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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective


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WAKE UP! It's yer Anarchist Filth

SchNEWS
 

Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

ISSUE 276, FRIDAY 22nd September, 2000

WASH 'N' DOUGH

Shock Energy Breakthrough: BP's recent corporate facelift - with the new floral emblem and the 'beyond petroleum' slogan - has helped them to find a great renewable source of energy: hot air!

An interesting by-product of the recent fuel blockage was that people got to see what towns and cities were like from the year dot up until recently- pleasantly car free. Companies like BP are taking these new challenges head on, or at least their PR department is. The company is leading the pack in the realisation that the dirty work can go on, but from behind a thick cloud of "we're-green" bullshit (also known as 'greenwash'). So to appease the public, and relieve the management of guilt, the trick is not to argue that black is white - it's to argue that both black and white are in fact different shades of green - the interests of business and conserving the environment are one and the same!

Oil and gas companies are trying to find any possible opportunity to differentiate their product and build up a 'brand'. And climate change (SchNEWS 263) provides just one such opportunity. Even as early as the late 1980s, BP pushed itself as THE environmental oil and gas company. At the same time as they were destroying large areas of rainforest in Brazil, BP responded to the rise in eco-consciousness with a 20 million re-imaging campaign, painting all its property green while advertising its annual report under the slogan 'Now We're Greener Than Ever'. As Corporate Watch magazine point out, "The image change is towards retailing, and renewables, but their production of oil is increasingly in areas of fragile eco-systems and indigenous peoples".

BP's latest move is to distance itself from the oil industry by withdrawing from this year's Global Climate Coalition, the US based pro-oil group rejecting cuts in emissions. The new image suggests they are moving into renewable energy and 'beyond petroleum' - into solar maybe? Well actually born-again BP merged with Amoco - who have huge gas deposits - to become BP-Amoco, moving together into natural gas, whereupon the name changed back to BP. SchNEWS hates to break more bad news, but the truth is that the money they're putting into petroleum far outstrips expenditure into green alternatives. BP plan to spend 200 million on renewable energy over the next 5 years, which is just a bit less than the 67 billion Amoco cost 'em two years ago or 6 billion that will go towards fossil fuel exploration worldwide. BP's main interests are in the North Sea, the Caspian Sea (an area of ongoing instability, and Alaska, while Columbia is just one place where they rub shoulders with military conflict.

In April of this year, BP chairman Sir John Browne showed how he'd arrived at enlightenment by joining with environmentalists to give one of the Reith lectures on how, er, green BP are going - the lecture must have lasted a cosy five minutes. And the virtual reality PR world has thrown up a whole new 'industry' - risk management. But the risks are not necessarily your company's toxic waste, but rather the public outcry it generates. There are media techniques used to minimise the fuss - like sympathising with the villagers next to your oil spill and treating them as victims of something which couldn't be prevented. A whole language of double-speak PR rhetoric has emerged, it's sometimes so sophisticated that it would appear that management in some corporations are now completely lost in their own lies. Next they'll be holding group tree-hugging sessions.

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Slick Pitch

So what are the results of the oil companies' real exploits? Nowhere are the effects of global warming clearer than in the Arctic, where for the first time yer actual North pole is now without ice and the ice-pack on the Arctic Ocean is 40% thinner. Now we hope you won't be disappointed, but the key company in Arctic Alaska is . slippery BP.

Not content with this, BP have been contributing funds to US Senators and Congressmen who support the oil industry. They 'gave cash' to 34 of the 65 senators who voted to reject global warming restrictions and increases in funding for renewable energies. BP is a major funder of the pro-oil lobby group Arctic Power, which wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Two BP funded Alaskan senators are keen to open up the Refuge - America's Serengeti - to exploitation. One of them, Don Young, has said "If you think billions of oil will stay in the ground, you're smoking pot ".

At immediate stake is the preservation of the Refuge, which is home to polar and grizzly bears, near extinct shaggy musk ox, moose, 150 species of migrating birds and the migrating caribou who trek 1000 miles to breed. Scientists are claiming that the Arctic is warming up five times faster than the rest of the earth thanks to climate change. The region's indigenous people, the Gwich'in, fear for their ancestral land and the dwindling numbers of caribou whose breeding habits are affected by the oil activity. Last year two Gwich'in people, with the help of Greenpeace, successfully lobbied 13% of BP shareholders to vote against new oil production in the area and spend more on renewable energy sources. Despite this move in a (slightly) better direction, earlier this year BP had to pay a $15 million fine for toxic waste dumping. BP Alaska's president Richard Campbell softsoaps in the company's environmental statement that their goal is 'quite simply no accidents, no harm to people, and no damage to the environment.' Sorry mate, you're in the wrong game.

