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(en) Britain, SchNEWS Issue 465 - Friday 20th August

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 20 Aug 2004 18:30:03 +0200 (CEST)


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A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER CUT TO THE CHAVEZ... SchNEWS
CHIT AND CHAVEZ - "Chavez, like Castro, is not only an avowed Communist who has
terrorized his own people, they both have assisted and worked with
Middle Eastern terrorists. The US should intervene at once". -
Senator Larry Klayman, Republican Senator - Florida.
It's no surprise to hear this from a US politician with an active
interest in developments in Venezuela nor is it shocking to see
him so actively embrace the neoliberal business elite in their
attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Intervention in
the affairs of every Latin American country has defined US policy
in the region since they stole half of Mexico in 1848. In just a
thirty year period the CIA actively assisted with the overthrowing
of democratically elected radical governments in Guatemala (1954),
the Dominican Republic (1965), Chile (1973), Nicaragua (1980s) and
Grenada (1983). Its involvement in a coup in Venezuela in April
2002 merely continues this historical record, as does its support
for the right wing's attempts to oust President Hugo Chavez in
last weekend's referendum.

Chavez is a military man, who himself failed to overthrow the
Presidency of Carlos Perez in a 1992 coup. After his release from
prison he rose to power, promising to instigate a 'Bolivarian
revolution', based on the ideals of Simon Bolivar, the "great
liberator" of Latin America. Chavez posed as the new Bolivar,
promising reforms to improve education, welfare and health for 80%
of Venezuelans who live in poverty.

Access to education and healthcare in some of the poorest barrios
has shot up with 1.5 million more schoolchildren getting three
free meals a day and over one million more adults can now read and
write. The Bolivarian constitution allows for the recall of any
elected official (hence the referendum) and grants the right to a
plot of land for anyone aged between 18 and 25, although as a
personal favour to himself, Chavez also squeezed extensions to the
presidential term.



Aahh... Bolivar

Bolivarian markets' are just one example of the boom in
cooperative movements that have taken place over the past few
years. In Petare, a working class district in Caracas, marketstall
holders meet each Wednesday to set fair food prices for the
weekend market. Participating sellers pay $1 to rent a pitch with
this money being reinvested in local community projects. Out of
the cities, Self Organised Rural Associations are being set up in
an effort to develop a highly integrated system of cooperatives
and LETS schemes, where skills rather than money are exchanged for
food and other goods. City vegetable gardens are cropping (!) up
across Caracas as the country seeks to become self-sufficient in
food.

But its not the Co-ops that's got up the nose of the Bush
Administration Inc. Neither was it jealousy at the fact that
Chavez actually won the election that made him president, it's the
fact that Chavez campaigned on the basis of a need to "transform
the current, brutal, neoliberal economic model." Whilst that
itself was bad news for US investors (Venezuelans buy 1/3 of all
US goods exported to Latin America), Venezuela also happens to
account for 15% of US oil imports. The state-owned Venezuelan oil
company, PDVSA oversees the largest reserves of any oil producing
country outside of the Middle East and the country has 148
trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves - the largest
in the Western Hemisphere. A new Hydrocarbons Law recently raised
taxes paid by private companies from 1-17% to 20%-30%.

Chavez has sought to increase his control of the oil industry,
booting out Exxon, Shell & Texaco executives and cramming the
organisation with loyal Chavistas. PDVSA owns Citgo, an oil
company operating in the US which has $12 billion invested in
refineries, terminals and pipelines there, indirectly employing
150,000 workers. When stopping short of invasion the US often uses
economic pressure to bully a nation, but now the situation is
being reversed by Venezuela. There's also talk of combining
Venezuela's oil company with Ecuador's, Brazil's and Trinadad's.
These countries would then be able to bargain much harder in trade
talks which, up to now, have been mostly a one-way deal designed
only to benefit US investors. But the war manual of the Project
for the New American Century, the right wing outfit that advises
Bush on foreign policy matters, has identified a need for a
"concerted national trade and security policy to prevent
monopolistic collusion by foreign energy producers". Given that
Bush's Latin American Department is crammed with rightwing Cuban
exiles, including Otto Reich the architect of former President
Ronald Reagen's central American policy that saw 200,000 killed,
it's safe to say that such a deal is not going to be successful.



