Debtor the devil u know
Over the past ten years, the World Bank and International Monetary
Fund have been blathering on about poverty reduction, anti-corruption,
debt relief and increased health and education spending, even naming
the weekend conference One Community, Our Future. Without
a hint of irony, Wal-Mart sponsored Prime Ministers and Presidents
declared their commitment to sustainable and equitable growth.
Chile is a prime example of the benefits of opening markets,
US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said, the Chilean
people have charted a course toward economic growth, development
and expanding prosperity.
Perhaps Chile is seen as a success story because only 20% of its
population live in poverty, compared to the 44% average for Latin
America. Or maybe Zoellicks just been feasting too much in
swanky restaurants, to have noticed the homeless sleeping outside
his hotel. We have to do something to humanise this economic
model that is now spreading in the world, said Francisco Araya,
an office worker who brought his two children along to the protest,
ten percent of the population own more than half the countrys
wealth. This cant continue. Whilst 5% of Chileans live
on the edge of starvation, their country exports apples, grapes
and wine to the US and salmon to Europe, in a desperate bid to earn
foreign currency so that the country can repay its $38 billion debt
to Western Banks. In comparison, last year Chile spent less than
$3 billion on education and one in ten Chileans still do not have
access to drinking water.
Rather than tackling poverty, APEC leaders instead proposed a host
of trade related anti-terrorism measures that are likely to justify
clampdowns on future anti-capitalist actions. For the past year,
the Interpol office in Santiago has been using a database of around
500 activists they believed would be coming to the protests. A week
before the riots began, police arrested thirty people who attended
a rally against the infringements on civil liberties.
Although leaders in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and
Venezuela have recently been elected on the basis of strong left
wing agendas and independence from the US, all have been reluctant
to say no to the IMF and World Bank which have crippled
the countries with levels of debt that are unlikely to ever be paid
off. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, recently attacked Bushs
vision of world trade domination, publicly calling him a pendejo
(asshole) but Venezuela oversees the worlds 7th largest oil reserves
and can afford to be a bit cocky. Ecuador, on the other hand, spends
half of its national budget on debt repayments and, according to
former economist John Perkins, the US literally has them over a
barrel, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, look,
youre not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil
companies your oil filled Amazon rain forest. Or else.
In his new book, Perkins describes himself as a former economic
hit man: a highly paid professional who cheated countries around
the globe out of trillions of dollars. Perkins says that his job
was to build up the American empire. To bring and create situations
where as many resources as possible flow into the US, to our corporations,
and our government, and in fact weve been very successful.
Weve built the largest empire in the history of the world.
Perkins was recruited in the late sixties by the National Security
Agency and quickly found himself working for the World Bank. The
Bank was giving huge loans to other countries, much bigger than
they could possibly repay. Perkins would then strike a deal that
ensured US corporations picked up the contracts for the infrastructure
projects the loans were supposed to fund. Those companies
would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways,
and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest
families in those countries. Basically they become our servants,
our slaves. Its an empire. Theres no two ways about
it. Its been extremely successful.
Street protests may have helped put an end to Bushs hopes
to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas by 2005, but the White
House is picking countries off, one-by-one. The US has armed the
Colombian military in exchange for a deal on free trade and has
created a huge sweatshop in Central America where women earn 25
pence an hour sewing Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirts that sell for £50
a piece. With 60,000 people on the streets of one of Latin Americas
richest countries, things are sure to hot up.
* For more on the protests www.santiago.indymedia.org
* Read an interview with John Perkins www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/09/1526251&mode=thread&tid=25
- Money raised by first Band Aid single: £9.5 million.
- Sub-Saharan Africas debt: $256bn
- Security budget for the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland (where Blair
reckons Africa will top the agenda): £150 million.
- Cost of Iraq war so far to UK taxpayer: £8 billion.
In the Queens Speech the government announced plans to introduce
ID cards, however a national ID scheme for children is much closer.
