31 Oct 2009

Protest Danish plans to smash Copenhagen climate protest

Write to the Danish Ambassador or phone or email to protest at the planned repression of climate activists in Copenhagen.

His excellency Birger Riis-Jørgensen
Embassy of Denmark
55 Sloane Street
London SW1X 9SR

Tel: 0044 (0)20 7333 0200
Fax: 0044 (0)20 7333 0270
E-mail: lonamb@um.dk

Her is a letter from my ecosocialist comrade in Copenhagen.


We write to express our concern about the proposed "hoodlum" law which is planned by your government. The bill that will be put before the Danish parliament, in a few weeks, has serious implications for anyone who is intending to demonstrate, or protest in any way, during the COP15 summit in Copenhagen this December.

It is clear from the timing, that your government intends this bill to become law by the time of the summit. We understand that the proposed bill will greatly increase the Police's powers of arrest. Among its main provisions: the extension of the period of "preventative" arrest from six to twelve hours; an increase in maximum sentence for obstructing a police officer of up to fourty days, even for a first offence; as well as a host of measures which greatly increase the penalties for breaking the law regarding public protests. These measures,if approved, will effectively criminalise protests involving any degree of peaceful civil disobedience. At the same time, a climate of fear is being generated by certain elements of the Danish media about the prospect of thousands of climate activists descending on Copenhagen. We think this is no coincidence. It is therefore clear that the law is aimed at the many thousands of climate activists, from all over the globe, who will be coming to Copenhagen. It appears to us that the Danish government and media is hostile to both the protesters and their message. We therefore call upon the Danish government not to persue this legislation and to allow protesters to demonstrate and congregate without police harassment.

Background here

I am on Twitter OMG! http://twitter.com/Anothergreen

its all gone Lin Ostrom WTF!

Yes late adopter that I am I am twittering.

catch me here http://twitter.com/Anothergreen

Just wrote for my book, will we still have books by 1st December 2009 when the 'manuscript' is delivered,

'However in a world of new media it is also difficult to advance the more sophisticated ideas that cannot be compressed into an easy sound bite or a tweet. At its best green politics does encourage us to ask some very big questions that are largely ignored by other political ideologies, the answers are not, always simple.'

LOL....follow me here http://twitter.com/Anothergreen

Actually could be handy for getting news from Peru out quickly, don't get me on to a rant about how evil Chris Bryant MP is or hohow greens forget the real greens in the Peruvian Amazon, wonder if AIDESEP twitter.

They are blogging a lot of stuff, Peru's president wants to disolve Aidesep so he can rape the rainforests, I bet he has Tony Blair helping him...leer mas aquell

any way should twitter this...

Victory to the Posties! (Bristol meetings)

They are at 6.30pm every Wednesday:

Bristol & District Amal Branch
20 Church Road
Lawrence Hill
Bristol
BS5 9JA

There are also activists in the Broadmead Bristol between 1-3 today collecting and leafleting for the CWU

Jerry Hicks and Green Left members are active in this but you don't have to be a green lefty to support the posties, in fact if you like having post and don't want the government to trash the postal service get involved

Rising from the East: A day to explore communities, culture and politics in London’s East End

Just had this from David Rosenberg, looks great.....apologies for lack of graphics, not sure how to get them from the pdf to the blog post...right got to sit down and write my book today (well the last chapter)

RISING FROM
THE EAST
A day to explore communities,
culture and politics in
London’s East End
11.00 Registration
Session 1: Rebels with a cause
11.30-12.10: East End Jewish anarchists before WW1 –
lessons for the 21st century (Ben Gidley)
12.15-12.55: Minnie Lansbury – feminist, socialist and rebel
Poplar Councillor (Janine Booth)
Lunch / Book signing by Bill Fishman, author of many books
on East End history and a Cable Street veteran
Session 2: The struggle for better lives
1.35-2.15: Self-help, solidarity and socialism: the Workers’
Circle (David Mazower)
2.20-3.00 Doctors and Politics in East London (John Eversley)
Break for refreshments
Session 3: Bengalis and the East End – a continuing story
3.15-3.55 The East India Company and the silencing of East
End histories (Georgie Wemyss)
4.00-4.40 Bengali politics in London's East End
(Ansar Ahmed Ullah)
Sunday 15th November
Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street,
London E1 6LS
Entrance £5 (£3 concs). Places limited to 90.
Book in advance by sending a cheque/PO to “JSG” at:
JSG, BM 3725, London WC1N 3XX
Organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group
www.jewishsocialist.org.uk

30 Oct 2009

bunnies who mean business!


Earth First! activists brought work at the opencast coal mine near
Shipley, Derbyshire, grinding to a halt on Monday (26th) by occupying
six site vehicles.

Around 20 protesters entered the site in the morning before locking
on to diggers. The action ended at around 1.30pm when the 11 remaining
protesters were arrested for aggravated trespass. The 11 have been
charged and will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates'
Court next month.

EF! activist Andrew Kirkman said, 'As local people can attest,
the handful of jobs that opencast coal mining provides hardly
compensate for the noise, traffic and pollution that we have to
suffer. Local people fought long and hard against the this mine, not
just for our sakes but also for that of our children.'

Seehttp://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/23282

Postal worker defended by CWU

I just got a message from Jerry Hicks.

'A postal worker of 22 years standing was dismissed in Truro because he stayed at home to look after his sick wife.

An Employment tribual just awarded him maximum damages against Royal Mail, he would have got £92,000 by the Tribunal’s calculations had it not been for the statutory cap on damages.

Well done to the CWU.'

Keep up with Jerry Hicks' good work at his blog here....Incidentally I had a useful meeting with Jerry yesterday discussing his work and the need to green trade unions,

EU drives down our pay!

The New Spectre Haunting Europe: The ECJ, Trade Union Rights and the British Government


organised by The Institute of Employment Rights in association with SERTUC

to book your free place, please book at office@ier.org.uk

about the conference

Nearly two years ago, trade unions faced four hostile decisions from the European Court of Justice. Those decisions – in the Viking, Laval, Ruffert and Luxembourg cases - struck at the very heart of trade union activity. They attacked the right of unions to take strike action in support of jobs. They undermined collective bargaining by preventing industrial action in defence of pay and conditions above minimum standards set out in the Posted Workers Directive.

Since then, the implications of those hostile European decisions have been played out in a series of UK disputes. First, BALPA was threatened with bankruptcy when BA brought legal proceedings against planned strike action to prevent the export of jobs. Then national agreements covering UK oil refinery workers at East Lindsey were threatened by the employment of Italian workers under the Posted Workers Directive. More generally, employers are using both the recession and reference to the hostile decisions of the ECJ to undermine terms and conditions and prevent unions fighting back.

Nor does the future look any brighter. If the Lisbon Treaty is forced through, the powers of the ECJ – used so aggressively in favour of employers in recent years - will grow still further with devastating implications for unions. Maintaining terms and conditions on major construction sites like the Olympics will be a struggle. Union campaigns like those for a living wage or for progressive procurement policies will increasingly be challenged.

So how should unions and their members respond? What are the political, legal and industrial options open to unions and their members? Unions are pushing politically for changes to EU and UK laws. Lawyers are looking at ways to challenge the direction of the ECJ through the ILO and the European Court of Human Rights. But can workers wait? Examples of workers ignoring restrictive laws and fighting back in defence of pay and jobs are already spreading - and winning.

This conference, organised around the 2nd anniversary of the initial ECJ decisions, aims to bring workers together with sympathetic academics and lawyers to share information, learn from each others’ experiences and plan for a better future.

Organised jointly by SERTUC and IER, the conference will offer a FREE day of lively debates in breakout sessions and full plenary discussions. Come and join us!

programme

· 10.00 Registration
1. 10.15 Welcome from Chairs, Megan Dobney SERTUC; Carolyn Jones IER
2. 10:30 The impact of ECJ cases on collective bargaining and collective action. Keith Ewing
3. 11.00 Impact by Industrial Sectors
Construction
Introduction:
Barry Camfield, previous AGS of TGWU & serving Board member of ODA.
UCATT Speaker TBC
Chair: Steve Cottingham, O H Parsons
Manufacturing
Introduction:
Phil Davies, GMB
Chair: Richard Arthur, Thompsons Solicitors
Public Services
Introduction:
Brian Caton, POA
Billy Hayes, CWU
Chair: Keith Ewing
Transport
Introduction:
Bob Crow, RMT
Chair: John Hendy, QC
4. 12.30 LUNCH provided by SERTUC
5. 1.00 Assessing the industrial problems: projecting likely responses:
Interpretive Reports from Chairs of Sectoral Sessions (Panel)
6. 1.40 An international Response
7. 2.00 Policy Possibilities at the European level John Monks, ETUC
8. 2.30 Domestic policy proposals in the UK Sarah Veale, TUC
9. 3.00 The New Spectre Haunting Europe: Time to change course? John Hendy, QC Old Square Chambers
10. 3.30 Close of conference

Mandelson and Cameron want to sell the Post Office to make the bankers rich!

thanks to my ecosocialist comrade Richard Kuper for letting me know about this from the LRB letters

In the Sorting Office
Like Roy Mayall writing in your issue of 24 September, I am a postman and concerned at the absence in the media of any account of how mail delivery is organised and what Royal Mail’s modernisation programme entails. The programme was introduced because the popularity of email and texting has caused a drop in mail volume. Royal Mail’s first step was to reduce the number of walks. It did this by cutting some walks in each area and making the remaining walks longer. A postman who normally delivered mail to six streets, say, now found himself delivering to eight or nine. During the summer months, when mail volumes were low, he could, perhaps, just cope with this. But as autumn begins and the Christmas catalogues start to come out, every week and sometimes every day can be heavy. In the run-up to last Christmas, there were postmen who only finished their walks at 7 or 8 p.m., sometimes two or three times a week. In one depot alone, around 15 postmen phoned in sick. This Christmas, with the even longer walks, it could be worse. Royal Mail is a strong promoter of general health and safety, but as the walks lengthen and the loads increase, many of us feel that our own health isn’t being taken into consideration.

