Friday June 18th 1999

Confronting Capital And Smashing The State!

 

photo from J18 in London

As the economy has become increasingly transnational, so too has the resistance to its devastating social and ecological consequences. The June 18th (J18) International Day of Action in financial and banking districts across the world was probably the largest and most diverse day of action against global capital in recent history. Hundreds of actions took place in over 30 countries on every continent, [1] all "in recognition that the global capitalist system is based on the exploitation of people and the planet for the profit of a few and is at the very root of our social and ecological troubles." [2] But where did this extraordinary show of international solidarity spring from? And how and why are such diverse groups building global networks of struggle to counter the globalisation [3] of misery under capitalism? What follows is a personal account of the history, context and organisation of the events leading up to June 18th. It is a story that needs telling...

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Autonomous Actions and Anarchy!

In all the talk and publicity leading up to June 18th a huge emphasis was put on the importance of groups and individuals organising their own autonomous actions to be carried out on the morning in the City of London. In the end there were around 20 of these actions that took place in and around the square mile of the City, as well as a number outside the capital. Groups that took action in the City that morning included Campaign Against the Arms Trade, a selection of Earth First! groups, International Solidarity with Workers in Russia, Haringey Solidarity Group, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, London Animal Action and Tyneside Action for People and Planet. Here we have included a few pieces of writing on the background to some of these actions. All are personal accounts and do not necessarily represent the views or ideas of the rest of the people involved in that particular group or action. For more comprehensive coverage of other events that happened during the morning on June 18th get the Earth First! Action Update, No. 60/July 1999 - see page 344 for their contact details.

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Carnival Against Capital!

"We met at Liverpool Street Station at 12 noon, and at first I thought 'Fuck there's not enough people,' but then I went outside and was blown away with the size of the crowd there. Most newspapers said around 4,000 - I reckon more like 15,000!"

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The Great Liberty Riot

On a Friday in June, a large protest in London with a peaceful carnivalesque atmosphere turned into a riot. The City was attacked and property destroyed as the dispossessed took their revenge on the hub of global finance contained in the square mile around the Bank of England. The politicians and the media blamed 'mindless drunkenness' and called the rioters 'animals' and 'savages'. This happened in 1780.

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The Intercontinental Caravan

A Critical Analysis

 

"In May/June 1999, several hundred activists from India and all over the developing world will come to Europe to participate in actions against many of the planet's most important centres of power...we all share common foes - economic globalisation, free trade and corporate rule - and that the only way we can defeat those foes is by unified action." - from ICC publicity.

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Global Day of Action

On June 18th, events and direct action took place on every continent. Here's a round-up of the actions we've heard about through the Earth First! Action Update, July 1999. No doubt there were many others. Longer reports can be found on the international website: http://www.j18.org/

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Globalisation

Origins - History - Analysis - Resistance

 

globalisation1

Thousands of people take to the streets of the City of London in a 'Carnival Against Capital'; 50,000 landless peasants swamp the streets of Brasilia; in Nigeria a 10,000-strong 'Carnival of the Oppressed' shuts down Port Harcourt in protest against the oil companies' exploitation of the Niger delta; 200,000 people take to the streets of Hyderabad in India, and over thirty street parties, involving thousands of people, take place simultaneously across the globe. What links this unprecedented new alliance of activists from East and West, from North and South? They say they are united in opposition to something called 'globalisation'. Every day we hear more about shadowy bodies with acronyms for titles. The WTO, the IMF, the MAI - we are told their decisions are irrevocable, that the markets rule. This accelerating process of enclosure and dispossession is an audacious attempt to assimilate everyone within the global economy and under the direct rule of capital.

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Animal Antics

Beasts Go Ballistic!

