We are being asked to give more powers to the EU commission,
an unelected, secretive body that is so corrupt it was forced to
resign in its entirety in March 1999. We are being asked to give
our support to the pro-business agenda of the EU, where the richer
farmers receive enormous subsidies under the Common Agricultural
Policy, where corporation taxes are slashed while public services
are cut. Is this the Europe we want? - Libertarians Against
Big business got its way when last Sunday Ireland finally voted
Yes to the Nice Treaty. (Ireland had voted No
a few months earlier, but as this was not the right answer, the
powers that be gave it another go with even more Yes
propaganda.) The yes vote now paves the way for ten more countries
to join the European Union. While these countries are being ordered
to privatise essential services if they want to climb aboard (see
SchNEWS 287), the Nice treaty is an important step in the EUs
privatisation agenda for those already part of the club.
Nice will, amongst other things, bring changes to Article 133 of
the Treaty of Europe. Alarm bells should always start ringing when
our old mates at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) give something
the thumbs up. The WTO, who help eliminate barriers to trade
(silly things like workers rights and environmental laws), have
admitted how important the changes to Article 133 are in their Trade
Policy Review of the European Union, a document which SchNEWS
recommends any insomniac readers to rush out and buy. But this is
how the bureaucrats work: boring us to death with gobbledegook so
they can drive forward their business- friendly agenda while we
yawn and check the footie scores.
Changing Article 133 means that, instead of national governments,
the unelected EU Council bureaucrats and the unelected European
Commission will be responsible for negotiating trade deals with
organisations like the WTO, fast-tracking their deals
behind everybodys backs. Fast-tracking is described by Pascal
Lamy, the EU Trade Commissioner, as modernising decision-making.
That means swift, centralised decision-making that ensures that
elected EU governments dont interfere with Big Businesss
deals as lobby groups push business demands through an already industry-friendly
The GATS is not just something that exists between governments.
It is first and foremost an instrument for the benefit of business.
- European Commission (1998)
For the past few years, the WTO have been trying to expand the General
Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS see SchNEWS 286), whose
privatise everything! small print is a wet dream for
corporations. Now with the Irish ratifying the Nice treaty, its
full steam ahead. Around 20 key basic services have been named by
the WTO as ripe for privitisation. Postal, finance and banking,
telecommunications, hospitals, transport you name it, its
all gotta go private because, under WTO rules, government-run public
services are a subsidy that discriminates against foreign
businesses and are an unfair barrier to trade.
The problem for the WTO has been the mass protests whenever governments
try to sell off essential services. But the Nice Treaty will take
care of those pesky protestors! Article 133 lets the EU Council
and Commission act by a qualified majority. This means
that, when they have made a trade agreement, all member states have
no choice but to go along with it. As one WTO official put it, GATS
helps overcome domestic resistance to change. Because
even if a government wants to take back control of a failing private
company, it wont be able to unless it is ready to face the
trade sanction consequences. Take Britains railways, for instance.
Late trains, crap service, over the top prices tough. A privatised
rail network is here to stay, courtesy of agreements like GATS and
Frights of the Round Table
Its estimated that Brussels the home of the European
Parliament hosts some 500 industry lobby groups who employ
some 10,000 professional lobbyists. Their job is to make the European
Union more industry- friendly and they do a good job. In
1999, for instance, there was a multi-million lobbying campaign
by biotech companies that saw the introduction of the industry-friendly
Patents on Life directive.
One of the most important lobbying groups is the European Round
Table of Industrialists (ERT), made up of over 40 European
industrial leaders from some of SchNEWSs favourite corporations.
The ERT is fairly honest about the priviledge it enjoys, boasting
on its web page that The ERT has contacts with the European
Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament.
...Every six months the ERT meets with the government that holds
the EU presidency to discuss priorities. And it usually gets
what it wants. It was the ERT that wanted revisions to Article 133
for fast tracking and hey presto!
As Andrew Flood of Irelands Libertarians Against Nice says,
The message is clear. A substantial part of the Nice treaty,
Article 133, has essentially been drafted by the European corporations
to increase their profits at the expense of the people of Europe
and those we trade with. The nature of these changes are things
that huge numbers of Irish workers would oppose if they were presented
in plain English in a referendum.
* Recommended reading: Diverse Voices of Struggle in Western
Europe - Restructuring and Resistance edited by Kolya Abramsky.
