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Old 12-04-1999, 03:50 PM
lewisma9 at pilot.msu.edu
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Default Seattle/WTO--parallel actions in India

<x-flowed>[FORWARDED WITH PERMISSION]

Preliminary report from actions against the WTO in India
################################################## ######

The Global Day of Action against Capitalism and the WTO was celebrated by
diverse Indian movements with actions and demonstrations throughout the
country. Mass-based movements representing Adivasis [indigenous peoples],
farmers, slum dwellers, women, victims of the greed of corporations such as
Union Carbide, workers, students and other social sectors directly affected
by the destructive process of capitalist globalisation took the streets in
several states to express their rejection of the WTO regime and demand
India's withdrawal from it.

This message contains only an incomplete report of the N30 and related
actions in India. Below you will find reports of the demonstrations in
Bangalore, the Narmada valley and New Delhi. Detailed reports of other
actions will follow in the next days. We know know that the diverse
farmers', adivasis' and workers' movements that compose JAFIP (Joint Action
Forum of Indian People Against the WTO and Anti-Human Policies) and AIPRF
(All-India Peoples' Resistance Forum) organised a number of decentralised
actions on November 30: protests took place in 10 different districts of
Punjab, as well as in the states of Bihar (Patna and other places), West
Bengal (Calcutta), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad, Guntur, Shakrapatnam), and
other locations. We will send more information as soon as it is available.

Besides these actions on November 30, the protests to commemorate the 15th
anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, stretching from the 1st
to the 3rd of December, also form part of the Day of Action.

There are already plans for follow-up actions in the region. The diverse
movements that form JAFIP have recently discussed a plan of action to
build-up momentum and continue building up the movement against the WTO in
the next months. A massive national rally will take place in New Delhi on
December 29th, at which all major Indian movements will greet a new WTO-free
millennium, and regular decentralised programmes of awareness-raising and
mobilisation will take place in most Indian states. For more information
contact JAFIP at <jafip@dot.net.in> and AIPFR at <aiprf@hotmail.com> and
<aiprf@bol.net.in>

An impressive programme called 'Land Entitlement Satyagraha' [Satyagraha is
a Gandhian term that means Strugge for Truth] will be lauched on the 10th of
December, spearheaded by Ekta Parishad [Unity Conference], a mass-based
Adivasi movement from Madhya Pradesh and one of the most important movements
of indigenous peoples in Asia. The Satyagraha will consist of a
3.000-kilometer march on foot, stretching from the 10th of December 1999 to
the 20th of June of the year 2000. The aim of this march is to launch a
massive movement of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience on land
issues. The march will promote the occupation of governmental land, thus
implementing land reform by means of direct action, and urge rural
communities to reclaim the control over their resources and livelihood,
which is being increasingly taken away from them by the destructive process
of capitalist globalisation. This process, driven by global forces and
institutions like the WTO, with the direct support of the national and local
elites, is depriving people of their rights and means of livelihood. The
march, which will pass through 1.500 villages and mobilise opinion in over
10.000 villages, will create awareness about the destructive role of the WTO
regime, transnational corporations and financial institutions, in complicity
with national and state governments, calling for direct action to restore
the rights of people. Due to the emphasis on direct action and to the
occupations of governmental land that will form part of the programme, the
organisers are counting on a heavy dosis of police repression. Hence,
international solidarity will be very important; in the future we will
continue sending information about this Satyagraha, including calls for
action whenever this is necessary. For more information please contact Ekta
Parishad, Gandhi Bhavan, Bhopal, India, tel. +91-755-543800 [in the next
report of Indian actions against the WTO we will send the email address as
well].

In Sri Lanka various organisations representing people affected by the World
Bank policies (farmers, retrenched workers, traditional fishermen, victims
of the mega-projects etc.) are organising a rally against the WTO and the
World Bank in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, on the 15th of December. A
group of people from these organisations has been going around the country
awakening people on the ill effects of capitalist globalisation. For more
information please contact Srath Iddamalgoda at <siddamal@dynaweb.lk>.

Below you will find reports of the actions that took place in the following
locations:

1. Bangalore: KRRS Demonstrates against the WTO and Monsanto
2. Narmada Valley: Bullock-carts Rally against the WTO
3. New Delhi: Adivasis occupy World Bank Premises
4. New Delhi: Actions against the WTO and the Maheshwar dam

Hopefully there will be pictures of all these events in the www.agp.org page
very soon (in case power failures and erratic servers allow, they have made
life very difficult in the last couple of days)

1. KRRS Demonstrates against the WTO and Monsanto
*************************************************
Protest Forms Part of the N30 Global Day of Action Against Capitalism
Bangalore (India), 30 November 1999 - Several thousand farmers from all the
districts of Karnataka gathered today in Bangalore to protest against the
Third Ministerial conference of WTO which is now starting in Seattle. They
were joined by activists from several leftist organisations and unions. At
the end of the demonstration they issued a 'Quit India' notice to Monsanto,
urging the company to leave the country or face non-violent direct action
against its activities and installations. Another notice was issued to the
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which has permitted Monsanto to do its
research work in its premises, to expel the transnational corporation from
the campus.

