Even the big man Bush himself has been busy trying to feed the
world (well it makes a change from bombing it). He told 5,000 delegates
at the Biotechnology Industry Organisation conference in Washington
that European opposition to GM food was impeding efforts to fight
starvation in Africa and nothing to do with the fact that
the US has a huge surplus of GM crops it wants to offload.
However not everyone believes that GM foods will help reduce African
poverty. Amadou Kanoute of Consumers International Office for Africa
argued that it will plunge Africa into greater food dependency.
In fact the argument that GM will feed the world is the last throw
of the dice for a desperate industry fed up with stubborn resistance
to its technology and falling sales. In many research studies GM
crop yields have been significantly lower than conventional ones.
Worse, research has revealed an alarming spread of GE corn genes
in Mexico in fields many miles from where GM corn was planted. The
drift of GE crop genes to fields planted with organic and conventional
crops is something that is impossible to contain.
In 1998 a delegation representing every African country except
South Africa put a joint statement to a UN conference on genetic
research. The delegates had been inspired by a Monsanto
campaign that used images of starving African children to plug its
technology. The statement read We strongly object that the
image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by
giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither
safe, environmentally friendly nor beneficial to us. We do not believe
that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to
produce the food that is needed in the 21st Century. On the contrary,
we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge, and
the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed
for millennia, and that it will undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.
A new report by Food First argues that there is already enough
food in the world to feed the population one and a half times over
and that it is poverty and inequality that is leading to starvation.
In fact, almost 80 percent of the countries that face hunger are
food-exporting nations. As one of the reports authors Silvia
Ribeiro put it They benefit the richest people in the world,
not the hungriest
GE crops are designed to take control of
production of food away from local communities, by creating greater
dependence on huge agribusiness corporations for seed and pesticides.
In the US this has already happened with farmers under the control
of a handful of multinational corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta,
Bayer and DuPont. Legally binding agreements force them to buy expensive
new seeds from the biotech corporations each season, as well as
the corporations herbicides and company inspectors
check up on farmers land to see if any crops have re-seeded. They
can then claim that farmers are growing unlicensed crops and infringing
its intellectual property rights! Already some farmers
have been given huge fines and there are legal actions pending against
550 North American farmers.
With the European Union this week voting that all genetically modified
foods must be traceable and clearly labelled and America
pressing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to rule that this is
an unfair barrier to trade its going to be fireworks
at the WTOs next big meeting in Cancun, Mexico this September.
This is set to be one of the WTOs most important rulings,
and may start a huge trade war with the US. It is also a big test
to see who the WTO will side with: elected officials and ordinary
people, or US corporations? If the past is anything to go by it
doesnt look good
* Read Voices from the South: The Third World Debunks Corporate
Myths on Genetically Engineered Crops www.foodfirst.org
* Check out the excellent GeneWatch site to find out about some
of the questions and issues that exist around GM crops and food
www.genewatch.org. And get yerself a copy of this months Ecologist
magazine 01795 414963 www.theecologist.org
* Find out about the protests planned at the WTO in Mexico www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/cancun
* Early last Sunday morning sixty protestors ripped up Syngentas
trial of genetically modified wheat at its Jealotts Hill Research
Centre near Bracknell just before it was due to pollinate and spread
to the surrounding countryside. This is the latest in a successful
line of crop trashings this year.
|Sustainable agriculture projects have led to millet yields
rising up to 154 per cent in India, millet and sorghum yields
rising by 275 per cent in Burkina Faso and maize yields increasing
by 300 per cent in Honduras. Combined with land reforms, protection
from subsidized food and moving food production away from export
to growing for local communities, sustainable farming could
feed the world. www.ukabc.org/wfs5+.htm
Crap Arrest of the Week
For making a noise!
Two weeks ago John Tierney, campaigns director of the Irish Association
of Hunt Saboteurs was sent down for 2 months for using an air horn
in his protest against fox hunting. The judge, showing where his
views lie on the matter, said that the sound was hardly like the
slow sweet sound of the hunting horn! John was released from custody
a day later after appealing against his sentence. Although he has
been released this does not hide the fact that he should never have
been arrested in te first place. Next thing you know youll
be getting arrested for voicing your opinions by shouting!
