Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mongolian Magic

I know I have not put up a post for some time, I haven't been inspired. Anyway you won't get much out of me because I am off to Mongolia for 3 weeks. If anything of interest happens and I am near a computer and internet I might do a Mongolian post. Seemingly in Ulanbaatar there is a nightclub with a statue of Stalin on the dance floor. If this exists and I see it I will post about it. Hopefully I will make friends with a nice yak like the one in the picture.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Cricket for Iranian workers: Hopi vs LRC

Now I think cricket is boring, but this is likely to be a good laugh and in a good cause . Its on the 1st August 2009 , starting at 12 at Low Hall Sports Ground , E17 . Afterwards there will be a social at Dalston Social Centre.

Details on Facebook and a blog set up for the event :

The plans are slowly taking shape for what should be an excellent day with cricket, a barbecue, a bar, and some promising entertainment in the evening provided by our fans and supporters.

We have set ourselves the target of 1,000 pounds but are confident that we can ago well above this if we put our minds to it and draw in as many of our vast supporters as possible. Such funds are absolutely central to our comrades in Iran organizing in the most difficult of situations. Whilst sanctions continue to hit the Iranian people and the bellicose Israeli rhetoric continues, trade union rights are banned and Iranian workers risk life and limb organizing for the most basic workers’ rights in the face of a brutal theocratic regime.

John McDonnell MP: "an excellent initiative"
This is why it is absolutely vital that the workers’ movement in this country organizes material and ideological solidarity with workers’, women’s and students’ struggles in Iran – they are our natural allies and a true beacon of hope for genuine democracy and freedom.

So, we need need your help to get this event off the ground and to hopefully make it so successful that there will be many similar events for years to come!

Can you?

*Play? The standard will be more ‘village’ than the ‘Test Match’ so even if you have to brush off those pads after years of neglect – get in touch! Both male and female welcome players welcome!

*Umpire/Score? Fancy getting involved in keeping tabs on a game that will probably go down to the wire? Have the expertise to decide whether comrades’ bowling is too far to the left or (or the right?) Know somebody who does? Get in touch!

*Make teas/master a barbecue/pour a decent pint? All this will be central to the day’s fundraising and the more volunteers we have the better.

*Get your union branch to sponsor some of the costs we will invariably have to cover? (Pitch hire, kit, food costs etc)

*Buy one of our wonderful t-shirts/hoodies/cricket shirts?

*Book coaches and minibuses in order to get as many supporters from your locality to come and watch the game?

*Perform? We are particularly appealing to our artistically-minded allies and supporters to put together a fundraising social after the match in a nearby pub

*Get your union/organization to a message of solidarity promoting the event for our blog and in our publicity?

Pleas get in touch with us to offer your help, show solidarity or find out more about what should be an excellent event for both young and old, cricket-lovers and cricket-haters alike!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fuckwits- Gay exorcisms, Conservative Future, Mark Sanford and John Cruddas

Not done this for a while and as usual spoilt for choice, so here is a selection...

Again god bothers getting their knickers in a twist about lesbian and gay people having sex. This really pisses me off. I have known a number of people who are lesbian or gay who have been made to feel guilty and bad for what they are by their families , in the name of religion.

Below is a you tube of an 'exorcism of gay demons' supposedly in this 16 year old boy.Terrifying abuse. What if he gives in and pretends to be straight, living a lie. Not exactly great for any woman he is involved with.

Of course trying to 'cure ' lesbian and gay people is nothing new, as I discussed in a previous post.
As I said before, with reference to Iris Robinson:

Sadly many people are still pressurised to conform to heterosexual norms , usually through family and religious pressure. Others have residual guilt and if they do try to change only end up unhappy and living a lie, trying to please the religious intolerance of people like Ms Robinson.

What is her problem, why does it matter to her if two men have sex together. No one is asking her to indulge in a little girl on girl action, no one is telling her not to be in a heterosexual marriage and family.

Next up for the title of Friday Fuckwit is Conservative Future, all of them. CF have got the video taken down from YouTube, but it can be found here .

New Cuddly Cameroonies, well they seem quite old school in their politics; low tax, questioning climate change, wanting the family and marriage to be 'strengthened.' For them Boris is a trendy radical pin up. Most obnoxious though was the London Conservative Futures Chair, who said :

Personally, I want to be a mother. Every woman in society should achieve that…We’re here to procreate.

Speak for yourself, I have no intention of procreating !

Hat Tip F Word.

Next Friday Fuckwit is Mark Sanford , Republican Governor of South Carolina , not living up to the family values pushed by his Party .

As Hakmao puts it :

Nothing beats a good ‘family values’ sex scandal — they who protest too much can always be relied upon to put their dicks/fannies where they say you shouldn't’t, and lie through their teeth to try to make it all go away.

The press has got hold of his e-mails to his mistress :

The e-mails show the internal struggles of a religious conservative awkwardly donning the mantle of adulterer as he mixed wholesome descriptions of family life with steamier language about “the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light”.

Slightly at odds with a previous quote :

"It is my personal view that the largest proclamation of one's faith ought to be in how one lives his life."

And finally, John Cruddas . Check out Marsha-Jane's post :

One thing I had to bring to your attention though was the way Cruddas voted yesterday in parliament - as you may be aware, there was a vote and debate yesterday in parliament on a motion (tabled by the opposition) to oppose Brown's proposal of holding the inquiry in to Iraq war in secret (although he conceded that they would 'try' to determine that 'some' of the inquiry 'may' be in public), without oaths and any form of possibility of repercussions in relation to the findings. Oh yeah and that the members of 'independent' inquiry were hand selected by the government.
I would like to point out that Jon Cruddas MP and Michael Meacher MP were among those who voted AGAIN with the Government. Comrades, it is about time people stopped sowing (or allowing union bureaucracies / The Guardian /The New Statesman to sow) illusions in politicians who have repeatedly voted against the will of the people. Both Cruddas and Meacher voted for the war and complained since that they 'were misled' or that 'they made a mistake'.

OK, Meacher is a fuckwit as well, but this is more about how some on the left back Cruddas. Well I have made my feelings clear before and nothing since has given me reason to change them.

Suggestions for other fuckwits?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prince Charles has his state handouts increased

Chavez congratulates Ahmadinejad

Now, I don't think that the Venezuelan regime is the same as the Iranian regime, as sort-of suggested in a comments thread on another post, but neither am I as starry-eyed about Chavez are some on the left.

This report should give Chavistas pause for thought.

[Hat tip: Paul.]


Sat, 13 Jun 2009 07:22:33 GMT
Source: Press TV [i.e. Iranian English language news service, HQ Tehran]§ionid=351020101

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has congratulated his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the success of his re-election bid, in yesterday's poll.

In a telephone conversation with the Iranian president, Chavez said, "The victory of Dr. Ahmadinejad in the recent election is a win for all people in the world and free nations against global arrogance," Iran's Presidential Office reported. Chavez usually uses the term "global arrogance" to refer to Venezuela's arch-foe the United States.

The call came after preliminary results were announced by the Interior Ministry saying that Iran's incumbent president has won a landslide victory, gaining more than 64 percent of the votes.

Chavez also noted that the Venezuelan people and government always stand behind the Iranians.

In his reply, Ahmadinejad said that, "Despite all pressures, the nation of Iran had completely won (the election) and indeed this victory shows the clear road for the future.”

Before the start of the election too, the socialist leader had wished Ahmadinejad good luck in his re-election bid.

Speaking to supporters Thursday, Chavez called the Iranian president "a courageous fighter for the Islamic Revolution, the defense of the Third World, and in the struggle against imperialism.”

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Yvonne Ridley - founder of the Mahmoud Admadinejad fan club

Well some socialists are doubtful about the demos in Iran, but are still a bit mealy mouthed about Mahmoud Admadinejad...well he does hang gays from lampposts, deny the holocaust and oppress socialists, trade unionists and women but but but he *is* anti imperialist and so those Iranians will have to just suck it up for the greater good.

Well Yvonne Ridley goes further, cheerleading and no such qualifications (though how socialist it is to send your daughter to a private boarding school I'm not sure , but hey lets not quibble). Here she is swooning over Mahmoud Admadinejad:

I’m quite a fan of Mahmoud Admadinejad who is adored by the common man and woman in Iran. Anyone who vows to narrow the gap between rich and poor can’t be all that bad… unless you’re one of the rich!

Yeah viva the Theocrats, viva Basij!

Hat Tip HP

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Galloway on Iran


Warning, strong stomach needed.

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Videos from the Hopi Emergency Solidarity Meeting on June 20

Here are the videos of Saturday's solidarity meeting, which was attended by over 40 people and raised 230 pounds for our comrades struggling in Iran. The Speakers were Yassamine Mather and Moshe Machover with the Green Party’s Jim Jepps in the Chair.

Yassamine Mather :

Moshe Machover:

Speakers responding to questions and discussion:

Summing up:


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Carnival of Socialism- Iran special

Apologies if this isn't as extensive as usual, but I *volunteered* at the last minute and this weekend is busy .

Here goes...

I want to focus on Iran for this Carnival, apologies but I have run out of time to cover topics more widely. I'll try and do a mini round up later in the week.

Initially there was not that much being posted and Facebook was one of the best sources of info. HOPI have now set up a blog , News from the struggle in Iran, which is keeping track of the ongoing struggles in Iran. This is a useful place for reports , news and videos.

Also found via Facebook (what did we do before !) is photos and news report from an Iranian blogger at Revolutionary Road .

So what are the left saying? Well Dave states :

Given the choice, socialists must extend solidarity– not to mention whatever concrete support they can possibly give – to the courageous young protestors on the streets today. If they are successful, they will open up a the space in which an independent labour movement and a genuine left can re-emerge in Iran.

For those who never thought they would see the day, check out Mod and Punchie agreeing in the comments! Yes really .

Ed also muses on the response of the left:

It doesn't get much more straight forward than this. Either you side with those struggling against an oppressive state, facing down armed thugs and paramilitaries on the streets - those being beaten, intimidated, threatened and shot - or you side with oppression.


It is clear that a wide range of political and social forces are throwing their weight behind the anti-government demonstrations including the Iranian Left and other progressive forces.

This movement, and right now only this movement, can smash the most reactionary aspects of the Iranian state regime - the legally embedded misogyny, the murderous homophobia, the stonings, the hangings, the execution of children, the repression of trade unions, the incarceration of political prisoners. With (a lot of) luck it may even go further than this - this sort of struggle can take people beyond liberal demands into a much more radical consciousness very quickly.

Of course some on the left seem to think Ahmadinejad is a working class hero, whats a few gay people strung up from lampposts or a bit of holocaust denial among comrades.

For more on those who would defend a repressive state check out this post by Yoshie on Lenin's tomb (and the comments).I am pleased to see Lenny taking issue with him.

But but but...he is an anti imperialist I hear you splutter and he doesn't wear suits ...well as Charlie states :

Think about it again. Ahmadinejad may strike up poses, but behind the populism, his government has not stopped neo-liberal economic policies and attacks on workers' rights. Repression of women and minorities is no recipe for national unity or an advanced society, and imperialism has no problem with religious reaction and sectarianism - witness Saudi Arabia again, or what the occupiers have bequeathed the people of Iraq. As for the Palestinians, they need Ahmadinejad's flirtation with Holocaust-denying Nazi nutcases like a hole in the head. And though Iran's right to develop nuclear weapons to counter Israel's may be alright as a debating point, in the real struggle it is worse than useless. The Palestinians want to regain their homeland, not a radioactive ruin.

Coatsey is blogging on Iran and keeping a close eye on some sections of the left and their responses.

Meanwhile Jim considers the different approach of Obama to the demonstrations and compares it favourably with the likely response of his predecessor.Oooh Jim, you neo con you.

Max hopes for an end to repressive theocratic regimes. Don't we all...well no unfortunately.

Shiraz highlight solidarity actions by car workers, so its not just a Gucci revolution then !

Mod has a post highlighting the role of women in the demonstrations .

Meanwhile some solidarity action , on the 18th June there was a protest in London outside the Iranian Embassy. Peter Tatchell reports on it:

Nearly 600 people – both straight and gay – joined last night’s demonstration in London in solidarity with the Iranian people’s mass protests for democracy and human rights. The rally was held outside the Iranian Embassy and included a gay contingent comprising members of OutRage!, Iraqi LGBT and gay Muslims.

“Although there were a few awkward looks, we received a mostly warm welcome from the predominantly straight Iranian protesters,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who had encouraged people to turnout on Thursday night, to coincide with the mass protests in Tehran the same day.

“Some thanked us for joining the demonstration; others specifically emphasised their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. It was a very positive move to have a visible gay presence at the rally. I think we generated considerable goodwill from many of those in attendance.

“We joined the protest to show our solidarity with the heroic freedom struggle of the Iranian people."

I particularly like the fact that Ahmadinejad, who of course said they don't have gays in Iran, is now saying :

“But now in his latest broadside against the pro-democracy protesters in Tehran, he has accused his political opponents of ‘officially recognising thieves, homosexuals and scumbags’ in order to win their votes. The old tyrant has let the cat of the bag. Gay people exist in Iran and they - and millions of others - voted against him. Hurrah!” said Mr Tatchell.

Yep those damn queers...were they wearing Gucci I wonder .?

Still its all going to fizzle out anyway of course.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

ABC: Against Brook Cuts

Angry parents have vowed to fight budget cuts at Brook Community Primary School in Hackney.

The school, which serves one of the country's most deprived areas, and whose kids have a variety of needs, faces a cut of £75,000. This will hit staffing, with Numeracy and Reading Recovery teaching provision in the firing line.

As the cuts were explained to a meeting of the Parents, Carers and Staff Association last week, parents refused to discuss how the school should implement the cuts, and instead declared their intention to fight them.

A meeting this evening decided to launch a campaign called ABC - Against Brook Cuts. Parents plan to write to MPs and councillors, to march to the Learning Trust's offices, and to work with the teachers' and support staff's trade unions. We have been inspired by campaigns such as that waged by Lewisham Bridge parents, and are determined to fight and win.

Please email messages of support to me.

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Hopi blog on Iran

Hopi have set up a blog covering events in Iran.

Check it out here.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Carnival of Socialism

Jim J has asked me if I can help out at short notice and do the Carnival this Sunday. Well I usually spend ages ploughing through the blogs, but this time it will be more of a quickie. But dear readers, you can help. Send me links to anything that I might find interesting . Pop them in the comments to this post.

I did think I would focus on coverage of Iran in the blogs, but all issues of interest will be covered; sex, religion, Jim Denham and anything else you deem suitable for Stroppyblog!


Understatement of the Week

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hopi Emergency Meeting - What lies behind the crisis in Iran?

A plug for a meeting this Saturday , from the Hopi website :

With Yassamine Mather and Moshe Machover. Followed by a fundraising social.

20 June 2009, 2pm
Caxton House,129 St. John's Way London, N19 3RQ

Iranian society is convulsed by a political crisis on a scale not seen for 30 years. Masses of Iranian people have taken to the streets since the results of the rigged elections. Their outrage is justified. The levels of blatant vote-rigging on show was crazy even by the standards of Iran's Islamic Republic regime. The final result underlined that the whole process was compromised from top to bottom:
Ahmadinejad was declared winner by the official media even before some polling stations had closed
The percentage of votes for each candidate were clearly choreographed - throughout results night, none of the candidates' vote varied by more than three percent
Hundreds of candidates were barred from standing in the first place
The main ‘reformist’ candidate Mir-Hossain Moussavi immediately declared the elections a “charade” and claimed Iran was moving towards tyranny. Thousands of protesters (not all of them backers of Moussavi) poured onto the streets and confrontations between the people and the state’s armed forces have escalated by the hour. Millions of people are on the street. The first demonstrator has been killed.

Iranian society remains on a knife-edge. Hopi supporters are in daily contact with Iran and are pushing for maximum solidarity from the workers’ movement here to progressive forces in that country. We are determined that the upsurge against theocratic rule is not derailed by demoguoges and sell-out merchants from within the regime itself. Come along to hear more about what is going on.

Read Yassamine Mather's assessment of the elections:

Thoughts anyone on the election and Hopi's analysis ?


Update on SOAS occupation - support needed

Hat Tip to HarpyMarx:

An e-mail :

Hi comrades

Trade Unionists, students and activists occupied offices in the SOAS building yesterday in protest at the arrest of 9 cleaners by immigration police. 6 have already been removed from the country.

I have just heard that a high court injunction has been brought out against the occupiers and they have less than two hours to comply. They have asked for as many people to get down there ASAP to lend support. Please get down there and help if you can!! Please spread the word

In solidarity
Andy Hewett


Monday, June 15, 2009

Demo today - 4.30 outside SOAS in support of detained and deported cleaners

I received this by e-mail today :

DEMO TODAY - 4:30pm outside SOAS

University cleaners who won living wage detained after dawn raid

Students and allies at the University of London’s School of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have occupied the university today to protest against managers’ attacks on migrant workers.

Nine cleaners from the university were taken into detention after a dawn raid by immigration police on Friday.

Five have already been deported, and the others could face deportation within days. One has had a suspected heart attack and was denied access to medical assistance and even water. One was over 6 months pregnant. Many have families who have no idea of their whereabouts.

The cleaners won the London Living Wage and trade union representation after a successful “Justice for Cleaners” campaign that united workers of all backgrounds and student activists.
Activists believe the raid is managers’ “revenge” for the campaign.

Immigration officers were called in by cleaning contractor ISS, even though it has employed many of the cleaners for years. Cleaning staff were told to attend an ‘emergency staff meeting’ at 6.30am on Friday (June 12).

This was used as a false pretext to lure the cleaners into a closed space from which the immigration officers were hiding to arrest them.

More than 40 officers were dressed in full riot gear and aggressively undertook interrogations and then escorted them to the detention centre. Neither legal representation nor union support were present due to the secrecy surrounding the action. Many were unable to communicate let alone fully understand what was taking place due to the denial of interpreters.

SOAS management were complicit in the immigration raid by enabling the officers to hide in the meeting room beforehand and giving no warning to them.

The cleaners were interviewed one by one. They were allowed no legal or trade union representation, or even a translator (many are native Spanish speakers).

The cleaners are members of the Unison union at SOAS. They recently went out on strike (Thursday 28 May) to protest the sacking of cleaner and union activist Jose Stalin Bermudez.

