This Time Last Year
441, 13th February, 2004
SPELLBOUND Road protest camps, the 'Harry Potter ruling' and
more... Also: alternative community centre, Birmingham Northern Relief
Road, direct action and shoddy journalism in Dublin, clampdown in Argentina,
440, 6th February, 2004
DUSTING DOWNER More on Depleted Uranium weapons in Iraq and the
movement against their usage and in aid of their victims. Also: forced
evictions in Chiapas, Mexico, Sydney Opera House "redecoration"
case, WHISC worldwide (the School of the Americas), camp updates, and
439, 30th January, 2004
PRIMATE CHANGE Cambridge University finally abandons controversial
plans for a primate vivisection lab. Also: Chelmsford travellers evicted,
Costain tree-felling, Trident sub trials, Old Kent Road Asda, and more...
438, 23rd January, 2004
BOMBAY MIX The fourth World Social Forum, held in Mumbai, India,
examines the real impact of Globalisation, and also offers an
international alliance to battle the multinationals. Also: crap
jobs, FSB harassment of Russian activists, Monsanto rapeseed case rapes
farmer's living, seed swap, free Vanunu campaign and more...
437, 16th January, 2004
FLAW AND DISORDER The proposed Civil Contingencies Bill, Neo-Labour
wet dream come true, would further erode civil rights in Britain. Also:
travellers fighting eviction in Coventry, Nine Ladies anti-quarry camp
in the Peak District, finger-printing Americans in Brazil, and more...
436, 9th January, 2004
UP THE INJUNCTION Bayer wins an injunction severely limiting
the rights of anti-GM protesters. SchNEWS takes a look at Bayer's legal
history. Also: "strategy of tension" steps up in Italy?, IDF
sniper arrested for murder of ISM volunteer, and all the usual...
435, 19th December, 2003
FUEL BE SORRY Bigger airports, failed Climate Change summit,
no plans for tax on flying, stinking carbon sinks and more all add up
to a bright future sun cream sales in Scotland. Shame about the 120,000
deaths a year. Also US repression of Iraqi trade unions, tidal electricity
and festive cheer...
434, 12th December, 2003
RIGHTS SAID FRED A run down of the human rights abuses metted
out/supported by President Bliar and Emperor Bush while Bliar spouts
off about "Freedom not tyranny. Democracy not dictatorship".
Also info on writing to prisoners, the media ignoring terrorist suspects
releases and more...
433, 5th December, 2003
FUEL'S GOLD With Western oil supplies shrinking and reserves
declining, the petrochemical junkies must look elsewhere for their fix
- and they've got qutie a few strategies for doing just that. Also -
Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, positive SchNEWS from Costa Rica, anti-awards
for mining companies, and more...
432, 28th November, 2003
MIAMI VICE FTAA demonstrators enjoy George Bush's "freedom
to protest" amidst a carnival atmosphere of tear gas, rubber bullets,
water cannons and worse. Also - Thessaloniki hunger strikers released,
animal vivisection in Cambridge, ESF reports, and more...
431, 14th November, 2003
CARD SHARKS Blunkett announces the introduction of ID cards by
the back door despite them being massively unpopular and technologically
unfeasible. Thessaloniki Hunger Strikers In Critical Condition. Bush
bashing plans, Urgent, Bar End protest camp update, European underground
art and more.
430, 7th November, 2003
POSTIE MORTEM Executives pushing to "modernise" Royal
Mail beaten by wildcat strikes, showing that despite betrayal by union
bosses, workers are still prepared to fight back.
429, 31st October, 2003
SIAM OLD STORY George W Bush takes a break from Disneyland to
visit Thailand and the Philippines, neo-liberal "paradises".
The locals welcome him with less than open arms.
428, 24th October, 2003
YOBSMACKED! In Manchester residents are beginning to take community
policing into their own hands after the official methods prove useless.
427, 17th October, 2003
IN LOZADA TROUBLE Tens of thousands flood the streets, set up
burning barricades and hurl dynamite at a murderous military as Bolivia
teeters on the brink of full-blown revolution.
