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(en) Britain, SchNEWS 476, Friday 3rd December, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 3 Dec 2004 17:04:49 +0100 (CET)


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IT'S YER SOMEWHERE OVER UKRAINE-BOW... SchNEWS - UKRAINE GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT
A special report from SchNEWS' Ukraine correspondent
Ever since the elections in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands people,
particularly in the capital, Kiev, have been out on the streets
for ten nights running. Some of them are living on the streets,
expecting a long stand-off with the authorities and, with the temperature
about -10oC, people have been living in tent camps in the centre of Kiev
(the biggest camp has about 500 tents with more than 5000 people staying
in them). Strikes have closed down universities, offices and factories:
sometimes with their bosses, sometimes against the boss's will.

In the Western media the whole event was portrayed first as the
action of opposition parties with popular support after the
opposition officially declared defeat in the presidential
elections. But soon the mood changed, and instead of "revolution",
TV-screens started to show the country's territory split into
"orange" and "blue" parts, while headlines spoke about a "divided
Ukraine", and insisted that opposition leader Victor Yuschenko's
demand to stage another round of elections is the major hope of
crowds on the streets.

This isn't a blatant lie - but it's not exactly true. Not all the
people on the streets are active opposition supporters - a lot of
them just several weeks ago had no interest in party politics at
all. The decision taken by opposition leader, Yuschenko to demand
a new round of elections was a huge disappointment for many
"orange" people, most of whom don't use the word "elections",
talking instead of "revolution" or "uprising". There is no such
thing as "divided Ukraine" or "regional conflict". It's not about
"east vs. west" - it's about people vs. corrupt, criminal
authorities.

For protesters it's not just a fight between two political
leaders, but a struggle to overthrow the authoritarian system
created and strengthened in Ukraine over the last 10 years.
Yanukovych - prime-minister at the time of the elections and
presidential candidate - was picked as a candidate by the current
president, Mr. Kuchma, in return for guarantees to the president
and his allies of immunity from prosecution for all his crimes,
committed while in power, as well as protection of their assets
gained through criminal privatisation.

Yanukovych's pro-Russian position made him popular in his home
region of Donetsk, but the rest of the country rejects his
kowtowing to Putin's Russia. His government acted in line with "a
doctrine of liberal imperialism", formulated by Russia's tycoons
several years ago.

Yuschenko is regarded as a pro-western politician, with informal
support from the US and EU, western values and a wife who's a US
citizen. It doesn't mean the country will be cut-off from Russia -
he likes to remind people that while he was prime minister (about
four years ago) - trade with Russia was much more active than now.
But politically he's an openly pro-Western politician. Some of his
supporters are NGOs and organisations financed by the west - but
to say that the events are a coup initiated or provoked by the US
or EU, would be to simplify things.

Mr Yuschenko became the first prime-minister to create the
conditions where people started to get their salaries and pensions
paid after a long period of economic chaos. Meanwhile, he managed
not to take (or was not given) any IMF loans. The most attractive
part of his programme for his supporters are rights and freedoms.
He promises to lift media censorship, installed by the current
authorities, encourage democratic freedoms and encourage greater
economic transparency. Now, it's nothing new for politicians to
promise this sort of thing, but he'll have to answer to his loyal
and active supporters anger if he lets them down after they took
action to save him.

The Future's Orange

The majority went to the streets not to bring Yuschenko to power,
but to prevent Yanukovych from seizing it. The feeling from the
people is: "With Yuschenko - we'll be in opposition; with
Yanukovych, there'll be no opposition".

This expression of people power hasn't been seen for many years in
Ukraine. Busy with their own physical survival, the majority were
always regarded as apathetic, cynical about politics, and unable
to trust each other. That's why this "peaceful uprising", when
millions flooded the streets within hours shocked everybody. The
momentum of the "orange revolution" was so powerful that it looked
like the government would fall within days.

