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Photography and video by Kristian Buus.


Anti-Cuts Activists Disrupt Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction

LONDON – Over 100 anti-cuts activists disrupted Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction in London this evening in protest against banker bonuses and funding cuts to public services and the arts. A dozen protestors inside the auction rooms staged a loud protest by mimicking sexual noises, fainting and setting off personal alarms in what they termed the “Orgy of the Rich”.

A corresponding protest outside featured performers staging a mock auction selling off public services such as education, libraries and the NHS.

“We are here to expose the orgy of the rich that the Sotheby’s auctions represent,” says one of the protestors inside the auction rooms. “The super rich, bankers and collectors who buy this art exist in an international bubble of their own and don’t seem at all affected by the so-called ‘austerity’ of the government. They commodify creativity and Sotheby’s helps them ferret away their goods by offering creative accounting services such as ‘obtaining conditional exemption’.

The Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction features secondary market artworks expected to fetch upwards of £30million. Pieces from Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol ad David Hockney were among the works on offer to the highest bidder. ‘Most of these works will end up in the hands of private collectors or used as tax havens, while vital public provisions such as Education and Health Care, get the shaft’ says a protestor.

‘This evening’s take of 30 million pounds would pay the annual salary of 1389 new teachers, 1765 qualified nurses or the budget of 150 libraries for a year.’

The organisers of the demonstration are from a broad coalition of artists, students, public servants and creative workers formed in 2010 in reaction to the coalition government’s announcement that the arts and educational institutions will have to produce more on a lot less.

In their words ‘We are fighting back against the most aggressive attacks on the public sector in living memory. We are in solidarity with the other sectors fighting against cuts and openly welcome co-ordinated creative action to oppose the selling off of our public services, the demise of the welfare state, the speculative valuation of art and the orgy of the rich.’

The Really Free School is opening on Wednesday for a 2 day bonanza and is taking submissions now for workshops, discussions, film screenings,acoustic sets, performance, art installations and lectures. Head to the website for more information and to make a submission. – ASAP! AJAB X

putting the ‘up’ in uprising

putting the ‘solid’ in solidarity

Friday 11th February
5pm onwards
at the Royal London Hospital E1
Meet outside the main entrance
opposite Whitechapel Tube
Join the protest against BLT’s plan to axe services and jobs
·         250 nurses,  83 other clinical posts including doctor time
·         in total 630 jobs to go
·         100 beds to close
Defend our NHS in Tower Hamlets
·         500 jobs gone at local NHS Primary Care Trusts
·         cuts at Mile End
·         across London up to 50% cuts in community health services such as district nursing
·         mental health services expect huge cuts
·         over £100M a year to go as payment to the private company running the new PFI hospital while services are being cut
David Cameron misled us before the 2010 election when he said that NHS funding would be protected.  120,000 jobs are under threat, with £14 billion NHS cuts over three years. Privatisation races ahead. Local council cuts attack home care, housing and services for those most in need. . Public service cuts are making working class people pay for the bankers’ crisis. The fight back has started. Speech therapists in Southwark have taken strike action against job cuts. 100s attended a protest meeting in Bow last Thursday against LBTH cuts. Staff and the local community marched on Saturday against £15M cuts at the Homerton.
This emergency protest has been called by health workers, trades unionists and local residents to mark the announcement of the Barts and the London cuts and to say they are dangerous and unnecessary. Come along and bring people!

This is one of the leaflets we used on the 29th Demonstration, obviously it has direct links to the British Museum Teach-in but is general enough to be used more widely.

272 High Holborn, 6pm, Boardroom (9th floor). Suits are optional.

New article about Alternative Art Schools and Arts Against Cuts on

Profiles of several Autonomous Art Schools and three opinion pieces about protest and art education will be joining it soon!