31 Aug 2007

This is my analysis of the Green Party back in 2003, my main aim, happily succesful at the time was to get Caroline Lucas re-elected as MEP...as well as flagging up here for a more red green approach and more energetic approach to recruiting new activists.

It was published as a Red Pepper editorial.

After 30 years, the Green Party comes of age

By Derek Wall

August 2003

Against the odds the Green Party is 30 years old. For those of us on the inside, getting past 1981 looked doubtful and it was perhaps both a surprise and a relief to reach the 1990s. The British political system has traditionally been unforgiving to new parties. But the party has survived, is growing and is making an electoral impact: it has seven MSPs, two MEPs and numerous councillors. Most important of all, it is now a party of the left.

Left politics need to be both practical and utopian. On a practical level, our interventions need to work on a day-to-day level and point to a society beyond capitalism. To cynics, the history of the British left may seem to be one of defeats, but on the issues of defending public services, opposing US hegemony and striking blows for justice the arguments have been won not by Blair but by us.

As for utopian politics, capitalism is frankly cancerous. It can only survive by constant blind accumulation. We have a highly sophisticated economic system that essentially puts living things second. Ultimately, it has to go. The Greens – with their critique of conventional economics – are closer perhaps to Marx than many others on the left. Their enthusiasm for a society that really is different is at worst naive, at best a source of real revolutionary energy. And this is an energy that is increasingly infectious.

Thus, the Green Party needs to be taken seriously. As a member, I would argue that the left should support the Green Party – but also criticise it. Criticism is necessary – not because the party is especially flawed, but because the questions of how we intervene in British politics in a practical way and how we move to a qualitatively different society are torturously difficult and open topics that require discussion.

Typically, the whole question of elections and alliances is fraught with dangers. In some contexts the choice is clear. For example, the Greens have two excellent MEPs who work tirelessly to protect asylum rights, to challenge neo-liberal attacks on the labour movement and to campaign against capitalist globalisation. In the South-East England European constituency the inspired Caroline Lucas won in 1999 by a margin of just 100 votes out of several million. It would be criminal not to vote for her in 2004. There are other sets of elections where the Left would also lose by failing to support the Green Party.

On the other hand, it would be crazy for the Green Party to run candidates against the best of the Labour left. Alan Simpson (the man is an Ecologist subscriber, who has even been known to go hunt sabbing) comes to mind in particular.

Alliances need to be forged through dynamic grassroots campaigns. This is where the Greens’ long emphasis on direct action is important, because it stresses a politics that can punch its weight even when Westminister is asleep. Poll tax and the roads programme of the 1990s were both defeated by direct action. That action was strongly supported by the party. The Greens are also building links, both formal and informal, with the new wave of left trade unionists such as Bob Crow. The RMT general-secretary addressed a 2002 Green Party conference.

The Green Party will have to become more dynamic. It may have local branches pretty much everywhere, but many of them are sleepy talking shops rather than focused electoral and extra-parliamentary fighting machines. My local party in Berkshire was turned around by ex-Labour members who joined before the local elections and helped us win councillors in such unlikely enclaves as Bracknell and Sandhurst this May. Quite small numbers of activists with organisational ability could have a swift and positive effect on the party.

But incremental election victories don’t neatly translate into hegemony, and Greens often ignore the structural forces that prevent the creation of a socially just and ecological society. At its worst, all of this translates into a rather alarming ‘wouldn’t it be nice if it was a nice world’ sentimentalism. All power to the nice, isn’t the slogan that is going to save the world. The fate of the earth seems far too serious a matter to leave to Greens.

Again a healthy infusion of new members from the left – or even some self-critical debate and joint campaigning with it – would help. The trick, of course, is to avoid introducing the sectarianism of much of the British left. One of the really positive things about the Green Party is its astonishing lack of internal faction fighting; this is a fact that will astonish many socialists who have been in other parties.

We mustn’t forget the ecology. either. There is a danger that the Green Party could become just a vehicle for general anti-Blairism. Environmental threats impact on the poorest – a fact long recognised by eco-socialists from Engels to William Morris and beyond.