 

A cop in charge of mounted officers had his £18,000 car trampled at a Middlesborough game - by a spooked police horse.
Daily Mirror, 29/1/98

The whole of the country's benefit system is under threat today from rabbits. The animals have been undermining the Benefits Office's Central Benefits Record Office in Clevedon, and chewing through the wires. Pest control have been called in. Workers will stage a protest if an attempt is made to kill the animals.
Radio 4 News, 23/1/98

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Tunnels of the World

The Mother

by Duong Huong Ly, Vietnam

When she dug the tunnels,
her hair was still brown.
Today her head is as white as snow.
Under the reach of the guns she digs and digs.
At night the cries of the partridge record the past.
Twenty years,
allways the land is at war.
The partridge in the night calls out the love of the native land.
The mother,
she digs her galleries, defenses.
Protecting each step of her children.
Immeasurable is our native land.
The Enemy
must drive his probes everywhere.
Your unfathomable entrails, Mother,
Hide whole divisions under this land.
The dark tunnels make their own light.
The Yankees have captured her.
Under the vengeful blows she says not a word.
They open their eyes wide
but are blind.
Cruelly beaten the mother collapses.
Her body is no more than injuries and wounds.
Her white hair is like snow.
Night after night the noise of picks shakes the bosom of the earth.
Columns, divisions, rise up from it.
The enemy,
seized by panic, sees only
hostile positions around him.
Immeasurable is our native land.
Your entrails,
Mother, are unfathomable.

Since we started digging tunnel defences at the Fairmile and Trollheim (Photo 1) anti-road camps a few years ago, they have evolved into one of our most effective tactics.

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Going Underground...

Some Thoughts On Tunnelling As A Tactic

 

undergroundTwo years on from when it was first used as a defensive tool at the anti-A30 road camps in Devon (see 'Farewell Fairmile - Road Raging in the South West' in Do or Die No. 6, p. 48 and the Earth First! Action Update No. 36/Feb 97 for some reports and analysis of this campaign), the tunnel has become a cornerstone of site-based direct action - as much a part of the scenery as treehouses and lock-ons. Tunnels have certainly done great things for our ability to resist evictions for longer periods of time, but there are widespread concerns about tunnels in terms of tactics, the way they are seized upon by the media, and about where we are going with them - both as an idea and a tool.

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Leave it to Beaver!

Rodents on the Rebound

 

Hot on the hooves of "In Tusks We Trust" (see DoD No. 7, p.9) comes evidence of beavers escaping from captivity and living successfully in the wild in Britain. Along with escapes into Loch Lomond and in Essex, the two most significant incidents so far have been in Ashdown Forest (East Sussex/Kent) and on the River Axe in Somerset. One of the two males that escaped in Ashdown Forest in Spring 1998 is still at large, and has established a bankside lodge on a lake system in the upper catchment of the Medway. It has been felling trees and building up a large food store of branches that resembles a huge swan's nest. There are no plans to recapture it at present - most people don't even realise it is there! There are conflicting stories about the Somerset colony, but all agree that two beavers from a local wildlife park settled on backwaters of the River Axe in 1969. According to some local sources they have obviously bred well, with 8 or 9 animals present up to at least Summer 1995, and they have even been constructing dams!

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Pirate Utopias

Under the Banner of King Death

 

from Our Own Correspondent

"In an honest Service, there is thin Commons, low Wages, and hard Labour; in this, Plenty and Satiety, Pleasure and Ease, Liberty and Power; and who would not ballance Creditor on this Side, when all the Hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sower Look or two at choaking. No, a merry Life and a short one shall be my Motto" - Pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts.(1)

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Let Patriarchy Burn!

A Feminist Rant

 

patriarchy1"How many articles does it take until men start working on their shit? Aren't you tired of hearing and reading about it? Maybe Smith and Wesson do a better job? At least stop considering yourself revolutionaries. YOU ARE NOT MY COMRADE."
- Molly Tov in Profane Existence.

So i'm talking to an activist man about misogyny within a particular group and he's telling me i need to get in there and change it from the inside, not attack it from the outside. That sounds like reformism to me. He says no, because in our united fight against capitalism we're on the same side.

But we're not.

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The New Luddite War

We Will Destroy Genetic Engineering!