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  • Read Sharon Beder's 'Global Spin: The Corporate Assault On Environmentalism' ISBN 1 870098 67 6.
  • For the lowdown on BP get a copy of issue 11 of Corporate Watch, 3.50 from 16b Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG or check out www.corporatewatch.org
  • At the beginning of August, Greenpeace blockaded a barge to prevent it docking at BP's Northstar oil rig in Arctic Alaska. After two days of occupying the barge the Greenpeace ice ship MV Arctic Sunrise was used to block access to the platform. BP responded by taking out restraining orders on 25 people. This was after a camp was maintained in freezing conditions for two months trying to prevent the plant being built (SchNEWS 253). "It would cost nearly the same to build one large factory to mass-produce affordable solar panels as it would to build Northstar" said Melanie Duchin of Greenpeace Alaska. www.greenpeace.org
  • Demonstrate against BP's investment in PetroChina (a subsidiary of a state owned Chinese business - China is a huge new market for the car industry) Friday 29th September, Britannic House, Finsbury Circus, London EC2 (nr Liverpool St) at 11 am. Contact Free Tibet Campaign 0207 833 9958.
  • Dutch activists Rising Tide last week sunk an oil pipeline through the garden of a Dutch Shell executive and what happened, but an oily leak! Rising Tide is a new organisation set up to campaign at the forthcoming UN Climate Summit at the Hague in Holland 13-14 November. Contact Rising Tide c/o CRC, 16 Sholebroke Ave., Leeds, LS7 3HB 0113 262 9365 www.squat.net/climate

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Oil Say!

"While British motorists complain about the price of petrol, the exploitation of oil is a matter of life or death to many Khanty people" -Survival International

The 22,000 Khanty tribespeople of Siberia, reindeer herders and hunters, have a harsh existence which is further hampered by the Russian oil companies, predominantly Lukoil. The relentless pillage by the oil industry is responsible for the loss of their lands, livelihoods and ultimately their lives.

Since they hold no official documentation to prove ownership of their lands, the Khanty find themselves manipulated and deceived, bribed with promises of compensation which never arrive. Powerless to prevent the loss of their means of survival, many turn to alcoholism and suicide.

Survival International have just launched a campaign for the tribes of Siberia to have ownership and protection of their lands. Survival International, 11-15 Emerald Street, London, WC1N 3QL, 0207 242 1441, www.survival-international.org

"In Colombia, wherever there has been oil development, violence and ecological disaster have followed," -Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch

Columbia is one of the largest suppliers of oil to the US. Despite the fact that one oil pipeline in the country was bombed 99 times by guerrillas last year, the government is still pressing on with exploiting new reserves.

For 8 years the U'wa tribal people of northern Columbia have been fighting against the Colombian government and US oil giants Occidental, trying to stop them drilling on part of their sacred ancestral land (SchNEWS 244). Their protests are now receiving international support. In order to protect their image Occidental are claiming that the U'wa people weren't opposed to the exploration until their cause was adopted by environmental groups from Europe and America.

In March a Colombian judge ordered an injunction against the exploration because he felt the Indians had not been properly consulted about the project. But in May a new Interior Minister overturned this decision. Last week saw what could be one of the final episodes in the fight, when the Columbian government declared that if the U'wa people do not move off the disputed land they would be evicted within 7 days. Occidental has stated that they plan to sink the first exploratory well before the end of September. Keep up-to-date with this story at www.ran.org

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Positive SchNEWS

Time banks are a new concept that trade in our most precious commodity- time. They store the time credits that people save by helping others or their community. So if one member spends an hour of their time helping another member they are then entitled to an hour of somebody else's time. There are now 15 time banks across the country. For more information on them visit www.timemoney.org.uk, or contact the New Economics Foundation (NEF) at the address below.

A meeting about Time Banks is being held on Tuesday 17th October 7-9pm at the London School of Economics, Clement House, 99 Aldwych, London (nearest tube Holborn), 12.50 including a complimentary book 'No more throw away people'. Tickets available from NEF at Cinnamon House, 6-8 Cole St, London, SE1 4YH Tel: 020 7407 7447 www.neweconomics.org