The demonstration started at the central train station at 10:30 and headed
towards the Mahatma Gandhi's statue to hold a public meeting. The police
tried to stop the demonstrators from entering the park where Gandhi's statue
is situated, but the KRRS farmers went into the park telling the police that
they don't need anyone's permission to visit this statue and shouting
slogans against the WTO, 'free' trade, Monsanto etc. They sat down in front
of the statue with big banners and placards stating "We Don't Want
Monsanto's Bullshit", "Keep Organic Free from Genetic Engineering", etc.
The police also tried to stop KRRS farmers from installing a microphone for
the public meeting, but gave up after the farmer activists warned them that
if the sound system was not allowed into the park, they would hold the
meeting on the street, blocking the traffic. This was the first time that a
sound system was allowed inside Gandhi Park.

Representatives of all the districts of KRRS, of trade unions and other
leftist organisations addressed the public meeting. Mr. Kodihally
Chandrashekhar, General Secretary of KRRS, stated: "We have already
experienced the impact of 'free' trade on our lives, this is why we demand
the Indian Government to reject the WTO regime and withdraw from it."
Mr. Veeranna, president of KRRS in the Bellary district, where more than 18
tonnes of Monsanto's sorghum seeds of were recently destroyed, said "Farmers
who used Monsanto's seeds are suffering a lot. This year the entire crop of
Monsanto's sorghum failed in the 30.000 acres where it was planted, ruining
more than 1.000 families. We already warned agribusiness when we destroyed
the Cargill office in Bangalore in 1993. Remember that if you don't leave
India soon we will kick you out physically." Mr. Kalmath, representative of
KRRS in the Raichur district, declared "In November 98, when we came to know
that Monsanto was holding field trials in Karnataka, in my own district, we
decided to burn the crops in the action 'Cremation Monsanto'. We will
continue taking direct action until these TNCs go away."

Mr.Shankarappa, KRRS president in Mandya district, stated: "We were under
British for more than 200 years. Then we started living under the rule of
our own corrupted politicians and capitalists. We know that neither Prime
Ministers nor Chief Ministers are concerned about farmers. But we would like
to remind you that if you are alive today, it is only because of us. You
have money, machines, a lot of property, but you cannot eat them. My message
to you is that 'Kill WTO - otherwise it kills you'."

Mr. K.T. Gangadhar, representative of KRRS in the district of Shimoga,
addressed the police: "We can judge the concern of the police and the
Government about us by seeing the large number of police officials in our
symbolic demonstration. We have not come here to steal anything from
anybody. As farmers, we have the big responsibility on our shoulders of
feeding everybody, and that is not a joke. We don't want to grow and feed
poisonous food by using the genetically modified seeds of Monsanto. It is
our responsibility to protect our natural resources. I would like to tell to
the police to be prepared! We will attack Monsanto unless it quits India."

Mr. Jagadish, representative of the leftist organisation 'Secular India
Fauz', declared: "We know what will be the effect of increased import of
agricultural and other products on countries like India where the majority
of the population are small and landless farmers. We are with you. We will
fight together against our common enemy."

Mr. G.R. Shivashankar, president of the Karnataka Trade Union, asserted:
"Because of multinational corporations, 7.000 Indian industries are closed
today. If we keep quiet the whole country will be in the hands of
transnational investors. This is the time for farmers and industrial workers
to come closer and fight with unity."

Mr. V. Sheshareddy, vicepresident of KRRS, closed the public meeting. "The
WTO is trying to deliver countries like ours into the hands of transnational
monopolies. But we will not allow them to interfere in our lives. We don't
want multinational seed companies, we don't want genetically modified seeds.
We have our own technologies and we are very happy with them."

After the public meeting, a delegation of KRRS activists went to the Indian
Institute of Science (IISc) and to the Monsanto office in Bangalore to issue
notices. The notice given to the IISc said that this institution was
"created at the time of freedom movement to help the development of country
with regard to science and technology. Instead of fulfilling your
objectives, you have given space to the multinational corporation Monsanto,
which is trying to build up a monopoly on agriculture with the help of
biotechnology. You will have to withdraw the permission given to Monsanto to
do research work in your campus."

The notice given to Monsanto said "you should quit India otherwise we will
have to throw you out from here". Monsanto staff asked the farmers'
delegation not to shout slogans inside the building, but they must have been
quite disappointed when the result of their request was exactly the opposite
of what they intended. When the delegation was invited to negotiate by
Monsanto's regional director, Mr. Manjunath, they replied that they had
nothing to negotiate with Monsanto, and told the director to get the company
out of the country.