A strong Green Party could renew the eco-socialist tradition on a range of issues that concern voters, including transport and GM. Such issues have the potential to point to a society in which the market is rolled back and humanity and the rest of nature are put before economics. As the slogan goes ‘earth first, profits last’. The critical eco-socialist aspiration to replace capitalism is what makes the Greens different and vital.

Derek Wall is a member of the Green Party and teaches economics

appeal for witnesses

Please reply to legalsupport@climatecamp.org.uk

Appeal for Witnesses

The Legal Support working group would like to find witnesses to two
alleged assaults by activists on the police. If you saw anything relevant,
please get in touch with us on 07796 430 141 to make a statement.

Sunday 19th August: A young white man, slim build, shoulder length dark
hair, in a red boiler suit is accused of assaulting 2 police officers in an
alleyway near to the BAA offices. The alleged incident took place approx 20
minutes before the large 'kettle' near the BAA carpark.

Tuesday 21st August: The cops are claiming that an activist (white male, 5'
10", dark brown mohican, dressed in combat trousers and parka jacket - may
have been wearing a 'euro carpark' jacket over the top of the parka)
assaulted one of the police walking round the site. The incident took place
at 12.15pm. Were you on copwatch Tuesday at 12.15pm?? Did you witness the


Legal Support Team

30 Aug 2007

Possible Green Presidential candidate speaks in Brixton!

had this from Shane, who does great work with lots of things, including the Green Party Drugs Workings Group, last hooked up with him at the Green Field at Glastonbury.

Just waiting final confirmation but it looks like Cynthia McKinney will
be speaking at the Urban Green Fair Sunday 9th Sept in Brockwell Park,
Brixton at 1pm.

She is particularly keen to meet Green Party members so treat your self
as invited. She will speak for 15-20 mins starting 1pm and then Q & A
for 30-40 mins. She will then have an hour at the Fair before going to
Leeds for an evening talk.

McKinney is well known in black and green circles in the US and will be
standing for the Green Party nomination as presidential candidate.
As such she provides a powerful example of an urban black green
coalition and one very relevant to us.

Also if your local party or organisation would like to have a stall at
the Urban Green Fair sign up at www.urbangreenfair.org.uk. Stalls cost
£10 with a green electricity bill and £30 otherwise. If, for some
reason, you are still using fossil fuel for power you can rectify this
in 10 mins and select a green energy provider via the website.

Please pass this invite around your networks.

best regards

Shane Collins
The Urban Green Fair
Sunday 9th September 2007
Brockwell Park, Brixton.
'cooling climate change
preparing for a post peak oil planet'
t 0208 671 5936
e shane@gn.apc.org

part of Transition Town Brixton

Peak Oil Primers

29 Aug 2007

Climate Camp: what next

this was so inspiring, nice to see some serious green politics, serious action, serious strategic assumptions...what next? Well read here, green politics is now, opening space, commiting resources, encouraging action.....not simply capturing a title.

Well before I start ranting at those claim to be pragmatists but are merely naive...lets read what could happen next from the happy campers.

First off, well done to everyone who participated in the Climate Camp!
Together we created a low-impact community of over 1000 people who made
decisions democratically together, ran over 80 workshops, did at least 17
actions against climate criminals, were reported in the media globally..
oh, and let's not forget that, after BAA tried to get an injunction
banning us from going anywhere near their offices, we camped in their
parking lot and stopped work for the day!!

We hope everyone involved in the camp is finding time to relax and reflect
and pat themselves on the back. But this is just a reminder that there
will be debriefing meetings up and down the country in the next few weeks
and months. These are:

Manchester - Public Meeting
The Camp for Climate Action: What happened? What happens next?
Friday 7 September - 7 for 7.30pm sharp - Friends Meeting House - 6 Mount St
(behind Central Library)

London - Saturday 8th September 2pm at The Upper Room, 8 Greenland Street,
NW1 - 1 min from Camden Town tube, contact 07814061324.

Leeds- 16th September - all day at the Common Place 23-25 Wharf Street LS2
7EQ (www.thecommonplace.org.uk).

If your group isn't listed above please remember to arrange your own local
debrief meetings. When the details are set send them to
website@climatecamp.org.uk so they can be advertised on the website.

At the July Gathering we agreed that we wanted to have a national
gathering in October, but so far no group has taken this on yet! Please
consider whether your group might be able to take this on.

