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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER BEEFED UP AND BONED...
Published in Brighton by
Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 220, Friday 16th July 1999
"It is not unrealistic to regard the World Trade Organisation as representing
effective world government for the first time in human history"
- Steven Shrybman, West Coast Environment
the same week that Europe lifted their beef ban on Britain's mad cows, those
bully-boys from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) gave America the green light
to apply sanctions on the European Union, because of its ban on hormone-treated
A secret panel decided that we Europeans are missing out and want to get our
teeth stuck into some meat laced with artificial hormones. Its scientific panel,
stuffed with corporate nominees and US officials, reckon the stuff is safe to
eat. However, they somehow forgot to test the effects the six injected chemicals
have on levels of natural hormones in the body. They also failed to find out
what they might do to kids, even though a new study has concluded that one of
the hormones is a potent carcinogen placing children at particular risk.
But they, the Arbitrators reckon the 11 year old ban has resulted
in $128 million a year in lost revenue to the US and Canada.
So how will these two countries get their compensation money? By hitting
certain European goods with massive import duties. A list is currently being
drawn up which will penalise companies that have nothing to do with the beef
trade, effectively triggering job losses and bankruptcy. Once again, the ruling
has shown that the WTO is nothing more than "an international bill of
rights for multinational corporations".
A U.S. court recently ruled that it was illegal for Massachusetts to have a law
that penalized firms doing business with Burma. The EU had filed a complaint
with, you've guessed it, the WTO. The ruling basically gives the thumbs up for
countries to trade with any old dodgy dictator, bugger their human rights
- Last month environmentalists highlighted WTO plans to speed up
the destruction of the worlds remaining forests
(SchNEWS 206). The WTO wants
amongst other things, a reduction on tariffs for forest products, which even
the American Forest and Papers Association have admitted could raise world-wide
consumption of wood and paper products by as much as 4 percent.
Environmentalists are also worried that logging companies will gain the right
to claim damages against any environmental regulations that get in the way of
profits. In a joint statement, the groups said "Our forests don't need more
they need stronger protection
The WTO is bad for forests."
Make that 'bad for the planet.'
this year the US imposed $191m of sanctions against the EU in a dispute over
bananas (SchNEWS 204)
- The US actually got a slap in its corporate face a few weeks back when the
international food standards body broke with long established tradition and
finally produced a ruling the US didn't like; that BST-treated milk is not the
same as ordinary milk. BST is produced from cattle treated with genetically
engineered growth hormone, is linked to appalling animal welfare problems and
breast and prostate cancer in humans. The US quietly withdrew its attempt to
force the EU to import its poisoned produce and the EU won a silent victory
The WTO was established on January 1st, 1995 and is currently made up of 135
nations (surprise surprise though, it's America who pull the strings with
their delegations meeting with multinational corporations before and after
every set of negotiations). Their mission statement is the promotion of global
free trade. They monitor and settle trade disputes, then set the rules which,
if broken by any nation, result in punishments including sanctions. Most
importantly, the WTO rules are supreme over the laws of nations, taking power
away from local communities and governments and handing it to corporations -
sod environment, labour and human rights.
is the next stop for the WTO. 29th November is the date for the Millennium
Round of "negotiations" For details of protests planned:
- A Canadian company is suing the US government for nearly $1 billion in
damages after the state of California banned methanol as a petrol additive. The
chemical is leaking into water supplies, a potential health hazard, but so
what, the company are using the terms under the North American Free Trade
Agreement to railroad environmental laws they say are affecting their profits.
- For a low down on the WTO get a copy of the latest 'Ecologist'.
£3.50 inc. p+p from Cissbury House, Furze View, Five Oaks Rd., Slinfold ,
W.Sussex, RH13 7RH Tel 01403 786726. Or why not take out a yearly subscription
on this essential publication. £24/£18 concessions.
"(The WTO is) this un-elected body which is taking decisions which then
become binding. It's going to take a huge amount of public pressure to remove
it, because the avenues aren't there. It's not as if we could have elections
and throw them out, it's not as if we have elected representatives that are
overseeing their proceedings, it isn't as if we even have an independent
- Susan George, author and researcher
'I pay tribute to our members, whose strength and dignity is as deep as the
spite and stupidity of Critchley."
Gasp in shock horror, the longest running industrial dispute in Britain has
ended in victory for the workers. A few years back, British Telecom sold their
bussiness/factory in Gwent to Critchley Labels, who derecognised the union
despite over 70% of its employees being members. 31 people were then sacked in
February 1977 for having the bloody cheek to take strike action in February
1997. Dubbed 'the worst employer in Wales', the staff mounted a continuous
picket line outside the factory, triggering a collapse in Critchley's UK sales.
