The Land Is Ours – Newsletters Archive
Newsletter No. 18
- MayDay in London
- Zimbabwe the Truth
- Brazil – MST
- Phillipines – GM
- Right to Roam
- Seminar : The Unofficial Countryside
- The Alternative Farmer’s Summit
- Scottish Land Reform
- Diggers Commemorative Stone
|The Land is Ours Newsletter
Issue 18 – Summer 2000
MAYDAY IN LONDON
A personal perspective (Mark Brown): The day started in good humour (with an undercurrent of confusion) at Hyde-Park corner, as the `Green samba band’ led a procession of guerrilla gardeners, cyclists, face-painted guys and girls arid all assortment of black-clothed anarchists with their faces camouflaged. Thanks to :tit impromptu police operation, the procession was allowed to bypass through traffic routes on course for Parliament Square. Upon its arrival. banners were hung up w ith inscriptions such sac “Seeds of Resistance” arid “The Wonns Turn”. not forgetting our favourite “The Earth Is A Common Treasury For All
As the guerrilla gardeners got to work digging landscape features on Parliament Square such as a pond, and planting beds in the park with compost, and turfing the road with grass pulled tip from tile lawn, the Samba band led activists down Whitehall. ‘the rest is history¡, suffice to say that historic monuments were inexcusably defaced. The uniting of green, red and black, which was talked up in preevent publicity, took the forni on the day of a random collection of various dissenting voices, ranging from Maoists to masked-up anarchists to green environmentalists (tie included, for whom the guerrilla gardening philosophy was identified with). The impression left was that black-flag anarchism took priority. Contrary to what yeas hyped tip to be the focus of tile event the coherent display of alternatives became over-ridden by this mementary vacuum of action arid reason. The trashing of the MacDonald’s joint – a single symbolic statement of capitalism’s destruction turning in on itself – was drowned in a tide of petty graffiti and violence. which has now given the impression in hindsight aniongst tire media-drilled general public that the underlying philosophy of the movement is inspired by nothing more than violent upheaval. The crave for destruction by isolated groups of anarchists leas yet again left its with a bitter taste in the mouth. TLIO chose not to get involved in the organisation (if the MayDay carnival. On reflection, this was probably the right decision. TLIO has a direct action ethos. However; we feel that future actions need to be better thought out to prevent disparate elements hi-jacking the event in pursuit of their own agenda.
The occupation of hundreds of white and black owned farms in Zinibabwe by an increasingly distressed mass of” the landless population has highlighted the deeper. underlying problems facing the whole African continent, namely that this is a trag ic legacy of colonialism which has been allowed to fester. 4.500 white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe own 24 million acres, 40¡-0 of the country’s arable land, with snore titan 8 million on tile remaining arid land. Despite the terrible events of recent weeks involving a minority of” tile white population. there is no escaping tile roots of the white settler’s original injustice, which is long overdue for recompense.
In previous weeks we have also witnessed abrade of” racist reporting by tile western media, which has concentrated on the killings of white Partners, ignoring the tact that three quarters of the deaths tip to the end of April had involved black Zimbabweans. At the same tinge, there is no doubt that Zimbabwe’s corrupt President Mugabe pushed the issue of land confiscation at this time with the sole intention of boosting his popularity among the black community, in a cynical attempt to retain power in forthcoming general elections.
The summit of”southern African leaders on the. 19th April in Victoria Falls raised tile underlying question of whether financial assistance from the I “h towards Zimbabwe should he unconditional, irrespective of’ recent events. South Africa President Tbabo Mbeki, along with Mozambique’s leader Joaquim Chissano and President Sani Nujonia of Namibia agreed that the land problem had be en allowed to fester, and should have been addressed by the donors loll”‘ “Igo. They added that the reruns of the en-iginal agreement (the Lancaster House Conference in 1979) clearly stated that the financial aid should be set aside to buy the white-owned farms, so as to settle landless blacks on them.
Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain reacted by saying that the money was available. but only if land reform was “within tile rule of” law.” Britain has previously= said that initial redistribution had been tainted by nepotism and corruption. As a result, they suspended payments.
