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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER SLICK AND SLIPPERY...Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 188, 23rd October 1998
- Oronto Douglas, founder of the pan-ethnic CHICOCO movement in the Niger Delta.
The fuse has once again been lit in Nigeria nearly three years after writer Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni dissidents were hung for non-violent protests.
In the past couple of weeks more than 10 oil stations, two helicopters and a drilling rig have been seized by armed Ijaw tribesmen, cutting the country's oil output by more than a fifth.
On Saturday tragedy struck when over 300 people were killed when a sabotaged pipeline caught fire as local people tried to collect the spilt petrol.
Despite the protests oil giants Shell peddle the same old multinational bullshit namely, 'that the politics of a country no matter how dodgy the regime, has nothing to do with them'. The fact is, Shell make over $300 million a year from Nigeria and is about to begin work on a $4 billion natural gas venture with the regime. And it is this money from the oil companies that provides the military with 80% of its revenue about half of which comes from Shell, helping to prop up the regime of "guns, boots, loot, whip, whims, decrees and prison bars."
Following the recent death of Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha democratic elections have been promised for May. However, the continuing environmental pollution and widespread cynicism about government promises to give an increased share of oil revenue to local communities has led to an upsurge in protests. As one BBC correspondent pointed out, many inhabitants of the densely-populated delta can see multi-million dollar oil installations from their makeshift homes where there is often no electricity or public water supply.
Once again multinationals like Shell are showing they dance to just one tune - the jingle of money. However, it is people like the Ogoni, who have chased Shell out of their lands, who show where our real power lies, and in a land which is one of Africa's largest military regimes.
- President of MOSOP-UK, Bari Kumbe
Shell now plans a 600 mile pipeline from Nigeria's neighbour, Chad, to Cameroon which could carry 900 million barrels. Backing the plan is a consortium including Exxon (a.k.a. Esso), Elf and, of course, Shell. World Bank officials are concerned about widespread environmental damage and disruption to indigenous tribes, Amnesty International have drawn attention to the 3 years imprisonment of an opposition MP by Chad's repressive regime for simply criticising the plans.
According to over 300 scientists on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change we can only burn a quarter of known fossil fuel resources before climate change becomes intolerable if not catastrophic.
For news and background on Ogoni, Shell and Nigeria contact:
To find out about how multinationals operate contact:
And to find out more about sustainable lifestyles and how to save the world contact:
For a copy of the leaflet 'What's wrong with Shell' send a SAE
In chinese culture girls and in some cases mentally or physically handicapped boys are seen as a misfortune to the family, or worse sheer unattractive ,and are therefore abandoned or left on roadsides, riverbanks ,... The government tried to hide this fact saying there wasn't anything wrong, and Dr Zhang Shuyun from the Children's Welfare Institute had to flee the country after exposing the atrosities in fear of punishment.
In the last years conditions in only five in 100,000 orphanages have been improved !. Put pressure on the Chinese government by writing protest letters to The Ambassador, Embassy of the People's Republic of China, 49-51 Portland Place, London WIN 3AH, or if you even want to adopt a child contact Overseas Adoption Helpline, PO Box 13899, London N6 4WB.
- Child interviewed on TV about the opening of the Newbury bypass (honest!)
Yeah right. With an estimated 25,000 vehicles a day hurtling down four lanes (which in five years will increase to 50,000), it should be the quietest place in Britain. After three years of protests, the Newbury Bypass is nearly complete with only a bit at each end to complete. The Highways Agency (HA)says, "work is on schedule and it will open on time", although, as the Press Officer of W. Berkshire complained to SchNEWS. "They (the HA) won't tell me what the opening date is and it's our road. If you find out would you let me know ?" Aside from feeling sorry for press officers, SchNEWS does know that the road will be opening this side of xmas but if you're hoping to attend the opening ceremony, you can't 'cos there won't be one. The HA are shitting themselves there might be a repeat of the 'Newbury Rampage' (SchNEWS 103) where diggers spontaniously combusted and other things broke. Instead they held a 'Childrens Tree Planting Ceremony' a ridiculous televised PR stunt from which the above quote came (the children all came from a local Public school which explains why they were so good at sticking to the script). The Third Battle of Newbury told us. "All the trees were dead, but they planted them anyway. All the trees the HA planted at Twyford Down are now dead." And the vultures are already moving in on the corpse of the forest. Local developers Trencherwood are applying to build a 'commuter village' in the infill (the land that runs alongside a motorway), another wants to build factories and Vodaphone, one of the areas largest employers is threatening to pull out of the town if they can't build shiny new offices amongst the trees.
All this while car over-production continues world-wide. In a sneaky bid to get round an advertising ban on promoting speed. The industry is trying to persuade us faster is good. Honda is currently running an ad that says: "For safer overtaking it has the most powerful engine in its class." And on a motoring program the results of a roadhandling test are supposed to persuade us 'slowing down going round corners makes the car unstable'. Motorists already know that but the way they tell it everyone should buy a faster car.
