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(en) SchNEWS, #423 Friday 19th September 2003

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 27 Sep 2003 11:28:05 +0200 (CEST)

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FLUSHED DOWN THE CAN-CUN: “I am crying out my words to you, that have for so long boiled
in my body... My warning goes out to all citizens that human
beings are in an endangered situation. That uncontrolled
multinational corporations and a small number of big WTO
Members are leading an undesirable globalization that is
inhumane, environmentally degrading, farmer-killing, and
undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately.” - 56-year-old
Korean farmer Lee Kyung-hae, who took his life in Cancun.

Outside thousands were pulling down the fences. Inside the
poorer countries from the majority world (the so-called third
world) were coming together to demand a better deal. By Sunday
afternoon the talks at the fifth ministerial of the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) in Cancun, Mexico had collapsed. “You
are small fish in a big pond. You eat when the big fish decide”
Pascal Lamy, the EU Commisioner for Trade, informed the Africa,
Caribbean and the Pacific Group. But this time the small fish
weren’t biting the bait.

In the WTO’s ideal world there would be two kinds of
agriculture systems - the rich countries would produce staple
foods for the world’s 6 billion plus people, and majority world
countries would mainly grow cash crops like tomatoes, cut
flowers, strawberries and vegetables to export to the west. The
money that majority world countries would earn from exporting
these crops would eventually be used to buy foodgrains from the
west. And guess what? The poorer nations would be unable to
feed themselves and would be forever dependent on the west not
just for patented seeds, patented medicines and patented
technology but also for much of its staple food. Food sovereignty?
Forget it!

Previous WTO negotiations were always characterized by the US
and the EU isolating poorer countries and forcing through
one-sided agreements that benefit western investment and
corporations. But this time the G22 (a group of African, Asian and
South American countries), in coalition with an African bloc,
stood firm, refusing to budge until the question of the west’s
unfair agricultural subsidies was dealt with. Nearly seventy other
nations in addition to the G22 refused to sign the final US and
EU-written accord in Cancun. When the WTO decided to address
western issues of investment and competition instead of
agriculture it was the final straw and the talks collapsed.

Outside of the WTO fortress the thousands ripping down fences,
running the eco-village, holding alternative conferences and
spreading the news were also playing their part. According to
Peter Muchoki Njorage, Deputy Commisioner for Kenya’s
Ministry of Finance and Planning, “Sometimes we think we
are going mad. They bully us, play with our minds and tell us that
we don’t understand. But what you, Civil Society, do reminds
us that we are right, that we are not going mad. Your actions are
very important.”

One chuffed fence puller described the scene to SchNEWS
“With the Interminable Noise Machine grinding out their Mad
Max battle calls in the Caribbean humidity, the slack is taken up
on hundreds of yards of rope, an instruction is shouted, and three
hundred people go to work. The four metre wide three metre high
metal barrier, separating the protesters from the WTO delegates
finally gives way and for the second time in four days the
barricades are breached. The team made up of hardened Mexican
students, campesinos from Chiapas and Black Block anarchists is
organised and lead by Korean farmers. Meanwhile hundreds of
women methodically bolt crop and hammer their way through other
sections of the fence and news filters through that members of
Korean Civil Society have succeeded in entering the ministerial
conference centre.”
Despite all the deceptive words and oppressive security a few
thousand protestors took part in a flood of guerrilla actions and
demonstrations over the four day arms fair. The police
spokesperson, Greg Pig Trotters, said their operation was
“very patient, very sensitive and very low key” - but this
came as news to the people of Newham - the borough where the
ExCeL exhibition centre is based - who witnessed the biggest
ever police operation in the area. As one of the poorest boroughs
in London, Newham locals called for the arms fair to be cancelled
and would prefer the £1+ million spent on policing DSEito be
channelled into regenerating their neighbourhoods.

