Home | Friday
25th January 2002 | Issue 339
Tower Struggle | Mark Thomas
Video | Profits on Tap | Within
Tent | Cops cop Kop | Bollockswood
| Schnews in Brief | Positive
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Hunt | Refugee Roundup | And
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Colombias second city Cali is today on a city wide stoppage
in support of 800 workers from the Sintraemcali Union. For the past
31 days they have been occupying a 17-storey communications tower,
the home of the state owned Emcali, who supply water, electricity
and telephones to the city.
the support of the Cali community, the workers - who have been there
since Christmas Day - are demanding that the company isnt
privatised, that there are no price increases and the corrupt company
officials who have siphoned off money for years are prosecuted.
Apart from the riot police around the tower, the square surrounding
it is in the hands of the people and has been transformed
into a beehive of collective action. A huge make shift kitchen
feeds the hundreds of occupying workers with breakfast, lunch and
dinner. Across the road is a stage where people make speeches, play
music and try to keep peoples spirits up. On
some days there have been 20,000 supporters outside, and every few
days there is a big meeting of several thousands. All around the
square, the walls are adorned with banners with slogans such as
Better to die for something than live for nothing. Squatting
such a sophisticated communications tower also has its advantages
with workers beaming video link-ups around the world. Colombia is
not a place for the fainthearted. It has been in a civil war for
the past 40 years, and in the past ten alone over one and a half
thousand trade union activists have been assassinated. Since 1994
workers from the Sintraemcali Union have successfully fought off
sixteen attempts to privatise Emcali - and the heavy price they
have paid has been murders, assassination attempts and the forced
exile of many workers. The leader of Sintraemcali is just 33 but
has already survived three assassination attempts, and workers occupying
what has now been dubbed Robin Hood Towers, cover their faces knowing
that even if they are victorious right wing paramilitaries could
exact revenge at any time. Over recent years the paramilitaries
have managed to grow in parallel with the US initiated Plan Colombia,
a two billion dollar largely military aid package supposedly aimed
at the eradication of cocaine production (see SchNEWS 273). However
the paramilitaries have been untouched by this military war on drugs,
despite admitting that they fund themselves largely from drug production
in the areas under their control. As Mario Novelli from the Colombian
Solidarity Campaign, who is currently in Cali as a Human Rights
Observer points out Could it be that the US is fighting not
against drugs, but against resistance to the imposition of an economic
model based on privatisation, budget cuts, and rising inequality?
If it is, then the stakes at this negotiation table here are high,
for if the Cali community and Sintraemcali stop the privatisation
of public services, and prevent price increases for the poor, then
they are not just preventing government plans, but the plans of
the IMF and the World Bank, and their US masters. Plans that seek
to ensure that Colombia fits in to the neo-liberal block being developed
across the region. With the occupation now entering a fifth
week and messages of solidarity pouring in from around the world,
negotiations are now taking place at the highest level. As Mario
Novelli says We are beginning to get the feeling that the
world is starting to take note of what those inside the tower already
know: this is an historic battle.
will be a mass picket of the Colombian Embassy today (25th) 4-6
pm at 3 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London (back of Harrods).
The Union is facing bankruptcy so if you want to make a financial
contribution to the strikers send cheques payable to Colombia
Solidarity Campaign with SINTRAEMCALI on the back and send
to Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ . 07950-923448,
campaign have also organised a conference: Plan Colombia -
Clearing the Way For the Multinationals, 23rd-24th February
at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 (Holborn tube).
Novelli, who has been sending daily bulletins back from the occupation,
will be speaking immediately on his return from Colombia on Saturday
2nd February at the CORAS Centre, 161 Lambeth Walk, SE11. (Vauxhall
news on Colombia see www.colombiareport.org
White label Mark Thomas Video
Live in Brighton at the Gardner Arts Centre. For £8 + 80p
postage on an SAE from SchNEWS.
Apologies to all those who have ordered a copy, the first batch
we got had a dodgy soundtrack (not our fault) but now weve
had more copied. If we sent you one please send the old one back
and well get another one to you. If yer still waiting youll
get one soon(ish).
Profits on Tap
in Bolivia $25 million is the annual cost to hire 3000 rural doctors,
12,000 public school teachers or hooking up 125,000 families who
dont have access to the public water system. Which of these
are you suggesting Bolivia should do without in order to pay you?
- Jim Schultz - director of the Democracy Center in an open letter
to Riley Bechtel, Chief Executive of Bechtel Enterprises.
