28 Feb 2007

protest against homophobic statements from Moscow mayor


Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall today hit out at the Mayor of Moscow's comments denouncing same-sex relationships and gay pride events as “satanic”, “unnatural”, “deviations”, “blasphemy” and “deadly moral poison” and called on a show of defiance at a protest against the Mayor planned today in London (Wednesday).

The Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov recently announced that he was banning this year’s Moscow Gay Pride march (last year’s march was also banned and some marchers were beaten and arrested).

Dr. Wall blasted Mr Luzhkov: “I am shocked and utterly appalled by the Mayor of Moscow's homophobia. Human Rights for gays and lesbian's are under attack in Russia and we must defend them."

Wednesday’s protest in London is timed to coincide with the Moscow Mayor’s photo call and press conference at City Hall in London.

Nikolai Alekseev, Organiser of Moscow Gay Pride, is flying to London to join the protest and has issued an appeal for LGBTs (London Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transvestite) to join him at City Hall:

“Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov routinely breaches Russia’s constitution and laws, and the European Convention, by depriving gay people of their right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

“The real reason behind the ban of the first ever Moscow Gay Pride, held in May 2006, is not because the Mayor is concerned for the security of the participants, as he claims. The ban is motivated by his deep-rooted hatred toward homosexual people.

“We appeal to the Mayors of London, Paris and Berlin to protest to Luzhkov against his ban on Moscow Gay Pride. Whatever the stance of the Moscow Mayor, we are going ahead with plans for a second Moscow Gay Pride on 27th May,” concluded Mr Alekseev.


Notes for Editors:

Assemble: 11am, Wednesday 28 February 2007

Place: City Hall, Queens Walk, London SE1 (South Bank of Thames, near
Tower Bridge)

Duration: 11am to 1.30pm (if you cannot come at 11am, please join us
at 12 noon or 1pm)

City Hall


Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at
1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

27 Feb 2007

Venezuela: Find out more about the revolution.

Being no fly I guess I am not going to be going to Caracas again for some time. Latin America is showing the way at present...to find out more check out these two Venezuela Information Centre meetings.


Venezuelan Guest Speaker, Maxima Cumana MP, will update on the latest developments in Venezuela since the re-election of Hugo Chavez in December, and on the huge social gains made by women in Venezuela in recent years.

Come along!

LONDON: Monday 12 March, 7pm at the UNISON National Office, 1 Mabledon Place, London, WC1 (nearest tubes Euston, Kings Cross St Pancras.)

BIRMINGHAM: Tuesday March 13, at 7.30pm at the Carrs Lane Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 (opposite Moor Street Station).

Both these meetings promise to be great opportunities to hear first-hand about the extensions in democracy and social progress taking place in Venezuela, including the social gains being made by women.

Please circulate details widely - for more information on either event contact VIC at info@vicuk.org or 0207 250 0132.

We look forward to seeing you at these events!

Reverend Billy calls for Northern Ireland Green Party vote

Envy, the Northern Ireland Greens (who are linked to Greens in Scotland, Ireland and the GPEW), put us to shame....I did an election visit for the last assembly elections, which involved some canvassing North Belfast protestant housing estates for the remarkable Peter Emerson and some work with Dr John Barry (slickest green politician on the planet).

here on you tube they have an election broadcast from the Rev Billy, this will confuse people....a Billy indeed a Reverend William campaigning for the Greens, some mixed symbols indeed.

A bit localist for my taste but the Reverend's campaign record is stunning!

26 Feb 2007

More sexual ambiguity from the Dalai Lama

having sex with a professional prostitute at the time the precepts were formulated was acceptable and is therefore not sexual misconduct unless a third party pays for it. [...] "Such a redefinition can only come out of sangha discussions within the various Buddhist traditions. It is not unprecedented in the history of Buddhism to redefine issues, but it has to be done on the collective level", His Holiness said. He also added that it would be helpful to do more research on the genesis of these sexual precepts.

There is an interesting an account of a debate between his 'holiness' and lesbian and Gay activists but it still seems a bit problematic.

Obssessions with regulating sexuality should have little or no place in Buddhism in my view (unless we are talking abuse and dodgy power relations)...the view that prostitution is fine unless a third party pays for it is a new one to me.

It all tends to degenerate into orifices, emissions and precepts....not nice!

The Incredibles

I watched this with my kids. It struck me as fairly propagandist. The ideology of the nuclear family, the villain who at one point said he could make everyone superhereos so superhereos would no longer be different.

Its the Ayn Ran school for tots..he socialism will make us uniform and remove the best by making us all better.

Finally the villain is the mole with his giant industrial machinery poised to under mine society.

What next our bearded philosopher posionning the drinks of Mrs Elastica...

Did strike be that Disney is part of an Ideological State Apparatus, subtly forming childhood opinions in a particular direction.

I suppose I am too used to watching the simpsons which subverts capitalism and takes the piss of greens and everyone.

As I often say families should be more like the simpsons and less like the Waltons.

24 Feb 2007


Went off to the anti-Trident anti-Iran invasion march today....I am a little sceptical, I think politics is about applying pressure or cultural change, I don't think marches cut it compared to fighting elections or direct action or ideas/culture stuff.

Nonetheless the march at least is something and a good opportunity for networking. My eldest Vince, enjoys them, especially if we work in a trip to a Chinese for some much needed calories at some point.

He had great fun climbing up statues and decorating them with anti-war Green Party placards and was encouraged, if anything, by being told not to by the police.

So marching is good but politics demands more and much more is needed to stop the drive to war, Iran could be the new Iraq if Bush is stupid enough and sadly he is stupid enough.

Tax strike anyone!

23 Feb 2007

See you all against war and Trident tomorrow



THE Government must abandon plans to replace its Trident nuclear missiles
and immediately withdraw all UK troops from Iraq, Green Party MEP Caroline
Lucas will tell a central London rally tomorrow (Saturday, February 24th).

Speaking at the ‘No Trident/Troops out of Iraq’ rally, Dr Lucas will say:

“Replacing Trident would be illegal, immoral, counter-productive – and
utterly irrelevant to the real security threats we face today.

“It would cost the British taxpayer an estimated £76bn over the next few
decades – money that could be used to fund practical solutions to climate
change, the far greater security threat we face, as the recent UN
International Panel on Climate Change has again made clear.

“It will put the UK in direct breach of the UN’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty, and would increase the global supply of nuclear materials by
launching a new nuclear arms race.”

Veteran peace campaigner Dr Lucas is also a member of the decision-making
National Council of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which has called
the demonstration alongside the British Muslim initiative and the Stop the
War Coalition, and is a co-founder and Co-President of the European
Parliament’s cross-party Peace Initiatives group.

She is currently awaiting trial for allegedly breaching the peace by taking
part in a peaceful blockade of the Trident nuclear submarine base at
Faslane, Scotland, alongside MPs and elected representatives from around the

“It is hypocritical in the extreme for us to be censuring Iran for
apparently pursuing nuclear weapons whilst we in the UK are ignoring our
legal and moral obligations to disarm ours, and are in fact doing precisely
the opposite, as International Atomic Energy Agency Director General
Mohammed ElBaradei said earlier this week,” she added.

The demonstration will assemble at Hyde Park from 12 noon, followed by a
rally and speeches in Trafalgar Square. Dr Lucas is expected to address the
rally at about 2.30pm.


Note to Editors:

Copies of Dr Lucas’s speech will be available after the rally at
www.carolinelucasmep.org.uk or on request from Ben.

For more information please contact Ben on 01273 671946, 07973 823358 or

Hard talk on line

if you want to see me under pressure you can watch at

Carbon offset is no solution

This is from Schnews....carbon neutral seems to be getting you all het up, either for or against...so this will be of interest


SchNEWS uproots the carbon offsetting myth

Where there's a crisis there's a cash-cow, and while SchNEWS has looked before at the stupidities of industrial carbon trading (See SchNEWS 514), it's time to turn up the heat on those firms at the cashing in consumers fears about Climate Change. This week activists from London Rising Tide occupied the offices of the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC), at the forefront of the dubious practice of carbon offsetting. Rising Tide had been invited to take part in the load of hot air that is the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change (chaired by CNC) - but sensibly they chose to barricade themselves inside the CNC offices instead. They left voluntarily at 4.30pm without arrest, meanwhile others had carried out an action outside the company's offices in Kings Cross.

CNC's stock in trade is exploiting western guilt about the state of the environment. People send 'em cash and in exchange trees are planted (or not) to offset carbon emitted by the now guilt-free paying customer. Does selling units of carbon amount to the privatisation of the atmosphere? Are customers buying hot air? We aren't talking small potatoes here - 'voluntary' offsetting was worth around £20m in 2005 and is expected to top £300m over the next three years. Maybe money does grow on trees after all....

CNC's founder, lifelong tree-hugger Dan Morrell (ex-video game importer, fashion retailer, night-club owner and advertising middleman), got creative when he saw the potential of the new market in 'carbon trading' - where in effect 'units' of emissions become commodities to be bought and sold. And who makes up his market? Rich people in high-polluting countries who feel guilty but want to be able to throw money at the problem. People who simply have to make that weekend shopping trip to New York, but don't want to feel too bad.