On A Knife-Edge

56-year-old Korean farmer Lee Kyung-hae was among the group
of about 150 Koreans in the frontline, pulling down the security
fences. Climbing to the top of the fence, Lee turned to his
compatriots and said: “Don’t worry about me, just struggle
your hardest.” He then stabbed himself in the chest with a
knife hoping to focus the world’s attention on the hidden
misery of what the World Trade Organisation really means to

Lee Kyung-hae had always dreamed of revitalising farming in his
hometown and returned from agriculturalcollege in 1974 to put his
ideas into practice turning a patch of harsh mountain land into a
thriving farm. Seoul Farm became a teaching college and in 1988
he received a UN award for rural leadership. The Lees, now with
three daughters, were prospering. The herd had expanded to 300
cattle and the fame of the charismatic farm leader who had
mastered a hostile land was growing. But then Korea was flooded
with foreign imports and he was ruined. Koreans are up to their
necks in debt and with the US and EU subsidising agribusiness at
$1 billion per day imported rice has been wiping out formerly
self-sufficient Korean farmers. In Lee’s town the population
has almost halved while farmers commit suicide or run off in the
middle of the night because they cannot make their interest
repayments. One of Lee’s sisters said the collapse of his farm
prompted him to throw himself with more fury into organising
unions, influencing government policy and opposing trade

One Korean farmer told SchNEWS “It is very difficult for
Western people to understand what he did. In Korean history if
people want to show their strong will, they sometimes give their
lives. Now more and more people think the WTO is a very bad
thing and needs to be protested against. What he did is like a
burning candle. He had to sacrifice himself to make the world
shine.” Han Gyuha a town official added, “Lee knew the
Korean countryside is slowly dying, that farmers are living lonely,
miserable lives. He wanted to tell the world. That is why he
sacrificed himself and that is why we call him a hero.”

Lee’s sacrifice helped focus the world on the plight of the
poor suffocating under the belly of a corporate-stuffed WTO. The
collapse of the talks is undoubtedly a victory for the new unity of
the majority world but it will come under increasing strain in the
coming months with the US and the EU resorting to ‘divide
and rule’ tactics - picking off individual countries for bilateral
and regional trade deals. It’s also true that G22 countries
such as India, Brasil and China don’t have a common
negotiating position. However, united as 22 countries plus the 70
other states that supported them the majority world countries
have the possibility of wringing out concessions from the west,
using a combined threat of non-payment of their foreign debts.
This victory wouldn’t have happened without the grassroots
global justice movement – written off after September 11 –
as it intelligently mobilised worldwide against two sides of the
same dollar coin – capitalist war and capitalist economics.
Cancun represented the wonderful diversity of this movement
– campesinos and US anarchists opposing the talks of the
power-drunk, while proposing their own empowering alternatives
– from the Zapatista’s radical municipalities to the New
Agriculture movement in Bangladesh. And this movement
doesn’t put all its faith in detached representatives. It will be
there in force when America hosts the Free Trade Agreement of
the Americas in December.

* More info: www.cancun.indymedia.org www.cascadiamedia.org
No of delegates in Cancun
European Union



One SchNEWS scribe got to Cancun – here are a couple of
quick interviews he managed in between pulling down fences and
sampling the local tear gas.

SchNEWS: What does the WTO mean to you?
S. Korean farmer: WTO means the colonisation of the Third
World. That means the US trying to dominate all Third World
Countries. Their strategy is one of colonisation through opening up
the market. I’ve been a farmer for fifteen years. When I
started there were 10 million farmers but now there are only 3
million of us as a result of this ‘openness’. This spells the
death of all South Korean farmers.
Sch: Why only 3 million now?
Farmer: First, our revenues are getting lower and lower. Second,
we cannot afford health and education so many farmers are
leaving for the city to try and earn enough money to survive. Third,
Korean farmers have very little land compared to US farmers, so
we cannot compete. In this situation the Korean government is
trying to open the market more and more and free up competition.
The government is not interested in the lives of small farmers.
They are just interested in corporate companies.
Sch: What do you think of bio-technology?
Farmer: The US already dominates the seed industry, if TRIPS* is
completed then their power will be strengthened. There is a new
kind of rice, ‘Reunification Rice’ made in the Philippines
supported by the US. Before this arrived, we farmers didn’t
use fertiliser. Now we have been led to believe that we have to
use them. I think this is very bad for us and for the land. The land
is becoming very infertile and very acidic after using these
products. The US built a fertiliser factory in Korea and the
farmers use their products. Many believe we have no choice even
though we can see we are killing our land. In the past we thought
the US was a good country and helped us because they built the
fertiliser factory but we don’t think this now. All the profits
leave Korea for the US.

