Today in London riotous history, 1990: anti-poll tax riot rocks the West End.

past tense

In 1989 (Scotland) and 1990 (England & Wales) the Conservative Government introduced a new tax to replace local rates as a way of funding local councils. The Tories called it the Community Charge. Everyone else called it the Poll tax, after the famous levy that triggered the 1381 Peasants Revolt. The poll tax was radically different from the rates in that it was a single flat-rate charge on everybody, based on the number of people living in a house rather than its estimated price, and not taking account of income or property ownership (as the rates system had). So everyone would pay the same rate set by the local council, regardless of how rich they were or how much their property was worth.

Obviously this threw the burden of paying for the Council on the working class, and lightened the load for the better off, by thousands (millions in some…

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The COVID-19 crisis and the loss of freedom

The South Essex Heckler - Archive


This piece was written at the end of the first week of an initial three week lockdown imposed by the UK government in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.. A lockdown that could well end up being extended if the authorities deem it necessary to do so. A lockdown in which the state has granted itself extensive powers to ease or tighten restrictions and extend as it sees fit. A lockdown that for many people in the country is probably the most drastic measure disruptive to normal life since the end of WW2.

Note we said for many but not for all. During the bitter miners strike of 1984/85, in a ruthless bid to break it, many mining communities were subject to police enforced lockdowns. The nationalist communities in the six counties in the north of Ireland who, until the Good Friday Agreement, experienced numerous…

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Statement from Save Southend NHS

28 March Update

Filth bigging themselves up

Policing the Corona State

Police time is being wasted with calls reporting neighbours who’ve had “two runs”. Humberside has become the first police force to create a dedicated online “portal” where people can submit written tip-offs if they spot gatherings of more than two people. Other forces including West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset are following suit. N.B. The legislation doesn’t actually limit you to going out once for exercise, so people having two runs are not breaking the law (just the guidance).

In Greater Manchester, police have interpreted lockdown instructions on regular exercise to say you cannot drive anywhere to do so. You can only walk, cycle or run to and from your home, they’re handing out leaflets reading ‘Why are you here today?’ And here is Northumberland’s stated policy: if you refuse to go home, you’ll be fined.

Devon and Cornwall police were stopping people at road…

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Amazon Workers International: Common Statement

amazing workers

While the Corona pandemic has already killed thousands of people and will kill many more, Amazon warehouses continue to operate 24/7. Governments around the world order social distancing, but at the same time they force workers to continue to work. Amazon packages flow through cities that, due to the high spread of the virus, have been sealed off from the rest of the world. In countries where the public is prohibited from gathering, Amazon is allowed to operate as a “state within the state”, free to endanger and exploit us, while we continue to work by the thousands in enclosed spaces. Subcontracted truck drivers and couriers – the veins of our global economy – move the virus between warehouses. Uncountable totes pass between worker hands and facilities. In effect, Amazon forces workers to risk infecting each other and then bringing the virus home to our families, allowing for its further…

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Justice for Student Central Bar Staff!

Independent Workers Union of Great Britain - Universities of London Branch

On Monday 13 March, all 13 members of Bar Staff at Student central were informed that the bar was closing on that day for an indefinite period of time. Despite multiple questions and requests regarding their salary, Aramark failed to provide any answer with regards to this matter. The only response offered was that the staff members should seek to apply for Universal Credit, a wholly inappropriate response given the urgency of the matter and well-known wait time Universal Credit applications involve.

IWGB wrote to Wendy Thomson on Thursday stressing the importance of having this issue resolved as a matter of urgency, as some of the workers laid-off have been without pay for more than a week now. However, UoL has refused to provide any response with regards to this matter.

As mentioned in our previous email, we have now launched a public campaign and the situation of these workers…

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Solidarity call from the United Voices of the World union