2000, just months after it took over the water system of Bolivias
third largest city, Cochabamba, an American corporation Bechtel
hit water users with enormous price increases. They forced some
of the poorest families in South America to literally choose between
food or water. A popular uprising against the company, repressed
violently by government troops, left one 17-year old boy Victor
Hugo Daza dead and more than a hundred people wounded. Due to the
protests Bechtel was forced to leave and the water supply handed
back to public ownership (see SchNEWS 286). Then in November last
year Bechtel decided to add to the suffering it had already caused
by demanding compensation of $25 million against the Bolivian people
compensation for its lost opportunity to make future profits.
of the consortium didnt leave empty handed. They took the
hard drives from the computers, the cash left in the companys
accounts, and sensitive personnel files. They also left behind an
unpaid electric bill for $90,000. Now its saying it wants more.
In his letter
to the company Jim Schultz continued Your losses, however
you may calculate them, are numbers on a ledger. Mrs. Dazas
loss is buried in a cemetery. No one will be representing her in
your arbitration. For Bechtel, with revenues of more than $14 billion
annually, $25 million is what you take in before lunch on any given
Tell Riley Bechtel
- the 51st richest person in America - why does he need to
take any more money from the one of the poorest countries
in South America. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy celebrates
its 30th anniversary this Saturday (Australias national
day, otherwise known as Invasion Day). The camp
was started in 1972 by a group of Aboriginals who decided
that unlike other nations, theirs wasnt represented
by an embassy so they set up camp outside the then
national parliament house. After several violent evictions
over the years, and the seat of power since having been moved
up the road, this embassy remains right under the noses of
the government. It is the longest running protest camp we
know of in the world. There is a celebration the Festival
of Living Lore 18-28th Jan on the site, featuring music,
but also elders from all around the land, activists and supporters
will gather around the sacred fire to pray for Aboriginal
Sovereignty, and world peace. email@example.com
more see 'Aboriginal Tent Embassy 30th Anniversary' in
SchNEWS Of The World, 2002.
days some people are saying that the new rocknroll
terrorism. Well the Dutch police thought so this
week when they arrested Marc - lead singer of the band Kop
and Barcelona squatter - in an Amsterdam supermarket accusing
him of ETA (Basque Militant Separatists) collusion. Then just
to show how rocknroll cooperation
between police across Europe has become, the Dutch boot boys
did their Spanish mates a favour and violently raided and
searched the Amsterdam squat where Marc was staying.
Marc is accused
of having given a list of names of Cedade members (a Spanish neo-nazi
group) to ETA, he is now in an isolation cell waiting to be extradited
back to Spain to face trial.
arrest the legalised squat Vrankrijk, described by the
local scum rag the Telegraaf as a hotbed for terror,
was raided by 200 cops who prevented people phoning lawyers. One
woman needed stitches after being batoned. Terrorist items seized
were some water pistols, a couple of books in Spanish and two mobile
government is using the frenzy against terror to legitimize
their ongoing campaign to terrorise anyone that goes against their
agenda. People fighting for autonomy of Basque Country are lumped
in with ETA and labelled co-conspirators in their terrorist
acts. Squatters, anarchists and anti-globalisation protesters are
all feeling the force of terror in Spain.
the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act. 12.30pm , 2nd February
at Temple, London. Called by the Federation of Kurdish Community
Associations to highlight the Kurdistan Workers Party becoming a
proscribed (banned) organisation. Tel 078790 24737 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hollywood is a propaganda machine a new movie
about the American aid involvement in Somalia in the
early nineties coincides with the fact that Somalia is likely to
be targeted next in the war against terrorism. This
film represents the US as peacekeepers rather than the killers of
10,000 Somali civilians. Bush officials have met with Hollywood
representatives, who have committed themselves to initiatives
to support the war on terrorism, and Black Hawk Down
had to be OKd by the White House. Already the US has closed
down international banking channels into Somalia, cut off the internet
from the country and restricted its phone communications. New York
group ANSWER say The Pentagon has unfinished business, they
have a black eye and must return with a vengeance. This
is the goal of Black Hawk Down. www.internationalanswer.org
People disrupted an Air Defence Systems Conference
at the Hatton in London on Wednesday. Armed with stinkbombs
the protesters managed to ruin the nice suited mens
£350 buffet. The chair of the meeting, Gordon Come
on lads let's get em! Wilson joined army types
and govt ministers in trying to assault some of the protestors.
The boys in blue appeared, did their usual dithering and false
arrest thing, charged no-one and the talks were disrupted!
this week blockaded chemical giant Bayers UK headquarters
on the day the company floated on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bayer need to raise capital on Wall Street to take over Aventis
Cropscience, who run most of the UK field trials. Bayers
share price has plummeted following revelations their anti-cholesterol
drug Baycol had been linked to almost 100 deaths. www.bayerhazard.com
clued up on climate change? Rising Tide have a weekend
course, Feb 22-24, Ruskin College, Oxford everything
is free, but only if you never went to college 01865 241097
a Fun-Raiser benefit gig with DJs and SchMovies for the Centre
for Alternative Technology Weds 30th at the Volks, Brighton
9pm till late. Next day is 180 Degrees at the Volks (Thur
31st), psychedelic techno/ trance DJs, 10pm-3am, £2.