Women from all Karnataka districts attended the demonstration and used the
opportunity to discuss new plans to strengthen the gender work within KRRS.
For more information please contact <swmay.krrs@vsnl.com>

2. Bullock-cart rally in Narmada valley against the WTO
************************************************** *****
Anjar (Narmada valley), 30 November 1999 - An anti-WTO demonstration with
bullock-carts was organised today in the village of Anjar by Rewa Ke Yuva
(Youths for Narmada), the recently formed youth branch of the Narmada Bachao
Andolan (NBA, Save the Narmada Movement). More than 1000 people from around
60 villages participated in the colorful procession, protesting against the
anti-human agreements and institutions that are pushing India and the rest
of the world into the destructive process of capitalist globalisation.

"Countries of the Third World will have to fight against global capitalist
powers for their own survival", asserted Medha Patkar, one of the most
prominent social activists in Asia and main activist of NBA, in her speech
at the end of rally, adding "NBA has presented an example by ousting the
World Bank from the Narmada valley".

The main slogan chosen by the organisers of the rally, "We the youths of
Narmada have awaken - the WTO will run away!", reflected this sense of
optimism, this confidence that people can take control of their destiny if
they organise in grassroots movements against the policies that are killing
them.

In their speeches at the end of the rally, the farmers of the valley spoke
about the plummeting prices of agricultural products due to imports. The
also announced that they will not pay their electricity bills as long as the
power supply to rural areas continues being erratic and unreliable due to
the preference given to the industries and cities by the power corporations
- another example of the discrimination of the countryside brought about by
capitalist development.

Dr. Sagan introduced the programme talking about the increased economic
disparities caused by the policies forced by the WTO regime. Mr. Vitthal
Pattidar, president of the municipality where the demonstration took place,
stated that the WTO is taking away India's sovereignty. Mr. Mansaran Jat, a
local farmers' leader, said that while 80% of the Indian population depend
on agriculture, all the policies imposed by the government and by global
institutions and agreements are anti-farmer.

For more information please contact Narmada Bachao Andolan at
<nba@lwbdq.lwbbs.net>

3. Action against the WTO and the Maheshwar dam in New Delhi
************************************************** **********
500 women and men from the Maheshwar area of the Narmada valley arrived on
the 29th of November to New Delhi in order to participate in a 3-days Dharna
(sit-in) at Raj Ghat, the place where the ashes of Mahatma Ghandi are
buried. They went to New Delhi in order to protest against the destructive
capitalist model of so-called 'development'. Their actions had two specific
targets: the collusion of Indian industrial interests, diverse multinational
corporations and the German state to build up a dam in Maheshwar, which
would have devastating local impacts, and the WTO regime, for the equally
vandalistic and insidious dispossession that it creates globally.

They staged two different actions on November 30th. The first one took place
outside the German embassy, under the strong surveillance of the police. The
German government is now considering the approval of a Hermes guarantee for
the Maheshwar dam, the first privatised hydro-electric project in the
history of independent India. The approval of such a guarantee would take
all the risk away from the foreign corporations (such as Siemens, ABB, etc)
which are investing in its construction; hence, if this mega-dam, besides
being a human, cultural and environmental tragedy, would as expected end up
being a financial disaster (like so many other mega-dams), the losses would
be paid with German taxpayers' money. If the guarantee is approved, the
Indian and foreign corporations involved will undoubtedly go ahead with this
dreadful project, despite the strong grassroots resistance to it, despite
the fact that its terrible social and ecological consequences have been
acknowledged even by the Indian Environmental Ministry's recent report on
the project.

A group of 10 representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada
Movement, NBA) and supporters (including the internationally acclaimed
writer Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize) went into the German
embassy in the morning to deliver the more than 11.000 protest postcards
written by people from the Maheshwar area. They were arrested for 2 hours
due to a foolish regulation according to which 10 persons are too many
people to enter the embassy, while 100 other NBA activists protested outside
the embassy, holding banners and placards with slogans against the dam and
the WTO, such as "WTO Regime: killer of people, nature and culture".

The same day at 15:00 the complete group of 500 representatives of NBA from
the Maheshwar area, along with scores of activists from Jagerti Mahila
Samiti (Committee for the Awakening of Women, a local grassroots movement
organising in the slums of Delhi), Prawaha (a students' organisation), the
National Alliance of Peoples' Movements and several local organisations,
held a symbolic protest against the WTO near Raj Ghat, the place where the
ashes of Mahatma Ghandi are buried and where NBA's 3-days sit-in took place.

The women burned a statue symbolising the WTO and several speeches were
held. The speakers, representing different organisations, stated their
commitment to Gandhi's vision of a self-reliant, sustainable,
solidarity-based India composed of village republics, which is worlds away
from the destructive, centralising and anti-human process of capitalist
globalisation regulated and furthered by the WTO. They made clear that they
will not allow any transnational corporation in their land and forests, and
that they will resist the destructive and exploitative policies imposed by
rotten capitalists, political parties and bureaucrats for the benefit of the
elites.

