It should now be crystal clear that the South African
government is hell-bent on smashing legitimate dissent by whatever
means they deem appropriate, including attacking peaceful marchers
and terrorising children. The ghosts of the South African past are
returning with a vengeance. Johannesburg demonstrator,
outside the Earth Summit, this week.
Tanks in townships, tooled up riot cops firing teargas and stun
grenades into crowds of people, mass arrests, threats of deportation,
laws against group assembly, the secret police spying on people
South Africa ten years ago?? Try South Africa this week
just a small dose of whats in store for anyone who has the
cheek to criticise the hijacking of the Earth Summit by Big Business.
And while the fat cat delegates hob nob in air-conditioned grandeur
inside the summit, ignoring any and all voices of dissent outside,
the world continues to melt away. Since the Earth Summit ten years
ago in Rio, 10% of the earths remaining forests have been
destroyed. Over the next 18 years, carbon dioxide emissions leading
to global warming are expected to rise by a third in rich countries
and to double in the rest of the world. These are not facts from
some loony lefty environmental organisation, but reports written
by the fat cats themselves.
This week, a report from last months Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) meeting was leaked to the press.
The report had been written in preparation for the Earth Summit,
to inform people going to the OECD meeting about the state of the
world before going to Joburg to do nothing about it. A flock
of suits who push for salvation through privatisation, the OECD
is a group that works along the same lines as the G8 or WTOa
think-tank (wank tank) made up of 22 of the worlds richest
countries who like to influence world-wide economic policy. Most
of the OECDs members are in the rich North, but some lucky
industrialised outsiders such as Mexico and South Korea have been
invited to send reps too. Their report just goes to show something
weve suspected all along heads of state and powerful
corporate CEOs know how fucked the world is, their own research
supports it, and yet they refuse to do anything except push more
of the same thing that got us in this whole mess to begin with.
Through the provision of subsidies on fossil fuels, governments
are effectively subsidising pollution and global warming as more
than 60% of all subsidies flow to oil, coal and gas. - Leaked
For all the conventions, treaties and intergovernmental agreements
of the last 30 years, little has actually changed. Warnings that
air pollution has already reached crisis point in many cities, and
that there is not really anything anyone can do anymore to reverse
climate change are being ignored, even when these subjects are contained
in corporate reports like the one written by the OECD. Other info
from the report: The current demand for fresh water will continue
to increase and already 40% of the worlds population is short
of fresh water. Tying into global warming, the report also says
that the number of people affected by weather related disasters
has risen by half in the last decade. But while the OECD report
highlights these facts, it tends to hush up how these disasters
have come about. Take Coca Cola, for instance, who are still forging
into Kerala, South India sucking up all their ground water or Shell,
who is still in Nigeria polluting all water supplies with their
regular oil leaks. And in Brazil, the government is pushing ahead
with Advance Brazil, a rainforest development project set to destroy
42% of the forest by 2020. All the while, the OECD report tells
us, more and more land, unprotected from the sun and the rain and
destroyed by intensive agriculture is turning to desert or rendered
unusable. Plant, insect and animal species are being made extinct
at a rate never seen before as habitats are destroyed or polluted,
or cooked to death by climate change.
Not only have governments and businesses seen the OECD report,
theyve also been given a huge UN report, the Global Environment
Outlook, each presented in a fruitless attempt to make them actually
This UN report looks back over the last thirty years of Earth Summits
and makes some predictions for the future. Unsurprisingly, the conclusion
the report reaches is that more sustainable development,
is needed. All of this while admitting that full scale emergencies
already exist: water shortages hampering developing countries, land
degradation reducing fertility and agricultural potential, and destruction
of the tropical rainforest that, according to the report, has gone
too far to be reversed.
Okay, so lets recap: The big business friendly OECD and the
West obsessed UN are saying that enough is enough. And what will
they do with these conclusions? Probably just make up another set
of hollow pledges to defend the environment against
themselves missing the point that you would actually have
to dismantle capitalism to do this. The fact is there are things
that can be done.