 

ge1

Two years ago direct action against genetic engineering in Britain was non-existent. Two years later and it has become one of the main struggles in which our movements are involved. Hundreds of new people have got active in everything from mass trashings to night time sabotage. With over seventy experimental Genetically Modified (GM) test sites destroyed, our action is crippling the advance of the technology. This article will cover how the campaign has evolved and some of the reasons why it is so important that genetic engineering is stopped. Many newspapers have covered the ecological and health disasters that could arise if genetic engineering goes badly wrong. Instead this article will chart the ecological, social and health disasters that will arise if genetic engineering goes badly right.

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It All Began On Mayday...

The First Year of Tynside Action for People and Planet

 

[IMAGE] Decontamination of the Edge House Farm GMO oilseed rape field in Summer 1998

In Newcastle 1998 didn't look like being a very good year for revolutionary eco-warriors. The Tyneside Anarchist Group (TAG) had stopped meeting, the radical Alleycat Books Co-op had closed down and the animal rights group had fallen apart due to paranoia and in-fighting.

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Biodiversity And Its Loss...

What Does It All Really Mean?

 

"The diversity of life forms, so numerous that we have yet to identify most of them, is the greatest wonder of this planet." - E.O. Wilson.

The word biodiversity beautifully and succinctly captures a fundamental idea: life on earth is extraordinarily diverse and complex. However biodiversity is a commonly used and misused term in EF! circles and others. In a speech to the Royal Geographical Society last year, John Prescott, Minister for Environment, used the work biodiversity 11 times. Afterwards he was asked what the word meant, and he candidly said, "I don't really know." Below I discuss what biodiversity means, who we share our planet with, what are the prime reasons for biodiversity loss, the purported reasons for conserving biodiversity, their philosophical underpinnings (highlighting those that fit in to a revolutionary political agenda) and finally sketch some possible future scenarios for us and our fellow life-forms on earth.

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Biocentrism: Ideology Against Nature

[IMAGE]

That humanity is somehow 'out of balance' with nature is hardly a topic of controversy nowadays. There is little question that humans are fouling the world to the point of suicide for us and mass extinction for all other life. To claim otherwise is ludicrous. In a variety of ways, people have attempted to grasp the problem, define it, and seek solutions. Of the many new and more faddish results, few have been as popular as Deep Ecology - also known as Biocentrism - the view that humans are acting out of excessive human-centredness (anthropocentrism) and thus destroying the planet and the rest of the species which have just as much 'intrinsic right' to live out their biological destiny as we do. Accordingly, Biocentrism (life/earth/nature centredness) calls for a new way of acting. Specifically, it calls for 'earth-centred' activity and thinking - putting the 'earth first' (instead of putting ourselves first) as a way out of the global dilemma.

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Sabbing Shell

Office Occupation A-Go-Go!

 

On January 4th, the first working day of 1999, the Managing Directors at Shell-Mex House in London returned from their Christmas vacations to find their offices barricaded. The fact that it was Ogoni Day(1) was not marked on their corporate calendars. Nor was there a reference in their smart new year diaries to the massacre of the Ijaw people in the occupied lands of Nigeria.

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Autonomous Spaces

There's a Storm Brewing in Every Teacup...

 

All across the country empty buildings are being squatted, tea is being brewed and friendly subversion is being spread through Britain's shopping streets. The appeal of a squat cafe to active groups is clear: an autonomous zone is created in the heart of the community, serving as a space from which individuals involved in direct action can organise and also as an attempt at 'activist' involvement in their local community. The concept is simple - take a disused space somewhere with a fair number of passers-by and open it to the public, offering them tea and anarchy.

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No Rent, No Government

Stories of Squatting

 

Ever since property was established, vast numbers of people have ended up without a fair share and often, without a home. And ever since, vast numbers of people have discovered empty properties, be it land, huts, houses or castles, and decided to settle there, even if obviously not invited to. That's what squatting basically is - using a disused space. Most visibly in this century, squatting has been the basis of social movements. Individuals and groups have turned squatting into a political statement, engaged collectively in struggles against landlords, councils and the state, and have consciously created autonomous zones and defended them.

