Forwarded from Spectrezine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Jan 26 08:07:42 MST 2001

Now Dubya is safely installed in the White House, we thought we'd ask Bill
Pelz, international secretary of the Socialist Party USA, what went on.
Pelz's main concern is that the real scandal of the election - the
systematic exclusion of African-American voters in Florida, where another
member of the disgusting Bush tribe is Governor - is being obscured by
lesser matters - like the fact that nationally Gore got half a million
votes more. He talks about both of these things, plus the SPUSA's own
campaign and that of the radical candidate Ralph Nader, at

And don't forget other material recently added to our ever-growing site:
Godwin Ojo of Friends of the Earth Nigeria spoke to Spectre during a recent
visit to Amsterdam. Read his thoughts on climate change, oil companies,
radical activism in Nigeria and what you can do to help at

Mat Coward points out the dangerous inefficiencies and market distortions
caused by the fact that air is still free, at And Michael Hindley discussed
EU enlargement at

SWISS TOWN STOLEN: Police confirmed that 'normal-looking' people not
carrying propaganda (so that counts us out) will be allowed to enter the
Swiss ski resort of Davos during the annual meeting of the World Economic
Forum. People were arrested for distributing leaflets and others refused
entry at road blocks on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF)
meeting. The organisers of the Public Eye on Davos, an alternative forum
that is meeting to question the legitimacy of the WEF and to discuss
environmental and social questions raised by economic globalisation,
criticised the police actions as 'a violation of human rights and of
Switzerland's democratic traditions'. The Public Eye on Davos, an
organisation which monitors the elitist gabfest, opposes the use of any
kind of violence but believe that the actions of the police are not based
on any evidence that those refused entry to the town will commit crimes.

The group is holding open meetings on issues such as trade policy,
regulation of corporations and alternatives to economic globalisation.
Members of the public have been encouraged to attend but many now cannot
because of their appearance or because they happened to be carrying
leaflets or other papers. Members of the Berne Declaration, one of the
organisers of the Public Eye on Davos, have been sent back to Zurich under
threat of arrest. Students distributing leaflets advertising the Public Eye
meetings have been arrested by police in Davos and photographed.
Journalists who wanted to cover the "Public Eye" conference were denied
access to Davos as well.

Kerim Yildiz, a leading international human rights lawyer and a speaker in
the Public Eye on Davos conference, said 'The actions of the police are a
clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which
Switzerland is a party. The police have assumed, with no evidence and
purely on the basis of appearance, that certain citizens are going to
commit crimes. This is a clear violation of the freedom of movement. They
have also refused entry to the town on the basis that people will
demonstrate. This is a violation of the freedom of assembly. No wonder
people are suspicious of large corporations meeting in secret. This kind of
behaviour can perhaps be expected in undemocratic states but surely not in
a democracy as old as Switzerland".

Jolanda Piniel of the Public Eye on Davos said "If looking normal is a test
for getting into Davos, then most of the chiefs of the global corporations
meeting here should not have been let in. Is it right that the majority of
the world's population is excluded from these discussions even though the
issues being discussed by the WEF are of importance to people world wide?"

Beat Jans of Pro Natura, Friends of the Earth Switzerland, said "The Public
Eye will be half blind as long as Davos is not a public place any more. The
town has been effectively privatised so that the heads of the world's
largest corporations can meet without hearing the voices of the people who
will be affected by their policies". Thanks to Ann Doherty at Friends of
the Earth International for this report. FoEI's website is at

in the European Parliament - the GUE/NGL - composed of Vice-President
Pernille Frahm, MEP, Feleknas Uca, MEP and three staff members visited
Istanbul on 23 - 24 January to get first hand information on the recent
military action (19/12 2000) in Turkish prisons and developments since. The
group met with several eye witnesses to the storming of the prisons, many
family members of political prisoners, human rights NGOs, political parties
and lawyers. Documents prepared by human rights organisations on the
results of the attack, containing photos of burnt bodies and dead
prisoners, were presented to the delegation. The delegation strongly
condemned the violent attack of the security forces, which used
helicopters, gas bombs, machine-guns and bulldozers. After the attack parts
of the prisons were burned down in an effort to eliminate evidence, and
many surviving prisoners were moved to special with inadequate supplies of
electricity and water and no heating. During transport and on arrival to
the new prisons they were beaten and terrorised by guards and security
forces. More prisoners are now taking part in hunger strikes. The Turkish
authorities argued that military action was undertaken in order to prevent
the death of prisoners, but the attack had the opposite result.

Reacting to the massacre, during which 32 prisoners were killed and
hundreds severely injured, the delegation criticised the lack of reaction
from the European Union against the barbaric behaviour of Turkish security
forces. Members of the GUE/NGL Group expressed their solidarity with the
democratic forces in Turkey fighting for the respect of human rights in
their country and especially in the prisons.

