27 Oct 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal on climate change


As millions come to grips with the claimed agreements emerging from the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, it's impossible to resist the suspicion that politics can provide no solution to the serious environmental and ecological problems facing the earth.
Despite the absurdity of shout shows which daily disparage global warming, it is a fact that sea ice in the Arctic is melting, as are Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets.  This, coupled with melting glacial  ice in places like the Himalayas, spells climate change that threatens disaster for millions of people in the region of Bangladesh, and the Indian state of West Bengal.

It means both flooding and drought, increased heat, more disease and the destruction of human habitat.

Politicians, speaking for their nation states, pledge a lessening of carbon emissions by 2020, thereby ignoring the view of many scientists that if all such emissions ceased today, the deleterious effects would be devastating.

Eleven years from now, very few of the politicians making today's agreement will be in office. As Bush showed, it's relatively easy to abrogate a treaty obligation -- just ignore it.

Politicians are overwhelmingly the hirelings of the corporate class; they often do their bidding, as it is usually them -- and only them -- who can afford them!

When the Tuvalu Islands, low lying atolls in the South west Pacific, go underwater; when rivers burst their banks  in Bangladesh; when drought threatens millions in India and Africa, will we look back at Copenhagen and think, 'well done?'

I think not.

[Source: Foster, John Bellamy, "The Vulnerable Planet Fifteen Years Later, " Monthly Review {vol. 61:no. 7}, (Dec. 2009), pp.17-19.]

23 Oct 2012

Mumia on the Massacre in Marikina

Dying For A Raise

'Dying For A Raise' by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Recorded 9-2-12

[col. writ. 8/31/12] © ’12 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Massacre in Marikina, South Africa, of striking mine workers has caused dismay and disbelief the world over.

Thirty four miners were slaughtered, and 78 others wounded by a hail of police gunfire.

How could this be in today’s South Africa?

How could this happen in a post- apartheid South Africa?

How could this happen in a predominantly Black government, led by the African National Congress (ANC)?

The spectacle tells the tale: black police, clad in blue overall uniforms, were called by the Lonmin Mine Co. officials, to stand against Black miners holding a wildcat strike demanding better wages and improved working conditions.

Miners at Lonmin Platinum are paid on average R4, 000 (=$480 U.S.), and were demanding a raise to R12, 500 (=$1,500) per month.  These strikers, several thousand rock-drill operators, were trying to live and raise families on $120 –per week!

When they refused police orders to disperse from a nearby hill, the cops attacked them with automatic weapons fire.

Who do you think they worked for: their people – or the mine operators and owners?

Whom did they serve and protect?

In Marikana, in South Africa’s North West Province, lies a mine boasting one of the world’s richest veins of platinum.  Indeed, South Africa is home to some 80% of the world supply of platinum, one of the world’s most precious and strategic metals.

And striking miners are dying for a pittance, while owners and investors are making billions!

The cops of capitalism serve those who can afford their services.


Marikana, North West Province, South Africa joins Sharpville for police and state massacres of Africans.

Just as Sharpeville sparked resistance, let Marikana now do the same!

--© ’12 maj

19 Oct 2012

Peter Tatchell 'Nick Griffin and BNP smear critics'

(reposting Peter Tatchell's article)
False allegations re child sex abuse
Griffin tweets menace & intimidate gay couple
Free speech does not include the right to menace

