This Time Last Year
422, 12th September, 2003
ARMLESS FUN Despite massive police operation DSEi arms fair attracts
a grand string of actions, dinghies block warships etc.
421, 5th September, 2003
MoD'S 'N' WRECKERS DSEi arms fair looms, a cool £1m is
being spent to keep us out. Isn't it us who should be afraid?
420, 29th August, 2003
AGRI-VULTURES WTO's ministerial meeting in Cancun - the world's
fat cats sustain environment-destroying, corporate agriculture.
419, 22nd August, 2003
SHELTER SKELTER Yarl's Wood trial comes to an end with Group
4 coming out as a laughing stock.
418, 15th August, 2003
THIRST FOR PROFIT The WTO's "privatise everything"
plan rumbles forward towards Cancun and a water supply near you...
417, 8th August, 2003
MAI EYE! Corporate and governmental fat cats line up for another
farcical round of trade talks to 'level the trading field'.
416, 25th July, 2003
I'M AN AMERICAN, GET ME OUT OF HERE! US troops queue to
get out of Iraq while US corporations queue to get in...
415, 18th July, 2003
VISION CHIPS Real Freak Horrorshow Big Brother has landed.
414, 11th July, 2003
GAM SHOW Massacre in Aceh, (Indonesia again pummels state wanting
independence with British arms). Plus, Victory for Arundel, rest of
country not so lucky..
413, 4th July, 2003
POVERTY EXPRESS Multinational biotech companies, with full backing
from Bush and his cronies, try to save the world by shoving GM leftovers
down the throats of the worlds poor.
410, 13th June, 2003
MENWITH BALLS The US spy base at Menwith Hill gets some overdure
attention. Plus Martin Shaw update; Group4 have recruitment problems;
6th June, 2003
MY HAMSTER Another G8 summit; more meaningless declarations from
'our' 'great' 'leaders', more kids on the streets fighting for a better
world and more police repression.
30th May, 2003
Get Yer Rocks Off! America "liberate" Iraq but
keep their hands firmly on the Congo and their resources. Blunkett's
trying to push through yet more "justice bill" laws and so
23rd May, 2003
Bob the Bilderberg
£lite take young politicians under their wing for... sensible
16th May, 2003
Repression in Palestine increases as international observers are
9th May, 2003
SHAKY FOUNDATIONS Blair he goes again, PFI-vatising the country's
health, education and transport infrastructure...
402/3, 2nd May, 2003
BOMBS 'R' US Mayday takes on Lockheed Martin, 24 hour weapons of
mass destruction delivery service...
401, 25th April, 2003
less popular than they thought they would be...
400, 11th April, 2003
AID 'N' A BET military spending skyrockets, international aid evaporates
and millions in Africa face starvation. Coincidence?
399, 4th April, 2003
PERLES OF WISDOM US carve-up of 'rebuilding' contracts.
397/8, 28th March, 2003
MASS DUST-RUCTION The 'humanitarian' war underway, we report the
protests the media ignore so well...
396, 14th March, 2003
RUNWAY TERROR Anit-terrorism protestors treated like terrorists...
395, 7th March, 2003
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONNAIRE?
A look at how America are trying to buy votes at the UN Security
394, 28th February, 2003
With all the hot air about deposing Saddam, we check out what the
U.S. has done for Afghanistan so far.
393, 21st February, 2003
Reports from anti-war demos around the world
392, 14th February, 2003
IRAQ AND RUIN
War mongering and anti war actions continue
391, 7th February, 2003
WASTE OF SPACE
390, 7th February, 2003
Holocaust hypocrisy in the British Press.
389, 24th January, 2003
INS AND OUT
Terrorism gets blamed on refugees?
388, 17th January, 2003
Direct Action Stations
Protest - can it make a difference?
