| Friday 3rd
2006 | Issue 567
WAKE UP! IT'S
YER SHOULD I MEXI-CO-CO...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Hell | Crap Arrest Of The Week | Pitch
Battle | Mogadishu Of The Day | Final
Curtain | Heart Of Stone | Party
& Protest | Stern Expression | For
Your Perusal | ...and finally...
MEXICAN WAVES OF RESISTANCE AND REPRESSION
They might have the strength to impose their will, but
we will never give them our consent. - Radio APPO announcement.
3,500 police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters retook
control of the Mexican city of Oaxaca on Sunday (29th) following
five months of occupation by striking teachers and other activists.
Burning barricades were no match for the additional 6,500 military
personnel, water cannons and tear gas, as physical resistance was
Teachers and their supporters have been demonstrating since May
against a corrupt authoritarian state regime, guilty also of seriously
underfunding local education. Included on their list of demands
were outrageous requests for more textbooks, breakfasts for schoolchildren,
scholarships, uniforms, shoes, medical services and better pay.
The clincher, perhaps, was their demand for the resignation of the
Governor, Ulises Ruíz Ortíz, who has been busy using
the usual array of tactics available to Mexican cops, with disappearances,
beatings and torture being used against so called subversive
elements for some time.
An unrivalled success story, the Economist investment
rag says about Mexicos economy. This is despite the fact that
the richest 10% of Mexicans own around 60% of the wealth, a gap
that continues to rise, along with the number of poor and hungry,
despite all the sustained economic growth.
One of the demands was for an increase in the minimum wage. During
the 1990s the value of the Mexican minimum wage actually fell by
5%. In Oaxaca the minimum is lower than in most places as the government
keep the rate down cos they reckon its cheaper to live in
a poor place, so why pay so em more money?! After all, along
with Chiapas and Guerrero, Oaxaca is amongst the poorest three states
in Mexico and that makes that ten-bedroomed Hacienda a much more
affordable holiday home for a weary Mexican stock broker.
On May 15th, National Teachers Day in Oaxaca, teachers threatened
a week long state-wide strike if their demands were not met. They
werent and a week later a 40,000-strong group of mainly teachers
and other union activists occupied the centre of the city. Such
actions have been common for the last 25 years in Oaxaca but this
was bigger and commanded much more support amongst the general population
The occupation continued until 750 police stormed in on June 14th
in maximum repression mode. Local media reported four deaths from
the ensuing violence and the teachers radio station, Radio
Plantón, was trashed. Soon after, though, students at the
Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca seized the uni station
which had a much more powerful transmitter.
On 8th August, police infiltrators poured sulphuric acid on that
equipment, but by this time TV Caserolas had been running for 8
days. The state-owned Chanel 9 station was seized and re-named after
the women who had marched on the station banging pots and pans.
Before they were booted out on 21st August, TV Caserolas had paraded
a host of Mexicans on the telly each of whom gave a withering
commentary on what neo-liberalism meant to them - the loss of land
to developers and the ramshackle rural mountain schools without
toilets; the thousands of communities without safe water or sewage
systems; the rising cost of food and rent as subsidies are removed
in the name of free trade; and, of course, the continuing falls
in the value of those wages.
By July, 365 grassroots organisations including unions, indigenous
groups and womens movements had joined up to form an umbrella group
known as the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), receiving
the backing of the Zapatistas and even former presidential candidate
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Meanwhile under Operation Iron, Governeor Ruiz was
busy renovating the prison in the city of Tlocolula. Hes overseen
a development to double its capacity and keen to keep costs low,
Ruiz has not bothered building any extensions preferring simply
to put a partition wall in each cell! Many prominent activists are,
however, more worried that they wont even make it to prison,
convinced of an impending wave of repression that is sure to follow
the recapture of the city.
