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Author Topic: INDUSTRIALISATION: WHICH WAY NOW? [essay by Prof. Amit Bhaduri et al]  (Read 25743 times)

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feverpitch

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Re: INDUSTRIALISATION: WHICH WAY NOW? [essay by Prof. Amit Bhaduri et al]
« Reply #120 on: May 07, 2007, 10:25:10 AM »


Mods could we ban hooker trolls?
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"Every rise of fascism bears witness to a failed revolution."
Walter Benjamin

Libran

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Re: INDUSTRIALISATION: WHICH WAY NOW? [essay by Prof. Amit Bhaduri et al]
« Reply #121 on: May 07, 2007, 10:52:00 AM »

Was Reply # 11 the source for this longish thread with little discussions and more personal battles  :-\
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feverpitch

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Re: INDUSTRIALISATION: WHICH WAY NOW? [essay by Prof. Amit Bhaduri et al]
« Reply #122 on: November 22, 2008, 07:41:18 AM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/22/food-biofuels-land-grab


Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply


    * Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
    * guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 22 2008
   


Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of "neo-colonialism", with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

Rising food prices have already set off a second "scramble for Africa". This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.

"These deals can be purely commercial ventures on one level, but sitting behind it is often a food security imperative backed by a government," said Carl Atkin, a consultant at Bidwells Agribusiness, a Cambridge firm helping to arrange some of the big international land deals.

Madagascar's government said that an environmental impact assessment would have to be carried out before the Daewoo deal could be approved, but it welcomed the investment. The massive lease is the largest so far in an accelerating number of land deals that have been arranged since the surge in food prices late last year.

"In the context of arable land sales, this is unprecedented," Atkin said. "We're used to seeing 100,000-hectare sales. This is more than 10 times as much."

At a food security summit in Rome, in June, there was agreement to channel more investment and development aid to African farmers to help them respond to higher prices by producing more. But governments and corporations in some cash-rich but land-poor states, mostly in the Middle East, have opted not to wait for world markets to respond and are trying to guarantee their own long-term access to food by buying up land in poorer countries.

According to diplomats, the Saudi Binladin Group is planning an investment in Indonesia to grow basmati rice, while tens of thousands of hectares in Pakistan have been sold to Abu Dhabi investors.

Arab investors, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, have also bought direct stakes in Sudanese agriculture. The president of the UEA, Khalifa bin Zayed, has said his country was considering large-scale agricultural projects in Kazakhstan to ensure a stable food supply.

Even China, which has plenty of land but is now getting short of water as it pursues breakneck industrialisation, has begun to explore land deals in south-east Asia. Laos, meanwhile, has signed away between 2m-3m hectares, or 15% of its viable farmland. Libya has secured 250,000 hectares of Ukrainian farmland, and Egypt is believed to want similar access. Kuwait and Qatar have been chasing deals for prime tracts of Cambodia rice fields.

Eager buyers generally have been welcomed by sellers in developing world governments desperate for capital in a recession. Madagascar's land reform minister said revenue would go to infrastructure and development in flood-prone areas.

Sudan is trying to attract investors for almost 900,000 hectares of its land, and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has been courting would-be Saudi investors.

"If this was a negotiation between equals, it could be a good thing. It could bring investment, stable prices and predictability to the market," said Duncan Green, Oxfam's head of research. "But the problem is, [in] this scramble for soil I don't see any place for the small farmers."

Alex Evans, at the Centre on International Cooperation, at New York University, said: "The small farmers are losing out already. People without solid title are likely to be turfed off the land."

Details of land deals have been kept secret so it is unknown whether they have built-in safeguards for local populations.

Steve Wiggins, a rural development expert at the Overseas Development Institute, said: "There are very few economies of scale in most agriculture above the level of family farm because managing [the] labour is extremely difficult." Investors might also have to contend with hostility. "If I was a political-risk adviser to [investors] I'd say 'you are taking a very big risk'. Land is an extremely sensitive thing. This could go horribly wrong if you don't learn the lessons of history."
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"Every rise of fascism bears witness to a failed revolution."
Walter Benjamin

feverpitch

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Turkey's Greater Noida
« Reply #123 on: November 10, 2011, 12:21:54 PM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/09/sulukule-roma-housing-row-istanbul

Turkish Roma make way for property developers in historic Istanbul district


Sulukule 'urban regeneration' programme sees new townhouses advertised at 10 times the price paid to evictees

Constanze Letsch in Istanbul

Wednesday 9 November 2011 18.24 GMT


As property deals go, it leaves a lot to be desired. But then the hundreds of Roma families living in the heart of Istanbul don't have a lot of choice in the matter.

