Pit Schultz on Tue, 1 Feb 2000 18:13:07 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> 2 pamphlets: Exorcizing the spririt of Davos / The Beach campaign


radio lora, zurich - 24 h live streams - alternative news about the WEF


Exorcizing the spririt of Davos

>From 27 January to 1 February the World Economic Forum will take place for
the 30th time in Davos. The WEF, with headquarters in Geneva, is one of
the most important think-tanks“ of the self-proclaimed leaders of the
North.  More than 2000 cream-of-the-crop politicians, managers, artists
and media people - most of them men - are convening these days in Davos to
decide on the future of the world behind closed doors. 

When people like Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Bill Gates, Helmut O. Maucher
honor the WEF with their presence, massive security measures are called
for. Davos, the winter resort in the mountains, is being turned into a
fortress for a week - private bodyguards, secret services, police officers
from all over the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and this year for
the first time the army are present, while gunmen take their positions on
the roofs. A demonstration - if we are to believe the Lower County Council
of Davos - would challenge the security forces beyond measure. In reality
however the point is to silence and criminalize criticism of the WEF by
banning the demonstration. Who is protecting whom from whom?! 

Nonetheless the spirit of Davos promises a relaxed setting on the backdrop
of a snowy mountain range. With champaign and caviar, on the ski slope or
in the sauna Davos offers the ideal opportunity for informal contacts. The
casual character of the Davos summit contributes to initiating new
business relations - for deals promising billions in profits. 

This kind of big business“ however goes unmentioned in the official
statements of the WEF. A fact that also fits quite badly into the world of
the Homo Oeconomicus is that the world economy that is celebrated annually
in Davos rests to a large measure on the labor of women all over the

Despite the obviously destructive consequences of the globalized world
economy for people and their environment the WEF founder Klaus Schwab does
not tire of mentioning the spirit of Davos as a guarantor of peace and
affluence. After the Asia crisis and the failure of the MAI last year the
WEF had once before stood up for humanizing the globalization“. The
question was how to reestablish the acceptance within the population -
What is the best strategy to overcome fears?“ Or: The economy and politics
in should become more environmentally friendly, more social and more
human.  (...) The spirit of Davos attempts to build up the foundations of
a better world in constructive ways rather than destrively and
demagogically. This is why the discussions this year are dedicated to the
theme of humanizing globalization“. 

Last year representatives of the US-American oil lobby as well as of the
Turkish and Russian governments met under this very understanding of
humanizing globalization“ to draw up the conditions for a transit corridor
for the strategic commodities oil and gas on their way to Western markets. 
The Kurdish resistance needed to be dismemberede. Shortly after the
meeting in Davos the head of the Kurdish Workers’ party, Abdullah Öcalan,
was arrested in Kenya based on the coordinated efforts of several secret
services, and extradited to Turkey. This paved the way for the political
pipeline Baku-Ceyhan (Azerbaijan-Turkey) favored by the US government - a
route that leads through territories where Kurds live.  This year also a
Turkish delegation is expected in Davos. Weeks in advance, under headlines
such as A breath of Ecevit in Davos“ Turkish newspaper have cast the
growing self-consciousness of the Turkish regime into ink. There is no
doubt that the Turkish government representatives will use the opportunity
to advance the construction project Ilisu Dam“ with Sulzer Hydro and ABB
Switzerland - despite strong international criticism. In order to continue
to tighten the grip on the water faucet to keep Syria and Iraq dependent,
numerous relocations of people, destruction of nature and cultural
landmarks as well as the social immiseration of the Kurdish population on
the countryside are being accepted - with the support of the Swiss
guarantee on export risks and commercial loans from the UBS. All of this
under the slogan of social and economic development“. This means
profitable deals behind the scene between the global players under the
guise of an alleged humanizing of globalization“ - or in case of the Ilisu
Damn, a monitoring project promised by the Swiss government that feels
obliged to no one except the Turkish government, a keeper of human rights
as all are well aware. 

The Anti-WTO Coordination aims at debunking the myth of the peaceful
spirit of Davos. This is why like last year we will not enter into a
dialog. We deny the WEF, political and economic elites responsible for
war, misery and hunger any sort of legitimacy. We will not be included
into their deceptive policies. Our critique of existing relations is
fundamental and cannot be dealt with using the language of the powerful.
We want to define the of our struggle independently. Be it with loud
petards, with demonstrations, with disturbance actions or
counter-information, be it in Geneva, Cologne, Seattle, Davos or in our
everyday lives. 

