As all SchNEWS readers will no doubt know the Coca-Cola Company
exists to benefit and refresh everyone it touches. Which
will come as great news to the villagers in the Kerala State of
India who, thanks to one of Coca-Colas refreshing
factories, are suffering water contamination and shortages.
Coca Colas bottling plant at Plachimada was set up three
years ago in the middle of fertile agricultural land and has sucked
the local aquifers dry. Worst hit are the indigenous and Dalit (oppressed
castes) communities who live near the factory. They have seen their
wells dry up while they wave goodbye to truck loads of soft drinks
that are making their way from the factory to distant markets. Barely
six months after the factory set up, villagers and farmers living
nearby began noticing changes in the quantity and quality of well
water. Water from a well in Plachimada became unfit for drinking,
cooking and bathing. Complaints and requests to the company and
the Government repeatedly fell on deaf ears so on the 22nd April
locals began an indefinite picket outside the factory gates demanding
its closure. For 49 days the peaceful protests continued until police
violently arrested 130 people including nine children and infants.
As Nityanand Jayaraman from CorpWatch India said As the summer
and the water crisis intensifies, the hardships of the local people
have worsened. But Coca Cola has continued its production and groundwater
extraction uninterrupted with police protection.
The water scarcity has now even hit Coke. Until recently, the company
was drawing 1.5 million litres a day from the common groundwater
resource now it is only able to extract 800,000 litres. The
remainder is brought in by truck from borewells in neighbouring
villages. According to local estimates, Cokes water mining
has now parched the lands of more than 2,000 people living within
1.2 miles of the factory.
Dr. S. Janakarajan, an economist working on groundwater issues
said, The trouble with Coke [in Plachimada] cannot be seen
in isolation. In this case, a community may have lost its access
to water for drinking or agricultural purposes for the sake of supplying
Coca Cola. The same has happened in other places where industries
have privatised common groundwater resources or polluted them
In this race, those who have the resources are the winners; the
poor are the losers. Or as one famous French woman might once
have said Let them drink Coke.
For more on this story www.corpwatchindia.org/action/PAA.jsp?articleid=1703
The United Steelworkers of America have filed a law suit against
Coca Cola accusing the company of failing to ensure that workers
at the plants were protected against persecution of trade unionists.
This case involves the systematic intimidation, kidnapping,
detention and murder of trade unionists in Colombia, South America,
at the hands of paramilitaries working as agents of corporations
doing business in that country, the lawsuit said.
With respect to their business operations in Colombia, the
Defendants hired, contracted with or otherwise directed paramilitary
security forces that utilized extreme violence and murdered, tortured,
unlawfully detained or otherwise silenced trade union leaders of
the union representing workers at Defendants facilities.
Colombia Solidarity Campaign 07950 923448 email@example.com
Four villagers from the Narmada Valley in India who had been fasting
for 29 days in a suburb of Bhopal, ended their protest on Wednesday.
All four, who have been directly affected by the huge Narmada Dam
Project, began their fast to demand the fair resettlement of the
6,000 people who are going to be displaced when the Maan reservoir
fills up during the monsoon season. All four were willing to die
unless their demands were met.
The Maan dam is one of the dams in the Narmada Dam Project, a massive
irrigation scheme that will according to the development crazy Indian
government provide large amounts of water and electricity
which are desperately required for the purposes of development.
In reality the project is sucking money from truly long term sustainable
water solutions in this drought prone region, and will leave the
majority of the people waterless, as big agricultural projects suck
up the lions share.
As the Maan reservoir fills up during the monsoon season 17 villages
will be submerged, displacing 6,000 people. The villagers had been
promised that they would be resettled land-for-land by December
last year, but in reality as has happened with other villages in
the Narmada valley, there is no resettlement package. Those affected
by the Maan Dam have already identified land that would be suitable
for the resettlement of the villages. The local government though
had refused to consider the option, which they thought would set
Instead of being resettled, the villages were forcibly evicted
in May when police and bulldozers moved in and sealed hand pumps,
demolished school buildings and clear felled trees. The hunger strike
began on the 21st May as part of a wider protest against these evictions.
Finally on the 29th day the fast was called off after the Chairman
of the Grievance Redressal Authority agreed to ensure that the rehabilitation
of the Maan dam oustees would be completed no later than July 31st
this year. Thousands of people face submergence over the coming
monsoon, which will start next month and many have vowed to drown
rather than leave their homes. Keep and eye out for solidarity actions
happening around the globe. www.narmada.org
FROM A STONE
Since the mine started taking the water, the Mound Springs
have gone right down and they dont function like they used
to. Our traditional story is that if the water dries up, then so
do the people. - Kevin Buzzacott, of the Arabunna people.
