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(en) SchNEWS 378, Friday 25th October, 2002

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 25 Oct 2002 01:06:05 -0400 (EDT)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER BIGGA AND BETTA...

SchNEWS

TRICKY TREATY

"We are being asked to give more powers to the EU commission, an unelected,
secretive body that is so corrupt it was forced to resign in its entirety in
March 1999. We are being asked to give our support to the pro-business
agenda of the EU, where the richer farmers receive enormous subsidies under
the Common Agricultural Policy, where corporation taxes are slashed while
public services are cut. Is this the Europe we want?" - Libertarians Against
Nice.
Big business got its way when last Sunday Ireland finally voted "Yes" to the
Nice Treaty. (Ireland had voted "No" a few months earlier, but as this was
not the right answer, the powers that be gave it another go with even more
"Yes" propaganda.) The yes vote now paves the way for ten more countries to
join the European Union. While these countries are being ordered to
privatise essential services if they want to climb aboard (see SchNEWS 287),
the Nice treaty is an important step in the EU's privatisation agenda for
those already part of the club.

Nice will, amongst other things, bring changes to Article 133 of the Treaty
of Europe. Alarm bells should always start ringing when our old mates at the
World Trade Organisation (WTO) give something the thumbs up. The WTO, who
help eliminate 'barriers to trade' (silly things like workers rights and
environmental laws), have admitted how important the changes to Article 133
are in their 'Trade Policy Review of the European Union,' a document which
SchNEWS recommends any insomniac readers to rush  out and buy. But this is
how the bureaucrats work: boring us to death with gobbledegook so they can
drive forward their business- friendly agenda while we yawn and check the
footie scores.

Changing Article 133 means that, instead of national governments, the
unelected EU Council bureaucrats and the unelected European Commission will
be responsible for negotiating trade deals with organisations like the WTO,
"fast-tracking" their deals behind everybody's backs. Fast-tracking is
described by Pascal Lamy, the EU Trade Commissioner, as "modernising
decision-making." That means swift, centralised decision-making that ensures
that elected EU governments don't interfere with Big Business's deals as
lobby groups push business demands through an already industry-friendly
European bureaucracy.

GATS Piss

"The GATS is not just something that exists between governments. It is first
and foremost an instrument for the benefit of business." - European
Commission (1998)

For the past few years, the WTO have been trying to expand the General
Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS - see SchNEWS 286), whose "privatise
everything!" small print is a wet dream for corporations. Now with the Irish
ratifying the Nice treaty, it's full steam ahead. Around 20 key basic
services have been named by the WTO as ripe for privitisation. Postal,
finance and banking, telecommunications, hospitals, transport - you name it,
it's all gotta go private because, under WTO rules, government-run public
services are a subsidy that 'discriminates' against foreign businesses and
are an unfair 'barrier to trade.'

The problem for the WTO has been the mass protests whenever governments try
to sell off essential services. But the Nice Treaty will take care of those
pesky protestors! Article 133 lets the EU Council and Commission "act by a
qualified majority." This means that, when they have made a trade agreement,
all member states have no choice but to go along with it. As one WTO
official put it, GATS helps "overcome domestic resistance to change."
Because even if a government wants to take back control of a failing private
company, it won't be able to unless it is ready to face the trade sanction
consequences. Take Britain's railways, for instance. Late trains, crap
service, over the top prices - tough. A privatised rail network is here to
stay, courtesy of agreements like GATS and Article 133.

Frights of the Round Table

It's estimated that Brussels - the home of the European Parliament - hosts
some 500 industry lobby groups who employ some 10,000 professional
lobbyists. Their job is to make the European Union more industry- friendly -
and they do a good job. In 1999, for instance, there was a multi-million
lobbying campaign by biotech companies that saw the introduction of the
industry-friendly 'Patents on Life' directive.

One of the most important lobbying groups is the European Round Table of
Industrialists (ERT), made up of over 40 "European industrial leaders" from
some of SchNEWS's favourite corporations. The ERT is fairly honest about the
priviledge it enjoys, boasting on its web page that "The ERT has contacts
with the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European
Parliament. ...Every six months the ERT meets with the government that holds
the EU presidency to discuss priorities." And it usually gets what it wants.
It was the ERT that wanted revisions to Article 133 for fast tracking - and
hey presto!