The occupation has issued a list of demands to SOAS management:

We call on the directorate to request the secretary of state to immediately release the detainees and to prevent the deportation of the three cleaners who are still in detention in the UK.
For the directorate to release a public statement condemning what has happened to the SOAS cleaners and calling for their immediate release and return.
To campaign for the return of the cleaners who have already been deported.
To bring all contract staff in house. SOAS should not use contractors, ISS or others.
To keep immigration officers from entering campus under ANY circumstances or other forms of collaboration with immigration or police. Universities are for education not for state violence and oppression.
A year's wage as reparations for all detained and deported staff.
To hold accountable SOAS managers who were complicit in facilitating the raid and detention of the cleaners, refusing to aid a sick worker and a pregnant woman.
To reinstate Jose Stalin Bermudez, the SOAS UNISON branch chair.
To respect the right to organise in Trade Unions unimpeded.
To provide space and resources for a public meeting to build support for the SOAS 9 and other migrants, in education and beyond, affected by immigration control and racism.
Amnesty for all invoved.

One of the detained cleaners today stated, “We’re honest people not animals. We are just here to earn an honest living for our families. SOAS management are being unfair.”

Joanne, one of the occupying students said,
“Universities should be sanctuaries: places free of violence and aggression. SOAS’s reputation as a university has been tainted today due to the complicity of state brutality in the arrest of the cleaners.”

Graham Dyer, lecturer in Economics of Developing Countries and SOAS branch chair of lecturers’ union UCU, said:
“Our fight has united lecturers, staff and students and has rocked SOAS management. Those managers are now lashing out.

“It is a disgrace that SOAS management saw fit to use a seat of learning to intimidate migrant workers. This is their underhand revenge and we will do all we can to stop migrant workers paying the price.”

The campaign to stop the deportation is supported by Tony Benn, MPs John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, film director Ken Loach, and many trade unionists and student activists.

John McDonnell MP said:
“As living wage campaigns are building in strength, we are increasingly seeing the use of immigration statuses to attack workers fighting against poverty wages and break trade union organising.

“The message is that they are happy to employ migrant labour on poverty wages, but if you complain they will send you back home. It is absolutely shameful.”
Ken Loach said:

“This raid is the action of a bully. Migrant workers are amongst the most vulnerable – poorly paid and far from home.

“Recent action by Unison to secure better wages and conditions at SOAS was good news. Now we wonder if the SOAS cleaners are being targeted because they dared to organise as trade unionists.”

The current occupation is a reflection of broad outrage against these actions by all sectors of society. This raid is widely seen as a continuation of current trends to remove immigrant labour and to maintain impossibly low wages.

Cleaning contractor ISS used the same tactics against tube cleaners that went on strike with the result that key activists were deported. The use of immigration law is bering used for union busting.

contact: 020 7898 4950 or 07958 034 181


SOAS Occupation in support of cleaners

This is a cross post , written By Jim at The Daily (Maybe ):

SOAS occupation: chaos the better virtue

Just got back from SOAS where around thirty people are occupying the director's office in support of those cleaners who were arrested by immigration police on Friday.

The cleaners, who work for private company ISS, were called into a dawn meeting by management on Friday morning. The police, who were laying in wait for them, swooped out and seized nine cleaners - my understanding is that six have now been deported and three others are under threat of deportation, including a woman who is six month's pregnant and a sick woman in her sixties who had a heart attack whilst in custody.

The company who is in a struggle to break the union had previously sacked the grassroots trade unionist Stalin Bermudez who had been waging a very effective campaign for a decent living wage for cleaners at SOAS and elsewhere. This move is clearly part of finishing the union off by deporting trouble makers and cowing the others.

Immigration controls are often used to divide and rule with migrant workers being among the most vulnerable and most poorly paid. The answer is not to demand British Jobs for British Workers but to throw an arm around migrant workers and ensure they get paid the same, are welcomed into the unions and that any attempt to use immigration laws against trade unionists is resisted tooth and nail.

The management was clearly complicit in the arrests at best and helped organise them at worst. The university was informed that the police were coming and they gave permission for the raid to take place and, to some unknown extent, assisted in the ambush that had been laid for their staff.

The demonstration that was called for this morning heard from various excellent speakers one of whom compared these cleaners to the tolpuddle martyrs. Of course the comparison is not exactly direct - after all the martyrs were given a trial before they were deported.

At this point the SOAS workers attending the demo announced they were to hold a union meeting and someone else suggested we put our demands to the management direct, so around thirty to forty of us marched up to the director's office and had a bit of a business meeting with him.

We discussed his role in the arrests, his support for farming out cleaning to a private company, what he could have done to prevent the arrests and what he was willing to do to repair the damage that had been done. It was an emotional meeting on both sides, the director was clearly unhappy with having his office occupied and a bunch of plebs talking to him like an equal and we were unhappy that trade unionists had been deported to Latin American countries including Colombia.

We also put it to him that Stalin Bermudez should be reinstated. He disagreed. Read the full list of demands here.

Now I have a confession. Even as we marched into office I was thinking 'oh, I really need the loo' and eventually I couldn't take it anymore and nipped out to get some relief. It's not the most heroic episode of the day I grant you but wetting myself might have been misinterpreted and certainly a little anti-social for those who'd have to share a cramped space with me so I think it was for the best.

By the time I came back the door was locked and there was a guard posted there not allowing anyone back into the occupied zone. It was all non-violent direct action so it just wouldn't have been appropriate to karate chop the guard down and kick open the door, although if Hollywood ever make a big screen version they might like to write that bit in.

Instead I hung about outside the door and told people who were thinking of leaving that they wouldn't be able to get back in, which meant a couple of people didn't come a cropper at least. Eventually the occupation asked the director to leave as they had things to be getting on with and after a bit of toing and froing that's what happened.

Banners were hung up out the windows and it looked like the occupation was settling down nicely for the duration by the time I left. The fact of the matter is these are serious issues and time is very short indeed. When management collude with the police to victimise migrant workers we don't have the time to observe certain niceties as in some cases this is literally life and death.

At one point the director objected to the idea that he should not have assisted the immigration police because it would have "caused chaos". One woman replied from the crowd said "In this case chaos would have been the better virtue" and I could not agree more.

