...These people at the summit are not kind. We earn peanuts
and they dont even tip us. They think they are so important,
they fly around the world having meetings and getting waited on,
but they know nothing of how we live. I came here from Zimbabwe
because my people are very desperate there. I live in a shack in
Soweto now, one room with two children, no privacy, trying to earn
money to send home. For months the government has talked about cleaning
up the city for the summit, but when these people go home, everything
will be back like it always was. They will still be rich, we will
still be poor. Its not right that they say they meet for our
sake. Its all for their benefit, not ours.
- Rosemary, a Zimbabwean refugee waiting tables under the shining
towers of Sandton, South Africa, where the conference was held.
SchNEWS would never snipe at the sidelines telling anyone whod
listen we told you so but as the Johannesburg Earth
Summit finishes, the new blueprint to save the planet is about as
useful as waterproof bogroll.
Corporations hailed it a success (horray no strings, we
can carry on polluting), there was fine words from politicians (like
Vice-President Blair banging on about climate change then promising
to improve the people of Iraqs climate by bombing them), plenty
of NGO hand wringing and muttering in Victor Meldrew I dont
believe it style disbelief and demonstrators being given a
good kick in the privates so they dont feel left out in the
new era of global partnerships. SchNEWS has sifted through the final
65 page document with its eight key commitments and come up with
summit of the highlights.
* Dropping all renewable energy targets, because oil rich nations
argued that until they figure a way of charging us for the sun and
wind they arent interested in bloody solar panels and windmills.
* Promising to increase the number of people cut off from essential
services like water and electricity by privatising services immediately.
* Getting rid of poor people, or at least making them disappear
out of view, with the use of very big fences surrounded by razor
wire and men with machine guns (hey, just like the Earth Summit).
* Making people re-use envelopes and dig ponds in their back gardens
to preserve fish stocks.
* Handing out free umbrellas and suntan lotion to help lessen the
effects of climate change.
*A pledge to stop species extinction through gene transfer and cloning
of profitable animal and plant crops.
* A free market monopoly in exchange for eternal debt and gratitude
plus spontaneous culling of various groups as and when necessary
all done in the best possible taste.
Er, thats it.
But perhaps the major triumph of the Summit was the
creation of partnership agreements. Corporations promise
to respect the environment and peoples human rights, as long
as they can do it voluntarily and with none of that silly red tape
that spoils it for everyone. As an ecstatic spokesman for Business
Action for Sustainable Development (BASD - see SchNEWS 361/2), a
powerful new lobby group stuffed full of fat cats, told SchNEWS
We cant believe those suckers expect us, the very people
who are destroying the planet to come up with a grand plan of how
to save it!
During one of the BASDtards Summit knees-up Shell Chairman Philip
Watts reluctantly accepted a Greenwash Lifetime Achievement Award,
muttering something about the good work his company has done in
Nigeria and the report his company had produced which said how responsible
they now were. Isaac Osuoka of Environmental Rights Action, a Nigerian
group that has documented Shells pioneering human rights and
environmental work in the Niger Delta pointed out How can
we talk of partnership and trust with business leaders who do not
recognise the most blatant corporate crimes?
Other Greenwash Award winners include BP, who spent £20 million
on their new sunflower logo to show the world how much they like
flowers, Nestle who continue to defend the rights of mothers in
the developing world to use powered milk, Enron for Best Makeup,
and accountants (and we use the term in the loosest possible manner)
Arthur Andersen for Best Documentary Destruction. As author Naomi
Klein puts it Post Enron its hard to believe that companies
can be trusted to keep their own books, let along save the world.
Or as Kenny Bruno co-author of Earthsummit.biz says, Most
corporations, when left to their own devices, are attracted to irresponsible
behaviour like moths to a flame. So, without wanting to become
the pub bore going on and on about whats to be done, we at
SchNEWS Towers repeat its only when people get together to
solve problems, offer solutions and take direct action against those
who are destroying the planet, that life will ever change.