An "urban regeneration" scheme that turfed thousands of Roma out of their historic settlement in Sulukule is now advertising new townhouses in the district at almost 10 times the price paid to the evictees. The Turkish authorities are being accused of deliberately driving out the Roma in the name of town planning.

The saga began in 2005 when the ruling AKP authorities decided that Sulukule, one of the oldest permanent Roma settlements in the world, and situated in the Istanbul district of Fatih, was to become an Urban Renewal Zone. It was part of a drive to expropriate property in dilapidated areas to boost modernisation – in part for safety reasons, in what is an earthquake-prone part of the world.

The 3,400 Roma living in Sulukule were forced to sell their homes for 500 Turkisl Lira (Ł175) per sq metre to private investors and the Fatih municipality. Despite worldwide protests, a Unesco warning and court cases to halt the project, forced evictions and demolitions started in 2008. Now surrounded by construction fences, 640 "Ottoman-style" townhouses and offices are springing up on the 22-acre (nine-hectare) site that had housed the local Roma population for over a millennium. The price of the new properties? From TL3,500 to TL 4,500 per sq metre.

"It is clear that none of the former residents will be able to afford a flat here," said Sükrü Pündük, President of the Sulukule Roma Cultural Development and Solidarity Association, adding that one in four Sulukule residents lives on TL300 per month. "Most people do not have a fixed income, and live from day to day. This was never meant to be a regeneration project, but a project to generate profit, and to force Roma away from the city centre."

Just outside the construction area Sami Zogun, a former Sulukule resident of more than 40 years, waits for the bus to take him on the one-and-a-half-hour trip to a new development in Tasogluk, a high-rise satellite city constructed on behalf of the public housing development administration, TOKI, roughly 30 miles from the city centre. A single ticket costs TL2.40.

Zogun says that when his friend and landlord sold the 30 sq metre three-storey listed house that he and his wife had inhabited at a modest rent, they moved to Tasogluk, where they must pay TL550 to cover the rent, bills and the commute. His son had to sell his own apartment for the family to afford it.

"If I would have owned that house, I would not have sold them a single needle in it," he says. "To me, our little wooden house was paradise. The new TOKI houses feel like a golden cage. There is no life there; nothing to do."

Lorry driver Metin Ates says that he and his family moved back from Tasogluk a year after they left Sulukule. "It was too expensive for us. We just couldn't make ends meet there." Once a house owner, Ates was unable to buy another property in the area with the money he received for selling his Sulukule house and now lives in a small flat in a neighbouring district with his wife and three children, paying TL500 a month. "They ruined us. They destroyed our community."

Like Ates, all but six of the 300 families that moved to Tasogluk in 2008 came back to Sulukule because they were unable to pay the monthly rates, the bills for gas, water and electricity, and the fares for the journey back to Istanbul in order to secure what is a very modest income – Tasogluk did not offer any jobs at all.

Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's Turkey researcher, told the Guardian: "Although on paper there is provision for alternative housing in the form of these TOKI houses, we see that the houses which are – on paper – are available to the people displaced from Sulukule are not appropriate, they're not affordable."

He added: "The right to housing does not preclude urban regeneration. But it has to be done respecting [the rights] and wishes of the people living in these areas."

Mücella Yapici of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects says all of Turkey's urban regeneration schemes are centred on house ownership. "Tenants are never even taken into account, despite them being the most vulnerable," she said. While the Istanbul average for renting stands between 20% and 30% of households, the number of tenants in Sulukule topped 50%; many residents were simply too poor to afford their own property.

"Homelessness never used to be a serious issue in Istanbul. But the demolitions and evictions led to a dramatic increase of people with nowhere to go. They are not safer, but more vulnerable in the case of a natural disaster," says Yapici.

"In a way these urban renewal projects which were presented as a remedy to earthquakes cause the same economic and social damage: the forced loss of a person's home, work, and social ties in a neighbourhood."
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"Every rise of fascism bears witness to a failed revolution."
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feverpitch

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Re: INDUSTRIALISATION: WHICH WAY NOW? [essay by Prof. Amit Bhaduri et al]
« Reply #124 on: November 22, 2011, 11:46:52 AM »

couldn't find the thread where we once had a heated debate on direct democracy, so I'm posting this here. do note that concerned citizens of advanced countries are thinking in similar terms. Spain, UK, USA, Greece, Italy...


