30 Nov 2007

The Great Green Leader Vote


Here in the 'bat cave', its an anxious day, will the Green Party members vote to get rid of the post of Principal Speaker and wanting a bit more chavismo or chavisma in the Party replace it with 'El Jefe' or 'La Jefa'?

Well I am a bit self interested here....but I think it is easy to garner support for a proposal which, to my mind, is 'simple, neat and wrong' any way its up to the Party members, so I will see what they decide today. My party right or wrong as they say.

However, you know you must be doing something right if there is a whole Guardian leader calling for the abolition of your position. 'Is it cos I is left' one has to wonder.

However come what may I will keep on speaking out for radical green politics, I think given the choice of being leader and spending more time with my vegetables, its going to be quality time with the carrots and onions. I think a leader would confuse the PR role which I like, with the having responsibility for everything in the party which is bad enough for the much put upon Party chair Richard Mallender who funnily enough has the title of party leader. A poisoned chalice indeed and one that would keep anyone too busy for it to be comfortable, I would have thought.

On the leader debate have a look at my thoughts here may be.

Any way Jonathon Porritt and 'Jenny' Kemp argue the toss here in the BBC here:



"It is not enough, apparently, to have to transform the entire world so we can all learn to live sustainably, they also want to take on the challenge of transforming the media.

"I think setting out to transform the way the media does work is just completely stupid. To take an idealistic view that says we are not going to play the media game, is like writing your own political suicide note."

But Jenny Kemp argues playing the media game - and having a single leader - is not just wrong in principle, but likely to backfire in practice.


It seems to me it's not about image, it's about the political process, how we change politically to the sort of society we want
Jenny Kemp
Former Green Party chairwoman

She points to the recent fate of the former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.

"The media obsessed with his age and with the colour of his socks - and not with the policies of the Liberal Democrats.

"It seems to me it's not about image, it's about the political process, how we change politically to the sort of society we want."

29 Nov 2007

CIA plan attack on Venezuela during referendum



Operation Tenaza is a very alarming plan that aims to destabilize
Venezuela and overthrow (again) its legitimate and democratic (and very
popularly support) president. The plan will fail, primarily because it has
been discovered, but it must be denounced around the world as an
unacceptable violation of Venezuela's sovereignty.


US foreign policy involves psyops....all the secret stuff to destablise opponents, well described in fiction by 'A Very British Coup', well know from many examples, may be it stretchs to splitting left parties and movements in the UK, haven't got the evidence and the left seems quite good at splitting on own but Britain is runway uno for the US military, a useful military base....so keeping domestic opposition divided would be useful.

Also strong link between the Atlanticist Social Democrat Party and right wing old labour from the US

On this area in a British context have a look at 'Notes from the Borderland'

Mullin notes in a Guardian article looking at the possibility of a very British Coup:

In August 1985 the Observer revealed that an MI5 officer, Brigadier Ronnie Stoneham, was to be found in room 105 at Broadcasting House. His job? Stamping upturned Christmas trees on the personnel files of BBC employees he deemed to be unsuitable for promotion. Students of A Very British Coup will know that my head of MI5, Sir Peregrine Craddock, was also vetting BBC employees. What's more, he also had a spy on the general council of CND - and in due course the MI5 defector Cathy Massiter revealed that there had indeed been such a spy. His name was Harry Newton.

Finally, in 1987 Peter Wright, a retired MI5 officer, caused a sensationwith his claim that he and a group of MI5 colleagues had plotted to undermine the Wilson government. Suddenly the possibility that the British establishment might conspire with its friends across the Atlantic to destabilise the elected government could no longer be dismissed as leftwing paranoia.
From here.

I met Eva Gollinger for all of three minutes she wrote the book outlining evidence of US involvement in the 2002 Venezuelan coup 'The Chavez Code'....looks like they have another one planned for next weekend....look out for the media part, a wave of anti-chavista nonsense....those of us alive in the 1970s remember all the Tony Benn media nonsense, could he have been the British Hugo, the CIA would have shot him first and made it look like a moped accident.



CIA Operation "Pliers" Uncovered in Venezuela
November 28th 2007, by Eva Golinger

Image:
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/files/images/2007/11/chvezcnn_portada.jpg


An internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by
Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals
a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to
destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled "OPERATION
PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was
addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is
stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional
Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007,
references the "Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers", and
confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human
Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different
scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming
referendum vote on December 2nd. The Electoral Scenario, as it's phrased,
confirms that the voting tendencies will not change substantially before
Sunday, December 2nd, and that the SI (YES) vote in favor of the
constitutional reform has an advantage of about 10-13 points over the NO
vote. The CIA estimates abstention around 60% and states in the memo that
this voting tendency is irreversible before the elections.

Officer Steere emphasizes the importance and success of the public
relations and propaganda campaign that the CIA has been funding with more
than $8 million during the past month - funds that the CIA confirms are
transfered through the USAID contracted company, Development Alternatives,
Inc., which set up operations in June 2002 to run the USAID Office for
Transition Initiatives that funds and advises opposition NGOs and
political parties in Venezuela. The CIA memo specifically refers to these
propaganda initiatives as "psychological operations" (PSYOPS), that
include contracting polling companies to create fraudulent polls that show
the NO vote with an advantage over the SI vote, which is false. The CIA
also confirms in the memo that it is working with international press
agencies to distort the data and information about the referendum, and
that it coordinates in Venezuela with a team of journalists and media
organized and directed by the President of Globovision, Alberto Federico
Ravell.

CIA Officer Michael Steere recommends to General Michael Hayden two
different strategies to work simultaneously: Impede the referendum and
refuse to recognize the results once the SI vote wins. Though these
strategies appear contradictory, Steere claims that they must be
implemented together precisely to encourage activities that aim toward
impeding the referendum and at the same time prepare the conditions for a
rejection of the results.

How is this to be done?

In the memo, the CIA proposes the following tactics and actions:

* Take the streets and protest with violent, disruptive actions across
the nation
* Generate a climate of ungovernability
* Provoke a general uprising in a substantial part of the population
* Engage in a "plan to implode" the voting centers on election day by
encouraging opposition voters to "VOTE and REMAIN" in their centers to
agitate others
* Start to release data during the early hours of the afternoon on
Sunday that favor the NO vote (in clear violation of election
regulations)
* Coordinate these activities with Ravell & Globovision and
international press agencies
* Coordinate with ex-militar officers and coupsters Pena Esclusa and
Guyon Cellis - this will be done by the Military Attache for Defense
and Army at the US Embassy in Caracas, Office of Defense, Attack and
Operations (DAO)

To encourage rejection of the results, the CIA proposes:

* Creating an acceptance in the public opinion that the NO vote will
win for sure
* Using polling companies contracted by the CIA
* Criticize and discredit the National Elections Council
* Generate a sensation of fraud
* Use a team of experts from the universities that will talk about how
the data from the Electoral Registry has been manipulated and will
build distrust in the voting system

The CIA memo also talks about:

* Isolating Chavez in the international community
* Trying to achieve unity amongst the opposition
* Seek an aliance between those abstentionists and those who will vote
"NO"
* Sustain firmly the propaganda against Chavez
* Execute military actions to support the opposition mobilizations and
propagandistic occupations
* Finalize the operative preparations on the US military bases in
Curacao and Colombia to provide support to actions in Venezuela
* Control a part of the country during the next 72-120 hours
* Encourage a military rebellion inside the National Guard forces and
other components

Those involved in these actions as detailed in the CIA memo are:

* The CIA Office in Venezuela - Office of Regional Affairs, and
Officer Michael Steere
* US Embassy in Venezuela, Ambassador Patrick Duddy
* Office of Defense, Attack and Operations (DAO) at the US Embassy in
Caracas and Military Attache Richard Nazario

Venezuelan Political Parties:

* Comando Nacional de la Resistencia
* Accion Democratica
* Primero Justicia
* Bandera Roja

Media:

* Alberto Federico Ravell & Globovision
* Interamerican Press Society (IAPA) or SIP in Spanish
* International Press Agencies

Venezuelans:

* Pena Esclusa
* Guyon Cellis
* Dean of the Simon Bolivar University, Rudolph Benjamin Podolski
* Dean of the Andres Bello Catholic University, Ugalde
* Students: Yon Goicochea, Juan Mejias, Ronel Gaglio, Gabriel Gallo,
Ricardo Sanchez

Operation Tenaza has the objective of encouraging an armed insurrection in
Venezuela against the government of President Chavez that will justify an
intervention of US forces, stationed on the military bases nearby in
Curacao and Colombia. The Operation mentions two countries in code: as
Blue and Green. These refer to Curacao and Colombia, where the US has
operative, active and equipped bases that have been reinforced over the
past year and a half in anticipation of a conflict with Venezuela.