Morrell's latest attempt to cash in on the forthcoming apocalypse is media circus 'Global Cool', where such scientific luminaries as the Foo Fighters and Sheryl Crow line up to help make saving the planet sexy. He's even roped in Tony Blair to hold a celeb-studded do earlier this month in aid of it. Their slogan? 'sign up and save a planet' (see www.global-cool.com). And of course this whole enterprise is pushing carbon offsetting as a solution - Now that's synergy! Rising Tide make the analogy that if the planet was a running bath, full almost to the brim, then offsetting CO2 emissions is like saying "I won't turn off my tap. I'll pay someone else £10 to pay someone else £2 to turn off their own tap." This, of course, in no way faces up to the reality that just about every tap needs to become a mere dribble with global carbon emissions needing to go down 60-90%.

Even if the Carbon Neutral Company was planting the trees paid for, the whole exercise is next to useless. Desperate Dan claims that it would take ten trees to cancel out the carbon emissions of one US citizen for four months. So if the average Brit goes through six trees worth per four months - eighteen a year - do the math! To cover the whole country's emissions it would require a billion trees a year to be planted. Within 30 years the whole country would be completely covered in pines. At least there'd be no room for airport expansions...

Fluffily-named carbon eco-capitalists like 'Climate Care', 'Offset My Life' are offering similar cynical products Our favourites CNC were flogging this package for £12.50: a Valentines Green Box with some organic chocolate, a keyring made of recycled leather, and - get this - a certificate for one month of carbon neutral driving - where 325kg of carbon has been set aside allowing 1,000 miles of happy motoring. Bargain! Conservation charity Trees for Life were offering the chance to buy your loved one a dedicated Scots pine in Caledonia for £15 - or snap up the special two for £20 deal!

Run Forest Run

The Rising Tide occupation came the day after a Carbon Trade Watch report was published. "The Carbon Neutral Myth - Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins," is highly critical of the offsets industry, arguing that not only are supposed climate benefits impossible to quantify, but that projects are also being imposed on communities in the global South with little consultation.

The report also explains how these companies are using number-crunching trickery to boost their eco-friendly boasts - similar to the profit-inflating scam pulled by energy-criminals Enron. The wheeze is called 'future value accounting' and in the tree-planting game it basically means that when your eco-merchants 'sell' you a tree, they do so on the basis that a certain amount of carbon emissions will be offset or neutralised - but the truth is that this figure is actually an estimate based on the tree's whole lifetime and what it may neutralise in the future if it stays healthy and reaches full maturity - in up to one hundred years time! Whether there will still be an environment suitable for sustaining that tree in a century's time does not come into the equation.

In addition, these great claims are made despite the fact that there has only been limited research into the actual long term benefits of tree-planting. "Carbon in a tree is not stored safely," says Jutta Kill, of the environment group Fern. "Trees burn, trees die down, there's insect infestation." Last year WWF, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace issued a statement saying they do not support forestry projects to offset carbon emissions and last month a new US study claimed that where you plant makes a massive difference to effectiveness -

Little independent monitoring is done to ensure that plantations are properly managed, or exist at all. Take the roaring success of the project between green rockers Coldplay and CNC where the carbon emissions from the production of their last CD was to be offset by 10,000 mango trees in India. 40% of the saplings died because villagers didn't have the water to support them, and money promised to villagers to maintain the trees didn't come through. In Uganda (and other places across the global South), people have been expelled from their land to make way for plantation schemes, while workers are paid below subsistence wages for toiling on the West's conscience-relief fantasies.

So in the end offset companies just breed complacency by selling 'peace of mind' to consumers. They are just another way of exploiting the poorest people for profit and only offer more distraction from the critical task of tackling our unsustainable consumption patterns and business practices.

21 Feb 2007

Rising Tide occupy Carbon neutral company

Today we have occupied – and with any luck shut down - the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) here in King’s Cross. CNC is one of many businesses which sell ‘carbon offsets’ to people and companies that want to cancel out their contribution to climate chaos (also known as ‘global warming’). CNC claims that it will neutralise the carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by, say, Silverjet (a private jet airline), and that it will do this by paying people in developing countries to cut their own emissions with schemes that involve renewable energy or tree planting. So what’s the problem?



London Rising Tide has occupied the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (formerly Future Forests) on the day they had been invited to appear before the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change, that is chaired by the Carbon Neutral Company.

This is what they have to say:


Today we have occupied – and with any luck shut down - the head office of the Carbon Neutral Company (CNC) here in King’s Cross. CNC is one of many businesses which sell ‘carbon offsets’ to people and companies that want to cancel out their contribution to climate chaos (also known as ‘global warming’). CNC claims that it will neutralise the carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by, say, Silverjet (a private jet airline), and that it will do this by paying people in developing countries to cut their own emissions with schemes that involve renewable energy or tree planting. So what’s the problem?

Carbon offsetting: an excuse for no action?

Climate chaos is an issue of justice: it is hurting the world’s poorest (and least-polluting) people first and hardest, causing massive disasters and threatening millions of species worldwide. Many people are now questioning whether offsetting allows some of us in the richer, developed world to carry on with our massively polluting lifestyles, instead of lowering our own emissions. Those who are buying offsets are often doing so with the best of intentions, but the fact remains that it’s a smokescreen that has to stop.

If we compare the planet to a running bath, full almost to the brim with CO2, to offset CO2 emissions is like saying “I won’t turn off my tap. I’ll pay someone else £10 to pay someone else £2 to turn off their own tap.” (Guess who pockets the change?) The reality is that we need to turn off both, if we’re to have a chance of cutting CO2 emissions by 50% before 2016 (which is the single most important task facing you and me, right here, right now in 2007.)

Not only is tree planting a discredited failure when it comes to soaking up carbon, many other offset schemes are looking pretty shabby when looked at in detail by independent third parties.

Yesterday, Carbon Trade Watch released a report called “The Carbon Neutral Myth – Offset Indulgences for your Climate Sins” that gave a lot of evidence and information as to why offsetting is ineffective, injust and damaging to the climate change debate. (http://www.carbontradewatch.org/pubs/carbon_neutral_myth.pdf)

Who are we?

Our group is called London Rising Tide (LRT), and we are part of a wider national and international movement that believes passionately in taking direct action for ‘climate justice’. We reckon it’s well past time for us to get creative, to get movement-building, to drown out the rising tide of corporate ‘greenwash’ (ie. profit-driven lies), to get food growing with neighbours and friends, and to get seriously disobedient, (but to do it with a good bit of humour).

A while ago, we were asked by the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change to make a submission about planned Climate Bill. The Committee is administrated by the Carbon Neutral Company. After thinking long and hard about it, this was our response:

‘We're declining the invitation to address the meeting, since we believe in the creation of mass movements striving for systemic social and ecological change. Engaging with the committee would be a distraction from that, as it's not in the interests of either Parliament or private companies to call for - or work for - such change. Also, we are deeply sceptical about the apparent privatisation of the committee process, especially when the company concerned is profiting handsomely from the sale to the public of the phony solution that is the carbon offset.’

To speak to people currently taking part in the action, call 07933 319 609
To speak to someone for comment or more information, call 07989 130846

London Rising Tide, c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
E: london@risingtide.org.uk; T: 07708 794665
W: londonrisingtide.org.uk, artnotoil.org.uk, shelloiledwildlife.org.uk
See also The Camp for Climate Action: climatecamp.org.uk, & cheatneutral.com

20 Feb 2007

Hard Talk, Derek TV moves up a notch or eight

well did Hard Talk today, must be the most difficult tv show possible I have seen others reduced to tears and they always give interviewees a very hard time.

I was taken in by an assistant, I said to her how 'hard' 'hard talk' was, she insisted no problem and they were quite gentle....but I recounted how I had seen them demolish a prominent member of parliament and she let her guard down!

Yes its 'hard', see how I got on...BBC news 24 tomorrow 4.30 pm and 11.30 pm!

19 Feb 2007

In Huddersfield...soon!

Kirklees Green Party
19 February 2007 ( 0793 947 3269


Green Party Principal Speaker in Huddersfield this Wednesday

Dr Derek Wall, Male Principal Speaker for the Green Party will be in Huddersfield on Wednesday to talk to the public about the need for a green approach to building sustainable local communities. The talk is free and will be at the Huddersfield Sports Centre from 7.30pm on 21st February. Derek will be signing copies of his latest book, “Babylon and Beyond” .

Dr Wall, lecturer and author of 6 books on green politics and economics, will explain how stronger, more locally-based economic systems can be created here in Huddersfield and the rest of Kirklees. He says:

" The New Labour Government plans to close local post offices and hospitals; the Green Party believes that we must save local services and create vibrant local economies, where the goods and services people need are locally sourced.”

"Kirklees is leading the way with renewable energy schemes and farmers markets, led by local Greens on the council, but much more could be done. People now realise that we can’t put the environment on a back burner. Preventing climate chaos requires radical action, both on a large scale by governments, and by all of us in our daily lives. This will include a change to a more localised economy, which will have additional positive effects through the creation of quality employment in Kirklees."

A member of the party since 1980, he says: "Green politics is the politics of survival. Infinite economic growth is impossible on a finite planet. We must think deeply about how we transform our economy, our lifestyle and our political institutions."