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Desire is Speaking

Utopian Rhizomes

 

[IMAGE]

'The similarity of squatters' cultures in various Western European countries is remarkable', I wrote in a report of a tour of my band in May 1995 through four or five different West European countries. The buildings, music, clothes, codes, and of course, the inevitable dogs, are practically the same everywhere. Can it be that the dominant West European mass culture produces its own subculture? Isn't it time for something new?' This observation points to the existence of a West (and increasingly East) European network of people who do not necessarily know each other, but share ideals, practices and preferences that are different and opposed to the dominant culture. A network of bands, squats, zines, labels, mail orders, newsgroups, and people.

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War is the Health of the State

From members of the Brighton and Hove Stop the War Committee

 

On March 24th, 1999 Britain went to war. It was a war in which Britain and its NATO allies bombed Serbia into submission. Warplanes, many of which took off from bases in Britain, systematically destroyed Serbia's infrastructure killing hundreds of civilians in the process and doing untold damage to the environment in the Balkans. Chemical factories, prisons, hospitals, housing estates and bridges were all bombed.

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Carry on Camping

A Round-up of British Action Camps

 

[IMAGE]

Since the last issue of Do or Die (printed April 1998) there have been 34 direct action protest sites in the UK. This section lists the camps that have been set up or have continued to be occupied in the last year - some are still there now, some have won, some have been evicted. The most noticeable thing over the last year or so is that sites tend to be smaller, and they are diversifying away from roads - testament to the decimation of the roads budget. The remains of the once-huge roads programme were slashed even further in the '98 Roads Review. Only 37 schemes - including M25 widening and Bingley - are planned for the next 7 years, with over 100 scrapped, deferred, or given to local authorities to worry about. Birmingham is really the only large anti-roads camp there has been in the last year (and that's privately financed!) - Lyminge, Crystal Palace and Manchester were all fighting other things apart from roads. We tend to be fighting housing developments or leisure complexes as much as roads now. Another step forward is the anti-genetix crop squat... With camps all over the country there is bound to be one near you, so go to stay or to visit, and help barricade, dig, fortify and generally cause trouble!

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Comments on Camps

Out of Site, Out of Mind?

[IMAGE]

The physical occupation of sites threatened by development has been one of the main strategies used by our movement over the last eight years. The last few years has seen an increasing amount of concern with, and discussion about, their effectivness as a direct action tactics. Here are four pieces of writing that raise some of the main points from these discussions.

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Take a Sad Song and Make it Better?

Ecological Restoration in the UK

 

[IMAGE] Kennall Vale: Once the largest gunpowder factory in Cornwall.

"I see what is possible when we stand our ground, our common ground. I see forests and grasslands filled with masses of flowers and the native birds and wildlife that had long ago disappeared from this part of the planet. I see what can be done from the barest beginnings and under the most impossible conditions, with hardly any means or resources. Not by calculating, or waiting for the opportune moment, or the big money, or for a conference to confirm what must be done. I see what can be done by the power of simply doing it. And as I turn toward the starkly contrasting landscape behind me, I see all that is yet to be done."(1)

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Restoration Round-up

This is not an exhaustive survey of the ecological restoration projects taking place in the UK, nor is it intended to be. Wales and the West Country are pretty much unrepresented, and Scotland is over represented - and there's probably a Sussex bias too! Fears over the disappearance of Scotland's 'Great Wood of Caledon' have built up a real head of steam in recent years, and this has translated into both a high level of activity and the existence of various umbrella organisations, which makes it a lot easier to find out what's actually going on. Without being completely representative, this Roundup is meant to act as an introduction to the huge range of restoration work - some good, some not so good - currently underway. Hopefully it will be a useful resource to help you get involved with those projects that you find most inspiring - or better still, set up your own! (The featured projects are listed in no particular order - and for any number-crunchers (mmm, tasty!) out there, to convert acre figures into hectares, divide by 2.471.)

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Storming the Palace

Park Life in South London

 

[IMAGE]

Rising from flat suburban S. London and crowned with a huge 160ft television transmission tower, Crystal Palace Park boasts the tallest hill in the capital's south. In one of London's more surreal green spaces ornamental gardens, a football stadium, and geese covered lakes mix with grand stone staircases that go nowhere and 30ft hollow 19th Century metal dinosaurs.

