1. More protests in NZ
2. Halt terror against the earth
3. OPPOSITION FAIL TO SEE CHIEF MINISTER'S VISION' ON BIOTECH PARK
4. Alliance formed to fight economic terrorism
1. More protests in NZ
The Dominion (Wellington) October 8, 2001
SPELLING IT OUT
More than 1000 Wellingtonians took their place in Civic Square on Saturday to spell out their feelings on genetic engineering. People also signed petitions, listened to speeches and music, and sampled the world's longest GE-free sandwich, 64.5 metres long and specially baked for the event. Similar protests were staged in 20 centres around New Zealand. A hikoi from Kaitaia supporting a GE ban arrived in Auckland to join actions there. It will continue to Wellington. Capital GE-Free spokesman Edwin Dando said public concern over genetic engineering could not be underestimated. "Many New Zealanders want GE kept in the lab," he said. "This keeps it where it can be managed and where it can contribute to science and the economy without contaminating the environment and threatening exports." The Government is expected to announce a decision on New Zealand's GE status in three weeks.
2. 'HALT TERROR AGAINST THE EARTH'
NEW DELHI, OCT. 4. The Maharashtra Government has reportedly given the rights to a lake - which hitherto was the community resource and a source of livelihood for the local population - to the soft drinks giant, Coca Cola, for running one of its several bottling plants in the country. This is an extension of 'water wars' and a classic case of 'environmental terrorism' where the State Government has unilaterally decided to privatise peoples' resources and hand them over to multinational corporations for private gain even though the State is a trustee and not an absolute owner of natural resources, which belong to the people. This is not an isolated case.
Globalisation is allowing a handful of corporations such as Cargill and Vivendi to own and control public land and water through contract farming, privatisation and commodification of resources. Corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta and Novartis are pirating and trying to own and control our biodiversity, food, medicinal plants and knowledge through patents and IPR claims such as the neem patents, basmati and other rice patents. It may sound weird but with the September 11 attacks in the U.S fresh in mind and the threat of a war looming large, 'environmental terrorism' too is catching up fast as a threat which can no longer be ignored. Global environmental experts are of the opinion that military action is actually "not the appropriate response to the violence of terrorism today".
Rather, military action threatens innocent lives and exacerbates social and environmental crises. "Yet, the finer points seem to be escaping everybody's attention.
Many ongoing conflicts in the world are over natural resources and it is time to halt the violence against the earth," Mr. Simon Retallack of "The Ecologist", London, told The Hindu here. In town with several other leading international environment experts for a meeting on "Globalisation, environment and peoples' survival", Mr. Retallack said it was essential to break out of the cycle of violence and chart out a blueprint for peace and survival. "Environmental sustainability and planetary health cannot be achieved with the current economic paradigm," he said, citing several global conflicts over natural resources such as oil in the Middle East and Central Asia, diamonds in Sierre Leone, land in Chiapas, Mexico.
"Globalisation is pushing the earth and its people to a breaking point and environmental terrorism is threatening the very survival of every species," he warned. His views were echoed by a Canadian environment lawyer, Mr. Steve Shrybman: "Globalisation is pushing States to become police states for extinguishing peoples' rights and usurping their resources. International trade treaties are destroying environment and it is time people realise that it is not a frivolous debate."
"Economic globalisation is creating environmental violence," Ms. Debi Barker, co-director, International Forum on Globalisation, U.S., said. "We need people to defend natural resources or else all vital resources will be monopolised by a handful of global corporations supported by the WTO rules and IMF-World Bank conditionalities," she stressed. It is in this backdrop that the environmentalists are now fighting for new concepts like "earth democracy" and "earth citizenship".
"We are involved with human democracy and have tried to stop racism, sexism and all other kinds of discrimination, but are not dealing with specism," said Mr. Satish Kumar, founder- editor of London-based "Resurgence". "Trees, mountains and rivers are also citizens of the earth and have every right to live integrally with a healthy ecosystem. Peoples' rights to such natural resources are natural rights and cannot be reassigned or taken away by the State," he said.