On the 19th of June, Thessaloniki, Greeces second city, was
drowning in a sea of red and black as over five thousand anarchists
and libertarians took to the streets in an immigrant solidarity
demo. It was the day before the EU summita chance for Europes
power-drunk leaders to discuss how to exploit the Majority World
without having to suffer the burden of all of those pesky immigrants.
The power-drunks agenda ranged from EU expansion to trade
liberalisation to the thorny issues of immigration and terrorism
(issues which EU governments always mangle into one and the same
Since the EU didnt want to invite anyone else to their beachside
resort, local anarchists squatted the Thessaloniki university and
gave travelling protesters a taste of good ol Greek hospitality.
The campus was buzzing with aggression, hope, mobile kitchens, nihilist
graffiti, sexism and anti-sexist manifestos.
On the first day of the summit, 20th June, anti-authoritarians,
the Greek Social Forum, the Greek Communist Party and dozens of
other groups hired over thirty buses to get to the EUs barricaded
beachside a few hundred kilometers out of Thessaloniki. One group
of protestors decided to try to break the red zone, but Upon reaching
it, they were tear gassed and broken up, leading to running, stone-throwing
battles between cops and protesters as locals showered gassed protesters
with hose pipes.
Meanwhile, EU leaders sat in air-conditioned buildings and decided
to invest 250 million euros in speeding up deportations of illegal
immigrants through agreements with their countries of origin. A
further 140 million euros will be spent on creating a European Visa
Information System with more efficient ways of weeding
out illegal human beingsi.e. the use of computerised finger
prints and iris recognition systems.This money will also go towards
a harmonised European border patrol to protect Fortress
Europe and speedily kick-out the unwanted.
Saturday 21st June, the final day of the summit, saw half a dozen
large demonstrations in the centre of Thessaloniki. The stalinist
Greek Communist Party held a sterile rally, the Greek Social Forum
hosted a concert and the Black Block decided to, er, riot. The Black
Block riot was a black n red, gas-masked river of five
thousand that flooded the centre of the city. It soon erupted into
a ruck with the coppers as molotov cocktails flew one way while
tear gas flew the other. Corporate symbols and franchise shops were
burnt, as well as a few unfortunate small-scale shops. Most protestors
made it into the centre of town while a few hundred were pushed
back to the safe haven of the university where burning barricades
were set up in front of lines of masked up riot police. The riot
broke up after a few hours, with most protesters successfully returning
to the barricaded university.
Dozens of protestors, however, were arrested and locked up. Many
were threatened and beaten while in the cells. 27 protesters were
locked up for days and blanketly charged with rioting, defying
authority and possession of explosives regardless of the evidence.
Mere participation in Saturdays marches has been made a felony
punishable by 7-25 years of imprisonment. Most of those charged
with felony have been released on 1500 euro bail and are to return
to Greece for their trials. But 6 of those arrested3 Greeks,
2 Spaniards and a Britonare being held for 3 months or longer
until their trials. Another two, a Syrian and an American, are fighting
deportation. The charges are extremely serious, especially for those
still being held. The Greek state is desperate to lock-up people
for the damages, as police systematically went about planting everything
from rocks to molotovs in arrestees bags. One example is that
of Simon, an English protestor amongst the 8 still being held, whose
lawyers have a video from mainstream media showing a policeman placing
molotovs in his bag while he sits bleeding on the ground. The judge
refused to watch the video footage, saying that hed seen
enough news already.
Two new anti road protest camps have been set up recently - one
in West Sussex and the other near the site of what kicked off the
anti-roads movement in the early nineties- Twyford Down. When the
new bypass the old A road was turned into a meadow as some sort
of compensation for loosing so much down land. It has now become
home to more than 200 wild flower species, butterflies, moths, shrews,
and hundreds of cowslips. But guess what? Theres now a plan
to turn a large part of it into a park and ride scheme and so more
people are needed to turn up and help save the meadow. For directions
phone or txt 07751 119 277 or 07739 342 738.
In West Sussex things are hotting up at Tortington Common, near
Worthing, the site of a proposed bypass of the A27. Its part
of the planned South Coast s Superhighway which is being built by
stealth in segments. Bypassing the existing bypass, this road would
be an ecological disaster crossing the important River Arun wetlands
by either concrete stilts or a huge embankment, and then plough
through a mile of precious Sussex woodland. Thousands, probably
tens of thousands, of trees would be lost including some fine 100
ft oak trees, yews and one particular 100ft beech tree, thought
to be the oldest in the forest. So dust of your old climbing gear
and start living in them trees again. For directions phone 07736
964653 or 07792 248192 www.eco-action.org/porkbolter/update.html
Brighton SchNEWS in brief
- Next Thurs (10) theres a talk by recently released anarchist
prisoner Mark Barnsley on the struggle inside and against prisons.