1) Derek Wall, 41, is an economics lecturer, author of 6 books, and occasional writer for several periodicals including Red Pepper, is one of the Green Party’s joint principal speakers, elected by a postal vote of Green Party Members.
The party has a male and female principal speaker (Sian Berry). Sian will be invited to speak in Huddersfield later in the year.

2) The Green Party has 93 Councillors on 38 Councils, including 3 on Kirklees Council, two London Assembly members and two MEPs.

Contacts :

Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

Kirklees councillors Cllr Andrew Cooper, 74 Brockholes Lane, Brockholes, Huddersfield HD9 7EB
01484 667519 or 07721 348619

Kirklees Green Party Press Officer : Lesley Hedges, 62 High Street, Golcar, Huddersfield HD7 4NJ 01484 652932 or 0793 947 3269

Kirklees Green Party website www.kirkleesgreenparty.org.uk

Congestion charge extended

Mrs Weininger says: "If that dictator is shoving us onto public transport why is he not using it himself?"

But Mr Livingstone's spokesman later responded to this comment saying that the mayor does use public transport all the time.
from the BBC.

There are problems with the congestion charge, I am thinking plumbers and others who need a vehicle, and of the soaring cost of public transport which is its self congested but I also think the lady protest too much.

National congestion charges for the whole of the UK will involve a big debate...however the mathematics of global warming suggest that the era of unlimited car use will have to end.

Even without the co2 problem and even peak oil, although I am betting on oil prices falling for a few years unless Bush attacks Iran, cars are problematic. The Economist a couple of weeks ago noted that 1,000 people still die every year in London because of air pollution, a fact that shocked and surprised me.

The House of Commons reported on this as well last thursday. 10,000 die nationally.

I loved the go slow protest by motorists, they had to do it on a weekend, no one would have noticed a go slow protest with the congested traffic you see every week day in Kensington!

Right on my bike to the shops.

18 Feb 2007

Pro car forces mobilise

THANK YOU to those who took part in Saturday's protest organised by West London Residents Association and others against the extension of the Congestion Charge zone.
If you live in the London area, there is another chance to show the politicians what you think of road pricing etc by joining in a protest on foot down Walton Street in Chelsea which assembles at 10.00 AM on Monday (19th), the day that the charge comes in.

Congestion charge zone extends into Chelsea tomorrow and the oppressed Chelsea Tractor drivers are mobilising....counter demonstration anyone!

They have even set up a 'Car Party' to get more of us on the roads and to remove those pesky speed cameras...not much risk of speeding in Chelsea, its far too congested.

More on congestion charges soon!

17 Feb 2007

Derek TV: Green Party challenges Labour

Well Peter Tatchell is a wonderful antidote to the usual cyncism he does so much and is the ultimate anti-career political activist.

Great to do this inteview with him.
On to Peter!

Hi Derek,

Many thanks for last night's interview.

Below is the link to watch it.The following news release will be sent by me to the Left media and to a fewGreen colleagues. You can circulate the attached version to whoever you like. Amend the blurbas you wish. Solidarity! PeterAre the Greens the new Left? Talking With Tatchell


As Labour slides to the right, the Green Party is shifting to the left. Are the Greens destined to displace Labour as the main left party of democracy,social justice, human rights, peace and environmental protection? Opinion polls reveal growing public support for the Green Party. Labour membership is down and the Labour vote is down. Many people who aredisillusioned with Blairism and Brownism are joining the Greens.The Green Party is the fastest growing and most effective progressive partyin British politics. It already has nearly 100 local councillors, two MEPs,seven Members of the Scottish Parliament and two members of the London Assembly. On his weekly TV programme, Talking With Tatchell, human rights campaignerPeter Tatchell interviews Derek Wall, Principal Male Speaker of the GreenParty.

To view the programme, click on this link:http://doughty.gdbtv.com/player.php?h=b6e74ce00c1aa83f386830c1a570a6d8

Note:Talking with Tatchell is broadcast every Friday night at 8.30pm on internetTV, www.18doughtystreet.com Tel: 020 7405 1818

Email: info@18doughtystreet.com

Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell's campaigns promoting democracy, human rights and social justice, including action against tyrants and torturers. Peter is unpaid and receives no grants. To continue his humanrights work, he depends on donations from friends and supporters. Please make cheques payable to: "Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund". Send to: Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YFWeb: www.tatchellrightsfund.org Email: info@tatchellrightsfund.org

Thank you. Richard Kirker, Treasurer PTHRFpeter@tatchell.freeserve.co.uk


15 Feb 2007

Pavement politics

I am taking part on monday night in the Refugee Council's sleepout for Asylum seekers, I think this what people want me to be doing as Green Party Principal Speaker and while I am not a great moralist...thinking of all the careerism in politics makes me want to do something that involves some moderate discomfort for my beliefs!

If you want to get involved in putting the case for treating asylum seekers fairly and fighting all the racist steorotyping click here

Jean Lambert our London MEP to her credit took part in a similar action a year or two ago.

Are we going to see Cameron out with us....I suspect not but go on David, show me that I am just a cynic!

Also I am on tv tomorrow...'talk with Tatchell' 8.30 on 18 doughty street.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not the first person to use false pretences to try to find a better life in the West, nor will she be the last. But the muddy account given in this book of her so-called forced marriage becomes more troubling when one considers that Ms Hirsi Ali has built a career out of portraying herself as the lifelong victim of fanatical Muslims.

well its not all 'Dr Wall condenms restrictions on X', Dr Wall visits town to close down a Tescos, there is more going on here on another green world. Amongst the occassional series of series such as 'political corruption!', 'gay zen' and I also run 'things I agree with the Economist about' blog entriesd.

In this category must include their excellent, amusing and sharp review of 'Infidel', intolerant religion of all kinds need to be condemned, anti-gay and anti-women Islam, Protestanism or Buddhism or whatever. no thanks...however I agree with the Economist that Infidel is a problematic book.

Their review is here.

Obviously we lefties will out compete them in the market place for ideas cos we are open source...however nice to flag this and see it is on their free to read list.

don't get me started on the supposed Chinese government attack on Marxist Internet Archive.

CIA..Go away

I must admit the Green Party is not perfect, indeed political parties are imperfect instruments for change...all have cliques, clashes, gossip, friction of various kinds but while I try and remain sharply critical I am rather impressed by the out put from our 2 MEPs Jean and Caroline....day after day after they work hard on ecology through to human rights.

Well folks obviously there are lots of people doing good things but this from Jean seems a good example of what a radical parliamentarian (its almost an oxymoran) should be shouting about.

From The Office Of Jean Lambert, London's Green MEP

14th February 2007


UK Euro MP Jean Lambert has today welcomed the European Parliament’s
report following the investigation into the CIA extraordinary rendition
flights, and urged member states to continue with their own inquiries.

Jean, who sits on the European Parliament’s Temporary Committee Of
Inquiry into the CIA abuses, today said that despite the efforts of some
member states to soften the report, it had sent a strong message that EU
Government’s could no longer ‘stick their heads in the sand’ and ignore
the problem.

Jean commented; "The so-called 'war' on terror has been used by some to
rework international law and defy international conventions on human
rights and the treatment of those detained (on suspicion, not proof)
without trial or any due process. Human rights are universal and
indivisible and the EU is committed to upholding these rights.

“This report confronts us with an uncomfortable reality, that /the CIA
did both abduct and transport civilians in EU countries, a practice that
many EU governments and key officials in the EU institutions were aware
of. We now urge Member State Parliaments and Governments to investigate
fully what may have been happening on their territory.

"This must not be the end of the Parliament's involvement in this issue
and we must be vigilant to ensure that its recommendations are acted on.
As a member of the European Parliament’s Human Rights and Civil
Liberties Committees I will ensure that we re-evaluate our findings in
the coming months. We need clear rules to prevent external secret
services from carrying out human rights violations with impunity in EU
territory again."


For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Notes to editors:

Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and
Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European
Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected
in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK
Green representatives in the European Parliament.

Morwenna Holland
Media and Public Relations Officer

Office of Jean Lambert MEP - London's Green MEP
Suite 58, The Hop Exchange
24 Southwark Street
London, SE1 1TY

Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7407 6280
Fax: 00 44 (0)20 7234 0183

Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
Web: www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

14 Feb 2007

Israel to become a "consensual democracy for both Arabs and Jews"?

Dr Wall commented: "Israeli Arabs make up a fifth of Israel's population. Yet Arab parties hold only 10 seats in the 120-seat Parliament.

"Clearly, there is an urgent need for a change in the character and definition of the state, whether to become a "state for all its citizens," a binational state, or a consensual democracy.

"There are some 1.3 million Arab citizens of the country - just under 20% of the population. Around 80% are Muslims; the rest divide almost equally between Christians and Druze.

Today in a Green Party capacity I have been publicising calls for peace in Isreal/Palestine. More here.

Below I have posted a response from Tony Greenstein including an article he has noted from haaretz...can we achieve peace in Palestine/Israel, well its a very tall order but civil rights from all citizens in all areas is going to be necessary, whether one believes in one state, two states, functioning anarchy or whatever.

Debate on this is very welcome.

Any here are Tony's thoughts via a green left mailing alerted me to the civil liberties issue discussed above.

Any way on to his comments....I would like yours as well.

