Thursday, November 17, 2005

Anarchist murdered in Russia

this was published on the Class war newswire

Timur Kacharava 21.08.1985 - 13.11.2005
Timur was an active member of St. Petersburg's hardcore punk and anarchist community, and our dear friend. On the evening of November 13, Timur became the victim of a nazi attack. After a Food Not Bombs action on Vladimirskaya square Timur and a few other kids went to a Bukvoyed bookshop on Ligovsky prospect. Around 7 p.m. he and his friend Max "Zgibov" Zgibai were smoking outside when they were attacked by a group of 8 to 10 nazis. Timur suffered multiple stab wounds in the neck. Zgibov is in the hospital in a stable condition with five stab wounds. The ambulance arrived in about ten minutes. By then Timur was dead due to heavy blood loss. Zgibov was taken to the Mariinsky Hospital. The police are investigating the incident; they have some suspects. There's a graffiti on the wall next to the place where Timur was murdered, and there are candles, pictures, and flowers his friends placed as a tribute. Timur was a founding member of the St. Petersburg political hardcore punk band Sandinista! which formed in 2003. He was the musical leader, writing most of the music and playing lead guitar. The band's debut s/t MCD is to be released on Moscow's Old Skool Kids Records; the same label released a DVD of Old Skool Kids Fest in September 2004 which features several songs by Sandinista! In the Summer of 2005 Timur also joined the local d-beat hardcore band Distress. He returned to St. Petersburg from a Scandinavian tour with Distress just a few days before being murdered. Timur took an active part in the anarchist activities in the city, such as Food Not Bombs group and Epitsentr infoshop. He was also active in day-to-day confrontation with nazis in the streets. He was a fourth year student of philosophy in St. Petersburg State University, and a committed vegan. Zgibov was Timur's bandmate in Sandinista! in 2004-2005. Before that Zgibov played bass in hardcore punk band Svinokop and also is a singer and bassist in grind band Potom Budet Pozdno, along with running his own tape label Ni Esperas. For U.S. readers: Timur is seen on the Out Cold live in St. Petersburg DVD dancing, and his voice saying "Old school hardcore isn't about windmills, dude" is in fact heard as the intro to the film. Timur will be loved and remembered by everyone who knew him. He is especially missed by his parents and girlfriend Lyubava.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

what is going on with council housing?

The right to buy council houses in parts of the Highlands has been suspended to protect affordable stock. East Renfrewshire is the first council in Scotland to be given permission to ban council house sales, a policy that was introduced in the 1980s by Thatcher.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said, "There is compelling evidence of substantial pressures on affordable housing in the areas the council identified."

Margaret Davidson, Highland Council's housing convener, said the move was driven by a severe shortage of affordable housing in many areas. The right-to-buy policy in Scotland continues to drain housing stock of about 11,000 homes a year, with over 440,000 lost in the 25 years since it was introduced.

Why the hell isn't this suspension being extended throughout the UK?

In England, the number of families waiting for a council house has soared by more than 50 per cent during Labour's time in power, and now stands at 1.5million.

Only one new social housing unit is built for every five sold off under the right-to-buy scheme, this means that the supply of council properties for families on the waiting list is dwindling every year.

In my home town of Doncaster, the Council owns and manages 25,000 properties – houses, bungalows and flats. Nearly half (42%) of Council tenants are over 60 years of age and over half (53%) of tenants say they have a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity. The Council currently re-lets 2,700 properties a year.

Last year the Council sold off or disposed of 1,737 homes - 5.5 per cent of its stock. 1,685 individuals or families are now classed as homeless, three years ago the number had been just 375. The number of people in temporary accommodation waiting to be allocated homes has also risen while waiting times increased to as long as five months.

There are 13,080 applicants on the waiting list (December 2004) compared to just 5,943 in September 2003.

And now the housing stock has been transferred to an ALMO after consultations and a ballot.

In November 2000, the tenants were told by Gary Allen, the Head of Housing Services, 'Remember - The tenants of Doncaster will have the final say in what happens to council housing in the future. Changes to the ownership of council homes cannot happen without the support of tenants. Where there is a proposal for any change of ownership, Government rules require that tenants are balloted and that there is a majority decision in favour of the proposal. It is this ballot that will decide whether or not the Council will proceed with that option. The Council will work closely with tenants to decide on the best option for Doncaster, but tenants will have the final say on which option is introduced. Whatever option is chosen the council will ensure that tenants rights will be protected, rents will be kept affordable and council housing will meet the standards of the 21st century.'

In 2005, the elected Mayor, Martin Winter, said, 'You told me that the majority of you (78%) wanted the Council to continue to own your homes – you wanted the “stay as we are” option.'

But bugger it, he's gone for the ALMO.

How is this supposed to help the provision of affordable housing? After a specified period, the ALMO will be able to increase rents to the 'economic' level. Currently this would mean a 100% increase (if privately rented accommodation is compared with council rentals.)

The measures to privatise the housing stock, introduced by Thatcher, and now strengthened by her bastard son Blair, will only serve to increase the financial pressures on the working class and shore up the profitability of the housing market for the privileged.

apologies for non updating

My apologies, if anyone actually reads this, for the non updating of this blog.
My disability; nerve damage to my hands, makes writing at the moment very uncomfortable.
This is very dispiriting for as I would love to be able to comment fully on the political events as they happen, but it is just too painful to do so.
This is especially galling at the moment; the French riots, the debate in the uk over secularism and the attempts of the govt. to introduce further repressive legislation, and of course the war in Iraq, all demand proper examination, which I am unable to do.
I am trying at the moment to compose a more abstract statement of my politics ( never fear fellow red starrers I will circulate it for your comments, before publishing) . And hopefully I will post this up soon
Darren Red star