The document confirms that psychological operations are the CIA's best and
most effective weapon to date against Venezuela, and it will continue its
efforts to influence international public opinion regarding President
Chavez and the situation in the country.



For the full text in Spanish, see:
http://www.aporrea.org/tiburon/n105390.html

28 Nov 2007

the arts, and all things in common

Blake day today and yes he was an ecosocialist, part of our legacy of militants, so there.

Robin Tanner the master etcher, who infact taught in a school in Chippenham, was it Frogwell when John Rees was there, claimed to be an etcher not a painter because it was a socialist art, you could keep making more.

Here from favourite non secular Marxist is the original vision, loving ripped off from the Guardian.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The original political vision: sex, art and transformation


Dissent and emancipation were holy for William Blake. He could teach our prime minister so much about how to be radical

Terry Eagleton
Wednesday November 28, 2007
The Guardian


'Everything as it is, infinite' ... detail from The Good and Evil Angels



One reason Gordon Brown gave for not holding an election was to have time to roll out his vision. It is not a meaning of the word that Britain's greatest revolutionary poet would have recognised; William Blake, born 250 years ago today, had what George Bush Sr called "the vision thing" in the way other people have headaches or fits of laughter. At four he glimpsed God's head at the window, at eight a tree shimmering with angels. For Blake, being a visionary meant seeing beyond a version of politics centred chiefly on parliament. "House of Commons and House of Lords seem to me to be fools," he wrote. "They seem to me to be something other than human life."

Article continues

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Like Brown, Blake grew up in a lower-middle-class Christian milieu. But the culture from which Blake sprang was one of the most precious Britain has produced, in which Jacobin artisans and Republican booksellers rubbed shoulders with Dissenting preachers and occult philosophers; the country was effectively a police state, ridden with spies and hunger rioters. Brown's Britain is not yet a police state, but its technologies of spying and surveillance surpass the wildest dreams of the autocrats of Blake's day. Blake himself was tried for sedition and acquitted, having allegedly cried in public: "Damn the king and his country!" Today whole sectors of the labour movement bow the knee to monarchy, or at least tolerate it as a minor irritant. The history of labour from Blake to Brown is, among other things, how dissent became domesticated.
Blake's politics were not just a matter of wishful thinking, as so many radical schemes are today. Across the Atlantic one great anti-colonial revolution had held out the promise of liberty, and to the poet's delight another had broken out in the streets of Paris. Together they promised to bring an end to the rule of state and church - "the Beast and the Whore", as Blake knew them. Most of our own writers, however, seem to know little of politics beyond the value of individual liberties.

In this, they are faithful to the libertarian lineage of John Milton; but Milton knew rather more about politics than freedom of expression. In his greatest poem, he mourned the paradise that radical Puritans had hoped to witness on earth. As mythologer-in-chief of the English 17th-century revolution, he urged the cutting off of the king's head, and was lucky to escape with his own. It is hard to imagine Craig Raine or Ian McEwan posing a threat to the state.

In his own mighty epic - Milton - Blake turned back to his great Protestant forebear from a Britain now scarred by industrial capitalism. He raided Milton's work to foster his own visions of liberation, passing on the revolutionary torch to WB Yeats. This self-appointed mythmaker to the Irish war of independence was inspired by Blake's notion of the poet as prophet and public activist.

Politics today is largely a question of management and administration. Blake, by contrast, viewed the political as inseparable from art, ethics, sexuality and the imagination. It was about the emancipation of desire, not its manipulation. Desire for him was an infinite delight, and his whole project was to rescue it from the repressive regime of priests and kings. His sense of how sexuality can turn pathological through repression is strikingly close to Freud's. To see the body as it really is, free from illusion and ideology, is to see that its roots run down to eternity. "If the doors of perception were cleansed," he claims, "everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." Political states keep power by convincing us of our limitations.

They do so, too, by persuading us to be "moderate"; Blake, however, was not enamoured of the third way. The New Testament that Gordon Brown reads in his Presbyterian fashion as a model of prudence, conscience and sobriety, Blake read as a hymn to creative recklessness. He sees that Jesus's ethics are extravagant, hostile to the calculative spirit of the utilitarians. If they ask for your coat, give them your cloak; if they ask you to walk one mile, walk two. The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom, and those who restrain their desires do so because their desires are feeble enough to be restrained.

The energy captured in Blake's watercolours and engravings is his riposte to mechanistic thought. In a land of dark Satanic mills, the exuberant uselessness of art was a scandal to hard-headed pragmatists. Art set its face against abstraction and calculation: "To generalise is to be an Idiot," Blake writes. And again: "The whole business of Man is the arts, and all things in common." The middle-class Anglicans who sing his great hymn Jerusalem are unwittingly celebrating a communist future.

Brothels, Blake wrote, are built with bricks of religion. Today, hardly a single Christian politician believes with Blake that any form of Christian faith that is not an affront to the state is worthless. Blake was no dewy-eyed radical, convinced as he was of the reality of the Fall. He had a radical Protestant sense of human corruption. His vision of humankind was darker than that of the Panglossian progressives of our own time, with their vacuous talk of "moving on". Yet it was more hopeful as well. London had lapsed into Babylon; but it remained true that "everything that lives is holy", and it might still prove possible to transform the city into the New Jerusalem.

· Terry Eagleton is John Edward Taylor professor of English literature at Manchester University
comment@guardian.co.uk

27 Nov 2007

Best Bolivarian wishes

Hi everyone! First of all, a big thank you to everyone who attended our nationalconference on Saturday and helped make the day such a great success! Areport of the day can be found
here:http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/hov_national_conference_2007_success.htm

HOV London's weekly meeting will be at the usual time and place tomorrow(Wednesday 28th, 7pm, NUJ offices, 308 Gray's Inn Road, King's Cross).

Before that, Movimientos is back at the Notting Hill Arts Club tonight(Tuesday) with the usual mix of revolutionary films and music, this monthfocusing on oppression in Oaxaca. 6pm–2am, Notting Hill Arts Club, 21Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JQ , £5 (£3 before 8, £6 after 11).


Labour MP John McDonnell has raised a parliamentary motion on the subjectof constitutional reform in Venezuela. The Early Day Motion (EDM) welcomes "the advances made by the Venezuelan people since the election ofPresident Chávez in 1998, particularly in the fields of healthcare,education, land reform and redistribution of wealth" before recognisingthat "the groundwork for these advances was laid by the adoption of the1999 constitution." Hands Off Venezuela is calling on all Britishresidents to check whether their MP has signed EDM 286 at edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=34397&SESSION=891 and contact their elected representatives via www.writetothem.com

Last week, the BBC screened a very dishonest documentary regarding the situation in Venezuela, and HOV is encouraging those who saw the film towrite / call the BBC to complain. More information:http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/dishonest_bbc_documentary_smears_venezuela_complain.htm And in recent news from Venezuela, President Chávez has warned of destabilisation plans in the run-up to Sunday's referendum:http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/2894

Best Bolivarian wishes HOV London

26 Nov 2007

More on John Rees




For the reader who wants an introduction to the history of dialectical thought in the socialist movement, and especially the thorny issue of the Nature and Human interelationship, the only work that is both readable and not over-simplified is The Algebra of Revolution: The Dialectic and the Classical Marxist Tradition by John Rees (Routledge, 1998). argued Walt in US Green Party newsletter here.


Well as I say, I was amazed, it seemed so unlikely a coincidence to bump into him on a fairly empty 9.56 pm train between Bath and Chippenham and to find we were both Corsham/Chippenham lads. He told me about a guy in Stop the War from Chippenham as well and noted 'Jeremy Corbyn went to school in Chippenham, the catholic one'....those from a revolutionery tradition went to Frogwell school, social democrats down the road....

He was very nice about my speech and we had a laugh about the incident where the Greens were criticised but kept off of the RESPECT conferences.

Did mention that I enjoyed his Algebra of Revolution book..which the late great Walt Sheasby had recommended I read....had to admit I could not remember much about it, read on the way to Green Party Weston Super Mare conference a couple of years ago...

Avoided Zen, you know on trains you usually talk about zen or venezuela, well I do.

Well I really enjoyed chatting to him and it still seems like something literally out of a dream or a Murakami novel.

I think if possible it is good to seperate out personal feelings from political debate, but I guess in all political parties, not just left ones, table tennis societies, drama clubs, workplaces...people have often quite personal disagreements and it is difficult to maintain warm feelings for those you disagree with.