The next step in the modernisation was to stop overtime. The new, longer walks were generated by a computer program called Pegasus. We were assured that Pegasus had made all the new walks around three hours long. Some of the walks were indeed three hours long, and the postmen on those rounds had no trouble completing them in time. But a significant number turned out to be considerably longer – some of them up to four and a half hours long – and mail began piling up as postmen brought post back at the end of the day because they couldn’t deliver their loads without working extra, unpaid time.

The most recently introduced measure is to return from a four-day week to a five-day week. For postmen working a 40-hour week, this means there will be two hours fewer each day to deliver the same amount of post. It is now no longer possible for any postman – including those doing the three-hour walks – to complete his or her walk in the allotted time, no matter how fast they walk. As the pressures increase, many postmen who have been with Royal Mail for a long time are taking voluntary redundancy. A lot of knowledgeable, hard-working postmen are leaving.

Postmen speculate endlessly as to why Royal Mail is making it impossible for us to do our job properly. The most common theory is that Royal Mail actually wants to get rid of us and replace us with casual workers. Traditionally, Royal Mail hires casual staff to help deliver the heavy Christmas mail. This year the casuals never left. As required, they can be phoned at a moment’s notice to come in and help out. They may be asked to work for just a few hours or a whole day. If mail volumes are low, they are not called and are not paid. When paid, they are paid less per hour than the full-time postmen. And because, as casual workers, they cannot join the union, they have no representation if and when things go wrong. At present Royal Mail favours the casuals, but in time, if they start experiencing the pressures the postmen are facing now, there won’t be a union to protect them. In contrast to the casuals, postmen are mostly on 40-hour-week contracts. When they go on holiday or get sick, Royal Mail continues to pay their salaries. All these costs and difficulties fall away with casual workers. From a financial perspective, Royal Mail may think that getting rid of its long-serving postmen is worth it.

Maybe the fact that Royal Mail is now run by managers who have little or no hands-on experience and who use computer-generated models to organise everything is the explanation. We experienced this directly with Pegasus when some walks turned out to be considerably longer than others. The data that had been fed into Pegasus were standardised: each walk had a set number of destinations, with so many seconds to walk up a garden path, so many seconds to put letters through a letterbox etc. Not only did Pegasus get the total timings spectacularly wrong, but the walks made much less sense than when they were organised by the postmen themselves: for instance, a postman could find himself walking an extra 200 yards down the road to deliver mail to six letterboxes that would have more easily and naturally fitted into someone else’s walk.

A more cynical theory is that Royal Mail is being deliberately run into the ground so that when the next opportunity to privatise it comes around, people will be so fed up that they will accept it as the unavoidable solution to getting their post on time again.

A postman on a 40-hour contract works an eight-hour day on average. He or she spends the first two or three hours sorting the unsorted mail in the depots. He then takes 30 minutes for breakfast. For the next two or three hours he sequences the mail for his own walk so that he can deliver it door to door. He then has to travel to and from his walk and deliver his mail in the remaining time. It can’t be done, at least not without overtime, which Royal Mail has stopped altogether. Casual workers, however, don’t have to sort mail at the depot – this is done for them by the postmen on 40-hour contracts. Instead, they move straight to sequencing their door-to-door mail. When they leave the depot, they can take as long as they need to deliver their mail. On the heavier walks, some work 12-hour days. That’s how long it really takes to sequence and deliver some walks – and that’s without sorting!

Working for Royal Mail has become a bewildering experience. Depot managers pressure and harass us to comply to rigidly fixed unworkable schedules. They insist we take out full loads of mail, which they know and we know cannot be delivered in the allotted time. We therefore constantly bring back the undelivered surplus and waste time the following day getting it ready to take out again. Meanwhile, the depot managers can report the walk as cleared to their superiors, who are obviously putting them under pressure too. It’s evident that some depot managers are just as unhappy with this state of affairs. Their orders are to push out as much mail every day as possible, regardless of the amount that comes back at the end of each shift.

Of course the strike is adding to the chaos, but it is not causing it. The one-day-a-week strike – now countrywide – is an attempt to pressure Royal Mail to come to the table to discuss the dire situation and a way for postmen to express support and solidarity with one another as we face an onslaught of unmeetable demands.

Pat Stamp
London W10

Rainforest rescue camp


'Around the world, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every two seconds. Deforestation adds to all of the industrial pollution we pump into the atmosphere – not only by releasing the carbon that's stored in trees and ecosystems, but also by destroying the natural carbon cycling capacity of the planet'

Greenpeace have set up a protest camp in Sumatra to stop rainforest destruction.

Good for them.

However hundreds of thousands of indigenous people permanently camp, I think we use the expression 'live', in the rainforests and protect them.

I sometimes wonder if the only non indigenous people who talk about how important it is to recognise their role are myself and Elinor Ostrom.


Well, of course, there are great groups like Survival International but in the rush to make a lot of noise and not do much of any great effect to tackle climate change, we forget the indigenous.

In the Amazon, despite horrendous repression from Alan Garcia's government, the Peruvian indigenous have won victories and saved the forest. But do environmentalists even know about this?

I wish the Awajun and Wampi could send out representatives, perhaps we could call them missionaires, to environmental groups and get them a bit more organised and strategic.

I do think the websites from the indigenous are better than a lot of UK environmentalists, have a click here and here.

I am slightly shocked that in London emergency climate forum there is no indigenous speaker or discussion, Climate Camp are certainly much better and work with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

29 Oct 2009

More management lies! We report from the postal picket lines

DISPUTE UPDATE: PLEASE GIVE THIS MESSAGE THE WIDEST POSSIBLE CIRCULATION:
> royal mail is claiming that we walked away from talks. This is not true.
> It is also not true that there was an agreement. The union submitted a set
> of proposals yesterday morning that royal mail had still not responded to
> at 5 last night - in fact they still have not responded to those
> proposals. There is no split on the pec. They are 100% behind the
> industrial action. Royal mail are still insisting that we sign up to a
> pre xmas no strike deal. They are also still refusing to compromise on any
> of the issues at the heart of the dispute. Royal mail are likely to
> continue with their lies over the next few days to try and undermine the
> union and paint us in the worse possible light. We will keep you updated
> on the real facts.

just had this from a postie!

Close tax havens/Tobin petition


Hi All

Ok here's one last try at getting numbers up on my tax and CAP justice petition, which expires on the 12th November. I'll transfer details to another webspace before it expires, but in the meantime pls put your name to it if you haven't already, and thanks to everyone who's alread signed it. http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/tobintaxnow/

For those that haven't read it in detail, petition is about (1) closing down tax havens (2) bringing in a global currency transaction tax (CTT, aka Tobin) to fund public goods at the grassroots level worldwide and (3) reform of the Common Agricuktural Policy (CAP) to (a) protect small co-operative endeavours and real democracy (b) end state-capitalist protectionism and (c) level the global economic playing field so that the global south can compete as per the doctrine of international comparative advantage.

So, here again, in case you missed it is link to petition http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/tobintaxnow/


Mark


If you are UK, say OK to this, its important, please spread the word and link

Bristol Venezuela film showing

I have so many speaking engagements I hardly find time to post them, any how I am off to Bristol in an hour or so to help with the Inside the Revolution film showing, so see some of you later.



Documentary Screening: Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela (Thursday 29th October/Bristol)
Tue, 10/06/2009 - 14:45 — Pablo
Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela
(Director Pablo Navarrete, 65mins, Alborada Films, 2009)

February 2009 marked 10 years since Hugo Chavez took office, following a landslide election victory, and launched his revolution to bring radical change to Venezuela. While wildly popular with many in the country, Chavez's policies and his strongly-worded criticisms of the U.S. government have also made him powerful enemies, both at home and abroad, especially in the media.

Filmed in Caracas in November 2008, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Chavez's controversial presidency, this feature-length documentary takes a journey into the heart of Venezuela's revolution to listen to the voices of the people driving the process forward.

"This is a rare film about Venezuela, a country in extraordinary transition. Watch this film because it is honest and fair and respectful of those who want to be told the truth about an epic attempt, flaws and all, to claim back the humanity of ordinary people."
- JOHN PILGER (Journalist, author and documentary filmmaker)

::: Thursday 29th October, 7.30pm-9.30pm

Film starts 7.45pm.

Entry: Free but donations gratefully accepted

The screening will be introduced by Derek Wall (Former Principal Male Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales), who will also take part in a Q&A with the director after the screening. The event will be chaired by Karen Bell (Bristol Solidarity with Venezuela).

VENUE DETAILS:
University of Bristol
Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American Studies
School of Modern Languages
3-5 Woodland Rd
Bristol BS8 1TE

Map:
http://www.multimap.com/maps/?qs=BD7+1BN&countryCode=GB#map=51.46022,-2.60375|16|4&bd=useful_information&loc=GB:51.46022:-2.60375:16|BS8%201TE|BS8%201TE

Facebook event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151133118307

For further details on the documentary and to watch the trailer, please visit:
http://www.alborada.net/alboradafilms

28 Oct 2009

Indigenous will shut down goldmine


Do subscribe to Intercontinental Cry, there is a lot of hand wringing and carbon trading when it comes to the ecological crisis, then there are those who work for nature in an effective way, their work is online at Intercontinental Cry.