After the first days of total paralysis, with the opposition
insisting on a transfer of power, and more and more local councils
switching sides, negotiations started. These were initiated at
"round table" talks organised by, among others, the EU
Commissioner Javier Solana. The talks led to nothing, apart from
giving the authorities time to mobilise, gather supporters, and
finally, to turn the image of the conflict from "people vs.
authorities" into "east vs. west" in an attempt to absolve
themselves from any political or criminal responsibility.

The usual development of professional political leaders betraying
their people looks likely to repeat itself again. After realising
that the negotiations were a waste of time, the opposition pulled
out, only to be pressured into negotiations again by EU (and
personally by Mr. Solana who desperately tried to prevent any
"revolutionary developments") the next day. The result was a
dubious agreement, consisting of some conditions to be met by the
opposition and none, apart from not using force, by the
authorities. The decision about the elections was transferred to
the Supreme Court.

However, while the party politics go on, in the street the best
initiatives are being organised by organisations and networks, who
make up the "non-party opposition" - networks of
internet-activists and street volunteers - some self-organised and
militant, but restricting themselves to using non-violent means.

This is the main result of this "orange revolution" - the biggest
example of non-violent self-organisation in Ukraine in a century.
Whoever comes to power will now face a different people, a people
who are no longer apathetic about the corruption of the party
parliamentary system. They have realised that they can defend
their rights together, and the old consensus "we can't change
anything" now rings hollow. So in the short term, if they manage
to get rid of censorship, systematic police brutality, corruption
and state ordered killings, that in itself will be a victory. But
in the long run, something new has been born. Call it "civil
society" or "autonomous networks of resistance", whatever it's
called, it will influence future events and, hopefully set an
example to people everywhere.

* President Kuchma is notorious for his stifling of opposition,
murder of journalists and bleeding the economy dry while lining
the pockets of himself and his cronies.

* For a direct action/anarchist take on events see
http://eng.maidanua.org

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CRAP MURDER OF THE WEEK

For singing a song

On the 19th November on Palm Island, a community just off the east
coast Queensland, Australia an Aboriginal called Cameron Doomagee
was arrested for singing a song on a street. One a half hours
later he was dead.

A state of emergency has been declared with over 200 police
officers sent to the island to suppress the community after the
coroner's autopsy report found the death to be an accident, caused
by falling over. To follow developments see
http://melbourne.indymedia.org

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ZSF?

Organising a social forum is always a big thing. Organising a
social forum for thousands of 'f**k the system' types in a country
where public meetings are banned, non-government newspapers are
bombed and hundreds of pro-democracy activists murdered is nothing
short of a miracle. This miracle happened thanks to the crazy
grassroots forces determined to host the Zimbabwe Social Forum.
'Crazy' because at the moment the paranoid Zanu PF regime is
trying to ban all political NGOs, lock up journalists and
generally get into the rhythm of good ol' repression ahead of the
Presidential elections. So the ZSF was denied 'permission' to go
ahead. But, after weeks of court challenges and determination, ZSF
happened, running from 28th to 30th October under the slogan: 'A
People's Forum Against Poverty, Sexism and All Forms of Oppression
'.

Five different themes were tackled. The National Constitutional
Assembly group talked about doing away with the current
constitution to achieve social justice; the Debt and Development
team decided that repaying debt was bollocks and that pressing for
debt cancellation was vital. The HIV/AIDS tent urged the need for
free anti-retroviral drugs, while the Young Workers group decided
that "if we destroy capitalism, then we would also be attacking
the foundations of ZANU PF and all the forces of oppression"
Residents' Associations from across the country were pissed off
about the non-existent drinking water and electricity. Loads of
single issues came together to attack one system.

The Freedom Youth Camp was loud, self-organised and rebellious.
Debates ranged from the never-ending student repression under the
Zanu regime to sexism and gender, anti-corporate music and ghetto
youths' visions of community democracy via direct action, Like
most social forums, the ZSF ended in a huge revolutionary piss-up.