Criticise the political line not the person....I wish I could do this, can't! The RESPECT stuff is going to be raw for those involved for some time

In the Greens of course we love each other and can seperate disagreement from personality, that's because we are lovely greens, equally because we are fluffy bunny nice Greens if do get a leader they wont be corrupted....Greens universally can be trusted...just imagine if we weren't Greens, we would be in power with centre right parties, turning a blind eye to motorways slicing through neolithic sacred sites...it would be like Sinn Fein getting beneath the blanket with Ian Paisley.

And 'A very public sociologist' I know your game! It's the old life history stuff, 'two leftists from Frogwell Primary, must be something indicative there'....however as Wittgenstein used to say 'causes are superstitutions'.....makes you think, once when I was an out their real life sociologist I thought for all of two days that all Earth First!ers had parents who were coppers...increase the sample from two interviews to four and one finds not.

Anyway all the RESPECT stuff fascinates too many of you out there..

Why people become activists fascinates me and AVPS and may be should be a topic for another day.

Indeed one criticism I have of the far left is their failure to think about repertoires of action.

Social Movement Theory so good and useful I guess must of the main players have been renditioned...useful stuff and I must talk about it more

As I admitted to John, I am not essentially a fan of the SWP, but it was still a fun and surreal moment...so trolls instead of giving me tedious abuse, enlightenment with some train stories...I suppose you don't do trains just spiked 4 by 4s.

25 Nov 2007

Bush boy kicked out of government in Australia

John Howard has been booted out, some of you know I have working quite hard to get rid of him this week, via da web rather than jetting off to campaign in person in Melbourne.

Greens look likely to make gains...however will Australian Labour be New Labour, probably but with a green shove they may even close the pulp mill plan in Tasmania.

Just shows it is worth fighting on the electoral front...to all of you who spread the word, especially Martin and Michelle's Aus Green Party campaigners in London, well done!

More here

No platform for anti-semites, racists and homophobes



Demonstrate Monday 26th November, 7pm Anti-fascist protest against Nick Griffin and David Irving, Oxford Union, off Cornmarket


"We are shocked and angry that the Oxford Union still intends to invite the fascist leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, and the holocaust denier, David Irving, to address the union on 26th November."
Stated Phelim Mac Cafferty on behalf of the Green Party LGBT Group.



"Nick Griffin has a 1998 conviction for incitement to racial hatred for material denying the Holocaust. Nick Griffin is the leader of the fascist BNP, a violent organization spreading the filth of race lies and homophobia.



"David Irving was described by a judge as "a racist, an anti-Semite and an active Holocaust denier" in 2000. This related to when he took the American academic, Deborah Lipstadt, to court for libel after she branded him a 'Holocaust denier' in her book. He lost the case and paid
£3 million pounds damages.



"It is a fact that when fascists are allowed to speak, racist and homophobic attacks, violence and intimidation increase. And there is a world of difference between defending free speech and choosing to provide a platform for fascists. Far from being the champions of free speech history shows that when fascists rise to power they destroy freedom of speech, human rights and they have murdered millions of people. Fascism is the absolute opposite of what universities and rational debate stand for.



"The fact that a fascist will be joined in the Oxford Union by a holocaust denier beggars belief. The oppression, persecution, humiliation and isolation that was life for Europe's LGBT Communities under Nazi-ism and its death camps must serve as a warning that we can never forget.



"We hope that the LGBT community will join us in demonstrating against Griffin and Irving address to the Oxford union on the 26th November. No to freedom of speech for fascists and holocaust deniers! Never again to the death camps!"



Nick Griffin is waiting for economic crisis and ecological meltdown to give him a path to power.

Hatred takes any form that garners votes for the far right, the only good side is the very irrationality of the racist right causes them problems. The far right European parliament group fell apart when Romanian far rightists split after racist attacks on Romanians from an Italian far right party!

Mussolini was quoted as saying this week that: "Breaking the law became a way of life for Romanians. However, it is not about petty crimes, but horrifying crimes, that gives one goose bumps."

Romania's far-right reacted with fury. The head of the Greater Romania Party, Corneliu Vadim Tudor said in a letter to the parliament: "The unconsciousness of this lady who makes easily generalizations, leaving us to understand that all the Romanians are living like delinquents and are making dreadful crimes, reminds us of her grandfather, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini."



Islam is the main target for Griffin at present, a man who ignores the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are tolerant and progressive, (compare sufis to BNPs on sexuality/race/non violence) yet because of anti-semitism:

Under Griffin's control, the National Front supported Libya's Colonel Gadaffi and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. Griffin visited Tripoli in 1988 at Gadaffi's expense to look for funding from the Libyan regime.
From

The oldest hatred has not gone away but any hatred is good if it garners votes...

Free speech is one thing, providing a high profile platform is another, shame on the Oxford Union for hosting an event with these guys.

Excellent release from Phelim here


Peter Tatchell notes 'Regarding the Oxford Union's upcoming free speech debate:

"The decision to invite Nick Griffin and David Irving is a big mistake. Those who peddle hatred and historical distortions should not be rewarded. I don't believe the defence of free speech requires the Oxford Union to proactively offer these hate-mongers a prestigious platform to secure respectability for their odious views," said Mr Tatchell.'
From

Credit where credit is due, a good statement here from a Tory, hope that Evan from the Liberals will back up this line:

A spokesperson from UAF, said that they were also concerned that Lib Dem anti-racist campaigner, Dr Evan Harris, was still intending to join the debate.

UAF said: “We are concerned that a politician should still want to join the platform to this debate. To stand on the same platform as some of these people gives them the idea to say they can’t be dangerous if they are joining a political platform with a mainstream politician.”

Kulveer Ranger, vice-chairman for cities in the Conservative Party said: “We have freedom of speech and people with extreme views under law have the freedom to express them. However, I don’t think Oxford Union should be a vehicle or give a platform for fascists under the guise that they’re providing opportunity for freedom of speech. By inviting them, to a world renowned institution, they are providing a platform to allow their views to be further communicated.”


More here from Operation Black Vote

24 Nov 2007

Reject the Deal



This is basic green politics, not just an issue for those who are green left, the post office is being dismembered essentially privatised....competition means post office closures, more carbon miles for a worse service.

Its a consumer issue already one delivery a day, no sunday service....modern capitalist economy making the service thin so the fat cats can become fatter.

Here is the material on a no vote from the posties...so if you are a Green Party postie....two 'no' votes for you this week!...its pretty shite for pay and conditions...

here is some stuff from CWU rank and filers...on the standard reasons for rejection of the ballot from a trade union grassroots perspective....unity amongst the awkward squad!

site here


“There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the Deal” - Dave Warren interview
Posted on November 1, 2007 by cwurankandfile

“There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the Deal”
Interview with Dave Warren, PEC member of the CWU

CWU – Royal mail “deal”: The CWU Executive voted by 9-5 to recommend acceptance of the deal with Royal Mail. As well as the five votes against, including the union President Jane Loftus, three National Officers (those responsible for mail centres, delivery and logistics) also refused to endorse it. SOLIDARITY interviewed Dave Warren, one of the five, who is calling for a broad based No campaign and for the members to reject the deal.

A capitulation to management’s agenda

Why did you vote against the deal?

I voted against the deal because it is a capitulation to management’s agenda. They have got the majority of what they wanted in exchange for a meagre increase in pay. The union has conceded the employers’ position almost completely on flexibility. Local reps are going to be forced into agreeing “efficiency deals” with managers – that will mean the same amount of work being done in fewer hours as well as the loss of jobs.

The trials of new working practices are to be linked to pay. So if the changes are not implemented, 1.5 percent of the agreed pay rise will not be paid. In addition there could be scheduling of long and short days. Workers will have to work shorter hours on days when it suits the company, and longer hours when mail volumes are higher – something up to now the union has always opposed. Management will be able to vary the day by 30 minutes. They will be able to extend workers’ shifts when it suits them.

The aim of these changes is to get everyone to work harder, and to cut overtime payments.

So far as the pension is concerned, after 2010, you will only be able to retire on full benefits at age 65. For manual workers who do a physically demanding job this is a big issue.

Changing our pension scheme from a final salary scheme to one that is based on career average earnings will almost certainly have the effect of reducing benefits for many.

The wage increase quoted as 6.9% over 18 months is just not true. The real figure is 5.4% over 2 years – well below inflation. We have also lost our ESOS (efficiency) bonus scheme, and many opportunities to earn overtime.

Embracing liberalisation

The framework of the agreement seems to be acceptance of the management’s agenda for ‘winning in the market place’.

