Friday, January 25, 2008

Fake Residents group: Update

I wrote this in the comments section in reply to someone who wanted to know how the Fake Residents Group are getting on. I think it merits publishing as a post.

On the evening of the last meeting I was in common grounds cafe. Anne Monaghan was coming and going looking smug. At one point she smiled at me. I smiled back. She didn't stay for long. The meeting appears to have folded after half an hour. I suspect they lacked a quorum, or, to put it differently, no-one bothered going.

I was at the latest Community Police Liaison Committee meeting. I was the only resident from anywhere in the University sector to attend. The Holylands self-appointed representatives no longer go as they can't bear to be in the same room as me. Some months ago Tony McGuinness threw a tantrum at a CPLC meeting because the cops would not remove me. It was quite funny to watch. Some months ago the cops tried to exclude me from any meeting attended by Katrina O'Neill. My barrister tore Stevie Kingsman to shreds. You can read about it here.

There is obviously a crisis of confidence in the cops. Go figure. The CPLC has been wound up. The cops are planning an alternative forum. I assume this is where they will pervert restorative justice and turn it into a vehicle for landlords, the cops, the universities and their "students" to terrorise isolate and silence residents. Naturally the local housing association under Dermot Curran are moist with enthusiasm at this. I think that the power of eviction gives some people more pleasure than sex. Social predators are always drawn to positions of power over the vulnerable. I've seen it in hostels and I've seen it in landlords, whether of the private or "Social" kind. Shit floats. Institutional power is always fundamentally psychopathic (Chomsky).

2:57 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Loathing is the Sincerest form of Flattery

I'm truly honoured. This goes beyond plagiarism or even satire. It is magnificent. The author copies my style and turns it around, completely inverting it's meaning. The effort poured into every word is simply admirable. Only obsession could drive such a project. The compulsive striving to "get at" Alan Murray can only be driven by a profound loathing. It is remorseless. To have acquired an enemy with such a monomania fills me with pride. It is one thing to be hated, but such a skillfull and eloquent expression of hatred is a complement beyond words.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Matter of Numbers

I posted this in the comments section. I think it's worth publishing as an article in it's own right.

For many years now there has been an argument about percentages. In a different life I was a student representative (the worst decision I ever made)and bought into the notion that it's a small minority causing mayhem, no more than ten percent. Way back then there was talk of introducing restorative justice in the Holylands. At the time, and we're talking eight years ago, this made intuitive sense. Involve the students in the community; make them feel accountable and responsible for their actions. I was such a deluded fool. Residents were selling up en masse. I remember attending the inaugural meeting of the original residents' group. The top room in city church was packed. There must have been 200 people there. That group folded and now we have the fake resident's group, sponsored by the University of Ulster and currently headed by their former community relations officer. The illegitimacy of this entity can be measured by attendance at it's meetings; always in single figures, many of them non-residents;- Anne Monaghan, Gerard Morgan, Denise from city church. About half of the committee are non-residents. The community is almost completely extinguished. There are less than a hundred residents left.

Over eight years my position has changed. If half of Queens undergraduates don't go to class, one can assume that half of them are bogus students, only up here to party. Because of its reputation, it's safe to say that a disproportionately high percentage of "students" in the Holyland are bogus. That means that the vast majority are party animals abusing education, and a small, but significant minority are genuine. This is the universities unofficial campus, and the academic progress of genuine students must suffer. My own experience is a rather extreme example, but must reflect to some degree the debilitation suffered by all who try to study here. A neighbour of mine is furious and outraged at the effect on her daughter's A-levels. Naturally the Universities' representatives have been suitably unhelpful in addressing her grievances. Anne Monaghan set a disgusting precedent when she represented the University of Ulster. Her footsteps are clear and easy for her successors to follow.

The wheel has, grotesquely, come full circle. Restorative Justice is again on the agenda. It has the support of Jim Young, our new Police inspector and Dermot Curran, chair of the dominant local housing association. I would love to know what planet these people are living on. They are either pious fools or sinister operators. Dermot Curran insists that people have no right to oppose this, after all "It's an attempt to resolve the situation". He doesn't live here and his attempts to compare this place to apparently successful efforts in Poleglass are absurd. Community Restorative Justice requires the existence of a stable community. Such a point is so obvious that only the deluded could fail to see it. There are 100 residents and 6000 "students". If you complain you make yourself a target. The police refuse to protect us, the universities use a variety of initiatives as "perception management", and the "students" make it clear that this is their area and we are not wanted. We should not be expected to make ourselves targets. The only thing that has had any effect is direct action. I will not endorse car burning, but it has made a lot of people and their parents think twice. If the truth be told, only large scale direct action could have saved this community, and the time for that was at least twelve years ago. Now a handful of us are left because we don't own our homes. Individuals may get moved out, but someone else is imprisoned in the same house. This must end. Get us out of here. Stop imprisoning people in this environment.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Update: share the love

Remember This?