For more information please contact Narmada Bachao Andolan at
<nba@lwbdq.lwbbs.net> and the National Alliance of Peoples Movements at
<napmdel@ndf.vsnl.net.in>

4. Adivasis Occupy World Bank Premises in New Delhi
************************************************** ********
Protest against the Destruction of Livelihoods and the Environment
by the World Bank and the WTO

More than 300 Adivasis [i.e. indigenous peoples] from the Indian state of
Madya Pradesh, representing all mass-based Adivasi movements, jumped over
the fence of the World Bank building on the 24th of November at 12:00. They
blocked the building, covering it with posters, grafitti, cow shit and mud,
sang slogans and traditional songs at the gate, and went back only after Mr.
Lim, country director of the World Bank in India, went out to receive an
open letter signed by all their movements.

The letter denounces the destructive impact of World Bank investments in
forestry and of the liberalisation in timber products enshrined in the WTO
system, which range from the commodification and destruction of the forests
to increasing violence, rape and assassinations. The letter also clearly
states their stand in relation to these institutions: "We fought against the
British and we will fight against the new form of colonialism that you
represent with all our might."

The attempts of the country director of the World Bank to deliver a speech
were refused by the Adivasis, who said that after talking with World Bank
officials for the last 5 years they had concluded that such 'dialogues' had
the only objective of betraying, misleading and deceiving the Adivasis while
pushing through commercial and industrial interests.

Adivasi organisations in Madhya Pradesh have repeatedly denounced the highly
destructive, so-called 'eco-development' programmes that the World Bank has
been funding for the last five years in their forests. Those programmes
involve the violent forced eviction of Adivasis from their lands (where all
means of force were used, including several killings), which as so many
other aspects of the 'eco-development' programmes of the WB goes against the
Operational Directives of the Bank, as well as a remarkably awkward
combination of bans on the activities on which Adivasis have based their
livelihoods since milennia (shifting cultivation, fishing, extraction of
forest produce, etc.) on 'environmental grounds', combined with the
liberalisation of commercial activities to 'make conservation a good
business'. A great business not for the Adivasis, but for the corrupt
administrative system exploiting the forest and the commercial and
industrial interests behind this sort of 'eco-development'. Hence, the
Adivasi communities see themselves forced to buy in the market the products
that they are not anymore allowed to extract from their forests.

The other target of the action was the WTO regime, an increasingly important
tool for the interests that are destroying the lives of indigenous peoples
all over the world. The attempts to include in the WTO system a new
agreement aimed at boosting timber extraction and trade were highlighted,
and the Adivasis expressed their determination to fight against it.

The open letter to the President of the World Bank concludes:

"For the World Bank and the WTO, our forests are a marketable commodity. But
for us, the forests are a home, our source of livelihood, the dwelling of
our gods, the burial grounds of our ancestors, the inspiration of our
culture. We do not need you to save our forests. We will not let you sell
our forests. So go back from our forests and our country."

Pictures and more information about the action will soon be available at the
PGA website (http://www.agp.org). In the next months more background
information on this issue will be slowly added to that webpage.

PLEASE WRITE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD BANK DEMANDING AN IMMEDIATE END
TO ALL THE SO-CALLED 'ECO-DEVELOPMENT' PROGRAMMES IN THE FORESTRY AREA IN
INDIA. REMIND HIM THAT THE OPERATIONAL DIRECTIVES OF THE WORLD BANK HAVE
BEEN GROSSLY VIOLATED AND COUNTLESS ATROCITIES HAVE BEEN LINKED TO THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE PROJECTS, WHICH ONLY LEAD TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE
FORESTS THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT AND OF THE INDIGENOUS CULTURES
THAT HAVE SINCE MILENNIA LIVED IN COMPLETE BALANCE WITH THEIR ENVIRONMENT.
The name of the World Bank President is James D. Wolfensohn and his address
is The World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433 U.S.A. Please
send copies of the letters to <sergio@artamis.org>


</x-flowed>

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  #2  
Old 12-04-1999, 09:36 PM
bhill at igc.org
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Seattle/WTO--parallel actions in India

Shouldn't we start a movement in the US to insist that the US withdraw
from the WTO also? This was not a noticeable theme in Seattle.

Brian Hill
-----Original Message-----
From: Maryellen Lewis <lewisma9@pilot.msu.edu>
To: arnova-l@wvnvm.wvnet.edu <arnova-l@wvnvm.wvnet.edu>;
communitydevelopmentbanking-l@cornell.edu
<communitydevelopmentbanking-l@cornell.edu>
Date: Saturday, December 04, 1999 12:50
Subject: Seattle/WTO--parallel actions in India


