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(en) SchNEWS 461, Friday 2nd July, 2004

From Jo Makepeace <webmaster@schnews.org.uk>
Date Fri, 2 Jul 2004 11:47:53 +0200 (CEST)


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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER BANK TO RIGHTS... SchNEWS
SHUT YOUR CAKE HOLE
"The new global order has condemned people to
death. They don't care if people live or die."
Joseph Stiglitz, The World Bank's former Chief Economist
Sixty years ago this month, Western leaders got together at
Bretton Woods to redesign the world's financial systems, creating
the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Although there is
plenty for them to celebrate, SchNEWS warns readers to read on
before sending them a birthday card.

Whilst the IMF and World Bank lend cash to 'developing' countries
to help them run construction projects and meet budget deficits,
their real role is to ensuring that the international economy is
geared to boosting the profits of Western corporations. By the
1970s troublesome unionised workers in Europe and the US started
making big wage demands to state owned and private sector
companies. Paying to meet the cost of the huge rise in oil prices
in 1973, governments no longer had the cash to meet these demands
and corporations found it harder to increase profits. Solution?
Get rid of the unions, flog off the state companies and relocate
to the Third World where wages were smaller and governments
weren't too fussy about worker and environmental protection.

An example of this philosophy in action was The North American
Free Trade Agreement signed in 1994 between America, Canada and
Mexico. This enabled company bosses to dump 800,000 unionised US
auto workers earning around $17 per hour, in favour of 700,000
Mexican workers on $5 a day. 400,000 of these jobs are now off to
China for $2 a day. Size matters too. Small, local businesses are
no match for the likes of Wal-Mart, Coke and Nike. Home-grown
industries are quickly bought out or pushed aside. With the
competitors out of the frame, international firms then use their
monopoly position to raise prices and profits.

Not that the countries of the South were that cheap, for the
multinationals, at least to start off with. Some governments
subsidised basic necessities like food, health care and housing.
Governments also added tariffs to imports to protect their
farmers. If a US firm exported maize to Mexico, a percentage was
added to the cost to make sure that Mexican grown maize was
cheaper. This helped guarantee a basic wage for farmers and gave
local companies time to develop technologies so they could compete
with international firms: a standard policy followed by all
European and US countries during most of the 20th century.

Most countries in the 'developing' world had their wealth
plundered by Europe during colonial times. Take Bolivia, once the
richest country in Latin America because of its vast silver mines.
The Spanish drained the mines, killing 8 million indigenous people
in the process and now it's the poorest country in mainland Latin
America. With no assets of their own, countries have to borrow
cash, but loans from the World Bank and IMF are conditional upon
countries 'structurally adjusting' their economies. This entails:
cutting wages, axing pensions, social security and workers
benefits and also hacking away at subsidies on food and housing.

There are so many examples of piss poor policy making, greed and
corruption that it's difficult to pick a birthday example, but the
way they sucked the cash out of Argentina is worth a mention. The
country followed the fundamentalism of the 'Washington Consensus',
beginning by 'pegging' the Argentinean currency to the dollar.
This meant that for every Peso spent the government had to have a
dollar to back it up in its coffers. Of course Argentina didn't
have any dollars and needed to borrow, but the banks lending the
cash, thought that doing so was risky business, so they charged
16% interest on such loans.

But the rip off didn't stop there. When the economy looked like it
was about to collapse, the IMF offered the government $20bn in
return for further reducing wages and cutting pensions. Despite
following instructions the Argentineans never got their hands on
the $20bn. It lingered in New York bank vaults and was used to pay
the interest on loans made by firms like Citibank. During the
crisis, poverty in Argentina affected 58% of the population and
over a quarter earned too little even to feed themselves. It total
$130bn left Argentina for Western banks. During each day in 2001,
20,000 Argentineans slid below the poverty line.

BIRTHDAY BASH

Although Citibank lost some $2bn during the Argentinean crisis, it
was but a small blip, with profits rising 36% during 2003 (they
also bunged the US Republican party $4m between 1999 and 2004). Oh
and there's some corruption too. Using a series of "offshore
banks" (which only do business with customers outside the country
where they are licensed), well-connected Argentines laundered
millions of dollars in bribes and drug money through Citibank,
which in turn made little effort to stop them.