The grant money forthcoming from Britain (plus other donors) since 1981 expired in 1996, and its terms were re-assessed. to redress Zimbabwe’s poor record on poverty alleviation and lack of transparency. This reassessment led to the Land Conference, held in Harare in September 1998, where Zimbabwe agreed a set of principals to be carried out to ensure the continuation of this financial assistance. These principles included a commitment to poverty reduction acid transparency in the selection of settlers by the Zimbabwean government. But the Zimbabwean Government has failed to implement these principals. Meanwhile, the UK, identifying non-governmental channels for the payment of aid, has chosen to provide only £5 million spread over the next 3-5 years via the Dept. for International Development. The DFID is, however, providing the Ministry of Land and Agriculture £3.65 million to tailor extension services to the needs of smallholder families. But, this money is small fodder compared to the original financial agreement. Compared to the mountain of redistribution and infrastructure needed for Zinibabwe’s mass of landless people, it is woefully inadequate. Back in 1992, a Land Act was passed which enabled the Zimbabwean Government to acquire land, limit the size of farms arid introduce a land tax.
In January of this year, despite rejection at a referendum, the Government pushed through a constitutional amendment (to clause 57) through parliament, to allow compulsory acquisition of land without compensation. Criticism has been that Mugabe’s cronies will benefit from the most fertile areas with the poorer quality areas being relegated to the poorer peasants. Mugabe apart, further criticism refers to the rapid break-up of farms leading to a plunge in agricultural export receipts, as well as a mass of smallholders without any agricultural expertise being unprepared for contending with the vagaries ofthe environment Putting the issue of smallholders aside, the question of the long-tern benefit of cash-crop agriculture (often geared to stocking our supermarket isles) beckons forth a deeper question, in a world trading system of spiralling commodity prices. ?he benefit of increased domestic production from land redistribution and associated multiplier effects on the local economy cannot be denied, and is surely a more sustainable path for the future, despite short-term balance-of-payment problems. Perhaps the easiest path to this ideal could be slow transition via co-operative farms, where white farms would remain share-owning consultees until full transition is complete. This cart be the only way that the landless will be able to sustain themselves, without being slaves to the market economy once they have taken up their land resource.
Until then, there are deeper problems in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s destructive grip on power continues to mean that what was once a fundamentally sound economy is now in tatters. Inflation is at 50¡/0, unemployment is high, and the country continues to be embroiled in a crazy war in the Congo.
All of this goes to show that Zimbabwe, on one side. stands on the edge of the abyss, as political incompetence threatens to cause massive upheaval, whilst at the same time, the country stands on the verge of an historic change which, if implemented s moothly; could fundamentally lead to economic uptum for millions of people.
THE LAND IS OURS STATEMENT ON ZIMBABWE:
“The Land Is Ours calls for the genuine voice of the landless people of Zimbabwe to be heard. We support peaceful arid genuine land redistribution. We encourage the UK government to resume financial assistance for a land reform programme. j The Land Is Ours asserts that as a direct consequence ofthe cancellation of these payments, NIugahe has perverted the land reform process in t Zimbabwe. ‘lo rectify the situation. lye believe that t Zimbabwe should immediately set up an Independent Arbitration board, fully representative of the landless people. We call oil the UK government to encourage this and resume financial t aid as soon roc Zimbabwe agrees to fulfil this. Further to this, we believe that the British government should review this aid package to reflect a new understanding w ith Zimbabwe. recognising tile moral debt owed for the critics of slavery and colonialists. The ],arid Is Our.,, maintains that tile black population of Zimbabwe is still suffering under the legacy of colonialism”.
Appeal For Funds!!
TLIO now has over 3000 people oil our database who receive our newsletter. We have hundreds of enquiries a month at our office, with our core activists involved in national and international level campaigns. However our success also means that our workload and responsibility is growing, yet the funds to support its need to grow at the sonic pace. for the campaign to remain sustainable. As a result, we have decided to set up the newsletter as a subscription based mailout Sonle of you have already given its donations which “ill contribute towards the new sub system. We are basically asking to cover newsletter costs for the year, which adds up to £3 per year for 3 newsletter. We will continue however to send the newsletter for free for those who really can’t afford it. to other campaigning groups based on au info exchange sy stem, or to those who otter their tree tune to help in our campaigns. II” you (eel you are in any of the above categories, let tie know. ]’Ills system will start from now oil. So please send a cheque to the office to snake sure you keep getting the TLIO newsletter for £:I for a year’s subscription. We arc also offering people the opportunity of getting more involved with our campaigns, :aid get information about events that don’t slake it into the new s letter diary. If you want to join the loop: art internal digest and info sheet that corner out 8 times a year- then we ask £5 ofyou in addition to the newsletter sub, sit if you want both, we’re asking for £8 a Year from you. Thankyou very much for your continuing support, front all ill the TLIO office.
