That there are, today, still 815 million hungry people
in the world is truly a crime. That the proposals we made nearly
six years ago are now even further from being achieved is [even
more] shameful. - Sr. D. Felipe Pérez Roque, Cuban
In 1996 world leaders met at the World Food Summit to talk about
how they might be able to reduce world hunger, a time when there
were 800 million starving people. They made commitments to halve
world hunger by 2015. Last month, nearly 6 years later, the follow
on summit took place in Rome.
This years summit was never going to get off to a good start,
with the number of starving people in the world pretty much the
same as at the time of the last Summit, and a massive famine looming
in southern Africa. But rather than take the bull by the horns and
do something for the poor, the leaders of the worlds richest
countries decided to stay at home and count their weapons. Only
two managed to attend, and one of them Silvio Berlusconi
the Summits host, even managed to wrap it up early so he could
watch the footie.
This is in sharp contrast to the NATO- Russia Summit, also in Rome,
five and a half weeks earlier, where 20 world leaders met and agreed
effectively to sustain the $800 billion a year global arms industry
without a mention of the needs of the poor. In fact as Patrick Mulvany
from Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) points out
Apart from Berlusconi and José Maria Aznar, the Spanish
Premier, the only common link between the two Summits was the military
operation of 16,000 police, carabinieri and soldiers put in place
to contain the politicians and exclude the people. Many people from
Civil Society were unable to enter the exclusion zone of half a
kilometre around the building, which kept away the 30,000 person
March for Food Sovereignty: land and dignity. [The Food
Summit] became a military zone. And this emphasised the sense of
oppression in the summit.
In the absence of world leaders the summit was gobbled up by corporations,
who made sure they didnt leave it empty handed. The final
declaration was extremely bad news for the poor with a US imposed
acceptance of genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to world
hunger, and an abandonment of any reference to the precautionary
principle when it comes to GM food. The declaration also deleted
any reference to a legally binding code of conduct on the right
to food (the right to produce and consume food), and watered down
the call to ratify the International Seed Treaty (ITPGFRA- see SchNEWS
329), which should stop the patenting of crops, to something that
countries should consider.
So if youre starving from now on it seems that its going
to be the same but worse, with little hope for anything but GM food
landing on your plate in the future. Food aid spiked with GM maize
will now be dumped on the ravaged countries of southern Africa by
Uncle Sam. This will cleverly pollute all the crops in the region,
making any sustainable GM-free option a dead duck - so much for
the World Summit on Sustainable Development being held in Johannesburg
Six Hundred people took part in the Civil Society Forum for Food
Sovereignty, also in Rome, at the same time as the official Food
Summit This Forum was attended by many that were excluded from the
main Summit: farmers, fisherfolk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples,
environmentalists, womens organizations, trade unions, and
NGOs. They came up with their own Action Agenda that
totally rejected the declaration made at the formal summit. Instead
they called for a radical change in approach to address the real
cause of hunger international trade rules. Their agenda calls
for the removal of food and agriculture from the control of the
World Trade Organisation, an end to dumping of cheap food in poor
countries, the total rejection of GMOs and patents on life, and
investment in more sustainable locally controlled small-scale agri-ecology
Part of their press release read: The 1996 Plan of Action
has not failed because of a lack of political will and resources,
but rather it has failed because it supports policies that lead
to hunger, policies that support economic liberalisation for the
South and cultural homogeneity, which are backed by military force
if the first wave of prescriptive actions fail. Only fundamentally
different policies, which are based on the dignity and livelihoods
of communities can end hunger. We affirm our belief that this is
possible and urgently needed.
The fact that anybody is hungry in the world today is a scandal:
there is no scarcity of food overall. In fact weve never grown
so much food; and food has rarely been so cheap. But as trade liberalisation
has increased theres been increasing levels of hunger amongst
growing mounds of plenty, now spiked with GMOs. The bottom line
has become that if you want to eat then youve got to pay,
and that goes just as much for those in Europe and the USA as in
poorer countries. Unless the situation changes by 2015 its
predicted 122 million people will have died needlessly of hunger.
As Patrick Mulvany, from ITDG says It is our Global Shame
that nearly a quarter of the population goes to bed hungry in a
world that has never before produced so much food. The sad reflection
on the formal summit is that governments will do little to eradicate
hunger and corporations will continue to be allowed to extend their
control over who gets to eat. And there is little profit in providing
for the poor.
* Check out the Forum for Food Sovereignty Action Agenda: www.forumfoodsovereignty.org
* For analysis of the summit and information on sustainable agriculture
check out www.ukabc.org/wfs5+.htm
* For the low down on aid and food dumping check out www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty/FoodDumping.asp
*An Andean root crop has become the latest victim of biopiracy by
a US corporation. Extracts of the Maca, a crop that has been grown
for centuries by indigenous people in the Puna highlands in Peru,
have been patented for their viagra like (sexual potency) and natural
fertility properties. Indigenous peoples and farmers organisations
are vowing to ignore the patent, and last month held a protest outside
the offices of the Ecological Forum in Lima denouncing the biopiracy.