426, 10th October, 2003
MUSICAL SHARES The music industry complains about falling sales,
blaming it on the punters. Their links with the arms industry should
keep their profits up though...
425, 3rd October, 2003
GM CONTAMI-NATION GM debate results come through load and clear
- "We don't want it!". GM companies and anti-gm activists
424, 27th September, 2003
CORPORATE PUNISHMENT Jarvis get a very poor report card for work
on privatised schools but are still laughing all the way to the bank.
423, 19th September, 2003
FLUSHED DOWN THE CAN-CUN Talks at fifth ministerial WTO talks
collapse as thousands pull down the fences outside.
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?
20th February 2004 |
WAKE UP! IT'S YER LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS...
Shop 'til They Drop | Race
to the Bottom | Slavemarketed | Crap
Arrest of the Week | SchNEWS in Brief
| Traveller Update | IN-JUNK-TION
| Lucky For Some | Positive
SchNEWS | Coach-napped | Inside
SHOP TIL THEY DROP
The Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay brought the plight
of undocumented migrants in Britain into the spotlight. We were
told how the unfortunate victims were trafficked and exploited by
ruthless gangs of snakeheads. We solemnly frown when
we hear how gang masters prey on the vulnerable victims of mafias.
But these problems have wider and deeper causes.
The illegal immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation
precisely because of their (lack of) legal status. They have no
rights, are terrified of being deported, and cant go to the
authorities for help. The government claims to be dealing with the
problem, while the situation stays the same. So, who
benefits from this crime and why is nothing done to change the situation?
At the top of the chain of command is the government and their
chums the big corporate supermarkets who control the food you eat.
They have totally changed food shopping in the last fifty years,
from the days of small, independent shops to the dominance of the
big four supermarkets: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Safeway.
These four control 60-75% of grocery sales in the UK. The biggest
and the baddest of the lot is Tesco - which receives a staggering
£1 of every £8 spent in the UK! The supermarkets say
they stack em high and sell em cheap. People flock to
their promises of bargains, choice and convenience (see
SchNEWS 295 and 140).
Supermarkets claim to respond to consumer demand, and a recent
survey by the Food Standards Agency in 2001 supports this. 46% of
people responded that price was the key issue for choosing their
food. But supermarkets are not actually that cheap. Some products
are, such as bread and milk, because supermarkets use them as loss
leaders to convince the customer that their store is cheap.
Everybody knows the price of milk and bread, but other products
which people are less familiar with are priced quite highly in supermarkets,
and are available more cheaply, healthfully and ethically in local
independent shops. This is especially true of fresh fruit and vegetables.
The cheap food that the supermarkets claim to sell actually
comes at a very high price to taxpayers, small manufacturers, small
farmers and the environment.
Food is actually very expensive. We end up paying for it
three times once at the market, a second time via taxes for
subsidies, and a third time to clean up the environmental and health
mess, says ecologist, Professor Jules Pretty. He has calculated
that the hidden costs of industrial agriculture to our health and
environment add up to at least £2.3 billion a year!
Race to the Bottom
A Competition Commission Report on supermarkets highlights examples
of exploitative supermarket practices. One big issue is the supermarkets
refusal to enter into binding contractual agreements with suppliers,
leaving suppliers with no financial guarantees.
The suppliers are forced in turn to cut as many costs as they can
and rely on a highly flexible and exploitable workforce. The exploitation
of undocumented foreign workers, i.e. what happened at Morecambe
Bay, is a result of supermarkets relentless race to the bottom
for the lowest wages and costs, bypassing irritating things like
rights and unions. The tiresome contracts committing them to buy
specific amounts of produce at specific prices would help suppliers
plan their factory rotas and have more organised labour forces.
But these contracts involve supermarkets in the risk of buying too
much or too little. Instead, retailers order just in time
from wherever is cheapest in the world, waiting for their barcode
scanning and your loyalty(!) card to tell them how much consumers
are buying. They demand the exact amounts from suppliers and have
them delivered as quickly as possible. Suppliers must respond to
these demands to survive. They pass the risk down the line to those
at the bottom of the chain, to labourers who are turned on and off
like a tap to meet demand. If necessary they are kept working, regardless
of the dangers they face, until the orders are finished.
