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(en) SchNEWS 422, Friday 20th February, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 20 Feb 2004 08:49:52 +0100 (CET)
Organization SchNEWS


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News about and of interest to anarchists
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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS... SchNEWS
SHOP 'TIL THEY DROP
The Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay brought the plight of
undocumented migrants in Britain into the spotlight. We were told
how the unfortunate victims were trafficked and exploited by
ruthless gangs of 'snakeheads'. We solemnly frown when we hear how
gang masters prey on the vulnerable victims of mafias. But these
problems have wider and deeper causes.

The 'illegal' immigrants are vulnerable to exploitation precisely
because of their (lack of) legal status. They have no rights, are
terrified of being deported, and can't go to the authorities for
help. The government claims to be dealing with the 'problem',
while the situation stays the same. So, who benefits from this
crime and why is nothing done to change the situation?

At the top of the chain of command is the government and their
chums the big corporate supermarkets who control the food you eat.
They have totally changed food shopping in the last fifty years,
from the days of small, independent shops to the dominance of the
'big four' supermarkets: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Safeway. These
four control 60-75% of grocery sales in the UK. The biggest and
the baddest of the lot is Tesco - which receives a staggering £1
of every £8 spent in the UK! The supermarkets say they stack 'em
high and sell 'em cheap. People flock to their promises of
bargains, choice and 'convenience' (see SchNEWS 295 and 140).

Supermarkets claim to respond to consumer demand, and a recent
survey by the Food Standards Agency in 2001 supports this. 46% of
people responded that price was the key issue for choosing their
food. But supermarkets are not actually that cheap. Some products
are, such as bread and milk, because supermarkets use them as
'loss leaders' to convince the customer that their store is cheap.
Everybody knows the price of milk and bread, but other products
which people are less familiar with are priced quite highly in
supermarkets, and are available more cheaply, healthfully and
ethically in local independent shops. This is especially true of
fresh fruit and vegetables. The 'cheap food' that the supermarkets
claim to sell actually comes at a very high price to taxpayers,
small manufacturers, small farmers and the environment.

"Food is actually very expensive. We end up paying for it three
times - once at the market, a second time via taxes for subsidies,
and a third time to clean up the environmental and health mess,"
says ecologist, Professor Jules Pretty. He has calculated that the
hidden costs of industrial agriculture to our health and
environment add up to at least £2.3 billion a year!

Race to the Bottom

A Competition Commission Report on supermarkets highlights
examples of exploitative supermarket practices. One big issue is
the supermarkets' refusal to enter into binding contractual
agreements with suppliers, leaving suppliers with no financial
guarantees.

The suppliers are forced in turn to cut as many costs as they can
and rely on a highly flexible and exploitable workforce. The
exploitation of undocumented foreign workers, i.e. what happened
at Morecambe Bay, is a result of supermarkets' relentless race to
the bottom for the lowest wages and costs, bypassing irritating
things like rights and unions. The tiresome contracts committing
them to buy specific amounts of produce at specific prices would
help suppliers plan their factory rotas and have more organised
labour forces. But these contracts involve supermarkets in the
risk of buying too much or too little. Instead, retailers order
"just in time" from wherever is cheapest in the world, waiting for
their barcode scanning and your loyalty(!) card to tell them how
much consumers are buying. They demand the exact amounts from
suppliers and have them delivered as quickly as possible.
Suppliers must respond to these demands to survive. They pass the
risk down the line to those at the bottom of the chain, to
labourers who are turned on and off like a tap to meet demand. If
necessary they are kept working, regardless of the dangers they
face, until the orders are finished.

European workers won't tolerate the conditions this new model
creates. We in Europe like to imagine that we left behind the
brutal pecking order of the docks, or the semi-slave hours of the
textile factories years ago. But the 'cheap food' system needs
excesses of "flexible" labour to survive. For the new system to
work, a surplus of people desperate for any job to come along is
needed. This is where the migrants fit in; they are desperate and
without rights.