387, 10th January, 2003
Oily Drums of War
George and Tony's oily war plan rumbles on
386, Winter Solstice, 2002
Chompin' at the Bit Noam Chomsky gives his views on the 'war on
terror' and North America
385, 13th December, 2002
Wide-Boys UK government struck by road-building frenzy
19th September 2003 |
WAKE UP! IT'S YER DOING THE CANCUN...
FLUSHED DOWN THE CAN-CUN | On
A Knife-Edge | SchINTERVIEWS in CANCUN
| HELL AND DAMNATION
| BAYER FOR BLOOD | SchNEWS
| ...and finally... |
FLUSHED DOWN THE CAN-CUN
I am crying out my words to you, that have for so long
boiled in my body... My warning goes out to all citizens that human
beings are in an endangered situation. That uncontrolled multinational
corporations and a small number of big WTO Members are leading an
undesirable globalization that is inhumane, environmentally degrading,
farmer-killing, and undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately.
- 56-year-old Korean farmer Lee Kyung-hae, who took his life
Outside thousands were pulling down the fences. Inside the poorer
countries from the majority world (the so-called third world) were
coming together to demand a better deal. By Sunday afternoon the
talks at the fifth ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
in Cancun, Mexico had collapsed. You are small fish in a big
pond. You eat when the big fish decide Pascal Lamy, the EU
Commisioner for Trade, informed the Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific
Group. But this time the small fish werent biting the bait.
In the WTOs ideal world there would be two kinds of agriculture
systems - the rich countries would produce staple foods for the
worlds 6 billion plus people, and majority world countries
would mainly grow cash crops like tomatoes, cut flowers, strawberries
and vegetables to export to the west. The money that majority world
countries would earn from exporting these crops would eventually
be used to buy foodgrains from the west. And guess what? The poorer
nations would be unable to feed themselves and would be forever
dependent on the west not just for patented seeds, patented medicines
and patented technology but also for much of its staple food. Food
sovereignty? Forget it!
Previous WTO negotiations were always characterized by the US and
the EU isolating poorer countries and forcing through one-sided
agreements that benefit western investment and corporations. But
this time the G22 (a group of African, Asian and South American
countries), in coalition with an African bloc, stood firm, refusing
to budge until the question of the wests unfair agricultural
subsidies was dealt with. Nearly seventy other nations in addition
to the G22 refused to sign the final US and EU-written accord in
Cancun. When the WTO decided to address western issues of investment
and competition instead of agriculture it was the final straw and
the talks collapsed.
Outside of the WTO fortress the thousands ripping down fences,
running the eco-village, holding alternative conferences and spreading
the news were also playing their part. According to Peter Muchoki
Njorage, Deputy Commisioner for Kenyas Ministry of Finance
and Planning, Sometimes we think we are going mad. They bully
us, play with our minds and tell us that we dont understand.
But what you, Civil Society, do reminds us that we are right, that
we are not going mad. Your actions are very important.
One chuffed fence puller described the scene to SchNEWS With
the Interminable Noise Machine grinding out their Mad Max battle
calls in the Caribbean humidity, the slack is taken up on hundreds
of yards of rope, an instruction is shouted, and three hundred people
go to work. The four metre wide three metre high metal barrier,
separating the protesters from the WTO delegates finally gives way
and for the second time in four days the barricades are breached.
The team made up of hardened Mexican students, campesinos from Chiapas
and Black Block anarchists is organised and lead by Korean farmers.
Meanwhile hundreds of women methodically bolt crop and hammer their
way through other sections of the fence and news filters through
that members of Korean Civil Society have succeeded in entering
the ministerial conference centre.
Despite all the deceptive words and oppressive security a few thousand
protestors took part in a flood of guerrilla actions and demonstrations
over the four day arms fair. The police spokesperson, Greg Pig Trotters,
said their operation was very patient, very sensitive and
very low key - but this came as news to the people of Newham
- the borough where the ExCeL exhibition centre is based - who witnessed
the biggest ever police operation in the area. As one of the poorest
boroughs in London, Newham locals called for the arms fair to be
cancelled and would prefer the £1+ million spent on policing
DSEito be channelled into regenerating their neighbourhoods.
