Lime trees not limelight

The fight to save the Edgar Street trees continued this week with a demonstration of local residents and activists. Those who attended made their feeling known with music, song and the redecoration of the trees. It was a good turn out for the first demo, but almost inevitably it was hijacked by politicians. In the resulting video that was produced from the demo (which can be viewed here) these politicians feature heavily.

All residents of Hereford have an opinion on the trees, politicians included, but why they have to be thrust to the front of the campaign is unclear. Councillors from the ‘It’s their County’ party in particular have a bad record when it comes to community led organisations. Lets not forget that they destroyed the anti-Edgar Street Grid campaign in order to get themselves elected. And since when did the Tory party give a shit about the environment. Clearly for these individuals the limelight is far more important that the trees.

The people who really matter are those directly affected by the planned road widening scheme. Local residents like Anne-Marie Dossett who are working tirelessly to ensure that the public are listened too. These are the people who are driving the campaign, and should be commended for doing so.

What matters is the opinions of local people who feel passionate about saving these trees. Let hope their views aren’t ignored in favour of self serving politicians

The fight continues.

Herefordshire huntsman fined £3000 after racially abusing hunt saboteur

Lee Peters, huntsman for the Ross Harriers Hunt who operate in south Herefordshire, has been found guilty of racially aggravated harassment and threatening behaviour after a three-day trial at Hereford Magistrates Court.

David Lee Peters – convicted racist huntsman

Peters, a 33-year-old father of two who lives in Coughton near Ross-on-Wye, was fined £720, ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and £200 compensation to his victim.

The conviction relates to an incident on January 7th 2012, when hunt saboteurs attended a meet of the Ross Harriers hunt at the Penny Farthing Inn at Aston Crews near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. Peters shouted racist abuse at a black saboteur and threatened to attack another. The comments were overheard by a local man who was in his garden next to the road. He soon after reported it to the police.

Lee Peters – shortly before his arrest

A saboteur who was present told the Heckler:

“We hadn’t long arrived near their meet, and were parked up in one of two land rovers on a verge on the side of the road. The Harriers left their meet at the Penny Farthing pub and came around the corner, with Lee Peters riding at the front. His aggressive behaviour started immediately.

“He shouted “you’re all going to fucking get it” and either kicked the side of the vehicle or hit it with his riding crop. He then went to the rear of the land rover and looked through the window. He then said very loudly – presumably to the rest of the nearby riders – “Look, they’ve even got a f***ing w** in here.” This was aimed at one of our number who’s a black female.

“Despite this aggressive and repulsive behaviour, we carried on with what we intended to do for the rest of the day- monitoring the hunt and intervening if we believed illegal hunting was taking place.

“Word had obviously got back to Peters that the police were now after him, as he left his horse and took the hounds into a hard-to-reach area on foot, thinking that he could evade the police who were patrolling the area in a number of vehicles. He was arrested not long afterwards.”

In a press release by the Hunt Saboteurs Association, spokesman Lee Moon said:

“Decent people know that racism is completely unacceptable.  The hunting community however appear to be stuck in some kind of time warp where it is still OK to use this kind of disgusting language.  Maybe they would like to join us in the 21st Century  and realise that racism, along with the senseless murder of animals in the name of sport, is something that society no longer tolerates.  We hope the Ross Harriers do the right thing and sack Mr. Peters immediately to show that they do not condone racism.”

This local hunt has a growing reputation for being badly behaved. Only a fortnight ago we reported that one of their supporters was found guilty of assaulting a saboteur on another occasion.

You can find out more about Hunt Saboteurs and opposing by visiting the local sab group’s website, or by reading our ‘interview with a hunt saboteur.’

Hereford city cycle network to be expanded

There has been mixed reaction to the news this month that Herefordshire Council plans to postpone the Broad Street development in favour of upgrading the city’s cycle network.

Rush hour in Hereford

The Council is claiming it’s listened to the concerns of the public after holding community consultations! This would be first. Herefordshire Tory Party, as we well know, only listen to the rich, the masons and the church. Councillor Graham ‘funny handshake’ Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, also claimed that “Although improving Broad Street would have completed improvements made in the city centre over recent years, it is clear that in the current economic climate, now is not the right time to go ahead with the scheme.” So why aren’t you postponing the ESG Graham?

Meanwhile elsewhere in the council, the It’s Our County mob are trying to gain a bit of credit for the councils u-turn. “We know we were a major part of this decision even if the official statements don’t mention our part.” claim the IOC leadership.

The truth behind the councils decision more likely to be linked to future road building rather than political point scoreing. On more than one occasion Herefordshire Council has been told by the Department of Transport that money will not be made available for a by-pass until alternative traffic alleviation schemes have been tried.