The Western Mining Corporations Beverley Uranium mine in
central Australia is sucking the life juice out of an area the size
of Texas. Slurping a whopping 42 million litres of water a day from
the Lake Eyre Basin, the mine affects hundreds of river systems,
tributaries and creeks, and threatens the livelihoods of the aboriginal
peoples in the vast desert area.
The uranium mine - the largest in the world - relies on underground
water, using a process called in-situ leaching where
millions of litres of sulphuric acid is pumped into the groundwater
to dissolve the uranium, which is then pumped out. This leads to
the permanent radioactive contamination of the underground water
system. To top it all, once theyve used the water they put
it back into the ground, radioactive as hell.
A protest camp of local traditional people, and others has been
held since the mine started in 1999, though it has been trashed
several times by the mining company security.
Earthdream are throwing a solstice party this weekend (20-21st)
on mine land next to Lake Eyre, in support of local Arabunna people.
For details contact: www.active.org.au/sydney
ARREST OF THE WEEK
For doing a handstand!
A protestor at the recent Reclaim the Streets in Dublin was arrested,
according to his charge-sheet, because he engaged in the act
of a handstand in the middle of a junction so as to cause or was
likely to cause the traffic through such a place to be obstructed.
Phillip Thompson claims he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice
because he was practising yoga.
The G8 summit, the annual meeting of the seven major industrialised
nations plus Russia, is taking place next week in Kananaskis, Canada.
As usual they will be plotting and scheming on how to take more
from the worlds poor by promoting slave labour and environmental
destruction (AKA globalisation and development)
and claiming that theyre good for us by branding them sustainable.
Devised by the big three, the WTO, IMF and World Bank, this years
lucky theme is Africa lucky because the unholy trinity will
focus all of their manipulative money making scams on it.
After last years massive protests in Genoa (see SchNEWS 314/5)
it was decided to move to the remoteness of the Rockies for the
summit and put up a security fence stretching 6 ½ kilometres.
There will also be hundreds of police and soldiers, with a top-level
military commander commenting, we are very serious
we have lethal weapons and we will use force if we think there is
a serious threat, warning that protesters and limelight
seekers who intend to test summit security in Kananaskis will
be risking their lives.
Potential terrorist threats such as the native grizzly bears
are being used as an excuse to bring in these new hardcore
security measures. Apparently the bears pose such a threat in the
rockies that the cops will be kitted out in some very fetching outfits
(check out www.onf.ca/grizly/suit.html
and drool). Activists are still urged to go to Kananaskis, to disrupt
as much as possible using roadblocks and Ewok tactics
such as tree climbing. Masses of demos will also be going on around
the country and thousands of people will head to the capital. Unfortunately
Canadian cops are known to respond to anti-capitalist demos with
the subtlety wed expect, at the last one in Ottawa. protestors
at the G20 summit, were zapped with stun guns, mauled by badly trained
police dogs and threatened with rubber bullets as riot cops held
loaded MP5 machine guns with their fingers on the triggers.
For more info on the various actions, different coloured blocs
and tactics see www.takethecapital.net
- Plans for everyone and their dog to spy on our every
email/phonecall (see last years SchNEWS) have been shelved for
the time being after massive protests. Still, as one our readers
pointed out, we shouldnt forget about Americas Echelon
- the worlds greatest surveillance system, which captures and
analyses virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message
sent anywhere in the world! http://fly.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/echelon.html
- On Working Links? Think it stinks? AWOL (Abolish Working
Links) meeting for benefits claimants in Brighton and Hove this
Thursday (27) at Queens Head Pub, Queens Road , Brighton 7.30pm.
- Theres a meeting about the selling off of Brightons
council housing. Its at Leech Court, Albion Rd next
Wednesday (26) 7pm 608704 for more details
- Go to www.huntingdonsucks.com/ecd/
and join in the online protest to shut down the website of evil
vivisectors Huntingdon Life Sciences.
- Activists managed to halt work on a new incinerator in
Basingstoke by suspending themselves in cargo nets for 3 days.