Our masked-up geezer also spoke to a Mexican campesino/farmer
from the Chiapas region.
Sch: What do you grow?
Campesino: Maize, beans and coffee.
Sch: How does the WTO affect you?
Campesino: The WTO is pushing prices down. The market is now
flooded with cheap GM maize so I don’t have anywhere to
sell my produce. Now I only grow maize for my family and my one
pig. Likewise the beans I grow now are just for us. My main
production used to be coffee. In 1994 I received 35 Pesos per Kilo
and now it is only worth 5 Pesos. Then 95% of Mexico’s
coffee consumption was home grown but now it is down to 45%
due to people buying cheap imported coffee. There is a big
problem with the US border. Many campesinos cannot survive
here so try to cross the border to find work but are shot and never
return. Their deaths are not reported. There is little alternative
work here and everything is getting more expensive like soap and
clothes. It is very hard for me to look after my family. Since 2002
the Mexican government have been moving people out of my
region to flood the land and build hydroelectric power stations.
The electricity is used by US corporate companies here and in the
Sch: What do you think of bio-technology and TRIPS*?
Campesino: They are selling GM food and many people are getting
ill in our communities. People are conned into using insecticides
on the land and this is poisoning them. I have always grown
organically and the land is rich and fertile. I see no reason for
using fertilisers and insecticides in Chiapas. Before 1994 the
coffee I grew was enough to look after my family now we are
struggling to survive.
Sch: Who do you think benefits from the WTO?
Campesino: Capitalists from the US, The World Bank and the
Banco de Desarollo Interamericana (Development Bank).

* WTO Vocab Watch: TRIPS - Trade Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (see SchNEWS 420) a US-pushed
‘agreement’ which has seen corporations patenting
everything from indigenous peoples’ rice seeds to
publicly-funded AIDS drugs and then demanding absurd prices
from the people it ripped off in the first place.

* ‘Colludo - whodunit to the World’s Poor?’ World
Development Movement and Jubilee Debt Campaign Debt
Speaker Tour 11-22 _ October with Demba Dembele, director of
the Forum for African Alternatives
www.wdm.org.uk/campaign/debttour.htm for details.

So you’re about to get evicted, eh? Some fat cat developer
wants to turn your cozy home into yet another concrete mountain
full of soulless, yuppie boxes. Or perhaps the local
Sainsbury’s wants to demolish your house in favour of yet
another parking lot for it’s 19th store in town. Or maybe the
powers that be have decided to evict you from the ancient stone
village where your family has been living for hundreds of years so
that they can cover the whole thing in… water. As absurd as it
sounds, this last scenario is exactly what’s happening to
people in the Irati valley, located in the Navarra district of the
Basque Country.

The construction of a mega dam in the Irati valley, conceived of
back in the days of Franco’s rule, has been fought by local
residents for decades. In 1993, against waves of protest, the
construction of the dam began, but the resistance did not stop
there. Over the past ten years, activists and local residents have
fought against the Itoiz Dam, cutting cables for concrete mixers
and staging frequent demos. Despite all this, the dam is now
complete - a dam which will create the Navarra Canal, covering
the Irati valley and its ancient villages in an ocean of water and
destroying an area of natural beauty and ecological importance…
not to mention that most of the water taken from the canal will be
wasted on golf courses and luxury resorts in the South of Spain.