3. OPPN FAIL TO SEE CM'S VISION' ON BIOTECH PARK The Times of India
October 9, 2001 [shortened]
BANGALORE: The controversy over the Karnataka government's proposed biotech park shows further signs of snowballing, with opposition party leaders questioning Chief Minister S.M. Krishna's long-term vision'' on the issue. Reacting to Krishna's latest statement unilaterally rejecting the University of Agriculture Sciences' (UAS) offer of 31 acres for the BT park, opposition leaders on Monday told The Times of India that neither the CM nor those promoting the park had any clear idea about it. The CM, the agriculture minister, the IT secretary and the UAS Vice-Chancellor have each come up with a different statement. What are we to believe about this (ad)venture?'' Legislative Council opposition leader K.H. Srinivasa JD(S) wanted to know. Srinivasa said no practical assessment had been made about the extent of landneeded to host such a park. If the CM wanted to ape Andhra Pradesh CM N.
Chandrababu Naidu and have a 500-1000 acre park, he should have at least sent a team to find out what Naidu has actually done there. Otherwise, why limit the park to 1,000 acres? Why not 3,000 acres or all the acreage available in and around Bangalore?'' he asked. Srinivasa regretted that Krishna had considered the unruly events leading to the shifting of the BT park out of the UAS campus as an eye-opener'' and a blessing in disguise.'' Do we need such incidents to open his eyes? None of the major, basic issues about the park have been answered, so this new stand of his has no credibility,'' he maintained.
4. Alliance formed to fight economic terrorism
Pumalag 2- PAMBANSANG UGNAYAN NG MAMAMAYAN LABAN SA LIBERALISASYON NG AGRIKULTURA secretariat office 82-C Masikap St. Extension, Central District, Quezon City telefax 922-09-77
An alliance of peasant groups, fisher folk organizations, national minority associations, land reform advocates and government employees unions was launched this morning to fight economic terrorism under the US-led World Trade Organization.
At the press launching of Pambansang Ugnayan ng Mamamamayan Laban sa Liberalisasyon ng Agrikultura (Pumalag2), organizers vowed to launch campaigns and mass actions against the WTO.
The group is composed of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Pamalakaya, the national minority group Kamp, peasant women association Amihan, Kadamay, NFA-Employees Union, National Federation of Sugar Workers and National Federation of Employees in the Department of Agriculture. Rep. Satur Ocampo and Rep.Crispin Beltran of party list Bayan Muna are individual members of Pumalag2.
In a press statement, Pumalag2 told the Macapagal-Arroyo government that the WTO was one of the biggest crimes done against humanity in the name of corporate interests and super transnational profiteers. "We reiterate the rural people's call to President Arroyo-get agriculture and the Philippine economy out of WTO, "organizers said.
Pumalag2 lambasted the government for avant-garde and anarchic importation of cheap imported agricultural products from foreign countries. It said the massive influx of transnational garbage inflicted economic pains among peasants, fisher folk and local producers as monopolies took advantage of the one-sided treaty to make more profits.
Pumalag2 Convenor and KMP national chair Rafael Mariano dared President Arroyo to certify a bill that would abrogate the WTO treaty, stop US economic terrorism and prevent further backlash in the economy. "Congress is hereby tasked to score a giant kill against WTO. President Arroyo must stop playing the real monopoly's game, " he said.
Mariano said the impact of WTO and liberalization of agriculture on peasants' livelihood is worse compared to World Trade Center tragedy. "WTO is the grandmother of all tragedies that would kill many generations, unless the Arroyo regime makes a decisive decision in favor of ordinary people, " he stressed.
For his part, Pamalakaya chair and Pumalag2 Convenor for fisheries Rodolfo Sambajon said the formation of anti-WTO alliance signaled the peasants' political preparedness to fight the evils and terrorism of WTO in the streets and battle over public opinion. " Let's discuss the issue on whether we will continue or renounce our membership and engagement in the WTO. The Filipino peasantry is willing to face the Arroyo regime in a national debate," Sambajon dared.
The first Pumalag was formed in mid-1994 at the height of the Senate deliberation on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. KMP and Pamalakaya were instrumental in establishing Pumalag. The groups led mass actions against the trade pact. In 1995 the Philippine Senate ratified the agreement and the country became member of the WTO.
Pumalag2 said the country lost $ 3.5 billion dollars from 1995-1999 due unfair trade relations and practices under the WTO. Prior to the Philippines ascension to WTO, the country enjoyed a net surplus of $ 1.6 billion in trade.
The Philippine government promised to create 500,000 yearly jobs for the agricultural sector, but Pumalag estimates bared that over 1 million jobs were lost since 1995. In fisheries sector, jobs lost accounted for 182,000, the biggest in recent years. #
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Peasant Movement of the Philippines