>[FORWARDED WITH PERMISSION]
>
>Preliminary report from actions against the WTO in India
>################################################# #######
>
>The Global Day of Action against Capitalism and the WTO was
celebrated by
>diverse Indian movements with actions and demonstrations throughout
the
>country. Mass-based movements representing Adivasis [indigenous
peoples],
>farmers, slum dwellers, women, victims of the greed of corporations
such as
>Union Carbide, workers, students and other social sectors directly
affected
>by the destructive process of capitalist globalisation took the
streets in
>several states to express their rejection of the WTO regime and
demand
>India's withdrawal from it.
>
>This message contains only an incomplete report of the N30 and
related
>actions in India. Below you will find reports of the demonstrations
in
>Bangalore, the Narmada valley and New Delhi. Detailed reports of
other
>actions will follow in the next days. We know know that the diverse
>farmers', adivasis' and workers' movements that compose JAFIP (Joint
Action
>Forum of Indian People Against the WTO and Anti-Human Policies) and
AIPRF
>(All-India Peoples' Resistance Forum) organised a number of
decentralised
>actions on November 30: protests took place in 10 different districts
of
>Punjab, as well as in the states of Bihar (Patna and other places),
West
>Bengal (Calcutta), Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad, Guntur, Shakrapatnam),
and
>other locations. We will send more information as soon as it is
available.
>
>Besides these actions on November 30, the protests to commemorate the
15th
>anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, stretching from
the 1st
>to the 3rd of December, also form part of the Day of Action.
>
>There are already plans for follow-up actions in the region. The
diverse
>movements that form JAFIP have recently discussed a plan of action to
>build-up momentum and continue building up the movement against the
WTO in
>the next months. A massive national rally will take place in New
Delhi on
>December 29th, at which all major Indian movements will greet a new
WTO-free
>millennium, and regular decentralised programmes of awareness-raising
and
>mobilisation will take place in most Indian states. For more
information
>contact JAFIP at <jafip@dot.net.in> and AIPFR at <aiprf@hotmail.com>
and
><aiprf@bol.net.in>
>
>An impressive programme called 'Land Entitlement Satyagraha'
[Satyagraha is
>a Gandhian term that means Strugge for Truth] will be lauched on the
10th of
>December, spearheaded by Ekta Parishad [Unity Conference], a
mass-based
>Adivasi movement from Madhya Pradesh and one of the most important
movements
>of indigenous peoples in Asia. The Satyagraha will consist of a
>3.000-kilometer march on foot, stretching from the 10th of December
1999 to
>the 20th of June of the year 2000. The aim of this march is to launch
a
>massive movement of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience
on land
>issues. The march will promote the occupation of governmental land,
thus
>implementing land reform by means of direct action, and urge rural
>communities to reclaim the control over their resources and
livelihood,
>which is being increasingly taken away from them by the destructive
process
>of capitalist globalisation. This process, driven by global forces
and
>institutions like the WTO, with the direct support of the national
and local
>elites, is depriving people of their rights and means of livelihood.
The
>march, which will pass through 1.500 villages and mobilise opinion in
over
>10.000 villages, will create awareness about the destructive role of
the WTO
>regime, transnational corporations and financial institutions, in
complicity
>with national and state governments, calling for direct action to
restore
>the rights of people. Due to the emphasis on direct action and to the
>occupations of governmental land that will form part of the
programme, the
>organisers are counting on a heavy dosis of police repression. Hence,
>international solidarity will be very important; in the future we
will
>continue sending information about this Satyagraha, including calls
for
>action whenever this is necessary. For more information please
contact Ekta
>Parishad, Gandhi Bhavan, Bhopal, India, tel. +91-755-543800 [in the
next
>report of Indian actions against the WTO we will send the email
address as
>well].
>
>In Sri Lanka various organisations representing people affected by
the World
>Bank policies (farmers, retrenched workers, traditional fishermen,
victims
>of the mega-projects etc.) are organising a rally against the WTO and
the
>World Bank in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, on the 15th of December.
A
>group of people from these organisations has been going around the
country
>awakening people on the ill effects of capitalist globalisation. For
more
>information please contact Srath Iddamalgoda at
<siddamal@dynaweb.lk>.
>
>Below you will find reports of the actions that took place in the
following
>locations:
>
>1. Bangalore: KRRS Demonstrates against the WTO and Monsanto
>2. Narmada Valley: Bullock-carts Rally against the WTO
>3. New Delhi: Adivasis occupy World Bank Premises
>4. New Delhi: Actions against the WTO and the Maheshwar dam
>
>Hopefully there will be pictures of all these events in the
www.agp.org page
>very soon (in case power failures and erratic servers allow, they
have made
>life very difficult in the last couple of days)
>
>1. KRRS Demonstrates against the WTO and Monsanto
>*********************************************** **
>Protest Forms Part of the N30 Global Day of Action Against Capitalism
>Bangalore (India), 30 November 1999 - Several thousand farmers from
all the
>districts of Karnataka gathered today in Bangalore to protest against
the
>Third Ministerial conference of WTO which is now starting in Seattle.
They
>were joined by activists from several leftist organisations and
unions. At
>the end of the demonstration they issued a 'Quit India' notice to
Monsanto,
>urging the company to leave the country or face non-violent direct
action
>against its activities and installations. Another notice was issued
to the
>Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which has permitted Monsanto to
do its
>research work in its premises, to expel the transnational corporation
from
>the campus.
>
>The demonstration started at the central train station at 10:30 and
headed
>towards the Mahatma Gandhi's statue to hold a public meeting. The
police
>tried to stop the demonstrators from entering the park where Gandhi's
statue
>is situated, but the KRRS farmers went into the park telling the
police that
>they don't need anyone's permission to visit this statue and shouting
>slogans against the WTO, 'free' trade, Monsanto etc. They sat down in
front
>of the statue with big banners and placards stating "We Don't Want
>Monsanto's Bullshit", "Keep Organic Free from Genetic Engineering",
etc.
>The police also tried to stop KRRS farmers from installing a
microphone for
>the public meeting, but gave up after the farmer activists warned
them that
>if the sound system was not allowed into the park, they would hold
the
>meeting on the street, blocking the traffic. This was the first time
that a
>sound system was allowed inside Gandhi Park.
>
>Representatives of all the districts of KRRS, of trade unions and
other
>leftist organisations addressed the public meeting. Mr. Kodihally
>Chandrashekhar, General Secretary of KRRS, stated: "We have already
>experienced the impact of 'free' trade on our lives, this is why we
demand
>the Indian Government to reject the WTO regime and withdraw from it."

