31 May 2007

Free Papua from Do or Die!

Benny Wenda from the West Papua Movement

The article below is a golden oldie from 'Do or Die' the people who quite rightly think I am a sell out who isn't tough enough on the essentials of green politics, critical enough of the 'realos', etc, etc.

Do or Die....a very interesting publication indeed, set up by the radicals, the spikies of Earth First! (UK)....all on line for free, you won't regret a look. No right wing Malthusian bullshit from these people, pretty solid support for direct action and against capitalism.

Radicals put pressure on progressives who try to embarrass the friends of the 'military-industrial complex', agree or disagree, the anarchists are a necessary part of the eco-system.

This is back ground on West Papua. To support the free papua movement click here.

lets face it serious politics is about Iraq or West Papua, even letting people know a little bit more is important

Rumble in the Jungle
Fighting for Freedom in West Papua
This interview with a representative of the OPM took place in a mystery location in a well-known South Coast seaside resort (not the one you're thinking of), with an inept interviewer, a cheap tape recorder, and drunks singing a rousing chorus of 'Rawhide' in the background.

West Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea is home to rich rainforest and a huge range of different tribal groups - accounting for 0.1% of the world's population, but speaking up to 25% of all known languages. In 1963, this former Dutch colony was annexed by Indonesia and became the province of Irian Jaya. In 1969, a fraudulent referendum involving 1025 indigenous people - the 'Act of Free Choice' - ratified the Indonesian occupation. To maintain its control over West Papua's immense natural resources - including some of the world's best mineral deposits - Indonesia has unleashed one of the least-known genocides of the 20th century. Massacres, rape, torture, disappearances, the seizure of land and cultural assimilation policies have been commonplace, with perhaps a sixth of the 1963 population (300,000 people) killed since the occupation began.

Indonesia's policy of 'transmigration' - relocating millions of people from heavily populated Java, Bali and Madura to the outer islands, to consolidate their grip on them - has also done tremendous damage. But almost from the very start, this catalogue of abuses has been met with determined and inspiring resistance, against incredible odds, from the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) or Free Papua Movement.

Read more here

30 May 2007

UCU backs boycott of Israel

Delegates at the first conference of the new University and College Union in Bournemouth voted by more than three to two to recommend boycotts in protest at Israel's "40-year occupation" of Palestinian land and to condemn the "complicity" of Israeli academics.

Storm of protest I guess will arrive and all the right wing trolls will be cancelling their holiday time to get on the blog o sphere.

Very proud of Caroline Lucas MEP showing such courage in supporting Palestine, I guess her visits to Palestine (one good excuse for flying!)where she has seen the damage done by Israeli occupation and aftermath have given her a lot of food for thought.

A peaceful Middle East demands justice.

So yes this member of the UCU supports the boycott and so do many of us in the UK concerned with justice and sustainable peace.

The conference motion said there should be "a comprehensive and consistent boycott" of all Israeli academic institutions, as called for by Palestinian trade unions.

Delegates voted by 158 to 99 in favour of the motion. The union's leadership must now circulate calls from Palestinians for a boycott of Israeli universities to all branches throughout the country.

Tom Hickey, a Brighton University academic and union national executive member, who led the call for stronger moves towards a boycott, said: "There will be adverse effects on individuals, but this is not targeting individuals or trying to break contacts with them."

He said the vote in favour of a boycott call to all branches reflected "the deep concern" people have about the issue. A boycott could involve lecturers refusing to collaborate on research contracts with Israeli academics and refusing to work with journals published by Israeli companies.

More from the Guardian here
Green Party supports calls for an academic boycott of Israeli

The largest trade union for university and FE staff, the University
and College Union, will today consider proposals to boycott Israeli
Academic Institutions and condemn the 'complicity of Israeli academia
in the occupation.'

The text of the motion notes that "Israel's 40-year occupation has
seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through
annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction
of movement ... deplores the denial of educational rights for
Palestinians ... and believes that in these circumstances passivity
or neutrality is unacceptable."

Dr. Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker and UCU member commented:

"As a member of the UCU, I teach as a visiting tutor at Goldsmiths
College, I have long supported the academic boycott. It is important
to act in solidarity with Palestine. Israel is crushing Palestinian
hopes everyday, the boycott is an important part of the struggle
towards a just settlement in the Middle East.

"Our voices could help halt the construction of the Wall and to do a
little to build a better future for all communities in the Middle East.

"Palestine's pain breeds conflict, environmental devastation and
injustice. I am urging UCU delegates to support the motion and the
demonstration on June 9th against the wall."

Green MEP Dr. Caroline Lucas, a member of the European parliament’s
cross-party delegation to the occupied territories and co-founder and
Co-President of the European Parliament’s cross-party Peace
Initiatives group has issued a statement in regard of the motion. She

"The time is right to consider a boycott of Israeli universities.
The international community must support the Palestinian civil
society organisations that are calling on us to act."

The text of Dr. Lucas' statement follows:

"The ongoing Israeli policy of withholding tax revenues from
Palestinian Universities is just one way in which the Occupying Power
is denying the human right to education. Ever tighter controls on
freedom of movement also prevent new Palestinian students from
attending Israeli Universities and disrupt the studies of those
already enrolled on courses. Whilst some Israeli academics have
spoken out against state oppression of the Palestinian people, their
institutions have failed to condemn the violations of academic
freedom that occur, and in some instances are complicit in active
discrimination against Arab students. I, therefore, believe that the
time is right to consider a boycott of Israeli Universities - in
order to place pressure on the Israeli authorities and to support
Palestinian civil society organisations that are calling on the
international community to act."


Notes for Editors

Information on the vote and the full motion before the UCU congress
can be found at www.ucu.org.uk

Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

Green Party calls for travel ban on Moscow

Please support this call.

Green Party principal speaker Dr. Derek Wall said in a statement: “This type of police action simply confirms that human rights are not respected in President Putin’s Russia.

“Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, has a responsibility to allow its citizens the right to peaceful protest.”

He said that European democracies must do everything they can to ensure that “Russia does not shirk that responsibility”.

“In this case, EU countries should impose a travel ban on Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, just as they did on Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko because of his appalling human right record.

“The EU is a force for anti-discrimination, and Green MEPs have been at the forefront of promoting new policies to ensure equal employment and partnership rights across the EU.

“The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population deserves political allies who will work with us to benefit our community.

“The Green Party will keep on campaigning for a Europe that we can be proud of, where the LGBT community is treated as an essential and valued part of the our rich and diverse culture,” he promised.

For more read here

29 May 2007

Last act in Iraq?

Is it Bosworth Field time for George Bush, the neo-cons and New Labour in Iraq?

Could an unwinnable war be won by the Iraqi resistance?

Well from Northern Europe who knows really. Some things are apparent in the mists.

Firstly, clearly this is more like Vietnam than Puerto Rico for the US, clearly there is no US military solution. Kidnappings, US deaths and citizen casualities accelerate. The 'surge' has clearly failed and there are a number of other new developments.

Sadr has called for unity between Sunni and Shia resistance against all foreign occupying forces and there are reports that Sunni military leaders are listening.

Sunni assaults on Al Queda will if true make Sunni/Shia unity a stronger possibility.

Turkey is increasingly concerned with the threat from the free Kurdish informal state in Northern Iraq and may intervene military, causing chaos.

Greens need to be calling all the more strongly for an end to occupation, against Turkish intervention and against US threats to Iran.

The Second Gulf War has damaged the US greatly but more significantly has led to the loss of 100,000s of innocents.

Who funded Saddam Hussein in the first place, well Britain and America?

How have the most regressive forms of Islam grown? With motives and monies again from the US.

Self determination and human rights in Iraq are a long way off but US interventions globally look far more difficult.

I guess they will be calling Chavez a dictator and calling for democracy in Venezuela.

American democracy is the democracy of the death squad.

The ordinary Labour Party member, concerned, opposed to Blair, wanting peace...ultimately you have each taken a gun and shot a child in Iraq. Are you going to stop the killing? Love to see you all sat in the road with the rest of us opposing the arms trade...but I guess I will have to wait a long time to see you put your weapons away and stop the killing.


Date: Sunday 10th June 2007
Time: 2.15pm to 4.45pm
Venue: 4nd Floor, Muslim World League, 46 Goodge Street, London, W1T 4LU (entrance on the corner of Charlotte Street); Nearest Tubes: Goodge Street (Northern Line) ; Warren Street (Victoria Line) ;

Join us for a relaxed afternoon of listening to poetry, verses from the Qur'an and Hadith, through which we will explore the natural world, the human condition and what ecology and the environmental crisis means to us. We encourage you to bring a short piece of text which has a strong resonance for you and that you would like to read aloud to others. As always, this will be followed by discussions on past and planned environmental projects, with opportunities to take part for those who would like to. As usual no charge and open to all.

LINE contact info: Web: http://www.lineonweb.org.uk ;
Streetmap : Click here

28 May 2007

Mayor of London protest against Moscow homophobia

lets all say thank you to Ken for this act of solidarity

Dear Mayor Luzhkov,

"I am writing to convey my deep concern at the reported physical violence against, and arrest of, Peter Tatchell, a Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party in Britain, and other supporters of lesbian and gay rights, during their participation in an event in Moscow seeking to present a petition to you to lift a ban on the Gay Pride parade in Moscow.

"I have known Peter Tatchell for many years and know him to be a person committed exclusively to peaceful political activity.

"I would urge you to use your good offices to seek the lifting of all charges against Mr Tatchell and his fellow demonstrators.

"I would also urge you to resolve the root cause of this protest by lifting the ban on the Gay Pride parade in Moscow in line with the practice of most cities throughout the world."

Yours sincerely,

Ken Livingstone
Mayor of London

Protest at Moscow march attacks by police

The Russian organisers of the march and other Russian citizens who took part are still being held in custody and I would ask Green Party members to write to the Russian authorities about this and the violent attack on those trying to organise the march. Furthermore, the vicious attacks on Peter Tatchell and on Volker Beck, the German Green MP, and others requires a protest from the UK authorities and elected representatives, including the Mayor of London, who frequently shares platforms with the Mayor of Moscow.

email address for Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow: mayor@mos.ru

email address for Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London: mayor@london.gov.uk .

However, the link at www.kremlin.ru/eng/ to
www.kremlin.ru/eng/eng/articles/send_letter_Eng1.shtml doesn't seem to be working.


Details of elected representatives can be found at www.locata.co.uk/commons .

Peter's MP is Simon Hughes, [Lib.Dem.], North Southwark & Bermondsey

His MEP's, listed at www.upmystreet.com/commons/reps/l/SE1%20%206QL.html?euroCode=LON
include Jean Lambert, [Green], who should be supportive.
Their contact details are listed at www.upmystreet.com/local/my-council-reps/my-reps/mep/l/SE1++6QL.html

John Hunt, a London member, has composed the following letter:

Dear Mr. Luzhkov,
I am deeply concerned by reports that a number of participants in Sunday's peaceful "Gay Pride" were arrested, and that some are still being detained.

As the right to peaceful protest is enshrined in Article 20 of the United nations "Universal Declaration on Human Rights", I appeal to you:

[1] to ensure that the peaceful demonstrators are released immediately;

[2] to identify and prosecute the thugs who attacked the peaceful demonstrators;

[3] to issue a personal guarantee that peaceful protests will henceforth be permitted in Moscow.

Nikolai Alekseev, one of the main organisers, has written:

"We ask the western democraties to put a maximum pressure on the Russian Authorities to release us immediately"

"The protocol written by the police is completely falsified and all the Western MEPs and MPS who were with us could confirm it"

"We are accused of having blocked the streets and insulted the police which is a complete lie. We were on the pavement and we never insulted the police. This has never been our methods"

"All this is nothing else that the good old method of KGB. We can see that agents of FSB are at the police station (ex KGB). The same people who were this morning at the hotel trying to prevent us to leave."

