Two festivals in Edinburgh have faced the anger of both campaigners and artists alike, over their respective platforming of an Israeli dance company and a fossil fuels investor. People’s objections, however, point to a larger problem: the corporate capitalist capture of culture. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Edinburgh Action 4 Palestine organised two nights of protest over the Edinburgh International Festival hosting an Israeli dance company. In a letter to the festival’s director Nicola Bendetti, the groups said: L-E-V are promoted by Israeli government embassies, most recently by the Israeli Consulate in Toronto last year, and are scheduled to perform in the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) on Sunday 13th and Monday 14th of August.
On Wednesday 9 August, campaigners from Climate Camp Scotland, This is Rigged, and Scot.E3 demonstrated outside the headquarters of Ironside Farrar in Edinburgh. Campaigners held the peaceful demonstration in solidarity with residents of Torry, Aberdeen. Torry is to be the site of a large-scale industrial development that threatens a precious local park and wetland. The project developer has commissioned Ironside Farrar to produce a master plan for the site. The coalition of climate groups and energy workers were protesting the advancing implementation of Scotland’s so-called Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).
In September of last year, the CIW and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) announced a groundbreaking collaboration to “explore the implementation of the award-winning WSR model in the UK fishing industry.” Their goal: To build and launch a pilot program, based on the CIW’s Fair Food Program, with fishers, vessel owners, and retail seafood buyers to address generations of labor abuse on the high seas. Today — nearly one year of coalition building and careful planning later — the work in the UK is picking up steam, and the growing partnership for a more modern fishing industry is looking to be ready to launch by the end of 2023, according to reporting from the Financial Times.
Campaign group Just Stop Oil seemed to have cornered the market when it comes to climate crisis protest – becoming notorious (for right wingers and climate chaos denialists, anyway) with its glue-laden, paint-spraying escapades. However, it’s got some fierce competition in Scotland for the title of ‘Most Gammon Frothing-Inducing Activists’. And it comes in the form of This Is Rigged. This Is Rigged is an activist group that’s been active since early 2023. It focuses on the climate crisis. The group said in a press release it: is a new Scottish non-violent direct action group – They are demanding the Scottish Government opposes all new fossil fuel projects in Scotland and creates a clear transition plan for oil workers.
Health inequalities in Scotland are getting worse. The Scottish Government has an array of policies which suggest its apparent concern, but these have made little or no difference in practice. In the face of this, community groups and civil society organizations have been working hard to raise awareness about the causes of health iniquity and to identify solutions that could make a significant and lasting difference. While doing so, however, often they have been campaigning in isolation from one another. Concerned about the apparent fragmentation of the vital work that is going on, the People’s Health Movement (PHM) Scotland hosted a People’s Health Assembly on June 10, 2023 at Civic House in Glasgow.
Every Sunday for the past six weeks, far-right protesters have been gathering in the small Scottish town of Erskine to complain about plans to house some 200 asylum seekers in a local hotel. However, they are not alone. Asylum seekers in Scotland and their local allies have also been protesting the use of these hotels, and for a much longer time. Scotland takes in thousands of asylum seekers each year: 4,000 in 2019. Normally Scotland is not the first stop for asylum seekers. The Home Office — the arm of the U.K. government that deals with immigration — processes most asylum seekers in England, and spreads people out around the U.K.
Palestine Action Scotland have shut down the Edinburgh factory of Leonardo UK, occupying the roof of the site forcing its closure and preventing the operations of a company deeply complicit in the brutalisation and murder of Palestinians. At 5:00am this morning, four activists entered the site, despite the high security and double fence, and have begun dismantling the site – taking apart electronic equipment, air conditioning systems, windows, while covering premises in trademark red paint, symbolising the blood spilt with Leonardo weapons. The activists intend to maintain the occupation for as long as possible at the factory of Leonardo UK, 2 Crewe Road North, Edinburgh EH5 2XS, to cause maximum disruption against the company which supplies a range of military equipment and targeting systems for Israel’s occupation forces.
Scotland is world famous for its breathtaking beauty, rich history, and impossibly cute cows. It’s also known for its community spirit, evidenced by a new government initiative: a combined rent freeze and eviction moratorium, designed to help people through the current cost of living crisis. First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the legislation is a response to the “humanitarian emergency” caused by skyrocketing energy prices, among other factors, Sky News reports. The program will remain in effect until at least March 31, 2023. “This Program for Government is published in the context of the most severe cost crisis in many of our lifetimes. It is a crisis pushing millions into poverty and poses a genuine danger, not just to livelihoods, but to lives,” Sturgeon said in a press release.