A few other dates you may want to put in your diary:

NoBorders Camp at Gatwick Airport 19-24 September www.noborders.org.uk

Rising Tide Day of Action against the Royal Bank of Scotland October 15.
RBS 'specialise' in funding oil and gas projects, and they are major
funders of the LNG pipeline in Wales.

December 8 National climate protest, London.

The Climate Camp won't stop climate change... but it is part of a growing
action movement that can! To help you get your head around all of the
actions that happened over the week find a summery bellow.

The 24 hours of direct action against climate change which began on Sunday
19th August at noon has culminated in a flurry of direct actions
throughout England. As previously stated, none of the actions were
intended to disrupt passengers, but instead, targeted the corporations who
profit from climate chaos. Meanwhile, the mass siege of BAA national
headquarters has forced its closure for the day. During the week there
have been over a dozen actions, covering a broad range of issues.
Find below details of all the actions throughout the week...

Sunday the 19th and Monday the 20th August

Carbon offset companies were occupied by protesters dressed as red
herrings. Fifteen have occupied the offices of Climate Care in Oxford. Ten
have leafleted the offices of the Carbon Neutral Company in London. Carbon
offsetting is a scheme allowing companies and consumers to pay in order to
supposedly neutralize their carbon emissions. 'Carbon offsets are
ineffective, based on dubious science and lead people to believe they are
helping when they are not - the concept and the practice are a con,' said
Sophie Nathan, who is taking part in the Carbon Neutral Company action.

Five protesters are in a concrete lock-on outside Sizewell A and B nuclear
power stations. Their banner declares, 'Nuclear power is not the answer to
climate chaos.' Twelve protesters have superglued themselves to the
entrance at BP headquarters. They are highlighting BPs essential role in
the aviation industry. Protester Stanley Owen said 'We cannot sustain
infinite growth on a planet with finite resources.' Eighteen protesters
occupied the office of the owners of Leeds airport, Bridgepoint Capital,
on Warwick Street in London.

In Harmondsworth village a group of 500, consisting of locals as well as
climate camp participants, gathered to listen John McDonnell Labour MP for
Hayes and Harlington. He told the government that the third runway will
not be built:

'Even with the latest, more efficient aircraft, the climate change
imperative demands that air travel growth be severely curtailed. The
government can no longer have its cake and eat it. If it's genuinely
serious about climate change it must show meaningful leadership to rein in
aviation expansion.'

Protesters wore copies of the Tyndall Report on their hands during the
mass action, carrying a banner reading, 'We are armed....only with
peer-reviewed science'.

Late on Sunday evening, BA World Cargo depot was blockaded for about four
and a half hours by eight protestors locked to each-other.

Protestors sabotaged the contraversial LNG pipeline in Wales, causing
significant damage to the pipe itself and works vehicles.

Finally, a battalion of ten clowns marked out the site of a 4th runway in
the garden of Lord Soley, chairman of the Heathrow Forward campaign.

Saturday 18 August

Children and their parents blockade the World Freight Centre at Heathrow
in protest at the damage to the climate caused by unnecessarily flying
food around the world.

60 people occupy Carmel Agrexco's Heathrow warehouse in Hayes, where
produce is air freighted in from territories occupied by Israel,
highlighting the issues of food miles and the unjust and unlawful
distribution of natural resources in the Middle East.

Friday 17 August

The doors of six London travel agencies are chained shut and plastered
with signs saying 'Closed, gone to the Climate Camp.' Ten people occupy
the office of private charter company XL, which has a contract with the
Home Office to deport rejected asylum seekers, exposing the connection
between climate change and forced migration.

Activists superglue themselves to the front doors of the Department for
Transport's London headquarters. A tourist spontaneously joins the protest
by chaining himself to the doors.

Thursday 16 August

Farnborough and Biggin Hill airports, both exclusively used by private
executive jets, are blockaded by two teams of climate activists in disgust
at the obscenity of the super-rich using planes as a taxi service.

Wednesday 13 August

A group of activists set up a climate camp on the wing of an Airbus A380
on its way to be assembled in France, pledging to stay until government
ministers come up with a 'safe' aviation policy.


General questions / comments / suggestions can be sent to
info@climatecamp.org.uk, or for more info check out www.climatecamp.org.uk.