The Childrens Bill, which is likely to become an Act, will
establish a national database of every single child in the country
(SchNEWS 452). This all seeing database will have details on the
childs school achievements, GP and hospital visits, police
and social services records, home address and details about their
family. The database will be accessible to just about every government
agency you can think of and some private companies, but children
and their parents wont have access to it, and will have to
apply to see details held on their children under the Data Protection
As Liberty say, this is a national ID database in all but name:
They are creating a national database through the back door.
You start with information about all children, but, in 20 years
time, youve got almost half the population. The creation
of a national database is a clear invasion of privacy; the governments
own Joint Committee on Human Rights says that it is incompatible
with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Not that Ministers are worried about this, their only concern is
the technical challenge of setting up the database. There has been
a whole catalogue of failures of computer databases, most notably
the Child Support Agency, which eighteen months after a £456m
IT system was brought in only 61,000 parents had received any money
out of 478,000 applications, with a waiting time of 15-22 weeks
(the target is six weeks). Or the Inland Revenue who deleted tax
records due to a computer glitch. Then theres
the loophole in the planned NHS database, which allows any user
to access any patients records and make changes. One senior
physician involved in the project said, Its a system
thats just asking to be abused. Other cock-ups with
databases include the Criminal Records Bureau, Passport Service,
Tax Credits the list goes on, in a pattern dubbed Repetitive
Failure Syndrome. With a track record like that the possibility
of cock-ups for a database for children or a national ID card seems
an absolute certainty. www.arch-ed.org/chldrnbill.htm
* The obsession with computer tracking of children is reaching
silly levels. A new scheme called VeriCool is a fingertip
verification system based on a childs fingerprint. Apparently
this can be used to take the class register or to see if everyone
has got back on the bus after a school trip. Now call SchNEWS old
fashioned but isnt a more simple way of taking the class register
is for the teacher to read out the childrens names? VeriCool
is run by Anteon who are a US military company involved with, amongst
other things, global intelligence systems, missile defences and
weapons system modernization. Good to see our children are safe
in such nice peoples hands. www.vericool.co.uk
* STOP ID cards and the database state public meeting next Tuesday
(30) The Brix, St Matthews Church, Brixton SW2 7 pm www.no2id.net
SchNEWS in brief
- John Jordan co-editor of the anti-capitalist book We
are everywhere is speaking at the Cowley Club, Brighton
Thurs 2nd Dec, 6pm, also showing a film about Argentinas
- Whats REALLY Happening in Iraq?! Film night Thurs
2nd Dec. See uncensored footage of life in Iraq. Friends Meeting
House, Ship Street, Brighton. 7:30pm.
- End the Occupation demo this Saturday (27th) Meet Altab
Ali Park, Whitechapel Road, near Brick Lane. 1.30pm
- Occupation and Resistance in Iraq: international
teach-in Sun 5th Dec University of London Union, Malet Street,
London. £5/£2 www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk
- Noise Demos against Brighton based arms manufacturers EDO
next three Thursdays, from 4pm Home Farm Business Park, Moulescoomb.
- On Tuesday, for three hours, activists blockaded the entrance
to Stancliffe Stone who want to quarry the 9 Ladies site
(SchNEWS 437). No arrests were made,
and more actions are planned depending on the outcome of a meeting
they managed to arrange with Stancliffe Stone. www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/11/301742.html
- Demonstration against right wing, ex president of Spain, Jose
Maria Aznar who is speaking at Oxford Union. Meet 7.30pm on
Fri Dec 3rd, meet in St Michaels Street. Bring pots & pans.
- Demonstration against indefinite detention without charge
or trial and fast track extradition to the US, Sun 28th Nov, 12.30-2.30pm,
V2 Tattenhoe St, opposite Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes www.mkstopwar.org.uk
- Cranes were occupied on Monday at the channel tunnel
rail link site in Kings Cross in solidarity with workers protesting
the contrick. A call is being made for a national
ballot of all construction workers. www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/11/301614.html
- This Saturday is the Anarchist Book Fair at ULU, Mallet
St, London. But its also Buy Nothing Day, so youll
have to leave empty handed!
Indymedia was born five years ago out of the Seattle World Trade
Organisation protests. Back then it was a way of coordinating actions
and getting past the corporate media, since they either ignored
the protests or only reported on damage to property.