The anarchic nature of the forcible meeting with the director (where one woman suggested to the director's face that the French had a good idea when they kidnapped their bosses) and the occupation were at times a little, cough, ad hoc, but where it occasionally lacked sharpness this was more than made up for in energy and direction of purpose.

If we are to gain justice for migrant workers we have to act. SOAS management have it within their power to protect their workforce from victimisation, sadly it does not seem that this is something to which they will willingly agree.


Simple acts campaign, strangers into citizens, no one is illegal, national coalition of anti-deportation campaigns, Justice for SOAS cleaners.

Twitter updates.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The trade union case against a consumer boycott of Israeli goods

This should provoke some debate ...

After years of bloody oppression and the appalling scenes of Palestinian death and suffering as a result of Israel's brutal assault on Gaza at the beginning of this year, we all want to do what we can to express our outrage, to stop this ever happening again and to support the Palestinians. It is important that we consider the most effective ways of doing this.

This could include demonstrations, supportive links with Palestinian and Israeli trade unionists and campaigners, support for Israeli army refusers and other action. It could also include stopping arms sales to Israel or perhaps targeted boycotts of firms directly involved with violent, oppressive policies, but in my view, it should not include trade unions advocating a general consumer boycott of Israeli goods, which may be superficially appealing but which in practice could be counter-productive.

Here are some reasons why we should support solidarity not boycott:

1. Positive solidarity achieves much more than passive boycott. Moreover, a boycott can obstruct that solidarity. When the 'cultural boycott started, among the first targets were anti-occupation films, boycotted because they were made by Israelis.

2. As trade unionists, we should seek to help Israeli workers to get unionised, and to unite Arab and Jewish workers in tackling oppression. In contrast, a boycott of Israeli goods could drive companies out of business and workers out of work. Boycotting Israeli goods would punish Israeli workers for the actions of the Israeli government. This is not what trade unionism should stand for.

3. Many trade union and progressive organisations in Israel/Palestine do not want us to boycott Israeli goods (although some do), because they feel that a boycott would cut them off from international links and solidarity.

4. There are some Israeli products that we would positively want people to buy. For example, Sindyanna is an organisation led by women, supporting Arab workers in the Galilee region of northern Israel and Palestinian growers and producers from the Occupied Territories. Sindyanna also carries out community work, is linked with the Workers' Advice Centre, and wants trade unions such as ours to help their work by promoting their products.

5. A boycott of Israeli goods is divisive. The issue divides the Palestinian/Israeli trade union movement, and it divides trade unionists and campaigners in Britain. It would be much better for us to unite around positive solidarity.

6. Although the vast majority of people who support a boycott are sincere anti-racists and are not motivated by anti-semitism in any way, it is unfortunately the case that a boycott would be supported and latched on to anti-semitic groups and used to target Jews. It can also lead to people being boycotted simply for being Israeli nationals, and it is hard to see how this is not racist.

7. Pro-boycott campaigners want us to boycott products and companies including Disney, Marks & Spencer, Arsenal FC, AOL Time Warner, Intel (who make the processors inside most personal computers), and lots more well-known brands and products. Trade union which pass policy for a boycott should expect their reps to urge members to boycott all these. I think that union reps would prefer to inform members about the issue and encourage them to support protests and campaigns rather than give them a list of things not to buy.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

It Says Here ... that the unions will never learn

Sorry, been far too busy striking for any blogging.

To keep up with the Tube strike, try clicking here.

And here is a wee clip dedicated to the loathsome Evening Standard and much of the rest of the media ...

It says here that the unions will never learn
It says here that the economy is on the upturn
And it says here we should be proud
That we are free
And our free press reflects our democracy
Those braying voices on the right of the House
Are echoed down the Street of Shame
Where politics mix with bingo and tits
In a money and numbers game
Where they offer you a feature
On stockings and suspenders
Next to calls for stiffer penalties for sex offenders

It says here that this year's prince is born
It says here do you ever wish
That you were better informed
And it says here that we can only stop the rot
With a large dose of Law and Order
And a touch of the short sharp shock

If this does not reflect your views you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they'd rather you believe
In Coronation Street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement
Of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress?

When you wake up to the fact
That your paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

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Hague on Mandelson and unelected Ministers

OK, I'm quoting a Tory, but Hague is quite funny here . He is highlighting both the amount of unelected members of the Cabinet and the increasing titles and power of Mandy. Check out the first three minutes:

There are real issues here about accountability and democracy .

Of course I don't see the Tories anytime soon calling for the abolition of the House of Lords and the Monarchy and its all in the context of her "Majesty's Government."


Monday, June 08, 2009

The people have voted - the bastards!

"The people have voted - the bastards!" - The best quote from the late Ron Brown. The problem is when the voters vote for you it is great and when they don't they are .......... well you can work it out!

In Scotland - what have we got to say? The "we" being the Scottish Socialist Party. Firstly we got 10,000 votes, 1% its not great but it's 10,000 votes Secondly the No2EU got just less than 10,000 votes. Thirdly, the Socialist Labour Party got 22,000 - more than No2EU and SSP. Forthly the BNP got 2.5% - still 2.5% too many. Fifthly the SNP trounced the Labour Party. Sixthly the Tories did no bad. Seventhly the Liberal Democrats got a seat!

So what do I have to say about it all?

10,000 people voted SSP - we got 140,000 votes in 2003, so its not our best vote but given our public split and everything else I suppose its better than nothing, still not quite on the way up but its not going down. So we take the victory where we can find it.

No2EU despite having the backing and being funded from the RMT, the Morning Star and the "most iconic socialist in the post war period" alais Former BIg Brother contestant - Thomas Sheridan, they got less votes than the SSP, I am sure members of Solidarity will be dissapointed.

I don't want to be horrible but I think the SLP's votes are based on many people voting Socialist Labour Party by mistake, I think they think they are voting Labour, though some might know who they are. In the Scotland, they don't really campaign publicly, there are not many of them and do little public activity.

The BNP got the same vote as the SLP, SSP and No2EU together!! However it was less than half the vote they got in England and Wales!!! So if nothing else that can only be seen as a hollow victory.

The SNP did very well and I think were very pleased they humptied Labour!

And I can't be bothered commenting on Labour, Tories or Lib Dems.

The only thing is I think the Greens in Scotland did nto do that well - I thought they would!