And This?

Well now our future professionals have decided to take up house-painting. Either that or they think that we shouldn't be here. I'll let you decide. For what it's worth, they're really bad decorators. They should stick to shovelling pigshit.

Because We Care

Tick tick tick tick............I hear the van pull up beside me.
"What are you up to Alan?"
It's the short fat blonde ugly one.
"I'm getting wood out of this skip"
"Not while we're here. You see while it's in that skip it's the property of the landlord. And it remains his property until it's taken away by the skip people"
She's been reading a text book.
"What you're doing is a criminal offence. It's called "Theft by finding". If we see you doing it we'll arrest and prosecute you."
I'm staring at her in disbelief.
"Now, where are you headed to?"
She sounds like a schoolteacher.
"I guess I'll just go home"
"Good!! Off you go!!"
Hostility and smugness ooze out of her. She's not moving 'till I've gone. Her partner smiles inanely, trying to look the good cop. She knows she's won. I can't stand there all night. She'll arrest me. Clearly she has a need to humiliate.
They've timed it to perfection. It's midwinter. Snow is coming. As I write this, it's arrived. For seventeen years I've raided skips for firewood. I burn no coal, or oil, or gas. I recycle waste. My carbon footprint is minimal. In all of that time the cops have never had a problem. I was even told by them I wouldn't be prosecuted for raiding skips. What's changed? Could it be that their attempt to prosecute free speech has become a farce? If they can't get me one way, they'll get me another? Maybe it's the latest form of community relations. Maybe they'll apply the same "Theft by Finding" standard to every student or mob thereof with a traffic cone or a gate or a fence or a tree. Equality under the law?; Prosecute our future "Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Taxpayers"?
It's an act of exquisite cruelty. Zimbardo's experimental subjects would recognise it instantly.
I remember sitting in court behind three cops. Two were old hands. They were red-faced, having at least the decency to feel embarrassed at what they were doing. The other, a newbie, was ice cold, smug, ambitious. She'll go far.
I don't hate cops. I don't think they're all despicable...................

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

They Don't like it Up 'Em

"You hit our friend!!"
"Fuck you!!"
A handful of Lower Ormeau's finest, looking like the junior cast of Shameless, are taking no shit from these four burly hicks.
A bottle flies. The hicks retreat inside and emerge, each armed with a hurley bat. The locals flee, but not for long. They return with their friends. A dozen scrawny kids, aged 10-16, armed with nothing but their rage, want revenge. Our four brave lads have no fight in them. They're scared of a bunch of children. They run for cover, bolting the front door and turning out the lights.
Double glazing defeats the young one's efforts. In their anger they use the first weapons to come to hand. Empty beer bottles bounce back at them. They kick the front door in frustration. The heat of the moment takes over. No-one thinks to get a brick and put it through the front window.
Our four Hillbilly Heroes call the cops. Two landrovers and three cars, two marked and one unmarked arrive like the seventh cavalry. The locals scatter. A landrover and parked car stay to protect our future lawyers, doctors professionals etc. The other vehicles disperse. They try and fail to hunt down the kids.
It's interesting that the same people who go to rebel night at the Hatfield are the first to call the cops. It's interesting that when they laid siege to residents after BBC's Spotlight the cops stood and watched. It's interesting that they can do whatever they want round here and the cops do nothing. A resident can't even take wood from a skip without risking prosecution. But, when they call the cops for help, armoured vehicles come to their defence. Every effort's made to keep the lower orders in their place, so the wealthy can have their endless party and stomp the little people into the ground.
I admire Lower Ormeau's finest. They know they have no future, like the rest of the Lost Generation. They hate the Provos and fair play to them for that. Some years ago the local Honchos stood guard at the luxury housing complex that backs onto McClure Street. The kids were throwing rocks through the windows and making the cosy tenants most uncomfortable. In the end direct action won. The property developer had stolen their playground. Now he had to put it back. Today kids play on the slide and climbing frame. They have a couple of goalposts on the patch of grass enclosed by a steel fence and private greed.
A class war is played out in the Holyland. Designer Republicans, property developers and Institutional Power against residents and local kids. It's the New Order in microcosm.