There has been 30+ years of 'peace making' but with no peace, as Israel seeks every excuse not to give ground. When the PLO amended their charter and recognised the Israeli State they were told there were no partners for peace. So it will continue with further roadmaps etc. The lack of suicide bombs in the past 9 months hasn't had any effect on daily harassment, road blocks, prisoners etc. The root cause is the nature of the Israeli state itself, its quest for racial purification. Below is an article taken from the main Israel daily newspaper, Ha'aretz on the struggle of one Arab family to live in a Jewish village. It is symptomatic of apartheid within Israel, but instead of Black and White there are 'suitability' tests etc.

If a Jewish couple was prohibited from settling anywhere in Britain it would rightly be considered anti-Semitic. The media would be all over it, warning for the return of anti-Semitism and ask how this, sixty years after WWII, could happen. But even in Israel itself non-Jewish citizens are victims of daily discrimination by a 'Jewish' state.


Israeli Arab couple petitions High Court after residency denied
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent
An Israeli Arab couple petitioned the High Court of Justice this week, asking it to issue a temporary injunction that would allow them to live in the predominately Jewish town of Rakefet.
The couple, residents of Sakhnin, said they were denied residency in the town because they are Arab, but say that local authorities in Rakefet and officials at the Israel Lands Authority found an alternative way to keep them from moving into the town: By stating that according to a "suitability test," the couple are "not fit to live in the town."
The couple is being represented by Adalah, a non-profit organization which fights discrimination against Israeli Arabs. According to the organization, the couple was refused permission to settle in the town because they are Arabs. More here from haaretz

13 Feb 2007

rises like a closed fist

At first sight, environmentalists or conservationists are nice, slightly crazy guys whose main purpose in life is to prevent the disappearance of blue whales or pandas. The common people have more important things to think about, for instance how to get their daily bread. […] However, there are in Peru a very large number of people who are environmentalists […] they might reply, ‘ecologist your mother’, or words to that effect. […] Are not the town of Ilo and the surrounding villages which are being polluted by the Southern Peru Copper Corporation truly environmentalist? Is not the village of Tambo Grande in Pirura environmentalist when it rises like a closed fist and is ready to die in order to prevent strip-mining in its valley? Also, the people of the Mantaro Valley who saw their little sheep die, because of the smoke and waste from La Oroya smelter. (Hugo Blanco quoted in Guha and Martinez-Alier 1997: 24)

Ramachandra Guha and Juan Martinez-Alier, Varieties of Environmentalism. (Earthscan, 1997)

Loved this and used it in my book Babylon and beyond...ecology is about liberation or at least it should be.

Art for Art's sake/politics for profit

Well very busy with work and politics but took some time out to go to the Tate Modern (with my long suffering beautiful partner Sarah Farrow 'a goddess I am not worthy of' ((she dictates most of these blogs...well all the bits about communism and drug taking), great fun because we saw Gilbert and George being interviewed for TV. Art is essential political stimulation (well this sounds narrow and instrumental..but thinking about a different way of being to save the planet and liberate us, needs a bit of art).

Impressed by 'United Enemies', from Thomas Schütte, (details here)some nasty waxy looking heads representing the corrupt politicians of the different political parties in Italy in the post war period. Socialist, Christian Democrats and Liberals were all on the take, party politics provided the rent, the pension and the rest.

Sadly politics is 99% about egos, personal advance and a bit of spare cash....Robert Michels called it the 'iron law of oligarchy...this is what the wiki oracle says:

Leaders also have control over very powerful negative and positive sanctions to promote the behavior that they desire. They have the power to grant or deny raises, assign workloadMost important, they tend to promote junior officials who share their opinions, with the result that the oligarchy becomes self-perpetuating. Therefore the very nature of large-scale organization makes oligarchy within these organizations inevitable. Bureaucracy, by design, promotes the centralization of power in the hands of those at the top of the organization. [4]s, fire, demote and — that most gratifying of all sanctions — the power to promote.

More from wiki here on the iron law.

Leaders and elected officials work for pay and power because they feel they are worth it!

Corruption follows....the law may not be absolutely absolute but unless it is acknowledged any institution is likely to be sucked in, these things start small but end up all too visible.

Great fun to update, watching Newsnight with reports on MPs travel expenses...chris Huhne Lib dem envi guy described on channel 4 politics awards, last week, as an 'eco warrior' by Lembit Opik (checky fame) has clocked up £1,000s on his car travel.

Shocking but let us as greens beware the same slide...a bit of pension help, a bit of justification for our good works but where will it stop.

Modesty, please! Especially all those who aspire to lead.

This entry took me 20 minutes...now how much do I get an hour?

No to animal experiments

Jean Lambert MEP commented: “Europe's 'animal testing' legislation - Directive 86/609 – is desperately out of date. Animal Experimentation is cruel, unnecessary and whilst the public vote with their feet increasingly making a conscious decision to buy products and brands against testing on animals, clearly flies in the face of public opinion.

“We have previously called for a complete and permanent ban on the testing and sale of cosmetics and medicines tested on animals and will once again remind the EU Commission of this demand urging them to bring this, and other animal protection policies, into modern legislation.”

I was pleased to see this from Jean Lamber. Pharmaceutical companies replicate similar drugs and are driven not by care for humanity but cash. We need to be sceptical of how they develop and market drugs. More here from Jean
Reading about David Cameron's days of dope and disco at Eton college this weekend, I found myself wondering whether the Tory leader ever lit up a joint in the old bomb shelter at the bottom of my housemaster's garden where we used to smoke our spliffs. More from Eton here
that's enough dope smoking tories, Dr Wall...lets get on to more serious matters.

11 Feb 2007

The ecology of Destruction

At the end of Pontecorvo’s film José Dolores is killed, but his revolutionary spirit lives on. The strategy of destroying nature to enslave humanity, we are led to believe, will not work forever. Today Latin America is reawakening to the revolutionary spirit of Bolivar and Che—a spirit that has never perished. But we now know—what was seldom understood before—that a revolutionary transformation of society must also be a revolutionary restoration of our metabolic relation to nature: equality and sustainability must coevolve if either is to emerge triumphant. And if we are to survive.

I haven't seen this film (Burn!) yet, may be this week.

Excellent stuff from one of the most important political ecologists on the planet, the editor of Monthly Review, Profesor John Bellamy Foster,

Marx's ecology (the Marxists after him didn't keep up Karl's interest!), Chavez, climate change and Latin American themed film (starring Marlon Brando), John Bellamy Foster hits all the spots.

please subscribe or get your institution to buy Monthly Review. which is his journal

The rest of the Ecology of Destruction is pasted beneath:

The Ecology of Destruction
by John Bellamy Foster

‘No Radical Change in the Model’
by John Bellamy Foster

This article is based on talks delivered in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil on November 21–23, 2006, at the Regional University of Blumenau and the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianópolis. These presentations were part of the third annual Bolivarian Days Conference organized by the Institute of Latin American Studies in Brazil.

I would like to begin my analysis of what I am calling here “the ecology of destruction” by referring to Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1969 film Burn!.1 Pontecorvo’s epic film can be seen as a political and ecological allegory intended for our time. It is set in the early nineteenth century on an imaginary Caribbean island called “Burn.” Burn is a Portuguese slave colony with a sugar production monoculture dependent on the export of sugar as a cash crop to the world economy. In the opening scene we are informed that the island got its name from the fact that the only way that the original Portuguese colonizers were able to vanquish the indigenous population was by setting fire to the entire island and killing everyone on it, after which slaves were imported from Africa to cut the newly planted sugar cane.

Sir William Walker (played by Marlon Brando) is a nineteenth-century British agent sent to overthrow the Portuguese rulers of the island. He instigates a revolt amongst the numerous black slaves, and at the same time arranges an uprising by the small white colonial planter class seeking independence from the Portuguese crown. The goal is to use the slave revolt to defeat Portugal, but to turn actual rule of the island over to the white planter class, which will then serve as a comprador class subservient to British imperialists.

Walker succeeds brilliantly at his task, convincing the victorious army of former slaves and their leader José Dolores to lay down their arms after the Portuguese have been defeated. The result is a neocolony dominated by the white planters—but one in which the de facto rulers, in accordance with the laws of international free trade, are the British sugar companies. Walker then departs to carry out other intelligence tasks for the British admiralty—this time in a place called Indochina.

When the film resumes in 1848 ten years have passed. A revolution has again broken out on Burn led by José Dolores. Sir William Walker is brought back from England as a military advisor, but this time as an employee of the Antilles Royal Sugar Company, authorized by Her Majesty’s government. His task is to defeat this new rebellion of the former slaves. He is told by the oligarchy ruling the island that this should not be difficult since only ten years have passed and the situation is the same. He replies that the situation may be the same but the problem is different. In words that seem to echo Karl Marx he declares: “Very often between one historical period and another, ten years suddenly might be enough to reveal the contradictions of a whole century.”

British troops are brought in to fight the insurgents, who are waging a relentless guerrilla war. To defeat them Walker orders the burning down of all the plantations on the island. When the local representative of the British sugar interests objects, Walker explains: “That is the logic of profit....One builds to make money and to go on making it or to make more sometimes it is necessary to destroy.” This, he reminds his interlocutor, is how the island Burn got its name. Nature on the island has to be destroyed so that labor can be exploited on it for hundreds of additional years.