"We praise the German Chancellor Merkel who is currently heading the European Union Presidency to raise the question to President Putin"

"We also praise the other leaders of the G8 and the EU to speak publicly on this issue"

"We are very thankfull to Volker Beck, Sophie In't Veld, Vladimir Luxuria and Marco Cappato who came for us in Moscow and of course all the other"

"They can show to the world that Gay and Lesbian rights do not exist in Russia. They can show to the world that freedom of expression not only about politics"

"Please remember the words of Sophie In't Veld at yesterday press conference. There is no such thing as human rights light in which you can just avoid LGBT issues"

"There is no place in Europe for people who do not respect the rights of their citizen. Euroepan demcraties should ban Mayor Luzhkov and his people to enter their countries as they did to officials in Belarus"

"We ask for your help and support. Probably now, more than ever"

Joseph Healy

Green Party Regional council International Friend

Anti-capitalist blog

Mr. Lebeziatnikov who keeps up with modern ideas explained the other day that compassion is forbidden nowadays by science itself, and that that's what is done now in England, where there is political economy. (Dostoevsky 1993: 14)

Over successive days I am going to blog from my book Babylon and Beyond, So you can read and comment on my ideas for free. Thanks for the person at the Brighton real alternatives to capitalism meeting, who said 'why don't you put it on the web'.

Babylon and Beyond can be bought, I know buying things is a bit last millenium but if you must, here and here and here.

I would love it if you ordered copies for your local public library. This is the sacred principle, prosperity without pollution, increasing access rather than the cycle of production - consumption - profit - garbage.

Babylon is two things:

1) An outline of different forms of anti-capitalist economics. Moving from the ideas of capitalist anti-capitalist like George Soros and Joseph Stiglitz, Korten and Klein, to green localists like Caroline Lucas and Vandana Shiva, Marxism from Marx to Castro, Anarchists and autonomists like Hardt and Negri, monetary reformers like Major Douglas or Tobin, ecosocialist like Joel Kovel

I look at what they say and how it can be criticised. Everything you wanted to know about anti-capitalism but were too afraid to ask.

2) Its an introduction to an economy beyond capitalism, capitalism has a built in tendancy to 'enclose' resources which are free including human creativity, to build giant undemocratic corporations and to grow for ever. In my view it is unjust and ecologically unsustainable. We can do better.

I am most interested in what might be described as 'wiki economics' an economics based on creativity rather than state control or market forces.

But there are other alternatives from Parecon to Bolivarian socialism to LETs or syndicalism or eco feminist economics, the point is to debate them and make them live.

Actually you never know Bolivarian socialism might be the real deal!

This is, of course, a political task as well, currently I am the Green Party Principal Speaker and I intend to keep on struggling for a world that actually works unlike the present order which is racing toward ecocide. If you want join the Green Party and support my efforts in this direction click here.

Babylon blog here.

27 May 2007

Peter Tatchell punched and arrested

Green Party Speaker Dr Derek Wall condemns arrest of Peter Tatchell

Peter, a very brave man, has I am told been arrested in Moscow during the Gay Pride protest, Pink News shot this picture of him being attacked.

Gay rights are of course human rights and like so many other issues have to be fought for in 2007 just like in the 1970s and 80s.

Russia and Eastern Europe are increasingly scary in terms of human rights.

It's shocking that Peter rather than his attackers has been arrested.

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has been attacked by anti-gay protesters in Moscow.

Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass was also punched in the face while giving a TV interview.

Both were there to support today’s banned gay rights march in the city. The BBC reports Mr Tatchell has been arrested.

for bbc see here

Local Food production is possible

In Havana, over 90 per cent of perishable produce is grown within or near the city limits.
It’s been good for the Cuban national diet too, with the incidence of vegetarianism and vegetable-rich diets on the rise, proving that when natural, sustainable food production is part of the fabric of life, people are more inclined to eat well.
It’s still not a perfect system.
As mentioned above, not everyone gets a bite of this bounty and Cuba is still working on extending the green revolution to the most needy in their society.
But Cuba’s experience does show that the conversion from an oil-dependent economy to a post-hydrocarbon one can be achieved, even in the most straitened circumstances.
There are, however, clouds on the horizon.
In 2000, US president Bill Clinton lifted the trade embargo. At least to the extent that Cuba could now buy from the US, though the reverse was not true.
In 2002, despite Cuba being by then self-sufficient in food, the Cuban government purchased $91.9million in food and agricultural products from the US, even though they could have bought most of it cheaper elsewhere.
Their motivation was clearly political; a gesture of goodwill which they hoped would persuade the US to allow Cuba, in time, to trade its goods.
Cuba is a great untapped market for a globalised system that is running out of such things. As such, big firms, notably bio-tech, are salivating at the thought of making inroads into Cuba.
Will this self-sufficient island, a beacon of sustainability in a world of exhausted soils and artificial agricultures, crumble when the air of the world streams in? Or will it prove resistant to the pests and diseases of globalisation?
Only time will tell but, whatever happens, we have in Cuba a roadmap to an organic, local, sustainable future and we may need it for future navigation.

This extract is from a great article in Scottish Socialist Voice, newspaper of the Scottish Socialist Party, sadly going fortnightly after their recent difficulties.

Read More here

Red and Green are healthy in Cuba, perhaps the British left have something to learn from their approach?

Green Cuba Campaign website here!


Open sourced ( I mean free softwared) this from Rising Tide.


Although the location is different,to 2006, the philosophy of the camp
remains the same: to be a place for the burgeoning network of people
taking radical action on climate change around the country to come
together for a week of low-impact living, education, debate, networking,
strategising, celebration and direct action. The camp will feature over
100 workshops covering topics such as climate change impacts, carbon
offsetting, biofuels, peak oil, permaculture, practical renewables,
campaign strategy, skills for direct action, and much more. Run without
leaders by everyone who comes along, it will be a working ecological
village using renewable energy, composting waste and sourcing food

It all comes down to us, now. We are the last generation that can do
anything about climate change. In 20 or 30 years time, should we not
change our ways, we’ll be committed to emissions increases that will see
forests burn, soils decay, oceans rise, and millions of people die. If we
don’t get this issue right, so much else is lost too.

Also, ‘Another End of the World is Possible’ is a series of captivating
video portraits of people taking radical action against the root causes of
climate change. See the all at www.climatecamp.org.uk. If you want a dvd
copy contact john@labofii.net

And…You can download a 15 min version of the film 'Reclaim Power - voices
from the camp for climate action' here:

26 May 2007

Archaeology and vegetarianism

Well I am a Dr of political sociology not medicine, so I can't advise the person who mailed in about diet and diabetes I am afraid.

Vegetarianism and vegan seem of interest, here is something I wrote in 1988 after finishing my archaeology degree.

The Diet of Early Humans
Vegetarianism and Archaeology

Derek Wall examines the "mighty hunter" myth of human ancestry
from The Vegetarian, September/October 1988, published by The Vegetarian Society UK:

Archaeology and vegetarianism are, at first sight, a rather unlikely combination; most people if asked to consider the diet of our ancestors would tend to conjure up images of cavemen roasting mammoth steaks or early medieval monarchs spitting venison over a roaring fire, not a lentil in sight. Many academics have taken these simplistic visions to their logical and dangerous conclusion; to argue, that in the past we have eaten meat, therefore eating meat is 'natural' and that vegetarianism is an unhealthy regression to the period when we were full fruitarians and swung from tree to tree.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the view that we have only become human through eating meat, that according to people like Raymond Dart writing as long ago as the 1930s, it has only been through hunting, aggression and violence that we have eaten non-carnivorous rivals in the evolutionary battle of the fittest. According to Dart and others, changes in human and early hominid dentition show that our teeth adapted to chewing meat. Happily more recent investigation tells a different story; Dr Clifford Jolly suggests that the real evolutionary transition came when our ancestors left the tropical forests of central Africa and took to the open savannah, shifting from a diet made up mostly of fruit to one based on seeds and grains, our ancestors' teeth adapting to cope with the relatively hard particles that needed a lot of grinding down before they could be digested.


Despite this, nutritionalist John Yudkin claims that for 99% of our existence we have been hunters with an 'ideal' diet where '. . . people tend to have a quite high proportion of meat.' Yudkin goes on to draw the conclusion that we suffer nutritional problems today (especially allergies) only to the extent we have shifted from this all animal diet with the occasional root or tuber thrownin. A major pitfall associated with this line of reasoning is the fact that much illness is caused by over consumption of animal fats; heart disease cancer, weight problems . . And again the archaeological evidence tells another story as does the existence of so-called 'hunters' in the modern world.

Groups such as the Kalahari bushmen and the Australian aborigines are not so much hunters as 'hunter-gathers', gathering much of their diet in the form of roots and tubers, seed grains, fruit, nuts and other nutritious plant products. Gould, who spent some time studying the aborigines of the Western Desert, states quite clearly that, 'The diet is primarily vegetarian'. In a very detailed study of the Kalahari bushman's diet it is revealed that: 'The proportions by weight of vegetable food and animal food in the total diet are, respectively, 81.3 per cent cent and 18.7 per cent. If the plants taken as water sources (such as melons and tubers) are included in the vegetable food count, the ration of animal food to vegetable food is even lower . . . Although the proportion of animal food of the total (18.7 per cent) diet is quite large, the Kade San can survive in the Kalahari without it, whereas they could not survive without vegetable food.'

In fact, out of existing hunter-gathers and those recorded by early anthropologists (before we made them extinct), only the Eskimos/Innuit, living in a climate where they have little choice, eat anything like the proportion of meat we consume today in Western society. This said we can't have it all our own way, there have probably been as few pure vegetarians as 20th century European style carnivores amongst our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Even so, if we go by the evidence of modem hunter-gathers, our ancestors probably ate meat in a more sensible fashion than that of present. Meat tended to be, as we have seen, only a very small part of diet, sauce to make the vegetables and grains more palatable rather than the other way round. Hunter gathers also tend to treat their prey with rather more respect than the way we treat our poor factory farmed, hormone and antibiotic ridden livestock. The Ainu of Japan traditionally pray to the spirits of the animals they kill and ask their forgiveness; similar practice is known amongst both North American Indians and African bushmen.

Any way, back to the strictly archaeological evidence. Can we tell for certain what our ancestors in the very distant past before the existence of written records ate? Dentition gives us at best only a very rough idea and anthropology provides only possible parallels. Food remains found in the course of archaeological 'digs' are a help but tend to be biased to animal products because, in most conditions, bone is far better preserved than highly biodegradable vegetable matter, if we excavated a Kalahari bush camp, abandoned for the sake of argument for 50 years (a tiny span of time in archaeological terms), we would find bones from the occasionally eaten gazelle but would miss almost entirely the staple gongo nuts or the 50 other plants exploited from the desert as food.

Tools used for food preparations may help as well, but flint 'tool' to take one example, have tended to be misinterpreted by meat eating archaeologists. Palaeolithic (old stone age) axes originally thought to be butchering tools would have been just as servicable for digging up root vegetables. In a paper under the title 'Mesolithic Europe - the economic basis', Clark shows how middle stone age people in Britain could have exploited nuts, fungi and a rich variety of plant foods from a landscape which has since become so degraded by human damage, that we have overlooked this vegetarian possibility almost entirely. He goes on to show that flints previously interpreted as tips of hunting arrows, may have components of composite vegetable grating boards!


Since the arrival of farming, the written word and 'civilisation' in general some 7,000 years ago, archaeologists have been able to discuss the diet of our more recent ancestors with more certainty than that of earlier stone age peoples. The Aztecs and Incas combined maize, beans and squash, so that the different amino acids in the maize and beans could be complemented by the carbohydrate content of the squash. Classical India was vegetarian, as was Japan up until a generation or two ago. The staple of Egyptian workers building the Pyramids was boiled onions. Pythagoras was a vegetarian, although he had a weird distaste for beans. Even the Roman army marched on its vegetarian stomach. It is clear that 90% of humanity have subsisted on a 90% vegetarian diet. Modern carnivorous men and women are the exception not the rule.