Trying to link global problems with local ones is vital when governments
and big businesses only care about lining their pockets. Through
direct action and community-based resistance, there ARE ways that
we can battle against the destruction of our environment. We can
support resistance in other countries in many ways. In West Papua,
local groups such as the OPM are fighting against oppressive mining
companies like Rio Tinto and BP. Activists in the UK have been targeting
offices owned by these companies for protests and actions; they
have also made concrete links with communities in West Papua by
going there and also by raising money to give directly to the OPM.
As well as supporting struggle in other countries, looking in our
own backyards is still important. In the UK, people have been targeting
the destructive extraction of peat from three moors, Hatfield, Thorne
and Wedholme Flow. This successful direct action campaign has fought
the mining of peat by the US multinational Scotts and has been instrumental
in the recent agreement between Scotts and the UK Government to
halt mining in Thorne and Wedholme Flow immediately. There are many
more projects like these that need peoples help. As one ecological
activist told Schnews, I am not going into detail about what
tactics are needed in local battles. After 10 years its pretty
obvious. Community mobilising, occupations, blockades, bulldozer
pledges, sabotage. Threatening destroyers with costly chaos and
giving it to them if they try it on.
To find out more about direct action in your area check out the
Party and Protest guide.
Summit info: http://southafrica.indymedia.org
West Papua info www.eco-action.org/sst
Arrest of the Week
...for hanging out in a carpark!
Two hundred and seventy three people were arrested last Saturday
night in a carpark outside a 24 hour K-Mart in Houston, USA. Police
swooped after complaints about drag racing but when they found that
wasnt happening they were told to arrest any youngsters. So
people were nicked while buying a hair band, eating ice cream, they
even arrested a 10-year-old girl who was having dinner with her
dad. One arrestee said It didnt matter what you were
doing; they arrested you.
13 cops have been suspended on pay with one councillor complaining
Were in the middle of the biggest police debacle in
this city that did not involve a death. www.houstonchronicle.com
Africa is treated as the dustbin of the world. To donate
untested food and seed to Africa is not an act of kindness but an
attempt to lure Africa into further dependence on foreign aid.
The US has come up with a grand scheme to get rid of its excess
GM cropsdumping them in Africa, while claiming to save
the starving. Last week the US told Zambia that it would have to
borrow money in order to buy $50 million worth of GM maize from
the World Food Programme - or face starvation. While India has vast
stocks of rice - 65 times as much as Africa needs - available at
half the cost of the US maize, Zambia has been strongly advised
by US interests not to buy it. Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and
Malawi have all been offered similar threats, er, deals. Many countries
have outright refused to buy the GM maize. But with the EU standing
firm on the strict labelling of GM food in supermarkets, the US
is getting desperate to unload its GM food somewhere a bit more
label-free. The US along wiht the biotech firm Monsanto, claim that
environmentalists and scientists opposed to giving GM food the green
light stand in the way of feeding the poor. The truth is, none of
the countries suffering from famine want to import subsidised GM
crops or to accept GM food aid.
Four years ago every African nation apart from South Africa
- signed a statement saying [We] strongly object that the
image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by
giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither
safe, environmentally friendly, nor economically beneficial to us.
Meanwhile, the millions of tons of surplus Indian rice that the
Zambians are not supposed to buy is rotting in warehouses because
the poor of India cant afford to buy it either. Malawi also
had non-GM surpluses until a few months ago, but was required by
the International Monetary Fund to sell them to pay off its debt.
As Ethiopias Food and Agriculture spokesman, Dr Tewolde Egziabher,
put it, this notion that genetically engineered crops will
save developing countries misses the real point. The world has never
grown as much food per capita as it is doing now, yet the world
has also never had as many hungry. The problem is not the amount
of food produced, but how it is both produced and distributed.
