SNAP #24 – March 25th The Easter Edition
SNAP #24 – March 25th The Easter Edition
You can download this week's copy of SNAP! at snap.enzyme.org.nz now!
In this week's issue:
- Easter Food
- Let them drive porches
- People power proves successful!
SNAP! is produced by the Wildcat Anarchist Collective!
THE SERVICE & Food Workers Union, Nga Ringa Tota (SFWU) is encouraging union members to not patronise restaurants that charge extra these holidays. Since changes to the Holiday's Act in 2004 have meant that workers get time and a half and a day's leave some scumbag bosses have been hiking up prices for the punters.
These tweaks to working conditions are a modest backhander from the Labour Party to one the few unions who are still affiliated. It has cheeky restauranteurs slapping an additional 20% on to your bill this Easter.
As Union Secretary and Labour Party list lackey Darien Fenton said "Many New Zealanders agree that getting paid extra on a public holiday is fair and most don't mind paying a bit more over the year to cover the costs."
This surcharge is typical of the culture of whinging bosses in this country. Hopefully Fenton will be elected, with less Labour bureaucrats in the movement – maybe we could give them action to scream about.
US ADMITS IT —OIL IS RUNNING OUT
THE BUSH administration is notorious for burying its head in the sand when it comes to environmental issues, however a new internal US government report, obtained by Arab media source Aljazeera, shows that they better start listening to their critics, or at least their advisors.
Authored by Robert Hirsch, a presidentially appointed energy programme advisor, the report is an assessment requested by the US Department of Energy. The report is unprecedented in US government circles and its existence is a landmark in the current oil debate.
"World oil peaking is going to happen," the report says – only the timing is uncertain. "The development of the US economy and lifestyle has been fundamentally shaped by the availability of abundant, low-cost oil. Oil scarcity and several-fold price increases due to world oil production peaking could have dramatic impacts…the economic loss to the United States could be measured on a trillion-dollar scale."
The report dismisses the power of the markets to solve any oil peak, and worryingly points to a need to exclude public debate and environmental concerns from the process to speed up decision-making.
"Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. But the process will not be easy. Expediency may require major changes to…lengthy environmental reviews and lengthy public involvement."
The report's conclusion makes troubling reading. "The world has never faced a problem like this. Without massive mitigation having occurred more than a decade before the fact, the problem will be pervasive and will not be temporary. Previous energy transitions were gradual and evolutionary. Oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary."
Without this "massive mitigation" the report predicts catastrophic recessions and shortages. It also lays out "signals" it believes will be apparent in the run-up to any peak. This is perhaps the most worrying aspect of the report, as it seems to describe the very events that are taking place at the moment.
UPHEAVAL IN KYRGYZSTAN
DEMONSTRATORS in the central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan have taken over four of its seven provinces and installed alternative systems of government in response to elections that were marred by vote buying, disqualification of opposition candidates and media manipulation. Tens of thousands of angry protestors in the south began taking action against the government last week by occupying administration buildings in Jala-Abad and Osh, the second largest city in Kyrgyzstan. At least ten demonstrators and 4 policemen have been killed in the unrest. Dissidents razed the Jalal-Abad police-station after detachments of the special police force (OMON) raided the regional administration building, which had been occupied since March 4. Later in the day protestors occupied the airport and poured out onto the runway several truckloads of crushed stone and set fire to tyres in order to prevent planes with troops and additional police forces from landing. SNAP!'s subsidiary, the British Broadcasting Corporation, reported today that protestors in Osh still remained in control of the city's television station, the airport, and official buildings and security forces were nowhere to be seen in the inner city. Elections held on the 27th of February were a victory for Askar Akayev, president since 1990, but were widely disputed by various international election monitoring bodies.
In his 14 year reign Kyrgzystan, one of the poorest ex-soviet states, has undergone extensive free market restructuring, further impoverishing its inhabitants. This in itself would be cause for massive uprising but has been exacerbated by the personal corruption of Akayev.
According to one of SNAP!'s Central Asian Correspondents, Igor Ryabov, "there is discontent with President Askar Akayev's regime, in particular this is discontent with the people who surround him. All of the country's business is practically concentrated in the hands of his son and his son-in-law."
LET THEM DRIVE PORCHES!
GREEN PARTY co-top dog Rod Donald recently flew down to the bucolic regions of Motueka with the inspiring message that poor people own too many cars.
Rod reckons the drop in car prices caused by the government's decision to remove tariffs from imported cars, and to allow second hand imports, means NZ now has the highest rate of car ownership in the world.
The Greens other co-commander Jeanette Fitzsimons recently backed more tax on petrol to induce us to buy fuel efficient cars, quaintly suggesting we choose one that does "a minimum of 50 miles to a gallon" (anybody selling a fuel-efficient car for under $500, please drop me a line).
Rod made his comments at a festival in Lower Moutere, a region with next to no public transport, few local services, and a huge shortage of affordable accommodation close to work sites. In other words a place where, thanks to the effects of the capitalist free-market economics the Greens don't challenge, living without a vehicle is virtually impossible.
The green capitalism co-Rod and co-Jeanette promote doesn't stop people polluting and burning fossil fuels – it just ensures theseactivities are a privilege of the rich.
SNAP!'s fuel saving tips for Rod:
•Make MPs pay for their own flights. Saves fuel and stops them waltzing around telling us what to do.
• Traffic fines for too-clean SUVs. If it's not covered in dust or mud you don't need a 4WD.
•Ban the import of expensive cars. Bring in second hand wrecks that the rich won't buy as status symbols. Much of the environmental cost of cars is in the manufacturing process, so re-using old cars makes sense.
• A graduated tax on frequent fliers (such as businesspeople and Green MPs), so each flight over the course of a year costs you more.
• Save fuel by not driving to a polling station this year.
POWER OF THE PEOPLE PROVES SUCCESSFUL
OVER 150 people marched from Civic Square to the US Embassy last Saturday in protest against the United States' continued illegal occupation of Iraq on the second anniversary of the invasion. Marchers hailed from across the leftist spectrum, from Anarchists to Campus Left, from the Anti Capitalist Alliance to high school students, all came to voice their anger over the US' continued flouting of international law and human rights in the interests of its corporate masters. As the march moved down Lambton Quay, several paint bombs were thrown at the ANZ Bank, in protest over its involvement in and profit from the war in Iraq. All the way, two plainclothes police kept a close eye on the marchers, with one taking a considerable number of close-up photos of activists with a high powered zoom lens.
At the embassy several speeches were made, then protesters were invited to vent their frustration by throwing rotten fruit at an activist dressed as George W. Bush. Police warned protesters not to get any fruit on the embassy, so one activist stood facing away from the embassy and threw a tomato. He was arrested and dragged away by police. The crowd sprung into action, surrounding the police and their vehicle to ensure that the arrested protester would not be taken away. Shouts of "let him go!" and "false arrest!" filled the air for half an hour, until the police were forced to give in and release the activist without charge. Once again, people power proved triumphant over abusive police behaviour!
About 15 people camped overnight outside, and 2 went on a hunger strike in solidarity with the people of Iraq and those arrested in an Auckland anti-war protest.