rn: Consumer Reports on WTO/GMOs, Finnish action: No to Biocapitalism! For Ecological Foods!


Jan Slakov

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 18:12:07 -0800
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Consumer Reports Magazine on WTO

Look at this: Consumers Union -- a fairly mainstream consumer group 
with a large readership -- speaks favorably of the WTO demonstrations 
in Seattle. Thanks Shel for passing it along. --Randy


  Consumer Reports (published by Consumers Union)  February 2000
  Memo to members
  World Trade:  The message from Seattle

  Global-trade issues have been catapulted so rapidly to the front pages that
  many consumers may be wondering what the hullabaloo in Seattle was all
  about.  What has become apparent is that consumers had a major stake in the
  World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings.

  Conventional wisdom has held that consumers stand to benefit from
  expansions in global trade:  Competition results in more choice and lower
  prices.  Reducing or eliminating tariffs can do the same.  But "free" trade
  must be coupled with consumer and environmental protections to truly serve

  There were a number of compelling messages to the governments that met in
  Seattle, from a variety of citizen groups:

    * Shortcomings in protections for consumers and the environment, and in
  workers' rights, must be corrected before any new trade deals are made.

    * WTO decision-making and dispute-resolution systems must become more open
  and must include input from citizen organizations when citizen interests
  are being decided.

    * Consumers in poor countries must benefit from global trade.  Their
  condition has worsened, even as conditions have improved for consumers

  These concerns have been expressed to the U.S. government over the last few
  years, by CU directly and as part of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue
  and Consumers International.

  Governments and the new WTO have been largely indifferent to the voices of
  citizen organizations.  We were drowned out by the greater clout of
  organized business.

  Seattle may have changed that to some degree.  The presidents of the U.S.
  and the European Union have since invited consumer and environmental
  representatives from both sides of the Atlantic to voice their views very
  briefly, at the semiannual trade summit.  Though a largely symbolic
  gesture, it could signal a change of attitude.

  A more compelling signal by our government would be to address the need to
  ensure the safety and labeling of genetically engineered food (see our
  September 1999 report "Seeds of Change").

  Americans have always insisted on the right to safety, information, and
  choice in the foods they consume.  Consumer groups have repeatedly called
  for mandatory pre-market safety reviews and for mandatory labeling of
  genetically engineered foods, protections now in place for European

  The U.S. has no labeling requirement -- although recent polls reflect
  substantial support for one -- and has an essentially voluntary safety

  Global trade policy faces a crisis of citizen confidence; the protests and
  lobbying in Seattle made that apparent.  It can be resolved only when the
  WTO becomes more open and when consumer, environmental, and labor concerns
  are acknowledged and addressed.  Acting on these food issues would be a
  good start.

  Rhoda H. Karpatkin, President

From: "Viviane Lerner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Mai-not" <•••@••.•••>, "Mai-not" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:25:25 -1000

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


A march 12th of february 2 pm from the center square of Tampere, Finland
The main  demonstration of Black and Green days 2000

It is a basic need of every human to have food produced in the
living nature. Biocapitalism means an attempt of the capital to transform
our basic needs and genes to a commercial product, ruled by the
multinational companies. In another hand this means developing of the
biotechnology to serve the transnational capital, in another hand this means
destroying of the peasantry as a whole, or putting it under the control of
the multinational capital.

We have seen the "effective" agricultural technologies by capital to
bring us the mad cow disease, hormone beef and the horrible conditions in
the cage farms. Now the want us to trust to the genetic engineering, which
touches the essence of the animals very deeply. No consumers nor farmers
want genetically engineered food, it is only of interest to the
multinational corporations trying to grow their power and profit, no matter
what is the price which our health and enviroment pays. Multinational
corporations are talking about the eradiction of the malnutrition, but
actually the result of concentration of the food production is the contrary.
Hundreds of millions are not malnourished because there is no food, but
because poors have no a chance to grow their own food, nor a chance to buy
it from the market. The
famine grows when the multinationals are pushing millions of peasants from
their lands with their new technologies. Peasants all around the world are
fighting against the power of the multinational agribusiness and
biotechnologies of the capital.

Biocapitalism means famine and hazardous products, a bankruptcy of the
peasants and misleading of the consumers.  Our alternatice is ecologic,
decentralized food production, based on the respect of the nature and the
animals. Tools of the capital, like the genetic technology and the WTO, are
a threat which can be crushed by the human resistance. Seattle was our first
victory in this struggle, now it is the time to get the resistance into the
streets of Finland as well. So we are calling all farmers, consumers,
defenders of nature and animals - everyone in whose interest it is to fight
against the biocapitalism to join us.

Itsehallinnolliset toverit (Self-governing comrades, Helsinki)
Autonome Offensive '99
TorA - Tornion Anarkistit (Anarchists of Tornio)
Jyväskylän opiskelevat anarkistit (Student anarchists of Jyväskylä)
Antti Rautiainen - •••@••.•••

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