MST mark X00 Years of Exploitation with Mass Land Squats:
More than 100 private farms were invaded by peasant families who are protesting against the unfair distribution of land in Latin America’s largest country, the Landless Movement of Rural Workers (MST) have said. MST had planned to invade 500 properties by the 22nd April – the 500th anniversary of Portugal’s colonisation of Brazil. MST claim that the number symbolically represents five centuries of rural exploitation. “We are doing this as a counterpoint to the official celebrations.” said a spokesman, Nihon Viana. “We want to show that Brazil is riot just the beautiful country portrayed by the elite, but has serious social problems.”
Brazil’s long-planned commemoration of the day in 1500 when the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral first spotted the Brazilian coastline is threatening to turn into a public relations disaster, as it has focussed the protests of the country’s downtrodden minorities, who say that there is little to celebrate.
This week’s invasions were largely by the 74,000 families who ware living under plastic sheeting in roadside camps, Mr Viana s aid.
MST take on the World Bank
WB’s Land-Bank program lambasted The second phase of the World Bank’s market-based land reform project, which aims to override Brazil’s constitutionallymandated land reform which has enabled five million landless familiess in the country, to be entitled to land, has been severely criticised by opponents who fear it will oily increase poverty.
The World Bank plans to allocate $1 billion to create a `Land Bank’ for Brazil which the Brazilian Government will use to provide loans to the poor to assist them in purchasing lands. However. MST asserts that Brazil’s national monetary board whose members are aligned with the IMF – decided that loans would be indexed to TJLP (Brazil’s long-term interest rate). This overrides the principals of the Brazilian Constitution (where a three-year grace period was set aside, followed by a ten-year repayment period at 6¡-o interest). Under the new Land Bank program, there is no grace period, while interest rates currently hover around 14″?0. The TJLP is the same rate used initially in the Cedula da Terra project. but there the rate was reduced to a fixed 4¡?0 just prior to the inspection panel visit. MST am worried that financial turbulence could render these loans unpayable. There is a foregone conclusion here- the land will go from rich to poor to rich again. The land reform measures of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988 guarantees the right to property and requires that all land be used fur the benefit 01′ society. The federal government has the power to disappropriate. for the purpose of agrarian reform, rural property which is not fulfilling its social function. The law of the land literally is “use it or lose it”. However, the World Bank’s land-reform programme will supersede all of this. Furthermore, no landowners will be forced to sell, no matter how much of their property is lying unused or empty. Thus, the amounts and quality of lands available for redistribution will be greatly limited.
Since its founding in 1985, MST – with 1.2 million activists – has won the settlement of over 200,000 families, having organised & occupied idle land and received legal ownership & subsidised government loans.
Land ownership is highly concentrated in Brazil, with one percent of the population holding more than half of the land. The MST the Workers Party; church groups, farm workers’ unions and others in Brazil oppose the World Bank project arid have twice petitioned the Bank to leave its Inspection Panel review the project. The Bank rejected the request both times. While the geographic scope of the initial project is set to expand from 5 to 13 Brazilian states in both north-eastern and southern regions, the MST arid the Brazilian Agrarian Reform coalition are now asking for intemational solidarity in their campaign. For more info: www.mstbrazil.org
Besides its work in Brazil, the Bank is pursuing market-based land reform projects in South Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where land reform struggles are also being waged. See following article for info on the Phillipines.
Filipino Land Rights Peasant Movement fights GM Science
On February 10th, hundreds of Filipinos from peasant farms and NGO movements demanding their right to land reform and freedom from enslavement by multinationals, protested outside the Presidential Palace in Manila whilst delegates front the International Rice Research Institute held its 40th anniversary inside. Rafael Mariano, leader of the powerful KMP peasant movement, summed tip the mood of the protesters by charging the IRRI with locking rice farmers into dependency on the market. “Rice is a political crop”, he said. “Ile who controls the production and distribution of lice has an invaluable weapon t o control the whole of Asia”.