Following the visit, the GUE-NGL, which includes 42 MEPs from 10 countries,
called on the Turkish government to resume talks and negotiations to
prevent mass deaths and irreversible health problems among the prisoners.
The Group also demanded an end to the isolation of prisoners in Turkish
"F-type" prisons, where they are open to severe abuse.

They called on the European Union to support all initiatives aiming at
negotiating a democratic and non-violent solution to the conflict to save
the lives of prisoners on hunger strike. Finally, they called for the
democratisation of Turkey and release of all political prisoners before
talks can continue on the country's admission to the EU.

Global Network is once again calling for an "International Day of Protest
to Stop the Militarisation of Space".

The Network is hoping to see actions all over the world on October 13,
2001. "We believe that it is more important than ever to hold local
protests at key Space Command bases, aerospace corporation facilities, DoE
laboratories, NASA installations, U.S. military bases, and U.S. embassies
around the world," a bulletin from the Network says. "The Bush
administration, and its corporate allies are pushing hard to deploy Star
Wars. The October 13 events will give the global peace movement a good
opportunity to speak with one clear voice. Last year we had Keep Space for
Peace events at 65 locations in 16 countries and it is our hope at least to
double that in 2001. We are now inviting organisations to sign on as
co-sponsors of the day of protest."

If you are organising anything or would like your organisation to be listed
as a sponsor, let them know. The U.N. General Assembly has declared October
4-10 to be 'World Space Week' so these events should help focus
international attention on the need to stop plans for Star Wars. Check the
website at or write to globalnet at

Anti-EU left Euro-MP Erik Meijer, who represents the Dutch Socialist Party,
the Netherlands section of the United Left Group (GUE-NGL) has drawn
attention to the fact that the European Commission's plans for the
reorganisation of European air traffic conflict somewhat starkly with the
Eurocrats' commitment to reduce air pollution and improve safety.

The Commission's report on the 'Single European Sky' contains no proposals
to reduce or limit the number of planes in the sky. Meijer has tabled a
question to the Commission asking it just how many aircraft it thinks can
fit into its single sky. The same member recently asked the Commission
whether there was any way to stop airlines from poaching passengers from
the High Speed Train, the Thalys, which now runs from Amsterdam to Paris.

Given the EU authorities loudly proclaimed support for the relatively
environmentally-friendly train, you might have expected a sympathetic
answer. But of course, solutions have to be found within the free market,
free competition and so on, now chanted so repetitively by Commissioners
and their minions that we are expecting them any day to don saffron robes
covered with Euro signs.

What doesn't quite fit with this "fair competition" mantra is the fact that
the Thalys' owners have to pay tax on their fuel same as you and I, whereas
aircraft fuel is mysteriously tax free. (One strange footnote to this,
which perhaps one of our all-knowing readers can shed light on: as the
exemption dates to the Chicago Convention of 1944, it's unlikely that two
of the world's now leading industrial powers were represented - unless
capitalism is even weirder than we suspected.)

Spectre's good friends in the Labour Party of Pakistan have taken the
decision to join the broad coalition the Alliance For Restoration Of
Democracy (ARD). ARD was formed at the end of last year by most of the
major political parties of Pakistan including the Muslim League and Benazir
Bhutto's Peoples Party.

The main aim of the ARD was described by the organisers as the restoration
of democracy in Pakistan through a peaceful mass movement.. So far its
leadership has not announced any programme to launch such a movement,
however. LPP General Secretary Farooq Tariq said, 'LPP hopes to play a
leading role in the struggle for the restoration of democracy by joining
this platform. Our party has fought the military regime on its own platform
so far. It hopes to continue its independent struggle alongside this

Labour Action for Peace Open Meeting Against United Sanctions On Iraq
Wednesday 7 February, 19h, House of Commons Committee Room 10 Speakers
include Alice Mahon MP, George Galloway MP, Richard Byrne of Voices in the
Wilderness and Chris Doyle, Council for Advancement of Arab-British
Understanding Call Jim Addington on 00 44 (0) 20 8399 2547 for further

If you can't get to the meeting you can still find out more about the
movement against sanctions, and give it a little support, by ordering the
video 'From Big Ben to Baghdad.' The video tells the story of the
sanctions-busting journey of a group of activists on a 37-year-old London
bus. (A sort of updated, politicised Summer Holiday, without Cliff - and
they only went to Greece). You can order the film (BB to B, not Summer
Holiday) from the Mariam Appeal, 13a Borough High St, London SE1 8SE, England.