As government top brass debated what to do, primary school teacher,
Pánfilo Hernández Vásquez was shot dead as
he left a public assembly. His death brings the average number of
murdered teachers, activists and indigenous leaders to one a week
since May. They were joined last Friday by New York-based Indymedia
journalist Brad Will, who was shot dead along with three others
as pro-government militia opened fire on the unarmed demonstrators.
President Vincent Fox finally authorised the the really heavy squad,
the Federal Preventative Police (PFP) to retake the
city military style, last Sunday. Since then things have quietened
a little with the heavy ongoing military presence, but resistance
continues and peoples spirit and determination seems unbroken.
Whilst President Fox declared victory, announcing the return
to peace in Oaxaca, as we go to press, the University of Oaxaca
is under attack with the PFP launching tear gas in an attempt to
evacuate the premises. Radio APPO is currently still managing to
braodcast (have a listen at http://icecast.v2v.cc:8000/appo1.mp3).
The Zapitistas have called for a general strike and national day
of action on November 20th.
Triggered largely by Brad Wills murder, there have been a
series of actions in the US and around the world. In the UK, a protest
against the repression took place in front of the Mexican Embassy
in London on Monday evening. Eight arrests followed an attempt to
project Brad Wills final footage on to the embassy itself.
* For fuller coverage, including pictures and footage, see www.narconews.com
ARREST OF THE WEEK
For wearing fancy dress at Halloween...
One Halloween reveller got nicked in the States for dressing up
as Osama Bin Laden and holding a toy gun. This was way too scary
for cops who charged him with Criminal Threatening.
It turns out that the arrested man was Tom Connolly, the lawyer
who revealed President Bushs drunk driving arrest in 2000,
and he said he intends to plead not guilty.
Sticking at least one finger up at the SOCPA rules (See SchNEWS
483 and most weeks since!), up to 100 people managed to camp
out at Parliament Square last weekend. Advertised as an Unauthorised
24-hour peace camp, there was a vigil on Saturday when people illeglly
assembled to mark the second anniversary of the coalition offensive
on the city of Fallujah in Iraq and hear ex-SOCPA-convicts Maya
Evans and Milan Rai read out the names of those who have died there.
Then, on Sunday, tens of activists turned up, assembled tents and
made camp, with banners and chants stressing the demand for No
more Fallujahs. They managed to stay there all night, until
cops moved in on Monday morning (maybe the next camp should be called
Another 48 Hours), some demolishing the camp and confiscating
equipment. Ten people were arrested, some of them for refusing to
give their names to police, but no one was charged.
* For more see www.j-n-v.org
OF THE DAY
Like so many unfortunate
countries before, the history of Somalia changed rapidly once spooks
from the CIA muscled in. Not content with cocking up in Iraq fighting
the War on Terror, Spooks are now meddling in Somalia to stop
the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. The super-spies are sponsoring
an anti-terrorist alliance of warlords, the Alliance for the
Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism (ARPCT) in the war-ravished
capital to crush the previously little-known Islamic Courts
Union (ICU) which, claimed the US, had ties to the usual suspects
over in Al Qaeda.
From this point
onwards the events moved in a fairly predictable fashion. With the
announcement that the Alliance were receiving US cash
and guns, virtually the entire population of the capital Mogadishu
responded ... by giving their wholehearted backing to the Islamists.
Within a matter
of days Mogadishu turned from a city ruled by hundreds of competing
warlords, each claiming territory often no bigger than a neighbourhood
or a few streets, to a city with a functioning government and a
virtual end to the violence and theft that had plagued the city
since the time Papa Bush sent troops in back in 92.
Catching the entire
world by surprise, Somalis celebrated in September with a mass rally
of people and vehicles ceremoniously travelling from one end of
the city to the other, an event which would not have been possible
before the change in government. The Islamists, while publicly decrying
Al Qaeda-style nihilism and sectarian killing, have begun to stretch
their influence outwards from the capital, extending south towards
the countrys provisional capital, Badioa, near the Ethiopian
border. Militias have either surrendered or gone over to the ICU
en masse, bringing with them their guns and armed vehicles with
them. Town after town has gone over to the Islamists without a fight.
