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The weekly newsletter frmo Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

SchNEWS This Time Last Year


SchNEWS 481,
21st January, 2005

IT Go Home The government are introducing a new database to the NHS to hold everyone's medical records to "improve the patient experience". We're not convinced the private company doing it won't cock it up. Also, water privitisation in Bolivia, anti road ptotests in Milton Keynes and mercenaries in London.

SchNEWS 480, 14th January, 2005
SETTLEMENTAL An eye witness account of life in Palestine under Israeli occupation around the unremarkable recent elections. Also, were the effects of the tsunami worsened by the destruction of mangroves?, Dissent!, Guatemala blockade and more.

SchNEWS 479, 7th January, 2005
A DROP IN THE OCEAN Governments and corporations are forced to stump up for the Asian Tsunami victims by the public's generosity. Even then their pledges of aid are miserly compared to what they spend on the military etc. Also, climate change, legal lunacy and more...

SchNEWS 478, 17th December, 2004
FAT CATS TAX LAX Why can't Britain, worlds 4th richest country, afford descent pensions and hospitals? Is it A: the "benefits cheats"? or B: corporations and the rich who don't pay any tax? Check out the figures. Nano-science, asylum seeker slavery and more...

SchNEWS 478, 17th December, 2004
FAT CATS TAX LAX Why can't Britain, worlds 4th richest country, afford descent pensions and hospitals? Is it A: the "benefits cheats"? or B: corporations and the rich who don't pay any tax? Check out the figures. Nano-science, asylum seeker slavery and more...

SchNEWS 477, 10th December, 2004
ZanON and ON and ON! Argentineans threaten the seemingly relentless march of predatory corporate capitalism by taking over their factories and striking for fair pay. Also Fairford case ruling, Sherwood Forest evicted and much more...

SchNEWS 476, 3rd December, 2004
UKRAINE GET IT, IF YOU REALLY WANT Western media paints the street protests in Ukraine as East-v-West but the people on the street are fighting against corruption and crap politicians. Plus the Zimbabwean Social Forum, protest camps, Coca-Craper and more.

SchNEWS 475, 25th November, 2004
CHILE CON CARNAGE Huge demonstrations in Chile great George Bush and his cronies to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum showing that even in the better off in South American country isn't happy with the neo-liberalism agenda. And ID cards and more...

SchNEWS 474, 19th November, 2004
INDIA FACE A look at the caring sharing face of Dow Chemicals, Coca-Cola and Bayer in India and the resistance to them. Also "terrorist" attacked by police and more.

SchNEWS 473, 12th November, 2004
HOLY WAR, BATMAN US forces heroically flatten Fallujah, killing hundreds of civillians. Now the Iraqi's are free from Saddam and can do whatever they want, as long it's what the American's tell them. And Brian Haw and more.

SchNEWS 472, 5th November, 2004
Nightmare on Bush Street We at SchNEWS Towers join the world in celebrating the victory of Dubya over his radically different opponent (we've forgotten his name already) in the US elections. And Diego Garcia and more...

SchNEWS 471, 29th October, 2004
Harassment Life Sciences An animal rights activist gets a bill for £205, 551.23 for not contesting an injunction under the Protection From Harassment Act. The bill includes the costs for 11 other people and groups. Also construction workers on strike and more...

SchNEWS 470, 22nd October, 2004
Endless Shit Flinging The ESF goes off in London and everyone gets a lesson in openness and transparency from the SWP (and it's front groups). Also Uzbekistan, Inter Milan, capitalist conferences and more.

SchNEWS 469, 15th October, 2004
INDY - STRUCTABLE! Indymedia's servers in the UK are confiscated by the UK authorities because Swiss and Italian authorities asked the US authorities to ask them to. Huh? Fortunately Indymedia have been given no explaination whatsoever. And more.

SchNEWS 468, 8th October, 2004
UNPOPULAR STORY A quick look at some of the people around the world who are having just as bad a time as Kenneth Bigley. Also SchNEWS birthday bash, European Social Forum events and more.