After Chavez

When Chavez took power the price of oil stood at $9 per barrel.
Oil production was cut and by April 2002 the stuff went for $23,
with extra revenue used to fund the reforms. Later that month
Venezuela experienced what the US state department called "a
temporary alteration of constitutional order" when the business
class replaced Chavez with US-friendly head of the Venezuelan
Chambers of Commerce, Pedro Carmona in a coup. He immediately
suspended the constitution, legislative assemblies and began
reversing Chavez's anti neoliberal reforms. The US recognised the
government immediately. Oil production was increased. Two days
after the coup, loyal army troops and a demonstration of the poor,
hundreds of thousands strong, helped restore Chavez to the
Presidency. Carmona flew to Florida.

Despite Senator Klayman's concerns it's unlikely that Chavez has
been plotting with the Taliban. Given that he has been re-elected
numerous times, a dictatorship it is not, but neither is it a
revolution. Chavez deals with the multinationals that have caused
so much damage in the region already and the whole reform process
is linked to the cult of personality surrounding him. If
revolution is supposed to pass power to the people, then this
one's got a long way to go.

The streets of Caracas have been ringing to the sound of banging
pots and pans for months, as the right wing nutcase opposition
seeks to annoy the government through noise pollution. Now Chavez
is apparently looking for some way to outlaw the banging of pots
in protests. But restricting the right to demonstrate is always a
tricky business as Caracas resident Armando Lefmans says, "I have
made my own cassette of the noise. You put it on at a high volume
so you don't have to bother hitting a pan".

* Recommend reading "The Battle of Venezuela" Michael McCaughan
(Latin American Bureau 2004) www.venezuelanalysis.com

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Crap Arrest Of The Week

For living on your own land...
Paynes Lane Rally is planned to support Peter Robb, a traveller
who was sent to prison for 28 days for living on his own land. A
judge is also threatening to imprison his wife and children if
they don't move from land they bought at Colney Hatch,
Hertfordshire.

* The rally will also be dedicating a memorial park to Romani
victims of the holocaust and present day racism. Meet Paynes Lane,
noon, 22nd August, 01206 523528 for details.

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SchNEWS At Ten

There will be a 10th birthday party, new book launch and
conference - all on the same day - somewhere in London on the 16th
October (coinciding with the European Social Forum). Pencil this
date in your diary and keep an eye on our website for more
details.

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By Georgia!

The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is off!

The government of Georgia has ordered BP to halt work on a section
of a controversial £2.4 billion Caspian oil pipeline project, the
Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. BP had been on site at Borjormi - an area of
outstanding natural beauty - for a week and was already felling
trees.

The Georgian environment minister said BP failed to provide
contractually required environmental assurance that the pipeline
could withstand both landslides and terrorist attacks.

The original contract, agreed by former president Edward
Shevardnadze effectively handed BP control over a 1,750 mile strip
of land cutting through Georgia, Azerbijan, Kazekstan and into
Turkey, a project which bears all the hallmarks of the modus
operandi of Oil companies. Encouraged by Bush and financed partly
by free public money, the route of the 42 inch wide pipeline is
becoming aggressively militarized following sabotage. Anyone
speaking out faced intimidation and in some cases torture.

In May, Turkish authorities picked up Ferhat Kaya, a Human Rights
campaigner who has been at the forefront of pressing for proper
compensation for those affected by the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. He
was considered a "terrorist" by the Court and beaten by police
during detention. Four senior pipeline experts who worked on the
Baku-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey have revealed a catalogue of
incompetence, cost-cutting and shoddy workmanship, which raises
major questions about the safety of the pipeline. All four have
successful careers of over 20 years in pipeline construction, and
have said this is the worst project they have ever worked on.
Their revelations and all the other dirt about this pipeline can
be found at www.bakuceyhan.org.uk.

