It all started in a squatted courthouse in Brighton back in 1994 with people wearing silly wigs reading out the alternative news. Ever since then SchNEWS has been publishing continuous weekly newsheets full of radical get-off-your-arse direct action politics from Britain and across the world. This book brings together some of the key stories of the decade from the big roads protests and anti-Criminal Justice Act movement in the nineties through to the global anti-capitalist movement and opposition to the war in Iraq. 320pp. (from £5.00)
From Newbury to Seattle, Liverpool Dockers to the Zapatistas - with a lot of the less well known, but equally important moments in between. And not forgetting our infamous crap arrests of the week. Comes complete with 14 page UK Activism Directory.
When most of the media is controlled by people (the rich and powerful) who have an active interest in ensuring that the misdeeds of the rich and powerful are not exposed, the alternative media become critical to the survival of democracy. Rational political choices - who to vote for, which policies to support, which to oppose - are impossible if you don't understand the implications, and the very information you need most is the information you are least likely to obtain. Unless, that is, you are lucky enough to have discovered Undercurrents and Schnews. There are plenty of alternative media in Europe, but I've yet to come across any which are as informative and entertaining as these. If ever I forget why I'm an activist, Undercurrents and Schnews are there to remind me. Both of them are ten years old this year.
Schnews is a weekly newspaper, published in both print and electronic forms. It is funny, wise and well-written. I love its corny headlines, and its ability to convey complex issues with clarity and concision. I receive 300 emails a day, but when Schnews comes out on a Friday, it is always the first one I open. It tackles the issues which should be the stuff of daily conversation, but which the mainstream media generally ignores, such as the government?s refusal to hold corporate killers to account, the scandalous private finance initiative, the new laws restricting protest and civil liberties and the persecution of gypsies and travellers. If our mainstream media had the same commitment to exposing injustice as Schnews does, Bush and Blair would have been be out on their arses by now. And it always has news about successful protests, in Britain and the rest of the world. The latest edition contains the best reporting of Ukraine?s orange revolution I've read so far. I think, at last, I understand what's happening there.
Both of them are run on a shoestring - Undercurrents for example, can't release another tape unless enough people buy the current one. And yet they have more to say about the real state of the world than any of our lavishly-funded papers and broadcasters. George Monbiot. 3rd December 2004