Huffington Post - London - 19 October 2012
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, writes about the human rights issues concerning the Nick Griffin tweet scandal:
The far right British National Party (BNP) has been badly stung by criticisms of its leader, Nick Griffin, following his seemingly menacing tweets about the B&B gay couple who won an anti-discrimination case:
It’s particularly enraged by my call - and that of others - for Griffin to be prosecuted.
Faced with widespread public outrage, the BNP is desperately trying to divert attention, and take the heat off Griffin, by launching a smear campaign against its main public critics, Liberty and myself.
On twitter, Griffin has today falsely suggested that both of us have supported child sex abuse and endorsed the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). We don’t - and never have:  
In bid to discredit me and undermine my criticism of Griffin, the BNP website has gone even further; explicitly denouncing me as “paedophile apologist....who wants to legalise the paedophile abuse of children by abolishing the age of consent laws:”
None of this is true. I have always condemned adults having sex with children and campaigned to empower young people to resist and report sex abusers. I’ve never argued or campaigned for the abolition of the consent laws.
The BNP website has also published a doctored image of me holding a fake Paedophile Information Exchange placard. It looks very much like a photo-shopped version of a placard I once made that denounced Griffin and the BNP as homophobes and neo-Nazis:  http://goo.gl/xVtLw
I guess I should be enraged by such lies and gutter tactics. But I’m not. No one takes Griffin and the BNP seriously these days. They are sad, pathetic, desperate losers; clutching at straws to deflect attention away from their sinking reputations, declining electoral fortunes and violent in-fighting. The bigger and more outrageous their fabrications, the stronger the evidence of their lack of arguments, credibility and moral authority.
The slurs against me are actually a back-handed compliment; proof that the BNP takes me seriously and has been damaged by my criticisms - now and in years gone by. They want revenge.
The BNP first started the paedophile smear campaign against me in 2010, shortly after I ambushed Griffin; interrupting his Westminster press conference and exposing the BNP’s long history of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and bigotry against Muslims:
But the bid to defame me has got no traction. Everyone knows that as a human rights campaigner I’d never endorse child sex abuse - or any abuse of any one for any reason. All that these far right smear tactics have done is show up the BNP as a vicious, unprincipled neo-fascist rump.
This latest saga began yesterday afternoon, when Griffin, who is a Member of the European Parliament, tweeted:
"So Messrs Black & Morgan, [address given] A British Justice Team will come up to [address given] and give you a..."
"...bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!"
Griffin claims people like me are objecting to his tweet on the grounds that it is “offensive”. Wrong. More than offensive, it’s sinister.
If his tweet had been posted by the leader of the Women’s Institute most of us would be surprised but not fearful. Coming from the leader of the BNP gives this tweet an altogether more scary, alarming character. BNP members have been convicted of incitements, harassment and violence. In this context, many people read Griffin’s tweet as menacing.
I know from first-hand experience. In the past, BNP supporters have sent me similar messages, which were later followed up with actual physical attacks on me and my flat.
Griffin’s warning to the gay couple that they will visited at their home by a “British Justice Team” and be given a “bit of drama” could be construed as implying the dispensation of justice; that the gay couple will be given the justice they deserve by the BNP’s enforcers.  
In response to criticism of Griffin’s tweet, BNP supporters are whingeing that he is being denied free speech. I’m the first to defend freedom of speech, even the free speech of people with whom I profoundly disagree. However, Griffin’s tweet is not a simple free speech issue. He seems to have crossed the line from free speech into the realm of menace, threat and intimidation.
It is an abuse of freedom of speech to use or suggest menace. This closes down debate. It makes people who feel menaced afraid to speak and participate. They are intimidated into silence, for fear of the possible consequences.
Free speech should normally only be criminalised in two circumstances. First, in the instance of damaging untruths, which harm a person’s reputation or put people in physical danger, such as false allegations of tax fraud or child sex abuse. Second, in the case of threats, harassment, intimidation or incitement to violence.
In my opinion, there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Nick Griffin for a menacing tweet that is likely to cause alarm, distress and fear. Arrest him.
For further information:
Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
0207 403 1790
Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
Web: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

15 Oct 2012

To tackle both austerity and climate change we need to create an alternative economic logic.