The IRRI has some of the world’s leading rice scientists and, was the organisation that developed high yielding crops for the, industrial high-input agriculture treadmill that was the “Green Revolution”. They are now working on developing highyielding chemical-dependant “super rice” which they claim could improve yields by 50¡,n, while they also pay lip service to developing GM breeds.
In a seminar held the previous week, Maurice Ku from Washington State University announced that lie had developed a GM rice that could boost yields by 35¡o by inserting new maize genes. Ku added that this would meet the needs of self-sufficiency and projected population growth. But Leopoldo Guilaran who has been fanning on tire Island of Negros for over 20 years disagrees. lie says that, “Even if the scientists invented a rice that could yield 20 tonnes per hectare, farmers in the Philippines who don’t own their own land still won’t be able to feed their own family, if they still have to hand over 60 70% of their harvest to their landlord as rent …What farmers here really need is access to laid and to capital”, he continued. “A rice seed engineered to increase yields will still require more from the soil and thus still require more bought inputs”.
Kilusang Magbubukid Pilipinas (KMP) i s a nationwide federation of Philippine organizations of landless peasants. small farmers. farm, workers, subsistence fisherfolk, peasant women and rural youth. For more information, visit http://www.geoddes.com/kmp_ph
GM Action here in the UK ….
Hello from primal seeds, we have just produced a complete list of all GE test sites for this Spring. It includes farm scale and small scale trials, plus grid refs, addresses and info on crops being tested. see: http://www.piimalseeds.oi-g/testsite.htm contact details
NEW TLIO CAMPAIGN
Legacy of Colonialism
TLIO will shortly be launching a new campaign that makes the connection between the original looting of human and natural resources by slave traders and the roots of economic imperialism enjoyed by multinationals at the start of the 21st Century. For details see our website and check the international page: www.oneworld.org/tlio Do you want to get involved with this exciting new TLIO campaign? If the answer is yes, we ask that you send us a donation, so that you can be kept up to date with the campaign. (minimum £3 – cheques made payable to `The Land Is Ours’, also please state for ‘legacy of colonialism’ campaign on back and specify amount if also renewing newsl etter sub).
Let us know your interests, for example: colonialism / tribal cultures / sustainability / land redistribution / genetics / corporate power
Let us know know if you would be willing
? to be involved in helping to organise / come to meetings
? to communicate with other groups, for the benefit of networking this campaign
? to help raise start-up funds/editorial assistance for a new international newsletter
RIGHT TO ROAM
DETR’s Access to the Open Countryside in England & Wales
(report by Dave Bangs) Draft maps for potential access land are being completed, however these maps will rely on existing data sets, whose reliability is open to question. In a field survey of 1 valley system on the western South Downs. I mapped 9 old chalk grassland sites. On referring these to the MAFF’s ESA conservation scheme officers & the County Ecologist, I discovered that the majority of these sites were unknown to them!
When draft maps are completed. they will be put out to public consultation and revised accordingly. We know that the Country Landowners Association & NFU will argue hard to minimise our gains; & we know that the Government will listen to them. How do we know this? ..Because they have already conceded m uch that landowners want. The results of a review of the possibility of providing public access in woodland has resulted in a recommendation against a woodland Right-to-Roam. Yet it is woodland that has more meaning and attraction for most people than any other habitat type. Over vast areas of midland and Eastern England & East Anglia, woodland stands in for all other now totally lost seminatural ecosystems.
