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Reclaim the Commons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 2, 2004
11:50 PM
CONTACT:  Reclaim the Commons
Newsroom: 415.305.5345
 
Reclaim the Commons Teach-In Kicks-Off Seven Days of Action: Peace, Global Justice, Racial Justice, Environment, Farm and Labor Advocates Unite to End Corporate Control of Life.
 

WASHINGTON - June 2 - Press Conference

Thursday, June 3, 12:00 noon

Unitarian Universalist Church

1187 Franklin at Geary in San Francisco

As momentum builds for massive protests against the descent of the world’s largest biotech and pharmaceutical convention in San Francisco, June 6 — 9, and the G8 Summit meeting off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, June 8 – 11, Bay Area residents, peace, racial justice and global justice advocates have called for a mass mobilization to Reclaim the Commons in San Francisco.

Kicking off the Reclaim the Commons (RTC) mobilization will be an educational forum to explore alternatives while exposing the agenda of unaccountable transnational corporations. The speakers at the teach-in will illustrate the links to the Bush administration’s corporate war and the undemocratic corporate practices affecting all life on earth. “The lineup of speakers is incredible, and I plan to take time off from work to attend the teach-in. It’s important for my children’s sake that I understand and participate in the decisions that are shaping our future,” said Laura Holland Belk, single mother and resident of Sierraville, CA.

To offer a preview of the upcoming teach-in and conference, several prominent biotech critics will be speaking to the press and available for interviews on Thursday. Participants include:

Andrew Kimbrell (Center for Food Safety, Washington, DC)

Anuradha Mittal (Oakland Institute, Oakland, CA)

Marcy Darnovsky (Center for Genetics and Society, Oakland, CA)

Inga Olson (Tri Valley CARES, Livermore, CA)

Mike Molina (Books Not Bars (Project of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights)

“We are bringing knowledgeable experts on the hazards of biotechnology from around the world to help counter the biotech industry’s multimillion dollar public relations machine,” said Brian Tokar, of the Vermont-based Institute for Social Ecology, who is in San Francisco helping with preparations. “We are questioning genetically engineered food, but also biotech barriers to a just health system, the expansion of bioweapons development in the name of ‘biodefense,’ and the links between corporate power and systemic injustices in our own communities.”

The featured speakers at this 2 1/2 day forum at the Unitarian Church, Women’s Building and New College include internationally acclaimed author Vandana Shiva, world hunger activist Anuradha Mittal, censored UC professor Ignacio Chapela, Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and guests from Mexico, the UK and many other places.

RTC Organizers define the commons as everything needed to support healthy life on earth; from air, water, and food, to public spaces, culture, and genes. They say that RTC is not just a one-time mass protest against corporate power and biotech; it’s about movement-building and creating just and sustainable alternatives to the corporate model.

Highlights of the week-long series of events include the teach-in with an impressive roster of international presenters, a “Really, really free market” that contrasts an experimental gift economy with free-market capitalism, a biotech world café, where participants engage in deep, democratic discussion of the impacts of the biotech industry on San Francisco, a peace march, biodiversity ball, a racial justice day of actions, and a shut-down of the BIO2004 meeting on June 8th to coincide with the beginning of the G8 meeting on the East Coast.

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