Since it got a bashing at its fiftieth birthday celebrations, the
IMF and World Bank have been keen to show how much they've
reformed. But don't believe the hype. As ex World Bank's Chief
Economist Joseph Stiglitz said "I was very naive and I am not
pleased to have discovered a confused world where money takes
priority over the life of people."

Although it says its reports are now released after five years,
instead of thirty, most of the information is in English, and very
little of it translated into the languages spoken by the people
most likely to be affected by a dam, power plant, or road-building
project. Nor does the re-labelling of 'Structural Adjustment
Programs' to 'Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility Programs' hide
the fact that 'poverty reduction' in Nigeria has seen the country
pay over $16bn for an original loan of $5b - and they still owe
another $32 billion!

The World Bank and IMF are used by the powerful financial elite to
carve up the global economy to suit their own needs. Votes are
based on cash, with the G8 countries alone controlling almost half
the votes. The US will not allow its voting power in the IMF to
drop below 15%, which gives it a veto over all key decisions. At
the same time Bush talks about free trade and breaking government
intervention, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002
chucked US farmers a cool $249bn. And don't forget the World Bank
is a bank! It's made a profit every year since it came into
existence - over $3 billion in 2003.

'IMF riots' have often ravaged Latin America's cities from Buenos
Aires to Caracas, leaving hundreds of dead and wounded and losses
of millions of dollars in damaged property. People are supposed to
retire at 60, SchNEWS reckons its time the IMF and World Bank did
just that.

* 60 glorious or notorious years? Saturday 10 July 5-7pm Speakers
include Rudolf Amenga-Etego, winner of this year's Goldman
Environmental Award for his work with the Ghanaian National
Coalition who successfully stopped a $400bn water privatization
project, which was backed by the World Bank.
Discussion organised by the World Development Movement at the
Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London, NW1 2B. 020 7737 6215
www.wdm.org.uk

* 50 years is enough network: www.50years.org

* Joseph Stilgitz "Globalisation and its Discontents" (Penguin)

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Crap Arrest Of Ther Week

For playing paintball!
Three Muslim men have been sentenced to up to life in prison after
the US government accused the men of training for holy war by
playing paintball games in the Virginia woods. Even the sentencing
judge disagreed with the sentences calling them "appalling" and
"draconian" but said she had no choice.
www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/06/16/151233

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SchNEWS In Brief

** `No Comment - the Defendants Guide to Arrest' has been
reprinted - thanks to money from the Met Police! The Met were
recently forced to pay thousands of pounds compensation to people
nicked on an anti-royal demo. Some of that compensation has been
used to reprint the guide. Get your copy by sending an SAE to No
Comment c/o BM Automatic, London, WC1N 3XX - or download it at
www.ldmg.org.uk

** "Life after capitalism?" will be discussed with Michael Albert
from Znet magazine next Saturday (10th) 5 pm, at Room H216, London
School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2
www.radicalactivist.net

** Next Monday (5) there's another chance to catch Banner Theatres
play 'Burning Issues - The Miners 1984-2004' Anne Scargill and
Bridget Bell of Women Against Pit Closures will introduce the
show. It's at the Bedford, 77 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9HD 7.30pm
£10/£6 020 8675 4744 www.bannertheatre.co.uk

** Interested in finding or submitting radical films to a video
library project that can then be distributed free? Then email
mickfuzz@rocketmail.com

** Last Friday protestors arrived at Caterpillar's offices in
Solihull, to continue their demonstration against the company's
sale of bulldozers to Israel. 'The Home Wrecker of The Year'
(SchNEWS 454) award for their contribution to Palestinian misery
was again on offer and once again declined. Eight out of eleven
protestors were nicked on ASBO's www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org

** Nine student protestors from Bangor University were nicked last
weekend after they occupied Beaumaris Castle in protest at war in
the Middle East. The castle last fell to an occupation force in
1646, Parliamentary army!