As Andrew Flood of Ireland's Libertarians Against Nice says, "The message is
clear. A substantial part of the Nice treaty, Article 133, has essentially
been drafted by the European corporations to increase their profits at the
expense of the people of Europe and those we trade with. The nature of these
changes are things that huge numbers of Irish workers would oppose if they
were presented in plain English in a referendum."

Recommended reading: 'Diverse Voices of Struggle in Western Europe -
Restructuring and Resistance' edited by Kolya Abramsky. AK Distribution 0131
555 5166 www.akuk.com

For more on the Nice Irish Referendum, visit the Libertarians Against Nice
website at: http://struggle.ws/anarchism/nice/index.html

The World Development Movement is running a campaign against GATS 0800 328
2153 www.gatswatch.org

Read all about the WTO's hidden agenda
www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=722

* With a few weeks to go till the WTO summit in Sydney (14/15 November), 3
anti-WTO websites face the prospect of being banned. Indymedia Melbourne is
amongst the websites targeted by New South Wales Police Minister Michael
Costa. Censoring the censorship lists? See www.melbourne.indymedia.org and
www.nowto.cat.org.au

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ANTI-WAR ACTIONS

There's a whole load of actions coming up on the 31st to oppose the possible
war against Iraq. Here are just a couple:

London: Critical Mass Ride Against Death - meet 2pm by the peace camp at
Imperial War Museum, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Lambeth Road, SE1.
Move off 3pm. Dress scary - www.cm-london.cjb.net And Houses of Parliament,
6pm. Dress in white, disguised as ghosts, and converge on Parliament. 020
7377-9088 disobedience@riseup.net

Brighton: Critical Mass Ride starting from Sussex University at 3pm and
3.30pm from Moulescomb Wild Park. Stop the City Stop the War demonstration.
Meet 5.30pm at the War Memorial, The Old Steine.

**For your nearest action contact: Stop the War Coalition 020 7053 2155,
www.stopwar.org.uk

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Crap Arrest of the Week

For being overheard...

Two brothers in Sheffield, aged 12 and 13, noticed police watching them 3
weeks ago. When one of them asked the police why they were being watched, he
was told "People that dress like you are trouble causers." A bit later, one
of the boys was talking to a friend and made the mistake of exclaiming
"Fucking hell!" just a bit too loudly. He was promptly roughed up and
arrested for the heinous crime of swearing in the presence of a police
officer, even though he hadn't been speaking directly to the copper. His
brother was then arrested for trying to defend him, and when a female friend
of the boys' asked the police why they were being arrested and bullied, she
was arrested for "obstructing a police officer from doing his duty."

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STRIKE A LIGHT

Remember how great firefighters were about a year ago? When it looked like
the thought of merchant bankers leaping to their deaths on 9-11 might not be
tragic enough to convince us of the importance of bombing the shit out of
Afghanistan, we were treated to a stream of tear-jerking speeches and
articles reminding us of all the firemen who lost their lives trying to
rescue victims of the WTC attacks. Firefighters were heroes and the
sacrifices they made were priceless.

Erm, well now it seems that all that was a bit of a misprint. It turns out
that firefighters are actually lazy, greedy, and irresponsible and the
sacrifices they make aren't worth very much at all. All this according to
the same papers and politicians who were kissing their arses last year.

Why? Because the firefighters are now set to go on strike. And how dare they
put other people's lives at risk to get the wages they deserve? The
firefighter's union is calling for a 40% increase, the cheeky gits, which
would take the wage for a qualified firefighter from £21,000 to £30,000.
Don't they know that the country can't afford to actually pay a decent wage
to workers who risk their lives every day?

