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(en) SchNEWS 424, Friday 26th September, 2003

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Sun, 28 Sep 2003 09:19:54 +0200 (CEST)


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News about and of interest to anarchists
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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER SKOOL-DUGGERY SchNEWS - CORPORATE PUNISHMENT
It was an end of term school report that you wouldn't dare show
your parents, but despite the poor marks Jarvis will carry on raking in the cash.
That's Jarvis, the engineering giant who've received numerous
fines for their poor safety record on the railways and who are
under police investigation for the Potters Bar rail crash. Jarvis,
a name synonymous with education, who've been taking over schools
across the country because they just want to make sure kids get a
better education (yeah, right). Jarvis who took control of
Varndean and three other Brighton schools in a 105 million deal
under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) that will last 25
years.

Neo Labour wanted to sort out the 3.2 billion backlog of repairs
to Britain's school buildings, but as they obviously couldn't
actually do it themselves, offered the rebuilding contracts to
private firms. These contracts last for 25 years, which is quite a
long time to patch up a few classrooms - but then, that's not what
the PFI is all about.

Just as with PFI hospitals, the companies get ownership of the
site and all the non-teaching services, forcing all staff doing
care-taking and school dinners, to reapply for their jobs. So PFI
is sort of like a mortgage, except we hand over our public
buildings to private corporations then pay them back over a long
period for what we already own while company shareholders make a
tidy profit. Top of the class logic!

At Varndean things didn't get off to a good start with the school
gates staying locked for a few extra days after the summer
holidays because Jarvis hadn't finished the building work in time.
As the months went by and things went from bad to worse the
headmaster kept a diary of events and eventually got so fed up he
stopped meeting with the company. The annual governors' report
then handed Jarvis the dunce's hat. It complained that Jarvis
"promises the earth to an increasingly sceptical audience and
fails to deliver, either on time or to an adequate standard."
Improvements to the canteen are described as "distinctly shoddy"
and that "for some members of staff dealing with Jarvis and the
council is not only completely overwhelming but also incredibly
demoralising."

'But' - the company replied - 'we have gone way beyond our
obligations,' and to show, the sceptics gave the example of a new
roof fitted to the school's swimming pool. Except that the school,
er, doesn't have a swimming pool!

Also putting in the boot was Year 9 student Tim Glebocki, who
wrote in the school's newsletter "As an example of the ridiculous
bureaucracy instituted by Jarvis, it is now necessary for any
teacher wishing to have the glass from a broken window cleared
away to ask reception to ring Jarvis to ask if the job may be
done. Then Jarvis has to ask a caretaker to fix the window. That's
right, no less than two phone calls to fix one window. The
teachers have to do this even if a caretaker is standing next to
them."

Jarvis Cock-up

Jarvis also run Dorothy Stringer, Patcham High and East Brighton
College of Media Arts (Comart).

Brighton and Hove City Council now want to close Comart but under
the PFI terms it won't be that simple - or cheap. Jarvis was given
a contract to build and run Comart for 25 years and closing it
means that the Council will have to pay a financial penalty -
which some say could be up to 17 million!

Kevin Dale is from the Local Education Action Group who wants to
keep Comart open and turn it into a smaller community school. He
told SchNEWS "We are told the school should play a bigger role in
the community and we agree. But if the school wants to do anything
after 6pm, at weekends or during the holidays it's impossible
financially because they will be charged by Jarvis for using its
own building!"

Like Varndean, Comart has its own Jarvis related problems. One
parent told SchNEWS "Students and parents have been left in the
dark, being fobbed off with bogus consultations when closure was a
foregone conclusion. Jarvis are paid a stupid amount of money;
there are state of the art science class rooms with new equipment,
never been touched by the students, a new Drama hall locked and
out of bounds. It makes you wonder what they are intending to use
this building for in the future, whatever it is you can bet it
will make Jarvis money."

While Neo Labour puts money into campaigns to try to get kids to
eat healthy school dinners, Brighton and Hove Council has no
control over what Jarvis wants to cook up for the kids. "Their
food is unhealthy and expensive an even the parent governors have
no powers to improve the menu. What's the point of promoting
healthier life styles while pushing them to eat burgers and
chips?"added the parent.

So while Jarvis might have been given a rotten school report,
their shareholders are laughing all the way to bank and giving us
all an education in how to make money out of our public services.

* Despite the mess Jarvis is making of Brighton's schools Brighton
and Hove city Council are still in love with PFI - the new library
is being built under the scheme. The council have also signed a 1
billion 25 year deal with Onyx Aurora to deal with our waste by
burning it. And if we all recycle too much and there's not enough
waste to burn - well the company can sue the council!

* Private company Patientline, supply phone, television, e-mail
and internet systems to 84 hospitals around Britain, with another
50 contracts in the pipeline. Good stuff - except calls cost
between 5 and 12 times the standard BT rate. Making money from
sick people has never been easier.