>Mr. Veeranna, president of KRRS in the Bellary district, where more
than 18
>tonnes of Monsanto's sorghum seeds of were recently destroyed, said
"Farmers
>who used Monsanto's seeds are suffering a lot. This year the entire
crop of
>Monsanto's sorghum failed in the 30.000 acres where it was planted,
ruining
>more than 1.000 families. We already warned agribusiness when we
destroyed
>the Cargill office in Bangalore in 1993. Remember that if you don't
leave
>India soon we will kick you out physically." Mr. Kalmath,
representative of
>KRRS in the Raichur district, declared "In November 98, when we came
to know
>that Monsanto was holding field trials in Karnataka, in my own
district, we
>decided to burn the crops in the action 'Cremation Monsanto'. We will
>continue taking direct action until these TNCs go away."
>
>Mr.Shankarappa, KRRS president in Mandya district, stated: "We were
under
>British for more than 200 years. Then we started living under the
rule of
>our own corrupted politicians and capitalists. We know that neither
Prime
>Ministers nor Chief Ministers are concerned about farmers. But we
would like
>to remind you that if you are alive today, it is only because of us.
You
>have money, machines, a lot of property, but you cannot eat them. My
message
>to you is that 'Kill WTO - otherwise it kills you'."
>
>Mr. K.T. Gangadhar, representative of KRRS in the district of
Shimoga,
>addressed the police: "We can judge the concern of the police and the
>Government about us by seeing the large number of police officials in
our
>symbolic demonstration. We have not come here to steal anything from
>anybody. As farmers, we have the big responsibility on our shoulders
of
>feeding everybody, and that is not a joke. We don't want to grow and
feed
>poisonous food by using the genetically modified seeds of Monsanto.
It is
>our responsibility to protect our natural resources. I would like to
tell to
>the police to be prepared! We will attack Monsanto unless it quits
India."
>
>Mr. Jagadish, representative of the leftist organisation 'Secular
India
>Fauz', declared: "We know what will be the effect of increased import
of
>agricultural and other products on countries like India where the
majority
>of the population are small and landless farmers. We are with you. We
will
>fight together against our common enemy."
>
>Mr. G.R. Shivashankar, president of the Karnataka Trade Union,
asserted:
>"Because of multinational corporations, 7.000 Indian industries are
closed
>today. If we keep quiet the whole country will be in the hands of
>transnational investors. This is the time for farmers and industrial
workers
>to come closer and fight with unity."
>
>Mr. V. Sheshareddy, vicepresident of KRRS, closed the public meeting.
"The
>WTO is trying to deliver countries like ours into the hands of
transnational
>monopolies. But we will not allow them to interfere in our lives. We
don't
>want multinational seed companies, we don't want genetically modified
seeds.
>We have our own technologies and we are very happy with them."
>
>After the public meeting, a delegation of KRRS activists went to the
Indian
>Institute of Science (IISc) and to the Monsanto office in Bangalore
to issue
>notices. The notice given to the IISc said that this institution was
>"created at the time of freedom movement to help the development of
country
>with regard to science and technology. Instead of fulfilling your
>objectives, you have given space to the multinational corporation
Monsanto,
>which is trying to build up a monopoly on agriculture with the help
of
>biotechnology. You will have to withdraw the permission given to
Monsanto to
>do research work in your campus."
>
>The notice given to Monsanto said "you should quit India otherwise we
will
>have to throw you out from here". Monsanto staff asked the farmers'
>delegation not to shout slogans inside the building, but they must
have been
>quite disappointed when the result of their request was exactly the
opposite
>of what they intended. When the delegation was invited to negotiate
by
>Monsanto's regional director, Mr. Manjunath, they replied that they
had
>nothing to negotiate with Monsanto, and told the director to get the
company
>out of the country.
>
>Women from all Karnataka districts attended the demonstration and
used the
>opportunity to discuss new plans to strengthen the gender work within
KRRS.
>For more information please contact <swmay.krrs@vsnl.com>
>
>2. Bullock-cart rally in Narmada valley against the WTO
>************************************************* ******
>Anjar (Narmada valley), 30 November 1999 - An anti-WTO demonstration
with
>bullock-carts was organised today in the village of Anjar by Rewa Ke
Yuva
>(Youths for Narmada), the recently formed youth branch of the Narmada
Bachao
>Andolan (NBA, Save the Narmada Movement). More than 1000 people from
around
>60 villages participated in the colorful procession, protesting
against the
>anti-human agreements and institutions that are pushing India and the
rest
>of the world into the destructive process of capitalist
globalisation.
>