To find out more about the evils of $upermarkets:
www.corporatewatch.org.uk/profiles/food_supermarkets/whats_wrong_s
uprmkts.html

Slavemarketed

Big corporations also 'outsource' jobs to poor countries where
workers can be exploited in the same way. The textile industry is
particularly guilty, with their notorious 'sweat shops', which
compete for the cheapest and most exploitable labour force.

Haiti is an example of the 'free trade frontline'. 80% of the
population live in poverty, despite President Aristide's promises
of reform. Misery was further increased in 2000 by the decisions
of international donors including the U.S. and EU, to suspend
virtually all aid. By 2003, the suspended aid and loans totalled
more than $500 million.

In an attempt to turn the economy around, a deal was struck with
the US. The World Bank agreed to fund new 'free trade zones'
(FTZs) in Haiti. In April 2002, work started on one of Haiti's
most fertile agricultural regions, the Maribahoux Plain, to build
the first free trade zone factory, where Haitian workers are now
making Levi's for very low wages. But the plan doesn't stop there.
Seventeen FTZs are expected to stretch along the entire length of
the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Haiti is on the brink of civil war, as the campaign to oust
Jean-Bertrand Aristide heightens. Fifty people have been killed so
far and possibly more in Gonaives. Yesterday, Aristide called for
international help to prevent a humanitarian disaster. The US has
refused to step in and is putting pressure on Aristide to step
down. Perhaps they want a leader they can make even more FTZ
agreements with. This couldn't have come at a more ironic time, as
Haiti celebrates the 200th anniversary of its independence, when
slave armies rose up against their French colonial masters.

http://haitisupport.gn.apc.org/
www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=2&ItemID=4997

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CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK

For advertising a book fair...
Three women were arrested in Haringey last October for putting up
posters advertising a community bookfair. The women were arrested
for "criminal damage" by two van loads of coppers after putting an
A4 size poster onto a giant billboard. The most illegal thing
about the whole situation, however, seems to be the billboard
itself, as no planning permission was given for it, or for 48 out
of the 50 other billboards along the same road. The companies
involved have had no legal action taken against them at all for
erecting the massive, unsightly and illegal posters, which we're
sure don't advertise anything as nice as community bookfairs.

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No Sweat are seeking 7 dwarves, one pale woman, 2 mice, 2 dogs, I
duck, 1 prince charming, 1 insomniac woman and a regal big cat for
some sing-a-long-and-chaos-causing action taking place in Brighton
on international women's day to protest at the exploitation of
female sweatshop workers by high street brands. Email
mick@nosweat.org.uk if you want to help.

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SchNEWS in brief

** Take action at a BP Baku-Ceyhan pipeline greenwash event 10am,
next Friday (24) at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Stratton Street,
London. 01865 241 097 www.risingtide.org.uk

** Balata Camp Installation coming to Britain, can you help? Mika
and Kelly (ISMers who have been to Nablus) are looking for people
to arrange dates and venues, March 10th - April 15th Contact
john@ism-london.org

** Ewa Jasiewicz has just returned to the UK after spending over
nine months in Iraq, and is eager to speak to groups around the
country who can cover her travel costs. She'll be at the Quaker
International Centre, Byng Place, Malet St, London, 2nd March.
7.30pm To book her 0845 4582564

** To mark next Tuesday's (24) international day of action against
the corporate invasion of Iraq there's a demo outside Bechtel's
office at 11 Pilgrim Street, London (near Blackfriars tube) 11am
www.voicesuk.org

** Libertarian Parent and Kid Drop-in every Monday from March 1st,
4:30-6:30pm, Autonomy Club, Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b
Whitechapel High St. libertarianparents@yahoo.co.uk

** Were you arrested at DSEi arms fair last year? Moss & Co.
solicitors have police helicopter video evidence of a number of
arrests. If you are up on charges, you or your solicitor should
contact Andrew Katzen: 020 8986 8336

** Meet to discuss May 1st: Days of Action against the Bosses next
Saturday (28) 12 noon starting with lunch. At the Occupied Social
Centre, 93 Fortess Road, Kentish Town, London. www.wombles.org.uk

** The Revolution will not be Televised (about the Venezuelan
revolution) and other films, showing next Wednesday (25) 7.30pm,
Cube Cinema, Kings Square, Bristol, £3/£2.
http://bristol.indymedia.org

** Save Hayle Beach, Cornwall from developers who want to extract
the sand. www.soshayle.fsnet.co.uk

** This week is the tenth anniversary of the M11 eviction, the
most expensive eviction ever in Britain, and a source of
inspiration to road protesters everywhere. See the feature at
www.indymedia.org.uk

** National Day of Action against STA Travel's involvement in
Burma to raise awareness about responsible tourism March 1st.
bcuk_students@yahoo.co.uk or visit www.burmacampaign.org.uk for
details.