In late August, a coalition of indigenous groups and landowners in Papua New Guinea announced their plan to shut down the open pit gold mine on their territory, unless the company who owns the mine, Canada’s Barrick Gold, responded positively to a petition they filed with the PNG Government.

The landowners described the petition as a “boil over” from enduring years of deprivation and marginalization, which has included the denial of access to fresh water, being subjected to abuses and having traditional practices criminalized. Toxic waste from the mine is also being dumped into the local river system. In effect, people in Porgera Valley are dying a slow death while Barrick Gold makes its millions.

Among many points raised in the petition, the landowners asked Barrick Gold to pay for their resettlement, and to stop fencing off their territory and halt any new expansion projects.

The eviction was going to be carried out in September, however, according Sakura Saunders, the editor of Damian Baker says the September deadline was extended another 30 days, “to late October when local residents plan a peaceful sit in.” Baker adds that many people hold fears over “how police and security will react if the sit in does eventuate.”

More here

Barack Obama: Nobel Laureate

[col. writ. 10/9/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal


The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack H. Obama, evoked gasps of shock in Stockholm, Sweden, and both praise and catcalls in America.

For some, it seemed a fitting tribute to a young man who broke numerous barriers in his 2008 election. For others, especially those on the right, Obama's award seemed granted to one who hasn't really done much, given 9 months in office.

Both views miss the expressed intentions of the award presenters: 5 members of the Nobel Prize Committee in Sweden. As Europeans, they, like the vast majority of Europeans, see him not just as a bright, popular politician - but as the antithesis to his bellicose predecessor -- George W. Bush, the self-proclaimed 'War President.'

Bush's administration typified the epitome of U.S. arrogance and hyper-nationalism; a neocon dream that threatened, blustered and belittled all that did not bow to Washington.

Obama has gone out of his way to court Europe, to engage with their leaders, and to assure them in contrast from the past administration, that they're not 'Old Europe',

But the Nobel Prize award is more than mere relief that the newest occupant in the Oval Office isn't named Bush; it is an attempt to push an American president toward peace; and away from war.

That is, they granted the award, not on the basis of what he's done, but in hope and anticipation of what he'll do. And they're betting -- hoping -- he won't become Bush in black face.

The Nobel Committee said their award was more for his "intentions" than for his achievements, and that's fair enough.

Grappling with two wars, lobbing (droned) missiles into Pakistan, with hints of actions against Iran, peace certainly isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Nor does Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Force Base, or Diego Garcia (all prisons where foreigners are held virtually outside of the reach of the law), evoke peace.

But one salient feature of his nomination proved irresistible to the Nobel Prize Committee: his name wasn't George W. Bush.

--(c) '09 maj

VOICES FROM THE CHIMNEY TOP OF DIDCOT POWER STATION


Just had this from the climate camp....I have no hope that Copenhagen will reduce emissions but I have every hope that people organised at the grassroots will find solutions,

Viva the climate camp!
Viva the lucha indigena!


At 4.30am on Monday morning, 19 activists cycled into Didcot Power Station
to shut it down. 11 gained access and locked onto the coal conveyor belt,
while 8 others ascended the 200m chimney. RWE-npower, the facility owners,
were forced to admit that the action had stopped all coal-fired
electricity production.

Tonight, the chimney top remains occupied. Here's what some of those up
there have to say:

“I’m a qualified builder and in one week's time I turn 52. I never thought
in my life I would do anything like this. It’s amazing how working with
committed people can empower you to confront these massive companies and
help force real change in the world.”

“I’m a receptionist from Essex. If we wait around for our government to
tackle climate change without any real intentions, we will not have any
hope for our future. This is about acting now, and further action must be
taken.”

"I'm a 37 year old web designer. The best way to deal with carbon
emissions is to stop them where they begin. We are here to ensure putting
an end to coal power cannot be ignored at Copenhagen. Climate Change is
the biggest challenge human beings have ever faced, but the fact is, so
far our government has seen the cost of tackling climate change as greater
than the cost of climate change itself. This must be stopped."

27 Oct 2009

Body shop cosmetics make farmers homeless!


Boycott Body Shop and use Lush (they have banned palm oil, Lush must be the only actual green business, I thought green business was an oxy moron!)

Just got this, don't suppose you have to be a Christian to get involved!


Christians take action against Body Shop in London this Thursday – to stop buying palm oil from a Colombian company involved in the displacement of small farmers

On Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, in central London, Christian Peacemaker Teams will again ask The Body Shop to stop buying palm oil from a Colombian company involved in the displacement of small farmers.

Can you join a team visiting several Body Shop outlets in London to express our concerns, from 9 a.m. onwards? Or can you join us all together for a closing action at 4 p.m. at the Body Shop outlet at 268 Oxford Street, GB W1C (just west of Oxford Circus station)? Can you pass this invitation along to others?

Daabon Organics, the primary supplier of palm oil to The Body Shop, has played a pivotal role in the recent displacement of 500 women, men and children from the Colombian farming community of Las Pavas in order to obtain land for a new palm plantation. You can read more about their displacement at http://www.cptuk.org.uk

The Body Shop says on their website that they believe, "all people have a right...to be treated with respect," and "For years we've campaigned against injustices, stood up for the vulnerable." The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Colombia has appealed to The Body Shop to address this unjust action by their supplier. To date The Body Shop has denied any responsibility for this displacement.

For more information about either activity or to join us, email Tim Nafziger at nafziger@gmail.com

You can also invite others to the Facebook event at
http://tinyurl.com/laspavas




I bet all those Labour Ministers who do the trade deals will actually be buying more hand creams from the Body Shop on hearing this news!


Daabon Organics, a Colombian firm that provides the British chain with 90% of all its palm oil, was part of a consortium that asked the courts to remove farmers from a sprawling ranch 320km north of the capital Bogotá with a plan to grow African palm. Police in riot gear evicted the farmers in July.

Now solicitors for 123 peasant farmers and their families are appealing against the decision with the backing of a British charity. They say that some locals had lived and worked on the land for more than 10 years and had already applied for the right to own it under Colombian law before the consortium bought it.

The disclosure will embarrass the Body Shop, which has claimed that it respects the rights of local farmers in developing countries and uses Daabon's oil to make the equivalent of 7.5 million bars of soap every year. It will also highlight the many battles between farmers and palm oil companies across the globe as the product becomes increasingly lucrative.

"The Body Shop should reconsider its decision to buy palm oil from Daabon in the light of this conflict," said Catherine Bouley of Christian Aid, which is backing the farmers' legal action. "The Colombian government would like to triple the area under palm cultivation, which will only exacerbate the problem of displacement." The dispute began in December 2006 when Daabon's subsidiary CI Tequendama and a partner company bought Las Pavas, a 1,100-hectare (2,700-acre) ranch in Southern Bolivar province. The consortium applied for an eviction order in January this year which was enforced in July.

Solicitors acting for the peasant farmers claim that the consortium should have been aware that the land had been home to families who had been cultivating crops including plantain, maize and squash for more than 10 years.

The peasants say they had previously been forced off the land in mid-2006 by paramilitary groups, but had moved back some six months later and made a legal submission to own it for good. Under Colombian law, ownership can be granted to farmers who have occupied abandoned land for more than three years.

Banessa Estrada, a solicitor for the peasants, said that the families had formed a co-operative and submitted an official claim on the land in mid-2006, several months before the consortium's purchase. "It was an illegal eviction because they did not take into account the claim of the land made by the peasants," she said.

Another palm oil company had taken an interest in buying the land in 2006, but had backed down after discussions with the peasants, campaigners claim.

A small group of farmers returned to the ranch last week for the first time since their eviction – with a reporter.

Misael Payares, leader of the peasants' association, pointed to a row of recently felled trees by the side of a new road. "This is what a supposedly ecologically friendly company is doing," he said.

Ader Rojas, who grew plantain on the ranch, said much of the plot had been churned up. The wooden shelter he built near the plot had been destroyed and a bog near his land had been drained. "This was all I had," he said.

The evicted peasants have set up a camp in the schoolyard of the nearby village. Over open fires, they prepare meals of corn fritters and cheese for the 500 men, women and children with food donated by aid agencies.

The Body Shop, which is the world's second largest cosmetics franchise and has 2,400 stores in 61 countries, was founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick and is now part of L'Oréal group.

Its distinctive eco-friendly image – it was the first British cosmetics chain to introduce refillable bottles – has been preserved by L'Oréal and it continues to campaign for the rights of local producers. In June 2007, while announcing its deal with Daabon, The Body Shop called on manufacturers and retailers to follow its lead to help slow the drastic environmental and social effects of unsustainable production.

"We have changed our entire soap range to be manufactured using palm oil from one of the leading sustainable plantations – Daabon in Colombia," it said in a press release. "We have commissioned our own audit and visited the plantation to ensure the protection and welfare of communities, workers and the surrounding jungle is preserved.

"Production impacts on the rights of indigenous populations, often creates poor labour conditions and has severe health implications for women working on the plantations," it read.

The Body Shop has a current commitment to community trade by seeking out small-scale farmers, traditional craftspeople, rural co-operatives and even tribal villages, according to the company's website.

Daabon, a certified organic producer, is a family-run company that was set up in 1914 but has grown substantially over the past five years. It now has 714 office in Colombia and 28 offices in other countries including the US, Germany, Japan, and Australia. Alberto Davila, Daabon's president, has been photographed embracing Colombia's president Dr Alvaro Uribe Vélez.

The demand for palm oil has soared over the past 15 years and it is found in foods such as margarine, crisps and chocolate, as well as in soap, cosmetics and biofuel.