Full story at www.etcgroup.org
* The 18 sites that will be used for the last 3 years of farm scale
GM trials have just been announced. Check them out at www.geneticsaction.org.uk/testsites
Arrest of the Week
For stealing 3 pence worth of paper!
Three people were last week beginning a year each in jail after
taking part in an action as part of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
campaign. They were targeting one of Huntingdons customers
Roche, who apparently werent even aware anything had
gone missing until it appeared on the Internet. The paper contained
internal phone numbers and data on employees, the website has now
been closed down.
Compare these sentences to Roches proscribed acne drug Roaccutane.
The International Roaccutane Action Group says the drug can cause
depression and suicide. 15 people in Britain who were given it on
prescription have committed suicide with 10 others attempting to
take their life. Of course these side effects were not detected
by animal testing, nobody from Roche has been prosecuted and Roaccutane
is still being dished out in the UK! (Support the prisoners
Gabriel Nkwelle, a human rights activist and asylum seeker will
be starting his appeal against his deportation on Monday 29th July
at Bromley Magistrates Court, he is urging people to turn up and
show some support. Gabriel arrived in Britain in May 2000 to claim
asylum after exposing massive electoral fraud in his native Cameroon,
but was promptly thrown in jail . Since then he has been ghosted
(moved) from prison to prison and detention centre to detention
centre a total of ten times. While inside he was a tireless campaigner
for other asylum seekers, a lot of whom couldnt speak very
good English, and was a thorn in the side of the establishment,
before being released late last year. So get down to Bromley at
10am on 29th July in the Immigration Appellate Authority Section,
First Floor, 1 London Road, Bromley, Kent and make some noise.
*For the past 16 days the inmates at Woomera detention/concentration
camp in the outback of Australia have been on hunger strike in protest
at the appalling conditions they have to endure. In solidarity people
have been fasting all over the world Mexico, India, the U.S.
and Israel outside their Australian embassies. On Wednesday in London
around 100 people turned up for a rally in support of the detainees.
STOP PRESS The hunger strike has now been called off because
the authorities at Woomera stopped all medical treatment for the
inmates and because of this all the solidarity fasts have now finished.
For more info check out http://autonomous.org/refugee/
Blitz promises to be a kick-ass anti-corporate extravaganza
to coincide with the Commonwealth Games being held in Manchester
later this month.
Organised by NATO thats Northern Arts Tactical Offensive,
the festival covers a week of shows, actions and events kicking
off on Sat 20th July with an open air music event, and the opening
of two exhibitions. One is AgiTATE being held in a spanking new
shopping mall who failed in their bid to ban it once they realised
what was happening! Throughout the week there will be film and multimedia
events organised by Beyond TV. The week will end with a skate attack
and critical mass plus political street theatre on Saturday 27th.
NATO has also produced a spoof guide to the city to guide tourists
to their events.
During that week there will also be a GM trashing nearby, Manchester
Peoples open seminar for the Anti Commonwealth Games Coalition
and lots of anti sweatshop actions. For a full programme see www.nato.uk.net
Direct action magazine Loombreaker reports the Commonwealth
Games are being used to launch a new Corporate Manchester - a posh
apartment playground for coke-sniffing yuppies, ... The cost of
the games are astronomical - the stadium alone accounts for a cool
£120 million - but you wont hear too much about £80m
of public money the council has committed to paying
you're wondering why there are cutbacks in schools and housing,
or where your local swimming pools and other public amenities have
all gone when your council rents and tax are rising, theres
not much need to look any further really.
The 3p three (See Crap Arrest):
Sarah Gisborne HR4337 & Kate Simpson GN8957, HMP
High Point, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 9YG. Madeline
Buckler HR4338, YO Bullwood Hall, High Road, Hockley, Essex,
A man who targeted a radical bookshop because it didnt like
the material they stocked walked away from the High Court last week
with just £14 in damages but the case leaves two of
Londons last remaining radical bookshops facing potentially
crippling legal bills.
The case was brought nearly 2 years ago against Housmans Bookshop
by Alexander Baron, a right-wing anti-gay litigant who had been
referred to as a plagiarist in one sentence in a 136-page pamphlet
stocked in the shop. Baron decided not to sue the author or publisher,
but the shop, at one point asking them to pay him £50,000
to drop the case.
This case is the first time the defence of innocent dissemination
has been used, where it was argued that it is impossible for bookshops,
particularly small independents, to check - and take responsibility
- for the content of the thousands of publications in stock at any
one time. As Albert Beale from Housmans said We feel it is
important to try to take a stand, otherwise there might be no end
to this sort of legal intimidation.
This action against Housmans was one of a series, dating back to
1996, brought against them, Bookmarks (also in London) and others,
by people criticised in Searchlight magazine. The next case is due
in court this autumn and the bookshops need donations for legal
costs. Send cheques (payable to the Bookshop Libel Fund),
5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX, 020 7278 4474 On-line donations
- Albion Community Arts Trust have a two day festival fundraiser
for a Norwich Free festival. Norwich Playhouse 19-20th July. 01603-717074
- Benefit for Walthamstow Anarchist Group featuring Thatchers
Children plus others. 19th upstairs, Chestnut Tree, 757 Lea Bridge
Rd, London E17. £3 firstname.lastname@example.org
- If youve ever worked with Veggies catering campaign
(even if it was just once) they want to speak to you for a book.
Write to PO Box 2284, London,W1 5HU Or email@example.com
- Want some SchNEWS stickers? Send the office an SAE to
help spread the word.
- Reclaim the Beach 9 - more urban free-party-in-posh-looking-venue-nonsense,
Saturday 13th 8pm, Royal Festival Hall Beach south bank www.swarming.org.uk
- No War But Class War political discussion Saturday 13th
2-5pm Rutland Arms, Brown St, Sheffield (nr.Sheffield Railway
- Interested in development of alternative education? Meeting
at the Brighthelm Centre, North Rd., Brighton, 23rd July 7pm
- Campaign Against Arms Trade protest against Farnborough Air
Show, 22nd-28th July. Whilst the public days are championed
as fun days out for all the family, the reality is very different.
Farnborough is an arms fair and a very important date in the defence
industry calendar. 020 7281 0297 www.caat.org.uk
- Brightons Radio4A is back on the airwaves this
weekend on 107.8 FM and www.piratetv.net
- A protest camp has been set up near Edinburgh to stop
a bypass destroying an SSSI. Help urgently needed. 07753808709
- Woodside Traveller Site latest: The Romany travellers
at Woodside caravan park in Bedfordshire (see SchNEWS 360) have
been given their eviction date, its 1st November, they want people
to come down to resist. Tents, campfires, cups of tea and music
will be provided. More info: Clifford Codona 01206 523528 (mornings
- Protest against Working Links exploitation of uemployed
people. Meet 10am Wednesday 17th Pavillion Gardens Cafe, New Road,
A consortium of oil companies led by BP has big plans to build
a 1,777km long oil pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan, to Ceyhan,
Turkey via Georgia, so that Caspian Sea oil can be exported to the
US. BP, the worlds third largest oil company, are begging
the World Bank and other national export credit departments to provide
them with credit for this environmentally disastrous scheme.
Campaigners against the pipeline are pressing these institutions
to refuse credit, cos apart from the obvious pollution the
oil will cause when burned, they believe the pipeline may well exacerbate
tension in a region recovering from conflict, and will provide no
benefit to local people. The pipeline passes through several Kurdish
regions in Turkey, according to Kerim Yildiz of the Kurdish Human
Rights Project This pipeline would militarise a corridor running
from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. This could threaten the fragile
cease fire in the Kurdish region through which the pipeline will
pass. For more information see www.bankwatch.org
* Rising Tide weekend summer school on climate change 26-28th July.
Booking a space essential: 01865 554331 firstname.lastname@example.org
* Climate Criminals Critical Mass will pay a visit to the perpetrators
of the pipeline on 15th July. Meet 2pm outside the National Film
Theatre, South Bank, London
* The Ecotopia Biketour is coming to the UK this summer along their
route they will be doing actions and giving workshops. www.thebiketour.net
Vegan-organic gardening is organic gardening, which avoids the
use of any animal products, such as manure and animal remains, which
many people use to fertilise the soil. The advantage of this type
of gardening is that theres no animal exploitation at all,
instead you can enjoy piling your vegetable beds high with home
made vegetable compost.
If youre interested in learning vegan-organic skills the Vegan
Organic Network have a training weekend, 20-21st July in Bolton.
Only £15 for a day, £25 for the whole weekend. Contact
Jenny Hall, 20 Hawthorn Ave, Orrell, Wigan, WN5 8NQ. Phone 07855
392037 email email@example.com
This is the first-ever in-depth research into the health
risks of anorak wearing, Professor Philip Murray announced
at a press conference at Birmingham City Hospital, and the
results are remarkable. Campaigns to reduce road traffic accidents
have hitherto paid little attention to the subject, but our findings
prove what many people have long suspected. Put simply, the wearing
of anoraks can be dangerous, and injurious to health.
Our researchers measured the binocular visual field of healthy
volunteers while they were wearing four different styles of anorak.
Most wearers habitually pull the hood over their head, and our ophthalmologists
discovered that, with the hood up, the field of vision is more than
halved. The biggest danger comes when an anorak wearer tries to
cross the road, because their vision is severely impaired, and they
simply cannot see as well as other people. Our results prove beyond
doubt that people need to be far more careful in their choice of
headgear. And quite apart from that, they look ridiculous.
(Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2002.)
Shamelessly stolen from Private Eye.
SchNEWS warns all greedy pigs well huff and puff on puff
till yer Tower of Babylon falls down. Honest.
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