13 June 2008

Arte en las Calles de Oaxaca

Protesting the Privatization of PEMEX (This grafitti was promptly painted over with white pain by officials)




30 March 2008

Global food prices rise and famine increases

By Barry Mason
29 March 2008
world's socialist website

The United Nations body World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the rise in global food prices will reduce its ability to feed hungry and malnourished people.

Speaking last month in Rome, where the WFP is based, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, “Our ability to reach people is going down just as needs go up.... We are seeing a new face of hunger in which people are being priced out of the food market.... Situations that were previously not urgent—they are now.”

In a press release, the WFP gave a new estimate for the funds needed for its work this year at nearly US$3.5 billion, half a billion more than estimated last year. This money is for approved projects to feed 73 million people in 78 countries throughout the world. It notes that this money is for projected feeding schemes and does not include unforeseen emergencies that may arise.

It also notes that the poorest people on earth will have to spend an increasing portion of their meagre income on food. The WFP warns that these people will be forced to buy less food, or less nutritious food, or rely on outside help.

The countries that will be most affected include Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Djibouti, the Gambia, Togo, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Senegal, all on the African continent. Also affected will be Haiti, Myanmar (Burma), Yemen and Cuba.

The WFP says amongst the factors pushing food increases are rising oil prices and the increase in demand for food, especially meat, in China and India. This increase in demand is a result of the rapid increase in economic power of these countries.

Weather events linked to climate change have also played a part in the rise in prices. The increasing use of crops for biofuels is another factor at work in the market.

Mark Thirlwell, writing in the Financial Times February 26, provided some data on the scale of the threat to food provision. He pointed out that world food prices have risen by 75 percent since the new millennium with a 20 percent increase last year alone. China’s consumption of meat and soybeans has gone up by 40 percent in the last decade as its economy started to soar.

He points out that whilst in the past, increases in food prices have been alleviated by subsequent increases in production, that may not apply this time.

He argues that the rise in oil prices and subsequent spurt in the production of biofuels will have a long-term impact on food supply. Increasingly, crops will be grown to meet the increased demand for biofuel rather than food.

The fact that food costs represent a bigger proportion of the income for the poor in the so-called undeveloped countries will exacerbate their plight. Thirlwell writes: “While the share of food in the consumption basket of a rich country such as the US is relatively low, at about 10 percent, it averages about 30 percent in China and more than 60 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. Those countries that are most vulnerable are the low-income net food importers. Higher food prices add more strain to import bills that have often already been stretched by higher energy prices. Several of the poorest economies fall into this category and are heavily dependent on food aid to meet their needs. But the worldwide volume of such aid has stagnated for the past two decades and, what is worse; the quantity of aid delivered tends to fall as prices rise, given that a large proportion comprises a fixed annual dollar amount.”

He points out that those most at risk will be the urban poor. Whilst in many sub-Saharan Africa countries, a large proportion of the population exist as subsistence farmers, the trend is for the poor to leave the land and head for the burgeoning urban centres.

The drive to switch to crop production for biofuels is having an impact in Africa. Ghana, Benin, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa all have plans to produce crops for biofuel.

A report in the Independent, February 16, explained that a meeting of the African Biodiversity Network had met in South Africa to discuss biofuel production. The article quoted respected Nigerian environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey, who said: “Africa is a wide open continent and the energy industry wants to take advantage... This is a flashback to colonial plantations.”

The article continued; “From the savannahs of West Africa to the rainforests of Congo, the plains of Tanzania and the wilderness of Ethiopia, governments are handing over huge tracts of fertile land to private companies aiming to convert biomass grown on large plantations into liquid fuels for export markets. African leaders like Senegal Abdoulaye Wade are predicting a ‘green revolution’ and looking eagerly to lucrative exports.”

Climate change will also affect crop production in Africa. A recent report from Stanford University predicted a drop of nearly a third in the production of the food staple crop maize as a result of climate change over the next two decades.

A separate study carried out by the Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA), which is based in South Africa, states Africa will lose around 4 percent of its cropland over the next 30 years and will have lost around 18 percent by the end of the century.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it will cut the amount of food aid it provides. It blamed the recent sharp increase in commodity prices, which have left it with a US$120 million budget deficit.

Amy Barry, an Oxfam spokesperson on trade, quoted in the Observer on March 2, noted: “More and more people are going to be facing food shortages in the future.... Given what is happening due to rising food prices we need to think about the impact this will have on people [in the developing world] who are spending up to 80% of their incomes on food.”

The impact of the economic crisis of the capitalist system will have a devastating affect on the lives of some of the poorest people in the world.

Free Mumia Abu Jamal

16 February 2008

Important Solidarity

Please cut and paste the letter bellow and send it to the address listed to support the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, in collaboration with the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Tribe who are working together towards the goal of removing ancestors from museums & agencies and returning them back to the land where their families buried them. Feel Free to personalize your own version of the letter to express your thoughts on this. This is a crucial act, folks, to begin right-ing many wrongs. Our solidarity is strength.

Los Padres National Forest Headquarters
6755 Hollister Ave
Goleta, CA 93117

Dear Forest Supervisor Hernandez,

The Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, in collaboration with the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Tribe, will make a claim for the return of all the human remains and all associated funerary objects collected from sites CA-Mnt-250 and CA-Mnt-85 per the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. We (person/organization fill in name) are in complete support. The human remains and associated funerary objects were collected from the Los Padres National Forest.

There is no doubt that there are human remains that are still buried on Los Padres National Forest land. Those remains may belong to various tribes associated with land that you manage. Therefore, we recognize the importance of tribes working together towards the goal of removing our ancestors from storage in museums and agencies and returning them back to the land where their families buried them.

We ask for you full support and that your agency repatriates the human remains and grave items as soon as possible.

(your name)

Hesiha manu lex efexe, ma’ali naham laci!
Work for our people, not against them!

No a la Contaminacion!

"Ecoloco", Odesia Burbujas

01 February 2008

Because we will never forget October 2nd

Por que el 2 de Octubre nunca sera borrada de la Historia y menos de nuestras mentes, por que fueron ellos los que murieron por nosotros, por hacerse cumplir nuestras petisiones y hacer cumplir la "Ley" una ley por la que todos los mexicanos y en cualquier parte del mundo lucha, educacion gratuita.

A ellos quienes fueron asesinado por las espaldas sin luz de dia ni de noche que cobardes los berdugos, seran muy fuertes mis palabras pero es que el coraje que traigo clavado aqui en el pecho y en la memoria jamas sera borrada. Como testimonios de ellos decian "nos hecharon el ejercito por que los policias no podian con nosotros"

Bayonetas, camiones y el gobierno fueron los acesinos, nunca han sido castigados los culpables, pero no volvera a repetirse porque estamos aqui ahora mas preparados que nunca con inteligencia y educacion la nueva generacion nuestros hijos.

Porque seguimos en Pie de lucha, y seguiremos recordando a nuestros caidos sea o no la fecha cuando fueron acesinados o desaparecidos hoy 1 de Febrero quiero hacer anfasis de lo acontesido porque un 2 de Octubre nunca jamas sera borrado de nuestra Historia y de nuestra mente.