What’s Happening newsletter 7/7/22

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Welcome to this week’s Real Media / Phoenix Media Co-op newsletter.


  • Angus Rose sat outside parliament on a hunger strike for 37 days earlier this year. He said he would continue until his death unless MPs got a proper briefing about the latest climate science by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance. Shortly after Real Media interviewed him, we heard that his demand was finally met. Campaigners are asking people to demand their local MPs attend that meeting on Monday 11 July. After the meeting, Real Media will be reporting how many bother to attend, and will be releasing its film of Angus’s interview.
  • In Palestine, Saturday 2 July saw Israeli occupation forces shoot a 17-year-old student, who later died from his wounds. This reportedly made him “the 78th Palestinian killed by Israeli forces this year, and the 16th Palestinian child”. Meanwhile, human rights group B’Tselem has accused the US government of whitewashing the Israeli military’s murder of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
  • On Saturday 2 July, queer campaigners in London protested police presence at Pride with a 23-minute “die in”. They halted the march while chanting instructions about how to support people facing police ‘stop and search’ processes.
  • In the US, there were large protests in Ohio at the weekend after police officers murdered an unarmed Black man after a ‘traffic stop’. Police reportedly fired “about 90 rounds” and hit him “about 60 times”. This came just days before a gunman murdered six people at a Fourth of July parade in Illinois, reportedly bringing the country’s total of mass shootings this year to 315.
  • Shut Down T&S Rabbits, a grassroots campaign group opposing animal rights abuses and fur farming, will hold a demonstration against Phil Kerry, owner of T&S Rabbits, on 10 July. Details of the time and meeting point can be found on the campaign group’s social media.

In depth

United Voices of the World workers continue resistance

Bar workers from the grassroots union United Voices of the World have been in dispute over pay and conditions at a Brighton Pub, the Saint James Tavern. ​​They allege the landlords have used intimidation, aggression and union-busting tactics in the face of a strike about zero-hours contracts and poverty wages, but support for the workers is growing.  On Saturday 2 July, large numbers of people turned out to support them in a vibrant show of resistance.

In London, UVW cleaners at luxury private flats secured a pay rise after voting to strike.

Just Stop Oil art gallery actions 

Mostly younger activists supporting Just Stop Oil carried out a series of protest actions at UK art galleries over the past week. They targeted famous paintings in Glasgow, Manchester and three London galleries.

Real Media filmed two young people at the National Gallery on Monday as they unrolled a new version of Constable’s The Hay Wain in which the river had been turned into a road, the hay cart had an old washing machine in it, and an oil refinery could be seen in the distance while aeroplanes flew overhead. The new image was attached with a special low-tack tape – advice was taken from an expert art restorer beforehand. They then fixed their hands on to the frame and gave short speeches explaining their actions.

A group of Year 7 students by chance had been having an art lesson nearby. As the action began, they clearly understood what it was about, and cheered and clapped after hearing the first speech. 

Museum security cleared the gallery and removed the painting. The National Gallery reported that minimal damage had been rectified and the painting went on display to the public the following morning. At the Royal Academy yesterday, activists glued their hands on to the frame of a copy of The Last Supper at the Royal Academy.

The series of actions, along with a track invasion at the Silverstone Formula One race, achieved some corporate media attention, and a lot of debate on social media.

Watch the film and read the full report at https://realmedia.press/the-hay-wain-reimagined/

Haringey tree protectors

Last month, Real Media reported on a local campaign to save a tree from being felled by Haringey Council in North London.

Allianz, a giant insurance and asset managing corporation, “implicated” the 100 year-old plane tree in some subsidence at a nearby property. Instead of settling the claim, they are pursuing the council and demanding the tree is felled.

Activists have discovered that local councils are regularly footing the bill for insurers and felling mature trees on an almost industrial scale. 18 trees are due for the chop on the same road, 200 across the Borough, and one report suggests around 10,000 trees are felled across London alone each year.

Haringey claims to put climate and environment first, but campaigners believe that the Cabinet Member for Climate Action has obstructed them at every step, delaying a public meeting for months, issuing a Notice To Quit and threatening a court order BEFORE that meeting, and then trying to control the agenda and stifle their voices at that upcoming meeting.

This may be about just one tree, but how many single trees will it take before policies are changed and urban trees are protected for the benefits they bring?

Read the full story at https://realmedia.press/haringey-tree-protectors-2

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