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SchNEWS in brief

  • Next week it's the big one with the IMF and World Bank meeting in Prague on the 26th, and so there will be no SchNEWS cos we're all...er, going on holiday. But we'll be back with a double issue telling you dear readers all about our travels. Travel Warning: some people are being turned away from the Czech borders; when crossing, don't carry flags, banners etc. If you have any problems call +420 604 556309 or +420 604 456 176 For the latest on the protests as they happen check out www.indymedia.org.uk
  • As part of the Global day of action there are activities planned in Glasgow. Meet St Enoch Square at noon. Contact Global Action Scotland, PO Box 3811, Glasgow G42 8ZU 07932 543074
  • Free Cannabis in the Park and Smokey Bears picnic, Saturday 30th High Noon Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London, nearest tube Marble Arch
  • Schwoops! The National Animal Rights Protest Rally in Brighton against the New Labour conference is on Sat 23 meet 1pm Preston Park (A23)
  • On Saturday 30th there's a Conference on the Private Finance Initiative. (see SchNEWS 210) organised by the Welsh Socialist Alliance 02920 830029
  • On the same day there's an Alternatives in Education Fair at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, WC1 (nearest tube Holborn) organised by Human Scale Education 01275 332516
  • October 1st is International Nuclear Weapons Abolition Day. Come and photograph the scene of the crime at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment 12 noon onwards. Bring your favourite police/detective outfit, help create a 'scene of the crime' exhibition/workshop in the afternoon on the illegality of Trident. Meanwhile this week, two women were cleared of one charge of criminal damage to nuclear sub HMS Vengeance in Barrow in Feb of last year - they painted "Death machine" and "Illegal" on the side - but are still waiting to find out whether they'll be cleared of a charge of smashing the instrument panel. 01639 700680 camp phone 07808 553778 www.gn.apc.org/aldermastonwpc
  • Meanwhile on the 7th there's a Global day of action against the Militarisation of Space outside Menwith Hill Spy Base. Contact Campaign for the Accountability fo American Bases, 8 Park Row, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1HQ 01943 466405 www.gn.apc.org/cndyorks/caab/
  • Nonviolence workshop and planning meeting for direct action against the economic sanctions on Iraq Oct 8th 11am - 5pm at Kingsley Hall Community Centre, Powis Road, London E3 (near Bromley-by-Bow tube station) Voices in the Wilderness 01865 243232 voices@viwuk.freeserve.co.uk
  • There's a rally against the Terrorism Act on Wednesday 11th October. Meet midday outside the Welsh National Assembly, Cardiff. Contact Repeal The Terrorism Act, c/o Ty Gwydr, 1 Rhes Trevelyan, Bangor 01248 355821 email bangor-werdd@egroups.com
  • From the 10-14 catch 'Crying in the Chapel' a play based on the Strangeways prison riots at the Contacts Theatre, Manchester, 0161 236 4924
  • And don't forget on the 14th the Anarchist Bookfair 10 am - 6pm Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London (nearest tube Holborn) http://freeserve.virgin.net/anarchist.bookfair
  • On the same day there's a Reclaim The Streets Party in Bath meet 12 noon @ the Circus www.geocities.com/bathfin
  • And on the same day in Birmingham a march and rally against McDonalds. Meet noon Bull Street. Email brumactionalliance@hotmail.com
  • For more dates check out Party and Protest on the SchNEWS website.

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Race Against Time

With an increase in fascist activity and consequent racist attacks in Leicester, anti-fascists there have organised an awareness raising benefit gig on the 29th Sept at the "Y", East Street, opposite the railway station. Four bands will be playing - F.B.I., The Splitters, Schkmpf, and the Duppy Conquerors, as well as DJs from Genghis Hi-Fi and the Eazy Sound System.

Leicester has a history of standing up to the racists in recent years. This same militancy needs to be restored, as the fascists are once again making headway in the city. Crunch, who are organising the gig, are an example of this new mood of fight back, with all the artists doing it for free- even the club are not charging a fee. Gig starts at 8pm till 2am, tickets 4/2.50 concs. All money raised will go to refugee charities. www.listen.to/crunch .

* If you're in the area get along to the Leicester Radical Alliance on the 26th, a broad based alliance of socialists, greens and anarchists, at the Secular Hall, 7.30pm .

* The 4th of October is the anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, when in 1936 3000 fascists, protected by 6000 cops, tried to march in the East End of London. 25,000 locals weren't having it, and blocked Cable Street to stop them marching. There's a really good booklet about this incident called "The Battle of Cable Street 1936: A People's History", which not only covers the battle but also Britain and the East End at the time, Jewish immigration and anti-semitism, the Spanish Civil War and the far right after 1936, available from Freedom Press, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London. E 1 7QX price 3.99.

* The Civil Rights Caravan is visiting towns and cities across the country, holding pickets, public meetings and concerts, in solidarity with asylum seekers and victims of racism. They'll be in Brighton this Saturday (24), Sheffield (29) Newcastle (30). For dates in October call 020-7837 1450/ 07957-240755 or check out www.ncrm.org.uk/caravan. They've also organised a national demonstration on the anniversary of the death of Ricky Reel (SchNEWS 232) on the 14th October. Meet 1pm at the Embankment, London.

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...and finally..

"No barley in, No beer out" is the slogan of a new campaign group that has been set up with the intention to bring the country (or at least the SchNEWS office) to it's knees. Angry boozers around the country this week vowed to Dump the Pub if the government doesn't reduce alcohol tax. Unlike those whinging drivers you've got to admit they've got a point. At least petrol taxes get spent on roads, how much of alcohol tax gets spent on pubs?. With at least one rural pub calling time every day the campaign are calling for some of the 10 billion revenue from alcohol tax robbed from us each year to be spent on building new pubs, or refurbishing old ones. A spokesman for the campaign stated that "we pay about 66 percent tax on the price of beer, so for every 10 you spend on a night out, you're giving the government nearly an extra 7 out of your own pocket!! For every three pints you buy for yourself, you buy two pints for Gordon Brown. Mr Brown - buy your own!!!" Of course it would be impossible to dump the pub for good, so the campaign is running a weekly boycott on Mondays, which still sounds pretty drastic. Check it out at www.DumpThePubs.com

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disclaimer
SchNEWS warns all dirty lying scum corporations greenwash washes out with new improved SchUDSO powder. Honest


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Last updated 22nd September 2000
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