For the Schnews reader's benefit, here's a short list of things the Labour
government can afford:

A 40% pay increase for the Prime Minister: 2 weeks after winning the last
election, Blair congratulated himself with a £47, 000 pay increase, taking
his salary to £173, 000.
A £20,000 pay increase for cabinet ministers: Not wanting to be tight, Blair
also handed out pay increases to Prescott and his mates, taking the cabinet
minister's salary to £120,000. Cha-ching!
* £3.4 billion to underwrite arms exports in 2001 through the Export Credit
Guarantee Scheme.
* Approximately £1 billion for 'low-intensity' bombing raids on Iraq since
1997.
...and remember, now we've really got to tighten those purse strings, cos
we've got a proper war on the way.

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WALK ON THE WOODSIDE

Tired of the powers-that-be yanking them about, a community of 200 Romany
travellers and their supporters intend to resist eviction from Woodside
caravan park in Bedfordshire on November 1st.

After years of being told to buy their own land and stop tresspassing on
other people's land twenty-seven Gypsy families purchased Woodside, a
17-acre touring caravan park with full planning permission, for £300,000 in
1997. But when the families moved to the park, Mid-Bedfordshire council
claimed they did not have permission for permanent occupation. The council
have been trying to oust them from their land ever since, even allocating
£230,000 of council money to finance clearance of the community!! After a
long court battle, the council has been given the go ahead to evict the
community.

Help and support is urgently needed!! There will be a protest outside the
council offices (Dunstable St., Ampthill, Bedford) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday
31st during a meeting about the planned eviction. Demonstrators are then
invited to camp at Woodside (at Hatch, near Sandy, off A1) and help defend
the site on Friday 1st, when the council is scheduled to try to force the 52
families from their homes. The Gypsy Council is asking people to donate
tents, bales of hay or straw, scrap wood and rope for the action. The
travellers also are working on a last-minute legal appeal. More info: 01206
523528.

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SchNEWS in Brief

The Porkbolter, Worthing's 'radical local newspaper with a historically
vindicated pig obsession' has a 5th birthday bash 7.45-midnight, Nov 1st at
Vintners Parrot, Warwick St, Worthing, with live band Becomes The Water of
Death, Attila the Stockbroker, and various DJs. Donations on door **
Planning meeting for protests against next years DSEi arms fair, 30th Oct,
7pm at St. Ann's Church Hall, Berwick Rd, Canning Town, London Info 0781
7652 029. Join the e-mail discussion at DSEi2003-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.
www.dsei.org ** Where to next with the Anarchist Bookfair? Anyone with
feedback/ideas for how it can be developed get y'self along to an open
meeting, 17th Nov, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL 6pm-9pm
or e-mail comments to mail@anarchistbookfair.org ** Protest against custody
deaths - Remembrance Procession organised by United Families and Friends
Campaign. Sat 26th Oct, Trafalgar Sq 1pm. Please wear black. 07770 432 439
** Burger King in Bristol found their locks glued and their windows
repainted last week. The action was done as a protest against Burger King's
continued profiteering from the stores they have opened in the Israeli
occupied regions of Palestine ** Meeting about the Baku-Ceyhan BP backed oil
pipeline. Thursday 31st with a speaker from Georgia, 7.30pm, Manchester
University Student Union Main Hall, 1st Floor. ** The trial of five
antimilitarist activists concludes in Watford today. The protestors are
charged under the 1908 Public Meeting Act for "disrupting a public meeting",
although the army presentation they disrupted was private invitation only.
Two are also charged with criminal damage, although the Army has yet to say
what was damaged. www.northwood.cjb.net/ ** Pickets are taking place outside
supermarkets in Brighton, in support of the BIG (Boycott Israeli Goods)
campaign. Saturday mornings 11 - 1 p.m. Currently at Sainsbury's, London
Road ** The Iraq Journal website features reports of independent journalists
Jeremy Scahill and Jacqueline Soohen, providing a forum for the distribution
of independent information and views from Iraq. www.iraqjournal.org ** In
New York this week 19 activists from the No Blood for Oil Campaign were
arrested after occupying the UN General Assembly and demanding that the UN
at no time give its support for the invasion of Iraq www.PeaceNoWar.net**
Work & Welfare, not Weapons Conference organised by Greater Manchester and
District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Campaign Against Arms Trade @
Manchester Town Hall on 2nd November. Will look at diversification from
military production and the creation of a non-military economy. 0161 273
8283 www.gmdcnd.org.uk/worknotweapons