Yes, the Leaders of our union have decided to embrace liberalisation and agree the company’s agenda rather than fighting it.

What do you think will be the consequences for the members of the CWU if the deal is voted through?

Well, it won’t be the end, but it will be the beginning of the end for the union as an independent force. Reps will be forced to implement the management’s agenda, and many will resign rather than do so. We already have a shortage of reps in many areas.

Management want a tame house union, like the old EEPTU (Electrical Union), whose job is to discipline the workforce in line with the management’s aims.

The idea that management will be nice to us if we sign an agreement is ridiculous. We have just recently had a lot of requests for local industrial action where management is simply trying to impose changes.

Our members have been magnificent and have been absolutely solid throughout the strikes. We cannot let them down now. There needs to be a broad based campaign to reject the deal. The key is fighting to get the branches to recommend rejection.

http://solidaritymagazine.wordpress.com

Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Reasons to Reject the Deal
Posted on October 31, 2007 by cwurankandfile

The truth behind the spin:

The CWU National Executive is arguing that the agreement with Royal Mail is the best on offer and a success. CWU members will be balloted on the deal. However this agreement does not reflect what we could have won, given the successful strikes. Worse, it gives Royal Mail nearly everything they wanted. That is why we believe that branches should recommend this dodgy deal is rejected, and all members should vote against it.

PENSIONS: SLASHED
The CWU spin says that pensions are “decoupled” from the agreement, to be dealt with separately. In reality they have already agreed that we should work till 65 and close the final salary scheme. This will lose members thousands of pounds!

FLEXIBILITY: ACCEPTED
The deal accepts nearly every flexibility demand or agrees to trial it - a recipe for agreeing the rest piecemeal. We will be forced to bend over backwards, while Royal Mail managers make demands that we can’t say “no” to. With little scope for overtime, many will lose more money than the pay “rise”.

PAY: A REAL PAY CUT
Before anyone gets excited, we aren’t getting a 6.9% pay rise! We will only get a pay rise next year if we accept all flexibility demands and trials. The 5.4% for this year is not backdated and so worth half of that! Given inflation, the offer is really a pay cut.

WHAT THE DEAL DOESN’T SAY:
• 40,000 jobs still to go through flexibility, productivity and mail centre closures which still lie in the future

• offices that were fighting local cuts abandoned

• CWU policy of the 35 hour week for mechanisation dropped

• colleague shares accepted though they were previously opposed as a step towards privatisation
…and worst of all, nothing about reinstating all those members and reps who have been victimised for their brave support of the strike, leaving them out in the cold - Shame!

The SMALL PRINT they don’t want you to read:

PENSIONS: The CWU official literature says that the pension issue has been “decoupled” from the deal, we will be given a separate ballot “following the conclusion of the legal consultation process”. But a joint Royal Mail and CWU statement (October 24 LTB) says Royal Mail wants to close the final salary pension scheme from 1 April 2008 with retirement age to be increased to 65 from 1 April 2010. It goes on to state “the union supports these proposals”! But this gives Royal Mail almost everything they wanted and gives our rights away for nothing in return.

FLEXIBILITY: The CWU official spin (October 22 LTB) is that it is a victory that the union is “involved” in negotiations, but the problem is they have negotiated it all away and left offices to deal with the detail locally, where many without reps or a strong union will be too weak to resist. Here is a list of your work rights that they want you to vote away (you’d better sit down!):

Longs and shorts, working longer hours on heavier days when before we would have been paid overtime: ACCEPTED

Later starts: ACCEPTED

Moving off your duty to another job or office at a manager’s request:: ACCEPTED

Summer savings: ACCEPTED

Swings and Roundabouts where you owe the business half an hour if you finish early, and are forced to work an extra half hour later for free when the manager requests it: ACCEPTED

The CWU states that day to day flexibility is “not in any shape or form compulsory”. However the actual agreement states “nor is it about anyone refusing reasonable requests.” Who will decide what is a reasonable request? Your manager will!

Remaining issues like Annualised hours and Covering each other when someone goes off sick are to be settled by separate negotiations in 2008. This will just see more rights given away, judging by what the union has swallowed so far.

PAY: This is a step backward when we are supposed to be fighting for an above-inflation pay rise, where inflation is 4%. We have “won” a 2.7% increase for this year (the original offer was 2.5%) with most of the original strings attached. The £175 lump sum to top this up is from the ESOS bonus scheme and is not new money! Next year at best would see a 1.5% “rise” (once again below likely inflation), but we only get this if we achieve 100% flexibility locally, otherwise we get nothing in 2008-9!. Lastly, the union states that they will negotiate with Royal Mail on how to “implement” monthly pay - does this mean they have accepted that too?

DOOR TO DOOR, REDUNDANCY TERMS and more are all up for separate negotiations next year. Given the concessions so far on everything else, we could see more rights slashed and a hike in door to door without any extra pay. We should not separate out these issues, we will win the most from Royal Mail when the threat of a strike hangs over them. To leave these issues for later means giving more away.

23 Nov 2007

Green Party elects new leader


Well I was a sceptic, I was wrong, indeed the right kind of leader will boost our media profile.

MORE HERE ON GREENS ELECT LEADER.

Ali versus Read on the leader debate...here

Wittgenstein's friend versus 'floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee' a well matched contest.

DEREK WALL TO ADDRESS 'HANDS OFF VENEZUELA' CONFERENCE

well another weekend some more conference action, I support both Venezuela Information Centre and Hands off Venezuela and Venezuela Solidarity and v Sol in general....in case you are asking.

see some of you tomorrow, the god of trains permitting....more from HOV here

NEWS: Green Party in England & Wales

DEREK WALL TO ADDRESS 'HANDS OFF VENEZUELA' CONFERENCE

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall will this weekend address
the third annual conference of the 'Hands Off Venezuela' Campaign. (1)

The conference will take place on Saturday 24th November at the
University London Union, Malet Street, London WC1, from 9.45am to
5.30pm.

Speaking in advance of the event, Derek said:

"I will be speaking at the Hands Off Venezuela national conference to
celeberate the positive achievements of the Venezuelan government in
promoting social justice, participatory democracy and environmental
sustainability.

"In large part due to the efforts of Venezuelans, Latin America is
increasing free from US interference and countries in the region are
enjoying greater freedom to determine their future path.

"I have been impressed by how the Venezuelans, in an oil based
economy, are making efforts to fight climate change, from promoting
renewable energy to going for organic agriculture and promoting public
transport. I think there is a long way to go and as a Hand Off
Venezuela member I will be supporting the resolution urging the
government to work harder towards sustainability, I think it is time,
for example, that all coal extraction in the north of the country
ceases."



ENDS

(1) More info can be found at: http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/hands_off_venezuela_national_conference_2007.htm


Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282
http://www.greenparty.org.uk

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

22 Nov 2007

I went to school with John Rees

I had this bizarre premonition that I would bump into John Rees and got on the train at Bath Spa found him whizzing towards Chippenham to visit his mum!

We both went to Frogwell School, I think possibly even at the same time! How bizarre!

More on this tomorrow!

I was back from Frome Green Party, how bizarre.

Never thought Marxists came from Wiltshire...other than Andy Newman ofcourse.

Spooky! Had a very pleasant conversation with him...more tomorrow on this....

21 Nov 2007

Green politics in a cold climate


I think some of my annoyance with the leader question is the astrategic nature of it.

I don't see this as a serious issue when it comes to strategy and certainly see a danger of eco being replaced by ego.

Green political strategy is important.

Coalitions are problematic, the media is dominated by corporate interests, the US views the Uk as a minor client state...all problems for green politic change.

Green Parties have tended in 'power' to become far from ambitious....Rudolf Bahro talked about 'cleaning the dragons breadth' not taking on the dragon.

The left in Britain are very very divided and beneath their arguments obviously have not constructed winning strategies.

How do we make radical green ideas hegemonic i.e. make them the common sense.

I can play low level ideological warfare as PS and via letters, blogs, talking to local groups and yes both greens and left are thinking more green and left.

but...in short how do you build radical politics in a cold climate, that of Britain.

oh well off to talk to the Green Party in Frome

20 Nov 2007

John Howard would invade Norway if Bush asked!

The Australian answer to George Bush is on electoral trial, so it's time to get all your Aussie mates down to Australia House this week where they can vote. John Howard has supported the war in Iraq and would quite happily invade Iran or even Norway if Bush told him. He has famously played the race card at successive elections to stay in power. His environmental record sucks. The Murray-Darling river system is drying up and even the breweries have been told to use recycled water to produce Australia's most famous export after Kylie and Rolf Harris, the "tinnie". Yet despite the threat of global warming, Howard's government until recently has been fighting the Kyoto agreement tooth and nail.