It has grown into one of the biggest alternative news networks
in the world, with over 100 centres all over the world. The really
exciting thing about Indymedia is that anyone can post news onto
Of course all this grassroots empowerment hasnt escaped the
notice of the authorities. A few weeks ago the servers for 21 sites
were taken from the UK by the FBI in a highly suspect international
policing operation (SchNEWS 469). The
legal basis for the seizure is still not clear. Fortunately the
servers have now been returned.
To celebrate their anniversary UK Indymedia is avin it large
at Tufnell Park community centre, St Georges church, 49 Tufnell
Park Rd, London. The line up includes, Fun-Da-Mental, Rhythms of
Resistance, The Rub, Penny Rimbaud (Crass), The Unpeople, with special
guests The FBI plus films and more music!
- The Trapese Roadshow aims to inspire, inform and mobilise
people about the G8 and related issues in the build up to the
G8 summit in Scotland next year. Touring in December visiting
Stirling, Perth, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and more.
07904 452297 email@example.com
- Dissent! Gathering in Newcastle next weekend (4th-5th
Dec) Booking essential firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dissent! meetings in Brighton every Tuesday, 6pm Cowley
Club, London Road, email@example.com
- New Dissent! Booklet Reflections on Summit Mobilisations.
Send £2 to Box 8, 245 Gladstone St., Nottingham, NG7 6HX.
Continuing their record of violating civil rights of protesters,
New York cops used the Republican National Convention in August
as an opportunity to target the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW) during a peaceful protest outside the Starbucks where they
worked. The Union called for a march during the Convention to protest
against the Bush Administrations support for anti-union actions
at Starbucks. Daniel Gross, a co-founder of the Union and Starbucks
employee is set to stand trial in January for disorderly conduct
and resisting arrest and faces a maximum sentence of six months.
The NYC Union have sparked a national campaign to organise against
the massive coffee chain, aiming to bring workers together to rise
out of poverty, put an end to understaffing, and achieve a guaranteed
number of work hours per week.
Starbucks has a history of making false allegations about IWW rallies
in New York City and so in keeping with tradition; company managers
gave info to New York detectives before the protest began. Once
again, Starbucks has proven it will do or say anything to attempt
to break our union, Daniel said. Chairman Howard Schultz
will likely use a conviction against me as a fear-tactic to deter
workers from joining the IWW to improve their life on the job.
Would you like to have a seaside break over the Christmas period?
The camp against the A50 Weymouth Relief Road would
like help building more warm accommodation. Despite Dorset Council
agreeing to evict the camp, no court proceedings have occurred,
seeming to confirm local rumours that the ownership of the land
the camp is occupying is under dispute. This campaign is very winnable,
as there is no economic or strategic reason for the road, and it
is hugely destructive. It goes through ancient woodland, dissects
the Littlemore Housing Estate, and goes through an Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty. www.roadalert.org.uk
Can you help get us get SchNEWS at Ten distributed? Check out the
list of those flogging it on the merchandise page of our website
and let us know if there are other places that might like to take
copies. And why not order a copy from your local library?
Well, its only six decades after troublemaker Lucy Parsons
died and theres been loads of squabbling over whether or not
a small park in Chicago should be named after her. Police were trying
to prevent the park being named after the labour organizer who coined
the infamous phrase Behold your future executioners.
Bearing Parsons quote in mind, the city police have been huffing
and puffing over this dangerous issue Theyre going to
name a piece of property in the city of Chicago after an anarchist!
exclaimed one traumatized cop. However, despite objections, the
city has given the green light to honour the activist and the park
was christened Lucy Parsons. Lucy and her husband, Albert,
were a strong force behind the improvement of lives of women, minorities
and workers. They were continually punished for defending workers
rights and when a bomb went off on May 1st 1886 at a union rally
in Haymarket Square, Albert was blamed, even though he was not there
on the day, and executed along with 3 others (this was the origin
of May Day, international workers day by the way!). Chicago police
went to extremes to silence Lucy Parsons every time she tried to
speak out and now 62 years after her death they are still trying
to silence her.
SchNEWS warns all readers not to rub their Bush up the wrong
way with a Chile, itll sting...Honest!
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