Please don't try to send an email to climatecamp@lists.riseup.net as only Camp
for Climate Action groups can post to this list.

Free software is cheaper

Hello everyone,

The campaign statement is now live at

I apologize for the late notice, but the statement was planned to go
live on Thursday and you were meant to get advance notice, but
unfortunately one reporter we were working with accidentally published
his story early. Anyway I think he did a good job:

The press release has also just been issued and is below.

One consequence of the early publication date is that some of the logos
aren't appearing correctly on the website in Internet Explorer, though
fine in Firefox :) and the links from your logos to your sites aren't
yet functioning. These minor problems will be resolved in a few hours.

Please encourage your contacts and supporters to read the statement at
http://freesoftwarefreesociety.org and sign it in support.

We have an initial target list of 25 NGOs that we will be reaching out
to in the next week to get them to sign-up, and any help you can provide
to encourage other organizations to sign would be wonderful.

And thank you again for your organization's support in signing this
statement and helping us get the ball rolling.

all the best


BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Wednesday, August 29, 2007 -- Today,
environmental and social justice groups united to call for the rejection
of Microsoft Windows Vista and for society's adoption of free software,
highlighting environmental concerns and technology restrictions
associated with proprietary software.

The Green Party, New Internationalist, Friends of the Earth
International, People and Planet, and the Free Software Foundation (FSF)
have signed a statement at http://freesoftwarefreesociety.org calling on
social activists and progressive organizations to join with them in
rejecting Microsoft's Vista operating system, and to encourage instead
the adoption and use of free software.

Free software operating systems are now widely available in a form
called GNU/Linux. Free software is about freedom, not price. It is
software whose authors intentionally extend users the freedoms to study,
copy, modify and share their work. While proprietary software functions
by dividing people and using technical restrictions to block
communication between them, free software was created with individual
freedom and social and solidarity in mind.

Derek Wall, Green Party principal speaker said, "Free software offers
social activists an alternative to what Vista represents. Using free
software we can further social and environmental justice without
supporting growth based on waste, control and short-term profit." He
continued, "I would urge social movements to develop a migration
strategy, including a commitment not to move to Vista."

The statement highlights the disposable-computer mentality embodied in
the excessive hardware requirements of Microsoft Windows Vista. Often
new hardware is necessary to support new software features, but the
coalition says in this case, Vista's requirements are to enable the
operating system to more effectively restrict the user at the request of
media companies seeking to prevent copying of music and video files.

These restrictions create a problem not only for the environment but
also for social activists, who according to the statement become
"dependent upon software owned and exclusively controlled by entities
that design their software in ways directly opposed to grassroots social

Peter Brown, FSF's executive director, said, "Free software is an issue
of free speech when we depend upon our computers for social activism and
political campaigning. Freedoms that we have been defending so
vigorously for so long are being handed away through the adoption of
software that restricts user freedom."

Groups and individuals who support the statement are being asked to add
their own signatures at http://freesoftwarefreesociety.org. The
statement will be used to encourage non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) to develop policies in support of free software, and, through the
collection of free software adoption success stories, encourage the
development of organizational migration plans to free software.

==About the Free Software Foundation==

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as
in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF
also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of
freedom in the use of software. Its Web site, located at www.fsf.org, is
an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support
the FSF's work can be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters
are in Boston, MA, USA.

==Media Contacts==

John Sullivan
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

Joshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

28 Aug 2007

Cannabis: Moderation not abolition

The current tabloid-fuelled hysteria against cannabis is pure
hypocrisy. Legal drugs like tobacco, alcohol and prescription medicine
cause far more damage and death than spliffs and hash cookies. Why the
double standards?

We need to distinguish between cannabis use and cannabis abuse. The
distinction is real and important. Cannabis may not be totally benign,
but it is not fair or reasonable to extrapolate from a minority of
cannabis abusers to generalise and damn all cannabis users. This is
like suggesting, on the basis of a study of alcoholics, that alcohol
is invariably damaging and should be banned.

More from Peter Tatchell here

27 Aug 2007

lets live like Hobbits

You know that 90% of everything with the word green in front of it is BS when you learn the story of Tony Wrench's eco house, every where people live wasteful lives and the spin is brought into justify bad practices for the planet and those who live in a really green world face persecution.