SchNEWS 467, 24th September, 2004
VOCAL YOKEL DISCORD Forces of evil clash as the Countryside Alliance descend on the Labour party conference. Also, Star Wars, neo-Labour, and all the usual.

SchNEWS 466, 3rd September, 2004
I.D.EAL CITIZEN I.D cards: a load of crap, everyone except Blunkett agrees. SchNEWS offers him a load more reasons to see sense. Also, Tufnell Park squat eviction, the SchNEWS ASBOmeter, and more on hunt sab Michael Maynard.


Home | Friday 28th January 2005 | Issue 482


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Story Links:
Growing Dissent! | Rices? What Rices? | Crap Arrest of the Week | Guilty as Charged... | Schnews in Brief | FUN-RAISER | Anarchist CNTs | ...On Both Counts! | ...and finally...

Growing Dissent!


“The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through trade deals. In this case [Iraq], they invaded the country first, then imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable.” Shalini Bhutani, GRAIN.

“Seeds are the software - and we have the seeds.” - Anonymous corporate seed company executive.

With agriculture providing the main source of income for two and a half billion people the effects of biotechnology are immense. Farmers across the world are being locked into a cycle of dependency on biotechnology companies, who of course just want to help them to feed the world.

Take the specialized GM seeds which only prosper if you spray em with the right agrochemicals. Who makes those chemicals? Well, the dodgy firm that sells the seeds of course. Just like Microsoft and Windows – remember now, “Seeds are the software...”.

One of the bio-tech giants, Novartis, applied for twelve patents on altered genes that would create ‘addict’ seeds with ‘junkie’ genes that will not perform well without chemical supplements’. As campaigner Vandana Shiva points out, this allows “the seed industry to realise one of its longest held and most cherished goals: to force all farmers into dependence on the companies every year”.

The rise and rise of the biotech industry has come hand in hand with the rise of intellectual property rights or ‘patents’ in the seed industry. The Trade-Related Intellectual Property laws are the weapon the World Trade Organisation uses to force governments to enforce patent rules. Patents give a right of monopoly over an invention or discovery, for example in the field of manipulating the genes of seeds. These monopoly rights make patents a powerful tool for those in search of power, profit and control, as they allow companies to buy ‘ownership’ of staple food crops. The US based chemical giant DuPont has filed over 150 applications for patents on genetic resources in their attempt to dominate agricultural production. The effects of these patents on seeds is that farmers can lose the rights to their own original stocks and the cumulative knowledge they have built up over centuries to a few giants whose reach knows no limits.

We can see this colonisation in full effect in Iraq. After the so-called ‘transfer of sovereignty’ last June, Paul Bremer, chief of the occupation authority, left behind 100 orders which had to be incorporated into Iraqi legislation, having the status and force of binding laws. Among them is Order 81 which amends Iraq’s original patent law to favour the vultures of the West, with disastrous consequences for the farmers of Iraq.

For generations Iraqis have been freely exchanging farm-saved seed. An estimated 97% either use saved seed from a previous year’s harvest or purchase them from local markets. This has now been made illegal under the new law. The law is presented as being necessary to ensure the supply of good quality seeds in Iraq and to facilitate Iraq’s accession to the World Trade Organisation. What it will actually do is allow the penetration of Iraqi agriculture by the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow Chemical, the corporate giants that control seed trade across the globe. Eliminating competition from farmers is a prerequisite for these companies to open up operations in Iraq, and the new law has achieved that. The Iraqi peoples’ right to food sovereignty, the right to define their own food and agriculture policies, is fast vanishing.