Its at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road 7.30pm
- Next Wednesday the World Development Movement is showing the
film Life and Debt 8pm at Cinematheque , Middle St,
Brighton. This is a new documentary film told from the point of
view of tourists enjoying a dream holiday in a tropical
paradise Jamaica while the people of the islands
economy collapses thanks to globalisation. Admission £4.
- Theres a GM Debate in Brighton at the Pelham Theatre,
City College next Wednesday (9) 6.30-9pm
- Worthing against war has a meeting coming up next
Tuesday (8) 7:45pm, at the Downview Pub Tarring Road. The
discussion is called North Korea Whats really
going on? 01903 206 588 www.eco-action.org/porkbolter/waw.html
... and in Surrey;
The first issue of the Surrey Agitator produced by the Surrey Anarchist
Group, is out now from PO Box 375, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey GU21
SchNEWS Annual 2003
BOOK LAUNCH COMEDY GIG
Wednesday 23 July 8.30pm
with Mark Thomas and Rob Newman
at The Old Market,
Upper Market Street, Hove.
Tickets £10 from box office
(01273 736 222)
Legal costs are rocketing for all those arrested and fundraising
gigs and donations are desperately needed. The Thessaloniki legal
team has set up a bank account to pay for court expenses. Account
# 5209 0164 58 443, Account holders name: Ieropoulos Ioannis,
Bank name: Piraeus Bank. In the UK send money to BM Automatic, London,
WC1N 3XX. Cheques payable to ABC
* Five people facing jail sentences of between 7 and 25 years are
being held in the same prison but in different cells and different
floors. They are Spyros Tsitsas, Simon Chapman, Carlos Martin Martinez,
Fernando Perez Gorraiz and Souleiman Kastro Dadouk.
Send letters of support to any of these prisoners at: Dikastikes
Fylakes Diavaton 54012 Thessaloniki Greece. They are allowed to
receive letters, newspapers and magazines by post. Dont send
anything else (money, phonecards, books, food, gifts), because theyll
not receive them.
* Its Simons 30th birthday on the 24th July - please
send him a card.
* Thessoloniki Prisoner Benefit this Friday (4) with Serum &
Audiophile @ Eton Mission Social Club, Eastway Hackney Wick, London
10pm till late. £3
Child Radiation Victims of War is a new fund has been set up to
deal with the toxic contamination in post war Iraq. Since the first
Gulf war cancer rates in Iraq have increased 10 fold and in the
latest war the country was showered with depleted uranium. The project
aims to support doctors and health workers in Iraq as well as to
provide the life saving spirulina to children. For more details
or to make donations contact
Congrats to Paula and
Chris and Astrid... Now how long have we given you for parental
Walt Disney is set to sell DVDs that self-destruct!. Known as EZ-Ds
these discs become unreadable after exposure to oxygen for 48 hours
when they can be tossed in the bin. Its a form of rental for
those potatoes too lazy to get off their couches and take a proper
DVD back to the store. Environmental experts estimate that an expected
350 million discarded EZ-Ds will create 5600 metric tons of solid
waste annually. Clever spin docs at Disney anticipated this one
and wrote about it in their initial press release claiming a company
Green Disk was on-line to recycle EZ-Ds posted to them
2 problems with that: 1 - Green Disk didnt
seem to know much about it, are not at all sure they have the technology
to do so and will only commit to a maybe. 2 Surely
people who are too lazy to take a DVD back to their video store
are not going to take a trip to the Post Office.
SchNEWS warns all readers we still need some more mutants to add
to the office genepool. Honest.
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
- SchNEWS Round
issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
- SchNEWS Annual
issues 101 - 150 £3.70 inc. postage.
- SchNEWS Survival
Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £3.70 inc. postage
- The SchQUALL
book at only £6 + £1.70 p&p.
and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures from
the direct action frontline. £3 + £1.70 p&p. You
can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
- 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
In the UK you
can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS
of the World for just £15 inc p&p.
£6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).
If you can help distribute the new book by taking a few boxes
from Brighton or East London round the country, call the office
and ask for John, Thanks.
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription,
or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals"
if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.