SchNEWS VOCAB WATCH
Greenwash: spending millions on adverts telling the world how green
you are, while behind the scenes doing everything to oppose or avoid
any social or environmental law that might harm profits.
* The Greenwash Awards did actually happen. Find out more www.earthsummit.biz/
* During last weeks day of action against a Corporate UN,
Dutch Earth First! used paintbombs to
greenwash outlets of a dozen corporations in Amsterdam.
Anyone who believes that profit making, economic growth, and
sustainable development can go together is very naive. For
details of other actions on the day www.aseed.net
* Earthsummit.biz: the Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development
by Joshua Karliner and Kenny Bruno (Food First Books) www.corpwatch.org
* Battling Big Business countering greenwash, infiltration
and other forms of corporate bullying. Eveline Lubbers (Green Books)
01803 863260 www.greenbooks.co.uk
* Check out the special Earth Summit report in this months
Ecologist magazine www.theecologist.org
Arrest of the Week
...for asking a question
Indymedia reporter and former political prisoner Chris Plummer was
arrested last month at a Conference organised by the Texas Dept.
of Criminal Justices. Billed as a forum for the exchange of information
between families and prison officials, he was arrested after asking
the riot-inducing question, What percent of grievances get
a not guilty verdict? Chris is still on parole for his antifascist
actions in the 90s, and this arrest could be used as an excuse
to revoke his parole and send him back to prison.
|BLAST in association with the
presents a drumnbass + jungle full-on mix-marathon
at the Concorde, Brighton 12th September, 10pm-3am, £4/3
The school year has begun with a right neo-labour cock-up. Thousands
of lucky kids have been turned away from school because not all
staff have been cleared by the new Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
And just whos behind this mess? Why our old friends Capita
(see Schnews 335) who got control of the bureau thanks to the PFI
(Private Finance Initative).
Launched in April, the CRB is a system for checking the background
of all people who work with children or vulnerable adults in schools,
voluntary organisations or professional bodies. Collating information
from the police and government agencies, the CRB is run by Capita,
which charges £12 for each check. Initially, Capita promised
to respond to 90% of high-level enquiries - those required for the
teaching profession - but within three weeks this promise had slipped
back to the end of the year if yer lucky.
The problem was that poor Capita were expecting 75% of the applications
to come by phone and were surprised that so many came in hand-written
through the post - actually not all that surprising since applications
from local authorities need to be signed by a designated officer
and so cant really be phoned in. The real reason for the mess
up is that Capita set up a system to scan the applications using
optical character recognition which cant read handwriting
so all the data had to be input manually (I dont believe it!)
and they just didnt have the staff to handle such a tall order.
Capita have since shipped off all the applications to India! So
the education Secretary Estelle Morris was left a very dissatisfied
But of course unlike failing schools, Capita is under no threat
of the government taking them over or even giving them a slap on
the wrist. Instead, Capita, who cocked up the Individual Learning
Accounts Scheme earlier this year and left £260 million of
tax payers money open to fraud, have continually been fed more and
more contracts over £1 billion worth in the first half
of the year alone including a 10-year contract to collect TV licence
fees (which should make SchNEWS readers without licenses breath
a sigh of relief) and a five-year contract to run the congestion-charging
scheme in London. Maybe thats why theyve had a 38% rise
in profits for the first half of the year, with three of their top
execs sharing a £7.5million payoff.
Meanwhile, hospitals, care homes and social services depts
trying to recruit struggled with delays that have built up in vetting
potential staff. The whole social services system had slowed
down dramatically, said one director of social services. A
care worker told Schnews shed spent 18 weeks waiting to be
cleared and unable to work.
Chiapas are Down
Things have been hotting up in Chiapas, Mexico over the last few
weeks, with at least 5 Zapatistas murdered by paramilitary groups
and many civillians from the autonomous zones seriously injured.
The first co-ordinated assault on the communities since the brutal
massacre at Acteal in 1997, Zapatistas and aid agencies are eager
to find out what has sparked these recent killings. New and existing
paramilitary groups, along with police have stepped up the violence.