Let us come together, each with their own ideas and dreams, and make sure
that things do not remain the way they are. 

"They can uproot all the flowers, but they cannot rule over spring.“ Pablo

Who's behind the Spirit of Davos? 

Every year a hymn of praise for the unique club atmosphere of the forum is
sung - an atmosphere that alone allows the exclusive community of top
decision-makers“ to go about their important business relaxed and
undisturbed. Far removed from the hectic and sorrows of everyday life,
this setting allows the world elite to recover from the stress of
innovative efforts, to come to new strength and fantasize about the future
of the world.  It is thus no wonder if the founder of the forum Klaus
Schwab himself gives his support to the tourist economy of Davos through
direct for top-notch hotels in crisis and with a study commissioned from
the University of Berne. What is needed, so Schwab, is a qualitative
improvement of all infrastructure necessary to the efficiency of the
congress and to the well-being of the participants“. Once a year the
county of Davos has the honor of becoming - with all ist landscape and
human resources - the background logistics of this elitist men“s club.
Because even in a globalized economy with ist seemingly unlimited mobility
of data and financial flows the predominantly male management depends on a
secured local environment for ist physical and mental reproduction. This
reproduction is offered to a decisive degree by women and migrants. But
this is not a topic on the agenda in Davos.  Domestic economy and
subsistence economy - essential basis of our existence and of all economic
activity - are represented at the World Economic Forum only in that the
business men have to eat, here as elsewhere, that their beds have to be
made and their garbage moved out of the way, not to speak of the
satisfaction of their sexual needs. As is well known, the sex business
also booms in the respective towns and cities during international
meetings. In the profit-oriented economic logic of the global players“
however such labor play only a minor role. Correspondingly they are, like
many other things, underpaid or even not paid at all. 

Davos - the greatest mountain, sport and congress resort of the Alps“
Leisure is the opposite of work“, one can often hear. Alright, but -
namely to those who work in ist central sectors the much-cited
post-fordist service and leisure society does not offer only the sunny
side of things.  The tourism sector for instance is a prime example of
what critical women economists have long observed and described as
feminisation of employment in many sectors of today“s economy. Tourism is
the sector of the economy with the highest percentage of waged women
workers and at the same time a sector that employs many migrants. Compared
with other sectors in Switzerland the average incomes are low, while the
personal involvement and the flexibility demanded are high. Many of the
jobs offered are only part-time or seasonal jobs for so-called unqualified
and correspondingly low-paid personnel. 

In contrast to the highly paid services for the traffic of goods and money
the services in tourism are often about personally satisfying the needs of
people. Traditionally female skills and activities are being turned into
waged labor, i.e., included into the money economy, which in a patriarchal
society inevitably means degradation and low pay.  The tourist is a prime
example of the primarily male Homo Oeconomicus“ who repeats in accentuated
form what has always applied to waged labor - a so-called economic and
rational, effectiveness-oriented existence and the exploitation of
seemingly freely available extra-economical resources such as nature or
reproduction work. Since many of these activities are done by women and
migrants, tourism is a scaled-down model of the hierarchized international
and gendered division of labor. 

The right to paradise... 

According to general estimates the tourism sector has become one of the
most important sectors of the economy world-wide. Since the sixties a real
boom has started - the turnover in the tourism industry have grown by a
factor of fifty since then, and the projections for the future continue to
assume an unabated growth. The WTO and the OECD advise especially
countries of the South to invest in tourism, not least because of its
importence in economic development and world trade“. Turning culture and
nature into value, so the story goes, creates jobs and income without
giving rise to ecological or cultural damage. Therefore tourism is also
often called the white industry“. In the form of hard currency and
modernization of the infrastructure, the story continues, it also offers
an enormous potential for societal development. 

Nonetheless about two thirds of the turnover are still generated in the
industrialized countries themselves. But even the rest of the tourism
sector is dominated by a few world-wide present corporations and investors
from the North. The profits from such business leak out of the South again
to a large degree, while the costs for conserving the attractivity and the
necessary infrastructure is a heavy burden on the regions affected in the
three continents - not to mention the enormous ecological and societal
scars left by mass tourism in the Third World. 

... is not for everyone! 