Get along to the 22nd Anarchist Bookfair - Saturday 25th October
at ULU Malet Street, London, WC1 10am - 7pm Stalls, meetings,
workshops, food, bar, videos, creche and evening event.
www.anarchistbookfair.org

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Crap Arrest Of The Week

For Going on Holiday! (well, sort of...)
A 62 year old retired schoolteacher faces up to 12 years in jail
and a fine of between $10,000 and $1 million for traveling to Iraq
to act as a human shield during the war. The US Treasury
Department says Faith Fippinger has broken the US economic embargo
of Iraq by traveling there and spending money. The human rights
organization Voices in the Wilderness are also being persecuted.
www.humanshieldaction.org

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WAT-ER SHAMBLES

Once upon a time South African President Thabo Mbeki made an
international speech attacking capitalist globalisation as the
'new global apartheid'. Being the philanthropist that he is, Mbeki
didn't want to deprive South Africans of the pleasure of sampling
the fruits of this new apartheid and so he proceeded to concoct a
local version courtesy of the IMF and a horde of happy
multinationals. Over the years Mbeki's new local apartheid has
developed all sorts of shiny, modern characteristics: it's based
not on racist forces but market forces. It's focused on the
superiority of profit rather than race. It's a policy that has
seen multinationals grabbing public services while poor
communities struggle to their bare bones to preserve these basic
rights.

Johannesburg's privatised water services are a striking example of
this economic apartheid. Johannesburg Water (JW) was privatised in
2001 and it fell into the hands of the dodgy French multinational,
Suez-Lyonnaise. Suez's track record around the world is, to say
the least, crap. They have drastically increased water charges in
every town where they have a contract. In Paris, France, where
Suez controls the water, auditors have attacked them for "an
absence of financial transparency" while in Grenoble the company
was found guilty of bribery. Rostock in eastern Germany privatised
its water and sewage systems for 25 years to Eurawasser, 50% owned
by Suez. Two years later water charges rose by over 20% and sewage
levies by 30%.

Obviously, Suez-controlled water services in Johannesburg have
gone down the same pipe. Water rates have risen and when 'the
poors' are unable to pay they have their water cut off. JW has
recently embarked on a programme throughout the township of
Soweto, installing pre-paid water meters which are 20% more
expensive than normal meters. Dry of water but not of energy, 'the
poors' have risen up - angered by the ruling ANC's broken promises
of water, electricity, health and education for all - and have
given birth to the Anti-Privatisation Forum, the Coalition Against
Water Privatisation and a determined community movement. The poors
of Soweto have rejected JW's claims that it consulted local
residents about the pre-paid meters and have laughed off the
company's claims that the expensive meters will help the poors to
"own" their water consumption. "You cannot just come into our area
and change our water system without consulting us. This is a
top-down way of running government," said one Soweto water
warrior.

In a country where 60% of the population live in poverty, many
poors will be unable to pay for clean water and will have to
resort to using unsafe water sources. Many fear a repeat of what
happened 2 years ago in KwaZulu Natal, on the east coast of the
country, when more than 200 people died of cholera after having
been forced to drink water from polluted streams because of the
local water board's unaffordable water rates. Instead of listening
to the community's fears, JW and the local council have brought in
the coppers and private security guards to crack down on community
opposition. Eight community members were arrested on charges of
'malicious damage to property' for resisting the installation of
the water meters. They were held for two weeks, refused bail as
they were 'a threat to public security' and have finally been let
out under apartheid-era bail conditions that include: a ban on any
'interference' with water meters; and a ban on attending any
meeting dealing with resistance to the installation of water
meters. This court ban has now been extended to all community
members resisting water privatisation in Soweto, and the
Anti-Privatsiatrion Forum.

Despite the combined corporate and council repression the
resistance hasn't dried up. Last Saturday an anti-privatisation
march, banned by the police, attracted over 1000 people and raised
awareness about the rampant privatisation grab of SA's public
services. Over the last week, the Coalition Against Water
Privatisation sprouted, mobilising support for the struggles in
Soweto and taking the court ban back to court. "A militant
opposition has invented itself in other places in the world, but
in South Africa it has happened very quickly: the miracle here is
how quickly the ANC has donned the cape of the IMF and unsheathed
the sword of structural adjustment," points out community
activist, Ashwin Desai, "The pace of opposition has had to be very
quick." The community movement is growing throughout the country
as the poors in the ghettos mobilise against water and electricity
cut-offs, evictions and the like. The first step towards this
surge in community power has been people losing faith in the
political parties and ideologies with which they fought apartheid.
Betrayed by an ANC government drunk with privatised ideas,
communities are having to take direct action to protect their
basic human rights and in doing so they are discovering a new
sense of power. This power is bursting not from traditional
workplaces but from communities of single mothers, disillusioned
youth and the rabble of the ghettos. Such are the Vulumanzi Boys
('water opening boys'), a youth group who teach others how to
reconnect their water. As Desai puts it "People are ready for
actvism. Delivering free basic services by reconnecting water and
electricity. Building structures of sharing resources... We really
are creating liberated zones."