Hundreds of additional Mexican soldiers have also been deployed
in the conflict zone around Monte Azules and the Lacondon jungle.
Several Zapatista communities have had to flee from paramilitary
violence, and human rights observers are accompanying threatened
communities. Zapatistas and human rights groups are calling for
action and support. www.chiapaslink.ukgateway.net
Fiesta Zapatista benefit night next Monday (9) upstairs
at the Albert pub, Brighton. Includes the film Storm From
the Mountain at 7pm. Money raised will go towards re-painting
a mural in a Zapatista autonomous co-op.
- This weekend (6-8) is Big Blether 3. A weekend for those
interested in direct action, environmental issues and campaigning
in Scotland at the Talamh Life Centre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
Workshops on greenwashing vs. corporate responsibility, herbal
medicine, alternative technology etc. Cheap vegan food avaliable
but come as self sufficient as possible. Donations of £5-20
depending on income. 0131 557 6242, www.j12.org/bigblether/
- Next Wednesday (11) theres a Peace Walk. Meet at the Peace
statue in Hove, 12 noon. Walk silently through Brighton, no banners
or placards please
- Film, talk and discussion with North American Indian activist
Rod Coronado this Monday (9th) in Brighton, 7PM, Brighthelm Centre,
North Road , also London Wednesday (11th) at LARC 62 Fieldgate
Street. Aldgate East tube, Whitechapel. 7.30pm 020 7377 9088 www.londonarc.org
- All charges against the five protesters who occupied the Shoreham
docks of Euromin, the company responsible for killing Simon Jones,
have been dropped. www.simonjones.org.uk
- Reclaim the Future 20-22 September, includes all day event on
the Saturday with workshops, kids area, inspiring films, spoken
word and cabaret followed by party. 07931 560 569 firstname.lastname@example.org
- INJUSTICE, the documentary about struggles for justice by the
families of people who have died in police custody, has won Best
Documentary at the BFM Film and Television Awards, which will
take place in London next Monday. The awards are an annual celebration
of achievement in black cinema and television. Between 1969 and
1999 over one thousand people died in police custody in England,
with not one officer ever being convicted. www.injusticefilm.co.uk
- In protest against the Nike Run London event in
Richmond Park on Sept 22nd, No Sweat, the UK campaign against
sweatshops, will be holding its own events to expose the poor
working conditions in the Niketown shops, and on factory floors.
Get No to Nike Naked Greed posters to post over Nikes
ads on your local high street. 07904 431 959 www.nosweat.org.uk
- The radical video collective cultureshop.org are now selling
Drowned Out - The Narmada Dam Story. The film will be showing
at the Cube, Bristol next Tuesday (10) 7 pm £2 door tax
- Lancaster City Council have just voted through the Lancaster
University / Jarvis Greenfields Expansion Plan and A6 link road.
Interested in setting up a protest camp? email@example.com
- Critical Mass North London Ride, 14 September. Critical Mass
is a rolling party encouraging a better deal for Londons
cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users. Bring a bike,
roller blades, skateboard, pogo stick or any non-motorised transport.
Starts 2pm Finsbury Park main gate (Seven Sisters Road).
