A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) SchNEWS Issue 420 Friday 29th August 2003

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 5 Sep 2003 08:39:06 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

Story Links: AGRI-VULTURES | Trips Down Memory Lane |
Crap Arrest of the Week | Positive SchNEWS | Refuse Council |
A Bit DSEi | SchNEWS in Brief | ...and finally... | AGRI-VULTURES
Battle lines being drawn, accusations flying, corporations
spewing propaganda, humanity threatened– it seems
all’s going according to plan for the WTO Ministerial
Meeting that begins in less than two weeks in Cancun, Mexico.
With the arrival of angry peasants, slimey fat cats and
disillusioned Majority World leaders, the meeting seems
destined to fail to achieve anything. So what’s new?
Well, while Western governments seem drunk with
corporate-sponsored ideas of investment
‘agreements’ and trade liberalisation, thousands of
activists, peasants, workers and even Majority World
governments can be heard shouting
‘biocolonialism’, ‘food sovereignty’ and
‘piss off with your subsidies’. 66 out of the
WTO’s 112 Majority World member countries are now
defiantly opposed to discussing any new trade agreements
with the West.

Agriculture and patents have emerged as major stumbling
blocks for any negotiations in Cancun. A few decades ago,
the US threatened to leave the General Agreements on
Trade and Tariffs (GATT) if it couldn’t protect its
agriculture from foreign competition. But by the 1980s US
big business had outgrown its markets and there was a
crisis of overproduction so hey presto! – the US pushed
for the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) which would
supposedly “correct and prevent restrictions and
distortions in world agricultural markets.”

So what happened? The US and the EU kept subsidising
their farmers and protecting their markets with tariffs while
Majority World governments were forced to scrap any such
protective measures. And in rolled all the cheap, subsidised
Western agricultural imports, destroying thousands of
Majority World farmers. In the US, Dubya pushed through
the Farm Security Act of 2001 which gave $170 billion over
10 years to mainly corporate farmers in the US while
throughout the West prohibitive tariffs were raised against
agricultural imports from the Majority World. Correcting
distortions in the world agricultural market huh?

Thanks to subsidies EU sugar processors receive a
guaranteed price three times that on the world market. The
EU is the world’s biggest exporter of white sugar as
export prices are only a quarter of production costs. In 2001
the EU exported thousands of tonnes of white sugar to
Algeria and Nigeria which are both natural export markets
for African producers like Mozambique. The only problem is
poor Mozambique can’t compete with subsidised EU
sugar. Similarly, in Mexico thousands of campesinos have
failed to compete with floods of subsidised US corn and
have been forced into poverty, sweatshops or dangerous
US border-crossing in search of work. The distortion never

Trips Down Memory Lane

“Americans taking out a patent on basmati rice is like
Indians taking out a patent on fat Bon Jovi fans with
mullets” – comedian Rob Newman

Patents are another favourite Western tool to distort world
trade. They thought they’d trip up the Majority World
with some more confusing initials: TRIPS, the Agreement
on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, a
protectionist WTO agreement fiercely contested by
Majority World governments. TRIPS was aggressively
campaigned for by the US - it guarantees protection of
patents for a minimum of 20 years and according to
watchdog writer Aziz Choudry it’s the “ideal means
to make all WTO member countries comply with a standard
set of laws which legally protect the technological
monopoly of transnational corporations… which own most

TRIPS goes hand in hand with WTO attempts to liberalise
agricultural trade and expand multinational
corporations’ control over food and biodiversity. In
order to enforce this, the US throws its weight around
saying that countries that fail to adopt patent protecting
laws are engaging in ‘unfair trading practice’ and
may be subject to trade sanctions. Funnily enough, Western
corporations plundering the biodiversity and indigenous
knowledge of the Majority World doesn’t qualify as
unfair in the WTO dictionary. In a new twist of
‘biocolonialism’, seedy seed corporations like
Monsanto are nicking the innovations of small farmers and
indigenous peoples, patenting the seeds and forcing those
same small farmers to buy back the seeds.
Asia produces over 90 per cent of the world’s rice and
these rice sales make up to half of Asia’s farm
incomes. There are more than 140,000 different varieties of
rice that small farmers in Asia have collectively cultivated
over generations without needing to perform any
patent-theft. The continent consumes a third of the
world’s agricultural seed but accounts for less than a
quarter of the $30 billion annual commercial seed market.
So corporate fat cats rub their grubby hands – Asia is a
‘potential market’! The seedy corporations aim is
simple: most seed patents are owned by just six seed
corporations which coincidentally also happen to be the
world’s largest pesticide corporations. Through patents,
seed companies can stop farmers from sharing or saving
seed, control what pesticides they use and can even claim
ownership over the harvest.