There are lessons from the ZSF for both the Zimbabwean and the
global anti-capitalist movement. Those pissed off with the Elitist
Social Forum (sorry - European Social Forum) can learn from the
horizontal process of the ZSF. Since the first ZSF in 2003 the
forum has been run by all those participating. The ZSF National
Council is a consensus-based collective open to all, making it
participatory and transparent. ZSF is also avowedly
anti-capitalist - so no corporate bollocks at the forum! Now the
Zimbabwean movement must avoid mere summit-hopping and strengthen
the local networks, coordinating actions and uniting single issues
into a tidal wave of anti-capitalism. And this all seems to be
beginning as ZSF forces plan marches and actions for World Aids
Day. Fleets of anti-capitalist buses leave soon afterwards for the
Africa Social Forum in Zambia, carrying forward the freedom
message.

www.southafrica.indymedia.org/news/2004/11/7009.php

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Positive SchNEWS

A new independent radical bookshop is about to open in Manchester.
As well as providing a radical library 'The Basement' will have a
campaign info space, an exhibition space, free internet use and a
vegan café.

The opening party will happening next Sunday (12th) 11am-7.30,
where political cartoonist Polyp will be speaking and there'll be
a screening of the film Camp X Ray. Once open hours will be 11-8
everyday (except Monday), food served 12-4. 24 Lever St (off
Piccadilly Gardens) 0161 237 1832 mustsocial@yahoo.co.uk

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SchNEWS in Brief

** Tresspass Stroll against Brighton Council's idea to permanently
close the Black Rock Undercliff Walk, it is believed ASDA want to
close the path, so that they can expand their store. Meet 11am
sharp this Sunday, ASDA Car Park, Brighton Marina.

** Can Iraqi Resistance defeat US Imperialism? Talk on Monday
(6th) at the Mad Hatter Café Western Rd (Corner of Montpelier
Road), Brighton. 7:30 pm

** Hacklabs - building autonomous labs against capitalism. Info
talk next Thursday (9th) at Brighton's Cowley Club 6pm

** Demonstrations against the proposed Newhaven Incinerator, Tue
7th County hall, Lewes, 9.30am and Wed 8th Hove Town Hall 3.30pm
01273 300116

** Workers at the Tricolan clothing factory in Naoussa, Greece
have occupied their factory for over a month following the closure
by its owner. www.thessaloniki.indymedia.org/?lang=en

** Open discussion on the impact of flexible labour contracts,
temp agencies and casualisation and collective resistance, Dec
11th, RampARTS Social Centre, 15-17 Rampart Street, Off Commercial
Road E1. 10am - 6am (+ Food, DJ's, Cheap Bar 'til late)
wombles@hushmail.com

** An activist from Voices in the Wilderness has received bail
conditions banning him from the whole Congestion Charging Zone of
London! He can catch the tube or bus but not set foot on the
ground in Central London!

** In the US Greenpeace have been banned from taking any direct
action against Exxon-Mobil for the next seven years!

** Activists targeted the Icelandic Embassy last week, protesting
against the construction of the Karanjukur dam, which will wreck
Icelandic wilderness. The activists were arrested, and held
overnight, but managed to rattle diplomats and get the issue onto
Icelandic TV. The system of nine dams is being built just to
supply electricity for an aluminium smelter planned by US company
Alcoa. www.inca.is www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=5828

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Hit The Roads

Another victory against the Neo-Labour road building scheme this
week as Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced that the
A303 dual carriageway would not now go through the Blackwood
Hills, near Yeovil, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Environmental groups had a preference for the A358 to be "dualled"
, as this would cause significantly less damage to the
countryside. Apparently a major deciding factor was to avoid the
kind of protests that have dogged other road schemes.

Business leaders condemned the decision, saying that it was a
"black day for Devon and Cornwall", but we reckon it was probably
just a bad day for their profits!