However, actions against these corporate giants have seen impressive successes. After a campaign of direct action , bio tech giant Bayer have more or less given up hope of growing their genetically modified greens in the UK. Only a few months ago, Monsanto’s patent on the wheat variety Nap Hal was revoked after Greenpeace took them to the courts. Monsanto had claimed to have invented the special properties of the wheat used for chapatis, which was in fact developed by generations of farmers in India! The practice of seed swapping is also being kept alive at seed fairs, which are lifelines for farmers, and guarantee they always have seeds for the next season. They also safeguard the rich diversity of crops that feed all of us. In Peru, for example, local farming communities keep more than 250 varieties of potatoes. In Kenya farmers swap more than 150 different varieties of local farm seeds at annual seed fairs. In Brighton the fourth Seedy Sunday community seed swap will be happening at the Old Market on Sunday 6th February at the Old Market, Upper Market St., Hove 10am-5pm. Check out the full programme for the event at or pick up copies in Infinity Foods.


Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

“It’s a commercial secret, I have patented the growing process. Now ORF MY LAAAND!”

Syngenta is already the world’s largest agrochemical company and the third biggest seed company. That’s not enough for them, though, now they are looking to extend their control beyond patenting seeds and species and tighten their grip on the global food chain. They want to patent the flowering process and ‘plant architecture’ of rice in 115 countries. The scope is massive and their patent could extend beyond rice to all flowering plants including those we still haven’t found or classified. Syngenta would then be able to claim “ownership” of the flowering processes of most of the world’s major food crops. This terrifying situation would be a threat to world food security and could limit agricultural research. Kathy Jo Welter of the ETC group says “Effectively, the completed rice map provides a template for most of the world’s major food crops. Syngenta is arguing that since it can identify certain gene sequences in rice, it can monopolize the same sequences when they turn up in other species.”

So can we trust them with the keys to the worlds food supply? Syngenta already has a dodgy history with genetically modified rice. It developed the GM “Golden Rice” which they touted as a technological fix for the vitamin A deficiency much of the world’s population suffers from. Syngenta sent out lots of shiny PR releases about how they were trying to feed the world, ignoring the fact that most food shortages are caused by economic factors, and problems of supply rather than there just not being enough food in the world, or rice being not good enough. Syngenta reckon it has no commercial interest in Golden Rice, which is now being developed by the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board. Nice name, but like all good front groups it has lots of dodgy business groups funding it. Syngenta still holds the patent, so if Golden Rice is ever commercialised they will get a golden shower of royalties!

* Action group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration,

* Monsanto has been recently been fined $1.5million by the US Department of Justice for trying to bribe the Indonesian authorities to bypass controls on the screening of new genetically modified crops. Between 1997 and 2002 it bunged officials $750,000.


For breakdancing!

A breakdancer was busy head-spinning outside the American Embassy when he was rushed into a police van by armed cops. They thought he must be a terrorist as this was the only explanation for his behaviour. After being searched it became apparent that he was nothing other than a, er, baffled breakdancer and he was told to go on his way.

Guilty as Charged...

As the World Social Forum tries to create new worlds in Porto Allegre, Brasil, with tens of thousands of international activists, SchNEWS takes a look at some of the continental processes that led to it...

“We do not want to be oppressed/ No more killings/ Let’s crush the blood sucker for justice and freedom to blossom!” Opening hymn to the Labour party conference? Not quite. This was the anthem that thundered at the opening of the third African Social Forum (ASF) as thousands of activists thronged the Mulungushi Conference Centre in Zambia. Held in early December it created a space where activists from all over the continent could meet to attack injustices from majority world debt to HIV/AIDS to the International Monetary Fund.

The Forum was held under the shadow of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad). Nepad is a dodgy African homegrown neoliberalism developed by South African President Mbeki. “Soon enough the programme was referred to as a ‘kneepad’ required by African leaders for comfort while bending down to beg,” jokes Masimba Manyanya, a Zimbabwean activist. It’s western neoliberalism in traditional African garb: more privatisation and more unfair trade terms. And the IMF and World Bank just love it! The Nepad issue saw differences emerging at the ASF with radicals criticising the ASF secretariat for not turning anti-Nepad positions into action. With echoes of radicals invading the stage at the ESF, the Social Movements Indaba pushed for an emergency meeting where activists talked of the need to create an open decision-making structure for the ASF and to agree on common plans of action.