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Street Parties and Sausages

News From Germany

 

Huttendorf-frolics

The anti-A33 Huttendorf is a protest camp and autonomous space against the construction of a motorway near Bielefeld in North Germany. The A33 has been planned since 1937 and building started 25 years ago. 30 kilometres are yet to be built, which will in parts lead through highly sensitive ancient woodland.

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Peace on Bougainville?

Ceasefire Holds But Rebels Remain Cautions

 

Bougainville, with a population of only 160,000 has managed to close and keep closed one of the biggest copper mines in the world. Despite having to fight the well armed Papua New Guinea (PNG) army, they have held their ground for 11 years primarily with homemade guns made out of water piping and planks. Thanks to their constant resistance the self described 'ecological revolutionaries' of Bougainville are near to victory - total autonomy.

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Biting the Bullet

Hunt Sabbing in Sweden

 

It's August 1999 and the Swedish direct action group Peace in the Forest is preparing for its second year of hunt sabbing. So, what's hunt sabbing like in Sweden then? Well, first of all it's a new phenomenon here, although I suppose only if you don't count the hundreds of hunting towers which get torn down every year! Actually I think we are the only and first hunt sab group 'over here' which initially was a problem, but here's an account of what we did...

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Action and Insurgency

An Interview with a Nepalese Activist

 

In May a coach load of activists from India and Nepal came to Britain as part of the Inter-Continental Caravan. While here they did an office action on a bio-technology greenwash company and visited a squatted ex-genetic test site (see page 97). The Anarchist Teapot Action Kitchen did the catering, making them dinner and following them across fields with giant pans. As one of the cooks I was lucky enough to have many interesting chats with both the Indians and Nepalese. What follows is one such chat I had in the coach on the way back from the Crop Squat.

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A Look at Eastern Europe

From Rioting Farmers to Rabid Fascists

 

Here's a roundup of news from those countries that make up Eastern Europe. It's not comprehensive, but it is an insight into the range of activity going on. These regions have a rich history of direct action, from the Green Armies in Russia (radical ecological peasants who continued to resist the Bolsheivek counter-revolution throughout the 1930s) to the uprisings that destabilised the Soviet control of Hungary in 1956 and later, in 1989, in the whole of Eastern Europe.

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Direct Action in Israel

Impressions from a Roving EF!er

 

[IMAGE]

Wherever you go there are some things that never change. When I arrived in Israel the elections were at fever pitch, politicians were up on charges of corruption and greed and the Israeli army was still fighting in South Lebanon. But on the positive side, Israeli environmental group Green Action had organised a three day Earth First!-style gathering in the Jerusalem forest.

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Mamberamo Madness

Progress and Resistance in West Papua

 

The Mamberamo basin, in the part of the world violently and forcibly occupied by the state of Indonesia, runs through some of the most beautiful and diverse forest regions on Earth. A huge river system ecompassing part of the central mountains of New Guinea, through lowlands and marshes to the coast, it covers an area over half the size of Britain. Its wild life includes crocodiles, tree kangaroos, cassowarys and birds of paradise, as well as many thousands of forest people, some of whom are still uncontacted by our culture.

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Rumble in the Jungle

Fighting for Freedom in West Papua

 

This interview with a representative of the OPM took place in a mystery location in a well-known South Coast seaside resort (not the one you're thinking of), with an inept interviewer, a cheap tape recorder, and drunks singing a rousing chorus of 'Rawhide' in the background.

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Barbed Wire and Barricades

When it All Kicked off in Kiwi

 

[IMAGE]

"The dead are marching again, they have new bones to contend, we must be their spirit, give them voice, put prints on these streets no street will ever forget. The rot in the human heart, we're up against it again. Out friends, out to these damned streets again!"

Sometimes on demonstrations and actions we have to think quickly, act on initiative and respond swiftly to what the police or security do. Learning about how these things have worked in the past can help us to make the right decision when it matters. Protesters against the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand learnt quickly. They were attempting to stop a tour of the country by the apartheid-era South African rugby team. The NZ government initially budgeted $2.7m for the unimaginatively-named 'Operation Rugby', the aim of which was to push the tour through despite massive public opposition.