Glen of the Downs - Evicition imminent, need climbers & walkway constructors NOW. Usual state/big-biz destruction of scenic beauty for consumer traffic directions. Delgany, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.
Avon Ring Road -crunch point looms nearer as contracts for clearance work get signed today (22nd) Work starting mid-Nov or sooner.Ring 0411 21 41 68.
The Toytown camp in Cheltenham are having a Halloween party on Saturday 31st October, followed the next days with an action. The camp is defending the only piece of woodland left in the town from being trashed by a supermarket, cinema, car-park etc. 0797 1316597 E-mail: email@example.com
More people are needed for actions to stop Pioneer Aggregates translocating a wildflower meadow in Ashton Court Park (see SchNEWS 183). There's gonna a Hallowe'en party at the Craggy Island Camp Saturday October 31st. Tel: 0467 430211.
Eviction alert at the Radstock Railway camp in Somerset, where people are trying to stop Beazer Homes from building high cost fortified executive housing on a green open space displacing wildlife. Tel: 01249 701667.
The dispute started over three years ago when private contractors Pall Mall tried to force the women to take pay cuts of up to £35 a week from an already meagre £7000 year salary. The mainly Asian women refused and 53 of them were sacked.
What followed was an incredible fight by the women that took on the full might of the 'contracting out culture', in the health service.
They also had to fight their union UNISON every step of the way. First, UNISON only started supporting the women after they took direct action and occupied the union HQ. Then UNISON cut a deal with Pall MalI without consulting the strikers, and then 'officially' ended the strike and strike pay when only a handful of the women accepted. Then they ended the women's union membership, saying that as they had not been paying union dues for 18 months (eh, that's because they were on strike) they weren't entitled to be members!
Still, forget the UNISON press release trumpet blowing that "the union ran a high profile campaign involving rallies, lobbies, a national march, days of support and national newspaper advertising", because in reality any campaign activities were run by the women themselves. The union in fact made so much effort to raise press awareness that even an article on 'forgotten strikes' forgot to mention the Hillingdon women.
Whilst the strikers are rightly incredibly proud of the result the fight is still not quite over. Granada services have now taken over the hospital contract, and the tribunal ruling does not legally bind that company to re-employ the women. A spokesperson from Granada said "We are surrprised by the tribunal's decision for re-engagement. We shall need to consider the decision very carefuly, and whether or not we intend to appeal."
Still, if there's one lesson is to be learnt out of all this, it's this: don't listen to people when they tell you there's no point in fighting back. As one of the strikers Malkiat Bilku told SchNEWS, "We are proud, very proud of what we have achieved." And so you should be.
Demonstrators in Paris clashed with the police with bottles, window-smashing and car-trashing. 122 people were arrested. Many students appeared to be as frustrated by the way the demonstrations had gone as what they were about "It's inevitable," said Marcel, 16, "they treat us like idiots, we'll behave like idiots. Everyone has the right to demonstrate and if the police block our route, this is what happens."
Education minister, Claude Allegre, conceded that the school system needs reform and promised to present plans next month. However, pupils are aware that this will not bring about immediate change or remedy the injustices done to them personally. "It'll take years," said Rachid, 17. "My exams are this summer and I don't have a teacher in three subjects."
Nous Sommes Tous Des Casseurs A history and analysis of youth revolt in France in 1994. A month of demos, protests and riots forced the French government to back down from a proposed 20% wage cut. £2 (inc p+p) from AK Distribution, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE.
Barry called off a previous hunger-strike in February 1997 when New Labour promised to tackle vivisection. Surprise surprise, they still haven't got round to it, even after Home Office discussions with representatives of the Barry Horne Support Campaign.
It made SchNEWS heart-bleed to hear that poor old General Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean military dictator, arrested in London while getting treated in a private hospital. In his frequent past visits to Britain, Pinochet had come to expect VIP treatment on arrival at the airport before being whisked off to five-star hotels or tea with Lady Thatcher and a shopping visit to everybodies favourite arms dealers.
Some are not best pleased at his arrest including the United States, who are apparently making behind-the-scenes gestures that the general should not to be extraditied to Spain to face charges of torture and genocide - maybe because it might expose the role the US planned in the coup that brought him to power?
What coup? Well, in 1971, Chileans elected Salvador Allende, a socialist whose attempts at wealth redistribution were destroyed by an unrelenting CIA campaign of subversion. Economic chaos was achieved, Allende was assassinated and Washingtons man's, General Pincohet, began a military reign that saw thousands of Chileans murdered, tortured and 'disappeared'. But he became a darling of America and Thatcher with his free-market 'reforms' and support of our boys in the Falklands war.
Still, SchNEWS has its collective fingers crossed that Pinochet, in the twilight of his life, gets to experience some of the treatment he once seemed so keen to dish out to his opponents.
(We know we keep on going on about it, but to get a wider picture of what happened in Chile and generally what make the capitalist world tick, we highly recommended 'Hidden Agendas' by John Pilger published by Vintage). Can we have a free copy now please?
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Last updated 29 October 1998
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