More here

19 Nov 2007

Brown on climate change

A BBC report here.

I am very sceptical of the climate bill and the cuts, too late too late, also very market based, we buy and sell the right to pollute...the clean development mechanism has huge potential for fraud.

Also we need to put the structures in place so we can all go green without pain. I am woken up by Heathrow jets, I have problems getting around in Berkshire cos of poor public transport...a cycle ride into my nearest town Windsor, either involves long detour or a brush with death down the hill.

Rainforests and other carbon sinks are still under threat.

Carbon policy makers are in market based denial.

lets all support the 8th December march and build the Green Party into a serious force and go on next year's climate camp.

More from me here.

18 Nov 2007

Lucha Indigena online...at last Hugo Blancos newspapers goes mundial


Hugo Blanco's indigenous struggle newspaper online....if you read spanish spread the word. leer here

Top story on the IPCC report. ' ¡EL CAPITAL MATA AL MUNDO ACELERADAMENTE!' which is depressingly true and what I told two RESPECT conferences yesterday.

Here in the UK the closest we have to Blanco's paper is of course Schnews.

Green politics people have got to think less as if they are ngos and more like they are political organisations ruthlessly focussed on changing the world so we have a world!

Shallow personality and career politics, no thanks...I am sticking with the Lucha Indigena.

Viva Hugo Blanco!

17 Nov 2007

Two RESPECT conferences hear Dr Wall




What a surreal day. The bit which was most surreal was vigorously clapping a speech by Tower Hamlets Councillor Rania Khan attacking me. It is polite to clap, even when one is being slated.

I get lots of invites from other political parties, I have even spoken to my local Tories in Berkshire, certainly I have talked to every socialist group you can think of, once did a speech in defence of Mumia Abu-Jamal at a Spartacist rally (in an official Green Party capacity). So today, I spoke to both RESPECT conferences. I even heard Andrew Murray of the Stop the War coalition deliver the same speech twice. And yes I bumped into friends at both conferences. Very bizarre. I think that within political parties bitter disputes are almost universal but this is a particularly bitter one, certainly heard criticism of the other side at both.

Both talked much of the values I espouse as a green...peace, justice, environment. Same leaflets and literature at both.

It was a great opportunity to have a platform, I talked about how capitalism with constant economic growth was the root of environmental crisis, how we could develop a new economy with prosperity without pollution, name checked the green bits in Marx, flagged up the commons and the gains in Venezuela. Thought it churlish to say 'join the Green Party' but while thanking both made it clear that I was in another political party.

At the Respect Renewal, I unveiled a huge banner against rainforest destruction in Tasmania and urged people to make sure their Aussie friends voted in the General Election.

Councillor Khan, who apologised to me to her credit, condemned Respect renewed for having 'Derek Wall from the Green Party' on the platform, she didn't realise that I was to speak on the same platform as her about 20 minutes later. Very funny.

Only got a few speakers at the University of Westminister event, at RR was impressed by Jerry Hicks a very funny passionate guy and Salma Yaquub gave a great speech.

I don't think either RESPECT is going to fly, although I would like to see Greens work with socialists, the socialists outside the Green Party are painfully divided, Socialist Party and Labour Representation Committee from the Labour Left had conferences as well today. At least I and other speakers at both conferences were able to flag up important work that all radicals could get involved with...solidarity with Venezuela, 'building' support for the climate change march on December 8th and the February 9th Trade Union Conference on climate change.

Gave me two bites of the cherry to talk about all the things I talk about on this blog, gay and lesbian rights ('I think we call them human rights'), radical green politics, the need for commons, green bits in Marx, liberal Islam.

Difficult to judge and not for me to do, both conferences a couple of hundred, the RR seemed much more upbeat but clearly not just the SWP are in the other one. I don't think that two RESPECTs will flourish but party politics for radicals in England is a tough game. Even in Scotland with the divisions between the Socialist Party and Solidarity and Green losses, politics looks a lot fresher, more radical and green.

I think I was invited to talk about ecosocialism and I did, at least both greens and socialists are thinking more about ecosocialism, so we are winning on this!

16 Nov 2007

For the indigenous





Across Latin America the indigenous people are driving the Green movement, viva Hugo blanco, etc.

Interesting to see the Australian Green Party which is working hard towards the 24th November General Election, where hopefully they can help boot out that neo-con Howard who has milked racist fears to keep in office...here are some of the Greens manifesto commitments to Torres Strait Islanders and aboriginal people across Australia.


I do like Bob Brown's little web speech against 'mega tax cuts for the rich' for social services, for real action on climate change....I would not start with 'g'day' though! Seriously great stuff

The Australian Greens want:
a treaty that recognises the prior occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be enshrined in the constitution.
equality of access to essential services and development opportunities within a decade.
equality of outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on all major indicators of health, education, training, housing, employment and living standards within a generation, within a framework which acknowledges the diverse aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
the establishment of appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies elected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
increased representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all levels of, government and other decision making roles.
all programs and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to employ qualified community members where possible, and to include training and capacity development.
culturally appropriate services and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people based on local language, cultural aspects and community priorities.
qualified local-language and cultural interpreters available in courts, hospitals, clinics, and government meetings when needed.
youth programs to be treated as an essential service in remote communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be able to retain or reclaim language, heritage and cultural practices.
items of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage to be returned to their rightful owners and custodians.
full implementation of the recommendations of the following:
Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (1997);
The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991);
The NT Coroner's (1998, 2002),WA Coroner's (2004) and SA Coroner's (2002, 2005) reports on petrol sniffing related deaths;
The Gordon inquiry into Family Violence and Child Abuse in WA (2002);
The HREOC Social Justice Report (2005) into achieving equality of outcomes within a generation;
The Senate Community Affairs Committee petrol sniffing report (2006); and
Report on the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (1996 ’The Evatt Review’).

15 Nov 2007

AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN LONDON TARGETED FOR PROTEST THIS FRIDAY.


At 3.30 P.M. this Friday, 16th November, at the Australian High Commission in the Strand, there will be a protest at the Australain Governments decision to build a damaging and controvertial new pulp mill in Northern Tasmania.


As Australians in London come to the High Commission to lodge their votes for the current Australian Federal Elections, protesters hope to be able to highlight what is happening down under so that people can make an informed choice at the ballot box.


This proposed "World's best practice" mill will consume up to 6 million tons of high conservation value ancient old growth forest a year to feed the mill. The plant will emit 10 million tons of CO2 a year and discharge 64,000 tons of toxic effluent into the sea every day.


Tasmania only has 13% of its old growth forest left due to industrial scale forestry operations, particularly in the last 50 years. Licences have already been issued to reduce this remnant to 6%. Sadly, what is happening in Tasmania will once again reduce the world's ability to fight climate change.


The Tasmania State Government has fudged the necessary environmental impact studies to the point where it has not even included the destruction of the forests and when the mill is built, the ensuing degredation of air and water quality into it's equation. The highly populated valley where the mill will be situated already has the worst air quality in Australia and Tasmania has the highest rate of asthma nationally. This mill will make things much worse.


Endangered species legislation has been routinely ignored by the Government in Tasmania when it comes to forestry. The endangered giant Tasmanian Wedge Tailed Eagle, amongst others has suffered constant assault from forestry and is tipped to become extinct soon in the North of the island where the pulp mill is to be built.








Martin Wyness
marty1111 {at} btinternet.com

14 Nov 2007

Power, politics and change in Caracas


Went along to an excellent meeting at SOAS for Greg Wilpert's launch of his book 'Changing Venezuela by Taking Power'. This was organised by the ever effecient Pablo Navarrete.

Pablo runs a very useful Venezuela blog at Red Pepper.

Greg edits Venezuela Analysis the main source of information on this astonishing country which is going through rapid social change.

The new Ambassador Samuel Moncada also put in an appearance, I have had people for weeks saying 'there is a new Ambassador, Derek, you will really like him!' I liked Toro Hardy cos he looked like Simon Boliver on the cigars called 'bolivars' but the new guy seems great, very political, dynamic and grassroots...I think he will be doing a lot more out reach so look out for him.

Greg said that as a sociologist working at a Caracas University he had not been that interested in the situation until the 2002 coup but the amount of disinformation in the international press made him interested.

'We all know about Chomsky's analysis of the media bias, but it is only when you experience it yourself that it hits'

So he set up V analysis...his book looks at the successes and contradictions of the Bolivarian Process.