Eventually the company bowed to pressure and gave £325,000 compensation to
be divided amongst the strikers. To cap it all, they have now been offered
full-time employment by their old bosses BT. Funny how things come round. The
campaign against the company continues, with the newly-formed Critchley
Shareholders'Action Group, who plan to attend the company's AGM on 29th of this
month. Nice one.
Last Saturday 350 party people closed off part of the M32 for a few hours for a
Reclaim The Streets party. Despite the best efforts of the organisers and
lengthy negotiations with the cops to keep things peaceful, the boyz in blue
came in heavy handed in full riot force and dogs only an hour after the
celebrations commenced. The cops made 20 arrests on the day with 8 appearing
in Bristol Magistrates on Monday.
So why the major panic on the part of the forces of law and order? Post June18
hysteria? So it seems, as the Bristol Evening Scare Mongerer dutifully informed
its readers that the party was organised in a squat in Stoke Newington and a
pub in Hackney (this was news to the Bristol party people!) The paper then
surpassed itself in the paranoia stakes by saying " In previous marches the
women and children have been lined up in front while the militant fringe have
come up behind armed with poles and sticks. The women and children, who
frequently get hurt, are known as cannon fodder' to some extremists"
Amazing the lengths some people will go to to have a bit of a boogie whilst
making a statement! Speaking of dirty tactics, the police were ushering people
through the police cordon assuring them that they would be allowed to leave the
other side only to be trapped by police who would not let them out again.
People and children suffering from the heat were forced to remain inside the
cordon without water.
If anyone has any film footage or photographic evidence pertaining to events at
the street party please contact Kebele, 0117 9399469
- The same evening, over 50 police in 8 riot vans cordoned off the Bishopston
Community Centre to foil the evil intention of a planned community dance.
Residents at the centre were denied access to their home and other local
residents were questioned and obstructed by police. The police justified their
actions by quoting section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act
1994, a law that applies only to open air dance parties but hey, who cares
about the law! Though there was no sound system in the building the police
remained until midnight. Another stylish operation in public relations from
your friendly neighbourhood bobbys!
- Keeping it in the area, a kilometre length of the most beautiful section of
the most famous cycleway in the UK - the Bristol & Bath Railway Path - is
due to be closed for destruction at the end of July 99 to make way for the
building of the Avon Ring Road - Bristol's version of the M25. STARR campaign,
which has been fighting this wanton vandalism, meets every week in Bristol Tel:
Guess what? The Newbury by-pass doesn't work. Yes, the little bit of road that
cost£125 million, destroyed countryside and converted peaceful old ladies
and previously law-abiding Volvo-owners into environmental activists has only
succeeded in cutting rush-hour traffic in the town by a piddling 15%. Adrian
Foster-Fletcher, spokesman for Newbury Friends of the Earth, has described the
scheme as "an appalling waste of money". He believes Newbury's traffic
problems, barely eased by the bypass, are destined to get worse. Sandleford
Park, a new college development and Vodaphone's expansion plans will all lead
to an increase in traffic. Lib-Dem Council transport spokesman, David Beckett,
admitted the new road has not eased rush hour congestion as much as the
Highways Agency promised, hinting that the new road may encourage people to
drive who didn't before. He agreed Newbury's traffic problems will soon be back
to square one. Still, at least Lib Dem Newbury MP David Randel is pleased. He
says the road has been "the fulfillment of our dreams".
South Korea used to be the showcase economy, a shining example of how
great free enterprise and capitalism was. After the Korean war and the split
with communist North Korea, the Masters of the Universe set about transforming
South Korea into an investor's paradise. Koreans were promised all the riches
of Western style consumerism, and so much cash around that they could even
afford to be nice to their workers. Growth levels went through the roof and
South Korea joined the big league of consumer economies, while North Korea sank
into poverty and isolation. And so the whole world witnessed the triumph of
capitalism, and everyone imagined the boom would go on forever
Unfortunately those nice men from the West who designed this miracle economy
didn't mention some of the less savoury aspects of joining the consumer
capitalist club, and the inevitable crash that hit the Asian Tiger economies
two years ago came as a bit of a shock. Unable to cope with the end of
innocence, the South Koreans needed to be taught IMF Lesson Number 2 - leaving
the boom-time nursery. With fucked up finances, they needed a fat IMF loan ($57
bn), which of course comes with Structural Adjustments - ie sacking people and
cutbacks. There ain't no room in the rock 'ard world of free market capitalism
for soft little mummies-boy economies, and in their youthful innocence South
Koreans had developed a dangerous habit of giving people jobs for life, social
security and so on. Keen to show the IMF how tough he could be, President Kim
Dae-Jung started cutting services and 'restructuring' firms.