Bloody marvellous! Land custodians become slaves and
corporations become the new colonial masters.
In India, basmati rice exports were worth over $400 million
in 1998-99. Then RiceTec Inc, a Texas-based corporation,
waltzes in and wins a US patent on basmati rice. This
corporate theft seriously endangers the livelihoods of
thousands of Asian farmers. “The US is complaining
about bootleg music cassettes in Thailand while
simultaneously robbing our farmers’ knowledge and
heritage,” said one irate Thai farmer.

So is the WTO meeting gonna put an end to Western
protectionism and patents on life? Course not. The EU
recently muttered something about major reform of its
agricultural policy and then proceeded to pump millions
more into agricultural subsidies. Obviously the corporate
farming and agri-business lobby is too powerful for our
‘leaders’ to overcome. But then distant leaders
aren’t gonna change things, people at the grassroots
are, with ideas and action. Ideas such as ‘food
sovereignty’ and ‘sustainable agriculture’ are
growing in a world of profit-driven, corporate controlled
agriculture. This is what floods of Thai and Indian
protesters have been demanding in the streets of South
Asia. This is what 100 000 campesinos screamed for when
they marched through Mexico City in January. These ideas
are also being planted in soils all over the world.

One example is MASIPAG, a community-managed rice and
veggie project in the Philippines. Nearly 600 farmer-bred
lines and 75 varieties of rice are grown and are further
improved by more than 10 000 small scale farmers. Another
example is the ‘New Agriculture’ Movement in
Bangladesh where farmers cultivate hundreds of different
rice varieties using innovative indigenous methods and
succeed in getting bumper harvests. In a world of industrial
agriculture, sustainable agriculture is both a real possibility
and a vital alternative: local farmers empower themselves
by controlling land and decision-making power; small scale,
indigenous practices are privileged; crop rotation
encouraged and fertiliser and pesticides avoided.

But in order for local, sustainable agriculture to be
empowered we need a sustained growth of people power to
fight institutions like the WTO which are drunk with myths
of environment-destroying, corporate controlled agriculture.
Cancun anyone?

See www.zmag.org/WTO.pdf
Crap Arrest of the Week

For spitting a plum stone onto a road
Yiannis Tassos, a Greek farmer, was driving near the
northern city of Serres, happily munching on some plums
that he grew. After spitting a plum stone out of his window
he was stopped by an over zealous traffic cop (over
zealous cops in Greece – never.) Even after apologising
three times for this ‘offence’ the cop fined him
£55, deducted three points from his license and he has to
go to court in October charged with littering. Sounds plum
stupid to us!
Positive SchNEWS

Everyone except the flat earth society knows climate
change is happening, so instead of more doom and gloom
facts and figures we thought we’d include a few
positive stories of people getting off their backsides and
making a difference…

Two wind turbines are to be installed at the University of
East Anglia (UEA), which will generate more than enough
power for the whole campus, with the surplus being sold
back to the National Grid. This is part of a broader project,
Cred, (The Community Carbon Reduction Project) set up at
UEA to reach the government’s target of reducing
carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, but in half the time.

The UEA is running courses and meetings open to the
whole community offering support and advice about DIY
low impact energy - such as how to make solar cells that
you strap to your roof to provide hot water. Cred 01603
592836 www.cred-uk.org

Meanwhile, Nidderdale High School and Community
College in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire is the third and
largest school in the UK to install its own wind turbine. The
turbine generates enough clean, sustainable energy to
provide 15-20% of the school’s needs - as well as
dropping the fuel bill.

A turbine at Cassop Primary School in County Durham has
been in operation since 1999 and provides twice the
school’s electricity, with surplus going back to the Grid,
and the school is also setting up an environment centre.
Furthermore, Catchgate School in County Durham powers
itself completely with its own turbine. If a few schools can
do it - what about the rest of us! These projects show that
climate change can be tackled in a grass-roots, community
way, and that these systems need to become commonplace.