European workers wont tolerate the conditions this new model
creates. We in Europe like to imagine that we left behind the brutal
pecking order of the docks, or the semi-slave hours of the textile
factories years ago. But the cheap food system needs
excesses of flexible labour to survive. For the new
system to work, a surplus of people desperate for any job to come
along is needed. This is where the migrants fit in; they are desperate
and without rights.
To find out more about the evils of $upermarkets: www.corporatewatch.org.uk/profiles/food_supermarkets/whats_wrong_suprmkts.html
Big corporations also outsource jobs to poor countries
where workers can be exploited in the same way. The textile industry
is particularly guilty, with their notorious sweat shops,
which compete for the cheapest and most exploitable labour force.
Haiti is an example of the free trade frontline. 80%
of the population live in poverty, despite President Aristides
promises of reform. Misery was further increased in 2000 by the
decisions of international donors including the U.S. and EU, to
suspend virtually all aid. By 2003, the suspended aid and loans
totalled more than $500 million.
In an attempt to turn the economy around, a deal was struck with
the US. The World Bank agreed to fund new free trade zones
(FTZs) in Haiti. In April 2002, work started on one of Haitis
most fertile agricultural regions, the Maribahoux Plain, to build
the first free trade zone factory, where Haitian workers are now
making Levis for very low wages. But the plan doesnt
stop there. Seventeen FTZs are expected to stretch along the entire
length of the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Haiti is on the brink of civil war, as the campaign to oust Jean-Bertrand
Aristide heightens. Fifty people have been killed so far and possibly
more in Gonaives. Yesterday, Aristide called for international help
to prevent a humanitarian disaster. The US has refused to step in
and is putting pressure on Aristide to step down. Perhaps they want
a leader they can make even more FTZ agreements with. This couldnt
have come at a more ironic time, as Haiti celebrates the 200th anniversary
of its independence, when slave armies rose up against their French
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For advertising a book fair...
Three women were arrested in Haringey last October for putting up
posters advertising a community bookfair. The women were arrested
for criminal damage by two van loads of coppers after
putting an A4 size poster onto a giant billboard. The most illegal
thing about the whole situation, however, seems to be the billboard
itself, as no planning permission was given for it, or for 48 out
of the 50 other billboards along the same road. The companies involved
have had no legal action taken against them at all for erecting
the massive, unsightly and illegal posters, which were sure
dont advertise anything as nice as community bookfairs.
Sweat are seeking 7 dwarves, one pale woman, 2 mice, 2 dogs,
I duck, 1 prince charming, 1 insomniac woman and a regal big
cat for some sing-a-long-and-chaos-causing action taking place
in Brighton on international womens day to protest at
the exploitation of female sweatshop workers by high street
brands. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
if you want to help.
SchNEWS in brief
- Take action at a BP Baku-Ceyhan pipeline greenwash event
10am, next Friday (24) at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Stratton
Street, London. 01865 241 097 www.risingtide.org.uk
- Balata Camp Installation coming to Britain, can you help?