My intention here is not of course to recount Pontecorvo’s entire extraordinary film, but to draw out some important principles from this allegory that will help us to understand capitalism’s relation to nature. Joseph Schumpeter once famously praised capitalism for its “creative destruction.”2 But this might be better seen as the system’s destructive creativity. Capital’s endless pursuit of new outlets for class-based accumulation requires for its continuation the destruction of both pre-existing natural conditions and previous social relations. Class exploitation, imperialism, war, and ecological devastation are not mere unrelated accidents of history but interrelated, intrinsic features of capitalist development. There has always been the danger, moreover, that this destructive creativity would turn into what István Mészáros has called the “destructive uncontrollability” that is capital’s ultimate destiny. The destruction built into the logic of profit would then take over and predominate, undermining not only the conditions of production but also those of life itself. Today it is clear that such destructive uncontrollability has come to characterize the entire capitalist world economy, encompassing the planet as a whole.3

The Earth Summits: 1992 and 2002

It is a characteristic of our age that global ecological devastation seems to overwhelm all other problems, threatening the survivability of life on earth as we know it. How this is related to social causes and what social solutions might be offered in response have thus become the most pressing questions facing humanity. The world has so far convened two major earth summits: in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992 and Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002. These summits took place a mere ten years apart. Yet, they can be seen as lying in the dividing line separating one historical period from another, revealing the contradictions of an entire century—the twenty-first.

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, organized by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, represented the boundless hope that humanity could come together to solve its mounting global ecological problems. The late 1980s and early 1990s were a period in which the global ecological crisis penetrated the public consciousness. Suddenly there were grave concerns about the destruction of the ozone layer, global warming, and the rising rate of species extinctions resulting from planetary destruction of ecosystems. In June 1988 James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, presenting evidence of global warming due to the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That same year the United Nations set up a new international organization, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to address global warming.

A new ideology of world unity pervaded the Rio summit. The Gulf War of 1991 and the demise of the Soviet Union later in the same year had given rise to the then dominant rhetoric of a “new world order” and of “the end of history.” The world, it was said, was now one. The recent passage of the Montreal Protocol, placing restrictions on the production of ozone-depleting chemicals, seemed to confirm that the world’s economically dominant countries could act in unison in response to global environmental threats. The site chosen for the Earth Summit, Brazil, home to the Amazon, was meant to symbolize the planetary goal of saving the world’s biodiversity. The summit’s principal document, known as Agenda 21, was intended to launch a new age of sustainable development for the twenty-first century.

The mood of the second earth summit, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, could not have been more different than the first. Rio’s hope had given way to Johannesburg’s dismay. Rather than improving over the decade that had elapsed, the world environment had experienced accelerated decline. The planet was approaching catastrophic conditions, not just with respect to global warming, but in a host of other areas. Sustainable development had turned out to be about sustaining capital accumulation at virtually any ecological cost. All the rhetoric ten years earlier of a “new world order” and the “end of history”—it was now clear to many of the environmentalists attending the Johannesburg summit—had simply disguised the fact that the real nemesis of the global environment was the capitalist world economy.

The site of the Johannesburg summit had been chosen partly to symbolize the end of apartheid, and hence the advent of significant world social progress. Yet, critics at the second earth summit raised the issue of global ecological apartheid, emphasizing the destruction wrought on the environment by the rich nations of the North in ways that disproportionately affected the global South. The ecological imperialism of the center of the capitalist world economy was symbolized by Washington’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gas emissions generating global warming. Significantly, U.S. President George W. Bush declined to attend the earth summit. Instead, at the very moment that debates were taking place in Johannesburg on the future of the world ecology, the Bush administration seized the world’s stage by threatening a war on Iraq, ostensibly over weapons of mass destruction—though to the world’s environmentalists assembled in Johannesburg it was clear even then that the real issue was oil.4

In fact, a new historical period had emerged in the ten years since the Rio summit. Economically, the world had witnessed what Paul Sweezy in 1994 called “the triumph of financial capitalism” with the transformation of monopoly capital into what might be called global monopoly-finance capital.5 By the end of the twentieth century capitalism had evolved into a system that was if anything more geared to rapacious accumulation than ever before, relatively independent from its local and national roots. Global financial expansion was occurring on top of a world economy that was stagnating at the level of production, creating a more unstable and more viciously inegalitarian order, dominated by neoliberal economics and financial bubbles. Declining U.S. hegemony in the world system, coupled with the demise of the Soviet Union, induced repeated and increasingly naked U.S. attempts to restore its economic and political power by military means.

Meanwhile, global warming and other crucial environmental problems had crossed critical thresholds. The question was no longer whether ecological and social catastrophes awaited but how great these would be. For those (including myself) in Johannesburg in 2002, watching the U.S. president prepare for war in the petroleum-rich Persian Gulf while the planet was heating up from the burning of fossil fuels, the whole world seemed on fire.

The Destruction of the Planet

In the almost five years that have elapsed since the second earth summit it has become increasingly difficult to separate the class and imperial war inherent to capitalism from war on the planet itself. At a time when the United States is battling for imperial control of the richest oil region on earth, the ecology of the planet is experiencing rapid deterioration, marked most dramatically by global warming. Meanwhile, neoliberal economic restructuring emanating from the new regime of monopoly-finance capital is not only undermining the economic welfare of much of humanity, but in some regions is removing such basic ecological conditions of human existence as access to clean air, drinkable water, and adequate food. Ecologists who once warned of the possibility of future apocalypse now insist that global disaster is on our doorstep.

Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, declared in his article “The Debate is Over” in the November 17, 2005, issue of Rolling Stone magazine that we are now entering the “Oh Shit” era of global warming. At first, he wrote, there was the “I wonder what will happen?” era. Then there was the “Can this really be true?” era. Now we are in the Oh Shit era. We now know that it is too late to avert global disaster entirely. All we can do is limit its scope and intensity. Much of the uncertainty has to do with the fact that “the world...has some trapdoors—mechanisms that don’t work in straightforward fashion, but instead trigger a nasty chain reaction.”6

In his book, The Revenge of Gaia, influential scientist James Lovelock, best known as the originator of the Gaia hypothesis, has issued a grim assessment of the earth’s prospects based on such sudden chain reactions.7 Voicing the concerns of numerous scientists, Lovelock highlights a number of positive feedback mechanisms that could—and in his view almost certainly will—amplify the earth warming tendency. The destructive effect of increasing global temperatures on ocean algae and tropical forests (on top of the direct removal of these forests) will, it is feared, reduce the capacity of the oceans and forests to absorb carbon dioxide, raising the global temperature still further. The freeing up and release into the atmosphere of enormous quantities of methane (a greenhouse gas twenty-four times as potent as carbon dioxide) as the permafrost of the arctic tundra thaws due to global warming, constitutes another such vicious spiral. Just as ominous, the reduction of the earth’s reflectivity as melting white ice at the poles is replaced with blue seawater is threatening to ratchet-up global temperatures.8

In Lovelock’s cataclysmic view, the earth has probably already passed the point of no return and temperatures are destined to rise eventually as much as 8° C (14° F) in temperate regions. The human species will survive in some form, he assures us. Nevertheless he points to “an imminent shift in our climate towards one that could easily be described as Hell: so hot, so deadly that only a handful of the teeming billions now alive will survive.”9 He offers as the sole means of partial salvation a massive technical fix: a global program to expand nuclear power facilities throughout the earth as a limited substitute to the carbon-dioxide emitting fossil fuel economy. The thought that such a Faustian bargain would pave its own path to hell seems scarcely to have crossed his mind.

Lovelock’s fears are not easily dismissed. James Hansen, who did so much to bring the issue of global warming to world attention, has recently issued his own warning. In an article entitled “The Threat to the Planet” (New York Review of Books, July 13, 2006), Hansen points out that animal and plant species are migrating throughout the earth in response to global warming—though not fast enough in relation to changes in their environments—and that alpine species are being “pushed off the planet.” We are facing, he contends, the possibility of mass extinctions associated with increasing global temperature comparable to earlier periods in the earth’s history in which 50 to 90 percent of living species were lost.