Climate change campaigners Rising Tide have just launched
a CD ROM manual on how to turn your home into a low
energy ecohouse. It contains a virtual tour of their own low
energy showhouse, articles, briefings on all aspects of
eco-design. Some of this material is already on the web at
www.theyellowhouse.info. The CD costs £12.50 (cheques
payable to the Climate Outreach and Information Network)
from 16 B Cherwell St., Oxford OX4 4BL.

To receive Rising Tide’s informative monthly
newsletter send a blank email to:

* Last Thursday Daniel Blackburn became the first person
to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats fuelled
by vegetable oil www.vegoilmotoring.com

* This Saturday (30th) MERCi Manchester’s only
Centre for Sustainable Living is having an Open Day.
12-3pm, Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats. Solar
powered DJ workshop, gardeners corner, scrap art
workshop, bike maintenance workshops & nature walk, and
stuff for kids. 0161 273 1736 or www.bridge-5.org/
Refuse Council

Asylum seekers have been camped outside Refugee
Council HQ in London since the beginning of the month
protesting against Section 55 of the Nationality,
Immigration and Asylum Act which says if you don’t
claim asylum as soon as you arrive in Britain you won’t
receive any help whatsoever from the state.

The refugees from such ‘safe’ places as the Congo,
Liberia, Palestine and Sudan, were evicted from their rooms
because they didn’t apply for asylum in a
“reasonable and practical time” even though many
applied within one or two days of arriving. “We stayed
together and slept outside the Refugee Council. They told
us it was illegal for them to help us, even though Refugee
Council’s duty is to represent and care for refugees.
We were left with no food, no mats or blankets, no
information about our cases, and no medical care. We got
cardboard to sleep on. Local people urged Social Services
to give temporary housing to some of us who were sick.
Local Mosques and churches particularly helped with
emergency floor space.”

The Refugee Council hasn’t been as accommodating,
with security staff hassling refugees and asking the local
council to remove gifts given by well-wishers! Not
surprising really as the Refugee Council has received £60
million to implement Section 55! “We are denied all we
need to rebuild our lives. We are fleeing persecution, war,
genocide, torture, ill treatment, and discrimination. We are
stamped like animals, labelled, treated with mistrust so that
no one believes anything we say. You are not treated as a
person, but as a number. When we go to Refugee Council
they don’t ask our names but say, “Are you Section
Other refugees and sympathisers can join the protests
6-8pm every day Bellefields Rd, behind Refugee Council in
Brixton, SW9.

* In late July judges ruled that applying Section 55 is
“inhumane and degrading treatment and violates the
Human Rights Convention”. On Wednesday the
government lost its appeal against the decision although the
judges said they could see no reason why the new
regulations could not work effectively once a few changes
had been made.

* Help scrap the inhuman “Section 55”
Legal Action for Women 020 7482 2496

* Four asylum seekers inside after the Yarlswood trails
(see last weeks SchNEWS) would love to receive letters
of support. They are Henry Momadou KW6755, Behar
Limani EM9849 and Aliane Ahmed HE5354 all at HMP
Wormwood Scrubs, PO Box 757, Du Cane Road, Acton,
London, W12 0AE and Naseem Mostaffa HF5951, HMP
Lindholme, Bawtry Road, Hatfield, Woodhouse, Doncaster,
DN7 6EE.
A Bit DSEi

London is preparing for Europe’s largest arms fair,
Defence Systems Equipment international (DSEi) –
with British tax payers financing the protection of arms
dealers who’ll be busy shopping for weapons, fighter
aircraft, bombs and landmines.

Police have confirmed that 1,600 uniformed officers will be
protecting the arms dealers every day from 6-12 September.
Policing will cost £1m and at no cost to the exhibitors.

The government already subsidises the arms business with
a generous £763m a year, allowing the export of weapons
to countries with records of sustained human rights abuses,
such as Turkey and Indonesia, and often encourages arms
supplies to both sides in areas of conflict, such as India and

* For more information on transport or if you are organising
transport yourself and need to fill some empty seats
contact www.dsei.org or call 07817 652029

* There’s a picket outside Spearhead Exhibitions, the
organisers of DSEi, next Wednesday (3) 12 noon at their
HQ in Apex Tower, New Malden, Surrey near New Malden
train station 020 7607 3616 london_yscnd@yahoo.co.uk

* CND are having a free festie peace party on 14
September with everything from the Wango’s music
stage to the Big Sexy Festy Party – and, of course,
SchNEWS. It’s at Victoria Park, London noon till
7.30pm 0207 700 2393 www.cnduk.org
SchNEWS in brief