Money needs to be used to fund alternatives to extracting oil. Solutions based on bringing a halt to extraction are always condemned as unrealistic, but they're the only way to stop sawing away at that branch.
Business as usual is rapidly becoming impossible. But simply halting extraction could leave all of us in trouble since we're so dependent on fossil fuels.
We need a just transition, with workplace conversion to create alternatives to the polluting industries.
The present approach, doing little or nothing, leaves future generations with an impossible bill to pick up.
The logic is just the same as with the banking crisis. Here too, short-term thinking and a system based on greed led to disaster in 2008, yet the debts created are being forced on the poorest in the form of austerity cuts.
Do nothing or accelerate the damage until it's too late - then make the rest of us pay for the mistakes of the rich and powerful.
It's an approach that must be challenged across the board.
To tackle both austerity and climate change we need to create an alternative economic logic. There's no contradiction between opposing cuts and protecting the environment. We all need a future that works.
That's why this Saturday October 20 I'll be marching with the Climate Bloc on the TUC demonstration. As the Climate Bloc says: "The climate crisis and the economic crisis have the same root causes in an economy rigged in favour of the richest 1 per cent."
We'll be backing the TUC campaign for a million "green" jobs and from defending indigenous peoples fighting climate change to workers fighting for an alternative to climate chaos we'll be marching for it.
We're meeting at 11am at St Paul's. Please join us.
Derek Wall is international co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales.


11 Oct 2012


  • For a Future That Doesn't Cost the Earth!
    Against Austerity, For Climate Justice!

    We are people from many different environmental campaigns. We are joining the TUC march on 20 October to be part of a huge popular challenge to austerity and the misery and hopelessness it is creating. We will march together on the 20th to raise the crucial question of tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of A Future That Works. Dealing with these issues together is possible, necessary and desirable. The climate is changing dramatically, and we are already seeing huge impacts on food prices and energy costs.

    We don’t have to choose between the climate and the economy. The climate crisis and the economic crisis have the same root causes, in an economy rigged in favour of the richest 1%. More and more people are calling for investment in jobs which reduce emissions – for example, in renewable energy, public transport, and insulating our homes, which would make a vital start in tackling both climate change and unemployment. We also need to talk about what kind of work we need for a cleaner, fairer future.

    Meet 11am at St Paul's to assemble before joining the march.


    Join the demonstration: http://afuturethatworks.org/

    Support the Climate Bloc: http://www.climatebloc.wordpress.com/


4 Oct 2012

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett speaks out for nuclear free Middle East

Building towards a nuclear weapons-free Middle East:  civil society input for a new Helsinki process 

CND International Conference,Saturday 13th October 2012   

09.00–10.00    Tea and coffee served on arrival 

10.00–10.15 Welcome – Dave Webb, CND Chair 

10.15–11.45 Objectives for the 2012 Helsinki Conference on a Middle East Zone free of WMD 

Keynote speech: Ambassador Pekka Huhtaniemi, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UK 
Panel: Regional, Global and Humanitarian Dimensions of Disarmament 
Rebecca Johnson – CND Vice-President, ICAN Co-Chair 
Ahmed Saada –Egyptian physician and activist 
Ghassan Shahrour–Syria 
Elaheh Rostami-Povey – School of Oriental and African Studies 

11.45–12.00 Tea break 

12.00–13.15 Parallel workshops: 

1. Linking Regional and International campaigns to abolish and eliminate nuclear 
weapons: Arielle Denis, ICAN Campaigns Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa 
Ernest Rodker, Campaign for a Nuclear–Free Middle East 

2. NATO nuclear policies, the Gulf states, and the role of Middle East neighbours 
Arife Kose, Turkey and Rae Street, CND 

3. Peace, security and denuclearisation challenges in the Middle East 
Sharon Dolev, Israeli Disarmament Campaign 
Professor Abbas Edalat, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran 

4. Civil society input for the Helsinki Middle East Conference 
Jasna Bastic, Peace Boat and Nasser Burdestani, Bahrain 

13.15–14.30 Lunch 

14.30–16.00 Reports from workshop and discussion of recommendations to be forwarded  
to the Helsinki Conference, facilitated by Daniel Blaneyand Sarah Cartin, CND 

16.15–17.30 Closing Plenary, chaired by Dave Webb 
Our role in achieving a nuclear-weapons free Middle East 
Kate Hudson, CND 
Jeremy Corbyn MP 
Sharon Dolev, Israeli Disarmament Campaign 
 Natalie Bennett, Green Party 
Leanne Wood AM 

17.30–19.00 Reception (sponsored by Gotham Erskine auditors)