say that they grow tired of your ideologies, hide your picture feed (at best) or remove you from their friends list (at worst).  If that is the case, don’t change what you are doing.  Be happy for the fact that you got to know that some people find it more important to tell the world what they had for breakfast and that you no longer need to associate with them.

Sign and Create Petitions

There are lots of online petition websites.  You can go here to sign petitions for causes that you agree with and know that they will be sent to the right people.  Sign up to their newsletters, so you receive an email when a new petition is made available or when action is taken on the basis of a petition that you have signed.  There are also a number of websites where you can start your own petitions, the UK Government’s e-petitions website being a good example of this.  These petitions are all viewed and although action may not be taken, your message will at the very least be heard.

Change the World by Focussing on the Nice Things

You can change the world by telling everybody what you think about the economy and the government.  However, rather than fighting the bad, you can also support the good.  The book 365 ways to change the world, for instance, will show you a day by day idea that you can do to change the world.  Most of these ideas are free, which is great as well.  The ideas are about raising awareness about the goodness that is out there and you can contribute to that.

So, at the risk of sounding like a horrible politician myself: change starts at home.  You, as an individual, can change the world.  You can do things that make a difference and your views can be heard.  I would love to hear ideas you have about how to make the world a better place, please share!

What do you think of when you hear the word “pacifist”?  With very negative portrayals in the media, many people think of unshaven, skinny men with long hair and beards and women in cheesecloth dresses and unshaven armpits.  Let me start by saying that the way you look has absolutely nothing to do with being a pacifist or not.  You can be a pacifist in a $10,000 Armani suit, or if you are butt naked.

What Are Pacifists?

Pacifists are people who do not believe in physical violence.  There are a lot of songs that describe what a pacifist’s beliefs are, my personal favourite being Donovan’s Universal Soldier.  In here, he describes that it is all fine and well being against war, blaming it on governments, but it is the soldiers that are willing to take up arms and give up their lives – as well as taking other people’s lives – that are just as much the cause of wars.

Pacifists aren’t only against wars, they are against any form of violence and aggression.  A good example of this is expressed by Bob Dylan in his song The Times They Are A Changing.  Another personal favourite!

So Aren’t Pacifists Just Doormats?

For some people, being a pacifist means you just let yourself be walked all over.  It is a shame, because it is due to these people that outward violence still exists.  Pacifists are not push overs or doormats.  They are people that believe a solution can be found by solidarity, by standing strong together, by writing and talking and simply by showing up.  A very good example of a large group of pacifists is the Occupy movement.

How Pacifists Try to Change the World

Don’t mistake pacifism with diplomacy, by the way.   Indeed, pacifists like to use words to change the world.  The famous statement that the pen is mightier than the sword is a great example.  Diplomacy, however, is where people give and take a little bit.  For pacifists, it isn’t about giving and taking.  It is about laying down arms and finding constructive solutions to get along without any outward shows of violence.

As stated earlier, however, pacifists don’t just only focus on war.  They focus on all inequalities in the world.  The gap between rich and poor, oppressive governments and so on.  They do this by collectively standing up and saying “no more”.  However, they don’t then start riots, they don’t start looting or pillaging.  They respect every individual in the world, even the ones that are being complete assholes right now.  Everybody deserves a second chance, everybody can see sense.  For instance, during the Vietnam war, many veterans took up position with protestors, demanding an end to the war and peace in the world.

True pacifism is hard to maintain.  Unfortunately, protestors are often attacked by the police.  Considering pacifists will not, ever, have an outward show of violence, it is clear that these attacks are almost always unprovoked.  I have been in such a situation myself.  I was at the celebration of a football club in Rotterdam, many, many years ago.  There were 100,000 people gathered in the town centre (I don’t care about football, but this was bound to be a good party!).  Eight young lads started being irritating and an inexperienced police officer pulled his weapon and shot one in the leg.  Pandemonium broke out instantly.  100,000 people, me included, were kettled away from the town centre by the Mobile Unit, who were walking, slamming their shields, or on horseback.  We were then pushed away with water cannons and lastly, we were tear gassed.  I was just there trying to have a good time and even me, who prides herself on being a pacifist, got pushed so far that had there been a brick near me, I would have thrown it at the police.  By the way, the town got completely trashed and looted, which was perhaps an even bigger shame than the police brutality that was shown that day.

Frank Zappa was always going to be a controversial character.  He was a composer, a singer, a song writer, a guitarist, a recording engineer, a producer and a film director.  Someone as busy as that is bound to have some critics running around saying that this is only possible when consuming copious amounts of drugs.  It’s probably true that Zappa used huge amounts of drugs, but there’s nothing really wrong with that now is there?

What Zappa’s Career Has Given Us

Thanks to Zappa, we have fantastic pieces of jazz, rock and concert works.  He has made some fantastic feature films and designed many album covers.  He brought us art in music and image and we should thank him for this.  He basically managed to combine real classical music, with influences such as Stravinsky and Weber, with rhythm and blues through his drums and electric guitar.  Best of all, he was completely self-taught, which makes it so hard to place his music into some sort of box.  But then, why do we need to categorize everything?

Zappa’s Iconoclastic View

Zappa had well defined and outspoken views on political processes, organised religion, mainstream education, social movements and social structures.  He fought for freedom of speech, strongly believed in self-education, wanted censorship to be abolished and felt that everybody should participate in politics.  One of the things he talked about was the Illusion of Freedom and this is seriously current again today.  It seems as if when Zappa died, his statements on the Illusion of Freedom died with him.  I say they need a revival!