The unlimited mobility and freedom of movement that tourists and managers
from the rich North afford themselves does not apply to all. Only a small
part of the world population benefits from the right to travel freely. The
USA and Europe are trying with ever greater technical efforts and racist
laws to exclude migrants from the riches of our society. But immigration
is not meant to be completely stopped. Highly qualified specialists for
the command centers of the multinationals (brain drain), and especially
lowest-income workers, are quite welcome. Migration does not only come
about through poverty and persecution in the countries of origin but also
through the demand for cheap labor in the economic centers of
globalization. In view of this the seal-off policies of the North mainly
serve to restrict the rights and possibilities of migrants. Ever more
migrants are thus faced not only with the traditional“ exploitation of
their labor force but with a strategy that is intended to make them
exploitable practically without limits. In the large cities of Europe and
North America, besides the headquarters of multinationals, gradually a
large informal sector characterized by miserable working conditions and
bad pay is building up. Here again women are exploited in several ways.
The number of upper middle-class households employing cheap domestic help“
for instance is steadily growing. Businessmen, family fathers and barflies
act out their frustrations sexually on prostitutes - often illegalized
women.  The demand for women who are to satisfy the insatiable greed of
our macho societies in the reproduction sector is perversely high. But
although the independent work migration of women constitutes almost half
of the overall work migration it is barely noticed by the public. Reasons
for fleeing that are specific to women are not recognized, and legally,
migrant women are forced to fall back on family reunification and wives“
residency permit is linked to their staying with their husband. When a
woman fights against this, she is faced with the open repression“ in the
form of deportation. 

The world economy celebrated each year in Davos is based quite essentially
on the unscrupulous exploitation of free and lowest-pay labor by people in
the South, by migrants here in the North and by women all over the world. 
The jobs and activities traditionally defined as female and which women in
the highly industrialized societies partly refuse to do or at least do not
voluntarily taken on to a sufficient extent are neither being abolished
nor shared between men and women. They are assigned to the people and
especially the women of other continents and cultures. These people, made
invisible, pay for the game for power and money of the male, white
management elite with impoverishment, undernourishment,
disenfranchisement, illegalization, poor health, insufficient access to



if you have related links to more consistent information, names,
background info, and key textes, please post it here. /p


The Beach
From: g.redden@mailbox.uq.edu.au (Guy REDDEN)
Organization: FLORA Community WEB
Date: 1 Feb 2000 00:39:51 -0500

Please note update about the European protests.

(Please forward)

Justice for Maya Bay International Alliance Presents
A campaign and website against the Twentieth Century Fox Movie
'The Beach'

THE BULLDOZER MOVIE <http://www.uq.edu.au/~pggredde>

HIGHLAND, IN HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES. Join the European protests: DiCaprio
is expected at the UK premiere at the Empire, Leicester Square in London
on the evening of 9 Feb., and at the Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale
Palace, 12th Feb., at 7.30 pm).  

Life's a Beach - for some

So what exactly is a national park? Millions of us have been lead to
believe that it's an area of land set aside from all but the least
intrusive types of economic exploitation because of its ecological and
social significance. How is it then that the Hollywood film, 'The Beach',
came to be illegally filmed in a national park against the will of local
people, and resulted in the destruction of an ecosystem? 

If you have already sensed the foul play perpetrated by 20th Century Fox
in these matters then please take a look at this site. It contains
evidence of a travesty of justice that only those with vested interests
would ever seek to deny. 

The normal fee for filming in a Thai national park is 1,000 baht (about
US$26) per day. However, the filmmakers got the green light from the Thai
government in return for an extraordinary payment of 4 million baht
(US$108,000) - which they termed a "donation" - to the Royal Forestry
Department, and an additional deposit of 5 million baht (US$135,000). The
reason Fox paid extra for their special dispensation was that all along it
was clear that their plan was to significantly alter their chosen location
of Maya Beach on Phi Phi island, an action expressly forbidden by Thai
national park laws. 

And indeed, as the photo essay on our site shows the levelling of the
natural landscape such as for Fox's shoot in January 1999 has led to the
erosion of the sand dunes that were the locus of Maya Bay's ecosystem.
This erosion is still happening. Almost inevitably, the filmmakers'
rhetoric is full of disavowals. They have kept on claiming 'The Beach' was
made in an environmentally sound way, even that the filming site was not
only returned to its "original" state but improved! Such blatant lies are
easily disproved and revealed as an attempt to distract from their
ecoterrorism by boasting environmental "good deeds". Even now, producer
Andrew MacDonald has the nerve to say, "Everything is absolutely tip-top"
on Phi Phi Leh (Toronto Sun, 18 Jan. 2000), despite the fact that during
the last monsoon season, Maya Beach's sand dunes collapsed completely and
were washed into the bay along with Fox's amateurish "restoration". 

