DEBATE over Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) was at the centre of the Youth Crimes: Myth And Reality workshop.
There was a consensus that to understand ASBOs you have to look at racism and the problems facing young people in Britain.
Jerome, a young black man on the panel, explained that it was also a question of poverty and boredom among young people.
The meeting agreed to set up a group to campaign against ASBOs and to back an open letter to home secretary David Blunkett opposing the orders.
THOUSANDS PACKED a meeting to hear speakers from the Palestinian movement condemn Israel’s apartheid polices.
Mustapha Barghouti told the audience there was no time to waste. “Time wasted is paid for in blood. There is no time to waste for false peace promises,” he said. “The British government is immoral to deal with Israel, just as it was immoral to deal with apartheid South Africa.”
Yonathon Shapira, an Israeli refusnik pilot, said, “Every day an F-16 or an Apache helicopter shoots missiles into homes.”
To huge applause, Shapira called for sanctions on Israel.
Since the Seattle protests in 1999, the fight against the WTO has been at the heart of the movement.
Speakers at this meeting explained how the WTO manipulates international trade. A debate arose about the role of the EU within the WTO.
Some speakers suggested the EU could change the WTO. Barbara Stocking from Oxfam argued that Britain’s presidency of the EU could be an opportunity for change, “as Britain has one of the more pro-development governments”.
But, as Clare Joy from the World Development Movement pointed out, the EU’s new trade commissioner is Britain’s Peter Mandelson, “an ardent advocate of the free market and free trade”.
This meeting was a lively start to a course on the environmental crisis with speakers from Nigeria, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Britain.
They all looked at the role of oil in the broader economy, as a driving force for both human and environmental destruction.
There was disagreement over whether people in the global North should cut their oil consumption, or whether there was a collective solution.
Nigerian activist Oronto Douglas said, “Businesses have grown to become business empires and, like other empires before them, they are not invincible and can collapse because of their own internal contradictions.”