** This Saturday (3) there's a non-violent Direct Action Training
Day in preparation for demonstrations against Farnborough Airshow.
It's at the London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate Street,
Whitechapel, London E1 1ES. www.londonarc.org The Farnborough
International Airshow takes place 19-25 July and is an important
part of the arms trade calendar with exhibitors including BAE
Systems, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and Boeing. The other face
of Famborough is the weekend public days but as some campaigners
point out "watching the latest fighter jets is not family
entertainment." 020 7281 0297. www.caat.org.uk

** On the 5th July, as Indonesia 'votes' in another despot, West
Papuans are preparing to defy the election, and face a possible
brutal backlash. There will be a demo on this day at the
Indonesian embassy, London in solidarity with West Papua. Meet
12pm, Green Park tube.

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IZETT FAIR?

Alex Izett who was vaccinated nine times in 24 hours in
preparation for the first Gulf War, recently went on 40-day hunger
strike to protest against his treatment over Gulf War Syndrome.
His protests and years of pressure by veterans have been a
catalyst for an independent public inquiry into the causes of Gulf
War Syndrome. Ben Martin of Payday says: "Not only are soldiers
used as cannon-fodder during wars. They are also used as guinea
pigs to test drugs, vaccines and even (as with nuclear bombs and
depleted uranium) the likely lasting effects of weapons. Those who
survive these trials are discarded when they are no longer needed
for fighting or become too ill to fight." Unfortunately Alex
Izett's campaigning has left him skint - if you can help send your
donation to: Payday, PO Box 287, London NW6 5QU, UK or contact 020
7209 4751.

www.lloyd-gwii.com

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ASBOLES!

For the past few years Dave Edwards has been campaigning in Rugby,
against the council over issues like health and safety and
corruption etc. Rugby Council got so fed with his protests they
did what ever caring council does and tried to shut him up and
slapped an Interim Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) on him. Dave
then decided to camp outside the Town Hall and go on hunger
strike. After a few days he was nicked under the Vagrancy Act but
magistrates decided it was not in the public interest for the case
to continue so Dave resumed his position on the council steps.
Last Thursday, Dave was again arrested and charged with breaching
his interim ASBO by causing alarm and distress to an
ex-councillor. Since then, he has been held on remand at
Blakenhurst Prison in Redditch, where he remains on hunger strike.
He would really appreciate letters of support to keep his spirits
up. David Edwards LJ8405, HMP Blakenhurst, Hewell Lane, Redditch,
Worcs. B97 6QS www.thevoiceofthepeople.org.uk

* The Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) trumpeted by the
government to deal with 'yob' culture is now becoming yet another
handy stick with which to beat anyone who wants to protest,
complain too much or just dance in a field. SchNEWS wants to hear
any readers of other examples of ASBO's being used in this way.
Send to the usual address (see bottom of page).

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WOT A SWISS

In June 2003 two people who were blockading a bridge to protest
against the G8 Summit in Evian were almost killed when the Swiss
police cut the rope where they were hanging, causing serious
injuries when they fell 20 meters to the ground. On Tuesday a
court case took place - to prosecute the cops who cut the rope?
Er, no. Instead two of the people taking part in action were found
guilty of endangering the lives of drivers, and received suspended
sentences and court costs!

One of those on trail, Martin Shaw, stated that this case, in
which the police are clearly guilty, provides a microcosm of the
injustice that is replicated worldwide. "This is part of an
attempt to brutalize and intimidate those that resist them.
Peaceful protest is becoming an act of terrorism under new EU
legislation and it is truly terrifying to see the increasing
repression of dissent." www.aubonnebridge.net

* Get ready to welcome the G8 to Scotland next year with Dissent!
who are having a national gathering this weekend (3-4) at the 1 in
12 Club, 21-23 Albion Street, Bradford. To book a place
g8gathering@yahoo.co.uk www.dissent.org.uk

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Constant & Co. Threat

Being kicked off land you own and live on - and having your
dwellings destroyed and concrete obstructions to stop you getting
vehicles onto your own land, or court injunctions to stop you
going on your own land. The reason - officially because you
haven't got planning permission to live there, unofficially -
because you and your way of life are being ethnically cleansed.