And although Thailand's ecological justice movement has a worldwide
reputation of being the most active and vocal in Southeast Asia, 'The
Beach' director Danny Boyle had the gall to suggest (in the Toronto Sun)
that it was because of the filming that the issue of the environment in
Thailand was raised - "and it previously had no profile whatsoever."
Unsurprisingly DiCaprio himself has sided with his employer's misguided
and unlawful activities all along - to the point of slandering Thai
pro-democracy and environmental activists - while also displaying
eagerness to be accepted as an outstanding environmental advocate and to
be involved in Earth Day 2000 activities. Global environmental groups
really will look dumb if we endorse DiCaprio's appointment as chairman of
Earth Day!

But it doesn't stop at the environment. It's as plain as day that the
affair raises issues of economic imperialism. Want to chop down a mountain
in Yosemite? Not at any price. Want to destroy a beach in Maya Bay?
That'll be $100,000 dollars plus deposit, whilst the leading man pockets
$20 million thank you very much. 

It would have cost Fox just 'a few dollars more' to film on a multi-site
basis without alterations - but it didn't. As the documents presented on
the Boycott The Beach site show, from day one Thai campaigners have
branded the buying and selling of law a disgrace, one for which the Thai
Royal Forestry Department is also responsible. But as if things were not
bad enough, Fox has also won over the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
and is now co-sponsoring a campaign to jointly promote 'The Beach' movie
and Thailand's beaches to international tourists. Protesters see this as a
disgrace not only for a Thai civil society struggling to phase out harmful
policies and corruption, but also for Thailand's image, as it indicates a
government that has deteriorated to becoming a mere stooge of big
international capital, willing to sell out everything under a veil of
false appearances and without pride and dignity. 

Yet hope, as the clich puts it, spring eternal. Even as Maya's flora dies,
a lawsuit aimed at justice and creating a positive precedent is pending
against Fox and its accomplices in a Southern Thai court. The citizens,
organisations and local authorities that have brought the case need our
support. Please become part of the campaign for justice for Maya Bay even
if your involvement extends only to boycotting the film and encouraging
your friends to do the same.

What has happened in this case must be seen as the emblem it is, as
standing for the countless cases of destructive exploitation that come
with the economistic religion that seems to hold sway today. This is a
state of affairs that, in one way or another, involves us all and is
steering, as if drunkenly, the future of the earth. This seems like as
good a time as any to sober up. 



This site is aimed at providing resources to those who wish to organise
campaigns against 'The Beach' and all it stands for, and who would like to
see the saga end in a measure of justice. (Please feel free to copy any
materials on this site for use in campaigns aimed at justice for Maya
Bay). It also, hopefully, makes an eye-opening read. 

"Boycott The Beach" at the top of this page presents the environmental,
moral and political questions raised by Fox's destructive behaviour. 

"The Beach War" gives an overview of the affair and sets the context for
understanding the relevance of some of the other documents on this site. 

"A Beach Diary" presents a chronological picture of the events based on
media reports and observer's testimonies. 

The "Photo Essay" provides photographic evidence for each stage in Fox's
despoiling of Maya Beach and amounts to a damning indictment of not only
the original actions but any attempts to make excuses for them. 

"Some Opinions" is a collection of comments by people involved in the
events, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Thai protestors and politicians and
Fox's representatives. 

"The Agreement" is an English translation of the original contract made
between Fox's representatives and the Thai Royal Forestry Department. 

The "Lawyer's Statement" is a translation of a petition sent to the Thai
Minister of Agriculture by 41 prominent Thai law professors specifying the
illegality of the filming. 

The "U.S. Justice Department" piece is a copy of a petition outlining the
obligation of the United States to prosecute Fox under it's Corrupt
Practices Act that was presented to the U.S. Justice Department by a
coalition of 20 Thai organisations. 

The two "Articles" concern, respectively, the imperialism of the Beach
affair and the launching of cyberspace PR campaigns against the protestors
and in defence of Fox, by supporters with vested interests. 

"Links and Supporters" provides details of supporters of JUMBIA and of
relevant Internet resources. 

"Join the Campaign" outlines what people can do to send out the message we
won't tolerate the bulldozer movie and all it stands for. 

Boycott the Beach is at <http://www.uq.edu.au/~pggredde>

--- http://mai.flora.org/

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