The greatest immediate threat to humanity from climate change, Hansen argues, is associated with the destabilization of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. A little more than 1° C (1.8° F) separates the climate of today from the warmest interglacial periods in the last half million years when the sea level was as much as sixteen feet higher. Further, increases in temperature this century by around 2.8° C (5° F) under business as usual could lead to a long term rise in sea level by as much as eighty feet, judging by what happened the last time the earth’s temperature rose this high—three million years ago. “We have,” Hansen says, “at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions”—if we are to prevent such disastrous outcomes from becoming inevitable. One crucial decade, in other words, separates us from irreversible changes that could produce a very different world. The contradictions of the entire Holocene—the geological epoch in which human civilization has developed—are suddenly being revealed in our time.10

In the Oh shit era, the debate, McKibben says, is over. There is no longer any doubt that global warming represents a crisis of earth-shaking proportions. Yet, it is absolutely essential to understand that this is only one part of what we call the environmental crisis. The global ecological threat as a whole is made up of a large number of interrelated crises and problems that are confronting us simultaneously. In my 1994 book, The Vulnerable Planet, I started out with a brief litany of some of these, to which others might now be added:

Overpopulation, destruction of the ozone layer, global warming, extinction of species, loss of genetic diversity, acid rain, nuclear contamination, tropical deforestation, the elimination of climax forests, wetland destruction, soil erosion, desertification, floods, famine, the despoliation of lakes, streams, and rivers, the drawing down and contamination of ground water, the pollution of coastal waters and estuaries, the destruction of coral reefs, oil spills, overfishing, expanding landfills, toxic wastes, the poisonous effects of insecticides and herbicides, exposure to hazards on the job, urban congestion, and the depletion of nonrenewable resources.11

The point is that not just global warming but many of these other problems as well can each be seen as constituting a global ecological crisis. Today every major ecosystem on the earth is in decline. Issues of environmental justice are becoming more prominent and pressing everywhere we turn. Underlying this is the fact that the class/imperial war that defines capitalism as a world system, and that governs its system of accumulation, is a juggernaut that knows no limits. In this deadly conflict the natural world is seen as a mere instrument of world social domination. Hence, capital by its very logic imposes what is in effect a scorched earth strategy. The planetary ecological crisis is increasingly all-encompassing, a product of the destructive uncontrollability of a rapidly globalizing capitalist economy, which knows no law other than its own drive to exponential expansion.

Transcending Business as Usual

Most climate scientists, including Lovelock and Hansen, follow the IPCC in basing their main projections of global warming on a socioecnomic scenario described as “business as usual.” The dire trends indicated are predicated on our fundamental economic and technological developments and our basic relation to nature remaining the same. The question we need to ask then is what actually is business as usual? What can be changed and how fast? With time running out the implication is that it is necessary to alter business as usual in radical ways in order to stave off or lessen catastrophe.

Yet, the dominant solutions—those associated with the dominant ideology, i.e., the ideology of the dominant class—emphasize minimal changes in business as usual that will somehow get us off the hook. After being directed to the growing planetary threats of global warming and species extinction we are told that the answer is better gas mileage and better emissions standards, the introduction of hydrogen-powered cars, the capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere, improved conservation, and voluntary cutbacks in consumption. Environmental political scientists specialize in the construction of new environmental policy regimes, embodying state and market regulations. Environmental economists talk of tradable pollution permits and the incorporation of all environmental factors into the market to ensure their efficient use. Some environmental sociologists (my own field) speak of ecological modernization: a whole panoply of green taxes, green regulations, and new green technologies, even the greening of capitalism itself. Futurists describe a new technological world in which the weight of nations on the earth is miraculously lifted as a result of digital “dematerialization” of the economy. In all of these views, however, there is one constant: the fundamental character of business as usual is hardly changed at all.

Indeed, what all such analyses intentionally avoid is the fact that business as usual in our society in any fundamental sense means the capitalist economy—an economy run on the logic of profit and accumulation. Moreover, there is little acknowledgement or even appreciation of the fact that the Hobbesian war of all against all that characterizes capitalism requires for its fulfillment a universal war on nature. In this sense new technology cannot solve the problem since it is inevitably used to further the class war and to increase the scale of the economy, and thus the degradation of the environment. Whenever production dies down or social resistance imposes barriers on the expansion of capital the answer is always to find new ways to exploit/degrade nature more intensively. To quote Pontecorvo’s Burn!, “that is the logic of profit....One builds to make money and to go on making it or to make more sometimes it is necessary to destroy.”

Ironically, this destructive relation of capitalism to the environment was probably understood better in the nineteenth century—at a time when social analysts were acutely aware of the issue of revolutionary changes taking place in the mode of production and how this was transforming the human relation to nature. As a result, environmental sociologists of the more radical stamp in the United States, where the contradiction between economy and ecology nowadays is especially acute, draw heavily on three interrelated ideas derived from Marx and the critique of capitalist political economy dating back to the nineteenth century: (1) the treadmill of production, (2) the second contradiction of capitalism, and (3) the metabolic rift.

The first of these, the treadmill of production, describes capitalism as an unstoppable, accelerating treadmill that constantly increases the scale of the throughput of energy and raw materials as part of its quest for profit and accumulation, thereby pressing on the earth’s absorptive capacity. “Accumulate, Accumulate!” Marx wrote, “that is Moses and the prophets!” for capital.12

The second of these notions, the second contradiction of capitalism, is the idea that capitalism, in addition to its primary economic contradiction stemming from class inequalities in production and distribution, also undermines the human and natural conditions (i.e, environmental conditions) of production on which its economic advancement ultimately rests. For example, by systematically removing forests we lay the grounds for increasing scarcities in this area—the more so to the extent that globalization makes this contradiction universal. This heightens the overall cost of economic development and creates an economic crisis for capitalism based on supply-side constraints on production.13

The third notion, the metabolic rift, suggests that the logic of capital accumulation inexorably creates a rift in the metabolism between society and nature, severing basic processes of natural reproduction. This raises the issue of the ecological sustainability—not simply in relation to the scale of the economy, but also even more importantly in the form and intensity of the interaction between nature and society under capitalism.14

I shall concentrate on the third of these notions, the metabolic rift, since this is the most complex of these three socio-ecological concepts, and the one that has been the focus of my own research in this area, particularly in my book Marx’s Ecology. Marx was greatly influenced by the work of the leading agricultural chemist of his time, Justus von Liebig. Liebig had developed an analysis of the ecological contradictions of industrialized capitalist agriculture. He argued that such industrialized agriculture, as present in its most developed form in England in the nineteenth century, was a robbery system, depleting the soil. Food and fiber were transported hundreds—even in some cases thousands—of miles from the country to the city. This meant that essential soil nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, were transported as well. Rather than being returned to the soil these essential nutrients ended up polluting the cities, for example, in the degradation of the Thames in London. The natural conditions for the reproduction of the soil were thus destroyed.

To compensate for the resulting decline in soil fertility the British raided the Napoleonic battlefields and the catacombs of Europe for bones with which to fertilize the soil of the English countryside. They also resorted to the importation of guano on a vast scale from the islands off the coast of Peru, followed by the importation of Chilean nitrates (after the War of the Pacific in which Chile seized parts of Peru and Bolivia rich in guano and nitrates). The United States sent out ships throughout the oceans searching for guano, and ended up seizing ninety-four islands, rocks, and keys between the passage of the 1856 Guano Islands Act and 1903, sixty-six of which were officially recognized as U.S. appurtenances and nine of which remain U.S. possessions today.15 This reflected a great crisis of capitalist agriculture in the nineteenth century that was only solved in part with the development of synthetic fertilizer nitrogen early in the twentieth century—and which led eventually to the overuse of fertilizer nitrogen, itself a major environmental problem.

In reflecting on this crisis of capitalist agriculture, Marx adopted the concept of metabolism, which had been introduced by nineteenth-century biologists and chemists, including Liebig, and applied it to socio-ecological relations. All life is based on metabolic processes between organisms and their environment. Organisms carry out an exchange of energy and matter with their environment, which are integrated with their own internal life processes. It is not a stretch to think of the nest of a bird as part of the bird’s metabolic process. Marx explicitly defined the labor process as the “metabolic interaction between man and nature.” In terms of the ecological problem he spoke of “an irreparable rift in the interdependent process of social metabolism,” whereby the conditions for the necessary reproduction of the soil were continually severed, breaking the metabolic cycle. “Capitalist production,” he wrote, “therefore only develops the techniques and the degree of combination of the social process of production by simultaneously undermining the original sources of all wealth—the soil and the worker.”

Marx saw this rift not simply in national terms but as related to imperialism as well. “England,” he wrote, “has indirectly exported the soil of Ireland, without even allowing its cultivators the means for replacing the constituents of the exhausted soil.”

This principle of metabolic rift obviously has a very wide application and has in fact been applied by environmental sociologists in recent years to problems such as global warming and the ecological degradation of the world’s oceans.16 What is seldom recognized, however, is that Marx went immediately from a conception of the metabolic rift to the necessity of metabolic restoration, arguing that “by destroying the circumstances surrounding that metabolism, which originated in a merely natural and spontaneous fashion, it [capitalist production] compels its systematic restoration as a regulative law of social reproduction.” The reality of the metabolic rift pointed to the necessity of the restoration of nature, through sustainable production.

It is this dialectical understanding of the socio-ecological problem that led Marx to what is perhaps the most radical conception of socio-ecological sustainability ever developed. Thus he wrote in Capital:

From the standpoint of a higher socio-economic formation, the private property of individuals in the earth will appear just as absurd as the private property of one man in other men. Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations, as boni patres familias [good heads of the household].