Positively, the ASF saw the launch of the Stop EPAs campaign with activists agreeing to launch global days of action in 2005 against these Free Trade Areas between the EU and Africa. There was a rowdy Africa Youth Camp happening at the same time as the Africa Women’s Court where dozens of women spoke of their oppression under patriarchy and globalisation, their resistance to it. The tribunal found globalisation GUILTY! There was an overflow of discussions happening at the ASF, from ‘The Zimbabwe Crisis’ to ‘Economic Alternatives’, from ‘Nepad’ to ‘Fighting the Debt’. This was the most powerful thing to be born out of the ASF – networks of anticapitalists across the continent, the strengthening of a movement.

The ASF was supposed to end with a big demonstration but repressive laws meant there was no ‘permission’ to demonstrate. However, radicals from across the continent weren’t gonna sit around for six days talking and networking without doing a bit of the old direct action with the coppers running behind. So, permission or no permission, a hundred up-for-it grassroots activists marched and chanted to a nearby shopping mall – a disgusting example of South African imperialism with nearly all shops owned by SA’s corporations. So a Spar supermarket was invaded while Zimbabweans and South Africans showed other activists how to do toyi-toyi war dances outside a big SA bank screaming ‘IMF is the devil!’ Didn’t the cops have a tough time threatening to arrest this mini-army of colourful African militants!

SchNEWS in brief

  • Peace News Relaunch Party - Poetry, acoustic acts, bands, DJ’s, a peace quiz and vegan food and drink to celebrate the launch of the new-look Peace News. 5th Feb, 4pm, RampARTS occupied social centre, London. 020 7278 3344
  • There’s gonna be regular politika nights in Chester last Sunday of every month - sometimes music, poetry, guest speakers, leaflets, petitions. Starts this Sunday (29) at Alexanders wine bar, Rufus Court 8pm till 12.30 £2
  • Issue 11 if the Nottingham Alternative News is out now
  • Notorious mercenary Tom Spicer’s talk was cancelled - thanks of course to last weeks article in SchNEWS! (SchNEWS 481)
  • Get off yer backside this Valentines Day, tape two XXs to it and march from Whitechapel to the Imperial War museum to demonstrate against psychiatric assault such as forced drugging and Compulsory Electric Shock Treatment. 01332 366447
  • London Rising Tide are showing ‘Reach For the Sky’ and ‘The Weather Underground’ 6th Feb 5.30 pm LARC 62 Fieldgate St E1 02073779088
  • Join in the demo against the anti terror laws next Monday (31) 9am, outside the Special Immigration Appeal Commission (SIAC) Field House, Breams Buildings, London, EC4A. Nearest tube Chancery Lane. 0207 586 5892
  • The animal rights movement is on the verge of being champs against Oxford University’s plans to build yet another animal research facility. National demo this Saturday (29)12.30pm, Broad St, outside Balliol College, Oxford, OX1 3BJ 0845 330 7985
  • Join Amy Goodman, producer of radical American radio show ‘Democracy Now!’ for a chat about independent media in the US this Sunday (30) @ Clement House, London School of Economics 2pm 07734079757


After 3 and a half years of monthly club night mash-ups, raising awareness about and funds for loads of groups and campaigns (including us) Funraiser is going weekly! They’ve raised money for everyone from the Zapatistas to PDSA, from an East London community playground to the 9 Ladies protest camp. Up till July half of the money donated is going to the Anti-G8 Dissent! Network with the other half going to other worthy causes – in February its Injustice (see

There’ll be different music every week from techno and drum and bass to psychedelic trance to live bands. And to get things started they’re showing the new SchNEWS Film - A film ten years in the making. From the Courthouse and the CJA demos to Seattle to the anti-war protests to our recent massive party and direct action conference in London - and everything in between! Film starts 9pm followed by techno, electro, raggadubdnbdisco with Shindig and So Squalid Crew till 3. Wednesday 2nd Feb, The Volks Tavern, Madeira Parade. Donations. Check for more info.

