ALL across the world beleaguered residents are trying to stop bulldozers wiping their local countryside off the map in the name of greed and profits.
Worthing had a taste of this a few years ago with the battle to save Titnore Woods at West Durrington. A huge local campaign was backed by an eco-protest camp in the woods and in the end the trees were saved, even if 1,000 new homes are still to be built next to them and the area is being rapidly urbanised.
Not only were council officials fully behind the proposals by the West Durrington Consortium, but police also took the side of the countryside-destroyers, treating campaigners like criminals and using all manner of dirty tricks and intimidation (see Porkbolters 49, 50 and 100).
In East Sussex, a similar struggle is currently going on against the totally unnecessary Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. Near Nantes there has been a mighty French resistance at la ZAD - Notre Dame des Landes against plans for a new airport. And in Russia headlines have been made by the campaign to save Khimki Forest from a new motorway - in the face of severe brutal repression. According to Wikipedia, there have been "numerous human rights abuses surrounding the project, with journalists and activists arrested, assaulted, and even killed."
These examples may be geographically far apart, but they are all much more closely linked than you might think - unbelievably, the same construction business is involved in all of them! The firm is called Vinci (strange echoes of a certain Dan Brown thriller there!) and it is based in France, though its tentacles seem to reach everywhere. Vinci employs nearly 180,000 people and is the largest construction company in the world by revenue. It is involved in everything from building nuclear power stations and dams to milking motorists through its parking division, with its website boasting of ongoing global projects from Libya to Argentina, from China to Greece.
The Titnore connection comes in two ways. Firstly, Vinci now owns Taylor Woodrow, part of the property developers' West Durrington Consortium until it was sold by Taylor Wimpey (itself formed when Taylor Woodrow merged with George Wimpey - it's a convoluted tale!). Secondly, Vinci was given the £10.3m contract to build the new St Barnabas House Hospice in Titnore Lane - a Trojan Horse (that nobody would want to campaign against) opening up a semi-rural area for yet more development.
Campaigners in the areas Vinci is targeting are now waking up to its role. Here in Sussex, Combe Haven Road Resistance (email@example.com) have issued a leaflet calling for global solidarity against Vinci. In France, a Stop Vinci blog has been set up (stopvinci.noblogs.org).
There is a bigger picture behind all this, of course. The Bexhill road is part of a new series of once-defeated road projects being wheeled back out by the Tories, whose pre-general election claims to love the countryside always looked about as plausible as a piranha claiming to have gone vegetarian.
Needless to say, East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton has jumped on the bulldozer-cum-bandwagon, dragging roads minister Stephen Hammond down to Worthing back in February in a bid to "get the issue of the A27 bypass back on the Government agenda" (Worthing Herald, February 7).
It's not just roads, either. Under the pretext of "boosting the economy" our rulers are out to boost the bank accounts of their mates in the construction industry by sweeping away planning restrictions and giving the green light to some horrific projects. The latest piece of crazed capitalist cack to spew out from the crooked corridors of power is a "priority recommendation" from a government body rejoicing under the vomit-inducing title of the Ecosystems Markets Task Force. This calls for a new "biodiversity offset system" which would give large developers the right to build on a nature reserve or protected area, if they "build" one somewhere else! (Daily Telegraph website, April 21)
Putting aside the fact that you can't "build" a bio-diverse eco-system in the same way you can build a motorway or nuclear power station, this recommendation really lifts the lid on the real agenda. We have to face up to the fact that we just don't live in a democracy. Yes, we have all the trappings of a democracy - elections and all the pretty talk about consultation and so on - but in truth all the power lies with corporations that are so closely interwoven with the state that it's impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.
This mafia-like power network hides behind the symbols of authority that people respond to - the pomp and pageantry of Parliament and the Royal Family, the calm reassuring voices of the BBC, the ideas that there is a national "we" that somehow includes both the ultra-rich ruling class and the slave labour they feed off.
But in reality it's just dirty corruption, greed and lust for power. It's not a democracy we live in, but a plutocracy - where those with all the money have all the power, and those with all the power have all the money.
Worse than that is that, like any other mafia, the capitalists won't tolerate anyone standing up to them. If you are sharp enough to see through all their lies and start questioning what they're up to, you're immediately treated like a criminal and subject to intimidation, surveillance and persecution by the political branches of the police - which are the equivalent of the gun-toting enforcement thugs used by the lower-end mafia.
A good read on this subject, by the way, is a new book from Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org) called Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent, which mentions in passing how even the Titnore campaign was targeted by police spies.
We realise that all this is a difficult truth for people to take in, but as our lives and our environment are screwed more and more by the corporate-state axis it is vital that we understand what's happening. It's vital that we understand that voting for the usual politicians isn't going to change anything, it's vital that we understand we can't trust the spin churned out by the media that hides what's going on to protect the interests of the rich and powerful.
And most of all, it's vital that we understand the all-embracing and urgent need to lose our personal doubts and fears, put the happiness and freedom of future generations first, and fight back against this despicable tyranny of greed!
HOW come big business and the government are getting away with ripping us off all the time? How come bankers keep raking in their bonuses and golden handshakes, while we taxpayers are forced to bail them out, time and time again, and then pay for the privilege with swingeing cuts to our public services? How come the NHS is being privatised, even though the vast majority of people are totally against it? How come property developers get away with trashing the countryside in the face of overwhelming local opposition? How come, when the UK?is apparently so skint, it can always afford to get involved in some new war in another part of the world? How come nothing is being done about climate change or pollution and everything just carries on the same depressing way?
The answer, in short, is that we live in a capitalist dictatorship and we need to bring it down before things can get any better. A good first step in this direction is to join in the J11 Carnival Against Capitalism in London on Tuesday June 11 - part of the anti-G8 week of protests. Well worth a day off work! In the event that this does not result in the immediate overthrowal of capitalism, plans are afoot to build a long≠-term grassroots resistance network - so keep an eye on the website at http://network23.org/stopg8
Published and printed by The Porkbolter. No copyright, no tears shed here over death of Jimmy Savile's soulmate.