On 6 September 2022, as part of their new programme for government, the Scottish Government announced a rent freeze and eviction ban effective immediately until March 2023. Further clarity has yet to be brought in around key questions such as whether the freeze will apply retroactively, whether purpose-built student accommodation will be part of it, how it’ll impact tenants who pay rent and energy bills together, or how it will be implemented. Crucially, we’re concerned that this freeze applies primarily to private tenants as social housing tenants’ rent is increased once a year, on the 1 April, missing out many tenants who are struggling. So we’ve run you through the headline victory and our many unanswered questions. But how did we get there?
Rubbish has started piling up in Edinburgh at the start of an 11-day strike by refuse workers over pay, with city residents being told to store rubbish in their houses and gardens. All bin and recycling collections have been suspended in the Scottish capital for the duration of the strike, which began at 5am on Thursday and will continue until Tuesday 30 August. Street cleaning and the removal of waste from public litter bins has also been cancelled, with all recycling centres also closed and flytipping reports going unanswered. Edinburgh City Council’s official advice to residents is to “stock up on strong black bags” and store their extra rubbish in their gardens, garages or driveways.
Glasgow, Scotland - Palestine Action Scotland have made their way back on the roof of weapons company Thales’ factory in Glasgow. A team of activists scaled the roof at dawn, and began causing severe damage to site facilities, forcing workers to evacuate the building. Their occupation is ongoing, rendering Thales’ conveyor belt of weapons inoperable. Thales is one of the world’s largest arms companies, producing military drones, armoured vehicles, missile systems and more. Amongst the assorted warfare-related hardware made by Thales, the Watchkeeper drone project stands out. The project seeks to further the policing and surveillance of captive populations belonging to the nations of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. Watchkeeper UAVs have also been trialled over British waters by the UK Border Force, monitoring the flow of refugees seeking to enter Britain.
Glasgow, Scotland - Climate activists deflated the tires of 40 SUVs in a wealthy Glasgow neighborhoods today as part of an ongoing campaign to demand a ban on the “polluting” vehicles in cities. The activists, who are members of new campaign group Tyre Extinguishers, targeted the North Kelvinside area in the city’s West End in the early hours of Friday. The group placed fake parking tickets on the windscreens of SUVs targeted stating the “luxury lifestyle choice” of its owner had been “disarmed.” The action is part of a growing Scotland-wide campaign against the vehicles which they say are “unnecessary” and “dangerous” in cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh. Earlier in the week another group, the Deflationists, targeted over 50 of the four-by-four vehicles in two areas in Glasgow.
This morning, Palestine Action Scotland made its debut – as activists took to the roof of weapons company Thales’ Glasgow factory. A team of six activists scaled the site in the early hours of the morning and are currently occupying the building, rendering it unusable and forcing workers to evacuate. Inside the factory they have dismantled and destroyed factory equipment and facilities. Thales is one of the world’s largest arms companies – producing armored vehicles, missile systems and military UAVs (drones) – in particular, the Watchkeeper drone, used for surveillance and combat on captive populations. Today’s action has begun the campaign to end Scottish complicity in the apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing enacted on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation.
Late last year, a Scottish court quietly refused what seemed like a routine extradition. It wasn’t that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose drawn-out efforts to avoid the American prison system have grabbed international headlines for years. Instead, it was that of a relatively unknown Scottish man, Daniel Magee, who’d allegedly shot a security guard in Austin, Texas, in 2016 before fleeing to his native country. The refusal to send a prisoner back is not unprecedented — but what has raised eyebrows in the legal community is the reason: An Edinburgh judge decided that poor conditions in Texas prisons might constitute an international human rights violation. “This is the first case I know of where this specific argument about prison conditions has succeeded — normally, the courts are very sympathetic to deporting people,” said University of Nottingham criminologist Dirk van Zyl Smit.
Craig Murray was released from Saughton Prison on Tuesday. This is what he was imprisoned for: Craig Murray, an ex-British ambassador and blogger, has been sentenced to eight months in prison after being found guilty in March of contempt of court during the 2020 trial of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond. He was given three weeks to turn himself into police, pending his appeal. Judge Lady Dorrian issued the sentence, she said, despite Murray’s health issues. Murray faced up to two years in prison and unlimited fines. Murray must surrender his passport making it impossible to travel to Spain on May 20 to testify in the case of UC Global spying on WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in the Ecuador embassy in London.