The action was one of 50 held throughout the world on Global Anti-Incineration
Great News! After 8 years of wrongful imprisonment anarchist prisoner,
Mark Barnsley is due to be released next Monday (24). The
Mark Barnsley campaign would like as many supporters as possible
to be outside the prison to welcome Mark. Meet 9am, at HMP Whitemoor,
Longhill Road, March Cambridgeshire. There is a slight chance he
may be released earlier www.freemarkbarnsley.com
for any updates. Transport is being organised from around the country,
On Tuesday Satpal Ram was freed after spending 15 years
in jail. Satpal received a life sentence after he defended himself
against a racist attack, his attacker later died. His release came
after David Blunkett was forced by a European Court ruling to overturn
a previous decision by former Home Secretary Jack Straw that kept
Satpal in jail because of his refusal to admit his guilt. Satpals
release does not mean that his conviction has been quashed. There
is still a massive legal battle to clear his name. www.appleonline.net/satpal/
* 1 year on from the EU summit in Gothenburg and 71 people have
been prosecuted, mainly for rioting. The average length of the sentence
has been 14 months. Many of the prisoners would appreciate letters,
addresses are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gothenberg Solidarity Group desperately need donations. All
money will go directly to help the prisoners. Money payable to Nisse-Latts
minnesfond at Solidaritetsgruppen, c/o Syndikalistiskt Forum,
Box 7267, 402 35 Göteborg , Sweden Tel +46(0)733-16 42 96
* The Infamous and outrageously moustached French farmer Jose Bove
was ordered to turn up outside a French jail on Wednesday to serve
his 3 month prison sentence for his part in the 1999 demolition
of a McDonalds In true style he turned up on a tractor. His sentence
has been postponed for two months as politicians feared his incarceration
may effect the presidential elections. http://commondreams.org/headlines02/0619-09.htm
* Cant afford a ticket? Reckon Glastonburys gone to
the Mean Fiddler dogs well some people in Glastonbury had
organised a small fringe festie for locals and others milling round
town to go to. And guess what the authorities didnt like that
bit of initiative and so its been cancelled. www.glastonburyfestival.fslife.co.uk
* Going To Glastonbury? Want to help us out at the SchNEWS stall.
We are in the Green Futures field and could do with some help on
the stall and handing out SchNEWS to the masses.
* Dont know what to do after Solstice? Free party soundsystems
are promising a huge party somewhere in the South West this weekend.
Call 07980401646 / 07815627676 / 07816984913 from Friday morning
Three hundred people, ten marquees, three days, countless workshops,
discussions, advice sessions and a chance to meet people from all
over the UK who are changing their own and others lives. No,
its not a Christian summer camp its
self-help forum! From 16-18 July, Groundswell will be hosting the
fourth national self-help forum in Sheffield, featuring loads of
practical workshops to learn new skills. Groundswell are a group
that promotes and supports a self-help network with people who are
homeless, landless, or living in poverty. Groundswell 020 7737 5500
In 1997, 27 Gypsy families clubbed together to buy Woodside, a
17-acre touring caravan park with full planning permission. But
when the Gypsies moved on to the park, Mid-Bedfordshire council
claimed they did not have permission for permanent occupation and
issued enforcement notices. In July last year the council set aside
£230,000 to finance clearance of the community. On Monday
(24), the council is going to the high court to be allowed to carry
out its enforcement notices, forcing the community back on the road.
The Woodside caravan park is unlike any of the 325 council Gypsy
sites in this country. It isnt surrounded by barbed wire fences
designed to keep the inhabitants in. It hasnt even been built
near a sewage works or any other industrial facility. It looks,
in fact, more like a modern hamlet than a ghetto, except that the
homes are on wheels rather than stone foundations. At the centre
of the community is a large green where children play in safety.
Yet the council wants the site removed on the grounds that it is
having an adverse impact on the environment. The Gypsies say the
council is using an environmental smokescreen to hide their bigotry.
They say we are out of character with the area, but how can
we be when weve always been here? says Woodside spokesman
and National Traveller Action Group chairman Clifford Codona, who,
like many Gypsies, once worked as a seasonal agricultural labourer.
They dont need us any more, so they want to expel us.
They cant stand the fact that, for the first time ever, Gypsies
have their own village green!
Current government policy recommends that travellers should house
themselves on their own land, yet Gypsy families who attempt to
do so are often denied planning permission. While over 80% of planning
applications from settled people are granted consent more than 90%
of applications from Gypsies are refused.
If you believe its time to stop shoving British Gypsies from
pillar to post, they need your help to turn away the bailiffs. Come
the night before the expected eviction attempt from Monday onwards.
Enjoy a midsummer night of Gypsy singsong around the fires - and
be ready to protest when the council and private contractors come.
Theres plenty of room for tents and caravans. Woodside is
in the village of Hatch near Sandy, Bedfordshire just minutes off
the A1. (for directions www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=515520&Y=247360&A=Y&Z=5).
If you cant get to the site send an email to email@example.com
head of Mid Beds Council urging him to reconsider his intention
to evict the community of Gypsies at Woodside Caravan Park, Sandy,
For more information on how British Gypsy sites policy has made
many homeless, read No Room to Move www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4427029,00.html
After days of massive protests in six cities, the Peruvian government
has suspended the privitisation of two power plants. The governments
initial decision to go back on election pledges and sell the two
state-owned companies sparked protests that led to $100 million
of damage to infrastrature including one airport being attacked
and all flights grounded. Two people were killed and more than 140
injured when a state of emergency was declared and 5,000
soldiers sent to repress the popular protests. www.indymedia.org
SchNEWS warns all Stonedhengers looking for a golden age goal
when it comes to a world cup full of coke yknows the score.
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