The oil is used as a hardener in a wide range of personal care products. It was present in 497 products launched globally in 2007 compared with 246 in 2006, according to market researchers.

But the growth has led to a backlash from environmental groups concerned that forests across the tropics are being cut down to make way for plantations, destroying habitat for endangered species and resulting in the displacement of local people.


This report is from an excellent blog here.

The DAS Case and Human Rights in Colombia: SOAS Sat 31 Oct


The British government and the EU pick out the countries in Latin America where there are death squads. And do trade deals with them.

I guess they like the countries with death squads.

May be the coup leaders in Honduras are killing trade unionists because they think if the body count is high enough, the EU will restore ties and Gordon Brown will send over some foreign office MP like Chris Bryant.

One day Gordon Brown will get up in the middle of the night and the dead will walk with him on the way to the toilet. The people I know from Bagua are tough, I hope their ghosts haunt the living who conspired to kill them.

Yes I mean the average labour party MP who doesn't know and lets the government keep buddy buddy with Uribe and Garcia as the killing of indigenous people and trade unionists continues.


The DAS Case and Human Rights in Colombia: SOAS Sat 31 Oct

The Latin American Workers Association and the Polo Democratico invite you to

A talk with Eduardo Carreño, human rights lawyer, member of the “José Alvear Restrepo” lawyers collective.

Themes
- Human Rights situation in Colombia
- The DAS Case (Illegal spying on human rights defenders and DAS’s responsibility for the killing of trade unionists)
- Case Study: Drummond coal, responsibility of the US mining corporation in the deaths of the president and vicepresident of the Sintramienergetica union

School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Room G50 from 2 to 4 pm, Saturday 31 October

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

http://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/


La Asociacion de Trabajadores Latinoamericanos y El Polo Democratico Te invitan:

Charla con Eduardo Carreño, abogado defensor de derechos Humanos, miembro del
Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo”.

Temas de la Charla

- Situación de derechos humanos en Colombia
- Caso DAS (Seguimientos ilegales contra defensores de derechos humanos y
responsabilidad del DAS en muerte de Sindicalistas Colombianos.

Caso de Estudio:

Caso contra la Drummon (Responsabilidad de esta multinacional minera en la
muerte del presidente y vicepresidente del Sindicato de
Sintramienergetica en Colombia.

Lugar: SOAS Room G50 de 2 a 4 pm

Dia: Sabado 31 de Octubre

Green Left statement

Green Left welcomes the decision of Birmingham Green Party to stand aside in the parliamentary constituency of Hall Green to let Salma Yaqoob of Respect contest the general election there. The decision, which was endorsed by 86% of Green Party members in the area, is another step in forming an alliance between those forces on the Left of British politics campaigning against war, privatisation, the ongoing march to environmental disaster and Fascism. We regard this as an historic step in the campaign for the next general election and for progressive politics in this country.


Joseph Healy

Sue Tibbles

Co-Convenors

Green Left

Greens will give Salma a free run

I am very pleased that the Green Party in Salma's constituency of Hall Green have voted to withdraw the Green Party General Election candidate and give her a free run.

I have been arguing very strongly for this for a while and also arguing that the decision should be made democratically by local members.

Salma is great, I am very happy to have worked for in the past and I am hoping to go up and support her General Election campaign.

Her support for the Green Party at the last European Elections was very welcome.

She has also been supportive of ecosocialist ideas and action in RESPECT.

So very good news.

I will be posting more details of how people can support her campaign.

And I am off to work for Caroline on 7th November.

Its also a vindication of the good work of Green Left.

26 Oct 2009

Caroline Lucas tells Donald Trump to tee off




The leader of the Green Party England and Wales, Caroline Lucas MEP, has urged the European Commission to launch a full investigation into American tycoon Donald Trump’s controversial plans to build a golf course and resort development on valuable ecological land in Aberdeenshire.

In a letter to the Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, the Green Euro-MP expressed concern that outline planning permissions for the development granted by Aberdeenshire Council could be in breach of European law on the environment and local planning.


Initial outline planning permission was granted to Trump by Scottish Ministers in December 2008 after the council rejected it. Five supplementary planning applications were made earlier this year and given the go-ahead a few weeks ago. A further application - to start work on transforming the Menie dunes into a golf course - is due to be considered by Aberdeenshire Council's Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday 27 October.

Dr Lucas MEP said:

"This proposed development will inevitably have a significant impact on valuable ecological sites in the area – in particular, on the dune habitat in the 1,400 acre site, which Scottish Natural Heritage has called 'the largest and most superlative example in north-western Europe' of a rare 'dynamic dune' system.

"The essential feature of this site - the continuous sand movement which then creates new dune slack habitat - will be completely compromised by stabilising the dunes to form a golf course. That stabilisation process could start within a fortnight if Aberdeenshire Council gives planning permission this week.

"The site itself is a listed Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under Scottish law. While the outline planning approval does impose a series of environmental checks and control, I am concerned that species and habitats listed in the Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive may not be adequately protected if this development is allowed to go ahead."

"What’s more, important planning procedure seems to have been breached - and might be again this week. Permission for the development granted in 2008 was based on the conclusion that its benefits outweighed the major adverse environmental effects.

"Under EU law, an environmental statement should have been submitted for the five supplementary applications which have now been approved. This didn’t happen, so denying members of the public an opportunity to fully comment on the applications – and planning officers the chance to give proper advice on environmental impact and recommended mitigation.

"The application due to be considered by the Council this week is described as being for a Major Development, but it is not being decided according to the procedure stipulated for Major Developments.

"Aberdeenshire Council has a track record of ignoring due process and putting Donald Trump's interests ahead of both local residents and their own protected countryside. Any decision to allow work to begin on fixing the mobile dunes risks being a breach of the legislation, and I am therefore today urging the European Commission to intervene."

Didcot Power Station shut down.


good work.....companeros!

I suppose the climate deniers will be saying death does not kill and there is no real scientific consensus that smoking 40 a day is bad for your lungs, putting your hand in a meat grinder has not been proved to reduce ones ability to open a packet of crisps

However things are so bad the seas are turning acid cos of CO2 being absorbed.

I say slow the train, plenty of other people say lets go faster, nothing to worry about......good for the climate camp for doing the necessary once again!



Protesters scale chimney and have supplies to last weeks
For comments or interviews call 07814321272.

Climate campaigners have this morning shut down N-Power’s flagship coal plant at Didcot in Oxforshire.

The twenty peaceful protesters rode their push-bikes past security guards at 4.30am this morning before splitting into two groups. One team has shut down the giant coal conveyors which feed the boilers at the plant, while a second group of nine men and women has climbed the inside of the iconic 200m-high chimney and reached the top. They say they have enough food and water to stay in place for ‘weeks, not days’ - during which time the plant will be unable to operate. Already the activists in the chimney are securing the route behind them to ensure they can’t be reached by police and security guards.

The huge coal plant in Oxfordshire is owned and operated by German utility company N-Power, which is building new coal plants across Europe and wants to build the first new coal-fired power stations in Britain in 30 years.

A small amount of coal was in the boilers as the invasion occurred. That will last for several hours, after which the protesters will scale the flues at the very top of the chimney (which would normally emit 1000 tonnes of CO2 an hour) and abseil into them, with some of the activists then living inside the chimney for the duration of their occupation. Activists will remain in the flues until their food and water runs out, preventing the station from re-opening.

“We’re a bunch of ordinary people who met at the Climate Camp this summer and were inspired to actually do something about climate change,” said Amy Johnson, 20, one of the protesters at the summit of the huge 200m chimney. “We rode our bikes into the power station this morning and now we’re on the top of the chimney. To be honest we’re quite surprised at how easy it all was. I didn’t quite expect to be here.”

She continued:

“Since E-ON shelved their plans to build a new coal plant at Kingsnorth this month, we realised N-Power is the new frontline. They haven’t dropped their plans to build the dirtiest new power stations in Britain for thirty years, and they’re constructing new coal plants right across Europe. We’re going to stay here until they say they’ll stop building new coal plants. We know that might take a while but we’re patient and we’ve got plenty of supplies to stay up here. We’re talking weeks, not days.”

Amy Johnson added:

“We decided the most powerful place we could set up a Climate Camp would be at the top of N-Power’s most iconic chimney, and that’s what we’ve done. I’d be a liar if said I wasn’t scared climbing up this smokestack, but climate change scares me a lot more. We’ve got people locked on to the coal conveyors and people are going over the top and inside the actual chimney. There’s no way we can be reached, we’re in control of this power plant and we’re not moving any time soon.”

The protesters researched today’s action carefully, putting the safety of N-Power staff and the activists first. The climbers preparing to abseil into the chimney are fully trained and highly experienced. The activists only shut down Didcot after confirming that their actions would not cause power cuts – there is always slack in the National Grid to cope with generating outages, forced or otherwise. If there is a displacement of emissions from coal to gas (or no generation) it will reduce net CO2 emissions in the course of the occupation by tens of thousands of tonnes.

Amy Johnson said:

“In every country CO2 emissions are linked to economic growth, so in countries like the UK our insatiable hunger for more and more products and consumer goods is driving climate change. The world’s finite resources need to be shared more fairly, and the richest countries which got us into this mess need to take the lead in reducing emissions. We’re on this chimney to demand climate justice as the world prepares to meet in Copenhagen. We’re defending human life and people’s property around the world that’s in immediate need of protection from the ravages of rising temperatures.”

While N-Power claims that new coal is necessary to ‘keep the lights on’, in reality its push for new coal plants at Tilbury and Hunterston is motivated by profit, with coal-burning being cheaper than other fuels despite its enormous climate impact. Consultants at Poyry - Europe’s leading independent energy experts - found that Britain could easily meet its energy demands without resorting to new coal as long as the country hits its renewable and energy efficiency targets.

