Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
ISSUE 298, FRIDAY 23rd March, 2001
"The World Trade Organisation's position at present amounts to asking poor nations to trust them as honest brokers. Given their record, this is a bit like the big bad wolf telling Little Red Riding Hood, 'Sorry about your granny. Why don't you pop over for lunch?'" - Gary Younge
This week politicians and corporations were bigging up more trade agreements as ways of helping the poor of the world get a bigger slice of the cake. But not everyone in the so-called global village is having the (global) village idiot wool pulled over their eyes.
GENEVA: Protestors dressed as businessmen an d waving butterfly nets were seen chasing other demonstrators dressed as giant taps, mobile phones and first aid kits on the lawns of the World Trade Organisation headquarters on Monday. They were marking the opening of the next round of trade talks - the General Agreement on Trades in Services or GATS (see SchNEWS 286). Everything from water to housing, education to hospitals could go under the corporate hammer with the World Development Movement describing GATS as 'an agreement set to privatise the world's public services in the interests of big business.' Even World Trade Organisation officials have described GATS as a means of locking countries into 'liberalisation' - and once a country's privatised any service there's no going back on the decision. Unless they're willing to face trade sanctions. www.wdm.org.uk
NEW DELHI: 100,000 farmers gathered in New Delhi in a last ditch battle against plans by the World Trade Organisation to liberalise agriculture. Farmers are worried amongst other things about highly subsidised imports of agricultural goods from rich countries flooding their country. Mahendra Singh Tikait from the Bharatiya Kisan Union's said, "Unless you organise and come into the streets, nobody will listen to you." firstname.lastname@example.org
QUEBEC: From the 20-22 April Quebec City has the 'honour' of hosting the Summit of the Americas. One of the Summit's major goals is putting the final touches on the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement which aims to establish a "free trade" zone that would extend NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement - see SchNEWS 200) to the tip of South America. As usual the main purpose of this trade area is to allow corporations to reap greater profits by getting rid of what they perceive as barriers to trade - silly things like environmental regulations, unionised workplaces, restrictions on child labour etc. Demonstrations are planned and the police are promising the largest security operation in Canadian history. www.quebec2001.net
NAPLES: Twenty thousand anti-globalisation protestors clashed with six thousand police on Saturday at the end of a Global Forum Conference on e-government. A security cordon ringed the conference, which discussed things like Italy's first electronic ID card. TV footage showed isolated demonstrators, as well as journalists, TV cameramen and two of their own plainclothes being beaten by cops! Father Vitaliano Della Sala who took part in the Zapatista march to Mexico City last week (see SchNEWS 297) said, "It was easier for sub-commandante Marcos to reach Mexico City than for these kids to reach Piazza Plebiscito." www.noglobal.org
ARGENTINA: Cuts of nearly $4.5 billion over the next two years have plunged Argentina into economic and political crisis. The austerity package is in order to receive loans from the International Monetary Fund. Two finance ministers as well as government officials have walked out in protest, unions announced a series of general strikes, students are planning protests at cuts in education while opposition leaders said they would not support the measures. The President has asked Congress to grant him special emergency powers to push through the cuts.
GENOA: Support is building for the demonstrations against the G8 - leaders of the seven richest industrialised countries plus Russia - Summit in Genoa on 20-23rd July. Maybe that's why there are rumours that events could turn into a real life Water World with delegates stuck aboard luxury cruisers anchored in Genoa Bay in an effort to foil protesters. Anyone got a submarine? www.genoa-g8.org
BRUSSELS: The European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) have told European governments to stop dragging their feet over their proposals to enhance 'competitiveness'. ERT, made up of 46 of Europe's top business leaders with a combined annual turnover of £600 billion, has sent 10 recommendations to the European Union heads of state ahead of this weekend's summit in Stockholm. Among some of the things they want to see de-regulated and up for grabs are the European energy market, postal services, financial markets and air traffic control. And they are used to getting their own way with one newspaper describing them as "a shadowy lobby group that has for the past 15 years exerted an iron grip on policymaking in Brussels." www.xs4all.nl/~ceo
GOTHENBURG: The next big European Union meeting takes place in the picturesque city of Gothenburg, Sweden. Resplendent with cobbled streets and a proud history of mass mobilisations this'll rock! Throughout the Scandinavian region anti-EU feelings are running high with both Denmark and Sweden entering the EU on very small referendum margins. Events planned so far include a counter conference from 13-15th June, a mass blockade on Friday followed by another big demo Saturday. http://motkraft.net/gbg2001/ www.forumgoteborg.org
LONDON: Monopoly disOwn it all. Celebrate MayDay by playing Monopoly. Get involved by organising yer own autonomous actions, choose a Monopoly theme: housing, debt, railways, privatised utilities, prisons, etc. Followed by a Carnival-stylee celebration of the day's events in Oxford Street at 4pm. Bring white overalls, padding, helmets, inflatable toys and a sense of fun and adventure. www.maydaymonopoly.net or www.mayday2001.org, or call the action line 07960-973-847
Total so far raised by this year's Comic Relief: £25 million. Total of Africa's Debt: £261billion - not so funny.
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For crossing a road! It's good to walk. At a demo in Spain last summer against The National Telemarketing Collective Trade Agreement - which wins the SchNEWS award for dullest treaty of the week - 4 people were nicked for strolling across a street when the red man was showing. Luckily the situation is being monitored, although rumours that the police have to make 37 arrests every hour or face the sack remain unconfirmed.