>"Countries of the Third World will have to fight against global
capitalist
>powers for their own survival", asserted Medha Patkar, one of the
most
>prominent social activists in Asia and main activist of NBA, in her
speech
>at the end of rally, adding "NBA has presented an example by ousting
the
>World Bank from the Narmada valley".
>
>The main slogan chosen by the organisers of the rally, "We the youths
of
>Narmada have awaken - the WTO will run away!", reflected this sense
of
>optimism, this confidence that people can take control of their
destiny if
>they organise in grassroots movements against the policies that are
killing
>them.
>
>In their speeches at the end of the rally, the farmers of the valley
spoke
>about the plummeting prices of agricultural products due to imports.
The
>also announced that they will not pay their electricity bills as long
as the
>power supply to rural areas continues being erratic and unreliable
due to
>the preference given to the industries and cities by the power
corporations
>- another example of the discrimination of the countryside brought
about by
>capitalist development.
>
>Dr. Sagan introduced the programme talking about the increased
economic
>disparities caused by the policies forced by the WTO regime. Mr.
Vitthal
>Pattidar, president of the municipality where the demonstration took
place,
>stated that the WTO is taking away India's sovereignty. Mr. Mansaran
Jat, a
>local farmers' leader, said that while 80% of the Indian population
depend
>on agriculture, all the policies imposed by the government and by
global
>institutions and agreements are anti-farmer.
>
>For more information please contact Narmada Bachao Andolan at
><nba@lwbdq.lwbbs.net>
>
>3. Action against the WTO and the Maheshwar dam in New Delhi
>************************************************* ***********
>500 women and men from the Maheshwar area of the Narmada valley
arrived on
>the 29th of November to New Delhi in order to participate in a 3-days
Dharna
>(sit-in) at Raj Ghat, the place where the ashes of Mahatma Ghandi are
>buried. They went to New Delhi in order to protest against the
destructive
>capitalist model of so-called 'development'. Their actions had two
specific
>targets: the collusion of Indian industrial interests, diverse
multinational
>corporations and the German state to build up a dam in Maheshwar,
which
>would have devastating local impacts, and the WTO regime, for the
equally
>vandalistic and insidious dispossession that it creates globally.
>
>They staged two different actions on November 30th. The first one
took place
>outside the German embassy, under the strong surveillance of the
police. The
>German government is now considering the approval of a Hermes
guarantee for
>the Maheshwar dam, the first privatised hydro-electric project in the
>history of independent India. The approval of such a guarantee would
take
>all the risk away from the foreign corporations (such as Siemens,
ABB, etc)
>which are investing in its construction; hence, if this mega-dam,
besides
>being a human, cultural and environmental tragedy, would as expected
end up
>being a financial disaster (like so many other mega-dams), the losses
would
>be paid with German taxpayers' money. If the guarantee is approved,
the
>Indian and foreign corporations involved will undoubtedly go ahead
with this
>dreadful project, despite the strong grassroots resistance to it,
despite
>the fact that its terrible social and ecological consequences have
been
>acknowledged even by the Indian Environmental Ministry's recent
report on
>the project.
>
>A group of 10 representatives of Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the
Narmada
>Movement, NBA) and supporters (including the internationally
acclaimed
>writer Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize) went into the
German
>embassy in the morning to deliver the more than 11.000 protest
postcards
>written by people from the Maheshwar area. They were arrested for 2
hours
>due to a foolish regulation according to which 10 persons are too
many
>people to enter the embassy, while 100 other NBA activists protested
outside
>the embassy, holding banners and placards with slogans against the
dam and
>the WTO, such as "WTO Regime: killer of people, nature and culture".
>
>The same day at 15:00 the complete group of 500 representatives of
NBA from
>the Maheshwar area, along with scores of activists from Jagerti
Mahila
>Samiti (Committee for the Awakening of Women, a local grassroots
movement
>organising in the slums of Delhi), Prawaha (a students'
organisation), the
>National Alliance of Peoples' Movements and several local
organisations,
>held a symbolic protest against the WTO near Raj Ghat, the place
where the
>ashes of Mahatma Ghandi are buried and where NBA's 3-days sit-in took
place.
>
>The women burned a statue symbolising the WTO and several speeches
were
>held. The speakers, representing different organisations, stated
their
>commitment to Gandhi's vision of a self-reliant, sustainable,
>solidarity-based India composed of village republics, which is worlds
away
>from the destructive, centralising and anti-human process of