Why coal, why Didcot?
The single greatest threat to the climate comes from burning coal. Coal-fired generation is historically responsible for most of the fossil-fuel CO2 in the air today, about half of all fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions globally.
Coal-fired power generation is the most environmentally damaging means of generating electricity yet devised. In fact, in carbon terms, coal is the dirtiest fuel known to man.
Ed Miliband recently announced plans to allow the construction of four new coal plants that would emit about 80% of their emissions into the atmosphere. That would make them the most carbon-polluting new coal plants built in Britain for 30 years. N-Power is behind 2 possible plants, at Tilbury and Hunterston
As we close old coal-fired and nuclear power stations in the next decade we will lose capacity currently providing around a quarter of our electricity output. But Gordon Brown recently committed to targets which will require us to generate about 35-40% of our electricity from renewables alone by 2020, and the UK also has fairly ambitious energy efficiency targets. According to Europe’s leading independent energy experts, Poyry, if the UK was to hit these existing renewables and efficiency targets, there will be no ‘energy gap.’ We can keep the lights on and cut emissions, and in the long run bring down fuel bills too – all without new coal-fired plants like Kingsnorth.
The world’s most respected climate scientist, Dr. Jim Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is so concerned about plans for new coal plants in Britain that he took the unprecedented step of writing to the Prime Minister to say that with the decision over whether or not to allow Kingsnorth, Brown has the potential to influence “the future of the planet”
Coal-fired power generation really is an outdated technology for a 21st century, climate changing world. Even today, Britain’s centralised, inefficient coal-fired power stations waste over two-thirds of the energy they generate. The proposed new coal plant at Kingsnorth, although more efficient than the old one, would still use old-style conventional technology that would waste (as heat) over half of all the energy the power station creates. Compare that with the state-of-the-art power plants they use in Scandinavia which run at up to 94% efficiency.
Burning coal in the UK has already halted the decline in emissions seen in the 1990s following the ‘dash for gas’ and has undermined progress from other sectors in cutting emissions. Since Labour came to power, carbon dioxide emissions have actually increased and this can be attributed in large part due to ‘the roll to coal’ as well as increased aviation emissions.
Dr. Jim Hansen, one of the first climate scientists to warn of global warming, says: “The only practical way to prevent CO2 levels from going far into the dangerous range, with disastrous effects for humanity and other inhabitants of the planet, is to phase out use of coal except at power plants where the CO2 is captured and sequestered.”
Equally, Sir Martin Rees, President of the prestigious Royal Society, wrote to the Government saying, "Allowing any new coal-fired power station, such as Kingsnorth, to go ahead without a clear strategy and incentives for the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology would send the wrong message about the UK's commitment to address climate change, both globally and to the energy sector.”
"I therefore suggest that the government only gives consent to any new coal- fired power station, such as Kingsnorth, on condition that the operating permits are withdrawn if the plant fails to capture 90% of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. This would send a clear policy signal to industry of the need to develop and deploy CCS as quickly as possible."
Lord Adair Turner’s inaugural report from the Committee on Climate Change sets out that achieving an 80% domestic reduction in emissions by 2050 means the decarbonisation of the UK power sector must start now and continue through the 2020s, so that we can secure the “almost total decarbonisation of electricity generation by 2030”.

Postal workers support group Meeting for all trade unionists in Hackney

I don't know whether Elinor Ostrom has any opinions on the postal service, I suspect good libertarian that she is, she would see selling it off as pretty crazy...anyway victory to the CWU, we can win this one and stop Brown and Cameron closing down a good effecient service.

Postal workers support group
Meeting for all trade unionists in Hackney

Wednesday 28 October
From 7.00pm to 8.30pm
Bodrum Café & Bar
61 Stoke Newington High Street, Stoke Newington, N16 8EL

Please come along and find out what you can do to support your local postal workers.
There will be speakers from the CWU and from other local trade unionists who are
currently in dispute.

HTUC is a co-ordinating body that aims to bring together all trade union members wanting to build a strong broad based labour movement in Hackney. Please come along to find out how you can get involved. Trade union branches anywhere in London with members who live or work in Hackney can affiliate to the HTUC and can send delegates. Please circulate this message to trade unionists you know who live or work in Hackney.
For more information, please visit our website: http://www.hackneytuc.org.uk

Elinor Ostrom on the seven generation rule

'Our problem is how to craft rules at multiple levels that enable humans to adapt, learn, and change over time so that we are sustaining the very valuable natural resources that we inherited so that we may be able to pass them on. I am deeply indebted to the indigenous peoples in the U.S. who had an image of seven generations being the appropriate time to think about the future. I think we should all reinstate in our mind the seven-generation rule. When we make really major decisions, we should ask not only what will it do for me today, but what will it do for my children, my children’s children, and their children’s children into the future.'

Well I am still on an Elinor Ostrom induced high,

It would be great it greens looked at her work, being for ecology is not enough, appropriate policies and structures are needed. I am not sure that people are actually campaigning for stuff that works. Elinor is very impressive in using practical research to explore the creation of property rights that create prosperity (and prosperity has to be ecological or it like the bank fortunes will disappear in the blink of an eye).

The above is from a speech in 2008, I have only just tracked it down.

More here.

25 Oct 2009

Get involved with your local post strike support groups

To find a group near you or to get help setting one up, phone 020 7819 1175

Bristol – 07806 772 682
Birmingham – 07977 057 902
Edinburgh – 07983 537 187
Glasgow – 07805 340 555
Ipswich – 07517 531 733
London: Tower Hamlets – 07532 364 638
London: Brent – 07931 289 199
London: Greenwich – 07930 953265
London: Islington – 07950 075 088
London: Central – 07946 480 261
London: Waltham Forest – 07905 765 705
Manchester – 07854 982 366
Newcastle – 07932 948 212
Sheffield – 07767 762 743
Southampton – 07854 982 366
Whitstable Kent – 07947 424 505
Upper Calder Valley – 07871 927 008

From socialist worker...good for them for pushing this.

'Hugo Blanco has set an example'

'Hugo Blanco is the head of one of the guerrilla movements in Peru. He struggled stubbornly but the repression was strong. I don't know what his tactics of struggle were, but his fall does not signify the end of the movement. It is only a man that has fallen, but not the movement. One time, when we were preparing to make our landing from the Granma, and when
there was great risk that all of us would be killed, Fidel said: 'What is more important than all of us, is the example we set." It's the same thing, Hugo Blanco has set an example.'

Che Guevara said these words in Algiers in the 1960s while making an appeal for Hugo Blanco. Che's judgement was a little premature, I had an email from Hugo Blanco today in 2009 about Elinor Ostrom's work in support of indigenous people.

I was amazed to find the above statement from Che....Hugo continues to provide an example, the example of the Peruvian Amazon first peoples is an example, to those who want to work for ecology and justice universally.

With the Copenhagen Climate Circus coming up, I hope the inspiration of people who use non violent direct action to prevent climate change by preserving the Amazon has a voice.

Hugo Blanco continues to publish Lucha Indigena and put out a statement in support of the Vestas workers a couple of months ago.

A very good ecosocialist comrade.

24 Oct 2009

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador is coming

just had this....

This week, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador is coming to London on an
academic visit.

On Monday 26 October a meeting for the Latin American community is being held
in Congress Centre, London. No tickets have been issued for this event, so we
assume its being held on a first come first serve basis. Rock Around The
Blockade will be there and we invite you to join us!

We believe this meeting will be held in Spanish, but it would be great to see
all supporters down there to celebrate his visit together in solidarity.


Address:

Congress Centre
28 Great Russell Street
London
WC1B 3LS

Starts: 730PM

More information here (in Spanish only):
www.movimientoecuador.co.uk
www.consuladoecuador.org.uk

See you there!

RATB

Elinor Ostrom inspired chapter in People First Economics book



Toxic debt, rising job losses, collapsing commodity prices and expanding poverty. How can we rein in these beasts unleashed by the free market economy?

People First Economics takes a long, hard look at the mess globalized capitalism is in, and shifts the focus back to where it belongs – putting the needs of people and the environment first.

Vanessa Baird and David Ransom have gathered a passionate group of writers, activists, leaders and thinkers to seize this opportunity to replace deep-rooted problems with well-founded solutions.

People First Economics buzzes inspiration and action. Evo Morales promotes his 10 step programme to save the world, life and humanity... Michel Albert advocates a classless alternative to capitalism... Naomi Klein encourages public revolt...

It’s about radical changes that are social, moral and ecological it provides the opportunity to rethink what really matters in life.


I was pleased to be asked to write a chapter for the New Internationalist 'People First Economics' book. It's under the title 'Open Source Anti-Capitalism' arguing that commons, etc, provide an alternative to market based economics and top down socialism.

Commons is based on common pool property rights so it promotes equality and access to resources, that equals prosperity.

Access is based on the rule that resources are maintained in a sustainable way, this adds up to a built in ecological ethic.

Once the property rights that maintain access and ecology are established, people are free within these broad parameters to do their own stuff.

Commons was until last week ignored by the economics profession, Elinor Ostrom's Nobel win, has changed that.

Well if you believe in a top down paternalistic state that takes control or rule by corporations you will find Ostrom's work challenging....

My Chapter is inspired very much by Ostrom and Hugo Blanco, it's in a book full of essays on alternatives to the present failed economic model.

I am amazed to be in a book with such important thinkers and activists as Evo Morales and Naomi Klein.

There is book launch on 7th November in London, more details here.