To implement all this you need to deal with any potential trouble makers like
unionists, so the Public Security Prosecution Departments (PSPD) was created to
supress trade unions. So far this lovely piece of IMF weaponry has nicked 11
union leaders, and 60 striking union members, for resisting the government's
restructuring programme. The PSPD's other strategy only came out when its
former chief got too pissed one night, and let slip that they had actually
encouraged an illegal strike at the national mint, to create an excuse for a
savage clamp-down on the unions.
All this, and an on-going government corruption scandal, pissed a few people
off, and 41,000 workers have gone on strike demanding an end to the IMF's plans
and the PSPD's plots. Learning their new game fast, the South Korean government
quickly engineered yet another naval 'confrontation' with North Korea to divert
international attention, and vowed to hold out against the workers. SchNEWS is
confident that with such dirty tricks and military posturing South Korea has
proved that its really grown up now, and ready to play with the big boys in the
deregulated, de-unionised global market.
Cheeky activists sneaked into a geneticely modified tree test site on Monday
felling and ringbarking 115 Poplars, that had been growing since 1995. In an
anonymous phone call to Genetic Engineering Network the activists said
"Genetic Modification of trees is a mjor threat to the environment and
those manipulating the DNA of trees are using powerful but dimly understood
technology and show contempt for our planet. They respect only profit for
themselves and their shareholders"
(bring transport with a full tank of petrol)
Genetics action - Saturday 31st July Meet 12 noon in Cambridge. For details of
location ring 07808 191858 email
Check out the 1999 NORTHERN GREEN GATHERING next Wed 28-1st August, Pontefract,
W.Yorks £30 Tel:0113 224 9885 The Northern Permaculture
Convergance will be there to put permaculture in the north on the map.
"It is vital that people such as Michal are defended from victimisation by
the state.On July 30th we will burn a Czech Flag, symbolising the Czech States'
collusion with neo-nazis. We call on the Czech prosecution service to
immediately drop the charges."A spokesperson for the Solidarity
Federation, the British Section of the International Workers'
On Friday 27th November '98 Michal was attacked by neo-Nazis. Convinced that
they were aiming to kill him, he shot the leading nazi with his legally held
pistol, in self defence, and escaped. Michal was arrested and charged with
attempted murder. Though released on bail, he still faces up to 15 years
inside. None of the neo Nazis have been charged with any offence.
The IWA believe that Michal has been framed for his political activity, in a
country where more than one third of police officers are members of neo-fascist
organisations. The Czech government is totally failing to deal with incidents
of racism and xenophobia. Human Rights groups have warned that neo Nazi
violence is now reaching "epidemic proportions" in the Republic, mainly
targeted at the Roma Gypsy minority. Direct co-operation between police and
neo-nazis is well known.
The address of the Czech Embassy is 25 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8.
Contact: The Solidarity Federation 0181 374 5027 e-mail:
Last month the High Court decided to uphold an appeal by the Crown Prosecution
Service against Diane Selvanayagham, who had the cheek to protest against
Cornyhaugh fur farm near Newcastle. Diane had originally been acquitted after
being charged under the stalking laws for causing the owner of the farm
harassment. However two wise judges decided that the actions she was involved
in (such as candle-lit vigils and veggie burger stalls), were such a threat to
the farmer's safety that they overturned the original decision.
The anti-stalking legislation became law in 1997, but the powers that be seem
rather keen to use it against animal rights protestors. They are a lot more
serious than civil injunctions that were previously used in such disputes, and
can land people who break them with a 5 year prison sentence. There are weekley
demos outside the Cornyhaugh fur farm, Contact Northern Animal Rights Coalition
PO Box 1JY Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE99 1JY
Workers' Aid have organised a public meeting entitled 'After the Bombing' with
speakers from Prishtina and Belgrade. It's on Thursday 22nd July 7 pm Conway
Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1 (Holborn tube).
The new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Unionist 'Big Bad' Bob Stoker, has refused to
invite 13 local Sinn Fein councillors to his inaugural lunch(out). However Sinn
Fein local councillor Mick Conlon who chairs a sub-committee was phoned by the
mayor's office to put together the official menu.
SchNEWS reckons it just shows that not only have the Unionists no ideas for
the negotiating table but they have none for the banqueting table either.
Perhaps they should bite the bullet and not the prawn cocktail?
SchNEWS warns all veggie and vegan readers not to go all mad cow about the word
beef in the front page story. Hey, we're not saying eat the stuff, its just a
good example of the topsy-turvy free trade for all world we live in then we'll
all be content, Honest!
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Last updated 22 July 1999
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