The money for the Broad Street development is coming from Destination Hereford: a programme funded by the same Department of Transport. The programme aims to “reduce congestion, increase low carbon transport use and support sustainable economic growth around Hereford”. Common sense would tell you that upgrading the cycle network fits this remit far more that the Broad Street plans.

Don’t get us wrong, we support the idea of improving the cycle network. It could have a lasting positive impact on the traffic congestion in the city, but only if the money is spent wisely and effectively. Unfortunately, with this councils record of delays and fuck ups, it’s quite possible that this could go the same way as all their other ‘great’ ideas.


Next is off. Meh.

So Next, TK Maxx and H&M are planning to move out of the city centre and onto the ESG shopping complex. As you would expect, a lot of hot internet air is flying over this (and probably even some real life hot air too! Oudafortit!). But does it really even matter?

The shop floor staff will most likely keep their jobs and in fact, if bigger sites are secured, more jobs will be created—a bonus for working class people then. At the very least shop employees will be largely unaffected by the possible moves.

As for the claims that High Town will become a ‘ghost town’ if more shops are allowed to move out … well, we’re sure something will fill their gaps. It is likely that with the lack of demand for city centre premises rents will be dropped and become affordable for local businesses to operate in once again.

It seems that some sections of the local population (maybe once including us) moan that the city centre has become a ‘clone town’ taken over by chain stores but then moan again when those same businesses decide to fuck off.

So which one do we want, a High Town affordable to local businesses or one where only multinationals can afford to operate?

Or maybe that’s something for middle class businessmen and women to worry about, because news like this doesn’t really affect the little people like us does it.

Anarchism is…

Anarchism aims to create a society without hierarchical authority. That means no divisions between rulers and ruled, workers and bosses, leaders and followers, order givers and order takers. It means decisions are made directly by those affected by them, not by authorities.

Anarchists seek freedom for all. Everyone should be free to determine their own destinies, limited only be the equal freedom of others. This freedom should be a real, actual possibility, not an abstract right.

Anarchists are opposed to patriarchy and to racism. A free society will not exist while women face fear, discrimination and dependence on men. Neither will it exist where people are judged because of the colour of their skin. Discrimination treats people as representatives of a stereotyped group, rather than free, unique individuals.

Anarchists are not opposed to organisation. Anarchy is about organisation. It is about voluntary co-operation between equals. We are opposed, however, to organisations based on authority and hierarchy.

Anarchists believe in the necessity ofdirect democracy‘. Rather than taking the management of their own affairs away from people and putting it in the hands of others, anarchists favour organisations which minimise authority, keeping power in the hands of those who are affected by any decisions reached. Instead of electing politicians to rule us, we can make our own decisions through face-to-face neighbourhood and workplace assemblies and voluntary confederations.

Anarchists seek the destruction of the state. The state centralises decision making power into the hands of a few, giving them the power to use violence to enforce their will. It separates society into rulers and ruled, and robs us of the freedom to control over their own lives. We will not be free while the state exists.

Anarchists seek an end to private property and state property. Of course, we recognise everyone has a right to personal possessions – we don’t want to make our toothbrushes common property! Private property means the monopoly of wealth, the right to prevent others using it, whether you are using it or not. Property creates an authoritarian relationship between those who own the means of life, and those who use them but do not own them. We think that land should be managed by those who occupy or cultivate it. Houses should be managed by those who live in them, without having to grovel to landlords or local governments. Workplaces should be managed by those who work there, under the guidance of the wider community. In short, “property” should be controlled by those who use it or are affected by its use. No one should “own” (i.e. control) land, housing and productive tools that they are not personally using – whether they are “private individuals” or government officials.

Anarchists are socialists. But we are libertarian socialists. For us, socialism means management of production by the workers themselves, not owners, bosses or government bureaucrats. Workplaces should not be controlled by private owners or by the state, but by those who do the work and by those people that are effected by the work. We should manage our workplaces without bosses, through workers councils – face-to-face meetings of the whole workforce in every factory, office or farm. These would collectively make all “management” decisions on a basis of one-worker-one-vote.

Anarchists take action in the here and now. We don’t vote; we organise! We have as much freedom as we are willing to take. Only by taking direct action to change the world can a libertarian society be achieved. Anarchists are busy organising in their workplaces and communities, spreading our ideas and leading by example. We work to create the facts of the future, today, planting libertarian institutions like seeds within our authoritarian society.

Originally published in the Hereford Anarchist Federation newsletter ‘Black Apple Press’.