The Countryside Agency has recommended inclusion of canal towpaths and coastal land in the measures, though, of course, much of this already has informal access. The 2 areas that have been chosen for draft pilot mapping are Kent, Surrey & Sussex, and Lancashire, Cheshire & the Peak District. It is no coincidence that these 2 areas have been chosen. for they have long been the focus of access militancy. In Sussex, the recent decision to concede a South Downs National Park, the past designation of a South Downs Environmentally Sensitive Area, the successful halting of Brighton C’ouncil’s Downland privatisation, & the defeat of plaits for the destruction of the Offham Down SSSI were all the result of militant campaigning by local people, especially from the coastal conurbations
There is no substitute for a detailed local knowledge of your countryside & a militant on-going public campaign to secure a real measure of publ ic access to our countryside. (.see also DETR article on pg. 4)
The Alternative Farmer’s Summit
The Alternative Farming Summit organised by the Small & Family Faints Alliance was held On Thursday March 30th, to coincide with the farming summit at Downing Street. which was attended by purely the `big boys only club (i.e. leading lights in the NFU and supermarket / food industry leaders). held at Westminster Central Hall, the Alternative Summit was an opportunity for members of the media to hear the views of a panel representing a coalition of opinion, ti-om small farmers to environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth. CPRE, RSPB, & the Soil Association. The Land Is (Arm were also represented. The point was consistently raised by each member of the panel that a sustainable future for both rural livelihoods and the countryside can only be found in government policy formulating a long-tern dual strategy for sustainable agriculture stud the livelihoods of’ small fancily farms. Michael Haile from the Small & Family Fauns Alliance (SFFA) said, “This alternative summit was called precisely because all the groups represented here today share the concern that the meeting in Downing Street has consulted too narrow a base of interests in the face of a crisis that will hav e severe repercussions upon the rural economy and landscape” Simon represented TLIO, citing the fact that when George Monbiot had expressed views to this effect about the NFU fit a Guardian article last December, he was thrown off the DETR Rural Sounding Board, (which was set up to canvass a broad cross-section of opinion in the nun-up to the Rural White Paper). He described this behaviour by MAFF as being, “stinking of tire worst paranoia, reminiscent of a politburo mentality”.
Planners Grasp the Rural Livelihoods Approach
A groundbreaking seminar held at Oxford Brookes University on 6th April entitled “The Unofficial Countryside”, which was primarily aimed at planners while also open to anyone else. was well attended and a huge success. Organised by Lucy Nichol – a research student from the School of Planting at the University – it succeeded in facilitating a greater understanding amongst planners about the problems faced by smallholders and other sustainable land-users, as well as examining the role that the planning system can play in a move towards sustainable agriculture and forestry. Guest speakers included George Monbiot, our very own Simon Fairlie, Ben Law and Andy Langford – as well as Lucy.
George stalled proceedings with a talk on “g lobal trade or local agriculture”. which encompassed it range of topics, beginning with the decline of family farms in tine UK. He cited the fact that this decline comes at a time when MAFF has chosen not to exercise EU CAP proposals (modulation) that allow subsidies – which will be paid in future for conservation and restoration instead of production to be maintained for smaller marginal farms, and reduced on larger wealthier farms. George went on to focus largely on the net negative effect of supermarkets on local business and employment, planning gain mud the unsustainability of cashcrop intensive agriculture in the developing world at the heart of the global free trading system which is dominated by transnational capital.
Lucy Nichol took tip the baton to focus proceedings on how local planners can help the local food economy. Her talk was mainly focussed oft the solutions that could be found within existing planning law. which could be creatively reinterpreted. One good example cited was that land designated for no development such as green-belt land should be changed so as to put land to better use (for e.g. land could be utilised as intensive horticulture and small-holdings). She identified south-east Bradford as aft area which teas pioneering this approach. In her talk, Lucy went on to reviewing the variety of ways where planning law ne eds updating and fine-tuning to more easily allow sustainable low-impact development.
She finished by quickly reviewing the various options which could be employed to encourage a vibrant local food economy, such as inserting planning policies to help restructuring of land units so that small- holdings and box schemes are valued as core activities, and resisting developments that undermine local food economies such as supermarkets.
Our Simon from Chapter 7 also spoke about “moving towards a sustainable use class”. and reviewed the various obstacles faced by low-impact dwellers in the planning system, such as the inappropriateness of the functional `financial test, where planners currently require evidence that an application will generate sufficient income to guarantee its security, when the definition of income expected is not relevant to small-scale farmers or those planning a diverse rural livelihoods approach. Check out the next Chapter-7 newsletter for a more in -depth article on this, due out in ,June 2000: Available via a £5 subscription (£3 unwaged) made out to Chapter 7. Send to: Chapter 7, The Potato Store, Flaxdrayton Farm, South Petherton, Somerset TA13. Chapter 7 campaigns for “access to land for all households … through environmentally sound planning (Agenda 21 Chapter 7C)”.