For Marx, in other words, the present relation of human beings to the earth under private accumulation could be compared to slavery. Just as “private property of one man in other men” is no longer deemed acceptable, so private ownership of the earth/nature by human beings (even whole countries) must be transcended. The human relation to nature must be regulated so to guarantee its existence “in an improved state to succeeding generations.” His reference to the notion of “good heads of the household” hearkened back to the ancient Greek notion of household or oikos from which we get both “economy” (from oikonomia, or household management) and “ecology “(from oikologia or household study). Marx pointed to the necessity of a more radical, sustainable relation of human beings to production in accord with what we would now view as ecological rather than merely economic notions. “Freedom, in this sphere,” the realm of natural necessity, he insisted, “can consist only in this, that socialized man, the associated producers, govern the human metabolism with nature in a rational way, bringing it under their collective control...accomplishing it with the least expenditure of energy.”17

The destructive uncontrollability of capitalism, emanating from its dual character as a system of class/imperial exploitation and of enslaver/destroyer of the earth itself, was thus well understood by Marx. With regard to the film, Burn!, we saw how the exploitation of human beings was tied to the destruction of the earth. Relations of domination changed but the answer remained the same: to burn the island as a means of winning the class/imperial war. Today a few hundred people taken together own more wealth than the income of billions of the world’s population. To maintain this system of global inequality a global system of repression has been developed and is constantly put in motion. And along with it vast new systems of destructive exploitation of the earth, such as modern agribusiness, have evolved.

Social Revolution and Metabolic Restoration

Pontecorvo’s film Burn! about revolution in the Caribbean reaches its climax in the year 1848, a revolutionary year in real-world history. In 1848 Marx famously observed in his speech on free trade: “You believe perhaps, gentlemen, that the production of coffee and sugar is the natural destiny of the West Indies. Two centuries ago, nature, which does not trouble herself about commerce, had planted neither sugar cane nor coffee trees there.”18 Much of what we take as natural is the product of capitalism. Indeed, we are brought up believing that capitalist market relations are more natural, more incontrovertible, than anything within nature. It is this way of thinking that we have to break with if we are to restore our relation to the earth: if we are to invert the metabolic rift. The only answer to the ecology of destruction of capitalism is to revolutionize our productive relations in ways that allow for a metabolic restoration. But this will require a break with capitalism’s own system of “socio-metabolic reproduction,” i.e. the logic of profit.19

What such a revolutionary break with today’s business as usual offers is of course no guarantee but the mere possibility of social and ecological transformation through the creation of a sustainable, egalitarian (and socialist) society. Lovelock’s “revenge of Gaia”—what Frederick Engels, in the nineteenth century called the “revenge” of nature, now writ large on a planetary scale—will not be automatically overcome simply through a rupture with the logic of the existing system.20 Yet, such a rupture remains the necessary first step in any rational attempt to save and advance human civilization. Burn is no longer an island; it stands for the entire world, which is heating up before our eyes.

At the end of Pontecorvo’s film José Dolores is killed, but his revolutionary spirit lives on. The strategy of destroying nature to enslave humanity, we are led to believe, will not work forever. Today Latin America is reawakening to the revolutionary spirit of Bolivar and Che—a spirit that has never perished. But we now know—what was seldom understood before—that a revolutionary transformation of society must also be a revolutionary restoration of our metabolic relation to nature: equality and sustainability must coevolve if either is to emerge triumphant. And if we are to survive.


1. The late Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo (1919–2006) was a Marxist and anti-imperialist, most famous as the director of the classic film of revolutionary insurgency, The Battle of Algiers (1966). Burn! was made in response to Vietnam and intended as an allegory on the war—but one that extended to a critique of capitalism itself.
2. Joseph Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper and Row, 1942), 81–86.
3. István Mészáros, Socialism or Barbarism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2001), 61.
4. For a more detailed analysis of the two earth summits see John Bellamy Foster, “The Failure of Global Environmental Reform,” Monthly Review 54, no. 8 (January 2003), 1–9.
5. Paul M. Sweezy, “The Triumph of Financial Capital,” Monthly Review, 46, no. 2 (June 1994), 1–11; John Bellamy Foster, “Monopoly-Finance Capital,” Monthly Review 58, no. 7 (December 2006), 14.
6. Bill McKibben, “The Debate is Over,” Rolling Stone, November 17, 2005, 79–82.
7. The quasi-religious Gaia hypothesis, which claimed that life on earth always keeps the surface conditions of the planet favorable to the ensemble of organisms, conflicted with Darwinian evolution, and has now been abandoned in its original form by Lovelock himself. It helped inspire, however, the development by numerous scientists of a more holistic earth system science that seeks to understand the earth as a single self-regulating system, in which the biosphere and the geosphere constitute one dialectical unity. Lovelock now adheres to what he calls the “Gaia theory,” which conforms to the basic tenets of earth system science, but nonetheless clings teleologically to the idea that the “goal” of the continual reproduction of conditions favorable to the ensemble of life is somehow an “emergent” property of the living earth system. The “revenge of Gaia” is a revenge on civilization, which is threatened as Gaia suddenly flips to a new equilibrium in response to human-induced climate change. See James Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 23–25, 147, 162.
8. Lovelock, Revenge of Gaia, 34–35; John Atcheson, “Ticking Time Bomb,” Baltimore Sun, December 15, 2004.
9. Lovelock, Revenge of Gaia, 55–59, 147; Bill McKibben, “How Close to Catastrophe?,” New York Review of Books, November 16, 2006, 23–25.
10. Jim Hansen, “The Threat to the Planet,” New York Review of Books, July 13, 2006, 12–16; Goddard Institute for Space Studies, “NASA Study Finds World Warmth Edging Ancient Levels,” September 25, 2006, http://www.giss.nasa.gov/.
11. John Bellamy Foster, The Vulnerable Planet (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1994), 11.
12. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (London: Penguin, 1976), 742. The treadmill of production theory emerged in the work of Allan Schnaiberg. See Schnaiberg, The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); John Bellamy Foster, “The Treadmill of Accumulation,” Organization & Environment 18, no. 1 (March 2005), 7–18.
13. The second contradiction theory originated with Marxian political economist James O’Connor. See O’Connor, Natural Causes (New York: Guilford, 1998). For some limitations to this notion see John Bellamy Foster, “Capitalism and Ecology: The Nature of the Contradiction,” Monthly Review 54, no. 4 (September 2002), 6–16.
14. Marx’s theory of metabolic rift is discussed in detail in John Bellamy Foster, Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000). See also Paul Burkett, Marxism and Ecological Economics (Boston: Brill, 2006), 204–07, 292–93.
15. Jimmy M. Skaggs, The Great Guano Rush (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994).
16. Brett Clark & Richard York, “Carbon Metabolism: Global Capitalism, Climate Change, and the Biospheric Rift,” Theory and Society 34, no. 4 (2005), 391–428; Rebecca Clausen and Brett Clark, “The Metabolic Rift and Marine Ecology: An Analysis of the Oceanic Crisis within Capitalist Production,” Organization & Environment 18, no. 4 (2005), 422–44.
17. Marx, Capital, vol. 1, 283, 290, 636–39, 860; Marx, Capital, vol. 3 (London: Penguin, 1981), 911, 959.
18. Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (New York: International Publishers, 1973), 223.
19. The analysis of capital as a system of “socio-metabolic reproduction” is developed in István Mészáros, Beyond Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1995), 39–71.
20. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works (New York: International Publishers, 1975), vol. 25, 460–61.

Green Party Principal Speaker's shocking drugs admission

Dr Derek Wall, 41, has admitted after huge public pressure, to his closest collegues in the Green Left 'that I didn't take drugs at school'.

Dr Wall who was elected Principal Speaker in 2006 after a 26 year career in the party was forced into this embarrassing admission that could cost him dear in any future contest for the top joint post in the Party, after pressure from prominent Party members and the press.

Shane Collins
the Green Party drugs czar, who coordinates the politically powerful Party Drugs Working Group refused to comment on Dr Wall's plight.

Dr Wall remains defiant, 'The fact that I didn't smoke cannabis at my school Corsham comprehensive in Wiltshire 1977-1983, does not mean that I am not fit to be Principal Speaker. Many other prominent party members [Dr Wall refused to name them] failed to take drugs at school, it doesn't mean that you can't represent the party. Frankly I don't think the public care. I do think it is hurtful to have my record compared with that of Conservative leader David Cameron, his childhood unlike mine was one of priviledge, things that were normal at Eton, were distant to those of us in state education in towns north of Melksham.'

Critics have argued that Dr Wall has not been doing enough to spell out Party policies such as the decriminalisation in the face of David Cameron's latest policy moves.

He insisted his position was secured but promised to revise his priorities,'I will work more closely with the Drugs group in the Party, it's an important policy area and we can't leave all the work to David Cameron and his shadow Cabinet. The Lib Dems and even some Labour MPs are trying to cherry pick our most popular policies. A green future though requires real committment and practical action, this is only possible with a real green party.'

10 Feb 2007

Cameron on cannabis?

I had a chat with David Davies at the channel 4 politics awards but I didn't think it would result in this, David Cameron efforts to out flank us on difficult policy continue.

I really thought I had them on Sea Shepherd but the suggestion that David smoked cannabis at school is a new frontier, I only went to a comprehensive and they were too cheap skate to give us cannabis... only at Eton I guess, so I can't honestly compete on this one.

shocking more here

What next is the shadow cabinet going to head for Radley lakes spliff in hand or appear with Paul Watson disrupting the whalers (I would keep a clear head for this chaps and chapesses...you might fall off and have to be rescued from the icy waters or get eaten by giant squid).

More seriously, sad to say the conservatives on Oxfordshire County Council rejected plans to save the radley lakes...