The planners after a long battle voted to demolish Tony's eco house in Pembrokeshire,Wales.

Read more about how to live like Tony' here.

the permaculture people have some notes on how to support Tony here
Latest blow for Tony Wrench's roundhouse.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority committee sat on July 18th 2007 and voted 7-4 to refuse permission, and the dwelling now faces demolition once again.

See The Times (July 30, 2007) report at http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article2163910.ece

See more information about That Roundhouse at their own website.

I also found this

To Whom it may concern:

I have followed with more than passing interest the saga of Tony Wrench and Jane Faith and their efforts to save their charming, low-impact Roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr in Wales. I have been the Director and chief instructor at Earthwood Building School in West Chazy, New York for over 20 years. Our own home, Earthwood, built in 1981 has much in common with the Roundhouse: It is a round, earth-sheltered and earth-roofed home with cordwood masonry walls. We also derive our electricity for solar panels and heat with wood, thus making use of renewable resources for energy.

Our home has spawned dozens of similar homes throughout North America. Yet, I must say that in many respects, the Roundhouse built by Mr. Wrench is superior: His home was built at lower cost. It was built almost entirely of natural and recycled materials. When the Roundhouse finally gives up its ghost -- which, if allowed to stand, will be many many years into the future – the home will recede gracefully into the landscape from which, like Adam from clay, it was born.

British houses built before the advent of Portland cement and concrete share that characteristic. Ancient half-timbered, cob, thatch-roofed homes, and stone buildings all have in common that they do not negatively impact upon the earth when their day is done. Compare this to modern homes, still being approved by planners, which are loaded with non-renewable, non-recyclable materials; materials, in fact, with high embodied energy costs.

I lived seven years in Scotland and so became familiar with many of the admirable intents of British planning regulations. One of the foremost and most admirable of these intents has been to retain the visual amenity of the countryside. I wish that the United States took even half as much care as the British in this regard. The Roundhouse at Brithdir Mawr, which I have visited, with its earth roof and earth-sheltered walls has absolutely the minimal impact on the visual amenity of the countryside. I have lectured on earth-sheltered housing at the Universities of Edinburgh and Birmingham, and have addressed the British Earth Sheltering Association at their AGM in Coventry, and it seems to me that to truely minimize visual impact, all new houses in the countryside should be required to be earth-sheltered, like the home of Mr. Wrench and Jane Faith.

The current disposition of the Roundhouse case is more than misguided and unfortunate, it is a step backward for British planning intents.

I have a strong interest in stone circles and have written a major book on the subject. At nearby Castle Henlys, we see reconstructed examples of round houses which would have been close to the kind of housing prevalent in Neolithic times. Evidence for such homes is rare, precisely because they return gently to the landscape as housing should. We are only temporary custodians of the earth. As stewards, we must build low-impact structures, not energy-consuming, energy expensive homes which destroy their original footprint upon the land. Again, the Roundhouse shows that such a goal is not only possible, but that, within its walls, people are living a gentled-down lifestyle which should be held as exemplary. Uniquely in Britain, to my knowledge, they demonstrate the kind of sustainable lifestyle of the Neolithic peoples. Yet they are not Neolithic people, nor is it their intent to become so. They live a much healthier lifestyle, not only compared with the stone circle builders, but in comparison with 90% of the British population.

What is to be gained by destroying the home of Tony Wrench and Jane Faith? I can think of nothing. Who will house them? Where? And how can they hope to find a housing situation that provides the same comfort and aesthetics, the same low environmental impact, the same grace and joy? So why does this case proceed to its most illogical conclusion? All I can think of is that someone does not like the idea of a reversal, which they fear might be seen as showing that Tony Wrench knows more about sustainability than they do. But I am certain that if it finally comes to the Roundhouse being destroyed, that very action and the publicity that it generates will make a stronger statement of support for the higher principles espoused by Mr. Wrench. The action will not end the real matters and issues here. It will further them.

The Roundhouse has appeared as inspiration to others in the Continental Cordwood Conference Papers of 1999; in Mr. Wrench’s own fine book, Building a Low Impact Round House; and – whether it is still standing or not - will be featured as a chapter in my own upcoming book, Cordwood Construction: The State of the Art (New Society Publishers, British Columbia, January, 2003).