Mika and Kelly (ISMers who have been to Nablus) are looking for
people to arrange dates and venues, March 10th - April 15th Contact
- Ewa Jasiewicz has just returned to the UK after spending
over nine months in Iraq, and is eager to speak to groups
around the country who can cover her travel costs. Shell
be at the Quaker International Centre, Byng Place, Malet St, London,
2nd March. 7.30pm To book her 0845 4582564
- To mark next Tuesdays (24) international day of action
against the corporate invasion of Iraq theres a demo
outside Bechtels office at 11 Pilgrim Street, London (near
Blackfriars tube) 11am www.voicesuk.org
- Libertarian Parent and Kid Drop-in every Monday from
March 1st, 4:30-6:30pm, Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, Angel
Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St. email@example.com
- Were you arrested at DSEi arms fair last year? Moss &
Co. solicitors have police helicopter video evidence of a number
of arrests. If you are up on charges, you or your solicitor should
contact Andrew Katzen: 020 8986 8336
- Meet to discuss May 1st: Days of Action against the Bosses
next Saturday (28) 12 noon starting with lunch. At the Occupied
Social Centre, 93 Fortess Road, Kentish Town, London. www.wombles.org.uk
- The Revolution will not be Televised (about the Venezuelan
revolution) and other films, showing next Wednesday (25) 7.30pm,
Cube Cinema, Kings Square, Bristol, £3/£2. http://bristol.indymedia.org
- Save Hayle Beach, Cornwall from developers who want to
extract the sand. www.soshayle.fsnet.co.uk
- This week is the tenth anniversary of the M11 eviction,
the most expensive eviction ever in Britain, and a source of inspiration
to road protesters everywhere. See the feature at www.indymedia.org.uk
- National Day of Action against STA Travels involvement
in Burma to raise awareness about responsible tourism March
or visit www.burmacampaign.org.uk
- Find out about the Coke boycott by the Colombian trade
union, Southsea Community Centre, King St, Southsea, Portsmouth,
March 2nd 7pm 023 9225998 www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk
- The NUS and the Higher Education Union are calling for a
national strike next week on Tues (24) and Wed (25) to protest
against top-up fees and low wages for staff. Join the picket lines
at Sussex University on Tues (24) at 11am
- More mailout help needed on Fridays - call SchNEWS office.
First they closed down most of the Council Traveller sites
and told them to buy their own land... then they told them they
couldnt have planning permission
so now theres
a concerted drive to evict them, grab their land (and flog it to
developers)... and push them back on the sides of roads where they
can be screwed under the Criminal Justice Act.
In the past month, two self-owned traveller sites have fought battles
with gypsy eviction specialist bailiffs Constant &
Co: Bulkington near Coventry which ended in a victory, and Meadowlands
in Essex where the residents were evicted, then some of their homes
torched by arsonists. Other sites are now under current threat.
An action network is being set up to defend traveller communities
from eviction beginning with a meeting this Saturday (21st) at 4
Sutton St London (tubes Aldgate East or Whitechapel) at 3pm. There
will be films and talks about the recent evictions. firstname.lastname@example.org
In last weeks SchNEWS, we wrote about how Costain (the evil
road-building company) had taken out an injunction against anyone
who dared to protest against them building a road at Blackwood in
Wales. The injunction that Costain took out is a civil injunction,
so breaking it is not a criminal offence. The police wont
usually get involved in a civil injunction, which means it would
only be Costain who took you to court if you broke it.
Bayer Cropscience (SchNEWS 436), who
want to spread GM crops all over Britain, have become so fed up
with the constant protests against them that they are trying to
ban them altogether using another type of injunction. On Friday
in the High Court, their temporary injunction against protesters
was made permanent. If you break this injunction, it is a criminal
offence and would make you in contempt of court with
up to five years in prison or a hefty fine to look forward too.
This type of injunction was created under the Protection from Harassment
Act, which was supposedly introduced to protect women from stalkers,
but is now used to silence protestors. In the past, it has been
used extensively against animal rights campaigners, in particular
the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign (SHAC). These types
of injunctions are initially granted without the defendants having
any right of say. The companys lawyer simply turns up with
his witness statements and the judge usually gives it the nod.
The injunctions are supposedly granted to protect employees from
being harassed by protesters, but they also create exclusion zones
around company premises. Large-scale protests are not allowed in
any of the exclusion zones meaning big protests outside a companys
headquarters are banned once they have an injunction and wildly
threatening behaviour such as handing out leaflets or banging a
drum can get you arrested! This type of injunction also seeks to
stop protesters putting out information about the company, and bans
the named protest groups from having websites or circulating literature
that discusses the company.