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Positive SchNEWS

The longest continuous bus strike in the UK for over thirty years
ended in victory last Tuesday after 21 days (see SchNEWS 464).
Drivers won nearly all their demands for more pay and better
working conditions, with no strings. Union organiser Martin Mayer
said "Why have the Company conceded so much and so suddenly? Well
of course it is because, much to their amazement, our strike held
solid for three whole weeks with no one threatening to cross the
picket lines - and no prospect of the strike breaking as we poised
to begin our 4th week on strike. It was also because they could no
longer bear to lose so much money as the strike continued (our
estimate is £5 million losses so far)."

www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield

* A tribunal has decided that four electricians who staged one of
the country's longest-running industrial disputes were unfairly
sacked for belonging to a trade union. The electricians had been
protesting against electrical sub contractors DAF who hired
unskilled workers on the cheap to carry out work on the £25
million Piccadilly Gardens development in Manchester.

* The Permaculture Association of Britain will be celebrating its
21st birthday next month with a design course and convergence -
and of course a party. Permaculture is a design concept that trys
to connect everything from growing food, to urban planning to
community development. The event takes place in Braziers Park,
Oxfordshire, to book tickets call 0845 4581805
www.permaculture.org.uk

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In The Dock

Dennis Burman was killed last year during training in his first
fortnight on the job at the giant Felixstowe port in Suffolk. He
was crushed on a crane and left hanging, before plunging 36 metres
to his death. Health and safety executive have criticised the
company, who, despite huge profits lacked proper safeguards for
its trainee workers. At a recent hearing Ipswich magistrates have
decided that the maximum £20,000 fine they could impose was not
high enough and have sent the case to a higher court.

The Port of Felixstowe (PFL) is the largest container port in the
UK. PFL is a member of the Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH) Group, a
wholly-owned subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate
Hutchison Whampoa Limited (HWL). HWL is part of the Li Ka-shing
group of companies and Li Ka-shing is the 19th richest person in
the world, with a personal wealth of over $12.4 billion dollars.
It leaves SchNEWS wondering - who owns 'ol Li?

Nice guys Hutchinson Whampoa are also one of the leading investors
and supporters of the military dictatorship in Burma, which they
describe as "rich in resources and culture". And after their handy
work it's also a rich supply of slave labour to be used for
infrastructure projects across the country.

HWL's also run Harwich docks, where two dockers are pursuing
employment tribunals after they were sacked. But the company's
rich culture involves saving cash and limiting workers rights by
employing dockers from Poland.

The prospect of the first national dock strike since the end of
the National Dock Labour Scheme is also on the horizon after
dockers, drivers and port workers covering twenty three port
operations across the UK rejected a 2.9% pay offer. The ports are
run by Associated British Ports whose profits rose to £74.5
million last year. The union is seeking a a minimum wage of £7.50
an hour for all employees and £10 an hour for drivers. Since the
end of the National Dock Labour Scheme, casualisation has crept in
ports across the country - part of the low paid 'flexible' economy
(or 'flexploitation') which is now endemic throughout the country.
The growth of casualisation, where people are forced into low paid
jobs with little or no training, no job security, no sick pay and
no holiday pay means bigger profits for companies - but more
deaths and injuries for the people working for them.

* For more on this story www.easf.org.uk

* SchNEWS writer Simon Jones was killed on the first day of work
at Shoreham Docks in 1998. Since then the Simon Jones Memorial
Campaign have fought against labour casualisation. See
www.simonjones.org.uk

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Jet Dream

SchNEWS was surprised to read that Brighton now has an airport -
called Brighton City Airport, just where in the city is it? Er,
Shoreham actually. From a small scale aerodrome, it now runs
scheduled services to the Channel Isles and France.

With air pollution the fastest growing contributor to climate
change do we really need yet another airport? And who's it for
anyway? It's the top 20% who use aircraft the most - going on club
class business trips or weekend getaways to their second homes in
Tuscany. At current levels air transport will account for 15% of
global warming by 2050. Plans are afoot to expand or build another
runway at Shoreham, adding to this unsustainable trend, and
turning a once tranquil area into a noisy hell-hole.