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Easton Cowboys Go West

Zapatista Football in Mexico

 

[IMAGE]

"However else they may differ, a football team and a group of armed rebels have one thing in common, from the present point of view: that the real objectification of the action of each member lies in the movement of common objectification." - Jean-Paul Sartre.

At high noon in the mountains of Southeast Mexico the whistle blew for the start of the match. Wearing their now famous red bandanas, the local Zapatista team from the Autonomous Municipality of Francis Gomez walked onto the pitch, complete with tree stumps and small hills. They were all set for a showdown with the visiting team from Bristol, the Easton Cowboys. As the ball flew into the air a stray dog and a couple of horses which had wandered into the goal area fled in fear.

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Green Belt Uprising

Kenyan Kaos in Karura

 

[IMAGE]

Kenya's Green Belt Movement was founded in 1977 by Nairobi University professor Wangari Maathai. It has campaigned to restore Kenya's rapidly diminishing forests through the empowerment of rural women. As the forests retreat, women are forced to travel ever greater distances to find the increasingly scarce water and firewood. Green Belt tackled these twin problems by helping the women to plant trees for firewood, and paying them for each one that survived - giving them an independent income into the bargain, when men had previously had exclusive control over family money. This has been an enormous success, with up to 20 million trees planted to date.

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Taking the Pisces

Struggles of the Fish Workers of India

 

[IMAGE]

India, with her 6000 km coastline and innumerable rivers, lagoons, lakes, reservoirs and ponds, has one of the world's largest populations of fisher people: over 12 million, with two thirds depending on marine fishing and the remaining third depending on fishing in a variety of inland water bodies. It was my priviledge, in 1972, to be appointed parish priest in a small coastal village called Poothura, where all the parishioners were traditional fisher people. My association with the fishing communities started there. I was there with two other priests for 7 years, during which time we got involved in co-op based fishing.

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Big Trouble for Big Oil

Chevron up Shit Creek in Niger Delta

 

[IMAGE]

Direct action across the whole of the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria has been steadily increasing in the late 1990s since the Ogoni mobilisation of a few years before initiated a radical challenge to the Nigerian military state and its funders, the transnational oil companies of Shell, Chevron, Agip and Co. Despite the death of dictator Abacha*, a year of his military successor Abubakar, and finally the installation of civilian president and former military head of state Obasanjo this May, the piracy of resources from the oil communities continues and the pollution and poverty which sparked the protests are unchanged. In fact, Obasanjo himself enacted the Land Use Decree that legislated for the theft of mineral wealth.

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Tribal Round-up

Last Call for Freedom

 

There is no shortage of indigenous voices in the mainstream media calling for equal rights, human rights or legal representation. Indeed one could be forgiven for thinking that this is what every indigenous tribal person on the planet wants. Presented here are some voices from those less vociferous, those whose voices are usually drowned out by the 'conference dragons' and their media mouthpieces. This article tries where possible to present people's own words, unsullied by Sunday supplement hackery. Where mediation is unavoidable, it has been done by friends of the people concerned. Consequently, very little of what follows has the seal of approval of the professional classes, and one has to rely on the word of lesser mortals with no letters after their names. Some of the text is disjointed too, but I trust DoD readers have no need of literary devices and will be willing to make the effort.

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Un-American Activities: Subverting The Great Satan

[IMAGE]

North America is a land of intense contrasts. Home to some of the most vile manifestations of the global industrial economy (from biotechnology and mining industries to the Pentagon) both Canada and the United States reek of an inflated 'standard of living' so far out of touch with natural limits that millions of naive citizens think the rest of the world is badly in need of assistance to keep up with us. Such a vacancy of consciousness in the populace seems surreal when contrasted with the sprawling magnificent wildlands and pockets of unmolested biodiversity. Huge, tourist-oriented National Parks help maintain the delusion that industrial society and wilderness are compatible, while the consumptive plague of modern society chomps away at the wild and uncolonized everywhere else...

