RN: SAND IN THE WHEELS #2 (excerpts)


Jan Slakov

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 15:57:42 -0300
Subject: SAND IN THE WHEELS   (n°02)

This is the edition in English of  the bulletin of ATTAC, a fast growing 
organization against neoliberalism.  Its main sections nowadays are in 
France and Brazil. 

Weekly newsletter - Wednesday 09/08/99



1- French Farmers Fight Globalization
2- The Toronto Dollar Project
3- Resolution on Trade and Liberalization and its Impact on Human
4- News from a liberal business model
5- Rendezvous with ATTAC

__________ French Farmers Fight Globalization

What's the difference between Roquefort cheese and Coca-Cola ?  Well,
er ...

However, there's one difference which has far-reaching implications,
and - as recent events in France have shown - explosive potential.  It
is expressed by Philippe Folliot, mayor of the tiny village of St
Pierre-de-Trivisy, centre of production of the ewe's milk from which
the famous cheese is made: "Roquefort is made from the milk of only
one breed of sheep, it is made in only one place in France, and it is
made in only one special way", explains Mr Folliot.  "It is the
opposite of globalization. Coca-Cola you can buy anywhere in the world
and it is exactly the same".

He could have said much the same of McDonald's restaurants.
McDonald's has been the target of a wave of protests by French farmers
against sanctions imposed on a slew of luxury French food products,
ranging from Roquefort cheese to foie gras.  The sanctions were
imposed by the World Trade Organisation (dutifully relaying
Washington), in retaliation for the European Union's decision to ban
imports of US hormone-treated beef.

If the tiny village of St Pierre-de-Trivisy reacted to the sanctions
by a 100% "tax" on Coca-Cola sold at local functions, as a symbolic
protest against the US-dominated process of globalization, the radical
farmers'union, the Confédération Paysanne led a protest on a different
scale, when hundreds of its militants in the Aveyron region of
South-West France demonstrated in front of the new McDonald's
restaurant building site in Millau. The trade-union protest gave an
early French send-off to the international campaign, due to take place
from October 12th to 17th, against the Millennium Round  (an MAI
"clone" whose well-aired objective is to bring all human activities
under the control of the transnational corporations).

A disturbing aspect of the union protest in Millau was the reaction of
the French authorities, who have in the past tolerated far more
disruptive and even violent assaults on French institutions without
any legal action being taken. In contrast, the demonstration targeting
McDonald's, as a symbol of US-dominated globalization, gave rise to
the imprisonment of five leading unionists, in three different
prisons, with family visits forbidden them. As the Confédération
Paysanne is a founding member of ATTAC, this organization has been
very active in getting support for the five unionists.  The latest
news is that McDonald's, no doubt alarmed by the ruckus among French
farmers and their supporters, has dropped charges against the
protesters, and the Court of Appeal in Montpellier is expected to
decide to release them.

09/07: Jose Bove has accepted to be released on bail paid for by
French and American farmers, various organizations, ATTAC being one,
and agricultural companies from Aveyron.  The golden arches of
McDonalds are indeed spanning the globe but they are also spawning a
solidarity of mounting resentment to globalization.

__________ The Toronto Dollar Project

"The idea of the Toronto Dollar is old and new. It is a way that
allows all to share in the community in a spirit of reciprocity that
makes no distinction between giving and receiving."

"All can be respected for what they bring, and nourished by what
others bring. It is the genius of the Toronto Dollar to challenge the
forces that separate people in buyers and sellers and have and

Toronto Dollar Community Projects Inc., a non-profit group, introduced
the community paper money, the Toronto Dollar, on December 5, 1998.
The main purpose of the Toronto Dollar was to create work - through
community initiatives and groups - for those who are on low incomes,
unemployed or homeless.   The concept is simple:  every time federal
dollars are exchanged at par with Toronto Dollars, merchants
contribute 10 cents from every dollar purchased to a fund that
finances job creation as well as community projects via the Toronto
Dollar Community Trust Fund.   At last look, more than 104
participating businesses, including 21 restaurants and 25
participating non-profit and charitable organizations had joined and
more are joining every week.  So far about 65,000 Toronto Dollars have
exchanged and have been able to generate 10 percent of that - $6,500 -
for charitable community initiatives.

The first beneficiary of the Fund was "Out of the Cold," a program
where a network of churches co-operate to offer food and shelter to
the homeless each winter.

"It's trying to help the people and local businesses in the community
that are under threat from government cutbacks," said Joy Kogawa,
project president of Toronto Dollar Community Projects Inc. and
Toronto author.  After finishing her most recent novel, The Rain
Ascends, Ms. Kogawa says she started thinking about the growing gap
between the rich and poor.  She saw money being channeled away from
local needs, such as schools, hospitals and homeless shelters, to pay
down the national debt.  Was there a way to give communities a voice
and some measure of control? she wondered.

She began reading about alternative currencies, which have taken hold
in many cities around the world. There's a rich literature on this
topic, catalogued on the Internet by the Institute for Economic
Democracy at http://www.slonet.org/~ied/.   Some 65 other North
American cities have used the concept and by year's end, Toronto
Dollar Inc. hopes to have $200,000 Toronto dollars in circulation.

"We're trying to build bridges in the community between small
businesses and institutions in the community," says David Walsh,
Treasurer of Toronto Dollar Inc.  "The idea is to get it working well
here first, and then let it spread."

As of June 21, Toronto Dollars may be purchased at two Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) branches in Toronto.  CIBC is the
first major bank to participate in the Toronto Dollar project.  As
James Page, community manager for CIBC explained: "Our participation
with the Toronto Dollar program is simply an extension of CIBC's
commitment to enhancing the communities in which we live and work."
Says Joy Kogawa, "There are people within banks who care about people.
Wherever there are people who care, there is hope."
Website:  http://www.torontodollar.net/

__________ Resolution on Trade and Liberalization and its Impact on
Human Rights

Following their success in 1998 in urging the UN Commission on Human
Rights to intervene in matters of international economic policy
(specifically the OECD negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on
Investment), members of the International NGO Committee on Human
Rights in Trade and Investment lobbied strongly for the resolution
below with a view to influencing deliberations at the 3rd Ministerial
Conference of the World Trade Organisation (November 1999). The
resolution was championed by Joseph Oloka-Onyango of Uganda, the
principal sponsor, and spoken in favour of by other member states
including: Françoise Hampson of the UK, Soli Sorabjee of India and
Miguel Alfonso Martinez of Cuba. The resolution was passed on August
26, 1999, with a resounding majority of 18 votes in favour, none
against, and 4 abstentions.

Trade liberalization and its impact on human rights (resolution

__________ News from a liberal business model

>From the Bureau of International Labour and the Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities

Americans worked 2000 hours  in 1997 (a 4% increase per year since
1983) or, in other words, two weeks more per year than, for example,
the Japanese.  Every other nation is seeing a decrease in the amount
of time spent working.Salaries between 1977 and 1999

- 10% of Americans (the poorest) have seen their salary decrease.
- 60% of Americans have seen their salary increase by 8% (less than
0.5% per year)
- 20% of Americans have seen their salary increase by 43%
- 10% of Americans have seen their salary increase by 115% (more than

Figures based on after-tax and taking into consideration inflation.

In 2000, 2.7 million Americans with the highest salaries, will earn as
much income (after taxes) as 100 million poorest Americans.The average
annual salary in 1977 was $10,000; in 1999, it is $8,800 after taxes
and taking inflation into consideration.

And in Europe, it's the English who are spending more time at work
with also the greatest salary disparity...