Outside union-busting law firm Morgan Lewis, Philadelphia, Feb. 20. (WW Photo: Joe Piette)As Amazon workers in Bessemer, Ala., vote to unionize, they are gaining support. On Feb. 20, demonstrations took place in solidarity with BAmazon workers in 50+ U.S. cities in 30 states, including several in the South. The National Day of Solidarity with BAmazon was called by the Southern Workers Assembly, backed by the Support Alabama Amazon Union Campaign and many others. Demonstrations were encouraged at Amazon’s warehouses, distribution centers and Whole Foods locations. Some protests targeted the union-busting Morgan Lewis law firm used by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.March on Broadway to Jeff Bezos’ luxury NYC apartment, Feb. 20.Manhattan, N.Y.Brooklyn, N.Y.Buffalo, N.Y.North Haven, Conn.BostonDurham, N.C.Raleigh, N.C.Columbia, S.C.AtlantaNew Orleans, La.Orlando, Fla.HoustonHuntsville, Ala.Grand Rapids, Mich.ClevelandOakland, Calif.Los AngelesPortland, Ore.12345678910111213141516171819
A ‘free university’ set up by squatters over the summer has found a new home after being evicted from their previous building.The self-titled ‘Pleb’s College’ was set up in August in an abandoned factory off Cowley Road with the aim of creating a space where anyone could go for free to participate in or lead workshops, discussions, activities or lessons. It also provided an area for people to socialise and enjoy occasional free meals.Despite getting a considerable amount of support from the local community, the group was evicted by the owners of the building on the September 6th and was homeless until last Thursday when they announced on their blog that they had found a new home in an abandoned office building on Union Street in Cowley.There are currently around six people living in the building including some of the main organisers of the project. They told Cherwell that they became aware that the property had been empty for some months and found that they could get in without any criminal damage. Current law which states that if a building is abandoned, the squatters get in without breaking and entering, and they advertise their presence with appropriate signs then it is simply a civic matter between the owners and the squatters rather than an issue for the Police. Pleb’s College therefore claims legal status as legitimate squatters.However, not everyone agrees that this should be possible and there has been pressure on the government to criminalise squatting.Christopher Pruijsen, a second-year PPE-ist from Univ, commented, ‘They should be prosecuted, in the civil court. But law should be reformed and squatters should be legally forced to pay the going market rental rate for every day they squat in any property’.Ben Hudson from Regent’s Park takes a more sympathetic view to the dquatter’s mission: ‘We’re not talking about what the Daily Mail calls squatting, when someone pops out to get some milk and a family of eighteen gypsies move in and drink their Cava. By making use of empty buildings, squatters such as those staying at Pleb’s College can create something important for the community.”Nicola Sugden, the co-chair of the Labour Club, agreed with Hudson and added, “squatting is generally a sign that the state has failed to provide people with the shelter and/or community space that they need.”The national campaign group Squatters’ Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) is trying to prevent the government from criminalising squatting and argues that the right to take shelter in abandoned buildings has been enshrined in British Law for over 100 years. They add that criminalising squatters would be very detrimental to the community particularly given that over 40 percent of people currently squatting suffer from mental health issues.‘Pleb’s College’ is intended to be both a shelter for homeless or vulnerable people and a provider of education, discussion and skill-sharing in the community. Some of the organisers involved are graduates of Oxford University but, when asked how he felt about the University, one commented, “it is somewhere of privilege, elitism and hierarchy that is not open to everyone especially with the increase in fees.” He suggested that this was part of his motivation to open a space where “everyone can teach and everyone can learn.”The Pleb’s college hosts a huge variety of events to which anyone can turn up and take part and also welcomes anyone who would like to start up their own activity. The next ‘free university’ session will be this Saturday.
On a recent episode of comedian Bill Burr‘s weekly podcast, bassist Les Claypool let out a surprising secret. According to Claypool, Primus will be one of the support acts on the last leg of Slayer‘s final U.S. tour, which has yet to be announced.Claypool explains to Burr,There’s another thing too that’s kind of a secret but maybe I can tell you now… So it looks like we’re confirmed, we’re gonna play the last, the very last run supporting Slayer’s very last tour—Primus is… It’s starting at Madison Square Garden and ending at The Forum, that’s the rumor.Related: Did You Know: Primus’ Les Claypool Once Auditioned For Metallica [Watch]Claypool also had some fun discussing his high school years with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, and how some of his extracurricular activities got him into legal trouble. Claypool explains,Kirk was in my algebra class with Mr. Kelly. Kirk had this dirty white t-shirt with big thick pop bottle glasses and he sat behind me divvying up dimebags and looking at guitar magazines. I remember, cause I would always be singing these songs and he would be like ‘Hey, Claypool, hey man, you want to come sing for my band?’ And I was too bashful to sing. I can barely sing now. So when it came down to it I couldn’t do it.You can listen to the full episode of Bill Burr and Les Claypool’s chat below:Next up for Slayer is their North American spring tour, featuring support from Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, and Cannibal Corpse. The hard rockers will then head to Europe for a series of headlining shows and festival appearances before presumably returning to the U.S. for the yet to be announced tour with Primus. For a full list of Slayer’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to the band’s website.Currently, Primus has no scheduled tour dates.