AK Distribution 0131 555 5166 www.akuk.com
* For more on the Nice Irish Referendum, visit the Libertarians
Against Nice website at: http://struggle.ws/anarchism/nice/index.html
* The World Development Movement is running a campaign against GATS
0800 328 2153 www.gatswatch.org
* Read all about the WTOs hidden agenda www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=722
* With a few weeks to go till the WTO summit in Sydney (14/15 November),
3 anti-WTO websites face the prospect of being banned. Indymedia
Melbourne is amongst the websites targeted by New South Wales Police
Minister Michael Costa. Censoring the censorship lists? See www.melbourne.indymedia.org
Theres a whole load of actions coming up on the 31st to oppose
the possible war against Iraq. Here are just a couple:
London: Critical Mass Ride Against Death - meet 2pm by the
peace camp at Imperial War Museum, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park,
Lambeth Road, SE1. Move off 3pm. Dress scary - www.cm-london.cjb.net
And Houses of Parliament, 6pm. Dress in white, disguised as ghosts,
and converge on Parliament. 020 7377-9088 email@example.com
Brighton: Critical Mass Ride starting from Sussex University
at 3pm and 3.30pm from Moulescomb Wild Park. Stop the City Stop
the War demonstration. Meet 5.30pm at the War Memorial, The Old
**For your nearest action contact: Stop the War Coalition
020 7053 2155, www.stopwar.org.uk
Arrest of the Week
For being overheard
Two brothers in Sheffield, aged 12 and 13, noticed police watching
them 3 weeks ago. When one of them asked the police why they were
being watched, he was told People that dress like you are
trouble causers. A bit later, one of the boys was talking
to a friend and made the mistake of exclaiming Fucking hell!
just a bit too loudly. He was promptly roughed up and arrested for
the heinous crime of swearing in the presence of a police officer,
even though he hadnt been speaking directly to the copper.
His brother was then arrested for trying to defend him, and when
a female friend of the boys asked the police why they were
being arrested and bullied, she was arrested for obstructing
a police officer from doing his duty.
Remember how great firefighters were about a year ago? When it
looked like the thought of merchant bankers leaping to their deaths
on 9-11 might not be tragic enough to convince us of the importance
of bombing the shit out of Afghanistan, we were treated to a stream
of tear-jerking speeches and articles reminding us of all the firemen
who lost their lives trying to rescue victims of the WTC attacks.
Firefighters were heroes and the sacrifices they made were priceless.
Erm, well now it seems that all that was a bit of a misprint. It
turns out that firefighters are actually lazy, greedy, and irresponsible
and the sacrifices they make arent worth very much at all.
All this according to the same papers and politicians who were kissing
their arses last year.
Why? Because the firefighters are now set to go on strike. And how
dare they put other peoples lives at risk to get the wages
they deserve? The firefighters union is calling for a 40%
increase, the cheeky gits, which would take the wage for a qualified
firefighter from £21,000 to £30,000. Dont they
know that the country cant afford to actually pay a decent
wage to workers who risk their lives every day?
For the Schnews readers benefit, heres a short list
of things the Labour government can afford:
* A 40% pay increase for the Prime Minister: 2 weeks after winning
the last election, Blair congratulated himself with a £47,
000 pay increase, taking his salary to £173, 000.
* A £20,000 pay increases for cabinet ministers: Not wanting
to be tight, Blair also handed out pay increases to Prescott and
his mates, taking the cabinet ministers salary to £120,000.
* £3.4 billion to underwrite arms exports in 2001 through
the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme.
* Approximately £1 billion for low-intensity bombing
raids on Iraq since 1997.
and remember, now weve really got to tighten those purse
strings, cos weve got a proper war on the way.
on the Woodside
Tired of the powers-that-be yanking them about, a community of
200 Romany travellers and their supporters intend to resist eviction
from Woodside caravan park in Bedfordshire on November 1st.
After years of being told to buy their own land and stop tresspassing
on other peoples land twenty-seven Gypsy families purchased
Woodside, a 17-acre touring caravan park with full planning permission,
for £300,000 in 1997. But when the families moved to the park,
Mid-Bedfordshire council claimed they did not have permission for
permanent occupation. The council have been trying to oust them
from their land ever since, even allocating £230,000 of council
money to finance clearance of the community!! After a long court
battle, the council has been given the go ahead to evict the community.
Help and support is urgently needed!! There will be a protest outside
the council offices (Dunstable St., Ampthill, Bedford) at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday 31st during a meeting about the planned eviction. Demonstrators
are then invited to camp at Woodside (at Hatch, near Sandy, off
A1) and help defend the site on Friday 1st, when the council is
scheduled to try to force the 52 families from their homes. The
Gypsy Council is asking people to donate tents, bales of hay or
straw, scrap wood and rope for the action. The travellers also are
working on a last-minute legal appeal. More info: 01206 523528.
- The Porkbolter, Worthings radical local newspaper
with a historically vindicated pig obsession has a 5th birthday
bash 7.45-midnight, Nov 1st at Vintners Parrot, Warwick St, Worthing,
with live band Becomes The Water of Death, Attila the Stockbroker,
and various DJs. Donations on door
- Planning meeting for protests against next years DSEi arms
fair, 30th Oct, 7pm at St. Anns Church Hall, Berwick
Rd, Canning Town, London Info 0781 7652 029. Join the e-mail discussion
- Where to next with the Anarchist Bookfair? Anyone with
feedback/ideas for how it can be developed get yself along
to an open meeting, 17th Nov, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square,
London WC1R 4RL 6pm-9pm or e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Protest against custody deaths - Remembrance Procession
organised by United Families and Friends Campaign. Sat 26th Oct,
Trafalgar Sq 1pm. Please wear black. 07770 432 439
- Burger King in Bristol found their locks glued and their
windows repainted last week. The action was done as a protest
against Burger Kings continued profiteering from the stores
they have opened in the Israeli occupied regions of Palestine
- Meeting about the Baku-Ceyhan BP backed oil pipeline.