Chavez was not that radical on being elected. The elite gave him a list of cabinet ministers, he ripped it up, they were out of power and launched vicious attacks on him.

He moved from 'third way' to 21st century socialism along with lots of others under the pressure of the opposition attacks. he also reads very very widely luxemburg, negri, CLR James, etc I have picked up anyway as some of his texts.

Greg argued that there are four key contradictory areas:

The economy...vast efforts are going into making the economy less oil dependent and more socialist, small scale workers management socialism...high oil prices push up the exchange rate and squeeze out the non oil sector..this is the famous Dutch disease.

Foreign policy...Chavez is working for a multi polar world, with more centres of power than just the US, this is working well however the danger is that he supports repressive regimes like Iran.

Social policy...the missions are working to remove poverty but they are ad hoc, a strong institutional welfare state is necessary.

Democracy...there is a genuine push to direct participatory democracy, a real break with state socialism and the failure to deepen democracy in countries like the USA and UK...yet some measures in the new constitution strengthen the President.


personalism...all parties and there are many are based on a 'personality', patronage/corruption where people rely on friend ship circles and lack of professionals to run services are seen by Greg as enduring problems with the Venezuelan system...they predate Chavez.

Greg was very candid 'when you have a friend you criticise them...this is not to be confused with disloyalty'.

Greg, the audience and the new Ambassador debated all these and more issues.

some great things in the new constitution...female and male 'leaders' for politica parties, open source principles of copywrite, anti-homohobia legislation, ecological demands.


Venezuela is the best hope of radical politics and putting lots of energy into finding out more and solidarity...

Joined Hands Off Venezuela.

Useful pint afterwards where I discussed commons regimes, social sharing with Greg, Greg also revealed he was a Zen practioner and I urged him to go to the dojo in Caracas...must admit I have been too busy to do much zazen lately.

going to write a full review of his book for 21st century socialism.

13 Nov 2007



Every night seems to be another night with the new Venezuelan Ambassador, just back from an excellent meeting with Venezuela Analysis editor Greg Wilpert who was very candid about what is right and wrong with the Bolivarian revolution, full report fingers crossed tomorrow...still challenging those who want to reduce magnificant green politics to the usual UK conventional politics dross of career politics, image and ignorance! thus this item....if you support my stance the bear unfortunately gets it.


"Far from being 'leaderless' the Green Party is run by an executive elected by the members, has a conference which decides policy and has two principal speakers who put forward policy to the public. This level of democracy and accountability is unusual for a British political party but this is no reason to reject a model that gives members power. I am calling on Green Party members to defend our unique form of internal democracy by voting NO in the leader ballot." Derek Wall, Principal Speaker.

Dear member

If you haven’t yet voted in the referendum on having a single Green Party Leader, then we’d like to urge you to vote NO.

We are all committed to seeing the Green Party’s support and influence grow stronger, and we dedicate much of our lives to making that happen. The Green Party is making real progress. We have doubled our number of councillors in the last four years, through the dedication and hard work of local activists. But we believe that to adopt a more conventional structure, with a single Party Leader, would be a step backwards - abandoning the distinctiveness that attracts many of our most committed supporters and party workers.

We are all being told that many people outside the Party believe we should have a single Leader. But do those people actually support what the Green Party is trying to achieve? And do you think they appreciate the sort of obstacles that stand in our way, and the levels of commitment it takes to overcome them

In the early nineties the Party changed its structure because we were told that media attention and success would follow if we did. But the promised success and increased profile didn’t come, and over the next few years the Party grew weaker rather than stronger - losing members as it did so.

We believe passionately in the Green Party's commitment to participatory democracy and that we must actively demonstrate a model of collective leadership to wider society. The massive problems facing humanity can only be addressed by empowering people to contribute to the solutions we so desperately need - not by deference to distant leaders.

Those people who most want to see the fundamental changes that are needed to create a Green society, are those who are most opposed to conventional power structures. Over 300 members have now signed a petition against the current proposals, including many elected members, party officers, activists and new members.

The Green Party is widely respected for having principles that we’re prepared to stand up for. Let’s not start throwing them away.

Please vote NO

Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member, Southwark Councillor and former GPEx Chair
Derek Wall, Principal Speaker
Penny Kemp, former Executive Chair
Jonathan Dixon, Scarborough Councillor and lead Euro candidate for Yorkshire & Humber
Romayne Phoenix, Lewisham Councillor
Dr Shahrar Ali, London Policy Coordinator
Peg Alexander, former Principal Speaker
Andy D'Agorne, York Councillor
Margaret Wright, former Principal Speaker

For more information, please visit: http://www.greenempowerment.org.uk





"Compared to other British political parties, we have effective leadership without the added burden of a figurehead leader who will make up policy on the hoof, get into embarrassing situations, and generally make our Party a hostage to his or her shortcomings. Why change the leadership of several talented people for the questionable option of one person who may or may not be able to represent us all?" Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member, Southwark Councillor and former Executive Chair.

"The 'leader' issue is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between people taking initiative and having 'a leader'. It is both inevitable and inherently healthy that people take initiative (and so give a lead) whenever they feel able: that is good Green politics and we should encourage and enable it as much as possible." Ron Bailey, Parliamentary and Community Campaigner.

"I do not want to be a member of a political party in which celebrity is more important than policy. We will get a lot more media attention from the election of our first member of parliament than we will from making someone the leader of the party. What's the point of all the work we're doing if the Green Party is just to end up a clone of its mainstream rivals?" Claire Stephenson, Norwich Councillor

"We can only transform society by transforming politics itself. To take our radical vision forward we need people to take ownership of their actions, not have them delegated to a supposed authority. Genuine leadership empowers by example not diktat." Shahrar Ali, London Policy Coordinator.

For more information, please visit: http://www.greenempowerment.org.uk


Published and promoted by Tim Turner on behalf of the Green Empowerment Campaign
c/o Green Party, 1A Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ

Vote for leader or we kill the bear



this does seem to sum up the argument, to proctect the environment we need 'a leader'.

I am not convinced I don't this is a serious strategic argument and instead the leader will be in danger of thinking more about career and fame than the bears!

Realo ism is pretty unrealistic.

We need to improve the Green Party but one leader is just magickal thinking, although the media will love the conflict created by battles to be the new Richard III (or Ming) and will be able to focus on personalities rather than ideas (like bear conservation).

sign the no single leader petition here.

My thoughts in the Guardian

Dear Editor,

Far from being 'leaderless' ( Letters, Tuesday November 6, 2007) the Green Party is run by an executive elected by the members, has a conference which decides policy and has two principal speakers who put forward policy to the public. This level of democracy and accountability is unusual for a British political party but this is no reason to reject a model that gives members power. I am calling on Green Party members to defend our unique and endangered form of internal democracy by voting no in the leader ballot.

Jonathon Porritt's call for the Green Party to select a single leader is flawed. Rather than suggesting the Green Party becomes a little more like the conventional top down political parties, Jonathon could show a little more personal leadership. Last year he took 42 flight clocking up air miles to go to meetings to tell people to cut CO2. I am calling on Jonathon to use video conferencing a little more and to fly a little less.

yours

Dr Derek Wall,
Green Party
Male Principal Speaker,

12 Nov 2007

Why I love Amartya Sen


The Realos take over from the Fundis, and the one-time soixante-huitard peaceniks end up cheerleading Nato bombing campaigns from the comfort of their ministerial limos. argues Dave Osler, provocative in a week when we are voting on whether to have a more 'realistic' structure for the Green Party with one ring to rule us all!


Natalie Bennett mentioned the new liberal conspiracy blog to me at Green Party Executive the other weekend...not being a market liberal it is not quite my thing. Capitalism is not my thing but I don't see socialism as top down. But hey left of centre is better than the other side and the name should wind up the USA right...

Markets rest on enclosure and what could be less free than a fence. Marxism to me is that access to the commons, so I have many vigorous debates with Marxists (I think they sometimes miss the central and rather libertarian bits of Marx's economics) and liberal economists (who forget the conventional economics is far from free).

Nonetheless the liberal left blog looks interesting and is moderated enough so people can get a bit angry without letting the puta madre tribe of dumb trolls on.

And they are even debating whether the left should join the Green Party, Dave Osler puts a polite and well argued case against, fearing the on slaught of the 'realos' however his case is slightly weakened by his own membership of Hackney Labour Party. Worth reading as always from Dave, you don't have to agree with him to acknowledge, he is the star of political blogging in Britain. He is about as centre left as I am though and no market liberal. Marxist economic theory question of the week is our Mecca (more liberal Islam folks soon!), well mine and Dave's.