As they now seem
about to take control of the country, Ethiopia has picked up the
gauntlet from the ARPCT, and has begun covertly sending its troops
into Somalia to thwart the ICUs advance, under the guise of
military advisers (eyewitnesses report seeing hundreds
if not thousands of such advisers in full battle gear
and army trucks).
The all too familiar
hand of the CIA appears once again. And all the ingredients are
there: a country racked by famine and civil war sees its fledging
government (which committed the heinous crime of being chosen by
its people but not installed by the US) immediately attacked by
its neighbours. Complicating matters, next-door Ethiopia is a largely
Christian nation, upping the ante as a US-backed attempt to control
a small nation threatens to erupt into a full scale ethno-religious
The UN recognised
government of Somalia (in reality little more than a
group of ex-pat Somalis residing in Ethiopia and Kenya) has been
thrown into complete disarray as minister after minister has quit
over the issue of negotiations with the ICU, and reconciliation
talks scheduled in Khartoum this week collapsed before they began.
As war looks increasingly
imminent, hats off to the CIA for such a great job!
* For updates
Yesterday (2nd) at 4.30am police arrived to evict the Dalston Theatre
in Hackney (See SchNEWS 533), and evicted
the building by 9am. The Victorian era theatre had been occupied
as a social centre since February this year, to prevent it being
knocked down to build 533 luxury flats. The building is steeped
in history having been the 4 Aces reggae club, where
Bob Marley once played, but its destruction is one of several assaults
on East London as the Olympics steam-rolls into town (see also Queens
Market Londons most multi-ethnic market due
to be demolished for you guessed it 240 luxury apartments see SchNEWS
For more see http://opendalston.blogspot.com
HEART OF STONES
Since large-scale pagan gatherings and free festivals at Stonehenge
were crushed after the Battle Of The Beanfield in 1985, the nearby
tranquil setting at Avebury, the largest neolithic stone circle
in Europe, has become a popular spot for pagans in the UK. While
busloads of tourists descend on Stonehenge every day, the raggle-taggle
convoys of travellers, festie - goers and druids head towards Avebury.
But this is about to turn into a site of conflict after Kennet District
Council issued an enforcement notice to the National Trust, who
control Avebury, ordering them to stop people camping in the village
car park from Dec 31st this year.
Kennet councillor and Avebury villager Gretchen Rawlins whinged,
Its not just the summer solstice any more. Its
virtually every month. The villagers have had to learn all the pagan
dates to know when their village is going to get invaded next.
The onus is on the National Trust to find an alternative camp site,
who have until November 6th to lodge an appeal. This years
winter solstice the last event before the ban is sure
to be a high profile event see our Party
& Protest guide closer to the time.
Party & Protest
For full listings see www.schnews.org.uk/pap/index.htm
- ** NOVEMBER: 4th - Manchester No2ID Day of Resistance. Meet
at 12.30, the Basement, Lever St, moving to St Annes Square
(or Market St outside Boots if its raining) to set up a
stall. See http://manchester.no2id.net
- 6th - Plane Stupid national day of action against short haul
flights. See www.planestupid.com
- 11th Picket of Marks & Spencer, Manchester, as part
of the international week of action against the building of Israels
Apartheid Wall. 12-3pm, Market St, Manchester City
Centre. For info about M&Ss Israeli links see www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-marks-and-spencer.html
- 11-12 - Northern Eco-action Gathering, Leeds. Workshops on direct
action, skill sharing, strategising. Novices and experienced activists
all welcome. The Common Place, 23-25 Wharf St, Leeds. 11.00am-6.00pm
(both days) For more see www.eco-action.org/northern
- 13th - Big Aldermaston Blockade. Block The Builders will be
using non-violent direct action to stop the building work on the
new Orion laser facility at Aldermaston. For details see www.blockthebuilders.org.uk
- November 1st sees the start of the fox hunting season
the second year since the so-called ban. The Hunt Saboteurs Association
have written to all police forces in England and Wales telling
them For Fox Sake Enforce the Ban! Sabs will
be out this weekend in their duel role to stop and monitor the
illegal hunts up and down the country. To find out more see www.huntsabs.org.uk
- 25th - Defy-ID National Gathering, Nottingham. 11am onwards
at the Sumac Centre, to organise resistance to ID Cards and the
National ID Register. Food and basic accommodation but
email in advance. For details see www.nottingham-defy-id.org.uk/gathering
- Did you witness the police attack on people leaving the Saqqara
Bar in North St Brighton around 2am last Thursday night which
saw a line of coppers attack the crowd with pepper spray leading
to seven arrests. Call or email the SchNEWS office asap.