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SQU'ART ATTACK

On Saturday 12th October Russian police illegally evicted Moscow's only
political squat giving one man a broken skull and hospitalising 3 others.
The squat started out as a studio given to artist Evgeni Schetov two and a
half years ago by the Moscow Union of Artists. Since then the space has
become an important base for ecological activism. Not liking this turn of
events, city officials and bureaucrats from the Union of Artists threatened
to evict Schetov. In retaliation, Schetov stopped paying his rent - making
the space the first political squat in Moscow since 1997. On the morning of
Saturday the 12th, the police and members of the Union of Artists managed to
smash the door down with axes and then violently attacked squatters inside.
Everyone was arrested and all their property was thrown into the street. The
squatters are launching a campaign against the eviction. Info:
dikobrazi@lists.tao.ca

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

TUNNEL VISION

Europe's increasingly racist immigration policies have brought tighter
border controls, higher surveillance, and more people being detained and
deported.

Detention centres have been a focus of actions against these policies and
last Saturday (19) people demonstrated outside the Dover removals centre.
Later that day, they crossed the channel to join up with French activists at
the Sangatte camp. Sangatte is a humanitarian Red Cross camp which is home
to 1,500 people who are hoping to apply for asylum in Europe. Both the
French and English governments have schemed together to close the camp by
March 2003 because sheltering and feeding migrants was seen as far too
liberal. The UN has very kindly offered to help sort the 'genuine' from the
'non-genuine' refugees and will be giving the 'non-genuine' the option of
being sent back home with a bit of cash or living on the streets of Calais
now that Sangatte will be shut down. On Saturday, many of the refugees came
out of Sangatte to talk to the protesters. One protester told Schnews, "The
hardest thing was meeting children who were telling us that England was
their dream country when we really know the truth of what will happen to
them when they come here."

For more information about the actions visit www.noborder.org,
www.barbedwirebritain.org.uk and  www.campsfield.org.uk
* Next demo at Sangatte is on Friday November 15th - the day that Sangatte
closes its doors to newcomers. Info: goldfish1967@hotmail.com

* There will be a Brighton No Borders Meeting,  28th October, 7.30pm Tilbury
Place. Unemployed Centre off Carlton Street.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DIRTY MAC

October 16th was the annual worldwide anti-McDonalds day, where crappy fast
food outlets the world over were picketed and free veggie burgers given
away. But this year a load of workers got involved too: Workers at six
McDonalds in France went on strike, there was a strike in Norfolk, attempts
at strikes in three London stores and a walkout in Nottingham. McTrash was
dumped back into stores in Australia, locks glued and stores painted in
Austria, freezers and toasters sabotaged in Chicago, a mass resignation in
Toronto... the list goes on: www.geocities.com/globaldayofaction

Unfortunately, there are serious repercussions for anti-Macs in Mexico: 94
protesters were arrested and detained following complaints from McDonalds.
They were accused of damage to an umbrella and window and carrying
explosives - i.e. fireworks. The state has set a bond of $14,000 for each
protester, a fee which could buy untold numbers of replacement umbrellas.
Financial help is now desperately needed.

http://mexico.indymedia.org/front.php?article_id=3486&group=webcast (In
Spanish)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

...and finally...

Only weeks after announcing (then quickly retracting) that the solution to
the annual 'fallen leaves' problem would be to fell all trees on the banks
of their rail lines, it looks like Rail Track now have a new enemy. Taking
the form of a giant inflatable hamburger, the new menace disrupted services
from Newport to London on Tuesday. Rail Track have since announced a
national cull of large inflatable hamburgers and of any giant inflatable
clowns that might be making them.
http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php?article_id=44217&group=webcast

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Disclaimer
SchNEWS WARNS all readers Bognor Regis is not Nice. Honest.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Cor-blimley-they're-practically-giving-them-away book offer

SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £4.00 inc. postage.
SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more £4.00 inc.
postage
The SchQUALL book at only £7 + £1.50 p&p. (US Postage £4.00 for
individual books, £13 for all four).
SchNEWS and SQUALL's 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

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of contacts, comedy
etc.

Subscribe 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.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!

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