Meanwhile Gardens in West London is a project aimed at helping
people who have severe or enduring mental health problems learn
about gardening and allotments. Originally set up in the early 1970s
when a group of local residents managed to save it from developers,
Meanwhile Gardens is a half acre site on a small strip of land between
the canal and the A40 Westway and tower-blocks. Its achievements
include ponds, a bog garden, a meadow area, herb garden and the
promotion of a variety of species such as alder, hazel, birch, oak
and beech. The success of the project has enabled it to thrive and
currently to challenge yet more encroachment on the land by potential
developers. Experience gained at the Gardens can boost the
confidence of trainees who may have been out of work for a long
time, and show both them and potential employers that they can commit
to a project, interact with a group of people and gain nationally
recognised qualifications in the process. Contact: Kensington
and Chelsea Mind, 020 8960 6336
In America, the land where obese people recently sued the inventors
of burgers and fries, now its the environmentally disadvantaged
suing the inventors of global warming
Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the City of Boulder, Colorado
are filing a lawsuit on behalf of their members who are victims
of global warming. The suit has been filed against two US government
agencies - the Export Import Bank (ExIm) and the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation (OPIC) - who use taxpayers money to
fund loans to US corporations for overseas projects that other banks
have deemed too dodgy. In partnership with the Bush Administration,
virtually every major energy, oil and gas company has received subsidisation
by these two in the last ten years. Edison, Citicorp, ExxonMobil,
Enron, Westinghouse, GE, Chase Manhattan, Bank of America and many
others receive billions in taxpayer support from them. The lawsuit
claims that through this subsidisation, OPIC and Ex-Im have illegally
provided over $32 billion in financing and insurance for oil fields,
pipelines and coal-fired power plants over the past ten years without
assessing their contribution to global warming and their impact
on the U.S. environment. Or, more to the point, without giving
The lawsuit website goes on to say that, OPIC and Ex-Im are
using taxpayer dollars to support fossil fuel extraction projects
around the world, primarily to take oil from developing countries
and bring it back to the United States. 56% of U.S. oil consumed
comes from other countries like Nigeria, Venezuela, the Middle East
and Mexico. Chapter 8 of the Bush/Cheney Energy Plan seeks to expand
that even further. OPIC and Ex-Im are involved in virtually every
major fossil fuel extraction project in the world. Despite requirements
under the National Environmental Policy Act to assess the climate
change impacts of these projects, the Bush Administration is not
in compliance and U.S.-caused greenhouse gas emissions continue
to rise. Private citizens, environmental organizations, states and
cities in the U.S. are being harmed by climate change and therefore
are bringing this legal action.
Which all sounds well and good, but becomes a bit disappointing
when you learn what the plaintiffs hope to accomplish through their
lawsuit they want OPIC and Ex-Im to simply fill out more
paperwork, believing this will make them into better environmental
stewards. The lawsuit pushes for, Environmental Assessments
to see if an action will significantly affect the environment and
if the answer is affirmative to prepare an Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) detailing the effects and options for alternative
actions. More red-tape and bureaucratic greenwash anyone?
And while attacks on meanies like OPIC and Ex-Im are never a completely
bad thing, one has to wonder when the rest of worlds population
(i.e. those of us who cant afford costly lawyers but are still
affected by climate change) will get our day in court. Maybe OPIC
will lend us some money for a lawsuit
Most wanted fugitive found in New York. No its not that bin liner
bloke, but international fugitive Warren Anderson, the former Chief
Executive of Union Carbide responsible for the deaths of thousands
of people after the Bhopal poison gas disaster (see Schnews 371).
Apparently the US law enforcement agencies couldn't track him down
so instead it was left to a team of crack commandos from Greenpeace
to go to his house. Anderson is now facing extradition to India
to face charges of culpable homicide. Not having a good time of
it really are they?
SchNEWS Of The World
HELP is needed with distribution. Can you take a box of
books (about 10 kg) from Brighton (or it may be possible to take
boxes from the printers in East London) to one of several places:
(or anywhere else really - if there's an independent bookshop or
radical centre to drop 'em off to. Contact us)
If you can help please contact us on 01273 685 913
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call John on 0798 400 8638
Please help to get the books out (and take one for yourself for
If you can't do that but would like to order one anyway - they're
£8.50 p&p included from us. Cheques payable to 'Justice',
to SchNEWS, PO Box 2600 Brighton, BN2 0EF.
SchNEWS warns all readers well give yer summit for nothing
not nothing for something. Honest.
issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage. - Nearly sold out...
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage
£4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
from the direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p.
You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300
more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7
+ £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or
your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre,
saving postage yer tight gits.
to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
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You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment
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