Thursday 31st with a speaker from Georgia, 7.30pm, Manchester
University Student Union Main Hall, 1st Floor.
- The trial of five antimilitarist activists concludes
in Watford today. The protestors are charged under the 1908 Public
Meeting Act for disrupting a public meeting, although
the army presentation they disrupted was private invitation only.
Two are also charged with criminal damage, although the Army has
yet to say what was damaged. www.northwood.cjb.net/
- Pickets are taking place outside supermarkets in Brighton, in
support of the BIG (Boycott Israeli Goods) campaign. Saturday
mornings 11 - 1 p.m. Currently at Sainsburys, London Road
- The Iraq Journal website features reports of independent
journalists Jeremy Scahill and Jacqueline Soohen, providing a
forum for the distribution of independent information and views
from Iraq. www.iraqjournal.org
- In New York this week 19 activists from the No Blood for
Oil Campaign were arrested after occupying the UN General
Assembly and demanding that the UN at no time give its support
for the invasion of Iraq www.PeaceNoWar.net
- Work & Welfare, not Weapons Conference organised
by Greater Manchester and District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
and Campaign Against Arms Trade @ Manchester Town Hall on 2nd
November. Will look at diversification from military production
and the creation of a non-military economy. 0161 273 8283 www.gmdcnd.org.uk/worknotweapons
On Saturday 12th October Russian police illegally evicted Moscows
only political squat giving one man a broken skull and hospitalising
3 others. The squat started out as a studio given to artist Evgeni
Schetov two and a half years ago by the Moscow Union of Artists.
Since then the space has become an important base for ecological
activism. Not liking this turn of events, city officials and bureaucrats
from the Union of Artists threatened to evict Schetov. In retaliation,
Schetov stopped paying his rent - making the space the first political
squat in Moscow since 1997. On the morning of Saturday the 12th,
the police and members of the Union of Artists managed to smash
the door down with axes and then violently attacked squatters inside.
Everyone was arrested and all their property was thrown into the
street. The squatters are launching a campaign against the eviction.
Europes increasingly racist immigration policies have brought
tighter border controls, higher surveillance, and more people being
detained and deported.
Detention centres have been a focus of actions against these policies
and last Saturday (19) people demonstrated outside the Dover removals
centre. Later that day, they crossed the channel to join up with
French activists at the Sangatte camp. Sangatte is a humanitarian
Red Cross camp which is home to 1,500 people who are hoping to apply
for asylum in Europe. Both the French and English governments have
schemed together to close the camp by March 2003 because sheltering
and feeding migrants was seen as far too liberal. The UN has very
kindly offered to help sort the genuine from the non-genuine
refugees and will be giving the non-genuine the option
of being sent back home with a bit of cash or living on the streets
of Calais now that Sangatte will be shut down. On Saturday, many
of the refugees came out of Sangatte to talk to the protesters.
One protester told Schnews, The hardest thing was meeting
children who were telling us that England was their dream country
when we really know the truth of what will happen to them when they
For more information about the actions visit www.noborder.org,
* Next demo at Sangatte is on Friday November 15th the day
that Sangatte closes its doors to newcomers. Info: email@example.com
* There will be a Brighton No Borders Meeting, 28th October, 7.30pm
Tilbury Place. Unemployed Centre off Carlton Street.
October 16th was the annual worldwide anti-McDonalds day, where
crappy fast food outlets the world over were picketed and free veggie
burgers given away. But this year a load of workers got involved
too: Workers at six McDonalds in France went on strike, there was
a strike in Norfolk, attempts at strikes in three London stores
and a walkout in Nottingham. McTrash was dumped back into stores
in Australia, locks glued and stores painted in Austria, freezers
and toasters sabotaged in Chicago, a mass resignation in Toronto
the list goes on: www.geocities.com/globaldayofaction
Unfortunately, there are serious repercussions for anti-Macs in
Mexico: 94 protesters were arrested and detained following complaints
from McDonalds. They were accused of damage to an umbrella and window
and carrying explosives i.e. fireworks. The state has set
a bond of $14,000 for each protester, a fee which could buy untold
numbers of replacement umbrellas. Financial help is now desperately
Only weeks after announcing (then quickly retracting) that the
solution to the annual fallen leaves problem would be
to fell all trees on the banks of their rail lines, it looks like
Rail Track now have a new enemy. Taking the form of a giant inflatable
hamburger, the new menace disrupted services from Newport to London
on Tuesday. Rail Track have since announced a national cull of large
inflatable hamburgers and of any giant inflatable clowns that might
be making them.
SchNEWS warns all readers Bognor Regis is not nice. Honest.
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