A Stop the Shoreham Expansion picket of the Shoreham Airshow is
taking place next Saturday (28th) from midday-3pm followed by a
walk through threatened marshlands of the Widewater Lagoon Nature
Reserve. Meet outside Brighton Station at 11am

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SchNEWS In Brief

* Last week the Information Commissioner said that, as a result of
ID cards and other surveillance measures, Britain could "sleepwalk
into a surveillance society". There will be a national gathering
in Manchester to organise resistance to the Government's plans to
introduce identity cards. Contact Defy-ID: admin@defy-id.org.uk or
phone 07980 291478 for details of the venue. www.defy-id.org.uk

* This weekend (20-21) St Agnes Place in Kennington, a squatted
street for the past 30 years, is hosting everything from live
music, party and protest photography exhibitions, sculpture and
art in the street fireshow, cyborg performance, standup comedy,
food and workshops from 12 till 12 Saturday and Sunday. Nearest
tube is the Oval www.stagnesplace.org

* The Rhythms of Resistance samba-protest band are holding dance
workshops every Wednesday 6.30-9pm at Highbury Roundhouse Youth
and Community Centre, 71 Ronalds Road, London, N5. (Holloway Road
tube). If you interested email rorkate@123mail.org

* Kit Sampson, who spent decades campaigning for Gypsies, is
returning her MBE for a second time as a protest at the
government's racist attitude towards gypsies. She originally
handed back her MBE when the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act
came into force in 1994, but was persuaded to take it back when
Labour got into power, but now says "This government is exactly
the same as the last one."

* Camden Council have finally dropped charges against a man who
put up posters on bus stops opposing council houses being flogged
off (see SchNEWS 463).

* The BASS Community 'Fayre' is happening on The Level on the 4th
September from 12pm till 6pm. Attractions include SchNEWS movies,
kid's space and workshops, DJ workshops, Eco-Arcadia, cream teas
and veggie food. info@bass23.org

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Anti-Social Burger Order

Last week police used Section 30 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act
at McDonalds in Leicester Square. Section 30 of the ASBO Act gives
police power to disperse groups of two or more people for causing
intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress where "anti-social
behaviour is a significant and persistent problem in the relevant
locality". Now SchNEWS thought that maybe the police had told all
McDonalds staff to disperse for intimidating the public through
their aggressive advertising, causing harassment of parents by
utilising children's "pester power", causing alarm to vegetarians
for selling meat or causing distress to people's guts from their
crap food. But no such luck - the police told protesters at a
weekly picket of McDonalds to disperse or face arrest. Protesters
aren't taking this lying down and have called for more people to
join them at future regular McDonalds pickets, Leicester Square,
every Thursday, 5.30pm-7.30pm. Contact: antimcdonalds@doramail.com

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..and finally...

"The little missus was away at a Tupperware convention, so I had
to do my own laundry. I'm not used to washing clothes, and they
say this happened because I didn't separate my whites from my
coloureds". So klansman Arnie Stevens told reporters in Oklahoma
after being thrown out of a Klu Klux Klan rally because his hood
and robes were... pink. Although Arnie reasoned that a rogue red
t-shirt in his wash was a sign from God that "segregation is a way
of life in laundry as in life", he then went on to argue "I can't
help what colour my robe is can I? It's what's inside that counts"
somewhat missing the ironing of the point. (from, er, Private Eye)

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

Disclaimer
SchNEWS warns all latin lovers playing with Bush is a cut-throat
business and you could end up with a close Chavez... Honest!

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

INFORMATION FOR ACTION - IF YOU LIKE IT PASS IT ON...

What's On? Check out out Party and Protest guide at
www.schnews.org.uk/pap/guide.htm - it's updated every week, has
sections on regular events, local events, protest camps and
more...

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

HOW TO UN/SUBSCRIBE TO SCHNEWS-L

To unsubscribe, go to the website and follow the instructions
there, or send a message to webmaster@schnews.org.uk with subject
UNSUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

To subscribe, go to the website or email webmaster@schnews.org.uk
with subject SUBSCRIBE PLAIN TEXT - email@address.com

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PEACE DE RESISTANCE It costs £10 INC. p&p per book, further
details as below...this one comes with a free multimedia CD too!

SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £6.50!! Past books are
goin' cheap... SchNEWSround issues 51-100 - SOLD OUT; SchNEWS
annual issues 101-150 - a snip at £2; Survival Handbook issues
151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - sold out;
Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. All prices inc. p&p.
Cheques to 'Justice?' - Honest!

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.

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