4500 young people, one third of whom had travelled from more than 40 countries around the world, recently joined in a 10-day camp hosted by the Woodcraft Folk, an internationalist and ecology-minded organisation for young people in Britain. The main theme of Global Village 2006 was to struggle against global poverty by mobilising young people to achieve the UN's millennium development goals, which aim to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Israel's war against the Palestinian and Lebanese people aroused a lot of debate and activity, with widespread opposition to US/UK/Israeli policy clashing with the wishes of the leaders of some European social democratic youth groups not to 'take sides'.
The international committee organising the camp decided before the event to support Sinaltrainal's call for a world-wide boycott of Coca-Cola and ban its products from sale at Global Village. By the end of the camp, everyone had heard about the reasons for this decision. Amy N., 15 years old and from a township in South Africa's Cape province (see attached on right), appeared on the popular nightly GVTV news programme pouring what appeared to be blood from a bottle of Coca-Cola as she explained why Colombian trade unionists and Indian farmers call for a boycott and publicising a workshop on Coca-Cola in Colombia. [This is contained within the movie that can be dwonloaded from GlobalVillage2006.org. If anyone's got the software to excerpt Amy's short piece, please do so].
A stall set up one afternoon sold 50 copies of the Killer Coke magazine and sold out of t-shirts; 1,500 campaign leaflets were distributed. Two workshops were held on Coca-Cola, each attended by several dozen youth of different nationalities, resulting in a decision to continue campaigning within Woodcraft by setting up an e-mail list to coordinate anti-Coke activities by Woodcraft members (who can join by visiting RiseUp.net)
An article published in GV's daily newspaper is appended below.
Coca-Cola: Unthinkable, Undrinkable?
In its insatiable pursuit of water to Coca-Cola have bled communities dry. Coca-Cola have been taking control of aquifers in com munities around the world. India has experienced this type of abuse and the backlash against Coca-Cola, in the form of campaigns against the company, has started in several states. Research carried out by War on Want in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh has shown that Coca-Cola's behaviour is having a deeply negative impact on farmers and local communities.
At the end of 1999 Coca-Cola opened a bottling plant in th e poverty stricken village of Kaladera situated in the desert state of Rajasthan. From 1995 until 2000 water levels remained stable. From 2000 water levels fell by ten metres over the following five years.
Coca-Cola's treatment of its workforce is equally shocking. The company are rigidly opposed to trade unions and will stop at nothing to halt their activities. This is especially true in Columbia where paramilitary groups have implemented a campaign of intimidation, kidnapping, torture and assassination against Coca-Cola trade unionists and their families.
A work shop about Coca-Cola is running at 2.30 today in Conflict and Peace.
From Global Voice #9, daily newspaper of Global Village
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