This week 40 bailiffs from 'gypsy and squatter eviction
specialists' Constant & Co - with the backup of 50 riot police -
evicted travellers off self-owned land at Bulkington Fields,
Warwickshire. After booting the six families off the land,
Constant destroyed the site with JCBs.

Travellers can't believe that those same bastards - Constant -
were used as bailiffs because they are under investigation for
arson at the violent eviction of the Meadowlands, Chelmsford, site
in January this year. (see SchNEWS 439).

To support other traveller sites under threat there will be a
rally at the Paynes Lane site, in Epping Essex, on August 22nd at
11AM, followed by a convoy visiting other threatened sites around
Essex. After the recent local elections the BNP got three new
seats in the area, putting the travellers under increased
pressure. 01206 523 528

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McJustice?

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary since the start of a battle of
beliefs, between one of the biggest bastards on the planet and two
unemployed anarchists.

It all started in 1990 when McDonalds served libel writs on
members of a small anarchist group called London Greenpeace
(unaffiliated with Greepeace UK). Two of theses activists, Helen
Steel and David Morris, refused to stop distributing the allegedly
libelous leaflet, the infamous, and still circulating, "Whats
Wrong with McDonalds." A David and Goliath marathon match through
the courts began, ending in what has been described as "the worst
Corporate PR disaster in history" for McDonald's.

On June 19th 1997, after a trial lasting 314 days (the longest
libel trial ever in England), Mr. Justice Bell ruled that
McDonald's marketing has "pretended to a positive nutritional
benefit which their food (high in fat & salt etc) did not match";
that McDonald's "exploit children" with their advertising
strategy; are "culpably responsible for animal cruelty"; and "pay
low wages, helping to depress wages in the catering trade."

On March 31st 1999 the Court of Appeal added to those damning
findings. Three Lord Justices ruled that it was fair comment to
say that McDonald's employees worldwide "do badly in terms of pay
and conditions", and true that "if one eats enough McDonald's
food, one's diet may well become high in fat etc., with the very
real risk of heart disease." However the Courts ruled that the
Helen and Dave had still libeled McDonald's over some points and
ordered them to pay £40,000 damages to the $35 billion-dollar
company. The McLibel 2 have refused to pay a penny. The European
Court of Human Rights has now agreed that the trial breached
Article 6 'the right to a fair trial' and Article 10 'right to
freedom of expression.' The case will be heard in full at the
European Court on 7th September 2004.

* For much more on SchNEWS favourite company www.mcspotlight.org

* Recommended reading Eric Schlosser's surprise bestseller 'Fast
Food Nation', (Penguin, 2001)

* Wanna see what happens to the human body after a solid month of
nothing but McDogshits "food"...? www.supersizeme.com

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Positive SchNEWS

The Cowley Club, Brighton's collectively owned radical social
centre, is having a Volunteers Day this Sunday (4th) 12 noon till
5pm. The whole club - from cleaning the bogs, doing the accounts
to serving up pints, is run by volunteers, so if you'd like to get
involved or want to just want to have a nose about how the place
is run, now it's your chance. 12 London Road, Brighton (opposite
Somerfields) www.cowleyclub.org.uk

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..and finally...

A 'state of the art security system' has been er, stolen just days
after it was put in a new business park in Wakefield, Yorkshire.
As if to add insult to injury, two of the business park's
residents include HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Prisons
Service.

Business Homes Director Simon Houlston, who presumably had not yet
really got to grips with the reality that his entire surveillance
set-up had been well and truly nicked, said "This was a seriously
sophisticated system. There are cameras hooked up to a central
office in Blackburn. If the men watching the screens see a burglar
they send a message out on loudspeakers to the office warning them
to leave."

Unfortunately the burglars ignored this amplified deterrent,
although an old lady who lives next door to the Business Park said
she had heard the voice of God "telling her, in a strong
Lancashire accent, to leave the vicinity as soon as possible".

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Disclaimer

SchNEWS warns all readers - don't let them have their cake and eat
it....Honest!

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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...

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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 - email@address.com

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

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

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 - SOLD OUT; Survival Handbook issues 151-200
- a snip at £2; SchQUALL issues 201-250 - almost sold out - £8.50;
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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