** Sherwood Forest protest camp in, Nottinghamshire has been
served with new eviction papers. The site is now on "amber alert"
and volunteers are urgently needed to go on the telephone tree.
07891 986 208

** Furious residents campaigning to save trees on Lincoln's
historic hill occupied trees being felled illegally by developers.
Last week residents occupied a private meeting between the
developers and the council, taking back democracy the direct way!
saveourtrees@hotmail.com

** Faslane Peace Camp Needs You to take direct action against the
UK's nuclear weapons. They need volunteers to help with actions
against the nuclear base, where weapons that violate anti-nuclear
treaties are kept. Everyone is welcome if you are prepared to chip
in with tasks like cooking and chopping wood, and want to get
involved with lock-ons and blockades. Even just a day or two a
month can make a really big difference. 01436 820901 or e-mail
faslanepeacecamp@hotmail.com

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Soft Drinks, Hard Bastards

Over 1000 people marched to the Coca-Cola factory in Mehdiganj, in
India last week, demanding its closure. The demo was the end of a
10 day, 250 km march from Ballia, another bottling facility,
bringing attention to Coca-Cola's negative impacts on communities
across India (SchNEWS 474).

The peaceful marchers were met at the bottling facility by armed
police. Speakers at the rally denounced Coca-Cola's illegal
practices in India and internationally.

Marchers then went to the factory gates, near the site of the
rally, where police reacted violently with no warning. They
baton-charged and beat the marchers, then chased onlookers in
surrounding fields to give them a beating too. Over 350 were
arrested, and 100 injured.

"While shocking, the violent attack on the peaceful demonstration
against Coca-Cola is not surprising. Coca-Cola operates with
impunity, and violence is an inherent part of how Coca-Cola does
business the world over", said Amit Srivastava of the India
Resource Center. Images and film from the rally also available by
contacting info@IndiaResource.org, www.IndiaResource.org

Send a FREE FAX to Neville Isdell, CEO of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, US
demanding they stop the violence and address the problems created
by Coca-Cola in India. www.indiaresource.org/action/faxcoke.php

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Off His EDS

Blunkett launched his new ID card crusade this week, at the same
time as computer failures were casting doubts over whether such a
scheme is even workable.

Civil servants in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had to
write out thousands of giro cheques and process benefit claims by
hand, after a software failure left them without computers. This
has been described as the biggest government computer failure yet,
but it's by no means the first.

Electronic Data Systems (EDS), the firm responsible for the
software has a ten year contract with the government, worth £2bn.
Many might question whether this is value for money considering
they've created chaos at the Child Support Agency and the National
Air Traffic Control System, and been sacked by the Inland Revenue
Service. So guess what EDS is trying to get its useless mitts on
now? Yep the biometric ID card scheme.

* People who refuse to register with the national ID database will
be fined £2,500. If you fail to update details when you move home
it'll cost you £1,000 www.defy-id.org.uk

* 30,000 civil servant jobs are due to be axed at the DWP - to
make way for more er, IT 'modernisation'!

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..and finally...

"Anarchists!! Abandon your principles! For one day only uphold the
law! Citizens Arrest a hunter on February 19th"- Toffbusters!

On February 19th 2005, the first Saturday after the Hunting Ban
comes into force, the self- proclaimed Toffbusters! are urging
radicals to don wellies and perform citizens arrests of hunters.
Toffbusters! reckon it's "..an unparalleled opportunity to return
class warfare to the political centre stage.The Countryside
Alliance and their inbred toff followers have ruled the roost for
years, but are now squealing like stuck pigs." So, ready with yer
best coppers' patter? Altogether now: "Excuse me sir, is that a
horn in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see animals
violently disembowelled?". South West: toffbusters@yahoo.co.uk,
Northern: durhamtoffbusters@fastmail.fm

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers, that standing around in sub zero
temperatures will turn you blue even if you were once orange...
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
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SchNEWS Of The World - issues 301-350 for £4!! Past books are
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In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains articles,
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Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9
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------------------------------------------------------------------

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Phone: 01273 685913 (NO FAX)
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------------------------------------------------------------------

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