All money goes to the Indonesian rainforest project.
resumes this Saturday (25) at the Dyke Road Esso station
(Brighton) from 12 noon. www.stopesso.com
A Seminar Crisis
in Nigerias Niger Delta Organised by the Centre
for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Royal Commonwealth
Society (RCS) in London, Sat 26th. Presentations by authors
and activists on terrorism and corporate violence, with a
focus on Shell. 1-3 pm at the RCS Club, 18 Northumberland
Ave, London, WC2. email@example.com www.corporatewatch.org.uk/profiles/profiles.html
explosion of art in a squat in London, 13-15 Feb. Gallery
plus extra events - film night on the 14th - Live music and
performance on the 15th with refreshments, crafts, clothing
and a book swapping stall throughout. Artists should contact
in advance to ensure showcase space. Artist line: 07092 012299
or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the
excellent Space Hijackers website for anarchitects,
London-based pranksters, blaggers' guide and general funny
Refugees from Nicaragua and El Salvador fleeing war and persecution
in their own countries set up a model village in Finca Sonador,
Costa Rica in 1978. The community now has 350 members whove
been living a sustainable lifestyle surrounded by swathes of beautiful
rainforest. Now though theyre facing the prospect of their
surroundings being ruined by the Man from Del Monte who wants to
cut the trees down and replace them with pineapple trees. They need
to raise money urgently and are looking for people to buy their
own bit of the forest. 100 euros will buy you 400sq metres. www.dieschwelle.de
Blenkinsop, recently jailed for 18 months for the crime
of liberating 600 guinea pigs has been moved to HMP Bullingdon,
Patrick Haugh Rd, Arncott, Nr Bicester, Oxon, OX6 0PZ prison
number EM 7899
has resumed countrywide now that the foot and mouth fiasco has been
declared over. Hunts are up to their usual tricks again, hunting
not just foxes, deer and hares, but anti-hunt protestors as well.
a hunt sab was hit by a horsebox trailer which was driven straight
at him. At the Chiddingfold Hunt in Sussex huntsman Jonathan Broise
shouted Lets sort this out once and for all, grabbed
a hunt sab, dragged him in front of the horse of the whipper-in
who then road over him. Simon was lucky to escape with bruises.
In Sussex cops
are conspiring with hunts to prevent effective action by sabs, but
despite 40 cops on Saturday a few sabs managed to slip through the
net and disrupt the Southdowns hunt, who made no kills. This extra
effort in Sussex is probably due to the new Sussex Chief Constable
who has previously said that he doesnt like sabs.
the police arrested a hunt steward (hired thug) for kicking and
punching a sab. Later the sabs managed to stop a fox being dug out
of an earth and the hunt packed up two hours early.
let all the bad stories get you down, most sabs dont get beaten
up and they do save the lives of foxes, deer and hares, more than
the Neo-Labour government have done despite all their election pledges.
Hunt Saboteurs Association: 0845-4500727 www.huntsabs.org.uk
midnight on Monday five Romanian refugees escaped unjust imprisonment
at Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre. Unfortunately that leaves
nearly 180 wrongfully imprisoned refugees and other migrants still
imprisoned in the Centre.
Theres a demonstration
outside Campsfield this Saturday (26) 12pm 2pm to give support
to the detainees imprisoned inside. Bring kites/ballooons/music!
Campsfield House Immigration Detention Centre, Langford Lane, Kiddlington,
more than 150,000 people took to the streets of Rome to protest
against proposed new immigration laws in a massive grassroots demonstration
organised by SenzaConfine (No Borders). Find out more at www.noborder.org
would like to give the Most Undeserving of Charity Award Ever to...
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has just accepted over
$10,000 towards the rebuilding of the Pentagon, from the children
of Moorefield Middle School, West Virginia! All part of the unbelievable-but-true,
brand spanking new Show Pride in Your Military Act created
by a lunatic West Virginian congresswoman Shelley Capito. Congress
attached Capitos legislation to the 2002 Defense Authorization
Bill, which became law when President Bush signed late last year.
We decided on donating to the Pentagon because a lot of us
have been to Washington, not too many of us have been to New York.
said a student. Apparently the students felt the attack on the Pentagon
was sort of in their backyard and wanted to help.
warns all readers here at SchNEWS Towers Inc we never water
down our puns so they tower above the rest. Honest.
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SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
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