14 people were nicked last weekend after a GM rape seed oil crop
site was trashed at Hinton, in Dorset. For 4 years the biotech company
Aventis Cropsciences (now owned by the German Chemicals giant Bayer)
has been using rape seed illegally contaminated with antibiotic
marker genes. The use of antibiotic markers in crops
was banned because the British Medical Association feared that the
genes could possibly cross to bacteria in human or animal guts,
making common diseases and infections as well as already life-threatening
illnesses immune to antibiotics. Planted at twelve sites around
the country, these crops are set to be harvested in September, which
means now is the time they are most able to cross contaminate the
soil, other plants, and animals. The government says it is very
annoyed with this activity, but plans to let Aventis leave
the crops in the ground anyway!
With only paper inspections, its hardly surprising no one
spotted the contamination earlier. As Friends of the Earths
Adrian Bebb said: This is yet another biotech blunder from
the GM industry. How can we trust them to produce our food if they
cannot even run a GM test site? Totnes Genetics Group: 01803
- Argentina & Venezuela: Organizing for survival
and revolution - The truth behind the headlines Public
meeting next Thursday (5) at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square,
London WC1 (Holborn tube) 7pm. Two women from Argentinas
grassroots womens assemblies and the highly respected housewives
union will be speaking as well as the video premiere of
The Global Womens Strike & the Venezuelan Revolution.
020 7482 2496 http://womenstrike8m.server101.com/
- Speakers from the Sante Fe Neighbourhood Network in Argentina
will be at the Easton Community Centre in Bristol next Wednesday
(4) 7pm 0117 9399469 www.marsbard.com/kebele
- American Indian activist Rod Coronado will be kicking
off a speaking tour of the UK in Brighton on Monday 9th September
7.30pm in the Hanover Room, Brighthelm Centre, North Road. From
sinking Icelandic whaling ships to defending old growth forests,
Rod has engaged in militant and uncompromising direct action and
in 1995 was jailed for some of his actions. Recently released,
he lives on the Pascua Yaqui reservation in Arizona, USA. Other
confirmed dates on his speaking tour are London (11), Nottingham
(12) Sheffield (16) Manchester (17) and Leeds (19). For more info
07763 552 627
- Compassion in World Farming have released a major report
proving that the introduction of industrial animal farming into
developing countries will be a disaster. Crowding thousands of
animals together in disease-prone sheds uses very little local
labour, uses scarce water and electricity, creates reliance on
imports for cereals and farming equipment, causes pollution and
after all that ends with a product which the poor cannot afford!
For copies 01730 233 904 www.ciwf.co.uk
- Theres a free festival this Saturday (31) in Tankerton
Whitstable, Kent from 1-10pm. One of music & resistance
organised by the European Social Forum Mobilise Kent. 07950
- Since October 2000, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian trees
have been bulldozed, uprooted or set ablaze by Israeli soldiers
and settlers. Many of these were olive trees. Olive trees
are an important symbol to Palestinians as well as massively important
economically. So this year the International Solidarity Movement
are calling on people to join them for the olive harvest from
October 15 November 15. More info www.palsolidarity.org
- Anti-fascists last week attacked a shop in Burnley owned by
Steve Smith, the BNP organiser for Burnley. The shop actually
sells very little and is mainly used as a base for BNP organising.
A court in the city of Bhopal, India has rejected
an appeal made by the Indian government to reduce charges against
the former CEO of Union Carbide. Warren Anderson if convicted faces
20 years in prison thats if they can find him. Nearly
18 years after the fact, the disaster at the Union Carbide pesticide
factory is still a nightmare for the people of Bhopal. More than
3,000 people died on the day of the actual disaster, when a storage
tank in the factory burst, sending tonnes of poison gas over the
city. Now more than 100,000 people continue to get ill as a result,
including babies born to survivors.
