Thursday, 20 December 2012

WAN December news round-up

We Are Norwich, (WAN), is buoyed with the success of its counter demonstration against the far right racists of the EDL in November, and has not been resting on its laurels.

By tweets, email, and Facebook the group has maintained contact with its many members, and has agreed to keep going as a broad coalition of many different individuals and groups.  The main goals remain, that is, to to counter bigotry and social injustice, and to act locally where bigotry or social injustice seems to be an issue.
On 7th December some WAN members supported the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) by joining a demonstration "with placards, whistles and horns" outside the offices of Atos, St Mary's House, in Norwich.  Their goal was to raise awareness of how the Work Capability Assessment system and Atos are affecting disabled people, to protest the cuts to vital services, and to demand a rethink of this policy from the government.  DPAC claims that sick and disabled citizens have actually died after Atos has declared them "fit to work" and WAN wanted to be represented with those who speak up for those least able to defend themselves here in Norwich.
On the 8th December two WAN activists, including core member David Peel and keen activist Ellen Nierop (with her daughter), spent their work lunchtime making a peaceful protest in front of tax dodging Starbucks.  

After all, Starbucks and other international tax avoiders benefit from Britain's infrastructure, such as taxpayer-provided health care for employees and taxpayer-provided decent roads upon which to move their supplies, so it seems unjust not to contribute towards these costs, doesn't it? 

Ellen wrote: 
In solidarity with UK Uncut's day of protest against Starbucks tax avoidance, I asked if anyone was around for a spontaneous protest. Despite the short notice, David Peel turned up and we held a well supported and silently peaceful demonstration.

The placards we held highlighted their multi million pound corporate tax dodge, the fact that as a dinnerlady I have paid more UK tax in the last 3 years than they have, and they have a turnover of billions but contributed nothing to the economy, and that they have compounded the austerity we are all supposed to be "in together".

We had dozens of people agree or congratulate us on what we were saying, and several who turned away from the doors and asked to be redirected to local coffee shops.

The fact there were only two of us seemed to have a big impact, a majority of the public were with us and there were hundreds of people who read the placards and learned a bit more about what has been going on. Even if they made no comment I hope it made them think about what the corporations are doing. 
David added: 
This was one of the most quietly effective protests I have attended, for these reasons: We were not a big intrusive and disruptive presence, so we didn't intimidate anyone. We silently held up our placards instead of shouting slogans at people and that in turn gave people the confidence to come and talk to us, and the vast majority supported us and were angry at Starbucks.  It also meant the police left us alone - two officers passed us and didn't give us a second glance.  Three staff spoke to us, and we made it clear we were there for them too

A good day, and my thanks to Ellen for organising this and producing great placards, and to everyone who walked past, read them, and got the message.

Ellen's sweet little daughter would not be left out and made her own placard.  The letters translate phonetically as "people have to give money to peoples school (something) is not fair to steal money".  She wrote it herself based on Ellen's explanation of what they were going to do and why.  

The campaign to highlight rich tax dodgers, however, is far from won and continues.

You can act too.  For example, here is a petition from small bookshop owners Frances and Keith Smith, squeezed by tax-dodging Amazon.  Read through their argument, and decide for yourself whether to sign or not.

Then, finally for this month, on the 12th December WAN held a "really positive organising meeting" under the leadership of Nick O'Brien and Julie Bremner with "a very respectable turnout for a freezing Wednesday night just before Christmas".  The meeting listened to comments from the floor and the group suggestions that had been sent in earlier, and some plans for next year were discussed.

Thanks were given for all those who supported WAN on the crucial demonstration against the EDL march on Norwich in November, and for the continuing support for WAN, a local activist group intent on challenging bigotry and injustice in our neighbourhood.


Some links:

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
UK Uncut
Starbucks Actions Nationwide gallery
WAN - We Are Norwich

No comments:

Post a Comment