* The Bilston Glen Anti Bypass Site outside Edinburgh
needs more visitors. To entice you they’ve organised a
Budefest for 6-8th Sept promising 3 days of riotous punk
and on 27-28 September there’s a work/action weekend.
The planned road will destroy a local wood and is a private
project backed by companies such as Biotech, famous for
cloning sheep. For directions call 07986 632 429
* The legal battle continues against £38 million
Barnstaple Western Bypass and Downstream Bridge
scheme funded by Devon County Council. The road will
wreck a wildlife-rich area made famous in Tarka the Otter
and is in contravention of European legislation on nature
conservation, specifically the Birds Directive. To keep up to
date with developments 01769 550909,
* Yesterday morning people from Rising Tide occupied
the offices of the Export Credits Guarantee Department
Offices to protest against their likely funding of the
Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline. For more about the project get a
copy of ‘Oil be Damned’. Just send a VHS-sized
SAE to London Rising Tide, c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London
E1 1ES london@risingtide.org.uk
* Schwoops – the new squatted social centre we
mentioned last week is in Newtown, New South Wales
Australia and not…er Wales. http://sydney.indymedia.org/
* The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior is due to
arrive in Iceland in two weeks to join local groups in protest
against resumed whale hunting which the Icelandic
government tries to justify on “scientific” grounds.
Tel. 0207 8658100 www.greenpeace.org
* Donations of radical books, fanzines, videos etc in any
language are wanted for a new social centre being set up in
Prilep, Macedonia. Send stuff to Goran, Tocila 2, E1 2/6,
7500 Prilep, Macedonia or email subverzija@mail.com for
more info
* Is Small Beautiful? A one-day conference is held next
Wednesday (3) with discussions on everything from bio
and nano technology, corporate power to ‘can
globalization be good for you?’ It’s at Regent’s
College Conference Centre, Regent’s Park, London
(Baker Street tube) 9.30am - 5pm Tickets are £30 to book
call 0800 389 1624
* Twenty demonstrators were injured in Tegucigalpa,
Honduras on Tuesday when protests escalated against the
government’s efforts to secure a £637m loan from the
International Monetary Fund. The loan comes with demands
for the privatisation of drinking water facilities and
wage-freezes for doctors and teachers.

...and finally...

The BBC Radio 4’s infamous Today programme has
signed up the former Secretary of State for International
Development Clare Short to report on the coming World
Trade Organisation talks in Mexico. Short is no friend of the
protester declaring at the failed WTO talks in Seattle, four
years ago: “[They are] misguided, white, middle-class
activists”. At Genoa she reckoned that “the money
people spend coming from the rich world to protest on
behalf of the poor could be directed into doing more in the
developing world.” And at Doha she came out with the
corker that “the demonstrators’ demands are very
similar to those of Bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.”
SchNEWS can’t wait to hear what short snappy sound
bites she’ll come up with to call the hundreds of
thousands of poor peasant and urban protesters who are
planning to demonstrate against the WTO. No doubt
it’ll be traditionally unbiased.

SchNEWS warns all readers not to take any bad trips.

SchNEWS Annuals

Annual 2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p

* SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
* SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £3.70 inc.
* SchNEWS Survival Guide issues 151 - 200 and a whole
lot more £3.70 inc. postage
* The SchQUALL book at only £6 + £1.70 p&p.
* SchNEWS and SQUALL’s YEARBOOK 2001. 300
pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £3 +
£1.70 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or
your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 4 3.
* SchNEWS Of The World issues 301 - 350. 300 more
pages of adventures from the direct action frontline. £7 +
£1.50 p&p. You can order the book from a bookshop or
your library, quote the ISBN 09529748 6X

In the UK you can get SchNEWS Annual, Survival
Handbook, Yearbook 2001 and SchNEWS of the World for
just £15 inc p&p.

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above

If you can help distribute the new book by taking a few
boxes from Brighton or East London round the country, call
the office and ask for John, Thanks.

In addition to 50 issues of SchNEWS, each book contains
articles, photos, cartoons, subverts, a “yellow
pages” list of contacts, comedy etc.

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!

****** The A-Infos News Service ******
News about and of interest to anarchists
INFO: http://ainfos.ca/org http://ainfos.ca/org/faq.html
HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
SUBSCRIPTION: send mail to lists@ainfos.ca with command in
body of mail "subscribe (or unsubscribe) listname your@address".

Full list of list options at http://www.ainfos.ca/options.html

A-Infos Information Center