This past June, the eviction of the soon-to-be-submerged villages
began, with Itoiz, being the first to go. Residents and supporters
did not accept their watery grave in silence, however, staging a
three-day fight with the Spanish police in an attempt to defend the
village. Now yet another village is facing a similar fate, and
activists and local residents are preparing themselves for another
fight. The village of Artozki was scheduled for eviction this past
Monday (15), but so far, the brute squad hasn’t made its
appearance. Now looking at the possibility of a longer occupation
than they had first planned on, activists are calling for
reinforcements!! Stage a demo at your local Spanish embassy or
consulate, or better yet, help to fight the evictions in person!!
(What better excuse do you need for a spontaneous holiday to
Spain??) For more info, email powerfullysmall@yahoo.co.uk or
visit www.sositoiz.com or


Bayer Cropscience is the biggest player in the GM crops market.
Out of 11 GM crops that can be potentially planted commercially,
Bayer owns 9 and two of these could be introduced as early as
Spring 2004, opening the floodgates to the growing of GM crops in

To oppose this a national umbrella campaign has been set up, the
aim is to make the growing of GM crops commercially unviable for
Bayer. Already actions have taken place against the corporation
with their Head Offices being invaded and conferences they
attend disrupted.

September 25th is a national day of action against Bayer
Cropscience and groups and individuals are urged to target them
that day. A list of Bayer’s offices can be found on the
campaign website. If you can’t get to any demos then on the
day of action let Bayer know what you think about their
involvement in GM crops. Phone them on 01223 870312, or fax
01223 872142 or email ukinfo@bayercropscience.com.

If you are an employee of Bayer or have any dirt on them get in
contact with the campaign: 07092 036576 www.stopbayergm.org

For more detailed info on Bayer see

SchNEWS in Brief

* Project Censored have released their annual list of the top 25
censored stories in the US, number one spot going to “The
Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance” (see SchNEWS
387). www.projectcensored.org
* Talking of the Neo conservative plan Halliburton was
awarded a $1 billion contract to rebuild Iraq’s oil wells.
Vice-President Dick Cheney used to be the Chief Executive of
Halliburton (SchNEWS 399), it has emerged that Cheney has
received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Halliburton since
becoming the vice-president. Bingo!
* The Tribes and Tribulations Film Festival looks at ancient
tribal people and how they have suffered under governments and
multinational corporations. 27-28 September at the Dogstar,
Brixton. Details, tickets and webstream:
* We Interrupt this Empire a video about the San Francisco
actions against the War on Iraq, at the Cowley Club, London
Road, Brighton. Mon 22nd 7pm. Free.
* From Ecuador to Edinburgh: An evening of stories of
resistance with two Ecuadorian activists talking about the effects
of oil exploitation on their country. 7.30pm Weds 24th at New
Dalry House, 15 Orwell Place, Edinburgh.
* 73 police, jail and medical staff have been charged over the
raid on the Diaz School and subsequent detention following the
protests against the G8 summit in Genoa, 2001 (SchNEWS
314/5). The raid on the School saw 93 protesters arrested and
many hospitalized, the police planted Molotov cocktails and even
faked a stabbing of one of their own to justify the violent raid.
* ‘The Role and Effect of Advertising’ meeting, Tues
23rd Phoenix Millennium Centre corner of Vincent Rd and West
Green Rd, Haringey 020 8374 5027.

...and finally...

Cancun again and four of the earth’s poorest nations - Burkina
Faso, Mali, Chad and Benin – are asking Washington to slash
its cotton subsidies. In 2001, the 25,000 US cotton growers
received nearly $4 billion in subsidies for producing a cotton crop
that was worth only $3 billion. In one sickening example an
Arkansas cotton grower received $6 million, equal to the
combined annual earnings of 25,000 cotton farmers in Mali. So did
the WTO take action against the US? Not a cotton-picking
chance. “Create a bigger demand for t-shirts,” sneered one

SchNEWS warns all readers Cancun tsars here we do the
Can-Can, we just need more ball room. Honest!

SchNEWS Annuals

2003 - £8 + £1.70 p&p

* SchNEWS Round issues 51 - 100 Sold out - Sorry
* SchNEWS Annual issues 101 - 150 £3.70 inc. postage.
* 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

(US Postage £6.00 for individual books, £13 for above offer).

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
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for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is
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SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 0EF, England
Phone/Fax: +44 (0)1273 685913
email: schnews@brighton.co.uk

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