So what now? Of course there will be alls for left unity but how does that happen?

I just want to send my best wishes to Joe Higgins from CWI in Ireland, met him a few times and he was always nice and is a principled class fighter.

You can read more here

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Thoughts ...

At the moment I'm very tired. Five hours sleep and then work. I wanted to stay under the duvet today and hope last night , the election of BNP MEPs , was just a very bad disturbed dream.

Today I haven't been hungover even after a night drinking Mint Bailey's and Jack Daniels, I just feel a bit numb and am trying to work out my thoughts. My feelings are clear, but need to engage the brain.

I'll post more later. Meantime, what should the left do ?

I'm not optimistic ...


This is not their victory. It is our failure.

An eyewitness report of today’s anti BNP demonstration in Manchester.

At 7pm, a small crowd of anti fascists began to assemble outside Manchester Town Hall. Unite Against Fascism erected a gazebo and played a soothing medley of reggae tunes while the latecomers began to appear. A few stray fascists were chased away, before a handful of speakers addressed the crowd. It began to rain, and I cannot recall the speakers’ names, or indeed much of what was said. From here on, braving bouts of rain and freezing cold (whatever happened to June?), Manchester’s anti fascists waited around, occasionally running here, there and everywhere as rumours of Nick Griffin’s presence reached us. The majority of protesters eventually assembled outside a side-entrance of the Town Hall. The entrance was guarded by large numbers of police and BNP security, most of whom openly admitted to supporting the fascists. At around nine, two large cars pulled up outside the entrance and the BNP security attempted to block the anti fascists from the vehicles. Some protesters hurled eggs, while others attempted to break the windows, or block the vehicles’ progress with their own bodies. They were hauled away by the BNP’s security thugs. One woman was injured.

Chasing the fascists’ cars round to another entrance, most of the anti fascists were forced into a police cordon. Myself and a few others avoided this, and were left free to hang around the Town Hall, waiting for the BNP to make their next appearance. At around this point, the only arrest of the night was made, when Chris S was handcuffed by plain clothes officers and arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, ostensibly for saying the word “fuck”. The officers, who repeatedly refused to give their names and numbers, then dragged Chris away to a police van. He was removed to a police station miles away in North Manchester.

In the meantime, two anti fascists were left to confront three fascists sitting on a bench outside the Hall without aid from the majority of the crowd, who continued chanting “the BNP is a Nazi party” nearby. The fascists ran off, shouting “BNP!”. At the same time, police cleared a path outside the same entrance to the Town Hall where the cars had previously been attacked. As BNP security amassed here, the cars once again pulled up and were surrounded by growing hordes of angry anti fascists. As the police and the BNP’s own louts combined to crush the mobilisation against the vehicles, the first rumours that Griffin might already be inside began to circulate. It turned out to be true; the cars and security had been a decoy… Griffin had sneaked in through a back entrance.

The anti fascist protest continued for about two and a half hours. Chants of “black and white, unite and fight!” and “build a bonfire…” began to ring hollow, as more protesters drifted off. At its peak, the mobilisation was perhaps 200 strong. But by midnight, scarcely forty were left. Two brief interludes of fighting broke out in the meantime: the first when police assaulted a drunk woman who was not part of the protest and the second when one of the BNP’s team, wearing a BNP identity badge, was spotted attempting to make a quiet phone call scarcely a few yards from protesters. After news of the BNP’s victory in Yorkshire and Humberside, everything became subdued. Hearing stories of the BNP trailing behind the Greens at the count taking place within the Town Hall, the mood was one of anger and, in some cases, disbelief. The Greens appeared particularly shocked.

A Labour Councillor addressed the anti fascist mobilisation poorly, omitting the fact that the degeneration of her own party had driven many working class people into the hands of the fascists. UKIP candidates came to join the protesters, and were met with fierce accusations of racism from several anti fascists. A SWP member and UNISON steward intervened, arguing that it was not the time to be exposing UKIP. A while later, at around quarter past twelve, the protest disbanded.

In the European elections, the BNP gained two MEPs. They gained a platform in Europe, and large amounts of taxpayers’ money with which to propagate their fascist lies. They managed it not just because of wide mistrust in the Labour Party, or the expenses scandal, or even the economic recession. They succeeded because the Left is fractured and weak. Because the Left didn’t stand candidates (the soft nationalism of No2EU and its pathetic results notwithstanding). We have a political alternative to fascism, we have the answers, and we need to start putting them forward. If the Left doesn’t learn this, things are only going to get worse.

Finally, we can say with utter sincerity that the “vote anyone but the BNP” strategy of UAF, Hope Not Hate etc. has been a decisive failure.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009


I feel sick to the stomach. Fuck fuck fuck.

I remember in the 1980s the NF. I remember them where I lived in SE London and one night , late, hiding down a side road as a gang of them walked by. My partner at the time didn't exactly look white and we were students, targets. BUT they were not elected. They were thugs, but not elected.I remember the fear I felt.

Now the BNP have council seats, a GLA seat and a MEP.

This gives them air time and a gloss of respectability.

The left really needs to get its act together and grow up. We should be gaining ground, instead the far right are making the gains .

We need to fight them . But not with cliched slogans . Its not enough to shout Nazi. We need to expose what they stand for , but we need to argue what we positively stand for. We need to offer an alternative .We need to move on from talking and arguing amongst ourselves.

Its not about in or out of the Labour Party. Its not about point scoring and was the Soviet Union State Capitalist. While we have bickered the BNP have made gains. We are on the back foot and need to get our act together.


Nick Griffin unable to get into the Town Hall

Well done Manchester comrades !!

A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council says BNP leader Nick Griffin has been driven away from to avoid protests that have been set up at the North West region count. She said another effort would be made to get Mr Griffin inside the building.


European Elections

I'm afraid there won't be any live cat blogging on the results tonight, I'm at Dave's and no cats ...but he has bought mint Baileys and Jack Daniels (my other favourite JD after Jim D!). I have no idea why mint Baileys, but I think vast quantities of alcohol may be needed if we see the election of any BNP MEPs.

I may or may not post, depending if I am still able to master the keyboard .

Do please leave your thoughts here as the night progresses.