For our decriminalising policies see below. (note cannabis cafes are out because of no smoking in public places)

Short Term Policies

* Re-legalise cannabis without further delay. Dutch 'coffee shops' or ‘pot pubs’ system to be permitted.
* In the short term recreational drugs, such as speed and ecstasy, would be decriminalised.
* No advertising or sponsorship for any drug (alcohol, tobacco or any other).
* Treat heroin addiction as a health issue and not a crime problem.
* We would ensure immediate funding for research into Ibogaine and its ability to interrupt opiate addiction without the withdrawal effects.
* We would also repeal Public Entertainment (Drugs Misuse) Act (the Barry Legg Act) which has held Back to news harm reduction in clubs.

Medium Term Policies

* In the medium term we aim to take the drug trade out of criminal control and made available in a legal environment. The supply and profits of drug use should not remain in criminal hands. The details of how this system should be regulated and licenced will be decided by a Royal Commission, but the supply and profits of drug use should not remain in criminal hands.

* Prohibition does not reduce cannabis use by young people. A study of use of cannabis by 15 year olds= shows that in Holland, 29% have used it. Yet in the UK, 41% of 15 year olds have used cannabis. (Source: Dutch Institute of Health and Addiction, Council of Europe ESPAD Report, 1995 [Last available year.])


George Bush should resist a Wagnerian exit from the White House.

“WE ARE not planning for a war with Iran.” So said Robert Gates, America's new defence secretary, on February 2nd. You cannot be much clearer than that. With a weak and isolated president, and an army bogged down in the misery of Iraq, the American Congress and people are hardly in fighting mood. Nonetheless, and despite Mr Gates's calming words, Iran and America are heading for a collision. Although the risk is hard to quantify, there exists a real possibility that George Bush will order a military strike on Iran some time before he leaves the White House two years from now.

Here we go again, the build up is like the build up to the invasion of Iraq, wmds, wmds, wmds...oops disaster....600,000 dead and counting in Iraq, rapture here we come in Persia.

Even the Economist (see above)who supported the invasion of Iraq over WDMs, is resisting this war, we must make it politically too costly for the US to attack Iran.

this is from Jo Abbess...

dear fellow human,

i am writing to ask you to do all that
you can to save iran from air attack :-


i know you want to save your family
and friends from terror.

stop the war : start the peace :-


24 february 2007 : hyde park, london.
all day and into the night...

maybe later air attacks will be made
illegal. for now, we have to protest.

please pass this message on.

one. we're all one.


Paul Watson defends Sea Shepherd against the japanese whalers

Canada cancelled the registration of the Farley Mowat in August 2006. Registration under the Belize Flag was cancelled after only 10 days in December 2006, after Japan had requested the ship be deregistered. The British Government has said the registration of the Robert Hunter will expire on the 18th February, after a request by Japan based on the use of the ship. This makes both Sea Shepherd vessels effectively "pirate ships" with no state registration. An irony considering that both vessels purport to be upholding international law and treaties to which no State has been willing to also enforce other than through ineffective diplomatic approaches.

"We haven't broken any law or regulation, but now we're not registered anywhere -- we're technically a pirate ship without a flag," said Captain Paul Watson from the Farley Mowat. "It means that we could be attacked and confiscated at will by any nation including the Japanese," he said.

More here from the good Captain

9 Feb 2007

Radley Lake ecosquatters evicted

I was sad to hear this

green politics is served by direct action against the forces of destruction, I am so sad, protesters protest and often lose a battle but their efforts must be cheered on by all of us who simply want a future for our children.

A rather scary women with Brian Haw at the politics awards (ch 4) told me that his demand for peace was 'not revolutionery', I told her that sadly all the common sense/decent demands for enough to eat and a future for our planet, the non killing of kids were 'revolutionery'

She ticked me off, quite annoyed and walked off happy she had won the argument.

I persist, the revolutionery eco protesters just want to save some lakes but hey despite everyone apparently saying how green they are, the real greens get busted by the cops once again!

Well in the spirit of Captain Paul Watson....lets all keep on keeping on.

Any way FCUK npower, change your contract, tell them why and keep resisting ...may be just may be the lakes can still be saved.

Derek Wall condemns Uk government on anti-whaling register

Dr. Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker, today criticised the UK government for 'bowing to Japan's economic muscle', in refusing to register various ships belonging to the anti-whaling and conservation group Sea Shepherd.

Dr. Wall said: "The Green Party has learnt that in December of last year, whilst Sea Shepherd were seeking to register the ship Farlay Mowat with the UK, Japan contacted our Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who in turn spoke with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, seeking to prevent the ship taking the UK flag.

"As a result, the ships application was rejected.

"Whatever the merits of the situation, the MCA should be acting independently.

"Despite the international ban on commercial whale hunting, Japanese crews are on a mission to kill about 850 minke whales and 10 fin whales, claiming this is for scientific research.

"But this is simply a tactic to circumvent the regulations, and amounts to commercial whaling in all but name. Operation Leviathan, from Sea-Shepherd, seeks to stop the Japanese whaling fleets’ illegal slaughter.

"Whaling is a premeditated, deliberate and unnecessary cause of animal suffering. It is not justified even if supposedly undertaken as 'scientific research' or 'subsistence hunting' rather than for commercial profit.

The Green Party condemns those governments who seek, through the International Whaling Commission and otherwise, to continue whaling. We call on all governments to outlaw whaling. The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all lethal and harmful commercial utilisation of cetaceans. This includes all whaling, so called scientific whaling and any whaling conducted under the cover-all of 'aboriginal subsistence whaling.

Dr. Wall continued: "The Green Party opposes any move to end the current moratorium on commercial whaling. We call on all nations to declare the waters under their control havens from whaling, to provide sanctuary throughout those waters for cetaceans, and to co- operate in achieving global sanctuary for cetaceans in the longer term.


For further information please contact the Press Office

Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

8 Feb 2007

Lets make Brian Haw our new prime minister

Lets make Brian Haw our new prime minister, I know he is a bit religious and has met David Icke (mad,bad..uninteresting to know) but we need some ethical leadership which is not going to come from any New Labourite least of all Gordon Brown.

I wrote the above a few weeks ago. I

A few weeks later, go into a fight with him over the megaphone at the demonstration during the parliamentary vote on Iraq. With Brian telling me 'don't fuck about..get on with it', I in reply suggested to Brian politely that I rarely 'fuck about, I like to think about what I am going to shout through the megaphone before I shout it.

It all came out a bit ranty with Brian urging me on!

Any way everyone seems to know the news that he won the Channel 4 political award, we went along last night to the awards which will be shown on saturday at 7pm.

Even managed to get a seat, Chris Bryant MP didn't turn up so I borrowed his place. Nice to discuss Chavez with John Snow, talk about green snp possibilities with various Scottish political figures and discuss the heritage of Islam with David Davies!

I also quizzed Austin Mitchell about monetary reform, he is a supporter but I think I alarmed him with the discussion!

Guido Fawkes was very civil to us Greens, indeed everybody seems to be taken us a tiny bit more seriously which is good.

The night was one where the parliamentary road lost to the ranty direct action voice of dissent.

Brian made an excellent speech against genocidal war.

Would be nice to see Tony Greenstein (despite the green socialist voting splitting) or Mumia Abu-Jamal up for these awards but hey it's not going to happen, in this country that had an incomplete transition from feudalism..

7 Feb 2007

Mourides: literally liberal Islam

Like so many Senegalese migrants (some of whom drive taxis in New York or pick lemons in Spain), those Roman peddlers belong to a dynamic Sufi Muslim movement called the Mourides. They are followers of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, a religious leader who died in 1927. Inspired by his teaching, they have made an ingenious response to the advent of global markets in goods and labour.

Most of Senegal's 11m people are Muslims, and they usually belong to one or other of two big movements, the Mourides or the older Tidjanes. Bamba described the teaching now known as Mouridism as a return to Islam's roots. But his Islam has little in common with the more austere variety propagated from Saudi Arabia. For one thing, Mouridism has a cult of saints and shrines—including the tomb of its founder—which devout Saudis would reject. But the self-sufficient Mourides don't care; they raise money for their favourite causes and build their own mosques with no need of Saudi cash.

This is from Europe's Senegal connection
Faith in the market

From The Economist print edition

I guess its assumed I only read Marx and Jonathon Porritt but this is far from true, you have to be open to everything (incidentally the early Porritt had his moments, less so today), so yes I am a keen Economist reader. Very nice to get witty, well argued, interesting and relevent material, from those you disagree with.

The Economist with some exceptions such as the war in Iraq, combine free market philosophy with the traditional liberal belief in libertarian choice, when it comes to many issues from the death penalty to cannabis and beyond their views are pretty similar to the Green Party and much of the left.

Like the Economist I am a fan of the Sufis and acknowledge the civilisation which is Islam, so I was interested to read this on the Mourides, who according to the Economist are literal market liberal Muslims, reliant, enterprising traders.

Free movement of people by the way is a liberal value rejected by New Labour governments keen on free trade globalisation.

I don't know whether there is more to the story of the Mourides, some of whom are in Italy selling umbrellas? I would love to know.

The usual Islamphobia continues in Britain, with daily scare stories.

Where does the worst most intolerant Islam come from, not from your neighbour in Bradford who is likely to be a sufi but from religious schools in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis who are close to Blair, are armed by our government...our allies.