So how does this affect protest? Well for a start, although injunctions
sought to close them down, the SHAC websites and Stop Bayer GM Crops
websites are still up and running. Secondly, for the injunction
to be implemented against a person, it has to be proved that said
person is either one of the persons named on the injunction or part
of one of the groups named on it. What has usually happened, though,
is that the first time you protest, a person working for the company
will present the injunction to you and then you will be covered
by it. But as one protester told SchNEWS, Injunctions often
inject new life into campaigns as people feel outraged by the blatant
repression and use fresh creativity and imagination to explore new
tactics in response.
Now it just so happens that the lawyers behind all these injunctions
are Lawson-Cruttenden, who specialize in the Harassment Act and
are now making a nice little earner from stamping down on the right
to protest. If you wish to find out more about them see www.lawson-cruttenden.co.uk
or if you require their services phone 020 7405 0833.
For a look at these injunctions see www.shac.net/MISC/legal/legal.html
For more on the campaign against Bayers GM crops see: www.stopbayergm.org
Lucky for Some
Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day, but not for Simon
Chapman and 12 other people arrested at the E.U. summit in Thessaloniki
last June. Last Friday, all 13 defendants had their charges dropped
by the Greek authorities! To add to this good news, theres
also the fact that another 6 arrestees have had their charges changed
from felonies to misdemeanours, and another 8 cases are still under
investigation, with hopes running high that these cases will also
be dropped. This is great news for some of us, said
Simon. But of the 29 charged as a result of the 21 June insurrection,
there remain many brother and sisters under charges. The actions
and benefits must continue: anyone could have been fucked the way
we were...My freedom means nothing without the freedom of my brothers
and sisters. The struggle continues. A final decision on the
remaining 8 could come as early as next week.
*Benefit night for the prisoners and the animal rights mag Arkangel
Sat 21st at Chats Palace, 49 Brooksbys Walk, Hackney, East London.
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre is finally re-opening in
their new community-owned building near the train station. To celebrate
this, a parade has been organised on Saturday, 28th February starting
at 4.30 pm at the old Peace Centre in Gardner Street and continuing
to the new centre in Surrey Street and then onto the Sallis Benney
Theatre. The Centre is looking for more local campaigning groups
to attend call them 01273 766611 www.bpec.org
* Sherwood Forest, Nine Ladies, and Blackwood protest sites are
all still there but still need your help. Get down there and show
the bailiffs what you think of em! For more info, see Protest
Camps or call for Blackwood: 07811 948764 / 07708 420446 for
Nine Ladies: 07005 942 212 or for Sherwood: 07050 656410
Protesters who were stopped from going to an anti-war demonstration
at RAF Fairford last March won their case in the High Court yesterday
- sort of.
On March 22, 2003, people on three seperate coaches on their way
to Fairford were stopped, searched for two hours, then escorted
back to London. The court ruled that police abused common law and
that the detention was wholly disproportionate and awarded
costs against the cops. However, the court did back the polices
claim that they reasonably and honestly believed that
breaches of the peace would have occurred if the coaches had reached
Fairford. Breach of the Peace? - er, what about Fairford being the
airbase where B52 bombers took off from in order to bomb the people
of Iraq? www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk
* Therell be speakers from Liberty, Bindmans Solicitors,
Amnesty, Statewatch plus a couple of movies of the coach kidnapping
next Thursday (26) at the School of Oriental & African Studies,
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London. 7pm
* During the anti-war protests at Fairford, cops used the stop
and search powers of the Terrorism Act to carry out 2,132 searches
over a period of just 52 days.
French shepherd René Riesel was sentenced to seven months
in December (he hopes to be released in March) after destroying
a Novartis GMO field crop trial as well as sabotaging one of Novartiss
labs. René is an anti-capitalist who has refused to claim
for a presidential pardon and rejects any kind of support
from political parties, official unions or reformist groups. You
can send letters (preferably in French!!) to René RIESEL,
n° décrou 4612, Maison dArrêt, 37 chemin
Séjalan, 48000 MENDE, France.
SchNEWS warns all readers...if yer a slave to a supermarket
sweep yer off yer trolley. Honest!
NOW OUT!!! 'PEACE DE RESISTANCE' - SchNEWS Annual
2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p
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can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
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