Its bloody scary the thought of the BNP making gains and the legitimacy and funding that will ensue if they have one or more MEPs.

The left , both inside and outside, should be getting its message across in what should be a sympathetic climate.

Outside the left should have a more united response and not stand against each other and certainly not play the nationalist card like No2EU.

Inside the Labour Party we should be pushing the need for a policy debate, challenge the focus on personalities and the bickering between Blairites and Brownites .

The issue is not about a new leader, a change , its about policy . Johnson, or any other New labour hack won't save the Party from electoral defeat . They won't unite the Party. We had all that with the Brown we need ground hog day until we wake up and see Cameron in no 10?

I'm not even talking about anything really radical, but even a shift towards a Compassite Social Democracy would be a start. And yeah, we do also need a strong left of labour alliance to fight for more socialist policies, but id rather that done under a wussy reformist Labour Party than the Tories. Been there and done that and really don't want to go all back to the 80s thanks.

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McDonnell calls for end to faction-fighting to focus on radical policy change

Press release from John :

The expected disastrous election results for the Labour Party are now emerging, Ministers are resigning in personal faction-fights, and a Cabinet reshuffle is taking place.

John McDonnell MP argues that it is not the faces, but the policies that need to change - and urgently - if the Party is to survive.

John McDonnell MP, LRC Chair, said:

"The Labour Party was founded to transform our society. Undoubtedly disputes broke out in each era and were often bitterly fought but they centred on the basic policies and political direction of the party."

"Party members have looked on aghast, in disgust and anger, at the self interested, self serving political faction fighting amongst Ministers and MPs over the last week."

"It says it all that as Ministers has announced their resignations to the media not a single policy difference has been mentioned. Bouncing through a cabinet reshuffle simply to tie down potential rivals or plotters can only be a short term temporary fix."

"The message of the emerging election results continue to demonstrate the need for policy change if this Government is to survive. People have been alienated by the policies of illegal and immoral wars, privatisation of public services, attacks on civil liberties, unfettered greed in the finance sector and amongst the political class."

Also check out this article by John for Comments is Free.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

More rats leaving sinking ship

Purnell quits Cabinet ...whose next?



to keep out the BNP.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Update on the Ipswich One- Coatsey is a health and safety threat to the YMCA!

Copied from Coatsey's blog. Apparently the YMCA believed him to be a health and safety threat .

Oh well at least they didnt try to use anti terrorist legislation .

Letter from YMCA (received yesterday lunch-time),

“Dear Mr Coates

New Deal Programme. Further to our meeting earlier today, I am writing to confirm that you have been dismissed from the New Deal Programme at YMCA Training, Dencora House.

As Discussed, the dismissal is due to our Health and Safety concerns due to the comment made on your Blog, ‘Tendance Coatesy’ which states ‘Storm Dencora House’. Our Duty of Care to our staff and participants on New Deal programmes remains paramount.” (my emphasis)

Operations Manager, Nofolk and Suffolk. “

Phoning my New Deal Adviser at the Dole she was surprised. Later in the day, another call, and I was told that I would indeed be treated as having been ‘exited’ (suspended) from the New Deal. Which means loss of benefits. She had seen this Blog. A special interview was arranged next week - local manager to be present.

This morning I heard again.

It appears I will not be suspended. No special meeting will take place. I will have to make a new claim. This means I am not sanctioned, but will have to go through the process again. Not immediately though. Not (I wonder why) with the YMCA. But, eventually, with whoever is running this autumn’s new ‘Flexible New Deal’ .

Two observations.

Firstly, it clear that this proved more trouble than it’s worth. The YMCA letter indicates that ‘comments’ from my Blog were a cause for concern. The picture of a medieval Bastille and the legend “Storm Dencora House” ( published start of May) was the cause. Yet, oddly, Dencora House has not been overrun by a pike-waving mob of baying leftists.

The revolutionary acts advocated were two: 1) Send E-Mails to Chris Mole MP, and the YMCA in protest at the New Deal, and 2) Stepping up the Campaign against Welfare Reform and the YMCA-run local New Deal.

It was obviously hard to pin a case against this other than on political grounds – Dodgy for the Dole, Crass for the Christians of the YMCA.

Secondly, there is little doubt that the solidarity shown here, and by many bloggers played a major part in this decision. I would like to thank everyone who did so. We often give solidarity for causes and don’t really think about what it means to those affected. I can assure everyone it means a lot.

There are those in trouble with this system who do not have the networks we have. We must extend our solidarity to them, and continue the fight. As Harpy says, the Flexible New Deal promises to be worse. Some contracts have been won by private prison companies and similar organisations. Their victims need aid, to organise and for that they must have our solidarity.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!


First Jacqui Smith resigns and now Hazel Blears

Not quite sure what to say really, but this is quite a meltdown.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sex Workers' Safety

These are three letters (two from yesterday's Guardian and one from the same paper on May 22nd) addressing the government's continuing attacks on sex workers. The government-funded Poppy Project has previously earned condemnation for its falsified data alleging that 75% of all UK sex workers are trafficked, and its government-sponsored conclusion that the "Swedish model", i.e. criminalizing the purchase of sex, rather than decriminalizing prostitution, is the best thing for British sex workers.

Sex Worker Safety and the Poppy Project

If the Poppy Project is concerned about prostitutes being criminalised, where is it when the law raids, detains and deports women (Letters, 26 May); when mothers working collectively face closure, brothel-keeping charges, imprisonment and separation from their children; or when women driven out of premises risk rape or murder on the street?

While anti-rape organisations struggle to survive, the Poppy Project has received £9.5m from the Office for Criminal Justice Reform since 2003. Its research implying that most sex workers had been trafficked was condemned as flawed by 27 academics. The legal definition of traffiking for prostitution,
unlike all other trafficking, fails to mention coercion. So foreign accents alone can inflate figures, which are then used to justify laws criminalising both clients and sex workers. High figures lead to large funding, not to women's safety.

Cari Mitchell
English Collective of Prostitutes

The Poppy Project claims it is feminist. My feminist organisation in Turkey was approached by a group of sex workers after the police smashed streetlights where they worked, making them vulnerable to attack. Should we have refused to help on the basis that their job legitimises men's violence against women? No, we considered that sex workers knew best how to protect themselves, and supported them. Even if you are against prostitution, you should distinguish yourself from the Home Office - though this is harder if, like the Poppy Project, you are funded by it.

