Previous | SchNEWS 171 | Next | Index | PDF
FROM HERE TO THERE EVERY WEEK
Issue 171, Friday 12th June 1998
- Corporate Watch
In their quest to control the world (literally) Monsanto have agreed to merge with pharmaceuticals group American Home Products (AHP). The deal is the sixth largest in American corporate history. With a market value of $96 billion, they now command majority control of the life-sciences industry, from maize seed gene patents to genetically mutated soya . Dubbed the 'Microsoft of bio-technology', Monsanto run the world's largest agricultural research and development body, with their main man Robert Shapiro being described as a 'deal a day man'.
"Genetically modified food is the subject of much heated debate. As a biotechnology company, we firmly believe in it. Of course, we're a business and aim for our shareholders to profit from this technology... our excitement and commitment to food biotechnology stems from the real benefits it provides for both consumers and the environment.
"There are others with less supportive views. Some are openly hostile. It is only fair that you appreciate the spectrum of opinions before making an informed decision. We're about to run an advertising campaign...As well as our views, we will be publishing the addresses and phone numbers of those with different views, including some of our most vocal critics, encouraging you to contact them. This may sound unusual, but we believe that food is so fundamentally important everyone should know all they want to about it.
"Besides the advertising, there are leaflets in many supermarkets and you can call us free on 0800 092 0401 if you have any questions or would like further literature".
(SchNEWS warns all readers NOT to continuously use this freephone number and then leave the reciever off the hook; they only have four operators and you would cost Monsanto a lot of money).
The press release then goes on to say;
"The world grows its food at great cost to the environment. Insecticides, fertilizers and herbicides used in agriculture require scarce resources processed in eco-taxing industrial plants.We believe plant biotechnology can limit industrial and chemical impact on the earth. For instance, we have developed crops that are insect resistant, in some cases eliminating the need to apply insecticides altogether. (We also want you to know that we produce the world's top selling herbicide, Roundup.)"
The release ends: MONSANTO - Food. Health. Hope
SchNEWS, like Monsanto, believe in providing 'information for action', so to save you waiting for their advertising, here are the numbers we think they should be printing (probably).
- Monsanto's president.
A fortnight ago, consultants acting for Monsanto wrote to some of Africa's most prominent academics and politicians, inviting them to sign a stirring public statement called "Let the Harvest Begin". It went on to say "Many of our needs have an ally in biotechnology and the promising advances it offers for our future, with these advances, we prosper; without them, we cannot thrive . Slowing its acceptance is a luxury our hungry world cannot afford."
While some responded with outrage, others signed up. Monsanto's name appears in such small print readers could think that the statement is from the the signatories, rather than Monsanto. Monsanto's suggestion that the continent's freedom from famine depends upon it would be hilarious, were it not so sinister. Monsanto's operations can now be numbered among the continent's greatest threats.
The leading edge of Monsanto's new work is not the production of food, but the production of feed: crops, in other words, grown not for humans but for animals. Last month, the company announced a joint venture with the gigantic multinational grain merchant Cargill, to produce and market the seeds of genetically engineered fodder plants, particularly maize. Feed production is a growing component of Third World agriculture, supplying the ever-increasing consumption of meat, eggs and dairy produce in the First World. Growing animal fodder for McCrap food is also one of the reasons for African famine, as land previously used to grow food for local people has been 'acquired' to supply the rich world's luxuries. Much of Africa's most fertile territory is ideal for growing the new, more profitable strains of maize fodder being developed by Cargill and Monsanto.
But this is the least of the ways in which Monsanto threatens Africa. Three months ago, America's Delta and Pine Land Company patented a gene called "Terminator" which ensures that the plants which contain it produce only sterile seeds. Farmers planting these crops, in other words, will be forced to buy new stock every year. The new technology's "primary targets" are, according to the original patent holders, "Second and Third World" countries. Four weeks ago, Monsanto bought the company. If it succeeds in inserting the Terminator into its seed varieties, farmers will be presented with little choice but to buy its non-reproducing seed. Monsanto, in other words, threatens to become the hunger merchant of the third millennium.
WHERE THEY GO, FAMINE WILL FOLLOW.
BRIXTON: An orange flare signalled to the gathered 1000's the start of another sucessful 'avin-it' historic street party. Having turned up in relatively small force 'The Old Bill' seemed content to stand back and let it happen. Perhaps this had something to do with the sensitive nature of the locale!
Although the main police CCTV had been skillfully covered-up, by an activist shimmying up a 60-80 foot pole and placing a plastic bag over it, the CCTV unit on McMuck's frenetically swivelled around filming anything it could. McMoney were also forced to shut their toilets as the celebrants took the piss big stylee. For hours a largish swathe of Brixton's streets were given over to fun, jollity and car free space as the RTS red, black and green 'flag'on top of McMurder fluttered in the cooling breeze, making their (McMuck's) Union Jack look grey tattered and from a bygone age. Of course the usual PC Plod 'snatch-squad' lurking about in Brixton tube station made a determined effort to ruin someone's day by arresting people getting on the trains to go home.
Meanwhile a concurrent NORTH LONDON street party was in full swing in Tottenham, closing down every single road junction at some point during the day, between Euston and Seven Sisters as 2,000 made their way to the party. Euston tube was closed , so 1,500 people left for Kings Cross and a pig was overheard saying "We're doomed!" ha ha ha. Greater London Radio advised people not to enter north-east London as the Reclaim the Streets movement had taken control of it!!! 5,000 people well and truly reclaimed Tottenham High Road to the tunes of 3 soundsystems which entered and left the party without being pulled. Critical Mass cyclists initially took the site whilst party-goers following multi-coloured flags came forth in their thousands to celebrate the reclaimation of what is rightfully theirs, "Freedom is there for the taking...so let's take it!" Local people joyfully joined in the festivities as the high road was taken over with music, laughter, performance, football and kids playing. Local residents said, "I saw this van pull up with lots of people running after it....the next thing we knew they had blocked the road, started playing music and thousands of people started arriving!" Another said "It's great! When we came out of the tube and saw all these people we were completely entranced...I think it's fantastic!" At the end of the day two cars used for barricades were set alight and the police baton charged the remaining people making 11 arrests for public order offences. The police were totally out-witted all day. P.S. Thanks to the intelligent bods who erected toilets over the drains and the litterpickers. Nicely done!!
In retaliation Ashford sabs have been hassling the police to prosecute members of Ashford Valley Hunt after evidence of a vicious assault on one of their number has been ignored. Neil McIvor was held down and beaten with an iron bar while a hunts woman took photographs (!). He identified his attackers and several present gave statements, but no-one was questioned or arrested. Neil has been told that this case has been dropped due to lack of evidence and he is due in court accused of attacking the Hunt Master who sustained no injuries and has no witnesses! Another member was ambushed by hunters, who smashed his car up; police arrested him for cruelty to a horse on the word of a hunter. You can contact Ashford sabs on 01233 620985.
Please, Please, send us your old but REUSABLE A4 envelopes.
If you're going on the South Downs Mass Tresspass, Shut that gate!
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 16 June 1998
@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute! SchNEWS Web Team (email@example.com)