On A Knife-Edge
56-year-old Korean farmer Lee Kyung-hae was among the group of
about 150 Koreans in the frontline, pulling down the security fences.
Climbing to the top of the fence, Lee turned to his compatriots
and said: Dont worry about me, just struggle your hardest.
He then stabbed himself in the chest with a knife hoping to focus
the worlds attention on the hidden misery of what the World
Trade Organisation really means to millions
Lee Kyung-hae had always dreamed of revitalising farming in his
hometown and returned from agriculturalcollege in 1974 to put his
ideas into practice turning a patch of harsh mountain land into
a thriving farm. Seoul Farm became a teaching college and in 1988
he received a UN award for rural leadership. The Lees, now with
three daughters, were prospering. The herd had expanded to 300 cattle
and the fame of the charismatic farm leader who had mastered a hostile
land was growing. But then Korea was flooded with foreign imports
and he was ruined. Koreans are up to their necks in debt and with
the US and EU subsidising agribusiness at $1 billion per day imported
rice has been wiping out formerly self-sufficient Korean farmers.
In Lees town the population has almost halved while farmers
commit suicide or run off in the middle of the night because they
cannot make their interest repayments. One of Lees sisters
said the collapse of his farm prompted him to throw himself with
more fury into organising unions, influencing government policy
and opposing trade liberalisation.
One Korean farmer told SchNEWS It is very difficult for Western
people to understand what he did. In Korean history if people want
to show their strong will, they sometimes give their lives. Now
more and more people think the WTO is a very bad thing and needs
to be protested against. What he did is like a burning candle. He
had to sacrifice himself to make the world shine. Han Gyuha
a town official added, Lee knew the Korean countryside is
slowly dying, that farmers are living lonely, miserable lives. He
wanted to tell the world. That is why he sacrificed himself and
that is why we call him a hero.
Lees sacrifice helped focus the world on the plight of the
poor suffocating under the belly of a corporate-stuffed WTO. The
collapse of the talks is undoubtedly a victory for the new unity
of the majority world but it will come under increasing strain in
the coming months with the US and the EU resorting to divide
and rule tactics - picking off individual countries for bilateral
and regional trade deals. Its also true that G22 countries
such as India, Brasil and China dont have a common negotiating
position. However, united as 22 countries plus the 70 other states
that supported them the majority world countries have the possibility
of wringing out concessions from the west, using a combined threat
of non-payment of their foreign debts. This victory wouldnt
have happened without the grassroots global justice movement
written off after September 11 as it intelligently mobilised
worldwide against two sides of the same dollar coin capitalist
war and capitalist economics. Cancun represented the wonderful diversity
of this movement campesinos and US anarchists opposing the
talks of the power-drunk, while proposing their own empowering alternatives
from the Zapatistas radical municipalities to the New
Agriculture movement in Bangladesh. And this movement doesnt
put all its faith in detached representatives. It will be there
in force when America hosts the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas
* More info: www.cancun.indymedia.org
SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER!
No of delegates in Cancun
SchINTERVIEWS in CANCUN
One SchNEWS scribe got to Cancun here are a couple of quick
interviews he managed in between pulling down fences and sampling
the local tear gas.
SchNEWS: What does the WTO mean to you?
S. Korean farmer: WTO means the colonisation of the Third
World. That means the US trying to dominate all Third World Countries.
Their strategy is one of colonisation through opening up the market.
Ive been a farmer for fifteen years. When I started there
were 10 million farmers but now there are only 3 million of us as
a result of this openness. This spells the death of
all South Korean farmers.
Sch: Why only 3 million now?
Farmer: First, our revenues are getting lower and lower.
Second, we cannot afford health and education so many farmers are
leaving for the city to try and earn enough money to survive. Third,
Korean farmers have very little land compared to US farmers, so
we cannot compete. In this situation the Korean government is trying
to open the market more and more and free up competition. The government
is not interested in the lives of small farmers. They are just interested
in corporate companies.
Sch: What do you think of bio-technology?
Farmer: The US already dominates the seed industry, if TRIPS*
is completed then their power will be strengthened. There is a new
kind of rice, Reunification Rice made in the Philippines
supported by the US. Before this arrived, we farmers didnt
use fertiliser. Now we have been led to believe that we have to
use them. I think this is very bad for us and for the land. The
land is becoming very infertile and very acidic after using these
products. The US built a fertiliser factory in Korea and the farmers
use their products. Many believe we have no choice even though we
can see we are killing our land. In the past we thought the US was
a good country and helped us because they built the fertiliser factory
but we dont think this now. All the profits leave Korea for
Our masked-up geezer also spoke to a Mexican campesino/farmer from
the Chiapas region.
Sch: What do you grow?
Campesino: Maize, beans and coffee.
Sch: How does the WTO affect you?
Campesino: The WTO is pushing prices down. The market is
now flooded with cheap GM maize so I dont have anywhere to
sell my produce. Now I only grow maize for my family and my one
pig. Likewise the beans I grow now are just for us. My main production
used to be coffee. In 1994 I received 35 Pesos per Kilo and now
it is only worth 5 Pesos. Then 95% of Mexicos coffee consumption
was home grown but now it is down to 45% due to people buying cheap
imported coffee. There is a big problem with the US border. Many
campesinos cannot survive here so try to cross the border to find
work but are shot and never return. Their deaths are not reported.
There is little alternative work here and everything is getting
more expensive like soap and clothes. It is very hard for me to
look after my family. Since 2002 the Mexican government have been
moving people out of my region to flood the land and build hydroelectric
power stations. The electricity is used by US corporate companies
here and in the States.
Sch: What do you think of bio-technology and TRIPS*?
Campesino: They are selling GM food and many people are getting
ill in our communities. People are conned into using insecticides
on the land and this is poisoning them. I have always grown organically
and the land is rich and fertile. I see no reason for using fertilisers
and insecticides in Chiapas. Before 1994 the coffee I grew was enough
to look after my family now we are struggling to survive.
Sch: Who do you think benefits from the WTO?
Campesino: Capitalists from the US, The World Bank and the
Banco de Desarollo Interamericana (Development Bank).
* WTO Vocab Watch: TRIPS - Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (see SchNEWS 420) a US-pushed agreement
which has seen corporations patenting everything from indigenous
peoples rice seeds to publicly-funded AIDS drugs and then
demanding absurd prices from the people it ripped off in the first
* Colludo - whodunit to the Worlds Poor?
World Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign Debt Speaker
Tour 11-22 _ October with Demba Dembele, director of the Forum for
African Alternatives www.wdm.org.uk/campaign/debttour.htm
HELL AND DAMNATION
So youre about to get evicted, eh? Some fat cat developer
wants to turn your cozy home into yet another concrete mountain
full of soulless, yuppie boxes. Or perhaps the local Sainsburys
wants to demolish your house in favour of yet another parking lot
for its 19th store in town. Or maybe the powers that be have
decided to evict you from the ancient stone village where your family
has been living for hundreds of years so that they can cover the
whole thing in
water. As absurd as it sounds, this last scenario
is exactly whats happening to people in the Irati valley,
located in the Navarra district of the Basque Country.
The construction of a mega dam in the Irati valley, conceived of
back in the days of Francos rule, has been fought by local
residents for decades. In 1993, against waves of protest, the construction
of the dam began, but the resistance did not stop there. Over the
past ten years, activists and local residents have fought against
the Itoiz Dam, cutting cables for concrete mixers and staging frequent
demos. Despite all this, the dam is now complete - a dam which will
create the Navarra Canal, covering the Irati valley and its ancient
villages in an ocean of water and destroying an area of natural
beauty and ecological importance
not to mention that most
of the water taken from the canal will be wasted on golf courses
and luxury resorts in the South of Spain.