Meanwhile, CEO Anderson hasnt been turning up
to court for some reason and is classified as an absconder
under Indian Law. Apparently hes been photographed in the
US, although Law enforcement agencies there say they have not been
able to locate him. SchNEWS wonders if that would be the case if
thousands of Americans had died? www.bhopal.net
**Yesterday Greenpeace put the spotlight on Dow Chemicals,
who bought Union Carbide, by fencing off an open discharge pipe
for toxic waste at the companys manufacturing facility in
South Africa. www.greenpeace.org
While SchNEWS doesnt hold out much hope of the Earth Summit
coming up with the goods, it does seem to be inspiring some people
to think about the state of the planet. RioKids is one such group.
Children from four primary schools in Bristol who were born in 1992,
the year of the first Earth Summit, spent time recently researching
some of the issues raised by the Summit, issues such as recycling,
protecting coastal environments, and caring for natural habitats.
They then went on to make pictures, writing and photography expressing
how they felt about the issues and how they thought the issues to
affected them personally and in their own locality. Check it out
17 supporters of Ahmed Meguini, who was jailed for eight months
last week after taking part in the No Borders protest in Strasbourg
(SchNEWS 366), were nicked last Friday during an occupation of the
local Ministry of Justice the day after his trial. They were demanding
Ahmed be taken out of solitary confinement and allowed visitors.
They have all been charged with kidnapping after three
members of the Ministry of Justice staff refused to leave the building.
Now Meguinis supporters could be facing prison sentences of
up to five years themselves. Find out how to support them at www.noborder.org
With the Countryside Alliance promising the biggest demonstration
London has seen since the Poll Tax Riots of 1381, a group of people
have decided while the aristocracy are in the Capital on September
22nd theyll target one of the Alliances prime movers.
In their own words, they plan to Move onto his estate
establish an autonomous community in the spirit of Winstanley and
They are calling on other groups to organise as well, with the
aim of reoccupying stolen common heritage.If you really want
to stop the Alliance, the squatters say, Dont
go to London to yah-boo them, get out into the countryside and hit
them where it really hurts - in their own back yard!
While 12 million people starve to death in Africa, McDonalds
has just dreamed up a stunningly sensitive new product--the McAfrica
burger. With no apparent sense of irony, these burgers are currenly
on sale at McShit branches in one of the most expensive and comfortable
countries in the West, Norway. Aid agencies are understandably a
bit wound up with this bit of McMarketing. As Linn Aas-Hansen of
Norwegian Church Aid says Its inappropriate and distasteful
to launch a hamburger called McAfrica when large portions of Southern
Africa are on the verge of starvation. Initially, McTossers
spokeswoman Margaret Brusletto said the company would consider sharing
the proceeds of its sale with aid agencies(!) but a meeting with
Norwegian Red Cross came to no agreement. Instead, after getting
loads of protests about this McScam, McDonalds have agreed
to place collection boxes for Africa in the participating stores
while the promotion lasts--but no longer. We wonder if stuffing
the boxes with McAfrica burgers would help to fill the stomachs
of Africas starving.
|Catch up with everyones direct action summer adventures
at the REBEL ALLIANCE next Wednesday (4th ) 7.30pm upstairs
at the Albert Pub, Trafalger St. Brighton. Followed by SchNEWS
of the World Book Launch at the Volks, Madeira Drive, Brighton.
Donations on the door.
SchNEWS warns all governments Oi! Come on then if yer
wanna make summit out of it. Honest.
issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage. - Nearly sold out...
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage
£4.00 for individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALLs YEARBOOK 2001. 300 pages of adventures
from the direct action frontline. £7 + £1.50 p&p.
You can order the book from a bookshop or your library, quote the
ISBN 09529748 4 3.
In the UK you can get 2, 3, 4 & 5 for £20 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300
more pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7
+ £1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or
your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X
to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles, photos, cartoons,
subverts, a yellow pages list of contacts, comedy etc.
All the above books are available from the Brighton Peace Centre,
saving postage yer tight gits.
to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues)
or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription,
or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals"
if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.
You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and Environment
Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton.