This has been being shared back and forth on facebook, as status updates for a few days now. I have just been made aware of the source; Credit to Bradford Uncut. Of course 'cost' here is referring to the financial realm and does not acknowledge extra-economic costs which are considerable. It does offer remarkable perspective and useful soundbites for anti-capitalists and campaigners for social justice, whatever your flavour.
Well every now and then a British politician says something about politics that I appreciate. I'm not accustomed to 'talking up' many of our MP's but credit where credit is due; perhaps if there were more like John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas it would be easier to engage to a greater extent with politics as we know it, nonetheless after the baron wasteland of any sensible debate from any parliamentarians; John McDonnell's speech here is a breath of fresh of air, it really is:
Chris Hedges: "Civil disobedience is the only weapon we have left to save not only the ecosystem that sustains life but the nation itself. Corporate forces, unregulated, unfettered corporate forces exploit everything; human beings, the natural world, until exhaustion or collapse. Karl Marx was right, unfettered, unregulated capitalism is a revolutionary force........."
Continued in the video below.
At the recent U.N. general assembly addressing water and sanitation, Bolivian president Evo Morales once again has demonstrated why he is considered by many activists to be such an important voice on the international circuit.
More than two billion people across the world have no access to sanitation facilities and clean water. (Global population c.7billion) U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned representatives that the world would not achieve the Millenium Development Goals set for 2015, and that "It is not acceptable that poor slum-dwellers pay five or even 10 times as much for their water as wealthy residents of the same areas of the same cities," and added: "Let us be clear: a right to water and sanitation does not mean that water should be free."
Bolivians famously rebelled against water privatisation by US corporation Bectal in 2000 and Morales lacks no clarity on the subject: "Water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, it should be available to all the people," and challenging the notion that water management by private corporations will accelerate the process of development he said "Without water, there can be no food, no life," he said, "Competition of any sort cannot resolve the issue of poverty." He also critisised 'developed' countries for failing to adopt a rights approach for mother earth and linked the struggle for environmental and social justice "If we don't respect the rights of Mother Earth, we cannot respect human rights,"
The U.S. delegate also supported the view that access to water is a universal human right, however avoided discussing the role of the private sector in the supply and distribution of drinking water. "The U.S. is committed to solving the world's water problems," he said.
Kate Fried of the Water and Food Watch supported Morales's views "Water is a human right. We believe that corporations cannot provide better service to consumers," and further that "Water service can be provided more effectively by public-public partnership." Morales said simply "Water is life. Water is humanity. How could it be part of private business?"
See the brilliant film Even the Rain to learn more of the Bolivian uprising against US water company Bectal.
Monsanto has been awarded a European patent on conventionally bred melons (EP 1 962 578). This type of Melon had been bred for increased resistance to certain plant viruses. Indian melons which display greater disease resistance were simply crossed with other varieties in order to transfer this characteristic. The process and outcome is now a legal invention.
In December 2010,The European Patent Office (EPO) decided that conventional breeding could not be patented (G2/07 and G1/08). To evade the issue, Monsanto obtained a patent on the entire plant, seeds, and fruit. Since Monsanto now owns the patent on the plant itself, it now controls the conventional breeding process of the plant. The disease the melon is resistant to has been spreading across North America, Europe and North Africa for several years. Monsanto can now decide on the future of the plant and the livelihoods of those who grow it. Insert your anti-capitalist, pro-commons expletives here.
Christoph Then, a spokesperson for No Patents on Seeds comments:
“This patent is an abuse of patent law because it is not a real invention. It contravenes European law excluding patents on conventional breeding. Further, it is a case of bio-piracy, since the original and most relevant plants come from India...Patents like this are blocking access to the genetic resources necessary for further breeding, and basic resources needed for daily life are subordinated to monopolisation and financial speculation.”
The coalition No Patents on Seeds! are calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability:
In light of the Fukushima meltdown, Germany and Switzerland are now phasing out it's nuclear power plants, last week Italy voted against starting a nuclear programme and the Chinese government has suspended approvals for new plants while it reviews their safety. At this juncture it seems reasonable to ask the question 'Are we seeing the beginning of the end of nuclear?'
In response to this shift in opinion against nuclear, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have met to review what lies ahead for the industry. Various reports reviewing this meeting suggest 'business as usual'. In response to the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years at Fukushima the IAEA's key recommendation was: "Plant layout should be based on maintaining a 'dry site concept', where practicable..." Hardly indicative of a significant change in policy. Building plants on fault lines does not yet seem to be a major concern for the IAEA. Indeed a plant under construction in India judged to be the biggest in the world is being built on a fault line in an area that has a history of earth quakes.
Globally there are currently 440 operational reactors and 65 under construction (See the graphs below for national distribution) This does not include those that are contracted to be built or are being planned. 52 countries have recently asked the IAEA for approval to build plants. In the UK it's nuclear all the way with a staggering 8 plants being planned (Bare in mind only 65 are currently under construction internationally) Saudi Arabia is planning to be build 16 by 2030, United Arab emirates 4, Turkey 2 and so on, this list is very far from exhaustive.
Meanwhile Fukushima workers bravely fight on risking all, not just at risk from radiation exposure but some reports suggest there has been near fatalities due to exhaustion. There has even been a suicide movement i.e a group of older citizens that are prepared to risk their lives by working on the plant to preserve the lives of younger workers. In addition US plants are currently in trouble; as this article title sums up Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska'. This is a reminder of one of the worst types of capitalist exploitation. An industry that need not exist, is financially, environmentally and socially irrational. Weaponisable by-products 'justify' their continued existence and the lies from the corporate-political alliance. The Tokyo Electric Power company (which ran the Fukushima plant) falsified safety reports in the late 1990's and in 2002 and just today the Guardian reports how the UK government launched a campaign to 'smooth the sharp edges' from the public mind about the ongoing Fukushima disaster. The nuclear industry cannot be trusted, much needed jobs can be created by a move toward a sustainable and safe future in the renewable industry.
When Two Worlds Collide traces the heroic journey of a young indigenous leader forced into exile after resisting environmental ruin of Amazonian lands by big business. The filmmakers hope to bring this important documentary to completion by Sept 2012.
So far the project has received financial support from: Amiel & Melburn Trust, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Cinereach, Lush, Rooftop Films, The Sundance Institute, and The Tribecca Film Institute. However more funding is required.
I asked Matthew Orzel from Yachaywasi Films a few questions about the film.
Tell me about Yachaywasi Films
We are a team of three at Yachaywasi Films and have been living in Peru for the past 4 years working on When Two Worlds Collide. Yachaywasi' (ya-chai-wasi) vision is to create innovative, artistic and thought provoking documentary films with a call to action, which explore world and socio-environmental issues. Whilst pushing the boundaries of how documentary films are made and perceived, YFs aim to strengthen the personal, intuitive response of the audience. We bring under-reported issues to international attention through the power of cinematic filmmaking and passionate story telling aiming to inspire individuals and societies to become catalysts for change - both locally and internationally.
I note that you require another $5000 for 'When Two Worlds Collide' How much is needed in total?
We are asking for $5000 as it is what we need for the next stage. Fundraising is an on-going process and at the moment we are trying to raise enough to pay for immediate production costs. The entire budget is almost $400,000. we have raised at least $200,000. I know it sounds like an awful lot but for high end docs it really isnt. Also.... more public (non-returnable funding) funds we get... more we can give back to the communities involved in the production.
In the past few weeks the fight for the Amazon has led to the murder of several high profile activists. Why is a documentary so important?
Film and television can be very powerful tools. After finding out what was happening in Peru, we knew it was our responsibility as filmmakers to get the message out there, to provide a voice to the voiceless. In addition to the amazing work of the NGO's on the ground working to do this, we hope this film will compliment their efforts by taking this issue to the mainstream. We are planning to attach the film to an international campaign that will bring further awareness to the issue. The film will be screened throughout South America, the U.S and Europe in cinemas and film festivals as well as Universities, Schools, Colleges and local communities. We want to build awareness about the problems facing communities of the Amazon and will provide positive actions for audiences to take.
This documentary is more than just a story, its real life, about real people who are suffering because of unfair corporate and governmental actions. The Peruvian Amazon is the 2nd largest after Brazil and with corporations already taking over 75% of the Amazon and with more to come we have to act with great urgency. Audiences need to understand and feel what is going on in the Amazon, how real people are affected by wrong decisions and where the consequences can lead us - this film will be a portal into the lives of the Amazonians for world audiences to understand and feel what they are going through.
How can people help?
One way the public can show their support is by donating to our Kickstarter page, bridge funding ends on Wednesday Jun 22, -
Depending on the denomination of your donation you are eligible to free DVD's as well as other unique opportunities.
People can also help by sharing the link for the trailer http://vimeo.com/10805348 and by visiting the facebook fan page and sharing it with as many people as possible: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1251400164#!/event.php?eid=231138216902382
I read a headline today in one of the UK imperialist rags, that was boasting about the capabilities of the new 80 million pound Euro fighter, recently let loose in Libya. The increase in war spending by Britain and US will have to be extracted from somewhere; prey not, from closing loopholes exploited by the corporate tax evaders. No surprises who won the financial tug-of-war, for war spending vs spending against Climate Chaos in Congress yesterday. $1.6 billion from the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been cut and the position of assistant to the president for energy and climate change has been eliminated. Mark Hertsgaard, author of Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth discusses the many reasons why this is such a regressive, short-sighted and immoral development:
Please start to value life and please stop making middle class Americans feel guilty.
Some comments from the video.
If you are able to see through the red/green mist you may wish to post a response here: you tube video
Sometimes it is too difficult to find the words. How much self predicated and avoidable suffering must our species inflict before we place people and planet above profit. It amuses me allbeit in a twisted kind of way, that the French-Indian corporation that are building this new catastrophe waiting to happen, refer to it not in the conventional way e.g. Plant or Station but rather 'Park'. The World's biggest Nuclear 'Park'. How pleasant; parks, a place where children and their pets play after school and weekends or where families may go for walks and have picnics. A glorious piece of corporate spin. Fukushima or not, this was a stupid idea. The fault line is well known but nonetheless the state of Maharastra is still going ahead with the 'park' to be situated close to the Indian coast in Jaitapur. Genuinely shocked and perplexed.