capitalist
>globalisation regulated and furthered by the WTO. They made clear
that they
>will not allow any transnational corporation in their land and
forests, and
>that they will resist the destructive and exploitative policies
imposed by
>rotten capitalists, political parties and bureaucrats for the benefit
of the
>elites.
>
>For more information please contact Narmada Bachao Andolan at
><nba@lwbdq.lwbbs.net> and the National Alliance of Peoples Movements
at
><napmdel@ndf.vsnl.net.in>
>
>4. Adivasis Occupy World Bank Premises in New Delhi
>************************************************* *********
>Protest against the Destruction of Livelihoods and the Environment
>by the World Bank and the WTO
>
>More than 300 Adivasis [i.e. indigenous peoples] from the Indian
state of
>Madya Pradesh, representing all mass-based Adivasi movements, jumped
over
>the fence of the World Bank building on the 24th of November at
12:00. They
>blocked the building, covering it with posters, grafitti, cow shit
and mud,
>sang slogans and traditional songs at the gate, and went back only
after Mr.
>Lim, country director of the World Bank in India, went out to receive
an
>open letter signed by all their movements.
>
>The letter denounces the destructive impact of World Bank investments
in
>forestry and of the liberalisation in timber products enshrined in
the WTO
>system, which range from the commodification and destruction of the
forests
>to increasing violence, rape and assassinations. The letter also
clearly
>states their stand in relation to these institutions: "We fought
against the
>British and we will fight against the new form of colonialism that
you
>represent with all our might."
>
>The attempts of the country director of the World Bank to deliver a
speech
>were refused by the Adivasis, who said that after talking with World
Bank
>officials for the last 5 years they had concluded that such
'dialogues' had
>the only objective of betraying, misleading and deceiving the
Adivasis while
>pushing through commercial and industrial interests.
>
>Adivasi organisations in Madhya Pradesh have repeatedly denounced the
highly
>destructive, so-called 'eco-development' programmes that the World
Bank has
>been funding for the last five years in their forests. Those
programmes
>involve the violent forced eviction of Adivasis from their lands
(where all
>means of force were used, including several killings), which as so
many
>other aspects of the 'eco-development' programmes of the WB goes
against the
>Operational Directives of the Bank, as well as a remarkably awkward
>combination of bans on the activities on which Adivasis have based
their
>livelihoods since milennia (shifting cultivation, fishing, extraction
of
>forest produce, etc.) on 'environmental grounds', combined with the
>liberalisation of commercial activities to 'make conservation a good
>business'. A great business not for the Adivasis, but for the corrupt
>administrative system exploiting the forest and the commercial and
>industrial interests behind this sort of 'eco-development'. Hence,
the
>Adivasi communities see themselves forced to buy in the market the
products
>that they are not anymore allowed to extract from their forests.
>
>The other target of the action was the WTO regime, an increasingly
important
>tool for the interests that are destroying the lives of indigenous
peoples
>all over the world. The attempts to include in the WTO system a new
>agreement aimed at boosting timber extraction and trade were
highlighted,
>and the Adivasis expressed their determination to fight against it.
>
>The open letter to the President of the World Bank concludes:
>
>"For the World Bank and the WTO, our forests are a marketable
commodity. But
>for us, the forests are a home, our source of livelihood, the
dwelling of
>our gods, the burial grounds of our ancestors, the inspiration of our
>culture. We do not need you to save our forests. We will not let you
sell
>our forests. So go back from our forests and our country."
>
>Pictures and more information about the action will soon be available
at the
>PGA website (http://www.agp.org). In the next months more background
>information on this issue will be slowly added to that webpage.
>
>PLEASE WRITE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD BANK DEMANDING AN
IMMEDIATE END
>TO ALL THE SO-CALLED 'ECO-DEVELOPMENT' PROGRAMMES IN THE FORESTRY
AREA IN
>INDIA. REMIND HIM THAT THE OPERATIONAL DIRECTIVES OF THE WORLD BANK
HAVE
>BEEN GROSSLY VIOLATED AND COUNTLESS ATROCITIES HAVE BEEN LINKED TO
THE
>IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE PROJECTS, WHICH ONLY LEAD TO THE DESTRUCTION
OF THE
>FORESTS THAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT AND OF THE INDIGENOUS
CULTURES
>THAT HAVE SINCE MILENNIA LIVED IN COMPLETE BALANCE WITH THEIR
ENVIRONMENT.
>The name of the World Bank President is James D. Wolfensohn and his
address
>is The World Bank, 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433 U.S.A.
Please
>send copies of the letters to <sergio@artamis.org>
>



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