Anarchist CNTs

In these days of rampant globalisation, Anarchism is often talked about but little understood so The Projectile Collective in Newcastle are hosting a weekend of films, talks, speakers, bookstalls and even a cabaret covering anarchist history, action and art. They’ll show some of the best films out there, including ‘Aurora De Esperanza’, one of only a handful of films made by the anarchist CNT in Spain at the time of the 1936 revolution. There’ll also be the world premiere of ‘Ten Days That Shook the World’, a film of the 1994 anarchist gathering in London. You can join in the many talks covering things like ‘Anarchism and Direct Action’ and ‘Indiscipline and Rebellion in the Coal Industry’. Speakers include Stuart Christie famous for trying to blow up General Franco! The speakers will also give a short presentation on ‘What anarchism means to them’. Projectile runs from Friday Feb 11th to Sunday Feb 13th 2005.

...On Both Counts!

In Russia protesters have defied the weather and taken to the streets in city centres all over the country. Militant Russian pensioners have been leading crowds of war invalids, Chernobyl victims, disabled people, police officers, old-time communists, trade unionists and anarchists. It began with protests against benefit ‘reforms’. Under the old regime they had been entitled to free public transport, medicine and telephone use. Of course, much of the social state is bankrupt, so these benefits were often just a nice idea. After the 2003 elections, which left Putin and his KGB cronies in control of the Duma, the state started a massive program of neoliberal reforms - the kind that the World Bank and IMF have been pushing on governments around the world.

Benefits are to be ‘monetarized’, which means that free services will be taken away and claimants will get (an inadequate amount of) cash instead. The money is often not enough for a pensioner to afford a couple of trips a month to the out-of-town allotment where they grow their food. Many people in Russia survive on this kind of subsistence farming, and losing their free transport will drive many of them towards hunger and malnutrition.

In the town of Perm the Governor came to talk with a crowd of 7,000 who were demanding to speak to him. They took him hostage and refused to let him go until an anarchist prisoner was released. In Moscow, the road to St Petersburg was blocked by a group of pensioners who were spontaneously joined by hundreds of passers-by. Many local governments have rapidly backtracked after widespread actions like these, and made services free again.

Little surprise then that in some cities anarchists and their friends organizing and participating in these protests have been targeted with fierce repression and there are reports of savage beatings of suspected organizers. Police are not crushing demonstrations, though, because there is a culture of respect for old people in Russia (although that respect obviously doesn’t mean an adequate pension anymore).

Local activists in Perm are now expecting a wave of repression after they humiliated the governor and the police and there have already been some arrests. They have put out a call asking for solidarity, asking people to call the city administration and ask them to refrain from opening criminal cases against people and to demand liberation of prisoners. Call +7-3412-12-64-57 +7-3412-12-64-57 To stay updated and

...and finally...

It might be reassuring for some to know that the reason for North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons is not to wage a war on us mere mortals but to wipe out the serious threat that is dreadlocks. So Brightonians, if you have chosen to develop these weapons of mass infestation it is time to reconsider your hairstyle. Apparently men’s hairstyles reflect their ‘ideological spirit’ and North Korea has launched a media assault alerting the population of this fact. Tidy attire is a spring board for “repelling the enemies” and combating “corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle and establishing the socialist lifestyle” booms the radio. Nits, you scare nobody!

A TV Common Sense programme in N. Korea states all kinds of logical explanations as to why the “flat-top crew cut” is necessary including the “negative effects” of long hair on “human intelligence development”. Oi Students! The reason you may be a bit baffled in your lectures isn’t because of disturbing amounts of alcohol you consume but cos yer locks are robbing your brain energy! If you want to be a communist and pass your exams, get the chop!

SchNEWS warns all readers not to take any crop from anyone... Honest!

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