25 May 2007

Stop the bloody whaling

It is crucial that attempts by pro-whaling nations of the IWC to gerrymander the process by getting landlocked coutries to support them in the face of widespread opposition fail.

nuclear power, whaling, imperialist war, Trident...the things we fought in the 1970s and 1980s we fight today.

politics is endless struggle, green politics doubly so.

Whaling commission must stand firm on moratorium
25th May 2007

Attempts by pro-whaling nations to gerrymander the process must fail

The 59th meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Anchorage, Alaska, from May 28-31 must stand firm in the face of renewed attempts to weaken or scrap the moratorium on commercial whaling, the Green Party has said.

Dr. Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker today spoke in advance of the meeting:

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

"It is crucial that attempts by pro-whaling nations of the IWC to gerrymander the process by getting landlocked coutries to support them in the face of widespread opposition fail.

"Whales and dolphins are facing increasing threats from man made climate change, due to changes in sea temperature, declining salinity because of melting ice and increased rainfall, and the loss of icy polar habitats.

"Combine this with the thousands killed every year - more than 2000 in 2006 alone - under the guise of 'scientific research', and it's obvious whales face a very bleak future.

"The IWC must work to strengthen protection given to whales, and fend off attempts by countries such as Japan to manipulate the commission.

"This is just one fight in the continuous battle to conserve our environment by protecting it from unscrupulous acts of savagery, selfishness and ignorance, perpertrated in the name of profit, cultural traditions or the mis-guided thrill of hunting for sport."

Dr Wall has previously criticised the UK government for 'bowing to Japan's economic muscle', in refusing to register various ships belonging to the anti-whaling and conservation group Sea Shepherd.

Sea Shepherd whaling campaign here....three cheers for the good Captain Paul Watson

Leaderless resistance is fun!

Jenny Jones, an elected Green Party politician (for those of you surfing from the USA, etc) writes on direct action diy culture.

leaderless resistance is fun!

Just think what would happen if critical mass had one person running it (they would be jail for a start).

Critical Mass is more than a coincidence of cyclists travelling in the same direction. It is a little cultural gem in London life which has its place alongside Banksy's graffiti and Brian Haw's hats. It is one of those mixed up expressions of dissent, fun and celebration which doesn't fit with the usual definitions of political protest. OK, it's also untidy and slightly chaotic at times, but London was born that way. That is why the police are having such trouble controlling the event and I suspect it also explains why they are clearly determined to try.

For over a decade cyclists have gathered near the National Theatre at Waterloo for a once a month procession through central London's congested streets, nearly always with a small and unobtrusive police escort. Sometimes during cold & wet winter evenings there are less than a hundred cyclists, sometimes in the warmth of summer there are several thousand. This evening the turn out will be huge as the appeal court judges have decided by a two to one majority that Critical Mass does come within the provisions of the Public Order Act and that gives the police their chance to nab the organisers - their only problem being that there aren't any.

24 May 2007

Rats to rubbish

Rubbish is incendiary, with voters complaining about micro chipped bins and weekly collections going fortnightly.

It looks like rubbish charging is coming in as well.

An academic paper could be written on the Brown governments approach to the environment, I a bit skeptical of academic papers at present, but in the same way we had the term 'ecological modernism' may be we could have the term 'green Brownism'.

so we have giant projects, centralised decision making and an emphasis on economic expansion, not very 'Small is Beautiful'.

And its all about charging and tax.

Do we get 'the climate change situation is so serious, we are make bus travel free' no we get let's go nuclear, Radley Lakes will be on the side of the Didcot nuclear power station, and build all over the countryside.

Rubbish, lets get proper kerb side collection and worm bins or green cones or organic collection from sealed boxes for all.

lets outlaw plastic bags (Brown refrain, Miliband's chant 'plastic bag ban radical..incinerator toxic fly ash lovely').

At present all organic at home goes in the compost or worm bin.

paper, glass, metals and plastics recycled by the local authority.

We need this every where: zero waste.

23 May 2007

500 today

Thus Brown is keen to loosen up the planning process to build roads, incinerators, nuclear power stations and airports but uses the carrot of windfarms to justify on environmental grounds the necessity of ripping up planning law...

Watch this space, there is going to be a lot of opposition to Prime Minister Brown from people across the spectrum who feel that the environment is an excuse simply to tax them and control them.

Well my my 500 today, these blog enteries have been mounting up nicely since April 2006.

and shockingly I am a day or two off of 42, god how did I get to 42. It must be all the beer and Bolivars (for those not in the know you smoke them)...

Highlights (of the blog not my last 41 years in totalt) include ital food, too drunk to fuck says vote green in local elections, lots of Carcas stuff, various edicts instructing you all to practice zen, regular Green Party Principal Speaker stuff since I won the hard fought contest in November.

How long will it take me to get to 1,000.

What else...well small media frenzy commenting on world tonight on Radio 4 on planning, Pm Radio 4 on Gordon Brown's nuclear wet dreams, sky debate on congestion charges.

The narrative is simply Brown the neo-liberals neo-liberal wants a faster growing, more productive, less regulated economy. His model is US capitalism, he really is obssesive about the 'economy'.

Growth then trickles down and there are various interventionist twists to improve welfare, but even this is about getting people into work to keep aggregate supply growing.

People (you and I and our mums) are tools for higher economic growth.

The environment can be off set and traded.

So big environmental projects will be announced which may or may not be gimics but they are used to legtimise the general economic drive.

Thus Brown is keen to loosen up the planning process to build roads, incinerators, nuclear power stations and airports but uses the carrot of windfarms to justify on environmental grounds the necessity of ripping up planning law...

Watch this space, there is going to be a lot of opposition to Prime Minister Brown from people across the spectrum who feel that the environment is an excuse simply to tax them and control them.

Well green politics reinvented byt Brown is a worrying thought.

Veganism going well, did staying with a friend have milk in tea but that has been only lapse, easy if you are at home (well easy for me I like cooking lots of stuff like curry which happens to be vegan) more difficult on the run from media and at work.

But onion bahjis, homemade tahini and marmite sandwiches (well I like them) and big bags of cashew nuts get you through the day.

I think everyone should move in a bit more of a vegan direction, I am not going to be dogmatic but it has numerous ecological, animal welfare and health benefits.

22 May 2007

'Climate Change in the UK and South Asia'

Had this from Jagdeesh Singh who is a long term animal rights and green campaigner.

This from him in his professional capacity.

Looking at Sustainable Development: What Can the South Asian Community do?

'Climate Change in the UK and South Asia',
Monica Saini, London Sustainability Exchange

'The British Asian Community tackling Poverty in South Asia',
Nimmi Unadhkat, Asian Foundation for Philanthropy

Thursday 24th May 2007, 6pm
10 High Street, Southall, Middlesex UB1 3DA

Book attendance in advance!
CONTACT: Janpal Basran, 020-8574-885 | janpal1967@hotmail.com

Jagdeesh Singh, Programme Co-ordinator,
London 21 - www.london21.org | t. 0208-968-4601 | 07876-751577

LONDON 21 promotes, supports & networks community-based action for a green, healthy & equitable London.

21 May 2007

15th annual veggie week, apparently the Vegetarian Society are asking political 'leaders' to give up 'dead animals' fried, battered, on toast,etc for a week.

A hiding to nothing, I suspect that Ming and the Gordon will be tucking into their steaks as usual.

Will David Cameron give up pork for 7 days, well at least hopefully he is too busy to kill Bambi's mum for a week.

In the Green Party we have no leader, but Sian and I are 'substitutes', I have been vegetarian since 1986...but Sian eats meat on occassions and is giving up for a week.

Good for her...

Alex Salmond, well a few key green votes in the lobby, might force him on to the moral high ground.

Sinn Fein, well Martin McGuinness, used to work for a butcher in Derry, so may be not.

The unionists I don't think so.

Nigel Farage of UKIP, well stranger things have happened.

I am going vegan for a week, will I fall off the wagon and have a dairylea moment, watch this space...

Well even if you cut down or go for local, organic, cruelty free slaughter...good on you.

It is green to go veggie

Farmed animals produce more greenhouse gas emissions (18%) than the world’s entire transport system (13.5%).
Nitrous oxide is almost 300 times as damaging to the climate as carbon dioxide (CO2) and 65% of the quantity generated by human activity comes from livestock (mostly their manure). The digestive systems of farmed cows and sheep are also responsible for 37% of the total methane generated by human activity; this gas has 23 times the global warming impact of CO2. The animals we rear for meat also account for 64% of all the ammonia that humans impose on our precious atmosphere, contributing significantly to acid rain.

It takes far less water to grow vegetarian food than it does to produce meat.

It takes thousands more litres of water to produce a kilo of beef than it does to grow the same quantity of grains, vegetables or pulses. Livestock production accounts for over 8% of global human water consumption. Rearing animals for meat also contributes significantly to water pollution, with animal waste and antibiotics entering the water cycle alongside chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.

Farmed animal production accounts for 70% of all agricultural land use (30% of the earth’s entire land surface).

A third of the world’s land suitable for growing crops is used to produce feed for farmed animals. Livestock production is responsible for 70% of the Amazon deforestation in Latin America where the rainforest has been cleared to create new pastures. Twenty percent of the world’s grazing land has been degraded as a result of rearing animals for meat. In the UK, vegetarians need less than half the amount of land to grow their food compared to meat eaters.

The environmental arguments are strong, but many vegetarians simply believe that it is wrong to kill when we don’t need to. Others love animals and want to minimise their suffering. Some veggies are opposed to factory farming and choose vegetarianism because it sends a strong signal, guarantees you won’t be eating an animal reared in appalling conditions and, of course, avoids the distress experienced by every animal in the slaughter house.

Continuing with our environmental focus, we have two new booklets available to you in pdf format below. You can also order a hard copy, free of charge. Either call 0161 9252000 or email resources@vegsoc.org

‘Why It’s Green to go Vegetarian’ offers strong arguments that cutting out meat helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to water and land conservation. This is a serious science-based booklet, produced by our dedicated research department, for those who want to know more before making up their own minds.

20 May 2007

Rail fare rises punishes those who want to cut carbon emissions

South West Trains market dominance has allowed them to exploit their passengers.

"They are creating another, unfair tier of rail fares. As it stands, it's expensive to travel before 10, and cheaper after. Now, it will still be out of reach for most people to travel to London before midday.

"This price rise sends the wrong message, consumers who want to cut their carbon emissions are being priced off the railways and on to the roads, adding to congestion and pollution.

"For those of us who don't drive Stage coach, the SW train operators, monopoly power is going to hit us hard in the pocket.

More from me here

Looks very bad in terms of the news on global ecology, the Oceans seem to be losing their ability to absorb carbon dioxide effeciently, this is extremely worrying.
"This is the first time that we’ve been able to say that climate change itself is responsible for the saturation of the Southern Ocean sink. This is serious," said lead author Dr. Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey.

Dr. Corinne Le Quere is on the faculty of the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia and is a strategic alliance senior fellow at the British Antarctic Survey.

"All climate models predict that this kind of feedback will continue and intensify during this century," said Dr. Le Quere.
"The Earth’s carbon sinks – of which the Southern Ocean accounts for 15 percent – absorb about half of all human carbon emissions. With the Southern Ocean reaching its saturation point more CO2 will stay in our atmosphere," she said.

Such weakening of one of the Earth’s major carbon dioxide sinks will lead to higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the long term.

And the study suggests that stabilization of atmospheric carbon dioxide is even more difficult to achieve than previously thought.

Additionally, acidification in the Southern Ocean is likely to reach dangerous levels earlier than the projected date of 2050, the scientists said.

More here.

Ecology is indeed about the approach of a comet on a collison course with the Earth, if it turns out to be a tiny cinder all to the good but the future is not assured.

19 May 2007

The Shelter

As panic ensues, The doctor locks himself and his family into his basement bomb shelter. The same gathering of friends becomes hysterical and now wants to occupy the shelter. All of the previous friendliness has vanished and is now replaced with bitter hate, and soaring desperation as pent-up hostility and suppressed emotions boil to the surface

Well at home with the kids.

Do you want curry for breakfast..'yes Dad'.

I and quite a few other people I know have become obssessed with the fact that breakfast cereals are a social construct...with all social constructs, if you don't like them and life seems more fun, chuck em out and start again.

Rip it up and start again.

As you know from previous blogs there are two sources of my antipathy to flakes of corn, etc, in packets.

1) The whole post-modern academic trip, if you work, study or clean for too little pay in the world of academia, you will have come across conference posters for events such as 'plumbing for post-humans' or 'Decentred identities in the later novels of Douglas Hurd', on decaying concreate walls, all very quaint.

Well what is rational in the fashionable obscurity of out there French thought? Simply the modernist narrative notion that more is up for grabs about what we do, in society, than we might think. So if you don't like how things are, do them differently...I guess though even doing them differently means that you are a subject, shaped by all sorts of objective forces. But it is fun to eat something tasty for breakfast, even if taste, is shaped by some one other than you.

2) The notion that evil corporations are feeding us food that is not only unhealthy but unexciting. Felicity Lawrence is the person to read on this.

Before curry we watched an episode of the Twilight Zones, 'The Shelter'.

Great fun, the middle class Americans are at the doctor's birthday party, here the announcement that an unidentified object is posed to destroy Springfield.

The doctor and his family go to their nuclear shelter, their friends insist on being let in, when the Doctor refuses, they batter the door down.

This of course means that all will die.

It is heavy on socio-biology that we are all vicious animals, that if don't protect our family in the shelter, if we let the others in, all will die.

The responsible vicious animal protects his or her own, works hard, investing in a bomb proof bunker.

I guess in the 1960s when this went out, it played to Cold War paranoia.

The other solution is communal, get the local authority to build a shelter.

Not having a nuclear war is a better preventative solution, 'The Shelter' transmits an ideological message, about competition, individuals, freedom, etc.

The Simpsons, which good for them, borrows plots right, left and centre, built like all culture on allusions to pre existing plots, takes the Shelter, has a comet about to crash into Springfield, Homer kicks Flanders out of his family shelter, to save his yellow kids. More here

The wiki oracle notes 'The plot is reused in The Simpsons episode "Bart's Comet", Ned Flanders builds a bomb shelter, and due to his Christian faith cannot refuse anyone in town from entering, until he himself is forced out by the cramped quarters.'

Hundreds of Springfield citizens pile in but the comet burns into a harmless cinder.

On the train to Headcorn, read them the article in this week's Economist on bullet trains in China, a lot of good stuff in the Economist, well written, excellent research and hey whats the point of reading stuff you agree with, every Telegraph reader should read the Morning Star as well.

Not open source, I am sure they will not worry about me open sourcing, one paragraph found amusing on the way to Staplehurst:

Meanwhile, newspapers complain of a lack of manners on some trains. “Rough passengers” who litter, spit and “improperly use train services” have been reported in several provinces. Some travellers, perhaps believing that they need to get their money's worth, have resorted to stealing the taps from the carriage lavatories.

National Vegetarian Week coming up, I have been veggie since 1986, so back to veganism for at least a week....I think this will demand investment in a huge bag of cashew nuts.

Finally according to the wiki oracle, 'the shelter' is also a hard core hare krishna punk band (or is this conservapedia boys and girls trolling us with interesting lies?)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Shelter is a Hare Krishna hardcore punk band formed by Ray Cappo of Youth of Today. The band broke up in 2001 following the release of their last album, The Purpose, The Passion. In 2002, with a new drummer and a new guitarist the band toured Europe and the eastern US again in support of "The Purpose. The Passion" before going on extended hiatus.

In 2005 Ray Cappo recorded a new 11 track album entitled Eternal with 10 new songs and a re-make of "In Defense Of Reality." Eternal was released in May 2006 by Goodlife Recordings. Ray also did an European tour with a few members of Dutch hardcore bands functioning as the band.

[edit] Discography
In Defense Of Reality (Equal Vision, 1991)
Perfection of Desire (Revelation, 1992)
Quest for Certainty (Equal Vision, 1995)
Shelter Bhajan (Equal Vision, 1995)
Standard Temple (Equal Vision, 1995)
Attaining the Supreme (Equal Vision, 1995)
Mantra (Roadrunner, 1995)
Beyond Planet Earth (Roadrunner, 1997)
Chanting & Meditations (Krishna Core, 1998)
When 20 Summers Pass (Victory, 2000)
The Purpose, The Passion (Supersoul, 2001)
Eternal (Goodlife Recordings, 2006)

[edit] External links
Shelter Myspace

18 May 2007

Life beyond McDonnell for the left?

McDonnell campaigned for trade union freedom and for council-house building, important policies which we in the Greens support as a way of creating a more equal society. He spoke out against the madness of the Iraq war, Trident and the arms trade. He acknowledged the severity of the ecological crisis, most obviously in the form of climate change.

Above all, he recognised that Gordon Brown represents, even more than Tony Blair, a politics obsessed with the free-market dogmas of PFIs, privatisation and worship of corporate heroes. For the most sensible of McDonnell's ideas to win through, despite his defeat, campaigning outside of the Labour party will be necessary.

What next for the Labour Party radicals? Read more here.

17 May 2007

Ten myths about Blair

6. He made climate change a world issue

Tony Blair regularly made the claim that "Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing our planet today”. But what did he actually do about this? It was, he claimed ne of the great benefits of his special relationship with George Bush that he could influence American policy and bring them on board for Kyoto. This never happened. While early noises were positive nothing came of this. In fact its possible to chart the influence the other way from the US onto the UK policy. In 2005 he said (on 15 September at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York) : “I’m changing my thinking about this.” Adding: “no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem”; instead, what countries would be prepared to do is “develop the science and technology in a beneficial way.” The main question, Blair argued, was how to put incentives in place to do that, in circumstances where “I don’t think people are going to start negotiating another major treaty like Kyoto.” This is one of his most lauded victories and is in reality one of his greatest failures. Like his recent rejection of taking seriously his carbon footprint by curtailing his flying, Blair is strong on rhetoric and pitifully weak in practice.

"I personally think these things are a bit impractical, actually to expect people to do that," Mr Blair told Sky News in January. "It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere."

Great post from the Scottish ecosocialist tinged bloggers at 1820.

No-one has ever heard of Sufi terrorism.

No-one has ever heard of Sufi terrorism. Everyone, enemies included, knows that the very idea is absurd.

Two years ago, Shaykh Hisham Kabbani of the Islamic Supreme Council of America, warned of the dangers of mass terrorism to American cities; and he was brushed aside as a dangerous alarmist. Muslim organisations are no doubt beginning to regret their treatment of him. The movement for traditional Islam will, we hope, become enormously strengthened in the aftermath of the recent events, accompanied by a mass exodus from Wahhabism, leaving behind only a merciless hardcore of well-financed zealots. Those who have tried to take over the controls of Islam, after reading books from we-know-where, will have to relinquish them, because we now know their destination.

This is from Tim Winters, Cambridge University lecturer in Islam, he also goes by the name of Abdal-Hakim Murad and preaches friday prayer in a Cambridge Mosque. He is the big name when it comes to 'neo-traditional Islam' in the UK, advocating a tolerant sufism. I guess there are things I would disagree with him about but as we know the Sufi strain of Islam is important and he writes with great flair and clarity.

This piece is about September 11th and I guess those of you familar with his work will have read it before but I think it is important to flag up to new audiences as part of the debate for those of us who reject both Islamphobia and reactionary forms of Islam.

Read more here

15 May 2007

McDonnell falls....

It seems churlish to comment on other parties leadership campaigns, I am in another political party and famously we have no leader...all very web 2.0 democratic and fun.

Ming, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown....tempting? I don't think so.

Having two speakers one female and one male (me!) gives gender balance and generates more publicity than one figure.

If you want to challenge me or Sian, you need to be a member for two years and get 10 signatures from members. Easy

The Labour Party will I hope have a contest, they are the governing party and if they fail to have a contest this is very bad for democracy. Yes I would love them to get rid of the leader, have a PM job share ...with the male and female figures, (my party political interests require them to be only moderately charasmatic and radical)and instead of telling everybody what to do to put forward a democratically agreed manifesto.

I will never join the Labour Party, we need the Greens! but it would be nice if they played the democratic role not the managed democracy role of a party political oligarchy.

Well I could be wrong, John could get the signatures and on Venezuela alone he says some things that I am sympathetic to but, I suspect that the room for the left in the Labour Party is small. Not just the left but free and flexible thinkers of all kinds.

Less spin more thought is necessary to build an ecological, socially just, grassroots democractic and peaceful future. Incidentally you might think these are the four key principles of ecosocialists in the Green Party like me, you would be wrong they are the cornerstones of the Manifesto for a Sustainable Society agreed at conference and supported by our members.

Here is what I found on the Labour Party web site

As of 6pm on 15 May John has so far received the following MP nominations and supporting nominations from MEPs, CLPs and affiliated organisations:

MP nominations

Abbott MP, Diane Hackney North and Stoke Newington
Campbell MP, Ronnie Blyth Valley
Caton MP, Martin Gower
Clapham MP, Michael Barnsley West and Penistone
Clark MP, Katy North Ayrshire and Arran
Cohen MP, Harry Leyton and Wanstead
Cook MP, Frank Stockton North
Corbyn MP, Jeremy Islington North
Cryer MP, Ann Keighley
Drew MP, David Stroud
Etherington MP, Bill Sunderland North
Fisher MP, Mark Stoke-on-Trent Central
Flynn MP, Paul Newport West
Gerrard MP, Neil Walthamstow
Gibson MP, Dr Ian Norwich North
Heyes MP, David Ashton-under-Lyne
Hopkins MP, Kelvin Luton North
Jones MP, Lynne Birmingham, Selly Oak
McDonnell MP, John Hayes and Harlington
Meacher MP, Rt Hon Michael Oldham West and Royton
Prentice MP, Gordon Pendle
Riordan MP, Linda Halifax
Simpson MP, Alan Nottingham South
Skinner MP, Dennis Bolsover
Taylor MP, David North West Leicestershire
Wareing MP, Robert N. Liverpool, West Derby
Wood MP, Mike Batley and Spen
Polish homophobia - Protest 17 May

Oppose Poland's version of Section 28

Protest to the Polish Ambassador

London – UK

Poland's new Education Bill includes a Section 28-style clause that
will outlaw any objective, factual or sympathetic mention of
homosexuality in schools. It is feared gay teachers may be sacked.

Thursday 17 May 2007
12 noon to 2pm
Polish Embassy, 47 Portland Place, London W1B 1JH (nearest tube Oxford Circus).

Everyone welcome.

If you cannot attend, email your protest to the Polish Embassy:

Thursday's protest is one of a worldwide series of protests in over 50
countries to mark IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia, on
17 May 2007.

The London demo is organised by the British Youth Council, and is
supported by the LGBTI human rights group OutRage! and by IDAHO.

"We condemn rising homophobia in Poland and the increased persecution
of Poland's lesbian and gay citizens," said David Allison of OutRage!.

"Polish gays are experiencing both queer-bashing attacks by neo-Nazis
and government-orchestrated denunciations and discrimination.

"Poland's new Education Bill includes a Section 28-style clause that
will outlaw any objective, factual or sympathetic mention of
homosexuality in schools. It is feared gay teachers may be sacked,"
said Mr Allison.

Polish junior education Minister, Miroslaw Orzechowski, told a recent press
conference that the new law will: "punish whoever promotes
homosexuality or any other deviance of a sexual nature in educational

Maeve McGoldrick (23), spokesperson for the protest organisers, the
British Youth Council, said:

"The UK has strong bi-lateral relations with Poland. We call on the UK
government to take action within the EU and the Council of Europe to
challenge Poland's anti-gay policies."

"Our embassy protest will be uniting with campaigners internationally
in a worldwide minute of noise, paying tribute to all those who have
suffered at the hands of homophobia," she said.

Derek Lennard, IDAHO UK Coordinator added:

"It is extremely important to stand up for the human rights of
victimised people in a neighbouring European country. We have to
ensure that the Polish lesbian and gay community is not discriminated
against by its government.

"We urge everyone who feels strongly about Polish homophobia to join
us on 17 May," he said.

On the 25 April 2007, Members of European Parliament called on the
Polish government to abandon the homophobic clause in the new
Education Bill, which outlaws the so-called "promotion" of
homosexuality in schools.

In response the European Parliament asked the Polish government to:
"publicly condemn and take measures against declarations by public
leaders inciting discrimination and hatred based on sexual

"Polish government ministers have refused to accept or even consider
these criticisms," said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of
OutRage!, who will join Thursday's protest.

"We are urging the UK and EU to pressure the Polish government to halt
its anti-gay repression and to respect international norms of human

"The EU and Council of Europe should threaten Poland with sanctions if
it goes ahead with the new anti-gay law.

"We call on the British government, MPs and the gay community to
protest to the Polish Ambassador in London," said Mr Tatchell.

The Polish Ambassador
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
47 Portland Place
London W1B 1JH
Tel : 0870 774 2700
Fax : 0207 291 35 75 and 0207 291 35 76
E-mail: polishembassy@polishembassy.org.uk

Further information:

Jo Field
Head of Policy and Public Affairs
British Youth Council
0207 785 6459
07809 507360

Derek Lennard.
IDAHO-UK Coordinator.

Peter Tatchell
020 7403 1790

Notes to Editors –

1. BYC is the national youth council and voice for young people under
26 living in the UK. We represent and involve a unique coalition of
young people through their involvement as individuals or through
national, regional or local youth organisations.

2. BYC's coalition includes over 170 national youth organisations
such as Girlguiding UK, campaigning organisations such as the National
Union of Students (NUS) and youth wings of trade unions, political
parties, faith and arts organisations. Also within our membership and
network are 400 local youth councils and organisations representing
specific groups such as lesbian, gay and bisexual and black and
minority ethnic young people.

3. BYC works to ensure that young people are involved at every level
of decision-making to allow them to be represented and to make their
voices heard.

4. We aim to do four things: Provide a voice for young people;
Promote equality for young people; Help young people be more involved
in decisions that affect their lives; Advance young people's
participation in society and civil life.

5. 17th May is the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) which
takes place in more than 50 countries.

6. IDAHO exits to articulate action and reflection in order to combat
all physical, moral or symbolic violence related to sexual orientation
or gender identity.

7. Further information about IDAHO can be found on the international
website www.idahomophobia.org and the UK website, www.idaho.org.uk.


Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
http://www.greenoxford.com and http://www.petertatchell.net


Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell's campaigns
promoting human rights, democracy and global justice.
Peter is unpaid and receives no grants.
To continue his human rights work, he depends on donations from
friends and supporters.

Please make cheques payable to: "Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund".

Send to: Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund, PO Box 35253, London E1 4YF

To download a donation form or a standing order mandate, go to Donations at:

To email PTHRF:

Thank you. Richard Kirker, Treasurer PTHRF

For information about Peter Tatchell's campaigns:

14 May 2007



PROTEST tomorrow, Tuesday 15th May, from 8.30 am till 12 noon, at
Novotel London -West Hotel and Convention Centre, Hammersmith

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today announced his
support for tomorrow's demonstration at the Shell AGM in London,
organized by Hands Off Iraqi Oil. (1)

Shell has played a major role in influencing Iraq’s controversial new
Oil Law, which would allow long-term contracts with foreign oil
companies to be signed while Iraq is still under occupation.
The oil law proposes giving multinational companies the primary role
in developing Iraq's huge untapped oilfields, under contracts lasting
up to 30 years. It is one of President Bush's 'benchmarks' for Iraq -
the various criteria of successes that he has drawn up which may
effect both the number of troops in Iraq and any funding for
rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.

Dr Derek Wall said:

"Iraq has the world's third largest oil reserves, mostly situated in
the Kurdish north and Shia-dominated south. Oil production in Iraq,
like in most of the Middle East, has been in the public sector since
the 1970s.

"The proposed oil law has been portrayed as a means of equitably
diving Iraq's oil wealth. But in reality, it is about further
disempowering the Iraqi people, taking advantage of the government of
Iraq when it is new and weak.

"Hasan Jum’a Awwad, Head of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, has
asked the US congress not to link withdrawal with the law, and has
appealed for people around the world to join him in publicly opposing
the law. I am proud to offer the Green Party's support for his fight.

"If passed, the law would allow two-thirds of Iraq’s oil fields to be
developed by private oil corporations. It would also place governing
decisions over oil in a new body known as the Iraqi Federal Oil and
Gas Council, which may include foreign oil companies. This would open
the door for foreign oil companies to lock up decades-long deals now,
when the Iraqi government is at its most vulnerable. (3)

"The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the
Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers or
share new technologies. The international oil companies could also be
offered some of the most corporate-friendly contract terms in the
world, including Production Sharing Agreements – which Iraqi unions
and many Parliamentarians have already explicitly rejected.

"The law has been called the 'smoking gun' revealing the oil agenda
behind the Iraq war. I hope as many people as can will attend
tomorrow's demonstration and show their oppostion to these disastrous


Notes for Editors:

(1) Hands off Iraqi Oil is a UK coalition opposing any foreign
exploitation of Iraq's oil reserves that rips off the Iraqi people.

(2) http://priceofoil.org/2007/05/12/iraqi-oil-workers-address-us-

(3) http://www.iraqoillaw.com/

Green Party Press Office
020 7561 0282

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

Progress advancing with the tread of the conqueror

I saw the forests of Ilom burning at the turn of the century. It's progress advancing with the tread of the conqueror, Colonel Godoy used to explain real poetical, as he stood before all those rows of precious timber being turned into flaming brands, smoke and ash, because it was progress that was turning trees into firewood - mahoganies, primaveras, sapodillas, ceibas, pines, eucalyptuses, cedars - and because justice had come to the forest with the authority of the sword, as blows rained everywhere and on everyone...

I am reading Ecocriticism, the school of criticism that applies ecological concern to literature...a bit euro-centric so far.

lets go latin...try this for a start.

The metabolism between humanity and the soil, showing that social forces, property, accumulation, enclosure...cut down the trees...

Those nets - the Indians were even right about that, curse them! You should have seen what this land was like when they were cultivating it rationally. You don't need much arthmetic to work it out. You can do it with your fingers. Maize should be planted as they used to plant it, as they still do, to give the family its grub, and not for business. Maize is sustenance, it allows you to get by, more than get by. You show me a rich maizegrower, Hilario. It seems crazy, but we're all worse off. There've been times in my house when we ain't even had money for candles. It's the folk who own chocolate trees, cattle, orchards, beehives, who are rich. Small-town rich folk, maybe, but rich for all that, ain't so very bad being the biggest fish in a small pool. Now that Indians used to have all those things, as well as the maize that forms our daily bread. They did things in a small way, if you like, but they had all they needed, they weren't greedy like us because now, Hilario, greed has become a way of life to us. You just take maize itself: poverty sown and harvested until the very earth is worn out. ... Wake up, Hilario, don't leave me with my Bible in my mouth, it's rude to go off to sleep like that - what's there to choose between a dead man and a man asleep, they both look the same...The maizegrower leaves the land in the end because he's beaten it to death, like killing a snake, with his planting and planting, over and over, after all he knows it ain't his, it belongs to the boss, and if they give him leave to set fire to the forest, heaven help us all!... I saw the forests of Ilom burning at the turn of the century. It's progress advancing with the tread of the conqueror, Colonel Godoy used to explain real poetical, as he stood before all those rows of precious timber being turned into flaming brands, smoke and ash, because it was progress that was turning trees into firewood - mahoganies, primaveras, sapodillas, ceibas, pines, eucalyptuses, cedars - and because justice had come to the forest with the authority of the sword, as blows rained everywhere and on everyone...'

Miguel Angel Asturias. Men of Maize. p.237. University of Pittsburgh Press. Critical Edition. Translated by Gerald Martin. 1993 (original 1949).

Derek Wall today responded to Gordon Brown's Eco-towns announcement

Co housing green homes in Stroud
NEWS: Green Party in England & Wales

Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall today responded to Gordon Brown's Eco-towns announcement:

"Even if these towns are as environmentally friendly as promised, we are still talking about building 100,000 new homes across the UK - which will have a devastating impact on our environment.

"In England alone, there are almost 700 000 empty homes. (1) We desperately need to see better use of empty privately owned property - through empowering local authorities to use Empty Property Use Orders, in appropriate cases and with proper safeguards and rights of appeal.

"In this way, the Green Party would give priority to the maintenance and improvement of existing properties before new house building is considered. This should be the first step towards creating an affordable housing market.

"It is also crucial that the government look at provision of social housing. In recent years, this area has gone into rapid decline: in 1990, 13,000 local authority dwellings were completed. In 2004 / 2005, this figure was just 100. (2)

"The recent government commissioned Barker review recommended that 23,000 social homes a year should be built, whilst research commissioned by Shelter estimates that 48,000 new social rented homes are required each year to meet newly arising need. (3)

"Brown needs to ensure that any new build has as a staring point housing provision for those who need it most. What proportion of eco- town homes will go to the 100,000 homeless households currently living in temporary accommodation? (3)

"The government also needs to look at why we are facing such a housing crisis in the South-East - spiralling economic growth in this region is causing migration from other parts of the county at unsustainable levels.

"Housing policy should be fully integrated with other policies to build more sustainable, self-reliant communities. The provision of housing should be coordinated with developments to provide work, leisure, education and health care, and innovative ecological housing should be the standard for all, not just a few.


(1) http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1156546

(2) http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/resources/ DCHpamphlet2006.pdf, p12

(3) http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/resources/ DCHpamphlet2006.pdf, page 14

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12 May 2007

Commons: Green Political Theory and the State

‘it is noticeable how many conversations about green politics very soon dry up when the issue of change is broached’ (Dobson 1990: 130).

found this, forgot I was on about the majesty of the commons in 1992, boring people at yesterday's climate change conference with this stuff.

This was a paper given at the Political Studies Association conference in Swansea, my then partner went on holiday in Italy leaving me behind, I had an infection and to be honest I have never been felt very safe with academics since....less polish than it could be and I am sure if i read it line by line I would object to my naiveity, post-humanism when I meant care about other species....too much hanging around with academics blunts ones thought, damages prose and neuters the politics

Anyway Defend extend deepen the commons is still the slogan....along with the continuing FCUK the realos...

goldsmith et a is Nick Hildyard et al and those great people now at cornerhouse...more on 'men of maize' on monday by the way....

Green Political Theory and the State
Derek Wall

The University of the West of England‘Towards a Green Political Theory – In Defence of the Commons?’Introduction

The central argument of this paper is that green political theory, in contrast togreen philosophy and political programme, is under theorised. Elsewhere I have criticised Greens for failure to develop a clear means of transition towards a sus-tainable society (Wall 1990) here I argue that with one exception (Goldsmith etal 1992) green theorists have failed to develop convincing accounts of the politi-cal workings of a green society. To develop an effective political theory, we mustdefine green imperatives and the political metabolisms that will work to maintainthem.The evidence suggests that traditional conceptions of market and state fail toprovide forms of metabolism that maintain these imperatives, and thus providesa considerable challenge to theorists. I argue that such meta- bolisms can onlybe gained (or in certain cases recreated) through the development of participatoryand decentralised instiftutions. While anarchism, or to be more precise, opposi-tion to the state may or may not be a core green value, green imperatives demandopposition to the traditional state and the construction of alternative forms of ‘gov-ernment’. The debate (to the extent that there has been a debate) over the gover-nance of green societies has been a debate between eco-anarchists and eco-statists,while one party claims that the creation and maintenance of green imperatives demands centralised restraint, the other argues that such imperatives are served bygreater freedom, participation and self-government. This debate is illustrated byexamining the concept of ‘the commons’ seen by some as the source of ecological destruction and by others as a political institution that overcomes the deficien-cies of both state and anarchism in maintaining sustainability. The debate over the commons suggests that unless the state is redefined as a flexible micro-institution,green imperatives are best served by the development of a new institution that isneither market nor state. The metabolism between human and non-human nature demands the construction of a territory that may be developed with the aid of a number of maps most notably those provided by ecology, anthropological investigation and elements of Marx’s social theory. Simple naturalism that describes the economy or government of nature as a simply reproducible model for a human polity is, of course, rejected.

A Poverty of Theory?

Analysing literature of green parties and green political movements it is obviousthat ‘greens are no single-issue movement. They take stands on a wide range ofcontemporary social and political problems.’ (Goodin 1992: 202) Greens aim to‘restructure the whole of political, social and economic life’ (Dobson 1990: 3).
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14Derek WallPorritt believes that ‘the politics of radical ecology embraces every dimension ofhuman experience and all life on Earth ...’ (Porritt 1987: 216). When he is con-tinuous stating ‘it goes a great deal further in terms of political comprehensivenessthan any other political persuasion or ideology has ever gone before,’ we may con-demn him for rhetorical exaggeration but may still agree with Goodin that greenparties are concerned with political problems ignored by other ideologies (Goodin1992: 182-4). Greens are particularly concerned to argue that their ideology is based upon ‘holistic’ philosophy,‘... a new vision of reality; a fundamental change in our thoughts, perceptions, and values’ (Capra 1984: 1984: xviii.).While the green movement has policy and philosophy it lacks a theory thatserves to show politically how a transition can be made from what ‘is’ to what,from a green perspective, ‘ought’ to be. Thus ‘one reads very little about how toget there from here’ (Frankel 1987: 277) and as Dobson observes ‘it is noticeablehow many conversations about green politics very soon dry up when the issue ofchange is broached’ (Dobson 1990: 130). Dobson hints that green philosophi-cal idealism blocks the development of a practical political theory (Dobson 1990:70-71). In essence the belief that a change in consciousness will lead to a greensociety, allows greens to ignore the challenging questions of how to create andmaintain a green society. Once a change in world view occurs, appropriate insti-tutions will follow, naturally, from such a transition in perception. To the extentthat greens practically intervene, for example, by contesting elections or takingpart in direct action, it may be argued that they intervene educationally: direct action, electoral activity and lifestyle change can be see, perhaps, as strategies aimed primarily at changing ‘consciousness’.I have argued that greens must examine the problem of transition ‘politically’as well as philosophically and have listed briefly some of the challenges in cre-ating a theory of transition (Wall 1990). I equally believe that the problem of‘Getting There’ is parallel by the challenge of ‘Being There’, thus green politi-cal theory needs to discuss the political instruments necessary to maintain a greensociety, once such a transition has been made. Prior to such a discussion we need to briefly discuss the imperative such green government would seek to maintain.What do the Greens Want?ecological sustainability Examining the literature of green parties it is possible to determine three impera-tives or sets of linked demands shared, to a large extent, with eco-anarchists anddeep ecologists such as Earth First!While we may agree that ‘Traditionally conceived, political philosophy con-cerns itself with certain perennial problems involving the nature of justice, politi-cal obligations and, more generally, the good society’ (Brown 1990: 58), we might note that the paramount demand of any political philosophy is the maintenance ofsociety. In describing the ‘good society’, a precondition whether we follow Aris-totle, Marx, Rawls or another theorist, is the maintenance of such a society. The modern green movement demands that conditions for the maintenance of societyare discussed in any investigation of the nature of the ‘good society’. Rightly or wrongly, they argue that such dangers as nuclear war or accident, increasing
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In Defence of the Commons?15

background radioactivity levels, severe chemical pollution, the disruption of vi-tal global biochemical cycles etc, threaten our collective social existence. Froman eco-socialist perspective, it is claimed ‘Without overcoming the ecology crisis,which puts in question the very existence of human civilisation on this earth, themere possibility of the socialist goal – the general emancipation of human beings,men and women – becomes an illusion’ (Bahro 1982: 57). Equally it has been argued that more localised social process have led to the destruction of sustainablehuman-nature interactions and contributed to the collapse of particular societies(Hughes 1975). The ecological imperative, motivated by this wish to maintain hu-man society, is obvious from the literature of green movements and parties (GreenParty 1987). Any metabolism between humanity and non-human nature must be sustainable. What constitutes ecological sustainability is an extremely complexquestion with social and biological ramifications. Political ecologists, though,have long argued that a diversity of species and habitats is extremely important.Although some predictions have proved exaggerated and non-human nature mayproved to be extremely robust, prior to maintaining any other demand the institu-tions of a green society must maintain a sustainable ecological relationship.green humanism Green parties have advocated ecological sustainability, while arguing that suchsustainability is compatible with (and may depend upon) meeting a broad range ofhumanist demands including participatory democracy, social equality, community,pluralism and creative work. Bahro notes ‘The Greens already have their sights on more than just the ecological aspect. It is clear from all the literature I’ve seen thatthey stand for the general emancipation of human beings, men and women, andthat they want to overthrow all conditions in which people are debased and humil-iated’ (Bahro 1982: 14). It is clear from studying the literature of any green Partythat ecological sustainability is to be achieved in a way that aims to promote hu-man well being. For example, the first Ecologist candidate to contest the FrenchPresidency stated in his 1974 manifesto ‘It is one and the same system which or-ganises the exploitation of the workers and the degradation of living and work-ing conditions and puts the whole earth in danger’ (Wall 1994: 247), implying aconcern for sustainability and human welfare. Greens criticise the humanism ofother contemporary ideologies for concentrating on ‘the blind policy of economicgrowth, which is so extravagantly praised by all the political parties, (yet) takesno account either of human well-being or of the environment’ (Wall 1994: 247).Such growth, as well as creating ecological implications, defines human welfaretoo narrowly, according to greens, leading to inequality and significant externali-ties. Liberal democracy, which according to greens, provides individuals with lit-tle say in the governance of their communities while being increasingly distortedby centralisation and the power of large corporations, is equally criticised. Greenhumanism includes demands, which even in the absence of ecological concern,might be used to define a green political programme . It is possible to apply greenhumanism to different policy areas and derive more detailed demands. For exam-ple, a green health policy would emphasis a low technology approach, greater pa-tient participation, prevention before cure, seeking to solve problems holisticallyby placing illness in a social and environmental context (Porritt 1987: 82-4, 168-
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16Derek Wall9). A green transport policy, while recognising the ecological imperative, would seek to strengthen local communities, emphasise access for those on low income rather than the necessity of economic expansion and encourage decentralisation ofservices.To a surprising extent such a humanism is shared by many deep ecologists. Despite the much publicised misanthropy of some writers, supporters of Earth First!in Britain and North America argue that ecological sustainability must be maintained in a humanist context of social equality, economic democracy, pluralism and participatory democracy (Bookchin & Foreman 1991).post-humanism
Greens would argue that the sustainable ecological society that meets human demands should do so with the least violence to other species. Policies for wildlifeconservation may be derived from the first green imperative of ecological sustain-ability, equally practices that violate animals such as factory farming and vivisec-tion may also violate aspects of the second green imperative. Although vivisec-tion may give rise to inappropriate medical care or factory farming may contributeto the social degradation of rural communities, greens dislike practices that makeother species suffer irrespective of anthropocentric concerns. It is argued that:‘The global Earth First! movement comes from a backgroundof Deep Ecology that recognises the equality and inherent worth ofevery form of life. We consider our role as liberators of the forest ecosystems together with all the life that inhabits it, whether they be Bears, Leopards, Plants or People, the survival of the Clouded Leopard is as important to me as the cultural survival of the Penan tribe of Sarawak.’ (Burbridge 1992: 6)Although less fundamentally held such post-humanism is an element of the discourse of green parties and many green anarchists. The United Kingdom Green Party, for example, has long advocated policies to promote vegetarianism. Porritt observes:‘For us, it is not enough to protect animals for practical, self-interestedreasons alone; there is also a profoundly moral concern, rooted in ourphilosophy of respect for all that dwells on this planet ... vivisectionwould be abolished, all hunting and coursing with hounds would bebanned, battery farming would be phased out, our reliance on animalsto meet our need for food would be reduced – and then we could start living in harmony with the rest of creation!’ (Porritt 1987: 184)The debate over animal rights and a green politics that moves beyond anthro-pocentrism is complex and throws up a number of difficult conceptual problems.Ecological sustainability and human welfare may demand, in certain situations,the exploitation of animals (Einarsson 1993). Although greens rarely define howmuch suffering is permissible to other life forms in order to maintain other demands, post-humanism provides a third and politically unique imperative for them.Where ‘Traditional political theory assumes a moral community consisting of all(rational) men ... green theory expands this community to include animals, plants,and possibly even the Earth itself’ (Lucardie 1993: x).
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In Defence of the Commons?17Governing the Green SocietyTo be effective green political theory needs to describe the institutions and prac-tices best able to maintain imperatives of ecology, humanism and post-humanism.It is possible to outline in broad terms, at least three forms of potential green gov-ernment:1) Market mechanism;2) State Regulation;3) Non-state/Non-Market regulation.the marketThe market has been seen as a mechanism for maximising welfare and decentral-ising power. Equally as well promoting human benefit, environmental economistsargue that the market, especially if adapted, can maintain sustainability (Cairn-cross 1991) Pigou, who discussed the notion of ‘internalising external costs’, ar-gued that pollution produced by a factory might create costs for the local commu-nity. By making the firm pay for any such costs it imposed upon the local com-munity, it could be encouraged to act in a more environmentally friendly manner.Such a process of turning a social/environmental cost into an internal cost of pro-duction, might be achieved through a pollution tax. Others have argued that resource taxes might be levied to discourage the consumption of potentially scarceminerals and metals, while there has been much recent discussion of a carbon tax to reduce CO2 emissions. It has also been suggested that even without such fiscaladaptions, a market metabolism will maintain sustainability (Elkington & Burke 1987). Green capitalism, it has been argued, will result from firms cutting costs byreducing energy consumption and other forms of unecological waste. Green con-sumerism, whereby individuals buy ‘greener’ products will also encourage sustainability. The success of the Body Shop, a cosmetics firm that has enjoyed consistent growth by supplying cruelty-free products, provides a example of how themarket may maintain the post-humanist imperative.There are problems associated with all of the elements of a green market metabolismoutlined above. Rather than encouraging serious action on the part of industry,where demand is relatively inelastic, environmental taxes can be passed to theconsumer without loss of company income. Environmental taxes like all indirecttaxes tend to penalise poorer members of the community more than wealthier in-dividuals, challenging the egalitarian demand within green humanism. Firms mayprioritise a reduction in labour costs or an increase in sales before seeking environ-mental cost cutting that might generate only a small saving. Green consumerismis limited by the availability of information and products. There are more funda-mental criticisms of a market approach than such doubts about the efficiency ofits components. Where market advocates argue that the ‘primary cause of envi-ronmental problems ... (is) the failure of markets and governments to price theenvironment appropriately’, green opponents argue that there is a contradictionbetween the market and ecological sustainability (Goldsmith et al 1992: 175).The market produces for profit and profit, generally, demands growth. Yet con-stant growth creates severe ecological problems according to many commenta-tors (Trainer 1985, Wall 1994: 116-124). There are extreme difficulties in cal-
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18Derek Wallculating and setting environmentally sustainable prices, ‘Practically speaking, thesense of the phrase “ecologically correct prices” cannot come to anything morethan “prices which enable the market economy to keep ticking over” while takinga bit more account than hitherto of the concerns of environmentalists, ecologists,business people with long views, and others with interests in “natural resources”’(Goldsmith et al 1992: 176). Echoing criticism that ‘Bourgeois society is ruled byequivalence. It makes the dissimilar comparable by reducing it to abstract quanti-ties ... that which does not reduce to number, and ultimately to the one, becomesillusion.’ (Adorno & Horkheimer 1966: 7), the notion that environment can begiven a price is often rejected. ‘Clean air should be protected, not traded and soldlike a used car’ (Goldsmith et al 1992: 178). Finally, it can be argued that themarket rather than being ‘free’ is dominated, at present, by large corporations thatdistort its workings and are hostile to green imperatives.state regulation or anarchyIt has been argued that without the restraining influence of the state’s maintenanceof green imperatives will prove impossible, neither the market nor decentralisedinstitutions will tend to maintain green imperatives. Advocates of the eco-state argue that a state is necessary to create and maintain green imperatives.For eco-statists the state is necessary to introduce measures that will create anecological economy, may mediate between different interest groups in society,can act to coordinate decentralised units where necessary and has the means toenforce sanctions against those who break ecological rules (Barry 1994, Frankel1987, Goodin 1992). The state can act as a democratic institution, providing allaffected when an ecological problem is discussed with representation. These arefunctions that cannot, it is often claimed, be fulfilled in the absence of the state,therefore, for a society to exist within environmental constraints it must evolve asophisticated eco-state. Globalisation, means that ecological problems cannot, forthe eco-statist, be solved on a purely local level by decentralised institutions).Neither can anarchy maintain humanist values. It is argued that vital elementsof green humanism including democracy, equality, justice and pluralism are un-likely to arise without the state. Despite green suspicions of the state and supportfor decentralisation, the essential plank of Green Party social policy, the basic in-come scheme, demands central organisation (Frankel 1987: 105). Eckersley notes‘The more we mo: ve away from the modern welfare state to local autonomy theless likely we can expect to find the same levels of wealth, welfare and social ser-vices among different local communities’ (1992: 175). Equally while it is possi-ble to find examples of anarchistic hunter-gatherer societies that have functionedeffectively economically (producing enough to satisfy immediate needs, minimis-ing labour time, preventing inequality and maintaining a sustainable metabolismwith local ecosystems), it is more difficult to conceptualise how state-less soci-eties would meet economic needs in a technological complex age. According toFrankel, writing in 1987, ‘So far, no advocate of completely decentralised plan-ning has been able to show how material redistribution, domestic and interna-tional trade etc, can be achieved without the existence of central state institutions’(Frankel 1987: 57).It has been argued that stateless societies are undemocratic. Some advocates
of anarchism argue that the evolution of strong reciprocal community bonds willallow government without formal institutions. Others believe that the creation ofsuch an alleged form of gemeinschaft will, far from allowing full participation,end pluralism, politics and choice. Bahro, for example, ‘appears to want a society where politics as an activity ceases – that is, a society of permanent harmony, rec-onciliation with nature and so forth. This is an anti-democracy, a social order ofspontaneous or “natural” agreement – something which is foreign to human theoryand practice.’ (Frankel 1987: 230) Sale’s organic society, based on natural biore-gions, ‘will tilt consensual communities towards conservatism ... but it will by thesame token make them more stable, more predictable, and more “comfortable”,and less prone to ill-considered decisions’ (Sale 1980: 501). Hunt argues thathostility to ‘others’ is a functional necessity for the stateless society, ‘If there ismuch social mixing between the groups, if people work outside the group, it willweaken the community bond ... xenophobia is the key to the community’s suc-cess’ (Hunt, n.d: 3). As Pepper notes, ‘Hunt’s “green anarchism” does not seemtoo people-friendly, unless those people are drawn from one’s own bioregion orecocommunity’ (Pepper 1993: 168). Middleton examining the problem from theperspective of musical sociology asks ‘How are diversity and solidarity to be rec-onciled, in the musical realm or any other? This, in a nutshell, is the problem ofcommunity – and nobody has
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20Derek Wallcracked it yet’ (Eisenberg 1987: 69). It is a question that must be answered ifthe stateless society is to serve the demands of pluralism, democracy, equality andjustice within the imperative of green humanism.Finally, it might be arguedthat the post-humanist imperative, cannot be achievedwithout state structures. One only has to examine anti-cruelty legislation alreadyin existence and international agreement to protect wildlife to see that the statemay act to protect other species.Against the StateAnti-Statists see the state as cause rather than cure for ecological and social ills.Examining the modern state in its various manifestations (liberal democratic orauthoritarian), at different tiers (globally, regionally, nationally, locally) and ondifferent continents, examples of the maintenance of green imperatives are rare.Writing this paper in December 1993, I hear of the European Community, an ex-ample of a supra-state body ‘sympathetic’ to environmental protection, urging theconstruction of a network of inter- continental motorways. The United States Gov-ernment in the 1950s, it is revealed, fed radioactive breakfast cereal to pregnantwomen and children with learning difficulties. It might be added that its long pub-licised radiation experiments on other species breaks the third imperative, just asviolently as imperatives one and two. The nuclear waste of the former Soviet state,dumped in the Arctic Seas, is a source of anxiety. In Britain THORP, the process-ing plant that will create quantities of the most dangerous chemical substance onthis planet, is to open. The GATT agreement, an example of global state agree-ment, will despite environmental counter-measures, cause severe environmentalproblems, displace millions of peasants from the land and strengthen agribusinessmultinationals. In my city (Bristol) the Friends of the Earth office was recentlydemolished to make way for a new trunk road!Such examples may seem like rhetorical exceptions to generalised state attemptsto serve civil society, situations where ignorance, secrecy or authoritarianism havedistorted attempts to protect the environment. Yet despite a long history of en-vironmental legislation, a number of global agreements and well publicised in-ternational conferences, followed by measures for alternative energy production,wildlife conservationand recycling, there is apparent widespread oppositionamongstmodern states to sustainability. As commentators from Marx to Foucault have ar-gued, even when themselves opposing ‘humanism’, the modern democratic stateoften stands against broad humanistic values such as democracy, equality, jus-tice and pluralism. This is illustrated if we briefly note some of the attacks bydemocratic state institutions on radical environmentalists. The re-occupation ofBougainville by Papua New Guinea in an ‘Eco-War’ that has killed many nativeBougainvillians, is the most significant and, perhaps least publicised example ofthis antipathy occurring at the time of writing (Economist, 27.3.93). Even if we re-ject Bougainville as a special case, we should remember that French special agentsbombed the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior (Day 1989: 251) In 1985, author-ities in Pennsylvania bombed a radical ecologist commune, burning to death thir-teen men, women and children (Harry 1987, Wall 1994, Walker 1988). We need toask why these states or elements of a local state are (or were) so radically opposedto political ecologists? Equally we need to ask whether all state structures tend
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In Defence of the Commons?21to oppose ecological sustainability? Why are some states more hostile to greenimperatives than others? The challenge for any eco-statist is to construct a modelthat will, in contrast to contemporary examples of the state, maintains green im-peratives.Examining the state, we see an extreme hostility to ecological reforms thatthreaten accumulation. It has been argued that only where environmental mea-sures allow continued economic growth are such reforms supported by the state,whether in a liberal or authoritarian mode, whether at a local, national, regionalor global. Greens have long argued, rightly or wrongly, that the very process ofcontinuous, accelerated accumulation threatens the first green imperative. Marx-ists have argued that the state far from being a servant capable of acting on behalfof the population is a product of a narrow class interest. As a servant of capital-ism, the state must therefore promote economic expansion rather than ecologicalsustainability. Habermas stress the notion of legitimation in explaining the state’sneed for economic expansion, accumulation allows the maintenance of cross classsupport. To put the case crudely, when the economic cake is growing, questionof distribution are eased, contradictions are less likely and less threatening. Anar-chists would argue that rather than acting on behalf of a particular class, the stateacts in its own (class?) interest, encouraging accumulation so as to strengthen it’sown power.For Carter:‘the state acts as a key element within an environmentally haz-ardous dynamic ‘A centralised, pseudo-representative,quasi-democraticstate stabilizes competitive, inegalitarian economic relations that de-velop “non-convivial”, environmentally damaging “hard” technolo-gies, whose productivity supports the (nationalist and militarist) co-ercive forces that empower the state. Technologies that facilitate cen-tralised authoritarian control are preferred (such as nuclear power, whichalso provides plutoniumfor nuclear weapons). Such technologies servethe interests of state actors and those who benefit (the economicallydominant class) from the economic relations the former choose to sta-bilize. Moreover, the competitive, inegalitarian economic relationsthat are stabilized maximise the surplus available to the state in or-der to finance its weapons research and to pay for its standing armyand police (the coercive forces).’ (Carter 1993: 45)The earliest states in pre-capitalist societies worked within a similar dynamic, sug-gesting as Carter argues, that such state antipathy to the environment predatescapitalism. In ancient Mesopotemia salinization degraded land, breaking the firstgreen imperative and possibly led to the collapse of the state. Salinization wasa product of over-irrigation used to create an economic surplus, utilized in turnto support centralised state structures and maintain an effective military machine(Hughes 1975: 30-5). Similar processes were apparent in Ancient Egypt, althoughhere the fertility of the Nile allowed economic accumulation to continue for manycenturies. The Roman Empire illustrates how legitimation processes may lead tothe destruction of nature independently of Carter’s postulated dynamic. The Ro-man state, especially in its later imperial form, used both bread (accumulation andredistribution as a product of military expansion) and circuses (mass entertain-ment in the Colosseum and thousands of amphitheatres) to retain political control.
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22Derek WallOver-farming may have accelerated desertification in the North African provincesand soil erosion in Italy. Mass spectacles of violence as a form of legitimating en-tertainment certainly contributed to the extinction of the elephant, rhinoceros andzebra in North Africa, lions in Asia Minor and tigers in Iran (Hughes 1975: 103-6).Eco-statists need to challenge the view that any state demands ecologically de-structive accumulation, the maintenance of repressive armed forces, developmentof centralised structures, economic inequality and destructive forms of legitima-tion.The Commons: a Basis for Green Government?There are significant reasons why we would expect the state to work against greenimperatives and for anarchist alternatives to be inadequate in maintaining them.The Ecologist argues that the Commons, defined as either a particular kind of stateor a form of stateless government, overcomes such objections providing a partici-patory, decentralised means of sustaining ecological conditions without doing vi-olence to humanist demands for equality, justice and pluralism (Goldsmith et al1992). Indeed it works to sustain ecological systems by virtue of its democraticnature, providing ‘sustenance, security and independence, yet typically does notproduce commodities’ (Goldsmith et al 1992: 125).The commons can take a number of different forms, a flexibility that does notfix its participants within a closed universal structure, thus ‘the unlimited diversityof commons also makes the concept elusive’. As a form of organisation that reg-ulates the metabolism between humanity and non-human nature, while regulatingeconomic relations between members of its human community, it is marked by:‘local or group power, distinctions between members and non-members, rough parity among members, a concern with commonsafetyrather than accumulation, and absence of the constraints that lead toeconomic scarcity’. [It provides a] ‘structure of internal rules, rights,duties and beliefs which mediates and shapes the community’s ownrelationship with its natural surroundings.’ (Goldsmith et al 1992:125)The commons has been described as the source of, rather than the solution to eco-logical destruction. As a regime that rejects conventional private property, it can-not sustain the imperative of sustainability, argue critics. Hardin argues:‘The tragedy of the Commons develops in this way. Picture a pas-ture open to all. it is to be expected that each herdsman will try tokeep as many cattle as possible on the Commons. Such an arrange-ment may work reasonably satisfactorily for centuries because tribalwars, poaching, and disease keep the numbers of both man and beastwell below the carrying capacity of the land. Finally, however, comesthe day of reckoning, that is, the day when the long-desired goal ofsocial stability becomes a reality. At this point, the inherent logic ofthe Commons remorselessly generates tragedy.As a rational being, each herdsman seeks to maximise his gain! ...
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In Defence of the Commons?23(and) concludes that the only sensible course for him to pursueis to add another animal to his herd. And another; and another ...Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that com-pels him to increase his herd without limit – in a world that is lim-ited. Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursu-ing his own best interest ... Freedom in a Commons brings ruin to all.’(Hardin 1977: 20)For Hardin and more liberal eco-statists the commons, globally and locally mustbe enclosed by the state, if sustainability is to be maintained. Yet for advocates thecommons, at least locally, does not represeent a territory without rules, but an in-stitution that maximises local economic and ecological sustainability through pop-ular negotiation. Advocates argue, for example that commons regimes in Britainworked for centuries, before being replaced by enclosure rather than devastated byenvironmental mismanagement. Between 1740 and 1840:‘common rights to arable land and pasture, fuel, fish and gamewere converted to private property by Act of Parliament or other legalprocesses ... such transfers of wealth and rights, with new extremesof hardship and inequality, required severe enforcement. At home thedeath penalty was extended to three times as many offences as for-merly. Record numbers crowded the prison hulks and penal colonies.’(Stretton 1976: 37)Prior to this process of enclosure, environmental over-exploitation was overcomeby a system of locally agreed self-regulationthat providedcommoners with ‘stints’.Although distorted by feudal control and ultimately, as we have seen abolished bythe state, ‘It seems fair to describe the stinting system, from the viewpoint of thecommoners, as participatory and roughly democratic ... indeed, any change ofsystem in the common fields – including the regulation of stinting – needed unan-imous consent ... (Roberts 1979: 151) Unlike possible idealistic conceptions ofanarchism, rules and politics are a feature of commons regimes but are agreed lo-cally rather by a centralised state. The Ecologist argues that commons regimescontinue to exist across the globe and despite constant pressure from the state andthe market, provide both an agency of transition and an appropriate metabolismfor the maintenance of a green society.Liberal eco-statists borrow a concept from Malthus, when they argue that left totheir own devices local communities will tend to break ‘ecological rules’. Statistsalso argue that even if local decision making was sufficient at a local level, theglobal commons would require enclosure to preserve environmental integrity. ForGoodin, it follows that environmental problems such as the depleted ozone layeror the potential greenhouse effect demand global solutions instituted by globalbodies (1992: 157-8).In contrast The Ecologist argues that ecological problems are unlikely to occurwithin the commons and any increase in state power will in diminishing the auton-omy of the commons, stifling the growth of the most effective political mechanismof sustainability. The Earth Summit, an event working towards global solutions toenvironmental problems, held in Brazil in 1993 is condemned as a forum of, andfor, the rich and powerful.
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24Derek Wall‘For the major players, the Summit was a phenomenal success.The World Bank emerged in control of an expanded Global Environ-mental Facility ... The United States got the biodiversity conventionit sought simply by not signing the convention on offer. The corpo-rate sector, which throughoutthe UNCED process enjoyed special ac-cess to the secretariat, was confirmed as the key actor in the “battle tosave the planet”. Free-market environmentalism – the philosophy thattransnational corporations brought to Rio ... has become the order ofthe day’ (Goldsmith et al 1992, 122). Environmental solutions thatmaintain the current distribution of income and power will be pro-moted by global institutions. Thus “solutions” that make the poor-est and least powerful sacrifice the most will be prioritised, explain-ing the concern with reducing population growth in the South ratherthan challenging high consumption (yet ecologically suspect) life inthe North (Goldsmith et al 1992: 183).The process of global management will fail to maintain sustainability, while erod-ing humanist welfare. Thus:‘an uncompromising drive toward a single global social structurefitted out with mechanisms for global surveillance and global resourceconversion to feed unlimited material advance. “Sustaining” this pro-cess through damage control requires an equivalent level of surveil-lance and intervention [For global management to meet the demandsof the market and state power] more of the world’s people than everbefore are now viewed by managers as “obstacles” to be removed or“social factors” to be cajoled into “collaboration”.’ (Goldsmith et al1992: 180)Even global environmental management, motivated by green imperatives ratherthan the interests of the market and state, is suspect for those who argue that globalenvironment ills are the product of varied local causes and can only effectively becured by local management. The commons has to be ecologically sustainable tomaintain the prosperity of its inhabitants who are likely to have the ‘expertise’ todo so. Any effective form of ecological restoration demands:‘an open-endedness,receptiveness and adaptability to the vagariesof local climate, personalities, consciousness, crafts and materials ...In this and other respects, the concept of the commons flies in the faceof the modern wisdom that each spot on the globe consists merely ofcoordinates on a global grid laid out by state and market: a uniformfield which determines everyone’s rights and roles. “Commons” im-plies the right of local people to define their own grid, their own formsof community respect for watercourses, meadows or paths; to resolveconflicts their own way.’ (Goldsmith et al 1992: 126)For eco-statists local management increases the risk of ecologically unsustainablepractice, for advocates of the commons greater centralisation ensures that thosewith the greatest interest in sustaining their environment and the greatest knowl-edge of how to do so will be marginalised. From the perspective of the first green
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In Defence of the Commons?25imperative, there is a clear choice between extending state power or reducing it,between seeing ‘localisation’ as a solution or advocating ‘globalisation’, betweenaccepting a Malthusian conception that human participation will destroy the en-vironment or believing that local decision making is more likely to lead to sus-tainability. Examining such questions some conclude that ‘local control, while notnecessarily sufficient for environmental protection, is necessary, while under statecontrol the environment necessarily suffers’ (Khor cited in Goldsmith et al 1992:128). The Ecologist marshals impressive empirical evidence to substantiate theirclaims for the commons. Their notion by introducing restraint but organising suchrestraint on a participatory basis, allows them to overcome criticism that the state-less society will be either ineffective or, by relying purely on a supposed gemein-schaft, attack broad humanist demands. For them the commons is not fixed butflexible and rather than seeking an unlikely abolition of politics, establishes mech-anisms for dealing with conflict. They also argue that co-ordination between dif-ferent communities is possible, ‘system of common rights, in fact, far from evolv-ing in isolation, often owe their very existence to interaction and struggle betweencommunities ...’ (Goldsmith et al 1992: 126). Equally they would reject the no-tion that inequality will result from a commons regime, for them, global inequalityis a product of a global market that sucks resources from the poorest, greater localeconomic control is a prerequisite for reducing inequality and ending poverty.Constructing New Political LandscapesThe Ecologist makes a remarkable contribution challenging the notions of botheco-anarchist and eco-statists. The commons contributes a distinctly green con-ception of government, providing a model that maintains nature without beingbased on a simplistic notion of the natural society. It is a rare example of a projectin social ecology, successful or otherwise, informed by both an investigation ofhuman society and ecological science. A number of serious criticisms remain,for example, while many global environmental problems are best tackled by pro-moting local solutions, perhaps the international energies demanded to clear thenuclear hazards created by dumped Soviet waste or sunken United States sub-marines, might justify supra-state action. That such problems exist is clearly aproduct of state action and as such can be used to justify the abolition of the state,yet in clearing up the grossest examples of state created danger, perhaps the state(or supra-state) is still needed? Equally we should ask whether the commons de-scribe a number of contradictory institutions? Do some, or perhaps all, commonsregimes tend to evolve towards the state or market? Are different interpretationsof the empirical evidence for the existence and efficiency of the commons moreplausible than the claims of The Ecologist? Are there any features of a commonsregime that may be universalised to make the commons more effective?To developgreen governmentwe need to build critically on the commons, whileinvestigatingother mechanisms that increase democratic participation so as to main-tain sustainability. Whether we define such mechanisms as ‘state’ or ‘anarchy’seems less important than understandingwhy traditional conceptions of both termsmay be inadequate. Township meetings in New England (that inform Bookchin’smunicipal libertarianism) and the Songlines (that allowed hunter-gatherersto recog-nise a certain pluralism and communicate across the Australian continent) are ob-
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26Derek Wallvious mechanisms that should be re-assessed. Such political anthropology wouldnot seek ‘the natural society’ but instead analyse metabolisms between varied hu-man communities and varied ecosystems that maintain(ed) green imperatives. Inthe construction of green government, while rejecting Marx’s meta-narratives, wemight borrow his concept of praxis and fear of prescriptive utopian models. Itmight, in conclusion, be fitting when we remember that Marx’s first political worksexamined erosion of the commons, to speculate that contemporary advocates mayhave written a Communist Manifesto but have yet to present a Capital (Marx 1975:224-263). The Ecologist has produced a document to which engaged greens mayrally but have yet to fully satisfy critical attention.BibliographyAdorno, T. & Horkheimer, M. (1979), The Dialectics of Enlightenment, London:Verso.Bahro, R. (1982), Socialism and Survival, London: Heretic.Barry (1994)Beckerman, W. (1975), Pricing for Pollution, Institute of Economic Affairs: Lon-don.Bookchin, M. & Foreman, D. (1991), Defending the Earth, Black Rose: Montreal.Brown, A. (1990), Modern Political Philosophy, Penguin: London.Burbridge, J. (1992), ‘Global action against rainforest destruction’, Green Revo-lution, Spring 1992.Cairncross, F. (1991), Costing the Earth, London: Economist.Carter, A. (1993), ‘Towards a Green Political Theory’ in Dobson, A & Lucardie,P (eds), The Politics of Nature, London: Routledge.Capra, F. (1984), The Turning Point, London: Flamingo.Day, D. (1989), The Eco Wars, London: Harrap.Dobson, A. (1990), Green Political Theory, London: Unwin Hyman.Eckersley, R. (1992), Environmentalism and Political Theory: Toward an Ecocen-tric Approach, London: UCL Press.Einarsson, N. (1993), ‘All animals are equal but some are cetaceans’, in Milton, K(ed), Environmentalism, London: Routledge.Eisenberg, E. (1987), The Recording Angel, London: Picador.Elkington, J. & Burke, T. (1987), The Green Capitalists, London: Victor Gollanz.Frankel, B. (1987), The Post Industrial Utopians, Cambridge: Polity.Goldsmith, E, Hildyard, N, Bunyard, P. & McCully, P. (1992), ‘Whose CommonFuture?’, The Ecologist, 22: 4.Goodin, R. (1992), Green Political Theory, Cambridge: Polity.
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In Defence of the Commons?27Gould, P. (1988), Early Green Politics, Brighton: Harvester.Green Party (1987), General Election Manifesto, London: Green Party.Hardin, G. & Baden, J. (1977), Managing the Commons, San Francisco: W.H.Freeman.Harry, M. (1987), ‘Attention MOVE! this is America’, Race and Class, 28, 4: 5-28.Hughes, J.D. (19y75), Ecology in Ancient Civilisations, Albuquerque: Universityof New Mexico Press.Hunt, R. (n.d.), The Natural Society: a basis for Green Anarchism, Oxford, EOABooks.Lucardie, P. (1993), ‘Introduction’,in Dobson, A & Lucardie, P (eds), The Politicsof Nature, London: Routledge.Marx, K. (1975), ‘On the law on thefts of wood’, in Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels,Collected Works, 1, London: Lawrence & Wishart.Pepper, D. (1993), Eco-Socialism, London: Routledge.Porritt, J. (1984), Seeing Green, Oxford: Blackwell.Roberts, A. (1979), The Self-Managing Society, London: Allison & Busby.Sale, K. (1980), Human Scale, London: Secker & Warburgh.Saward (1993), ‘Towards a Green Political Theory’, in Dobson, A & Lucardie, P(eds), The Politics of Nature, London: Routledge.Trainer, F.E. (1985), Abandon Affluence!, London: Zed.Wall, D. (1990), Getting There, London: Greenprint.Wall, D. (1994), Green History, London, Routledge.Walker, A. (1988), ‘Nobody was supposed to survive’, in Living by the Word,London, Womens Press.

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

Derek Wall ’s article entitled  Imperialism Is the Arsonist: Marxism’s Contribution to Ecological Literatures and Struggles , argues that Ma...