– Also, take a look at the Spring edition of Corporate-lN’atch (issue-10) with the theme being this quarter on `planning for profit: an in-depth look at planning & development in the UK’, available by cheque or postal order for £3 [send to: CW, 16B Cherwell Street, Oxford OX4 1BG]. – For a review briefing of the seminar, contact the office on 0186_5 722 016 or e-mail us at: email@example.com
You may also want to read Lucy Nichol’s article on “Rethinking planning controls over agriculture”, which featured in the 20th February issue of Town & Country Planning.
Homeless People Act!
April saw the release of the long awaited Housing Green Paper. With portentous timing. it also saw the launch of a report on how homeless people are taking things into their own hands. The latest Groundswell Report, entitled `Don’t Agonise, Organise!’ tells of the links between homeless people in India and South Africa and UK groups. culminating in a meeting in January between members of Slum Dwellers International and the emerging UK Homeless People’s Federation. The meeting spelt out a clear message: ‘Unless people experiencing poverty really begin to do something, nothing is going to change! You must organise yourselves and make things happen, no-one is going to do it fo r you’.
Groundswell exists to support the involvement of’ homeless people in creating solutions to tackle homelessness. Working with over 2,000 groups and individuals committed to an inclusive approach to tackling poverty and exclusion. Groundswell supports a grass roots agenda for change.
For more information about `Don’t Agonise, Organise!’ contact Groundswell on : 020 7713 2880 or www.oneworld.org/groundswell Also of interest check out: Slum/Shack Dwellers International www.dialogue.org.za/sdi
Scottish Land-Reform Bill – may threaten people’s rights to land
Scotland is well down the road to it’s first serious land reforming law since 1886’s Crofters Act. The Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Bill is now passing through tine parliament – with enactment due by the summer.
The reform of Scotland’s archaic feudal land tenure system has wide and perhaps universal public support. But the Bill as it stands is deeply flawed. The Bill’s drafting – unintentionally it scents – seems to threaten the existing public interest in the land. This would obviously be contrary to the supposed intentions of land reform. Also, the Bill introduces the legal concept of’ ownership of land, where under fe udalism landholders have only dominionutile – or the use of the land. Land Reform Scotland has argued that this seemingly simple modernization of terminology; actually represents a vast transfer of rights over Scotland’s land and natural resources, presently held in disparate ways. into private ownership.
In spite of the substantial concerns expressed by organised civic society, Scotland”s new parliamentarians have yet to waken up to what they’re about to do. A ‘pamphlet by Peter Gibb – The Second Clearances – analyses what is going wrong, and tiles to explain why. Copies are available five from Land Reform Scotland – phone 01542 841 842.
Sale of Cuillin of Skye
It was announced back in March that John McLeod of the McLeod chit is seeking to sell the Cuillin Hills of Syke on the international property market. supposedly because he needs the money to mend the roof of his castle! McLeod expects to raise £10 million for the 22,300 acres – widely considered obscene given that he never paid a penny for the mountains in the first place!
TLIO Winter Gathering
TLIO Winter Gathering at Exodus was deemed to have been a great success, with lots of new faces. In total over 50 people turned up throughout the weekend. In particular, the Exodus talk was truly inspirational. Other notable successes include the talk by Peter flack oil CAP reform and land ownership in the UK, and Martin’s excellent treeplanting workshop, where we succeeded in planting 83 trees on the farm. For an-depth article on the ark Community Centre on MarshFarm estate, read the last issue of the Chapter-7 newsletter (Winter No.3).
The Diggers Commemorative Stone gets a Home!
Following months of lobbying by various on-side counsellors within council chambers, Weybridge Council have agreed to the placing of the Diggers Commemorative stone, and have chosen the site of the Little Heath, which is located directly next to Weybridge Station. As a compromise to not having located the site on the South side of St. George’s Hill, where the Diggers actually resided (a site which was deemed inappropriate due to the predominance of a busy dual carriage way), the Council have also taken on TLIO recommendations for there to be a trail, linking together all locations of historic significance to the Diggers.