I think the one guy who is not anti-capitalism ecosocialist or green but is nonetheless absolute fascinating is the Nobel Prize winner Amaryta Sen. None of the crudities of conventional economics, he has a place for politics, power and social analysis.

Economics for him is about positive freedom, so we can all develop and enjoy our capabilities, derived from Aristotle. For him freedom is a requirement for economic progress and the real result of real economic progress.

Without challenging the growth imperative of capitalism, dealing with the distinction between 'use' values and exchange 'values' or as far as I know celebrating the importance of the commons, he still has some interesting things to say.

Found quite a sensitive account of the population issue from him on the web here.

The short-run picture tends to be dominated by the fact that the per-capita consumption of food, fuel, and other goods by people in third world countries is often relatively low; consequently the impact of population growth in these countries is not, in relative terms, so damaging to the global environment. But the problems of the local environment can, of course, be serious in many developing economies. They vary from the "neighborhood pollution" created by unregulated industries to the pressure of denser populations on rural resources such as fields and woods.27 (The Indian authorities had to close down several factories in and around Agra, since the facade of the Taj Mahal was turning pale as a result of chemical pollution from local factories.) But it remains true that one additional American typically has a larger negative impact on the ozone layer, global warmth, and other elements of the earth's environment than dozens of Indians and Zimbabweans put together. Those who argue for the immediate need for forceful population control in the third world to preserve the global environment must first recognize this elementary fact. This does not imply, as is sometimes suggested, that as far as the global environment is concerned, population growth in the third world is nothing to worry about.

Various excellent points here, resource issues/population matter but human beings have the potential to use their creativity to deal with them and coercion is anti-human and ineffective...much for both Paul Ehrlich and Lomborg to chew on!

So my challenge is as an ecosocialist I am gaining from reading Sen, perhaps the liberal liberals who like markets and want a bit of freedom too ought to read him....may be you gain or may be he will help drag you towards Marx and Karl Polanyi, Vandana Shiva and all those sceptical of the cannon of conventional economics.



Can I resist a quick quotation from Karl of course I can't.

Let us make our meaning more precise. No society could, naturally, live for any length of time unless it possessed an economy of some sort; but previously to our time no economy has ever existed that, even in principle, was controlled by markets. In spite of the chorus of academic incantations so persistent in the nineteenth century, gain and profit made on exchange never before played an important part in human economy. Though the institution of the market was fairly common since the later Stone Age, its role was no more than incidental to economic life. (43)

We have good reason to insist on this point with all the emphasis at our command. No less a thinker than Adam Smith suggested that the division of labor in society was dependent upon the existence of markets, or, as he puts it, upon man’s “propensity to barter, truck and exchange one thing for another." This phrase was later to yield the concept of the Economic Man. In retrospect it can be said that no misreading of the past ever proved more prophetic of the future.

11 Nov 2007

Greens in the Venezuelan Revolution


Faced with this situation, we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth; with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes. Today, the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the world have been called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life.



“I believe the phrase of Karl Marx is more relevant today than ever before, so the question is: socialism or death, but death of the human race, the death of the planet, because capitalism has abandoned the planet, it is destroying the ecology of the planet”, stated Chavez. “We must raise up a new banner of socialism, a new way for the 21st century, the building of a firm movement of real socialism on the planet.”

“We want a new socialism”, but not one that copies the serious errors of the 20th century models”


Lets face it the serious work is going on in Latin America. A huge grassroots ecosocialist movement is active, growing and has influence on some of the most important political figures in the region.

Hugo Blanco, Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro have all made prominent speech which cover the over ridding importance of ecological politics, the need to combat climate change, the need for ecology to embrace grassroots democratic management, the contradictions between ever increasing economic growth and biological reality on planet earth, the demand that environmental reform should go hand in hand with social justice and the need to redefine need beyond a bankrupt consumer society.

You can read some of their words here:

Our Culture Hugo Blanco

Socialism or Barbarism Hugo Chavez

Fidel Castro on biofuels, climate change and the great car economy


Cuba and Venezuela have been working hard on climate change.

Indigenous people across Latin America have been in the forefront of calls for ecosocialist politics...birds and trees are about bread and butter (or what ever the Peruvian equivalent) environmental destruction equals economic catastrophe. Ecology is about identity for indigenous people not just cash but economic considerations way in favour of looking after Mama Earth.

Yesterday at the Venezuela Information Centre Conference in London, the Venezuela Ambassador to France, Cesar Aponte from the Ministry of the Environment and a long standing ecosocialist plus Professor Francisco Javier Velasco spoke on an enviroment panal. All called for the creation of an ecosocialist politics and backed calls to turn the United Socialist Party into a ecosocialist political organisation.

Professor Francisco Javier Velasco criticised the view that looked as nature just as a resource, attacking what he termed 'productivism' and 'developmentalism'. There have been big battles between conservationists who want to exclude people from nature and instead nature and society are linked. The Professor argued that ecological politics is about grassroots involvement...he said there was a battle in Venezuela over the status of green politics and he was aiming to argue for a grassroots ecological politics in the new United Socialist Party. He is in touch with the Ecosocialist International (I think?)

This is a summary of one of his papers:
Recent disputes have announced the end of development as a way of thinking. Alternative discourses end up making a theoretical core with certain principles of the very scheme they have criticized. This raises the issue of the need for a thorough conceptual transformation of development on the basis of other rationalities. Within the framework of globalization, a continuous sterilization of culture and nature is beeing promoted. In order to face this situation, an alternative vision of development must go beyond the ideological, conceptual and practical limitations of developmentalism. In this sense, proposals have a base in the articulation between culture and environment that allows people to become the protagonists of their own development. Although distant from the economic bias, this alternative vision requires a political economy able to recognize the centrality and complexity of ecology and culture.
From

Dr Jesus Arnaldo Perez the Venezuelan Ambassador, was the first Chavista environment minister back in 1999. A very tough job and he discussed some of the problems he had and the need again to listen to the indigenous people. He called for 'ecosocialism' and 'eco citizenship'. Talking to me afterwards he said he had heard about some guy who had been elected as an ecosocialist in London, I thought he meant Darren Johnson but it was reference to my re-election as Principal Speaker!

There is an interesting interview with himhere.


All the speakers were frank about the 'challenges' Venezuela is a petro economy, people love their cars which run on very cheap fuel, corruption is a big problem and there is an ideological battle or battles...some reject ecology and some believe ecology should be top down and not involve ordinary people.

There are some practical changes from tree planting, to stopping gold mining in parks, to closing down some of the open cast coal and respecting indigenous people...new railways are going, energy saving light bulbs are universal and gas rather than gasoline will eventually power cars, organic agriculture is widely taught and scientific ecologists have some influence on the policy process.

Venezuela is making attempts to diversify from oil, however the often heavy dirty oil is still motoring the economy. Not much agonising in contrast in Britain over North Sea oil, get out of the ground as soon as possible and dam the consequences!

Will be talking about this at the Hands off Venezuela Conference
on November 24th

10 Nov 2007

Recession peak oil catastrophe hope!

Very exciting day, Sarah and I met with various Venezuelan ecosocialists including our amigo Cesar Aponte who works for the ministry of environment.

Seems to be quite an impressive green current building ecosocialism in the Venezuelan United Socialist Party. Excellent, really takes my mind off of UK politics which does not always inspire. I am not encouraging them to fly, a good meeting at the VIC conference but I think the email can take the strain!

had this from the great Will Brown, a friend from Bristol. Please go and see what he has to say, we have to build from the grassroots and economics is vital.

on sunday 25th november i'm running a workshop on 'the forthcoming recession, peak oil and global warming' during transitionbristol's big event at the Bristol council house. The day will include a number of high profile speakers and loads of workshops. For more details see

www.transitionbristol.org.uk



my talk will touch on

current situation: U.S. housing crash, British banks and credit crunch, U.K housing market,
the forthcoming recession: discretionary spending, white goods, car market, stock markets, rising unemployment, spending cuts, political tensions
the history of capitalism: massive growth in output interspersed with crisis
the new context for this recession
the implications for climate change
the importance of economic distribution if carbon emission are top be cut
how to prepare constructively for a recession

I'm planning to talk for half an hour and the rest of the 1 hour w/shop will be discussion.

9 Nov 2007

No to TESCOPOLY

NEWS: Green Party in England & Wales

GREENS URGE HARROGATE TO KEEP TOWN FREE OF TESCOPOLY LAST POSTCODE ON UK MAINLAND NOT TO HAVE A TESCOS UNDER THREAT FROM SUPERMARKET GIANT

Tesco has applied to Harrogate Council for permission to build a 108,300 sq ft superstore with 530 parking spaces and a recycling centre on 8.6 acres at the junction of Ripon Road and Skipton Road.Harrogate Council intends to hold a special meeting of its planning committee on November 27 to consider Tesco's application.

Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall has thrown his weight behind the campaign to keep Tesco's out of Harrogate. He said: "Harrogate is a special part of Britain! It is one of only four places in the UK not to have been colonised by Tescos - the others are the Shetlands, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides. Tescopoly is destroying the diversity of our once beautiful high streets and locking us into unsustainable patterns of consumption. Local shops, owned and run by local people are vital to an economy that works for people and the environment. "I would urge people in Harrogate to keep their town free from Tescopoly. "The last fifty years have seen major changes in the way that people buy their food. People used to shop in food markets or specialist food shops, such as greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers. Now, more than 80 per cent of our grocery market goes to supermarkets - turning us into clone town Britain. "The contribution of the UK food chain to climate change is large - one study estimates that it could account for more than one fifth of total UK greenhouse gas emissions." ENDS Green Party Press Office020 7561 0282http://www.greenparty.org.uk Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

Defend Karen Reissmann




had this from Paul Cooney who does a lot of important trade union work and is a Green Party candidate, please take up his call to support Karen.


It is vital that we GPTU activists not only are behind Karen in this
struggle but that we are also seen to be playing an active part. I call upon
all of you to pledge your own (and your branch's) support for Karen. It is
scandalous that speaking out for services is deemed not only to be bringing
your employer into disrepute, but is also a dismissable offence. I do speak
out in public fora against cuts in services, not just because it's the right
thing to do but also because it is a key role of any TU Officer. Karen is
acting for all of us in this matter and truly deserves our support. Her
branch is solidly behind the strike action which began yesterday.

It is important that donations flood in from Branches and individuals to
sustain the action.
There is a solidarity rally next Wednesday 14th Nov at 7pm in Manchester and
a Demo in Manchester Peace Gardens, Sat 24th Nov, 1pm.
Messages of support can be sent to unison@zen.co.uk. and left on 07972
120451.
Complaints can be sent to Sheila Foley, Chief Executive of the Health Trust
at sheila.foley@mhsc.nhs.uk
There is a website set up to provide updates and contact details.

http://www.reinstate-karen.org/1.html

Could we have a link to the campaign site on the GPTU website,
Thanks

Paul Cooney
Unison Health
Huddersfield GP Parliamentary Candidate

8 Nov 2007

No to Evangelical Alliance, Dr Joel Edwards appointment

NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL GREEN PARTY LGBT GROUP

http://www.lgbtgreens.org.uk/


Greens question appointment of Dr Joel Edwards to Commission
Greens assert that Commission should uphold the equality of the LGBT Communities

8.11.7

In a letter written today to the Chair of the new Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, the LGBT Group of the Green Party and the Green Party’s Principal Speakers, have asserted that the new Commission should explicitly uphold the equality of the LGBT Communities at its centre.

“There should be no get-out clauses for homophobes who want to sit on the Commission which is purportedly about helping to secure delivery of equality for our communities.” Stated Phelim Mac Cafferty, on behalf of the Green Party LGBT Group.

“If the new Commission is to harness the trust of the LGBT communities, the Chair of the Commission, Trevor Phillips, must re-examine Dr Joel Edwards appointment. I encourage everyone who doesn’t want a homophobe on the EHRC to email Trevor Phillips chair@equalityhumanrights.com to complain about this appointment."

Letter below-


Dear Trevor Phillips

We are writing to you because we are concerned about the appointment of one of the Commissioners.

The LGBT Group in the Green Party and the Green Party’s Principal Speakers oppose the appointment of General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, Dr Joel Edwards, to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

The Evangelical Alliance opposes the new government LGBT hate crime legislation and even submitted evidence in October in front of the House of Commons Justice committee examining the need for the new legislation.

Joel Edwards has described homosexuality as “sinful” and along with his Evangelical Alliance organized large protests against the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which as you know, provide equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people when accessing services.

In a period of time when the LGBT communities are still cautious about the Commission’s ability to take sexuality and gender identity as seriously as the other strands of equality, we would suggest that this appointment has been a mistake. Further in the context of the heinous homophobic murder of Jody Dubrowski in Clapham that led many of us to campaign for specific homophobic hate crime legislation, we think it’s dangerous to have homophobic opinions held high by the public body purportedly addressing equalities. We do not feel that a Commissioner who was LGBT and who expressed racist or sexist opinions would be tolerated and we don’t think Dr Edwards’ opinions should be either.

We have pushed for the creation of an offence of homophobic hate crime, the introduction of the Sexual Orientation Regulations and the Goods, Services and Facilities Regulations, the repeal of Section 28 and an end to the unequal age of consent. For this reason, we are not prepared to allow homophobia to go unchecked and urge you to review Dr Edwards’ position. Dr. Edwards should be encouraged to do the honourable thing and step down, as true equality for the LGBT Communities is clearly not part of his vision.


Yours Sincerely

Green Party LGBT Group
Lesley Hedges and Nigel Tart, National Spokespeople
Clare O'Regan, National Chair
Joseph Healy, International Officer
Dave Walsh, Web Officer
Phelim Mac Cafferty, National Media Officer

Green Party of England and Wales
Derek Wall and Caroline Lucas MEP, Principal Speakers


ENDS

6 Nov 2007

Jonathon Porritt argues that he should fly to save planet


The people who really get on my nerves are so-called greens who fly. Jonathan Porritt, ex-Director of Friends of the Earth and Blair's "Sustainability Czar", claims to have taken 42 flights in the last year. If I were to fly anyway to escape the rain this summer, I would (rightly) be in very deep trouble with the Green party and its voters.

argued Dr Wall a while back.

Porritt today argues that the Green Party should go for a single leader in the Guardian, he argues that it was right for him to fly around the world spreading the Green leadership message....I think he has got it wrong on both counts.

Green Party does need strong organisation and speakers but calling for traditional top down leaders will lead to the slide into egotism and generally crazyness, eventually the 'leaders' will justify flying around the world to spread their no flying message.




This is from his blog


Do I feel guilty about all that? Absolutely not. Do I feel responsible for making sure that decisions are taken conscientiously and that the resulting impacts are managed properly? Absolutely! That’s why all three of the organisations mentioned above take offsetting extremely seriously – not as a perfect solution, it has to be said, but not the kind of flaky, guilt-assuaging cop-out that so many people think offsets represent.

JP Flights: July 2006-June 2007

UK
Aberdeen x3
Belfast x4
Edinburgh x2

Europe
Oslo x1
Amsterdam x2
Zurich x1
Crete x2
Malaga x1
Berlin x1

International
Hong Kong / Beijing x1
Houston x1
Vancouver x1
Cape Town x1

Tags:

Against Xenophobia in Italy

Commenting on events in Italy, where a rising tide of xenophobia has engulfed the nation following the murder of an Italian citizen by a Romanian Roma, Male Principal Speaker, Derek Wall said:

“The crime of one person cannot be visited upon a whole nationality and one group, in this case the Roma. The Greens, who have stood for open borders and the free movement of people in Europe must oppose all signs of xenophobia and racism and this new law in Italy shows all the symptoms of being a knee jerk reaction to the mob. The historical persecution of the Roma people in Europe is widespread but to see it sanctioned by the state in one of Europe’s leading democracies is a grave cause for concern and makes me very anxious about the new fortress Europe which we are constructing. The Green Party condemns this action which is scapegoating one nationality and allowing the EU to decide on different levels of citizenship within its borders. Even more dangerously, it is encouraging the Far Right across Europe and leading to questions here in the UK by their supporters as to why immigrants from the new EU states cannot be treated in the same way (deported following a magistrate’s order). It is a very dangerous precedent and should be challenged by the Green Party and our sister parties in Europe.”



International Coordinator, Dr Joseph Healy, commented: “We have seen persecution of the Roma in Eastern Europe and now it is being state sanctioned in Western Europe. With right wing mobs roaming the streets of Italian cities looking for Romanians to attack and Fascist politicians in television studios referring to Roma people and Romanians as ‘scum’ the Italian government has opened a Pandora’s box of xenophobia and racism, which may now be impossible to close. The actions in Italy have all the hallmarks of a pogrom against the Roma and are in no way in the spirit of the EU of open borders and freedom of movement which we were promised. I stand with the Federation of Young European Greens and all those opposing racism and xenophobia against what is currently happening in Italy. It poses the question – What sort of Europe lies ahead?”



Joseph Healy

International Coordinator