This past June, the eviction of the soon-to-be-submerged villages
began, with Itoiz, being the first to go. Residents and supporters
did not accept their watery grave in silence, however, staging a
three-day fight with the Spanish police in an attempt to defend
the village. Now yet another village is facing a similar fate, and
activists and local residents are preparing themselves for another
fight. The village of Artozki was scheduled for eviction this past
Monday (15), but so far, the brute squad hasnt made its appearance.
Now looking at the possibility of a longer occupation than they
had first planned on, activists are calling for reinforcements!!
Stage a demo at your local Spanish embassy or consulate, or better
yet, help to fight the evictions in person!! (What better excuse
do you need for a spontaneous holiday to Spain??) For more info,
or visit www.sositoiz.com
BAYER FOR BLOOD
Bayer Cropscience is the biggest player in the GM crops market.
Out of 11 GM crops that can be potentially planted commercially,
Bayer owns 9 and two of these could be introduced as early as Spring
2004, opening the floodgates to the growing of GM crops in Britain.
To oppose this a national umbrella campaign has been set up, the
aim is to make the growing of GM crops commercially unviable for
Bayer. Already actions have taken place against the corporation
with their Head Offices being invaded and conferences they attend
September 25th is a national day of action against Bayer Cropscience
and groups and individuals are urged to target them that day. A
list of Bayers offices can be found on the campaign website.
If you cant get to any demos then on the day of action let
Bayer know what you think about their involvement in GM crops. Phone
them on 01223 870312, or fax 01223 872142 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an employee of Bayer or have any dirt on them get in
contact with the campaign: 07092 036576 www.stopbayergm.org
For more detailed info on Bayer see www.corporatewatch.org.uk/genetics/
SchNEWS in Brief
- Project Censored have released their annual list of the
top 25 censored stories in the US, number one spot going to The
Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance (see SchNEWS 387).
- Talking of the Neo conservative plan Halliburton was
awarded a $1 billion contract to rebuild Iraqs oil wells.
Vice-President Dick Cheney used to be the Chief Executive of Halliburton
(SchNEWS 399), it has emerged that Cheney has received hundreds
of thousands of dollars from Halliburton since becoming the vice-president.
- The Tribes and Tribulations Film Festival looks at ancient
tribal people and how they have suffered under governments and
multinational corporations. 27-28 September at the Dogstar, Brixton.
Details, tickets and webstream: www.fpcn-global.org/films/film_festival_2003.php
- We Interrupt this Empire a video about the San Francisco
actions against the War on Iraq, at the Cowley Club, London Road,
Brighton. Mon 22nd 7pm. Free.
- From Ecuador to Edinburgh: An evening of stories of resistance
with two Ecuadorian activists talking about the effects of oil
exploitation on their country. 7.30pm Weds 24th at New Dalry House,
15 Orwell Place, Edinburgh.
- 73 police, jail and medical staff have been charged over the
raid on the Diaz School and subsequent detention following the
protests against the G8 summit in Genoa, 2001 (SchNEWS
314/5). The raid on the School saw 93 protesters arrested and
many hospitalized, the police planted Molotov cocktails and even
faked a stabbing of one of their own to justify the violent raid.
- The Role and Effect of Advertising meeting,
Tues 23rd Phoenix Millennium Centre corner of Vincent Rd and West
Green Rd, Haringey 020 8374 5027.
Cancun again and four of the earths poorest nations - Burkina
Faso, Mali, Chad and Benin are asking Washington to slash
its cotton subsidies. In 2001, the 25,000 US cotton growers received
nearly $4 billion in subsidies for producing a cotton crop that
was worth only $3 billion. In one sickening example an Arkansas
cotton grower received $6 million, equal to the combined annual
earnings of 25,000 cotton farmers in Mali. So did the WTO take action
against the US? Not a cotton-picking chance. Create a bigger
demand for t-shirts, sneered one participant.
SchNEWS warns all readers Cancun tsars here we do the Can-Can, we
just need more ball room. Honest!
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
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