TICKET TO RISE
"Oh we do love to be beside the seaside" (just as well, really)! As part of Rising Tide's ongoing campaign against climate chaos, 25 people went on an outing by train last weekend. Refusing to pay more than 10% of the cost of the ticket from Manchester to Blackpool, they called for a 90% decrease in train fares to make public transport affordable and get people out of their cars - they are a major producer of carbon emissions, which cause global warming. Passengers were given free chocolate cake and leaflets about climate change. Despite the hot air emitted by "Two jags" Prescott and the other delegates at last year's Climate Conference in The Hague (SchNEWS 285), what's really required is a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions worldwide.
Top tip: If you try this action yourselves, talk to the guard first - they'll be more likely to support you if you're upfront with them. The guard on Rising Tide's day out agreed that train fares are extortionate, adding that only a revolution will sort out our problems! www.risingtide.org.uk
* While footpaths are closed to the public due to foot and mouth disease (even in unaffected areas), work is continuing on the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, even though a large part of the route is within exclusion zones in Staffordshire. Public meetings are taking place along the route this weekend, call 0121 643 9117 for details. Oh, and the Highways Agency has admitted that the new road will do nothing to reduce congestion when it opens in 2004. Er, so what's the point of it then? www.bnrr.co.uk/home.htm
* Bradford Critical Mass bike ride is springing back into action on the last Friday of the month - meet at 5.15pm, Centenary Square. Check out the SchNEWS party and protest site to find out if there's a Critical Mass in your area.
Over a month ago 1,751 Korean workers were laid off at the Daewoo factory in Bupyong, this has been imposed by the IMF "restructuring" plans to make it more attractive for sale to the American car giant General Motors. But they didn't take it lying down. Workers held a sit in at the factory, and were joined by their friends and families, after three days they were evicted by 2,000 police in full riot gear, with one pregnant woman losing her baby. There then followed four days of riots on the streets, workers and students joined forces attacking the police with metal poles and petrol bombs. Protests are now continuing on a daily basis, all protest in Bupyong has been outlawed and the protests have spread to the capital Seoul. The workers message is "We've nothing more to lose, what can we do but protest?" See http://dwtubon.nodong.net/english for more details and how you can help.
* Korean Anarchists have started a (highly illegal in Korea) anti-military service campaign, and are now being investigated by the Cyber Crimes Squad of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. http://anarclan.net
SchNEWS in brief
As processed monoculture, fast food continues to dish up dross, a group of Italian chefs have for the past twelve years been fighting back with the Slow Food Movement. The aims include to "savour and rediscover the flavours of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of fast food" and "slow food for the defence of and the right to pleasure." The group will be in London this week hosting workshops on using local, fresh produce cooked in simple regional ways. The chefs, who come from the Italian regions of Cervere, Bruzzio and Lombardia, lack Michelin stars and city glamour but make up for it easily with their knowledge of rare foods including the growing and picking of their own produce. Make yer mouth water at www.slow-food.com (although we'll give the snails a miss).
Late on Friday 16 March, Delroy Lindo was arrested for the 38th time in eight years (see SchNews 260, 265). Delroy, a black community worker, was nicked at a shopping centre in London after cops driving pass on the other side claimed he mouthed the words 'wanker' at them. The real reason is that Delroy's been a thorn in the side of the establishmentat for the last 16 years, including organising a campaign to free Winston Silcott, who was wrongly sent down for the murder of P.C. Blakelock in the riots on Broadwater Farm, London in 1985.
This time Delroy, who suffered injuries during the arrest, was held for 6 hours at the infamous Hornsey police station - infamous for the death of Joy Gardener, which kicked-off the riot on Broadwater Farm. After holding Delroy all night, he was offered a caution which was flatly refused. He was once again released without charge.
An internal report by the Met published six weeks ago concluded that Delroy has been unduly harassed - it seems the cops who arrested him didn't read the report. Lindo is suing the Met for £1 million after years of stress for him and his family. For more info contact Haringey Racial Equality Council, Tel 0973 313139 e-mail email@example.com
* Lee Himlin has been on remand for six weeks for criminal damage to quarrying equipment at Nine Ladies. He's been moved to Nottingham and is not allowed any stamps, parcels or anarchist filth like this. Letters to: Lee Himlin EX7748, HMP Perry Road, Sherwood, Nottingham N65 3AG. * The Nine Ladies Campaign is waiting for the final decision about the quarry on 25th May. http://pages.zoom.co.uk/~nineladies/ Tel: 0777 943 1820
Part of the Muhlenberg Loch in Germany, one Europe's largest freshwater tidal flats, home to migrating birds, including a number of endangered species, and a number of extremely rare plants is supposedly protected by three international environmental protection agreements. This hasn't stopped the German court ruling that one fifth of it should be filled in to make way for a factory for the EU-subsidised "super-jumbo". But, the real jumbo sized threat to the tidal flats is sea level rise, flooding the area with salt water. Sea level rise is caused by global warming and the fastest growing source is air traffic. www.spectrezine.org (See SchNEWS 283)
An ex-dope smuggler from the U.S, who's just done ten years for possessing 75 tons of pot, has decided to go straight and get a 'proper job'. What's wrong with that, you might say, until you hear that this cunning entrepeneur put a quarter page advert in the Toronto Financial Post telling how he masterminded a $100 million a year busines. As he says in his "work wanted" ad: "I owned and operated a successful 'fishing business' including some boats, one air plane, an island (!) and a processing facility. I also participated in the executive level management of 120 people involved in the firm." He goes on to list his attributes as being an "expert in all aspects of security, well educated, reliable and sober," finishing by listing his references as his 'friends and family and the U.S. District Attorney.' Which all proves this guy is no dope.
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Last updated 23rd March 2001