Its not free but at £9.99 its pretty much a steal and of course you can order from the library which makes it commons.

If you want to buy it click here.

23 Oct 2009

Rich petition for higher tax


German millionaires are petitioning the government for an increase in income tax, arguing they don't need the cash but it would help deal with the deficit, reduce inequality and fund renewable energy.

Here in the UK Green Left members will be putting forward a maximum pay resolution to the next Green Party Conference.

In other news, Greed, a new book on greed contains a chapter by yours truly on radical economics and greed.

The age of greed needs to make way for the age of green.

Might add that I am not being paid for Greed, which is appropriate!

Stop press: Americans want higher taxes too.

An ecosocialist MP for Blaneau Gwent?


Well there is one Member of Parliament pushing ecosocialist politics already Dai Davies, he stood as an independent and beat Labour in a by-election, excellent stuff, he is working with my friend Roy Wilkes on free public transport, I am looking forward to posting up more of his stuff.

Be great if Plaid and the Greens gave him a free run at the General Election...



In the past ten days big strides have been made towards a national campaign for free public transport.

I published a research paper some months ago making the case for the wide-scale introduction of free transport.


In areas like ours, where many of our valley communities and people find themselves isolated, the issue is very important.


If you can’t access work, shops, friends, hospitals, and other things which the better-off expect, then life can become very difficult.


The research led to various interviews including an hour-long debate on BBC radio Wales in which I called for free transport to be introduced across Wales.


A like-minded group in Greater Manchester then contacted me, and from that we have agreed to put the whole thing on a UK-wide footing.


At the heart of the UK campaign will be a major research project.


That research will be unveiled at a Conference next March in the House of Commons.


The aim is to get communities, organisations, trades unions, and others involved from all over the UK.


I’ve been asked to lead the campaign, and will chair that inaugural conference of the National Campaign for Free Public Transport for all.


The vice-chair is Roy Wilkes, who has chaired the campaign for free public transport in Greater Manchester.


The aim will be to produce a fully-costed and rigorous evidence-based case, which will address such issues as the social benefits (especially for less well-off communities).


It will also spell out the costs of the present over-dependence on cars, lorries, and profit-making buses and trains – in terms of the environment, pollution, transport gridlock, Co2 emissions, and other issues.


The overall aim is a fully integrated, publicly owned, and free at the point of use system.


This is an issue which every one of us needs to take seriously. Britain is grinding to a halt, we are churning-out climate-threatening levels of co2, many of our most deprived people and areas are isolated and unable to access vital services.


When people ask us ‘can we afford it’, my answer is it could cost us the earth of we don’t take action on this.


The aim of the national campaign is to put that case to everyone in Britain.


more here

21 Oct 2009

Loco motive!


Writing in the 1930s when Nazi barbarism was in the rise, the Marxist philosopher and literary critic Walter Benjamin said: “Marx says that revolutions are the locomotives of world history. But the situation may be quite different. Perhaps revolutions are not the train ride, but the human race grabbing for the emergency brake.”

That’s a powerful metaphor, one that brilliantly sums up the task facing us in the twenty-first century. Capitalism is driving at break-neck speed towards a precipice, towards an ecological catastrophe of unequalled proportions. The science is clear — business as usual is not an option. If nothing is done, then even the most optimistic best-case scenarios predict massive death and destruction.

There is no higher calling, no more important cause for you to devote your lives to, than taking control of the train and slamming on the brakes.

We know what the problem is. We know what needs to be done. So why do our rulers seem determined to leave our children and theirs a world of poisoned air and water, a world of floods and droughts and escalating climate disasters? Why have they repeatedly sabotaged even half-hearted measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions?

When they do consider or implement responses to the climate crisis, why do they always support solutions that do not work, that cannot possibly work?

Karl Marx had a wonderful phrase for the bosses and their agents — the big shareholders and executives and top managers and the politicians they own — a phrase that explains why they invariably act against the present and future interests of humanity. These people, he said, are “personifications of capital” — their social role is that of capital in human form.

They don’t act to stop climate change because the changes needed by the people of this world are directly contrary to the needs of capital.

Capital has no conscience. Capital has no children. Capital has only one imperative: it has to grow.

The only reason for using money to buy stock, launch a corporation, build a factory or drill an oil well is to get more money back than you invested. That doesn’t always happen, of course — some investments fail to produce profits, and, as we are seeing today, periodically the entire system goes into freefall, wiping out jobs and livelihoods and destroying capital. But that doesn’t contradict the fact that the potential for profit, to make capital grow, is a defining feature of capitalism. Without it, the system would rapidly collapse.

As Joel Kovel says, “Capitalism can no more survive limits on growth than a person can live without breathing.”

More here from Ian Angus

URGENT ACTION: THREAT AGAINST AFRO-COLOMBIAN STUDENT

From the International School for Bottom Up Organising

20 October 2009



Dear Friends,

THIS IS AN URGENT REQUEST FOR HELP.

An e-mailed death threat has been received by one of the youngest students at the recent session of the International School of Bottom-up Organizing (ISBO). This is a young man from Colombia, descendent of Maroon fighters against slavery, who has been involved in positive organizing among youth in his community. He is a member of a popular hip-hop band creating positive lyrics well-received by black Colombian youth.

The death threat, minus identifying information, is attached with a translation into English [see below]. It contained numerous errors, which were retained by the translator. We don’t know if this e-mail comes from the Colombian paramilitaries, government, the CIA, or an individual crank.

We are asking you to flood the law enforcement agencies in your area or country with demands to identify this perpetrator and bring him to justice immediately. The e-mail address the letter came from was agente926@gmail.com.

Addresses and e-mail addresses of agencies to which letters can be sent are listed at the bottom of this letter. Feel free to add other appropriate addressees.

We are aware that letters don’t stop bullets. But our early experience in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the early days of civil rights organizing in Mississippi was that our best defense from the violent attacks of racists was the vocal and public support of thousands and tens of thousands of supporters
nationwide and worldwide. Please forward this to friends, contacts and list serves that you deem appropriate.

ISBO is training organizers to build an egalitarian new world, led by the poorest and darkest among us, especially women. This attack is a sign that we are doing something the oppressors don’t want us to do. We thank you in advance for your support. You can also visit ISBO online at www.peoplesorganizing.org.

In struggle,

International School for Bottom-up Organizing

For more info and solidarity messages, email: bottomuporganizer@yahoo.com

A few addresses for your letters:

President Obama's email: president@whitehouse.gov; his phone number: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414 Fax: 202-456-2461

CIA (contact form webpage) https://www.cia.gov/cgi-bin/comment_form.cgi (phone) 703) 482-0623 (fax) 703) 482-1739

FBI has no national email address...they say that some local offices may have some. (phone)202) 324-3000

Colombian Ambassador’s Office in US: emwas@colombiaemb.org

Select Committee on Intelligence(senate intelligence comittee) Intelligence.HPSCI@mail.house.gov / 202-224-1700

Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations

E-mail: colombia@colombiaun.org

Website: www.colombia.un.org

Colombian Embassy in London: elondres@cancilleria.gov.co [also mail@colombianembassy.co.uk ]

Colombian president contact form: http://syscopre.presidencia.gov.co/publico/frmCiudadano.aspx

Colombian National Police: Lineadirecta@policia.gov.co

Amnesty International: aimember@aiusa.org

Please send to other agencies and groups that you feel are appropriate.

THREAT MESSAGE /MENSAJE DE AMENAZA

(I hope get it subversive son of bitch)



Good Day Mr _______, or better [nickname used here] as you choose, bad news I am afraid. For some time now we have been investigating you. The result of this investigation has helped us to deduce that you are a person attempting against the sovereignty and the economical growth of the people, bringing about the possibility of unleashing an era [this word era was wrongly spelled: “hera” is actually “era” in Spanish as well] of violence, bloodshed and terror for many people.

We know that at the moment you are organizing a subversive movement, which is growing fast, your recent connections with terrorists make you a deserver of this communicate. This administrative community orders you to desist of this terrorist idea, otherwise you will have to be exterminated for every ones well-being.

We want to clarify that this IS NOT a threat, neither a friends’ game, we know everything about you for example: which are the places you frequently go to, we know you have an account number with movistar (telephone company) N [number given here] with the line number [other number given], your email address is ___________ you are also part of a music group called _________, we know you have a double identity [the fact that he is in the university is one of the identities from what I can make out – translator’s note], you study in the university __________ currently doing 5 semester of foreign languages degree, we know that you have a long list of telephone calls registered to your account, including to members of the organization abroad, you have been going out of the country to meet them, a trip to Jamaica (ticket bought in London), and in the last two weeks you HAVE traveled with Avianca company to Medellin and Bogota Colombia to meet with new members and plan moves for this guerrilla organization. [Note: this was actually performance travel with his band.]

As you can see, we know more about you than you about us.

If you want to continue to be at the side of those you love and don’t want to get to know the other world that you think you can get. Mr. _____________ WITH CODE [this might be his id number] _________ This administrative community orders you to desist of this terrorist idea, otherwise you will have to be exterminated for everyone well-being.

THIS IS NOT A GAME DON’T TRY TO ESCAPE THROUGH THE ALLEY BEHIND YOUR HOUSE.

BECAUSE WE GOT AN EYE ON YOU.

espero te llegue hijo de puta subversibo.

Buen día señor ____________ o mejor _________ como usted prefiera, pero con malas noticias. Desde hace mucho tiempo hemos venido ejerciendo una investigación sobre usted, y el resultado de esto nos sirvió para identificar que usted es una persona que atenta contra la soberanead de los pueblos y el crecimiento económico de estos, propiciando a desencadenar una Hera de violencia sangre y terror para muchas personas.