I Love CUBA cabaret Saturday 24th February 2001 Camden Centre, Bidborough
Street, London NW1 World sounds from John Williams and friends Comedy from
Kevin DaySalsa from Merengada More special guests to be announced 8.30pm -
2am, doors open 7.30pm Advance tickets on 020 7263 6452 or 020 7281
4057£15/£12 conc. (£18/£14 on door) Organised by Cuba Solidarity Campaign,
c/o Red Rose Club, 129 Seven Sisters Rd, London N7 7QG Tel. 00 44 (0)207
263 6452 Fax. 0207 561 0191 E.Mail: office at World
Wide Web You can also visit CSC's new
on-line shopping site at

William A.Pelz, better known to Spectre readers as SPUSA International
Secretary Bill Pelz - see the website for his views on the Bush-Putsch, has
done us all a service by putting together a collection of writings by
Eugene Victor Debs, the founder of Bill's party and one of the early
twentieth century's greatest socialist leaders. 'The Eugene Victor Debs
Reader' is available direct from Spectre (at our postal address, BP5, Bxl
46, rue Wiertz, 1047 Brussels, Belgium) at a positively snippety 10 UK
pounds a copy, or equivalent in any tradable currency, p&p included. If
you're in North America write instead to Dr W.Pelz, Institute of Working
Class History, 2335 West Altgeld St, Chicago, Illinois 60647-2001 USA.
Contact Bill at iwch at for prices. SpectreMail will carry a review
of the Debs reader in the near future.

Spectre Reader Marxist Mark tells us he has a 'legitimate batch' of CDs
available for sale. These contain live recordings of the Angelic Upstarts
(which extensive research amongst Spectre's youth movement reveals to be a
popular music combination with left leanings) from an anti-fascist concert
in Hamburg. No review copy was supplied but we are assured that this is 'a
great 15 track CD'.

Anyway, the packaging includes a picture of Lenin, as Mark says 'if you're
into that sort of thing.' (We are.) He doesn't say if you can have someone
else's picture if you aren't. Quite right too. You can check the pictures
and artwork at Contact Mark
at MarxistMark at

is written and compiled by Brian Burch, a Toronto based writer with a
history of activism going back to the time of the Vietnam War.

His work has appeared in over 100 publications and anthologies in Canada,
the United States, England and Australia. Resources for Radicals grew out
of requests for further information that arose from workshops in
non-violence conducted by Toronto Action for Social Change. Participants
were seeking a list of resources that they could read for more in depth
information, inspiration, ideas and analysis than could be shared in the
space of a workshop.

What started out as a small handout has taken on a life of its own. RforR
is currently looking for publications, especially periodicals, manuals and
guides for trainers, for reviewing and inclusion in the next edition of
Resources: of interest are print resources focusing on the whole range of
radical, alternative movements from Anarchism to Communism to non-violent
dissent to Zen. (Well, actually, Zen was one of the few things Brian didn't
have on his list, but you get the message). This material should be sent to
Brian Burch, Editor, Resources for Radicals 20 Spruce St. Toronto, Ontario
(Canada) M5A 2H7. Or contact Brian on burch at 'Resources for Radicals'
is available from Toronto Action for Social Change. The price (including
postage and handling) is: $11.00 Canada $12.00 U.S. (U.S. funds) $14.00
Rest of the World. (U.S. funds). Cheques should be made payable to Toronto
Action for Social Change. Orders should be sent to: Toronto Action for
Social Change P.O. Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West Toronto, Ontario M6C

The International Centre for Trade Union Rights is an organising and
campaigning body whose purpose is to defend and improve trade union rights
throughout the world. It publishes an excellent, lively and informative
quarterly journal which you can receive for UK pounds 15 per year. Check
the website at

The Independent Progressive Politics Network is an organisation dedicated
to the seemingly hopeless task of democratising the United States. Their
paper, 'Independent Politics News' covers the activities of its 36 member
organisations and many others from the green and left movements.

It will tell you much more about what's going on in the States then you'll
ever find out from the weird stuff that passes for news and (may we be
spared!) analysis in the mainstream press. (The Financial times, for
example, probably the best right wing newspaper in the world, treated its
readers to an 'explanation' of why Bush 'won' the election based on the
idea that the electorate preferred his policies to Gore's. Urm, Gore got
half a million more votes, guys….) Anyway, for something a bit more sane,
check IPPN's website at for subscription rates, other
publications, and news of the Network's activities.

Want to avoid having your hormones disrupted? A new WWF-UK leaflet can't
tell you how to skip puberty, menopause or falling in love, but it does
give useful advice on protecting your own and your children's health, as
well as the general environment, from chemicals which, by mimicking
naturally-occurring hormones or activating or blocking hormone receptors or
hormone production can cause a range of nasty effects. Declining sperm
counts and growing rates of breast, testicular and prostate cancers are
difficult to attribute to any single cause or combination of factors, but
evidence is mounting that hormone disruption originating in substances
found in plastics, pesticide residues, the water supply and a range of
everyday products bears a large share of the responsibility. WWF and other
groups are campaigning for a removal of dangerous substances from
industrial processes, better information for the public and stricter
regulation. In the meantime, take a look at the leaflet to see what action
you can take now. WWF-UK's website is at

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