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BP ‘n UK Berkeley – a sweet deal that screws the rest of us

In a startling revelation this spring, the University of California announced a $500 million dollar deal with BP (British Petroleum). The agreement would partner industry and academia to solve the problem of global warming. The plan involves building a large research complex in Berkeley’s sensitive Strawberry Creek Canyon, behind the barbed wire of the Berkeley Lawrence Lab. There they will pursue research on genetically engineered (now politely called “synthetic biology”) crop plants to try to coax an energy surplus out of them that will provide for America’s fuel needs.

This deal would convert California’s public educational institution into a research arm of a large, immoral, profit-seeking mega-corporation. Much of the research on campus lands would be classified, and BP would co-own the intellectual property rights. The direction of public research would be dramatically turned away from studies of conservation, public transit, changing public habits and government responsibilities, and against precautionary research about the dangers of genetically engineered plants and industrial agriculture on the environment.

If the public cannot rely on our University to tackle crucial issues with scientific objectivity, we will have lost our means to do so. Just Say No. And say it fast, because BP has a lot of funds to slick their way into turning our future into quick profits and certain environmental devastation.

Converge! a call from the RNC welcoming committee

Every four years, in two very lucky cities, big money gets thrown around while look-alikes from opposite ends of a closed circle step up to their podiums and spout nonsense. Republican National Convention — RNC. Democratic National Convention — DNC. Whatever. The point is that once the conventions are over, once November has come and gone, once the inauguration is only an unpleasant memory, people across this stolen land find themselves in pretty much the same place as before: a bad one.

From September 1st through 4th, 2008, the Republican National Convention will be held in St. Paul, MN. The RNC Welcoming Committee has invited folks from all over the country to show up and make something happen — to pull this moment out of its rut and start something new.

In preparation for the 2008 actions, the RNC Welcoming Committee is inviting radicals from all over the country to come and get to know Minneapolis/St. Paul and help hone your convergence-planning skills during the first week of Sept., 2007. “Over the next five months, we encourage people to start dialogue about the RNC in their own communities — what do you want to see happen in 2008? How do you think we can get there? What resources do you have to contribute? What will you need?” according to a communiqué from the Welcoming Committee. The 2007 weekend will feature Critical Mass on Friday, August 31, and three days of tours, workshops, skillshares, street medic training, games, strategizing sessions and L(A)bor Day activities.

In 2008, the Welcoming Committee is calling for “decentralized actions: both coordinated and independent.” For more info, contact the RNC Welcoming Committee: