30 Apr 2007

'Too Drunk to Fuck' star says vote Green in local elections

Jello Biafra backs Greens in local elections
Local elections are the starting point to make changes in the government, Biafra said. He encouraged people to vote and stated, "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want and get it."

Biafra encouraged a maximum wage for everyone, talked about squatters' rights and the need for dialogue between differing ideologies.

"Don't argue, communicate," Biafra said. " You're planting seeds."

He drove home the point to the audience that they were responsible for creating change and reminded them that they have helped to create a turnaround in the perception of the war in Iraq faster than was done with the Vietnam War.

Jello Biafra, former leader singer of the Dead Kennedys, is on tour, promoting green politics. I love Jello, I watched one of those punk politics DVDs a month or two ago with lots of interview footage (a Don Letts special), jello is a geniune cultural seer, with much wisdom.

I mean listen to this:
Biafra held nothing back from the audience as he cried out, "Oh my god, why isn't Dick Cheney in jail?" referring to the vice president's military and personal actions.

Biafra reiterated a point by Maria Armoudian, radio host on KPFK 90.7 and commissioner for the city of Los Angeles, who introduced him, in stating, "Don't hate the media; become the media."

Biafra encouraged everyone to not buy commercial products and to support local businesses, as he stated that was one of the ways they could make a difference.

He yelled about the greed for oil and called people who drive SUVs "Hummerheads." In regards to chain corporations, he stated, "I haven't eaten at McDonald's in 30 years. I have yet to give one penny of my money to Wal-Mart - EVER!"

'Too Drunk to Fuck' also known on Radio One as 'a record by the Dead Kennedys' is one of the tracks in his discography, here is what the wiki oracle says (wonder what it says on conservapedia).

"Too Drunk to Fuck" was the fourth single by the Dead Kennedys. The record was released in May 1981 on Cherry Red Records with "The Prey" as the b-side. Both songs from this single are available on the rarities album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987).

The single reached Number 36 in the UK Singles Chart, although it was not stocked in some record shops because of its provocative title. It was the first UK Top 40 single to include the word "fuck" in its title. Not surprisingly, it was banned from Radio 1 airplay and Top of the Pops by the BBC. When it reached the Top 40, presenter Tony Blackburn referred to it simply as "a record by the Dead Kennedys".

You can listen here

He ran against Ralph Nader and my friend Joel Kovel for the Green Party Presidential nomination in 2000.

He took 'biafra' from the troubled region on Nigeria, starved in war during the 1960s and 'jello' from the generic food title.

'Holiday in Cambodia' is the iconic track.

Neat, neat, neat....whenever David Cameron talks green think of jello biafra,

whenever 'realos' say we have to cut the commitments and go 'new green' think of jello biafra.

Wish he was in the Green Party of England and Wales, but Green Party west side has some real stars....and no leader!

Perhaps we could draft Don Letts...any one out there got his email or mobile and I will ask him....

Here is Jello's latest speech.

Is that an Earth First! t shirt I see...

Here is the wiki take on this 1979 run for mayor of SF

In the fall of 1979, Biafra ran for mayor of San Francisco as a prank, using the Jello ad campaign catchphrase, "There's always room for Jello", as his campaign slogan. Having entered the race before creating a campaign platform, Biafra later wrote his platform on a napkin while attending a Pere Ubu concert. As he campaigned, Biafra wore campaign t-shirts from his opponent Quentin Kopp's previous campaign and at one point vacuumed leaves off the front lawn of another opponent, current U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, to mock her publicity stunt of sweeping streets in downtown San Francisco for a few hours. Supporters committed equally odd actions; two well known signs held by supporters said "If he doesn't win I'll kill myself" and "What if he does win?" His platform included unconventional points such as forcing businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits and a citywide ban on cars (although the latter point was not considered abnormal by many voters at the time, as the city was suffering from serious pollution problems).[4] Biafra has expressed irritation that these parts of his platform attained such notoriety, preferring instead to be remembered for serious proposals such as legalizing squatting in vacant, tax-delinquent buildings and requiring police officers to keep their jobs by running for election voted on by the people of the neighborhoods they patrol.[6] During a TV interview (reproduced on The Early Years home video and DVD), he had this to say to those who thought less of him running for mayor: “For those of them who have seen my candidacy as a publicity stunt or a joke, they should keep in mind that it is no more of a joke, and no less of a joke than anyone else they care to name.”[7] He finished fourth out of a field of ten, receiving 3.5% of the vote (6,591 votes); the election ended in a runoff that did not involve him (Feinstein was declared the winner). In reaction to his campaign (and that of Sister Boom-Boom, a drag queen who also ran for mayor and handily won the third place spot above Biafra), San Francisco passed a resolution stating that no candidate could run under any name other than their given name.[8]

28 Apr 2007

lib dem leader Ming backs Air league lunatics!

Take flying: Huhne said, "The growth of aviation is unsustainable in environmental terms ... Liberal Democrats have long advocated that action needs to be taken to control aviation." Oh, really? Then why does the Lib Dem leader, Sir Ming Campbell, sit on the board of The Air League - an industry lobby group that peddles misleading information about global warming and campaigns for airport expansion and against green taxation? In a recent Air League newsletter, they say they "do not accept that sustainable growth in UK aviation is somehow too difficult to achieve" and promote a third runway at Heathrow to "allow UK links to the regions to be strengthened and extended". In other words, they deny the science (without offering any evidence to back them up) and are actively promoting the most unnecessary flights - the ones to British destinations already served by public transport.

Vote Lib dem for the environment.

Joss Garman of Plane Stupid doesn't think so and neither do I, are we right, read more here.

Caroline Lucas calls for EU assistance to Palestine



EURO-MP Caroline Lucas will call for the full restoration of EU financial
payments to the Palestinian Authority, and the immediate release of
kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston, during a meeting with Palestinian
president Mahmoud Abbas next week.

The Green MEP will travel to Palestine as part of a European Parliamentary
delegation investigating the impact of the EU’s refusal to pay financial
assistance to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The Green Party MEP said: “During my visit to Palestine I will meet senior
Hamas and Fatah figures and representatives of the UN as well as president
Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. I will ask what the EU can
be doing immediately to alleviate poverty and promote peaceful dialogue
between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

“I will also seek news of BBC journalist Alan Johnston and put pressure on
both Mr Abbas and Mr Haniyeh to intervene and secure his swift, safe,

The suspension of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority is creating
poverty and hunger across the occupied territories. Poverty has increased by
30 per cent since payments were suspended, public services are in meltdown
as hospitals are starved of funding and the economy, which has shrunk by 10
per cent in the last year alone, faces collapse.

Dr Lucas said: “A humanitarian disaster is unfolding amid the chaos of the
conflict-ridden occupied Palestinian territories – and the EU is, in part,
to blame.

“The EU first suspended payments in April last year following the unexpected
and overwhelming victory of Hamas in elections to the Palestinian
parliament, demanding Hamas recognise Israel, and renounce violence.

“Although the EU established a Temporary International Mechanism, which has
managed to support some of the poorest people, it has been unable to prevent
the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the financial boycott.

“Following the creation of a new ‘unity government’ and recent statements
made by Hamas there is no possible justification for refusing to restore
full financial assistance payments, in line with previous agreements,

“We must also put pressure on other key donors, like the US and Canada, to
do the same, and on the Israeli government to resume payments of with-held
tax collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.”

The delegation will hold a series of meeting at the Palestinian Legislative
Council in Ramallah before visiting a hospital in Gaza, meeting the mayor of
Bethlehem and the checkpoints dividing Hebron’s old town from neighbouring
Israeli settlements.

Dr Lucas added: “The EU must restore its Palestinian funding in full, or
risk completely undermining the causes of peace and democracy in the Middle
East. Depriving the people of Palestine of their basic human rights just to
punish their democratic choices is not a path to peace.”


Notes to Editors:

1. Dr Lucas will leaving for Palestine on Sunday, April 29th and returning
on Thursday, May 3rd. She will be available for interview and comment during
the delegation by arrangement with Ben on either number below.
2. Pictures f caroline Lucas meeting BBC representatives in Strasbourg to
discuss Alan Johston before leaving for Palestine are available on request.
3. For a full itinerary contact Ben.

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


27 Apr 2007

Greens could exploit voter disillusionment on May 3rd

A breath of fresh air
Understandably, voters are disillusioned with Britain's traditional political parties - which is why the Greens are a source of inspiration to many.

Well read my stuff, together with wiki link to Pet Sounds and all the rude comments from neo-cons annoyed about what I have said about the World Bank, here in the Guardian comment is free blog.

26 Apr 2007

Neo-con, neo-liberal, neo-corrupt

Well lets all fight corruption and nepotism by giving well paid jobs to our wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends...or other significant others, hey what's worse than corruption/nepotism, well war, but war is the health of an unhealthy system.

Here is what Caroline Lucas has said:


EURO-MPs in Strasbourg have supported a Green proposal calling on the EU
Presidency to push for the withdrawal of Paul Wolfowitz as President of the
World Bank in the light of the current cronyism scandal.

Speaking after the vote, Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas said:

"By digging in his heels and refusing to resign as President of the World
Bank, Wolfowitz is dragging the whole organisation into disrepute and
further undermining the credibility of its anti-corruption policy. If he
won't jump himself, he must be pushed.

"The European Parliament has today added to the mounting pressure to end
Wolfowitz's chequered tenure at the helm of the World Bank by calling on the
EU Presidency to press the US government for Wolfowitz's withdrawal. We hope
the issue will not be brushed under the table at the forthcoming EU-US

The move to sack Wolfowitz was contained in a resolution on EU-US relations
ahead of the forthcoming summit, which will take place next Monday (April


Note to Editors:

In the resolution on transatlantic relations, the European Parliament "calls
on the EU Presidency and US government to signal to the President of the
World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, that his withdrawal from the post would be a
welcome step towards preventing the Bank's anti-corruption policy from being
undermined;" (Par 18).

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


25 Apr 2007

Peter for parliament

“The people of Oxford have an opportunity to make history - by
electing Britain’s first Green MP,” said human rights campaigner Peter
Tatchell today.

He has made history and pushed extra parliamentary struggle, he is one of our most important social movement activists...but great to see him running for us for parliament, here is the take from Outrage.

He was commenting on his selection as the Green Party’s parliamentary
candidate for Oxford East. The seat is currently held by the Labour MP
Andrew Smith.

“Support for Labour is falling. The Lib Dems are losing votes to the
revived Conservatives. This means a Green challenger could come though
the middle and take the seat.

“The Green Party already wins 20% of the vote in Oxford local
elections. All we have to do is persuade these voters, and a few more,
to vote Green at the next general election. In a four-way contest, the
Greens can win Oxford East.

“I am offering the voters a real choice: do you want a passionate,
independent-minded Green MP, or another grey clone from the Lib Dems,
Tories and Labour?

“Having taken on President Robert Mugabe, I’ve no hesitation in taking
on Andrew Smith and campaigning hard for Oxford East.

“Andrew Smith has supported nearly every negative, damaging Labour
policy, including the Iraq war, ID cards, foundation hospitals,
student top-up fees and attacks on civil liberties.

“It is time for change. The Greens offer a positive, progressive
alternative. We are the anti-war party that champions human rights and
social justice, as well as environmental protection and action against
climate change.

“The Green Party opposes Labour’s creeping privatisation of health and
education. We believe public services should serve the public, not
enrich private corporations. Our priority is more doctors, nurses and
teachers, and fewer management consultants.

“Climate chaos is the single biggest threat to Britain’s prosperity
and security. The Greens are the only party with serious, credible
policies to halt global warming.

“Labour plans to waste billions on Trident nuclear missiles, ID cards,
new road building and more nuclear power stations. In contrast, the
Greens would invest this money in energy conservation, renewable power
generation, affordable green housing and cheaper, safer and cleaner
public transport.

“I will soon start living in the constituency and getting involved in
local community campaigns, including opposing the destruction of
Radley Lakes and Walford Meadow, the privatisation of public services,
the shortage of affordable housing, and job cuts in the Oxfordshire
NHS,” said Mr Tatchell.

Welcoming Peter Tatchell’s selection, Green Party Principal Speaker
Dr. Derek Wall said:

"Peter has been a friend since 1988. From his citizen’s arrest of
Robert Mugabe to his work in OutRage! using direct action to promote
gay liberation, his record on human rights and social justice
campaigning is one of the most impressive in Britain. We are lucky to
have him as a candidate. I think he can win in Oxford East, a
constituency which includes wards like St Mary's where we already
receive 66 per cent of the vote.

"He is going to raise the game for the whole party. I think his
selection will be seen as a real turning point, making the party more
serious, more professional and more focussed on issues of justice. I
will be out knocking on doors for him and I know I won't be alone."

Cllr Matt Sellwood, who is Deputy Leader of the City Council Green
Group, added:

"Oxford Green Party is delighted to have Peter represent us at the
next General Election. He has a proven history of principled politics
and campaigning success. When combined with the local party's
electoral expertise, we expect an excellent result."

Further information:

Peter Tatchell – 020 7403 1790

Green Party Press Office 020 7561 0282

Web - http://www.greenparty.org.uk


Oxford is one of the Green Party's homelands, with 11 local green
Councillors, and more than 20 per cent of the vote at last year's
local elections.

Oxford East ranks in the top 20 per cent of constituencies nationwide
in terms of the Green Party's vote share, and is in the top 5 for the
South East region.

At the last general election, the Oxford East constituency received a
higher percentage of Green votes than any other constituency in the
Oxford region.

24 Apr 2007

France needs a great party of political ecology...

France needs a great party of political ecology, popular and united, so that the warnings which we give tirelessly and the good work that we do on the ground, finally translates into influence on the important choices which need to be made in our country, in Europe and in the world. Democracy is sometimes a bitter judge, but our struggle is beautiful and just: it will continue without slackening nor weakness. And this struggle begins again with the legislative elections, where we know that we will be able to count on Green voters, some of whom will already be regretting having denied us their vote this evening.

this is via Joseph on the Green Left list and should stimulate thought about the direction of the Greens in Europe:

Dominique Voynet, the French Green Party's presidential candidate, has released the following statement. Les Verts (Greens) gained 1.5% of the vote and the anti-globalisation candidate, Jose Bove, gained 1.3%.There is also an interesting analysis of the vote by leftwing journalist Doug Ireland.

Joseph Healy

France: 22 April 2007. Statement by Dominique Voynet

I thank the voters who gave me their support. I thank them for bravely resisting the media hype which they were bombarded with and for not letting their vote be dictated by opinion polls, the coverage of which replaced, day after day, any in- depth discussion during this first round campaign.

A majority of ecological voters, however, preferred to vote for the socialist candidate, even for the UDF candidate, to avert their fear of a repeat of 21st April 2002, or the fear that a right-wing candidate espousing increasingly extreme policies inspires in them.

I take note of this choice.

The socialist candidate must not, however, forget in the second round the diversity of voters who voted for her. I will vote for Ségolène Royal on May 6th. My support is without ambiguity: but ecological voters will mobilize themselves even more in a second round which shows every likelihood of being close, if she shows that from now she wants to be the candidate of a united front which does not exclude them.

In particular, I ask her to take into account in all matters of public policy the urgent matters related to climate change, to act quickly and reject a number of projects which will have a catastrophic impact on the environment in the fields of energy, transport, agriculture, waste and public health.

I ask her to restore hope to the millions of people who live in poverty or are financially insecure.

I ask her to really breathe new life into this country’s democratic life by committing to the transition towards a Sixth Republic which will once again give the Parliament and our fellow-citizens the ability to play a part in the choices on which their future depends.

I would like to finally thank the green activists for the support that they brought to me. We have taken part in an active, useful campaign.

But we must hear the message which was delivered to us today: France needs a great party of political ecology, popular and united, so that the warnings which we give tirelessly and the good work that we do on the ground, finally translates into influence on the important choices which need to be made in our country, in Europe and in the world. Democracy is sometimes a bitter judge, but our struggle is beautiful and just: it will continue without slackening nor weakness. And this struggle begins again with the legislative elections, where we know that we will be able to count on Green voters, some of whom will already be regretting having denied us their vote this evening.

Dominique Voynet

Top of the Document

23 Apr 2007

a funeral

Sad day today for me, went to the funeral of Steve Salkeld who died of cancer, a great friend, a genius, some one who helped me and lots of others out in difficult times, Steve will be missed, a good listener....liked a pint or three, still can't get my head around the fact that he has gone.

We had one big pub session a week or two before he died, lots of his friends came, I asked about his illness and he simply said 'shit happens', this gave me a lot of hope, he had real dignity in the face of death, what more can you say.

22 Apr 2007




VENUE: Room G108, 20 Kingsway Building ('G' Building), Portugal Street (Opposite
Peacock Theatre), LSE Campus
DATE AND TIME: Friday May 4th 2007, 6-8pm

Prof. Joel Kovel, Jewish-American political activist and respected academic in
psychoanalysis and the social sciences, will give a talk at the London School of
Economics (LSE) on Friday May 4th 2007 at 6pm about Eco-socialism and his new
book, 'Overcoming Zionism'.

In an event chaired by Dr. Derek Wall, Visiting Lecturer at Goldsmiths College
and Male Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales, Prof. Kovel
will discuss the latest developments in Eco-socialism, an idea that Prof. Kovel
has detailed thoroughly in his acclaimed book 'The Enemy of Nature: The End of
Capitalism or the End of the World?'. Eco-socialism sees capitalism as the cause
of ecological destruction and social injustice, and Kovel advocates a complete
restructuring of society to move towards a world based on sustainability,
equality, peace and participatory democracy.

Prof. Kovel is currently Distinguished Professor of Social Studies at Bard
College. He was a candidate against Ralph Nader for the Green Party of the US
nomination for US President in 2000. He has written award-winning books on
psychiatry and psychoanalysis, including 'The Radical Spirit: Essays on
Psychoanalysis and Society', winner of the 1989 Choice Outstanding Academic
Book, and 'White Racism: A Psychohistory', which was nominated for a National
Book Award in Religion and Philosophy. His work on politics and Eco-socialism
includes the critically-acclaimed 'Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or The
End of the World?'. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Eco-socialist journal
'Capitalism Nature Socialism'. Kovel is also involved in peace campaigns,
Central American solidarity movements and the movements for democratic media.
His latest book, 'Overcoming Zionism', argues for a secular, single-state
solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and, in the view of Michel
Warschawski, former Director of the Alternative Information Centre in Jerusalem,
shows a "very deep feeling of empathy and solidarity with his fellow-Jews caught
in the death-trap of the Zionist adventure"[1].



[1] ‘Overcoming Zionism’ will be released on May 7th 2007 through Pluto Press.
For further information, contact Helen Griffiths on heleng@plutobooks.com or

Aled Dilwyn Fisher
LSESU Environment and Ethics Officer

LSE Students' Union
Houghton Street


21 Apr 2007

All praise to the Iranian Shia cleric ' advocating tolerance and peace

well this can into mix, all part of the debate around islam and politics, East Oxford selection result out on tuesday by the way

All praise to the Iranian Shia cleric who has denounced Muslim
jihadism, theocracy and human rights abuses

says Peter Tatchell

The Guardian – Comment Is Free – 18 April 2007


much of the world, Shia Islam is synonymous with the terrorist
violence of the Badr and Sadr death squads in Iraq, and with the
murderous tyranny of the Iranian ayatollahs.

Since 1979, tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims, journalists, women,
students, gays, left-wingers, trade unionists and ethnic minorities
have been murdered in the name of Shia Islam by the despots in

We remember the barbaric fate of Iran’s esteemed Sunni Muslim leader,
Dr Ali Mozafarian. He was executed in 1992, on charges of espionage,
adultery and sodomy. Widely assumed to have been framed, his real
crime appears to have been that he preached the wrong kind of Islam -
Sunni, not Shia.

Given that Iran and Shi’ism have such negative connotations for so
many people, it is encouraging to hear the brave, confident voice of a
liberal Shia cleric from Iran, Sheikh Mohammed Kazem al-Khaqani.

In a far-sighted but unreported speech
the House of Commons last month, Sheikh al-Khaqani spoke out in
defence of democracy, human rights and secularism; advocating a
secular state as the best way to safeguard freedom of belief and
expression. Denouncing insurgent jihadism, suicide bombing and Iranian
theocracy, he argued that Islam has to be rescued from fundamentalist
misinterpretations and that oppressive Muslim regimes need to be

There are, no doubt, aspects of Sheikh al-Khaqani’s teachings that I
disagree with. But on several key issues he offers a progressive
perspective; confounding those who want to portray Islam as a wholly
negative, reactionary religion.

Wouldn’t it be great if Sheikh al-Khaqani’s voice of compassion,
wisdom and humanity could be given a wider platform by the Muslim
Council of Britain, the Central London Mosque and the Mayor of

Sheikh al-Khaqani is the son of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Taher
al-Khaqani, a leading Iranian Ahwazi Arab Shia cleric who was
imprisoned after the 1979 Islamic revolution for opposing the
theocratic dictatorship and for advocating the separation of religion
and the state. The Grand Ayatollah died in suspicious circumstances
while under house arrest in Qom.

Sheikh al-Khaqani has dedicated his life to continue his father's
advocacy of a humane understanding of Shia doctrine, with tolerance,
human rights and secularism central to his teachings. Such views are
heresy in Tehran. Fearful of imprisonment and execution, Sheikh
al-Khaqani fled into exile and now lives in Kuwait.

Invited by the British Ahwazi Friendship Society
http://www.ahwaz.org.uk/ ,
and supported by the Henry Jackson Society
http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/ , Sheikh Al-Khaqani told his House
of Commons audience that Islam was based on the love of God and the
right to justice, with the right to life as the first and most
important human right of all. Terrorism, whether against individuals
or states, is therefore contrary to Islamic teaching:

"Justice and faith necessarily dictate that no one should snatch any
right from others ... Terrorists who don explosive belts that kill
innocents ... have no connection with the three celestial faiths
[Judaism, Christianity and Islam] … It is one of the particular
doctrines of the Shia that jihad in the sense of conquering a country
is not permitted - that it is not the right of Muslims, but on the
contrary is utterly forbidden," he said.

Sheikh al-Khaqani added that Shi'ites should not use the flag of
religion to topple states or political systems, suggesting that Iran's
Islamic revolution violated this Shia tradition. The use of religion
to overthrow governments - as was the case in Ayatollah Khomeini’s
Islamist coup in Iran - is "is an erroneous banner, allied with a
tyranny worshipping principals inferior to God Almighty."

Instead, he asserted: "The choice of political systems follows the
peoples' choice. Indeed God Almighty has given an indication of how
Islamic society should be when He said in the Qu'ran: 'He ordered them
to take counsel among themselves'; namely that Muslims should act by
mutual consultation, in all matters relating to their social lives and
their system of governance."

Absolute theocracy, as seen in Iran, cannot therefore be considered as
Islamic. If the Prophet Mohammed was required to consult with the
people at every point, so too must all systems of government,
including in the Muslim world.

Sheikh al-Khaqani added that "the man of faith must be only a guide
and a spiritual father, who refrains from intervening in affairs of
governance. So it is also incumbent on the state not to intervene in
matters of the faith and its institutions."

The rule of Imam Ali, who is considered the first Islamic Caliph among
Shia Muslims and the fourth among Sunni Muslims, offers a lesson on
the values of mercy, tolerance and justice to Muslims in the modern
world. Sheikh al-Khaqani pointed to Ali's forgiveness of his political
adversaries. Even when he was victorious over them in war he did not
confiscate their wealth.

Emphasising the Qu'ran's assertion that "there is no compulsion in
religion", Sheikh al-Khaqani said that people were free to choose
whatever belief they wanted and had the right to abandon Islam if they
wish. This contradicts the Iranian regime's policy of executing anyone
considered heretical or an apostate.

Contradicting Islamist teaching, he also stressed that justice should
be applied equally to all, regardless of whether they are Muslim or

Sheikh al-Khaqani concluded his speech by stating that social
inequality and human rights violations in Muslim countries were
"inconsistent with the humanitarian message of Islam or other

He also reminded the House of Commons audience that "some of the
despotism with which we live in Eastern countries and a generation
tolerating the violence and terrorism that it brings forth" may have
its roots in the "past and present errors by Western states." He
called on Westerners to take responsibility for these errors and help
put them right in order to combat Islamist despotism and terrorism.

Key points of Sheikh al-Khaqani’s House of Commons speech:

* The right to life is the first right of all human beings. This
principle applies to everyone – Muslim and non-Muslim. Justice and
faith dictate that this right may not be abrogated. Terrorists and
suicide bombers are therefore anti-Islam and apostates.

* There is no compulsion in religion. Religious belief is a choice.
The call to Islam is not a religious obligation. Attempts to achieve
conversions by threats or force are unIslamic.

* Jihad as a way of conquering a country and subduing people is
forbidden. Muslims should lead by example. Consultation among the
people is the most appropriate way to determine how society should be

* People should be free to choose the political system that they
desire to live under. Exhortations to topple secular governments and
replace them with a religious state are erroneous interpretations of

* Absolute theocracy, as practised under the Iranian model of Shi’ism,
is unacceptable. Separation of religion and state, with neither
interfering in the other’s domain, is the ideal.

* Religious toleration and the promulgation of justice among all
people, without consideration for whether the citizen is Muslim or
non-Muslim, is an essential tenet of true Islamic thought.

* Violations of human rights in Muslim countries are unacceptable and
incompatible with Islam.

* The West must pursue justice in the world. It should seek to
acknowledge and correct its errors in the East, which have helped
create despotic Islamic states.


Published by The Guardian with the title and introduction:

A progressive perspective

We should listen to the Iranian Shia cleric who has denounced Muslim
jihadism, theocracy and human rights abuses.

20 Apr 2007

Protesting alone with 2,000 others outside parliament

Mass Lone Demos - The BIG One!
Time to shift up a gear, we think. According to the Home Office there have been 1,379 demonstrations authorised under SOCPA in 18 months (1 Aug 2005 - Dec 2006). With your help we'd like to attempt to hold 2,000 demonstrations in a day!

Just follow the instructions given here to join in.

On Thursday 5th April, thanks to a bunch of friends and associates, we handed in 1,184 applications at Charing Cross police station for Saturday, 21st April, a little short of our target, so please come and join us if you can and please email us to let us know how many applications you have sent in.

Well I am doing my bit tomorrow....with 11 protest events, then off for a relaxing pint with Joel Kovel, by the way he will be talking at the LSE on the evening of May 4th....tell you more soon.

Sian is coming I believe as well....Green Politics is about us winning elections but protest including direct action is also part of the process.

SOCPA includes a clause making demonstrators get permission from the cops for demonstrations within 1 km of parliament, it aimed to get rid of peace activist Brian Haw and generally insulated our parliamentarians from those protesting against their laws.

Such is liberal democracy in this illiberal country....Mark Thomas has organised for 2,000 of us to mount a series of lone protests tomorrow to shame the government

This is what I am up to:

10.30 - 10.40: Parliament Square: Troops out of Iraq

10.50 - 11: Tescos on Wesmtinster Bridge: End Tescopoly Now

11.10 - 11.20: DTI Victoria Street: Fair Pay for Public Sector Workers

11.30 - 11.40: Department for education and skills: Great Smith St: End private investment in state schools

11.50 - 12. - Dept of Transport in Horsefeerry Rd: Invest in public transport not aviation

12.10 - 12.20: Defra building:Get Miliband Out

12.30 - 12.40: Millbank studios: Democratise the media

12.50- 1300: Burghers of Calais monument: Elite politicians; keep people out of your war

13.10 - 13.20: College Green: No Politicians on the Grass

13.30 - 13.40 College Green:

1400 - 14.10: Parliament Sq: Wholly elected House of Lords Now

Carbon offset: We think it is mostly a con

Politics com debates carbon offset with contributions from the Government, cons, lib dems and the Green Party.

I argue:

'Carbon offset sounds promising but the Green Party is critical of how it works in practice. We would echo many of the criticisms of the Durban group, which suggest that the framework within which present policy works is both ineffective and biased toward the interests of elite groups.

First, some schemes are simply fraudulent and are at best based on dubious accounting. For example, if you fly carbon is emitted today but by planting a tree is absorbed over decades (and released if the tree dies). Strong legislation is needed to make sure that carbon is actually off set, often it is not.

Second, some schemes involving taking land out of the hands of local people in developing countries who often practice a low carbon and ecologically sensitive lifestyle. Plantar SA in Brazil have received and Chris Lang has produced evidence of abuse of local people for carbon offset in Uganda.

Third, it allows the relatively prosperous to continue polluting while shifting the burden on to poorer citizens. It reduces guilt without tackling the fundamental problem of moving to a low carbon economy

More here

19 Apr 2007

Met Reel News at the Exxon climate change demo, good people with some good films, I would recommend either their version or the original of how Cuba survived peak oil, very inspiring....go on give them your hard earn't cash.

Reel News 6 is out this Friday - website with paypal facility should be up and
running next month! In the meantime, send a cheque for £6 (inc p&p) made
payable to Shaun Dey to: 1 Galsworthy Terrace, London, N16 0TS.

Or: buy it at Housemans or Bookmarks bookshops...

12 issue subsciptions (£60 inc p&p) and 6 issue subscriptions (£30 inc p&p)
also available.

This month's issue:

1) Stop Trident 1: Aldermaston (reel news) 14:48

Various groups join together to successfully blockade Aldermaston for 90
minutes, and show that the vote in parliament was a sham...they started building
at Aldermaston 4 years ago and have already spent £1 billion. As the projected
bill for new weapons of mass destruction reaces £70 - £100 billion, time to
start building actions on the scale of the late 50's and early 60s aldermaston
marches and sit ins.

2) Stop Trident 2: Faslane (bristol activists) 10:24

Blockades are taking place at Faslane every day for a year as the campaign to
stop trident gathers pace. This video shows health professionals blockading the
base in January.

3) PCS dispute: MoD strike (reel news) 9:46

The next stage of the PCS's campaign to stop 100,000 job losses, privatisation,
relocations, attacks on terms and conditions and a below the rate of inflation
pay "rise" involves key groups of workers taking strike action, amongst them
Ministry of Defence workers - some of the best organised and most militant PCS
branches right now. See civil servants at MoD Leconfield, near Hull, bring the
base to a standstill. Next day of action is May 1st, and the PCS are calling on
all public sector workers to join them in striking on Mayday to defend public

4) Manchester: Fujitsu strike (reel news) 9:08

A group of workers perhaps not renowned for their militancy: IT workers. Only 2%
of IT workers are in a union, an enormous industry with many people working in
low paid jobs such as call centre work. The workers in Fujitsu (formerly ICL) in
Manchester have been unionised for many years and have mounted a sustained
campaign of strikes and actions in the face of outrageous attacks.

5) Fluffy against the war (no budget films) !:42

This month's poem from Fluffy Smiff: Conflict.

6) Mayo: Policing the pollution (extract) (Oscar Beard) 18:20

Extracts from the forthcoming film investigating a shocking environmental crime
from Shell in Ireland - waste from a plant being constructed in Mayo is
contaminating the water supply with frightening amounts of aluminium. Local
people are trying to stop them before people start dying - but Shell and the
local council are trying to cover it up, aided by some very violent police

7) How Cuba survived peak oil (community solution) 20:04

When the stalinist regimes fell in the early nineties, cuba's oil imports from
russia suddenly dropped by over 50%. This is a shortened version of a film from
Cuba, showing how they solved a problem that we will all face - how to find ways
of living without oil.

8) The G8 in Germany in Rostock this year could well see the most significant
anti-G8 protests since Genoa in 2001. As the build up continues, this months G8
video is from Gleneagles in 2005 - protests that showed how antiterror laws
drafted after 9/11 are being used to attack the right to protest.

Lastly, apologies to those of you who were expecting a video on the campaign to
save the William Morris museum - a camera malfunction meant the tape didn't come
out today...would those of you I interviewed mind doing it again for next
month's issue? Sorry about that!

18 Apr 2007

"homosexual terrorist" to run in East Oxford?

Peter Tatchell is standing in the race for Oxford East, exciting stuff...although South London based, the local party have been looking for a 'star' candidate. Peter would do a great job but so would local contender Matt Morton.

Exciting stuff, especially as I can use the title 'homosexual terrorist'

Peter is a real long term good thing for green party, ecosocialism as well as for his campaigning on human rights...

This is Joseph's take:

News about Peter Tatchell from Southwark in today's Independent. Peter did
tip me off about this some time ago. I am sure that if selected he will
make an excellent candidate and add some spice to the campaign in Oxford. Peter is, of course, also a leading supporter of Green Left.

Joseph Healy
Southwark GP member


Green king

Third time lucky for Peter Tatchell? I hear that Oxford East's Green Party
is considering making the gay rights campaigner its candidate at the next
general election. Tatchell is down to the final two; he awaits the result
of a members' ballot, due at the end of the month.

He has twice stood (unsuccessfully) for office: as Labour's man in the
1983 Bermondsey by-election, and as an "Independent Green Left" candidate
in the 2000 London Assembly poll.

The political climate has changed since the Daily Mail described him as a
"homosexual terrorist", and Mr T hopes to make history: "The Greens
already have a fifth of the vote in [Oxford] elections. If we can
encourage those people to vote Green in the general election and get a few
more votes, there's a strong chance of electing the first Green MP."

17 Apr 2007

Joel Kovel in UK!

lets face, I am very much trying to put Joel's vision into reality, the most important ecosocialist on the planet (other than John Bellamy Foster) is talking in Scotland on thursday...go and see him in Dundee, hoping he will be speaking in London for Green Left, LSE greens.

Dundee: 19/04/07 Calling for Palestinian Rights
Thursday 19 April – Dundee @ 7.00pm, Number Ten Constitution Road
Kovel joined the Green Party since 1990. In 1998, he was the Green Party candidate for US Senator from New York, and in 2000 sought their Presidential nomination.

“Greens, Calling for Palestinian Rights, Urge Divestment from Israel
The Green Party of the United States (GPUS) publicly calls for divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized.” www.gp.org

Born in Brooklyn, NY and studied psychiatry and medicine. Kovel is currently Professor of Social Studies at Bard College, NY.

As an activist, Joel Kovel has been engaged in struggles for peace and justice since the Vietnam War era. He has worked within the antiwar and anti-nuclear movements, the solidarity movements in Central America and the Caribbean, the movements for democratic media, and, increasingly, for ecological transformation.

author of ‘Overcoming Zionism ‘
‘This book is absolutely fundamental for those who reject the unfortunate confusion between Jews, Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel –’
Samir Amin, director of the Third World Forum

Event organised by Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign & sponsored by Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, Muslim Association of Britain.

What are Muslims doing on climate change?"

From LINES, the transition town stuff seems well on the way in Stroud, at least this is my impression from visiting...

Peace -

Firstly, here are two websites recommended by our speaker, Stephen Watson at Sundays LINE meeting: i) www.transitionculture.org ; ii) www.transitiontowns.org : These websites highlight projects based around communities that have empowered themselves to live sustainably in the context of a post-peak-oil future. There are already nine such towns, and Bristol is also listed. Certainly inspiring!

Secondly, as more people are now asking "What are Muslims doing on climate change?" LINE is organising a special event at LSE for next month (see below) which will essentially substitute the May monthly forum... Please note registration info & pass this notice far and wide!


The London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE) invites you to:

CLIMATE CHANGE & MUSLIMS: Developing a Grassroots Movement
talks & a workshop within an International Conference on Climate Change

Date: Sunday 13th May
Time: 2.30pm to 4.15pm
Venue: London School of Economics (LSE), Houghton Street, London. WC2A 2AE. (Nearest Tubes: Holborn, Temple and Charing Cross).

Islam & the Environment
with Shaykh Usama Hasan, Tawhid Mosque

Climate Change in the Muslim World
with James O'Nions, World Development Movement (WDM)

An Islamic Perspective on Climate Change
with Dr Muzammal Hussain, London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE)

A series of short introductory talks which will then take us into workshop-style discussions on engaging Muslim communities with climate change. These will invite the sharing and development of ideas to enhance wider participation on one of the biggest challenges faced by the global community. We will acknowledge contributions made by the UK Muslim community so far, and will explore how its potential could be enhanced further. We will then aim to empower ourselves, whether as individuals or groups, to help facilitate changes that will maximise this potential. There will be opportunities for networking.

Speaker Bios:

Usama Hasan was trained in Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, and in the traditional Islamic sciences at home in London. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at Middlesex University and a voluntary, part-time imam at Tawhid Mosque in East London.

James O'Nions works for the World Development Movement (WDM), and has helped develop their current climate change campaign. WDM campaigns to tackle the root causes of poverty, joining movements around the world to win justice for the world's poorest people. Their current focus on climate change reflects this, highlighting the inequality between who has caused global warming and who will suffer as a consequence. James also writes on global justice issues for Red Pepper magazine.

Muzammal Hussain is the founder of LINE and editor of Ecobites a UK-wide elist. He took the lead in mobilising the Muslim community for several climate demonstrations and recently wrote a paper titled 'Islam & Climate Change' for his MA in Environment, Development and Policy. Muzammal is also a medical doctor and has worked in the field of mind-body healing.

This is one of a number of workshops at the weekend conference. Donations welcome.
REGISTRATION: It would be appreciated if participants would register for the conference in advance. Please go to http://www.campaigncc.org;

More info: LINE: http://www.lineonweb.org.uk ; Tel contact for workshop: 07919 654 054 (Masood)

16 Apr 2007

Living Wage campaign!

this is from Nick Wall, no relative as far as I know...


I am an activist and public sector worker based in Merseyside. I have started a petition on the 10 Downing Street website in support of a living wage :


We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take steps to replace the national minimum wage with a living wage based on the level of pay and conditions that enables a full-time worker to make ends meet for themselves and their family. Official regional living wage figures should be announced such as the one given by Mayor Livingstone for London (and increased by the GLA in April 2007 to £7.20 an hour).
Why a living wage ?

This is a really good simple idea that has taken off in recent years. The point is this : the national minimum wage does not allow many workers to escape poverty. The Low Pay Commission do not take into account peoples actual needs in setting the NMW. In the UK 4¼ million adults aged 22 to retirement were paid less than £6.50 per hour in 2006. Two thirds of these were women and a half were part-time workers. A living wage could ensure that no workers receive poverty pay or have to rely on benefits. For further information, read the details beneath the petition or visit the website links below.

Why now ?

Following pressure from campaigners, London mayor Ken Livingstone has given his backing to a living wage in London. Figures for the London living wage are set and published, and a living wage implementation unit has been set up in City Hall. The campaign has already seen some historic victories for low paid workers of which here is just one example :

The college council committed itself to making Queen Mary the first "living wage campus" in the UK. This means no one will be paid less than a living wage (currently set at £6.70 an hour), or receive fewer than 28 days' holiday and 10 days' sick pay. Crucially, the change includes all staff on campus, not just those directly employed by the university. Queen Mary's cleaning staff are going to get a rise.

For Christine Martin, cleaning supervisor at Queen Mary for 12 years, the living wage will make a huge difference. Martin is employed by the university's cleaning contractors, KGB, and receives £5.20 an hour - the £5.05 minimum wage plus a pitiful 15 pence an hour as supervisor. "It is difficult to survive in London on this kind of money. Sometimes you think you might as well not work for what you earn," she says. "I do a second job and have to claim housing benefit just to make ends meet, so the living wage really has given me something to look forward to." Guardian April 11, 2006

My petition calls for living wage figures to be established in other parts of the country following the initiative in London. This will be a huge boost to millions of low paid workers. Through it I aim to raise awareness of the issue and help publicise ongoing struggles to secure a living wage.

Jean Lambert (Green Party MEP) said in support of my petition

British people work some of the longest hours in Europe yet 7 out of 10 people working over 48 hours per week say they would like to work fewer hours. For many however this is impossible as they simply cannnot afford to do so. It is currently possible for someone to work more than 60 hours a week and still be paid less than £11,000 per year. The number of people living below the poverty line in the UK is higher than the EU average and continues to increase. The long hours culture is endangering our health and acting as a detriment to our family life. We can't have a culture that says you can not rest. We need a national living wage immediately to ensure this changes and everyone can make ends meet without working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Labour Party councillor Richard Bertin (Vale of Glamorgan) added these comments

Yes we have now thankfully got the minimum wage, and yes it is helping thousands of low paid workers. But with the economy doing so well there are repercussions one of which is the rising house prices. Unfortunately, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow and this needs to be addressed now! - How? By rightly establishing a national living wage to ensure that we improve the lives of those on low pay and also do our bit to remove poverty from the 4th largest economy in the world - Great Britain. We need a living wage and we need it now!

I have been receiving a lot of support from Green Party members. Please show your support for a living wage. To sign, click on the link above and fill in your personal details.

Thanks for your time
Nick Wall

London campaign website : http://www.livingwage.org.uk/

TGWU's Justice for Cleaners campaign http://www.tgwu.org.uk/Templates/Campaign.asp?Action=Display&NodeID=92473&int1stParentNodeID=42437&int2ndParentNodeID=42467

RMT Fair Deal for Rail Cleaners campaign http://www.rmt.org.uk/templates/campaign.asp?nodeid=93107

Facts about poverty in the UK : http://www.poverty.org.uk/summary/key%20facts.shtml

15 Apr 2007

Golpe! 2002

and if you wondering I am not uncritical of the Venezuelan green record, a couple of the big name coal operations have been closed in the north after huge protest but this needs to go further and I not keen on oil pipelines, any where.

But it is a thing of stupidity to say that Chavez is not aware of the green agenda, solidarity must go with the majority of Venezuelans not with George Bush or the old system of two party domination.

lets make Verde Venezuela stronger, a return to the past will mean that it will not even be up for debate....Golpe discussion today

Red Pepper's Venezuela BlogNews and analysis of the Bolivarian Revolution, from correspondents in Venezuela« Documentary: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised | Main | British Journalists Pledge Support for Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution »

April 14, 2007
An Account of April 11-13, 2002, in Venezuela: The 47-Hour Coup That Changed Everything
[For the fifth anniversary of the defeat of the April 11-13 coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Venezuelanalysis.com editor Gregory Wilpert offers a comprehensive account of what happened and an examination of the most pressing questions around the events of those days. --Ed]

An Account of April 11-13, 2002, in Venezuela
The 47-Hour Coup That Changed Everything

By Gregory Wilpert – Venezuelanalysis.com

April 13, 2007

The April 2002 coup attempt against President Chavez represented the perhaps most important turning point of the Chavez Presidency. First, it showed just how far the opposition was willing to go to get rid of the country’s democratically elected president. Up until that point the opposition could claim that it was merely fighting Chavez with the political tools provided by liberal democracy. Afterwards, the mask was gone and Chavez and his supporters felt that their revolution was facing greater threats than they had previously imagined. A corollary of this first consequence was thus that the coup woke up Chavez’s supporters to the need to actively defend their government.

More here

14 Apr 2007


Thanks for your comment on my blog. Since you are an economist, I think you
would like my four-page white paper on work time and global warming, which I
was referring to in the blog post that you commented on. If you haven't
seen it already, please take a look at
http://www.preservenet.com/studies/WorkTimeGlobalWarming.html. Click the
[View PDF] link to display this white paper in a format that you can print
out as a four-page booklet.

I would be very interested to hear what you think about this paper.

Work Time And Global Warming pulls out just one idea from my booklet The End
Of Economic Growth, which uses historical and international comparisons to
show that we are reaching a point where economic growth no longer brings
significant benefits but does cause significant social and environmental
costs, and which also describes policies that would let us end growth when
people have enough. If you like Work Time And Global Warming, check out The
End Of Economic Growth at http://www.preservenet.com/endgrowth.

Best wishes,

13 Apr 2007

GMTV, Sméagol Gollum and me.

Gollum To buy click here

Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall will appear on GMTV this Sunday 5th between 6 and 7am to discuss the Green Party in the local elections.

The clip may also be viewable on http://www.gm.tv after the show.
Green Party External Communications
1a Waterlow Road
London N19 5NJ

Not a punch up like hard talk or David Frost but just to let you know I am doing my bit to promote the party for the local elections and Welsh Assembly. Steve Richards is a great interviewer, intelligent journalist.

It was like a factory farm of politicos he got through me, Ed Davey (Edmund or Edward?), Lord Gilbert, ming campbell and that bloke from the tories whose name I have forgot, busy man...and guess others as well when I had gone.

Incidentally while I am still anti-leader it just struck me what a nice modest effective person Ann Were, leader of the Green Party in Wales is.

Still prefer speaker, much easier to explain and the media understands it.

Ann seems great but 'leaders' tend to go a bit Sméagol Gollum don't they, people who want to be leader, 'the ring, the ring....' with a glint in the eye...power, power...I need to save the planet, trust me, trust me....as they march toward the Crack of Doom.

lets not use the term 'fuck the realos' it would be richly unappropriate and rude.

....when I stop driving the taxi and go power mad slap me down as well.

Any way that's enough political theory.

Good week for the Wall diaries, which will be published one day.

12 Apr 2007

Green Stroud

It was good to catch up with him and hear his enthusiasm for Stroud - he clearly had a great visit here before he went on today to launch the Green party's campaign for a Welsh Assembley seat. During his visit he was kind enough to mention this blog as one of the best Green blogs around.

this is from Philip Booth, great blogger and green local councillor.

Stroud was great, the local greens really looked after me and we went to Whiteway colony, set up in 1898 and a little tame today, than when wild 'croydon Brethern' inspired by Ruskin and Tolstoy set it up, and bumped into Alan Evans (hope I have the right name) making metal work for a sustrans bicyle route over a viaduct.

So Whiteway is still green.

Went to lots of green projects, I am so sceptical but I was sold on all the great practical steps...if you squint a look at some little corners Stroud is like going to William Morris's utopia 'News from Nowhere'.

Welsh launch was great, god I am losing my critical edge, Rhodri Griffths made an inspiring speech about climate change, transport and the need for green education based on creativity.

Next stop, GMTV interview filming tommorrow, out on sunday morning

Derek Wall also spoke to some 60 people in the Old Town Hall about Green economics, his meeting last year with President Chavez of Venezuela and of wider issues. He challenged public perceptions about Green politics saying that it was the other parties that were single issue parties focussed on ever more economic growth. He said: "Green politics is about ecology and that is about interactions with our environment - you cannot separate social justice from environmental justice."

Derek Wall urged the audience to remember that Green politics is not about a terrible lifeystyle but about making it better for everyone. He said: "Green policies of localisation means less commuting - who enjoys commuting? Green policies also mean warmer, more energy efficient homes and health policies that look at the causes of ill-health - The Economist for example recently reported 1000 people die every year in London due to air pollution. Yes Green policies are about consuming less but happiness doesn't come from ever more purshases. Certainly Greens want good food and good homes but as Ghandi said there is more than enough for everyones' needs but not for everyones' greed."

When asked how to be Green Derek Wall responded: "It's really very simple and requires no expert knowledge or complex skills. Consume less. Share more. Enjoy life."

Cllr Philip Booth, a local Green party spokesperson said: "It was great to have Derek here: his optimism has given us a huge boost as we go into the local elections: we need more Green votes and more Green politicians more than ever. Other parties moves to green their image completely miss the point that green politics is about every aspect of policy: the environment isn't something that can be tagged on to get a few extra votes, it must be fundamental to all policies. I am very optimistic that we will see more Green councillors elected locally."

More on my Stroud trip here.

11 Apr 2007

Green Venezuela

A couple of years ago I watched the documentary 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised', which is about the 2002 coup against President Hugo Chavez. Since then I have taken a personal interest in the progress of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. My party, the Green Party of England and Wales, is affiliated to the Venezuela Information Centre (VIC), which is a solidarity organisation that campaigns against foreign interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs. I have a lot of links with friends in Caracas and a Green Party delegation, including our chair Richard Mallender, went to listen to Hugo Chavez when he spoke in London last year. Caroline Lucas, who represents our party in the European Parliament, is a patron of VIC, and I travelled to Caracas with my partner Sarah Farrow as part of a VIC delegation in 2006.

So I think it is fair to say that on the whole the Green Party is pretty supportive of solidarity with Venezuela.

More here...see you in Stroud later perhaps.

10 Apr 2007

Stroud: A transition town?

The new phrase seems to be 'transition town', Stroud is trying to be one or at least some people in Stroud are promoting a citizens alternative to oil addiction.

Felicity Lawrence who is one of my favourite journalists spells out the link between food production and oil, every carrot seems to come with a spilt litre of petrol:

How we use oil

· 130kg packaging made from oil-derived plastics is consumed by British households each year. Two-thirds of it is used in food production

· 57miles is the average distance a tonne of freight now travels by road. In 1953 it was 21 miles

· 95% of our food products require the use of oil, and the supply of food accounts for 21% of Britain's energy use

· 3.5 litres of oil is needed to produce half a kilogram of steak

this is from her article on Lampeter, which to be honest I find slightly depressing, to succeed such projects need to make big structural change, political change, yet we are being glued into unsustainable structures every day (look at the expansion of air freight!) and green needs to reach new communities, see what you think here.

It will be interesting to see when I visit tomorrow whether Stroud is making progress against 'peak oil'.

I also wanted to flag up Councillor Phillip Booth's blog which shows that he can bridge the gap between practical action to help people in his ward and the big debates about ecology and social justice.

Stroud Transition town wiki here.

We need a big multi language wiki on practical ecology, any takers?

8 Apr 2007

In Stroud on wednesday: Why Green is the issue.

The commune had been created in the Cotswold Hills near Stroud around the turn of the century, attracting an assortment of socialists, pacifists, “free thinkers and refugees.” “Manners had they none and their customs are beastly, “wrote an official in 1925. Police paid a husband and wife £400 to infiltrate the commune in the hope of finding evidence of their unspeakable activities. The couple emerged claiming that “promiscuous fornication “was indeed a feature of life in the colony, but they were unable to produce proof

7.30pm 11th April in the Old Town Hall, The Shambles, Stroud: Derek Wall will be talking on 'Why Green is the issue" - this will include why greens are not a single issue party and why there is only one party with real green policies.

I am off to Stroud which since the whiteway colony in the 19th century has been pioneering green politics, back in 1986 when we were still the Ecology Party John Marjoram won a council seat in the town, we have five borough councillors and run the town council, John has been a Mayor as well.

So I may be talking but a bit of listening is in order! It will be really good to see how Stroud is making the most of its status as a transition town, working towards an ecologically sound future based on strong local economic activity.

Incidentally I am not just cyber and tv, I like to get out and talk to local Green Parties, this is a mid week after Easter tour, the other stop being Cardiff for the Green Party Assembly launch on thursday.

Must go and have a look at the Whiteway colony, the wiki oracle notes: For a period the Anarchist newspaper Freedom was produced here by Thomas Keel., for a period the anarchist newspaper Freedom was produced by some of my students in Deptford.

I have decided to paste this in from the Morning Star, I am a bit critical of them, because generally none of their articles are open source and free on the web...this is a good line 'Some of the ‘fads’ have endured mainly because the outside world has caught up with Whiteway and what once seemed extreme now passes without mention.'

Copy of article from the "Morning Star" dated 12th March 1999 on the centenary celebrations at Whiteway, Gloucestershire.

One hundred years of anarchy.

In the summer of 1998 in the small Cotswold settlement of Whiteway a unique centenary was celebrated. As the crowd of intrigued onlookers followed the colony historian on a guided tour of the 40 acre site behind the veneer of late 20th century life the ghosts of anarchists past could be sensed hiding in old sheds and quiet corners of this mature anarchist arcadia. Long gone are the wide open fields of the Dry Ground and the Wet Ground, replaced by a patchwork of gardens and allotments set amongst a canopy of mature trees. Long gone are the heady days of Tolstoyan anarchism when all talk was of building a community free from restraint and injustice where everyone would share work, love and comradeship. Long gone also is the Spartan simple life where the ‘Most ideally minded they wouldn’t use any money, just living from earth product, for instance for want of matches, they had to save time and light getting up therefore very early in the morning when the sun rises, and went to bed a sunset time. Lit the fire primitively helping themselves with two bricks and so. We never had bread and used to eat raw wheat in the hollow of the hand. No salt, no sugar, nothing of this kind... ‘Carmen Maurice C1914 In a hundred years the colony has seen it’s share of comings and goings. Not just people; the early settlers, immigrant anarchists, Spanish refugees & wartime CO’s, but with each decade the particular ideas and fads of the era; the no money period, vegetarianism, rational dress, naturism, free-love unions. Some of the ‘fads’ have endured mainly because the outside world has caught up with Whiteway and what once seemed extreme now passes without mention. Many of the early buildings have gone, the huts put up when ‘individual living’ started; William Sinclair’s hand-made brick & thatch hut. Some of the original timber clapboard houses have been extended and converted beyond recognition. Today houses have all the conveniences of modern living; piped water having arrived in 1949 and electricity in time for Christmas 1954. On one level life at Whiteway seems little different today from that of other surrounding villages. But a rich vein of anarchism runs below the surface of modern day life. Present day colonists are aware of the stories and myths of the early days. The symbolic burning of the deeds spiked on the end of a pitchfork, the land tribunal case that upheld the principle of communal ownership of the land and the endless rumours of the ‘nudist colony’. Anarchy is implicit in the jigsaw layout of the plots, the endlessly twisting and winding lanes that make no concession to the age of the car and in the patchwork of house styles; from modern brick built bungalows to others still recognisably early 20th century DIY style. The governance of the community as a whole is still carried out through the general meeting, which oversees the communal facilities; the lanes and paths, the colony hall, the playing fields & swimming pool. And on our centenary-guided tour at least one house was proudly flying a black flag. Two books have been written chronicling Whiteways history. A Colony in the Cotswolds in the 1930’s by Nellie Shaw one of the original colonist and more recently an account by Joy Thacker a local woman who moved to the colony in the 1960’s. In a century of colony life Whitewayans it would seem have been through the whole panoply of community activity practiced or dreamt of by communards before or since. As well as their smallholding and self-build activities there was; Protheroe’s Bakery, the Cotswold Co-operative Handicraft guild, Whiteway Modern School, the Co-operative Gardening Group, the Whiteway Youth Club and the Whiteway Wanderers football team. On top of that various individual ventures; Lillian Woolf s whole food shop, the temporary home for Freedom Press, numerous small businesses, craft workers and artists….The pattern of social life over its lifetime, from intense communality through to increasing individuality, could lead to the conclusion that Whiteway had failed the aspirations of its original settlers. It would be difficult for a penniless anarchist to find a way to join Whiteway today. But the sheer tenacity of the ideas that have underpinned its entire existence, and have arguably been responsible for its longevity, are an inspiration to all would be utopians everywhere. Today the Colony Hall has a new roof and coat of paint, ‘Protheroe’s’ bakery has reopened and M15 have just opened their files on the colony!

Home Office sought to wipe out ‘beastly' commune!

Home Office officials tried to shut down a prototype “free: love” hippy commune in the 1920s, according to official papers released yesterday. Files from the 1920’s released to the Public Record Office showed that officials regarded the Whiteways Colony in Gloucestershire as a security risk. The commune had been created in the Cotswold Hills near Stroud around the turn of the century, attracting an assortment of socialists, pacifists, “free thinkers and refugees.” “Manners had they none and their customs are beastly, “wrote an official in 1925. Police paid a husband and wife £400 to infiltrate the commune in the hope of finding evidence of their unspeakable activities. The couple emerged claiming that “promiscuous fornication “was indeed a feature of life in the colony, but they were unable to produce proof. The Home Office could not even work up popular agitation against the commune, as local residents viewed members as cranks rather than as objects of fear.




Wales Green Party will launch its Manifesto for the Welsh Assembly Election at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay on the morning of Thursday 12th April.

The bilingual event will include speeches by Green Party Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall and lead candidates from across Wales. The party will be highlighting its radical stance on climate change, economics, energy, transport and peace.

Ann Were, Spokesperson for Wales Green Party said, “Green issues have never been higher on the political agenda. Every party is putting on green clothes these days. But it remains to be seen how effective this ‘New Green’ agenda will be in dealing with the impact of Climate Change.

“Greens have been discussing these issues, and developing solutions for over 20 years now. We have the answers to all the questions that the other parties have only just begun to ask.

“Experience across the UK shows that it needs a Green presence on our assemblies and councils to ensure that the challenges of climate change are faced up to by the other parties.

“In the European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, London Assembly and in local councils across England Greens are already delivering the necessary measures. In March the first Green Assembly Member was elected in Northern Ireland. On May 3rd people in Wales have the opportunity to make history by electing their first Green Assembly Members and giving Wales a Strong Green Voice.”

Dr Wall will formally launch the Manifesto, ‘One Wales, One Chance’ at 1030. There will be opportunities for photographs and interviews with the candidates at 09:00, and again after the launch at 11:15. Dr Wall will also be available for interviews from 11:15.

Printed copies of the Manifesto will be available at the launch. Soft copies are available on request to the Wales Green Party Press Office – contact details below.


Notes for Editors:

Short biography of Green Party Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall can be found at: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/individual/117

Short biographies of Wales Green Party lead candidates on each Regional List can be found at: http://www.walesgreenparty.org.uk/?page=560&lng=en-GB

For interviews and further information please call:

Ann Were, Wales Green Party Spokesperson: 01600 714625 or 078 5426 0618; ann_were12@yahoo.co.uk

Wales Green Party Press Office, 0845 345 5768 or 079 1467 7150; walesgreenpress@ntlworld.com

Green Party National Press Office: 020 7561 0282


7 Apr 2007

The Muslim awards for Excellence

Khalid Hussenbux and I went to the Muslim News awards for excellence, my most striking memory was of a women in a khaki niquab admonishing Muslim fathers for preventing their daughters from getting out of the house and getting an education!

Karimah bint Dawoud was accepting a prize for excellence in the arts for the work of Karamah Holistic Arts....

The group have produced some interesting work and have a lot to say about how Islam can and should celebrated strong women:

Karimah, a Muslim revert to Islam, of European and Asian African heritage, is proud of the fact that the first person to embrace Islam was a woman, Khadijah the first wife of Prophet Mohammed. Other important women in Islam: Maryam, Aisha and Fatima and the spiritual cosmology associated with these women and the archetypes that they represent, have been an influence for her garment designs. The feminine trinity of virgin, mother, crone also add to the layering of meaning that this collection represents.

The whole event was strong on women and islam, tolerance and with a Muslim stand up comic ('Allah made me funny') humour. Although I thought a lot of the comic's material traded on south asian sterotypes and Bush is an easy target when he mis pronounces 'terrarist'. Equally it is always a bit of worry to go to an event sponsored by Ruth Kelly with a Muslim Admiral, nice chap, whose work title stresses 'weapons'.

Tariq Ramadan won the final award and his statement of the need for 'critical thought, open hearts' although it sounds a bit trite here typed on the blog in cold letters, was exactly right....he stressed the need for strong intellectual argument, critical engagement (we don't get too much of that in much politics and religion in my personal opinion) with an opnenness to 'others'. His wiki entry is here

I haven't engaged with Ramadan's writings and thought but I will! I have just sent off for his book on To Be a European Muslim....it will be interesting to see to what extent he can square his type of Islamic orthadoxy with 'liberal' pluralist approaches to sexuality, citizenship and the other big issues.

Khalid who is the first muslim member of the Green Party executive, has a lot of interesting things to say....'Islam does not have a problem with women, Muslim men have a problem with women, infact men have a problem with women'...'religion must be seperated from (sexist/intolerant) culture' he is also keen to state that the Koran proclaims the need to protect the Earth.

I am sure that there will be a lot of sharp debates on islam and politics but the need to build bridges and work with Muslims is vital.

More here

Do look at LINE....their contribution to green campaigning is impressive and should interest all.

6 Apr 2007

Climate deniers delay release of IPCC report

Correspondents say the US, Saudi Arabia, China and India were unhappy with the strength of the language in the draft summary, due to be released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Several countries most notably the US have prevented the release of the latest IPCC report on climate change....the more we delay the greater the likelihood of disaster.

See you at Exxon headquarters in Leatherhead, Surrey (the god of trains permitting) later, to protest this.

read more here.

5 Apr 2007


How can anything survive in a climate like this? A heat wave all year long. A greenhouse effect. Everything is burning up. Okay. Wise guy. Eat some Soylent Green and calm down.

Well what do I think of the 3rd series of the new Dr Who on BBC 1, is the obvious question. The interesting question is what can we learn generally from science fiction as a form of culture? How does it make us think politically, especially about ecology? I watched the 1973 dystopian classic Soylent Green last week for the first time. It is worth a look and I guess you can borrow it from some of the dvd schemes on the net.
My copy had a really cheesy documentary that put me off and yes it is a bit of a boy movie, full of violent action and casual sexism not cool. However it is interesting with all the climate deniers claiming that there was a big scare about global cooling in the 1970s to note that back in 1973 greenhouse concerns were in popular culture.
Soylent Green is set in New York in 2020, climate change means that food is artificial, the oceans are dying and its unbearble hot all the year around. The rich are protected, the multitude riot for the artificial food Soylent Green.
It is based on Harry Harryson's novel 'Make Room! Make Room!' and seems Malthusian inspired, the plot though shows that corporations wreck the planet and then profit from selling more commodities to the survivors.
Perhaps Soylent Green are Exxon! What is the secret of Solyent Green, well you probably know already but I won't spoil things by saying just in case you don't know.

See you at the anti-Exxon Party in Leatherhead, tomorrow on Good Friday!

Stop oil addiction
'Exxon is the worst of the oil companies. Their role in funding climate change deniers like Chris Horner's Competitive Enterprise Institute and bankrolling George Bush means they should be the number one target for those of us who want to protect our beautiful planet. In the 1960s and 1970s tobacco companies funded attempts to deny that smoking led to cancer, by delaying effective action 1,000,000s of people died, by delaying action on climate change Exxon could kill far more.
We need to oppose Exxon....break our addiction to oil and show that climate change cannot be combatted simply by individual lifestyle change, the big corporations need to be challenged and political change needs to occur so we can all go green in a meaningful way'
Climate change cannot be delt without challenging the growth illusion. Our economy cannot grow for ever, we consume 52 million barrels of oil a day, we cannot keep consuming, Americans Gordon brown's model of commercially responsible humanity are profligate, producing 20 times the co2 of the worlds average citizen. The mathematics behind western civilisation simply don't add up. But tell an addict to cut their habit and they get angry, everyday politicians are tightening the tourniquet and mainlining on petroleum.'

Imperialism Is the Arsonist: Marxism’s Contribution to Ecological Literatures and Struggles

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