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Paranoid Androids?

One Nation Under a Barcode

 

[IMAGE]

Great Britain, 1999: state snooping, intelligence gathering, and covert spy work is no longer just the job of shady police and security bodies like MI5, Special Branch, the Met and co. These days Orwellian state surveillance and Big Brother technology is an essential cog in the cold consumer machine. Behind the computer screens, telephones and spy camera lenses, the UK surveillance technology industry is worth £2 billion a year. Department of Social Security (DSS) fraud investigators, rail ticket collectors [aka Revenue Protection Officers!], TV license squads, and private security firms like Group 4 are employed to work as the 'Little Brothers' for the Big Brother law enforcement agencies. Surveillance is a part of the daily routine.

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Prisoners of War

"If the 'innocent' deserve our support, then the 'guilty' deserve it even more." - Nikos Maziotis, imprisoned Greek anarchist.

We believe that all prisoners are political prisoners. Sadly, however, we could not hope to cover everybody inside, so below we have listed only a small selection of long term direct action prisoners. It is vital that we support these people. Life inside can be hard, but most of all it is just extremely boring and isolating. By writing to a prisoner you can help to alleviate both. Writing to someone you don't know may seem daunting at first, but it does get easier. You could start by sending them a short note on a postcard to brighten up their cell wall. Always remember that all mail is read by screws so don't say anything that could incriminate you or others. For details of more ways you can help to support prisoners, and for listings of short term or remand prisoners, contact the London Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) or get a copy of Spirit of Freedom newsletter (see Prison Support Organisations at the end of this article for their contact details.)

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Book Reviews

Against Civilisation - Readings and Reflections

edited by John Zerzan

Uncivilized Books, USA, 1999 / ISBN 0-9667758-0-5

I had intended to start this review with a quote that attempts to summarise the alienation felt by most people living in the world today. However, after spending the last few hours walking through a lush green valley and swimming naked in a cool clear stream, all the while with the smell of wild garlic in my nostrils and the sound of birdsong in my ears, it is now a slight shock to be sat in front of a humming computer in a centrally heated and sterile house. Everything around me feels distant - cold, unimportant and somehow not quite real. Raising my eyes and looking around me I see representatives and symbols of the alienated and dysfunctional world we inhabit. I can hear the clock on the wall above me ticking. The television sits in the corner of the room with a malevolent prescence, and somebody is mowing the chemically soaked grass in a never ending attempt to restrain it from breaking free of its four straight borders. My eyes are starting to hurt from the glare of the screen, my mind feels slightly numb and I can feel a barely controlled desire to switch the computer off and cuddle up with my best friend on the sofa.

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From Knapping to Crapping

Running Riot Through The Supermarket Of Skills!

The monster of enclosure applies not just to land, but equally to knowledge. Every day we become increasingly dependant on specialists and experts - whether it be to produce our food, cure our illnesses or mend our tools. This division of labour is central to the maintenance of a hierarchical system where we are all alienated from ourselves, each other and the world around us. To continue, advance and intensify the domination of our lives these people jealously guard and mystify the skills they have. This creates a culture of dependence - one where we're scared to try and take control of our lives because we feel we don't have the knowledge necessary to do so. So, if we are ever to transcend this fucked system, part of what we need to do is to re-learn many of these skills that have been forgotten, destroyed or stolen from us.

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Lettuce to the Cabbage

These pages are open access and we will print most letters we receive - although remember that they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Do or Die Editorial Collective. Due to space constraints it would be good if letters could be kept to around 500 words, and sending them as text files on disks would mean less work to do for us. It also makes it more likely that your letter will appear without spelling mistakes or bits missing due to our appalling typing! Unless otherwise marked we will assume all letters received are for publication - although the names and addresses of senders will not be printed unless relevant.

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This site has been created as a permanent archive of Do or Die magazine. It is not maintained by the erstwhile editors of Do or Die so please do not try to contact them through us. The original Do or Die site, which has not been updated for over 7 years, is currently still available though all content from the old site is also available here.