What’s happening: Real Media/PMC newsletter #4

Real Media logo and Phoenix Media Co-op logo side by side

Real Media and Phoenix Media Co-op have teamed up to release a regular newsletter. True to our collective aims, we seek to provide bold, accurate, accessible journalism which is unashamedly internationalist and subversive. A key part of this is covering and sharing the work of people who are resisting and organising against marginalisation, oppression and destruction.

Together we will highlight and amplify the efforts of these people who are struggling in the UK and globally to forge a better world.

The common struggles of oppressed people

Palestinians, Kurds, and Indigenous people like the Zapatistas in Mexico are all engaged in common struggles that unite oppressed people – against empire, racism and white supremacy, patriarchy, and misogyny. The structures that perpetuate these oppressions are often the same. 

Here in the UK we may have some temporary safety. But as austerity, Windrush or Grenfell have shown us, that safety is fragile. And for many, it’s non-existent. These lessons remind us that by staying silent we may feel safe but we’re not – we’re just waiting for more extravagant violence to reach us, not least in the form of climate chaos.

This is why solidarity is so important, connecting us together.


Monday 1 November 2021 marked the seventh anniversary of the resistance by Kurdish-led forces in the northern Syrian city of Kobane. They defeated Daesh (Isis) jihadists there after more than four months of siege, finally driving the invaders out of the city at the end of January 2015.

During the siege, NATO member Turkey blocked aid, supplies and supportive migration to Kobane in a pattern of repression that continues to this day.

On 1 November 2014, people all around the world marched in protest at the siege and in solidarity with those resisting. This became known as Kobane Day. In Haringey, North London, a strong Kurdish community marks Kobane Day each year with a march and gathering.

Check out our Kobane day coverage in our YouTube weekly news roundup here (and at the bottom of this newsletter).


Palestinians also marked an important anniversary in their history on Tuesday. 2nd November is Balfour Day, when in 1917 Lord Balfour essentially signed away land which was never British to begin with, in a colonial act which promised Palestinian land as a national homeland for Jewish people. Watch our Balfour Day film for more info:

Palestine Action marked the anniversary in Bristol by spraying the headquarters of Israeli arms company Elbit Systems with blood-red paint and occupying the roof of the building, while in London they also sprayed the offices of Elbit’s landlords JLL, whom they accuse of profiting from the repression of Palestinians.

Last week, meanwhile, rapper Lowkey joined Palestine Action campaigners in Oldham at Elbit’s factory there. As one activist scaled the arms factory, Lowkey performed to hundreds of protesters outside:

Recently numerous organisations have been showing their solidarity with six Palestinian human rights groups after the Israeli state decided to designate them as terrorists. There is a petition to #Standwiththe6 here

Watch Real Media’s film Palestine Action – a year of direct action against Elbit Systems UK.


Representatives from the inspirational Zapatista communities in southern Mexico continued their European tour by meeting with grassroots campaigners in England and Scotland.

 Since 1994, the Zapatistas have been building direct democracy locally as an alternative to corporate exploitation and destruction. Working outside of establishment politics, they (and other Indigenous communities that have since followed similar paths) have independently developed greener farming structures, greater communal control of resources, resistance to criminal gangs and corporations, as well as all-important independent media.

You can see some images from the Zapatistas’ visit to Scotland here, here, and here.

Over in Mexico, meanwhile, resistance to the controversial ‘Tren Maya’ project also continues. The largely Indigenous communities in the path of this train line have been protesting against the plans for years.


The Trial of the Tufton Street 3

On Thursday 28 October, three activists from Extinction Rebellion’s Writers Rebel were found guilty of criminal damage at City Magistrates Court. This came a year after they sprayed “Lies, Lies, Lies” on the pillars of 55 Tufton Street and poured fake blood on its steps.

Tufton Street houses the Westminster offices of an array of interconnected right-wing, anti-European, and climate-sceptic lobby groups including the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Vote Leave, and the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). If you haven’t come across Tufton Street before, check out Real Media’s explainer film – Hacking Our Democracy.

Clare Farrell, Rupert Read, and Jessica Townsend appeared before a bench of three magistrates and explained why they wanted to draw attention to the GWPF’s lies, as well as the consequences of those lies. Although they were found guilty, they were given a minimum possible sentence of just six months conditional discharge, with very low costs, and the damages awarded were just a fraction of the cost of damage alleged by the building’s owners.

The GWPF has recently changed its name to Net Zero Watch and moved away from outright climate-change denial towards questioning the economics of combatting the climate crisis. Worryingly, with its strong connections to Brexit lobbyists, it is pushing for some sort of referendum on ‘net-zero’. This may be an attempt to run the same playbook of offering a badly-informed public a binary choice on issues that require nuance and deep understanding – but this time round, the wrong outcome could hasten the end of humanity.

For years, activists have been trying to find out who funds the GWPF. But despite its supposed charitable status (which was successfully challenged in 2014), this has proved impossible. Its founder Benny Peiser recently admitted “we have donors who say look, I just can’t make this public because my daughter would be very cross with me”.

Awarding the lightest possible sentences following a guilty verdict suggests the court was swayed by what they heard about the chicanery of the Tufton Street lobbyists.


The COP26 climate conference, meanwhile, has arrived in Glasgow. The UN’s latest annual summit focusing on the world’s climate crisis has faced protests from the start, though. Young people, for example, disrupted a speech by COP26 president Alok Sharma to highlight the controversial “development of new oil fields in the North Sea”.

This came as climate activists faced “aggressive targeting” from police in Scotland.

Elsewhere, Fridays For Future campaigners protested outside Liverpool FC’s stadium to slam Standard Chartered’s sponsorship of the club due to its investment in fossil fuels.

You can also sign a petition calling for an end to the exclusion of limits on military spending from climate agreements.

Other actions

  • Sisters Uncut planned to deliver a letter in London on 2 Novemberto those complicit” in police violence against women. And campaigners from the group stepped that up by occupying the Royal Courts of Justice:

  • Women also protested in Kabul, Afghanistan. They called for people around the world not to turn a blind eye to their plight under the Taliban.
  • Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and London Renters Union (LRU) protested to demand support from Hackney Council in the rehousing of two disabled residents away from their “dangerous inaccessible home”.
  • Animal rights campaigners freed rabbits from a meat farm in Belgium.
  • A collective in Los Angeles “distributed food, groceries, clothing, sanitary products and candy to the community”.
  • There were street protests and other actions in Italy against the G20 meeting.
  • On Saturday 30 October, The United Families and Friends campaign held their yearly protest in London over deaths in police custody.


Demilitarise Education has just begun a series of myth-busting short explainer films, with the first of seven premiering on 3 November:

There will be a protest to oppose the upcoming Malvern arms fair on 4 November. Campaign Against Arms Trade says: “The Three Counties Defence and Security Expo (3CDSE) is due to be held in November and is sponsored by BAE Systems, whose military exports to Saudi Arabia are implicated in thousands of civilian deaths in the civil war in Yemen.” There is also a petition calling for “the Three Counties Showground to withdraw hospitality from arms fairs, to implement an effective, ethical events and hiring policy, and to maintain its reputation for high quality education and entertainment.”


That’s all for this week, but please let us know of any stories and issues you’d like to see more of, and check out our new weekly roundup ‘What’s Happening’ on YouTube on Wednesday evenings (UK time).