Filiz Gul


Double blow for poor mothers

The government is criticised for not criminalising prostitutes' clients enough (New law on forced prostitution weakened, say women's groups, 20 May). But what about their increasing criminalisation of women? Not accidentally, the crime bill and the welfare reform bill are going through parliament together. If passed, mothers, especially single mothers, will lose income support and must "progress towards work" or take a job; so will over-60s and people with disabilities and their carers, mostly women. If you can't find a job, you must "work for your benefits" ie for £1.73 an hour - the biggest attack yet on the minimum wage - or lose them.

Street workers will be rounded up and "rehabilitated". Those working indoors - 10 times safer than the street - will be raided and their earnings seized by police and prosecutors who collect their own expense claim: they keep 50% of all proceeds - a corruption of law and order which now determines priorities.

At least 70% of sex workers are mothers escaping poverty, homelessness, debt, low wages and domestic violence. Four million children live in poverty. What right has the House of ill repute to judge what mothers do to feed them? Feminists Josephine Butler, Eleanor Rathbone and Virginia Woolf would be horrified that a parliament with more women MPs and ministers than ever has launched this attack on mothers and others with the least, during a deep recession.

Butler campaigned against the criminalisation of working-class women. Unlike anti-prostitution feminists today, she never dismissed the effects of laws on mothers supporting families through prostitution. Rathbone fought for unwaged mothers, on whose work the whole society rests, to have independent money from the state. She influenced the Beveridge report which proposed family allowances. Virginia Woolf feared that women entering the professions could end up dancing "round and round the mulberry tree, the poison tree of intellectual harlotry". It is a man, John McDonnell MP, who has taken the lead in defending women against this injustice. Where have (almost) all the feminists gone? Briefings on both bills and an open letter to sign opposing them are at

Selma James Global Women's Strike
Cari Mitchell
English Collective of Prostitutes
Kim Sparrow
Single Mothers' Self-Defence


Defend Coatsey

Check out Coatsey's post about the YMCA not being too happy with a little criticism and threatening a suspension of benefits :

Some old habits die hard.

It had to come. It has come. YMCA bans Blogger.

This morning I went to Dencora House, Ipswich. For my ‘New Deal’ induction at YMCA Training. The first day in fact. A little while in and I was summoned. YMCA manager and colleague. Copies of this Blog, and Ipswich Unemployed Action’s, on the table. Nervous type. Points to print-out. Picture of medieval Bastille. Legend, “Storm Dencora House“. Liked he it not. Or calling it a “detention centre”. Oh dear. Next, famous (hundreds of viewings), New Deal: YMCA Training, A Major Scandal. Not too fond either.

Finally, their account of this (posted by anonymous, which may not his correct title),

“I have placed this website as the Home Page on all computers at Dencora House today. Hopefully some of my fellow detainees here will read it. There has also been print outs of your articles left around the centre. The staff have been going round ripping them off the walls. They then get put up again.

People who merely found this site as the home page have been undertaking these actions on their own. Hopefully more people will involve themselves in such sabotage. If we make it too much hassle for them to treat us like this then they will be forced to stop!”
Apparently, the chief said, some people are upset about this kerfuffle. Deary me.

The upshot is I face being suspended from all benefits for exercising my (see YMCA Induction Pack), “freedom of conscience”. Apparently human rights do not apply to the out-of-work on the New Deal. Still no doubt they’ll find some way of justifying themselves. YMCA Mission Statement, “Motivated by its Christian faith, YMCA Training’s mission is to inspire individuals to develop their talents and potential and so transform the communities in which they live and work.” Needs some creative re-writing.

Oh yes, one of our many invisible supporters tells us that they’ve blocked their computers’ access to our Blog.

Some faith.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Doctor murdered by pro-lifers - what a joke!

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — When George Tiller was young he dreamed not of being one of the most visible and strident advocates for abortion rights, but of becoming a dermatologist.

The 67-year-old physician, who was shot and killed Sunday in his church, had said his path was altered by a 1970 plane crash that killed his father, mother, sister and brother-in-law.

The former Navy flight surgeon was left with his father's family practice in Wichita, and he soon learned a secret. One of his father's patients asked him whether he, like his father, would perform abortions.

At first, Tiller said, he did not believe his father had risked his medical license by performing then-illegal abortions. But after the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortions in 1973, Tiller began providing them.

By the time he was killed, his clinic, Women's Health Care Services, was among just three in the nation to perform abortions after 21 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus is considered viable.

He was a focus of abortion opponents for years, most peaceful, some violent.

"George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care despite frequent threats and violence," his Tiller's widow, four children and 10 grandchildren said in a statement. They called him "a good husband, father and grandfather and a dedicated servant on behalf of the rights of women everywhere."

Tiller's clinic was bombed in 1985, and he was shot in both arms in 1993 by abortion protester Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon of Grants Pass, Ore.

In 1991, the Summer of Mercy protests organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of anti-abortion activists to Wichita for demonstrations marked by civil disobedience and mass arrests.

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding his name on an assassination list.

The women's clinic is fortified with bulletproof glass, and Tiller hired a private security team to protect the facility. Once outside the clinic, Tiller was usually seen accompanied by a bodyguard.

Anti-abortion groups condemned Tiller's slaying.

"We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today," said Mary Kay Culp, executive director of the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life.

Tiller in 1997 said his "gifts of understanding" helped him bring a service to women that aided them in making their dreams of a happy, healthy family a reality.

Tiller, who in his later years largely shunned interviews and public appearances amid his family's increasing fear of violence against him, said abortion was as socially divisive as slavery or prohibition.

But he said the issue was about giving women a choice when dealing with technology that can diagnose severe fetal abnormalities before a baby is born.

"Prenatal testing without prenatal choices is medical fraud," Tiller once said.

Tiller contended that he pioneered the use of sonogram imaging during procedures, a process that has since been adopted by abortion providers nationwide.

In 2002, Tiller founded ProKanDo, a state political action committee, to help elect abortion rights supporters and support abortion-friendly legislation.

His resume includes the National Abortion Federation's highest honor, The Christopher Tietze Humanitarian Award, as well as the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights' Faith and Freedom Award.