Sabemos que en el momento se encuentra organizando un movimiento subversivo, que está creciendo con rapidez, sus vínculos frecuentes con terroristas, lo hacen merecedor de este comunicado (Esta comunidad administrativa le ordena que desista de esta idea terrorista, de lo contrario usted tendrá que ser exterminado por el bienestar de todos)

Queremos aclarar que esto NO ES una amenaza, ni un juego de amigos, sabemos todo sobre usted como por ejemplo: cuales son los lugares que frecuenta, sabemos que tiene una cuanta en movistar N _______ con línea _________, su dirección de e-mail es _________ que pertenece a un grupo musical llamado __________, sabemos que tiene una fachada , estudia en la universidad _________ cursando 5 semestre de licenciatura en lenguas extranjeras, sabemos que registra una larga lista de llamadas telefónicas incluida a miembros de la organización en el exterior, ha estado saliendo del país para reunirse con ellos, un viaje a Jamaica ( tiquete comprado en Londres) , y en las últimas dos semanas HA viajado con la empresa Avianca a Medellín y Bogotá Colombia para reunirse con los nuevos miembros y planear avances de esta organización guerrillera.

Como se pudo dar cuenta, sabemos más de usted que usted de nosotros.

Si quiere seguir al lado de quienes ama y no quiere conocer el otro mundo que usted cree que puede conseguir. Señor ____________CON CODIGO ___________ Esta comunidad administrativa le ordena que desista de esta idea terrorista, de lo contrario usted tendrá que ser exterminado por el bienestar de todos)…………………….

NO ES UN JUEGO Y NO INTENTE SALIRSE POR DETRAS DEL CALLEJON DE SUCASA.

PORQUE LOTENEMOS EN LA MIRA. 


18 Oct 2009

NUT motion on climate change.

Martin sent me this, gracias mate....would have liked to have seen climate camp and my mates in the Selva a bit more up front (both of whom continue to make very big waves as you will glean from recent blog posts) but hey excellent stuff....it would be great to see some organisations contratulating Elinor Ostrom, just seems to be us Green Party people, Elinor's work is totally key to delivering wealth and ecology, she really is the women to stop climate change (she will hate me for this as its all about commons and the creativity of human beings doing for themselves!).

Spread the word, the old economics is dead we have Elinoronmics!


This motion was agreed unanimously by the National Union of Teachers National Executive Committee on 8 October 2009
Mobilise for UN Climate talks in Copenhagen, December 09

“This meeting believes that we need a just, global and collectivised transition from a greed economy to a green economy. Sustainability rather than profit should be the hallmark of success as we recover from economic crisis.

This requires government investment in green industries such as renewable energy, insulation of all homes and workplaces, re-skilling of workers and research into further technological development. This will create or save tens of thousands of jobs at a time when many workers and students are concerned for their own future employment.

We congratulate workers at the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, who highlighted this issue so well by occupying their factory during August 2009, and who continue to campaign for the nationalisation of wind turbine and other green production since its closure.

We believe that the United Nations Climate Talks in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December 2009 could be our last chance to secure such a global, democratic commitment to measures that might avert climate catastrophe, before our planet’s ecology destabilises irreversibly.

Therefore we call on the national bodies of all TUC affiliates, and the TUC itself, to support a demonstration in London on Saturday 5 December 2009, and mobilise for an international workers’ and students’ presence throughout the Copenhagen talks, especially on 12 December.

We ask all such bodies to work with Stop Climate Chaos (www.stopclimatechaos.org) and the Campaign Against Climate Change (www.campaigncc.org) in planning and preparing for these events.”

News from Peru!

In Bagua, the situation is particularly tense, Blanco said. “The police stations are currently without police because the police are afraid to be seen there. Some of the police live in the area but they go around without their uniforms.”

Other struggles are also being waged against transnational mining companies operating in Peru. “In parts of the mountainous regions, conflicts continue against the mining companies.

“Some indigenous people have declared that they will not allow mining companies in.

“Because these communities have received a large amount of solidarity, the government does not dare attack them. But the rivers continue to be patrolled by the navy, threatening local communities.

“There are also peasants in a jail located in the area who the government is attempting to transfer to Lima, something which is illegal.”

The government is also persecuting indigenous leaders, with 41 AIDESEP leaders facing charges. Eight have already been detained.

AIDESEP leader Alberto Pizango, along with two other activists, is in exile, facing charges of sedition and rebellion against the state. Many others are in hiding.

The government has attempted to stage farcical negotiations with hand picked, unrepresentative indigenous leaders.

The Garcia government “has demonstrated itself to be a faithful servant of the multinational companies”, Blanco said.

These companies “plunder the jungle and mountain regions, poisoning the rivers, destroying the soil and using agrochemicals”.

“It is this commitment to defending imperialist companies that explains why the government has been waging this campaign of intimidation against the indigenous peoples.”

Indigenous peoples “have responded with indignation”.

Blanco said that while the recent upsurge became national in scope, struggles tend to be regionalised, with a local leadership.

“Some people belong to organisations, such as my group the Peasant Confederation of Peru, others to CONACAMI [National Coordinating Committee of Communities Affected by Mining], but in essence they are local leaders.”

Unlike Bolivia, where the indigenous movement has been able to create a powerful united national force, Blanco said in Peru, “the movements and struggles are not led by any of the national organisations”.

In this context, Lucha Indigena aims to be “one more voice for indigenous people”, Blanco said it tries to unte “the mobilisations, the struggles that the people are waging”.

With presidential elections scheduled for 2011, and with polls placing “anti-neoliberal” candidate Ollanta Humala among the top two preferred candidates, some on the left are arguing that an electoral victory for Humala could be an important breakthrough in Peruvian politics.

In the last presidential elections, Garcia narrowly won out against Humala, who heads the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP).

However, Blanco, who is also director of the monthly Lucha Indigena newspaper, doesn’t believe “a government like that of Morales [in Bolivia] or Correa [in Ecuador]” will emerge from these elections.

“We have to remember that in those countries, they overthrew various presidents before electing such governments. We are only now overcoming 20 years of internal war and great repression, where some 70,000 Peruvians died — particularly indigenous and popular leaders.”

Blanco said the reason Humala polled so well in the last elections was because he “appeared as the only serious opposition to neoliberalism. He talked about the issues that people felt strongly about. while the left was shifting to the centre.

“He maintained a radical discourse, but it was radical in words only.”

For example, the Socialist Party and other organisations collected signatures to call a referendum on the issue of the US-Peru FTA.

“They collected the signatures and presented them. Humala did not move a single finger during that campaign.

“But paradoxically, in the election campaign, he talked about the FTA but the left parties didn’t.

“That is why the people voted for him.”

Blanco also criticised Humala’s “top down” approach to naming leaders and candidates of the PNP.

“It’s interesting to note that despite the fact that he won a high vote in his campaign to become president, in the regional and municipal elections that occurred afterwards, the PNP vote was a failure because he imposed the candidates.

“They were not candidates that had support from the people or even the ranks of the party.”

As well as the PNP, a new political formation has emerged, Peru Plurinational, which aims to build a political instrument of the indigenous peoples and social movements.

“The idea that the indigenous population should have a single political expression, that they are not trailing behind others, is a positive proposal”, Blanco said.

“But this has been organised in a very apparatus-based manner and it also seems to not be moving forward.”

Blanco said that the only important force really promoting Peru Plurinational was CONACAMI.

It was announced on October 12 that Pizango would stand as the PP candidate for president.
Blanco told GLW on October 15 that this was a positive development: “Pizango is [a representative of] the energetic and prolonged Amazonian struggle and his candidacy strengthens the indigenous and popular movements.

“The simple launching of the candidacy is a triumph of those movements, even if we do not win.”

Blanco said victory would be difficult, “because we need a lot of money for the campaign and because Humala and [progressive priest and presidential candidate Father Marco] Arana will take votes away from him.”

However, Blanco said Pizango’s campaign will help “bring together all those who believe that it through struggles like those of the Amazonian peoples that we can confront big multinational capital”.

More here

17 Oct 2009

Climate camp police violence reports coming through


No reports of any accidental deaths of anarchists or passing news paper vendors ....but looks like the cops are biffing people again.

Around 2.30pm Nottinghamshire Police’s Chief Inspector, Linda McCarthy, told Sky and BBC that they were delivering “proportional policing” but that police officers had been assaulted and the peaceful stage of he protest was now over.

Sky News’ reporter on the ground Darren Little reported that he’d not seen any evidence of people assaulting police. Meanwhile there were lots of activists' reports of police hitting protestors rather than arrest them – well, it’s less paperwork I suppose.

Climate camp TV

Hey Derek. Thanks for posting about the Swoop. If you wanted to follow up post-Swoop we have loads of cool content over at http://live.climatecamp.tv

Feel free to embed!

There's also some interesting reading/updates at the Climate Camp blog: www.climatecamp.org.uk/blog

Cheers!


On the contrary thanks Ray, the climate camp is wonderful, a lot of the time I have people arguing that the Irish Green Party with their support for motorways and corrupt bankers is the way forward.

Great to see some solid and focussed action...sorry not to be with you, off to see my Mum this weekend for her 7Oth birthday.

Towards an unnatural economy

As public awareness of the Copenhagen treaty grows ever greater, we should not stand back and simply join the throng of voices calling for greater and greater promises from the political elite ('Can our leaders please be nicer! Can our leaders please be nicer!). Talk of 50, 60, 80% cuts in emissions deals neither with distribution not production - it deals with the idea of a treaty itself. Our voice should be a clear and loud 'How?', contrasting with the confused 'What?' of other groups. And in doing so, we should be confident that we do have the tools to express an alternative economy: one built not on Nature as a resource, but on participants living in Common.