For the purposes of this, a Diggers Memorial Group, which is an amalgam of local people, local historians, academics and representatives from the Museum & TLIO has been formed and have made a funding application for £14,000 to finance the trail (such as expenditure on information / interpretation boards etc.)
Gargoyle Wharf Update
On May 17th Wandsworth councillors will decide whether to give the go-ahead for five new 16-storey tower blocks on the old Pure-Genius site next to Wandsworth Bridge (whose 4th anniversary was marked by a small demonstration outside the site on Friday 5th May, with leaflets distributed by Gargoyle Wharf Community Action Group [GWCAG] and TLIO people to local residents). The planning committee has already recommended a `FOR” vote, despite the fact that the Council’s own guidelines state that “developments should not generally exceed 6-storeys” oil this stretch or river. Community Groups across 4 London boroughs including GWCAG have issued a joint statement claiming that this development will set a planning precedent which will make it very difficult to refuse permission to build tower blocks oil all the retraining industrial riverside sites in Battersea, Wandsworth, Putney and Fulham. The Mayor acquires Strategic Planning Powers for riverside buildings on June 1st.
The Land Is Ours response to the DETR consultation “Greater Protection & better management of Common land in England & Wales”
(Drive Bangs, 2/9/00: abridged summar y) One of the main criticisms raised in this response to the DL;”1″R”s consultation paper was the failure to mention the significance of SSSI”s attached to common land. For instance. TLIO identifies that 36% of the area of commons in a study of 31 counties was designated SSSl, showing up the lack of recognition in this paper for commons as immeasurably important reservoirs of Bangs in this response on behalf of TLIO is where he identifies the absurdity that biodiversity within the desert of intensive farming. Other key points made by Dave means that city-based immigrants can buy a piece of land and enjoy tenurial arrangements for commons. whilst Roma & other travellers who have used commons for thousands of years have no rights to stay there and are turned away. TLIO’s response is backed up by finer detail. such as the proposal that democratic management associations be elected to manage common land. from metropolitan down to the district level. Additionally; the key assertion is made that reform of common land must happen as part of a general land reform, since the future of commons depend on fair and democratic distribution of neighbouring land.
If you would like a full summary of TLIO’s official response to the DETR consultation paper on Common land, please contact the office.
? All summer: TLIO ROADSHOW – This year TLIO will be making art appearance at a whole host of different festies, so don’t forget to come along and meet up with us in the flesh! For details of what festies we’re at, contact either the office or Brendan on 0961 460 171.
? Wed 17th May 7.30pm: “URBAN SPRAWL OR RENEWAL Coping with pressures for new development” at Commonweal School. Old Town, Swindon Guest Speaker: Tony Burton. CPRE’s deputy director and a member of Lord Roger’s Urban Task Force. For details, ring: Charmian on 01793 850007
? Sat 20th May: LEVELLERS DAY, Warwick Hall, Burford. 10am – 4pm (Procession at 12pm). Info 01865 2193 36. – AfrsJones; www.levellers.org.uk
? Sun 28th May to Mon 29th May: TLIO COREGRouP ! TLIO Planning meeting. AT BRIGHTON PEACE FAIR, Hove Lawn, opp. Brunswick Sq., nr West Pier. Brighton. Ann to arrive for 2.30pm nn Sunday, ring 0961 160 171 or office for info.
? Tuesday 6th JunE: WINSTANLEY FILM showing 7.45pm at Guildhall, Gloucester. Contact box-office on 01452 505089
? Sat 10th June: in Wiltshire “HOW TO STOP AND INFLUENCE PLANNING PERMISSION” – includes workshops on understanding the planning process & how to start a housing co-op. For more details. call Community Action on E mpty Homes (CLARE) on 020 7828 6288
? 7th-11th June: EARTH-FIRST SUMMER GATHERING: 2000 in Snowdonia, Wales. Contact info: EF! Gathering, c/o Norwich Direct Action Forum, PO Box 48 Norwich NR2 3AL. email: summergathering@ yahoo.co.uk
? 10th June: “‘FAKING CONTROL” – a Radical Routes event: Saturday 11am – 5pm, Summerfield Centre. Winston Green Road. Birmingham. Admission fee or donation, ring 0121 551 1132 for details.