See: www.southafrica.indymedia.org, www.pambazuka.org

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SchNEWS in brief

No New Oil organized by Rising Tide will be themed around the
campaign against new oil exploration and development, and the
connections between the oil industry, climate change, human rights
abuses, and the Iraq war. It's happening on Oct 11th,
10.30am -6pm, LSE, Aldwych London.
To book call 01865 241097 www.risingtide.org.uk
Check out Where Vultures Feast a new book about Shell, human
rights and oil, from Verso Books www.versobooks.com

The fox-hunting season has started again, the hunts are out
cubbing where they train young hounds to chase fox cubs. In Sussex
Hunt Saboteurs were attacked when they rescued a traumatized fox,
the fox was then thrown to the hounds. Don't wait for Parliament
to ban fox hunting get out there and stop it yourself. For your
nearest group contact the Hunt Saboteurs Association: 0845 4500727
www.huntsabs.org.uk

Keep up to date with the sinister world of David Blunkett's
proposed national ID card and actions on how to oppose it at
www.defy-id.org.uk

There's a national Grassroots Anti-War Conference this
weekend(26-28) at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
(nearest tube Holborn) 12/7 conc. For all the details
www.j-n-v.org

The new issue of radical ecological journal Do or Die is out now!
384 pages long, full of pics and crammed with reports and analysis
from the world-wide ecological frontlines. For each copy send 7
(UK)cheques/postal orders made out to 'Do or Die' to: DoD, Prior
House, 6 Tilbury Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 2GY, UK.
www.eco-action.org/dod/

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MONEY GROWS ON BUSHES

In February - before the invasion of Iraq had even begun - the US
Government 'drafted sweeping plans to remake Iraq's economy ...
based on free-market principles.' These plans include 'the mass
privatisation of Iraqi industry' - including Iraq's oil sector -
and 'fundamental tax reform'. Bush's corporate chums such as
Bechtel and Halliburton have already been awarded lucrative
contracts for 'postwar reconstruction' and last Sunday the
American-appointed administration in Iraq really got the ball
rolling by passing a series of new laws on tax and foreign
investment - laws which, "effectively put [Iraq] up for sale."

It just so happens that in London next month there are two major
conferences aimed at businesses who want to get a slice of the
action - 'Doing Business in Iraq' (13-14 October) and
'Reconstructing Iraq' (27-28 October - a snip at 1099 per
person). Protests are being organized - if you'd like to get
involved get along to 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 (nearest tube
King's Cross) on 7th October 7pm. More details 0207 837 0561,
www.voicesuk.org

* Did you get stopped and searched under section 44 of the
anti-terrorism act during the DSEi arms fair protests? Then
Liberty needs to hear from your urgently for their high court
legal challenge taking place next Thursday (2 October). Anonymity
guaranteed - call Mona Arshi (the lawyer handling the case) at
0207 378 3653 ASAP. See: www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk

* Activists dressed as delegates blagged their way into the MRO
arms fair in Cardiff last week and wandered around for three hours
gaining valuable information on who was exhibiting what etc.
Meanwhile demonstrators outside blockaded a coach load of
delegates leaving to inspect RAF maintenance facilities.

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Inside SchNEWS

Iaki Garcia Coch is serving five years for sabotaging the
construction of the Itoiz Dam (see last week's SchNEWS). Write
letters (preferably in Spanish) to: Iaki Garcia Coch, Prision
Provincial de Pamplona, Calle Sanroque sin numero, Apartado 250,
Codigo Postal 31014, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.

* Sherman Austin, the webmaster of RaisetheFist.com who was jailed
for one year for stuff on his website (see SchNEWS 417) has
received death threats from white supremacists while in jail.
Supporters want people to contact the facility to demand he be
moved to a permanent jail, for copies of a sample letter
www.raisethefist.com

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...and finally...

At SchNEWS we know we do a lot of corporate-bashing so we'd
thought we'd let them have a bash!

The first goes to Mark Curtis, former head of advocacy at
Christian Aid, who recently lashed out at NGOs for being "co-opted
by the powerful" and too concerned with income growth. "They
should be locking themselves and ministers into buildings. But
they feel they can't because they are too close to them."

The second bash goes to the Bush-influencing American Enterprise
Institute, proud owners of NGOwatch.org. The big
business-controlled 'think tank' asks "Do NGOs influence
international organizations like the World Trade Organization?
What are their agendas?... And to whom are they accountable?" Fair
enough, fat cats. Then again you're just the same - all direct
debit and no direct action!

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers to finish their lines then go straight
to the tuck shop... Honest!

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NEW BOOK!!!! PEACE DE RESISTANCE IS NOW OUT. It costs 10 INC. p&p
per
book, further details as below...

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for 6!! Past books are
goin'
cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS annual
issues
101-150 - going for 2!! Survival Handbook issues 151-200 - also
at
2;
SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out - 6; Yearbook 2001
issues
251-300 - bargain 3. Add 1.70 p&p for each book, cheques to
Justice?

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
photos, cartoons, subverts, a "yellow pages" list of
contacts, comedy etc. You can also order the books from a bookshop
or library.

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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If you want the nicer PDF version, which you can print out, copy
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and give out to all your friends, go to the website, unsubscribe
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and s/he'll sort it out.

SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
Email: schnews@brighton.co.uk
Web: www.schnews.org.uk
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