** Find out about the Coke boycott by the Colombian trade union,
Southsea Community Centre, King St, Southsea, Portsmouth, March
2nd 7pm 023 9225998 www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk

** The NUS and the Higher Education Union are calling for a
national strike next week on Tues (24) and Wed (25) to protest
against top-up fees and low wages for staff. Join the picket lines
at Sussex University on Tues (24) at 11am

** More mailout help needed on Fridays - call SchNEWS office.

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TRAVELLER UPDATE

"First they closed down most of the Council Traveller sites and
told them to buy their own land... then they told them they
couldn't have planning permission. so now there's a concerted
drive to evict them, grab their land (and flog it to
developers)... and push them back on the sides of roads where they
can be screwed under the Criminal Justice Act."

In the past month, two self-owned traveller sites have fought
battles with 'gypsy eviction specialist' bailiffs Constant & Co:
Bulkington near Coventry which ended in a victory, and Meadowlands
in Essex where the residents were evicted, then some of their
homes torched by arsonists. Other sites are now under current
threat.

An action network is being set up to defend traveller communities
from eviction beginning with a meeting this Saturday (21st) at 4
Sutton St London (tubes Aldgate East or Whitechapel) at 3pm. There
will be films and talks about the recent evictions.
nooneisillegal2003@yahoo.co.uk 07963 603111

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IN-JUNK-TION

In last week's SchNEWS, we wrote about how Costain (the evil
road-building company) had taken out an injunction against anyone
who dared to protest against them building a road at Blackwood in
Wales. The injunction that Costain took out is a civil injunction,
so breaking it is not a criminal offence. The police won't usually
get involved in a civil injunction, which means it would only be
Costain who took you to court if you broke it.

Bayer Cropscience (SchNEWS 436), who want to spread GM crops all
over Britain, have become so fed up with the constant protests
against them that they are trying to ban them altogether using
another type of injunction. On Friday in the High Court, their
temporary injunction against protesters was made permanent. If you
break this injunction, it is a criminal offence and would make you
'in contempt of court' with up to five years in prison or a hefty
fine to look forward too.

This type of injunction was created under the Protection from
Harassment Act, which was supposedly introduced to protect women
from stalkers, but is now used to silence protestors. In the past,
it has been used extensively against animal rights campaigners, in
particular the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign (SHAC).
These types of injunctions are initially granted without the
defendants having any right of say. The company's lawyer simply
turns up with his witness statements and the judge usually gives
it the nod.

The injunctions are supposedly granted to protect employees from
being harassed by protesters, but they also create exclusion zones
around company premises. Large-scale protests are not allowed in
any of the exclusion zones meaning big protests outside a
company's headquarters are banned once they have an injunction and
wildly threatening behaviour such as handing out leaflets or
banging a drum can get you arrested! This type of injunction also
seeks to stop protesters putting out information about the
company, and bans the named protest groups from having websites or
circulating literature that discusses the company.

So how does this affect protest? Well for a start, although
injunctions sought to close them down, the SHAC websites and Stop
Bayer GM Crops websites are still up and running. Secondly, for
the injunction to be implemented against a person, it has to be
proved that said person is either one of the persons named on the
injunction or part of one of the groups named on it. What has
usually happened, though, is that the first time you protest, a
person working for the company will present the injunction to you
and then you will be covered by it. But as one protester told
SchNEWS, "Injunctions often inject new life into campaigns as
people feel outraged by the blatant repression and use fresh
creativity and imagination to explore new tactics in response."