The Spanish election is a mandate for the indignados

For Spain's indignados, last Sunday's election delivered a mandate for struggle and resistance

 
Katharine Ainger
guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 November 2011


Proposals for voting strategies proliferated in the runup to Sunday's general election in Spain. People wrote "ballot box" on drains and toilets; others suggested cutting out the middlemen and depositing votes directly into bank machines. This campaign of ballot spoiling wasn't a subcultural anarchist prank, but a reflection of extraordinarily widespread popular disaffection. A typical sight during a pre-election protest was a respectable middle-aged man with a cigarette in one hand and a marker pen in the other going from municipal bin to municipal bin writing "Vote here" on the lids."They don't represent us" and "They are all the same" – the slogans of the indignados (the Spanish progenitors of the Occupy movement, who have mobilised hundreds of thousands across the country) – are now mainstream.

In contrast to the political parties, the indignados (the "outraged") say: "They want your vote; we want your opinion." They question the very legitimacy of electoral politics, seeing a hollowing out of representative democracy that the eurozone crisis is rendering critical. In their words, "the polls are in the safe custody of the European Central Bank".

On election day the indignados got protest-voting trending on Twitter with a three-pronged strategy: to abstain, spoil one's ballot, or attempt to break out of the bipartisan system by voting for a minority party. Rather than just staying at home, people actively registered disgust at the choices on offer, and the number of spoiled ballots on Sunday was double that of the last election in 2008 – numbering, with abstentions and blank votes, 11 million: more than voted for the rightwing victors, the Partido Popular.

Electoral disaffection reflects the harsh economic climate of Spain, with an unemployment rate of 46% for those under 30. Since the crisis voters have seen the socialist PSOE government renege on social policies and adopt the harsh austerity programmes of the right; as with New Labour, its traditional voter base turned away in disgust. It wasn't so much a case of the PP winning a mandate on Sunday, but of the PSOE losing 4.5 million voters.

Meanwhile the rhetoric of the indignados – that democracy is being eroded by the markets – has received unwelcome validation as the world of finance pummels Spain. Just before the election, borrowing costs had jumped to a 14-year high. In the words of Carlos Delclós, a Barcelona indignado: "[The incoming prime minister] Mariano Rajoy's task, at this point, is to try to guess what Merkel or the IMF want him to do before they tell him, so that his decisions look more like his own brilliance, and not the imposed will of dominant supranational institutions. The movement knows this, and I don't think they're going to be fooled into thinking that these elections change anything besides, perhaps, the scale of repression the government is willing to impose."

Leónidas Martín, artist, activist and professor at the University of Barcelona echoes this concern: "The results are perverse, a reflection of the disaffection with democracy." Martín perceives a real danger in this popular disaffection, however. He is "worried by the model of technocratic governments imposed by the markets as in Italy and Greece," he says, because "the markets are incorporating the popular disaffection into their own interests. They say: 'You don't like politicians? You don't like democracy? Very well, we understand you, and we want to help you. Just leave everything to us. We are experts.'"

In the short term, the reality of a rightwing government may well dampen the mood of the indignados. But it is also setting the stage for a massive new wave of protest that will strengthen the movement. By next spring those made unemployed by the crisis will start running out of unemployment benefits. This, combined with stringent new austerity measures and angry unions – whose hands had been tied by their connections to the socialist government, but can now come out fighting – will usher in what looks to be an enormous and potent wave of direct action.

The indignados are playing the long game. Inspiring Occupy tactics in other countries, they have been taking over empty bank-owned properties across the country from Galicia to Andalucia and Madrid to Barcelona. The general assemblies of the encampments they held in the summer are now devolved to local neighbourhoods; the occupied buildings are being used to hold assemblies through the winter months and house those evicted through mortgage defaults. "The answer to the crisis is not apathy or cynicism," says Kike Tudela, a historian and activist. "We have four years of struggle and resistance ahead, and the question is: what will we have after four years? Do we want the socialists back with more neoliberal policies, or something new?"

The indignados are now exploring ideas that go far beyond party politics or even changing electoral law, such as participatory budgets, referendums, election recalls and other forms of citizen-initiated legalisation. "It's a debate we have to have within the movement, but perhaps we can create new political forms from below. We are interested in Latin American models," Tudela says, referring to governments that have resisted the onslaught of neoliberalism in tandem with social movements that hold them to their promises.

This new form of politics that creates effective pathways between social movements and government is vastly ambitious. But as the indignados say: "We are going slowly, because we are going far."
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"Every rise of fascism bears witness to a failed revolution."
Walter Benjamin
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