A decade in the making... no, not the reputation of yer peerless
SchNEWS, but the time Tony and his cronies have taken to even begin
to take climate change seriously. The trouble is, acting to resolve
the problem poses a real threat to profits. OK, so people are going
to be scorched into hunger over in Africa, but whats going
to happen if we all cant keep shopping? People flooded out
of house and home may no be so interested in buying that new plasma
TV or three piece suite! Thats right folks, dont worry
about the environment; moneys more important - think how much
money you could lose if we dont fix things right now.
Sterns report is designed to demonstrate the risks climate
chaos poses to business, and warns that it could lead to an economic
recession! The report drops the shock conclusion that global carbon
emissions must be slashed hardly news (See SchNEWS
81). Stern also promotes the kind of carbon trading that inevitably
turns into a carbon redistribution rather than reduction scheme
(See SchNEWS 514). The governments
plan is to enable UK plc to pass on any costs to the public through
increased prices and green taxes. When asked whether
they could do more, company bosses stressed the importance of looking
the other way. The UKs a small place after all; apparently
if we cut turned everything in Britain off right now, itd
all be undone by 2 years growth in China, so why hassle UK businesses?
* Some people, however, are actually up for doing something about
climate chaos. In the early hours of Thursday morning (2nd), 30
Greenpeace activists got up and occupied a 200 metre chimney in
Didcot power station, the second biggest emitter of carbon, after
Drax power station.
* This Saturday (4th) therell be a March for Climate Action
starting at the US embassy at midday, later moving onto an I-Count
Mass Gathering in Trafalgar Square at 2pm. See www.campaigncc.org
FOR YOUR PERU-SAL
In Peru, a remote Amazonian tribe who have had little contact with
outside society have had a reprieve after the Chinese oil company
Sapet have announced they will not be entering their land. Little
is known about the Piro people, but they would likely be vulnerable
to the diseases of outsiders. This comes after 800 Achuar Indians
in the northern Peruvian Amazon held a two week blockade against
Argentinian oil company PlusPetrols oil plant, which is the
largest in the country. They didnt manage to kick em out,
but PlusPetrol are promising to improve environmental
practice, and will give the Indians oil royalties.
* For more see www.survival-international.org
A lesson in how to overcome electronic door security: campaigners
against Shells destruction of the environment in Rossport,
Ireland (SchNEWS 564) decided to take
their message directly to Shells offices in Chesterfield and
found themselves facing an electronic swipe card system. The solution
was a simple one and relied not on weaknesses in the electronic
system, but on the stupidity of the workers inside.
Armed with nothing more sophisticated than an empty cardboard box
with the address written on in felt tip pen, one of the would-be
invaders strolled up to the doors, pressed the buzzer and announced
they had a package to deliver - whereby they were let in, and the
rest of the mob stormed in for a chat with Shell about their environmental
It seems the old Trojan horse gag isnt ready
for the knackers quite yet...
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and those that cant, riot. Honest!
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