Now it just so happens that the lawyers behind all these
injunctions are Lawson-Cruttenden, who specialize in the
Harassment Act and are now making a nice little earner from
stamping down on the right to protest. If you wish to find out
more about them see www.lawson-cruttenden.co.uk or if you require
their services phone 020 7405 0833.

For a look at these injunctions see
www.shac.net/MISC/legal/legal.html For more on the campaign
against Bayer's GM crops see: www.stopbayergm.org

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Lucky for Some

Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day, but not for
Simon Chapman and 12 other people arrested at the E.U. summit in
Thessaloniki last June. Last Friday, all 13 defendants had their
charges dropped by the Greek authorities! To add to this good
news, there's also the fact that another 6 arrestees have had
their charges changed from felonies to misdemeanours, and another
8 cases are still under investigation, with hopes running high
that these cases will also be dropped. "This is great news for
some of us," said Simon. "But of the 29 charged as a result of the
21 June insurrection, there remain many brother and sisters under
charges. The actions and benefits must continue: anyone could have
been fucked the way we were...My freedom means nothing without the
freedom of my brothers and sisters. The struggle continues." A
final decision on the remaining 8 could come as early as next
week.

*Benefit night for the prisoners and the animal rights mag
Arkangel Sat 21st at Chats Palace, 49 Brooksbys Walk, Hackney,
East London. 7.30pm - 11pm

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Positive SchNEWS
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre is finally re-opening in
their new community-owned building near the train station. To
celebrate this, a parade has been organised on Saturday, 28th
February starting at 4.30 pm at the old Peace Centre in Gardner
Street and continuing to the new centre in Surrey Street and then
onto the Sallis Benney Theatre. The Centre is looking for more
local campaigning groups to attend - call them 01273 766611
www.bpec.org

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

* Sherwood Forest, Nine Ladies, and Blackwood protest sites are
all still there but still need your help. Get down there and show
the bailiffs what you think of 'em! For more info, see Protest
Camps or call for Blackwood: 07811 948764 / 07708 420446 for Nine
Ladies: 07005 942 212 or for Sherwood: 07050 656410

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Coach-napped

Protesters who were stopped from going to an anti-war
demonstration at RAF Fairford last March won their case in the
High Court yesterday - sort of.

On March 22, 2003, people on three seperate coaches on their way
to Fairford were stopped, searched for two hours, then escorted
back to London. The court ruled that police abused common law and
that the detention was "wholly disproportionate" and awarded costs
against the cops. However, the court did back the police's claim
that they "reasonably and honestly" believed that breaches of the
peace would have occurred if the coaches had reached Fairford.
Breach of the Peace? - er, what about Fairford being the airbase
where B52 bombers took off from in order to bomb the people of
Iraq? www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk


* There'll be speakers from Liberty, Bindmans Solicitors, Amnesty,
Statewatch plus a couple of movies of the coach kidnapping next
Thursday (26) at the School of Oriental & African Studies,
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London. 7pm


* During the anti-war protests at Fairford, cops used the stop and
search powers of the Terrorism Act to carry out 2,132 searches
over a period of just 52 days.

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Inside SchNEWS

French shepherd René Riesel was sentenced to seven months in
December (he hopes to be released in March) after destroying a
Novartis GMO field crop trial as well as sabotaging one of
Novartis's labs. René is an anti-capitalist who has refused to
claim for a presidential pardon and rejects any kind of "support"
from political parties, official unions or reformist groups. You
can send letters (preferably in French!!) to René RIESEL, n°
d'écrou 4612, Maison d'Arrêt, 37 chemin Séjalan, 48000 MENDE,
France.

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Disclaimer
SchNEWS warns all readers...if yer a slave to a supermarket sweep
yer off yer trolley. Honest!

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After a hugely successful night in Southampton last week it's
looking very likely that the SchNEWS tour of the country will go
ahead in April. Once we've got a few more interested groups we'll
try to work out a plan/route etc and get back to everyone who's
mailed us. So, if you're up for hosting a night of SchNEWS related
fun then email tour@schnews.org.uk

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INFORMATION FOR ACTION

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...

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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.

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

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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 - going for £2!! Survival Handbook issues
151-200 - also at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out -
£7; Yearbook 2001 issues 251-300 - bargain £3. 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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