I don't follow the SWP but it is said they have suspend student members and bloggers at SOAS....the people in question ran a website called Counter Fire, which looked quite good and interesting.

It has been shut down, noticed this on the commons and ecology, it seems to miss much of the debate on commons and ecology that ecosocialists have been promoting, let along Elinor Ostrom.

Strange....any way it was cached so I have decided to cut and paste. hey its about the commons and participation....

Towards an Unnatural Economy

In this piece I’m going to make four connected points about how the climate movement, as a large group of people acting against capitalism, can move our ideas forward collectively.

The first point deals with where Nature fits into our politics.
The second and third points look at some core components of any economic theory: production, distribution and consumption.
Finally, based on these idea, I make some suggestion about how the movement relates to the Copenhagen climate treaty.
Frequently, we pretend as if the message we put out there and the process of bringing people into the movement are separate activities. Often, this leads us to hide some of our radicalism, or even to change our message in order not to 'alienate' people. But surely a movement of people who would be alienated by our radicalism isn't a movement worth building?

Instead, the right message should bring people in: we must have faith in our politics, in the fact that what we are saying actually is for everyone. When we get our messages of democracy out there, people like them. What we often fail on is articulating alternative solutions when people finally do give us the time of day.

So below is a short way out of this, attempting to construct some ideas for how we could talk about the economy on our own terms, in our own words. In the immediate, this is a contribution to the discussion around Where Next? for the Camp for Climate Action UK network. But I hope that it also acts as a contribution to more general discussions within the movement.

1. Nature as Culture

The central question we face is how to really know, how to believe, that climate change is occurring, that ecological disaster is round the corner. How can we get a point where we don’t just stare at numbers and statistics, but - on mass – undertake climate change as the central challenge of our generation. What lies at the heart of this is our shared understanding of Nature.

Previous 'green' movements have focused on protection - of trees, fish, mountains. But with climate change it’s not so much a question of the piece by piece protection of plants and animals, but a question of international political will - whether grass-roots or top-down. In this way, the climate justice movement has more in common with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) than the green movements of the 1970s.

Odd as it may seem, the current blossoming of the ‘green’ movement isn’t really very green at all. 'Nature' is not inherently anti-capitalist; indeed, Capitalism can be 'natural'. Or rather, capitalism has the ability to inhabit all the concepts of Nature which we share: it is cyclic (boom and bust); it cares for the status quo; it has large, inter-networked distribution chains... And it is these competing concepts of Nature which are forcing people from their homes in the names of forest protection.

This could mean that we should abandon Nature, and instead continue to abstract ourselves further and further away from what we conceive to be natural, in a desperate attempt to undermine the organic component of capital. But this would lead us into the strange territory of technological nodes and sci-fi cyborgs, interacting on a purely mathematical level. There are no black-blockers saving white bunnies here.

Alternatively, we implement the notion of the Commons, not just as a crudely nostalgic term, but as a serious economic and political idea. To elaborate: just as it is life, not peace, that is the opposite of war, so the opposite of the Commons is not Property, but Resource. It is this concept on which we can build an Ecology of People: we are bound up together not as natural resources for the capitalists to plunder, but as participants in the Commons.

2. Doing away with waste

To be in Commons concerns the creation and sharing of goods - in other words, production and distribution. These areas also reveal the central problems which are pushing us towards catastrophic climate change: we make too much stuff for the wrong people, and we also make too much of the wrong stuff.

In order to deal with ecological catastrophe, the imperialism of the technologies of the global North and new forms of apartheid, we must take these problems head on. To reformulate: How can we, in Common, create the right amount of stuff for the right people?

Our criticisms of distribution usually focus on the pattern of Waste in our society: freegans lapping up food-waste, squatters filling in housing-waste, carbon rationers clamping down on energy-waste. Waste, however, is not solely a post-capitalist concern: it's very capitalist. Capitalists abhor waste: it's really expensive. Dealing with waste can be dealt with by capitalists quite easily; indeed, it's a prime concern. What they can't deal with is the distribution of that which is not waste. In many ways, our concern should not be about the goods which we have access to through the inefficiency of supermarkets and governments, but the non-wasted things to which we do not have access.

But we should also be aware that consumption is, in itself, a form of distribution. Capitalism is not only creating goods intended for no-one (waste), but also goods intended for people who do not need them. Capital power does not provide individuals with the ability to make certain choices, but makes the choice for us. Rather than goods being distributed along lines of social utility/need, capital enables the invisibility of a skewed distribution system.

The distribution of money is, in effect, our collective system the distribution of goods. These concepts of distribution are being challenged in an effective and progressive manner by a number of NGOs, and through the lens of climate change. Sometimes activists try to distance themselves from NGOs, and I can understand the need to not want to act as the strong arm of the lobbyists, the threatening calling card. However, it's not as if they don't get their hands dirty: that 'we' often includes activists from these organisations.

Post-capitalism requires new economic ideas. And now is a time of economic reconstruction: there will be regulations along different modes. Much of this will involve climate change as a bargaining chip, and as an excuse. But rather than lament our lack of pure anarchy, we could embrace our ability to threaten the state based on the research and policy of progressive NGOs. In so doing we could help the radicals within these NGOs achieve certain goals, such as a progressive banking system, enable the efficient workings and influence of corporate watchdogs, etc.

3. Production for Commoners

The flip side of distribution is production. If nature is not a resource, but held in Common, then the way in which we produce goods must reflect that. The vast majority of energy use is for the production of goods: China may be constructing a coal fired power station every week, but a quarter of that energy makes good which we consume. Whereas with distribution we make too much stuff for the wrong people, when we examine production we can see that we also just make too much of the wrong stuff.

To deal with production we need a movement which relies on the tactics of workers' movements, whether wild cat strikes or through an organised labour movement. This does not mean that workers are the only force of any relevance in our struggle, or that only workers can challenge production. Communities are intricately involved in processes of production. For example, unpaid labour of many women the world over supports the paid labour of male production.

What we can tell from Vestas, in terms of organising in and around the work place, is that while the vast majority of unions are actively discouraging their members taking action (for the same reasons as, and in the same manner as, the political parties), the remainder of the unions lack many of the skills necessary to support serious industrial action. The unions' strengths are not, however, in effective media, legal and/or action support. It is in its membership and their ability to take mass action from the inside out.

There are some great Unions out there, building membership, radicalising disuptes. Those of relevance to the climate justice movement, as far as I can see, fall into 4 categories: Energy, Transport, Production and Information. In energy the main Union is the GMB, which has been organising disuptes at the Lindsey oil refinery, and the National Grid. Around Transport, we have the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport workers Union), fervently progressive, leading the Tube workers' strikes, and of course at Vestas (not really their sector, but they made a specious argument to do so). The production category could include Vestas, and certainly Visteon – the car parts factory that was occupied by its workers during the London G20, with suuport from climate activists.

Information might include the Communications Workers Union (CWU), except that their campaigns are really around banking, not progressive communications, strangely enough. This is the most difficult sector to organise around or talk about - in some ways, perhaps we're not there yet. Open source internet projects perhaps show the way, as do Pirate Parties, the Open Knowledge Foundation, etc. But if we could organise as knowledge workers, employed as such or otherwise, we might have a way of fighting with the tool becoming most inherent to the functionings of Northern capital.

4. Not What, But How

As said before, capitalism can be natural: Green Capitalism is here, it happened right in front of our eyes. The green New Deal as a phrase has been absorbed into the political vocabulary, and Obama crowned as green-banker-in-chief. As we approach Copenhagen, statements from politicians and the media continually focus on the potential commitment of China, the industrialisation of India, and the financial reparations from the Global North to the Global South.

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China - the fastest and largest industrializing states) should not be seen simply as some kind of inept and inconvenient phantom, a pawn used by the US and the EU to allow ever greater climate crimes. Instead, we should recognize the huge struggles within these countries and understand their relevance to our own resistance.

The same applies to the commitments of aid to countries threatened by climate change. Much of the time this so-called recognition of the needs of the Global South in adapting to climate change is a patronising way of denying the need for the Global North to adapt as well. Increasingly the calls for a sharing of information between North and South in how to deal with Climate change is actually a byword for a Northern imperialism.

As public awareness of the Copenhagen treaty grows ever greater, we should not stand back and simply join the throng of voices calling for greater and greater promises from the political elite ('Can our leaders please be nicer! Can our leaders please be nicer!). Talk of 50, 60, 80% cuts in emissions deals neither with distribution not production - it deals with the idea of a treaty itself. Our voice should be a clear and loud 'How?', contrasting with the confused 'What?' of other groups. And in doing so, we should be confident that we do have the tools to express an alternative economy: one built not on Nature as a resource, but on participants living in Common.

Other Reading

Alex Foti, Climate Anarchists vs Green Capitalists: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/22367
David Graeber, Fragment of an Anarchist Anthropology: http://www.prickly-paradigm.com/paradigm14.pdf
k-punk, Anti-Organic Anti-Capitalism: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/
Larry Lohman, What Next?: http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/item.shtml?x=369050
Slavoj Zizek, Ecology against Nature: http://www.bedeutung.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10:zizek-unbehagen-in-der-natur&catid=6:contents&Itemid=16
Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis, 20 Theses against green capitalism: http://info.interactivist.net/node/11656
The Fearless Theorillas, Violence and red-green: http://climateactioncafe.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/violence-and-red-green/
Toni Negri, Alma Venus (Poverty, Love): http://www.after1968.org/app/webroot/uploads/negri-almavenus(1).pdf