The Illusion of Freedom

According to Zappa, the illusion of freedom is going to continue, so long as it brings a profit to those creating the illusion.  Once it becomes too expensive to maintain the illusion, the scenery will be taken down, the curtains will be removed, the tables and chairs will be moved out of your way and you will see what has actually been in front of you all along. What does this mean to you?  Take into consideration, for a minute, that we live in the worst economic depression since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Indeed, economies crash and rebuild every seven years, but never to this extent so what has gone wrong?  What about the fact that suddenly, we are seeing more and more people interested in conspiracy theories like the New World Order, the Bilderberg Group and the Illuminati? It seems people are so incredibly disgruntled with what is happening around them.  Does this mean that the illusion is becoming too expensive to maintain, or are we clueing up to what is going on around us and are we getting sick of all the crap around us and just having to take it?  How tired are you of the culture of fear that we seem to live in?  Have you noticed that the more were are made to fear the unknown, the more ready we are to give up social liberties?

For instance, try applying for a passport nowadays.  The amount of details they need of you – including your fingerprints by the way – is unreal.  Then, when you come to use your passport, you are restricted on what you can carry with you.  You are patted down to check whether you are not carrying something untoward (like a bottle of breast milk).  And we accept this?  Why, because we are told that everybody is a potential terrorist and it is for your own protection.  Do you actually listen to what that means?  That means you are seen as a potential terrorist.  Do you feel safer at an airport when you are patted down by little boys barely out of their teens with huge automatic rifles?  I don’t.  So why do you accept it?  THAT is what the illusion of freedom is.

Sounds made up doesn’t it, the title of this particular entry? But it is very true! I was watching an episode of The Revolution Will Be Televised (an absolute must watch, by the way) and found out there are a number of stores that are conveniently based in Monaco or Switzerland, where they don’t have to pay taxes. Two of those stores are located in our modest and small town centre, being Dorothy Perkins and Boots. Off me, my friend and her daughter went with our stack of post-its and played our part in the post-it revolution 2012.

Placing the Post-Its and Noticing their Removal

So, I stuck two post-its on the window of Dorothy Perkins, as you can see, and noticed they were removed within about five minutes. Feeling it as my civil duty to tell people what was going on, I went into the store and told one of the shoppers that if they bought something, they would be financing Philip Greene’s new yacht. That’s all we did. Nothing scary, nothing dangerous, nothing that could, I guess, be classed as aggressive or illegal.
What Happened Next

Me, my friend and her daughter went into a sandwich shop and noticed a security guard standing outside, seemingly just waiting there. My friend already said that it looked as if he was waiting for me. And indeed, as soon as I stepped out, he came up to me and said it seemed we had a problem. He asked what we were doing at Dorothy Perkins and I told him what I’ve said above, as well as explaining why and where we had gotten our information from. His response was that in today’s day and age of riots and other problems, the shop assistants at Dorothy Perkins felt threatened and had called him. What really? Funnily enough, at that exact moment, a group of young athletes started giving a boxing demonstration. I asked the security guard whether they would get a warning too. After all, isn’t boxing a whole lot more aggressive than a post-it? Unless you’re petrified of paper cuts, obviously.
The Right to Peaceful Protest

Me and my friend immediately stated that we felt we had the right to peaceful protest. Evidently not so. Billingham town centre is completely privately owned and hence, we have no rights at all. We are in private property, rather than public property. Now, we have since found out that some of the regeneration of the town centre is sponsored by the Council, does that suddenly give us the right to protest again? If you know, please let me know!!!!

The post-it revolution 2012 is a movement that originally started in Australia. It’s aim is to help open people’s eyes to what is going on around them in the world. This is achieved in a completely pacifistic, positive manner, using nothing but post-its and interesting messages. It took little time for the group to go global. Best of all, anyone can join, there are no membership fees and you won’t get into trouble (unless you live somewhere where post-its are illegal…).

How Does it Work?

So how does the revolution work? Basically, you arm yourself with a stack of post-its and a pen, and you stick messages in relevant places. Some examples:

Target CCTV camera notices with a message saying “Big Brother is watching you” or “1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual”.
Ask people to look around them by putting up messages saying “Monsanto kills” or “this product was tested on animals” (works on anything Nestle or P&G by the way).
Be thankful when someone does something nice to you. Leave a post-it saying “thanks for the great service” if you’ve had a nice cup of coffee somewhere

Is is Really that Simple?

The short and sweet answer: yes it is. You would be surprised at how many people notice what you are doing. How many people feel empowered by your messages. How many people actually make a change in their own lives because of the messages you leave. And, if you’re lucky, the will join the post-it revolution movement themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Can I Put on Post-Its?

Anything you want. Anything that matters to you. However, the group is very much about making the world a better place in a non-violent, positive manner. If you are a racist, a biggot, a wife beater, a sexist pig, or any other term you could think about that basically describes a brain dead moron, please stay away from this movement. No one will enjoy reading those types of messages, regardless of you exercising your rights of free speech.

How Do I Join?

There is no official membership list for the Post-It Revolution. However, they have a YouTube Video (new one to be released soon) and a Facebook page (actually two) that you can join. Other than that, it is an anonymous group, so you really need nothing other than some post-its, a paper and a good sense of humor.