Let us hope that Britain, and Wales in particular, do not take a backward step in good planning practice by causing the destruction of this family’s sensible home. Rather, the planning authority should look forward, realizing that we must turn the corner towards sustainable development.

Work with Tony Wrench and Jane Faith, not against them. They are valuable resources, as is the home they have created. They are true planetary patriots, the only kind worth a lick of salt. They know some stuff.


Rob Roy, Director

Earthwood Building School

366 Murtagh Hill Road

West Chazy, NY 12992


Why not show your support?

If you also want to send a letter about this latest blow to the Roundhouse
to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, then the address is:

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Llanion Park,
Pembroke Dock,
Wales, UK
SA72 6DY

Note that it's easy to see the PCNPA as the bad guys - they recently backed down over using herbicide to destroy bracken on Carn Ingli Common (an SSSI), an idea encouraged on them by the Graziers Association. They backed down because of MASSIVE PROTEST at this inappropriate action.

26 Aug 2007

History and painting

The Beginning of History

Well the DIY is becoming addictive, I have stained the verandah so effectively I have painted myself in, I think I will advance on to more of this....carpentary and eco friendly solvent/paint/stain product advice welcome.

So literary output low today, would like to provide a detailed account of Massimo De Angelis's new book The Beginning of History...the title is rubbish and the writing style over the first few pages could be better and he doesn't really deal with ecology/green politics/ecosocialism

However these are small complaints it is a stunning book that seems to really hit the spot for me, it is definately the most accessible and persuasive and interesting book from a broadly autonomist perspective.

Enclosure and the battle for the Commons are central within it, go and buy it or order for your library.

I will try and get time to comment on it more but first I want to get through some more of Andy Dobson's Green Political Thought.

25 Aug 2007

We are ghosts (鬼佬 ), they have drowned

Well taking some time off writing, I go sit down for hours and write letters to the media, cif blog, this blog, morning star column, I have even been writing bits of the General Election manifesto (they will go through many other hands even if its October), tempted to write a book on power/strategy (Foucault/Spinoza/Bahktin/whose the autonomist guy at the University of East London he is good/Tao/Cybernetics/Laurence Stern)....god I must go and do something else, well I have today.

And have taken a day or two away from my loved ones...all to stain the outside of the house, sounds faintly obscene...but its made of wood (my mobile home I mean) so I have to stain it every five years or so or else it will fall down.

Can I resist typing, no I can't but most of this I am going to lift from wiki, it does fuck me off articles in newspapers suggesting wiki is unreliable, its open source checked by many hands to make it bug free (well bug lowe) and every lie is commented upon and now wiki is super referenced....newspapers lets think Times is true, wiki is a lie....if the CIA wrote half of the Times would we ever find out, there are probably gulags in Hampshire, what can we learn from newspapers.

Any way been watching horror films, in between staining in the hot sun, The Shining...mother fucking good, although its built on 'an indian burial ground' must have been an old line in 1980, who would marry and go live with Jack Nicholson in an isolated hotel for 5 months in the depth of winter.

And the real life horror from Nick Broomfield 'Ghosts'.

Out now on DVD, an essential. The site for the film is here.

Here is the wiki take, tells no lies:

Ghosts (2006 film)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

DVD cover
Directed by Nick Broomfield
Produced by Nick Broomfield
Jez Lewis
Written by Nick Broomfield
Jez Lewis
Starring Ai Qin Lin
Zhe Wei
Music by Harry Escott
Molly Nyman
Cinematography Mark Wolf
Editing by Peter Christelis
Distributed by Beyond Films
Release date(s) Flag of Spain September 21, 2006
Flag of the United Kingdom October 25, 2006
Flag of the United States January 2007
Running time 96 mins.
Country United Kingdom
Language Mandarin, English
Official website
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Ghosts (鬼佬) is a 2006 drama film directed by Nick Broomfield, based on the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster.

* 1 Synopsis
* 2 Cast
* 3 Title
* 4 External links

[edit] Synopsis

The film tells the story of Ai Qin, a Chinese immigrant to the UK. It follows her from China to the UK where she gets a job in a food packing factory. It reveals that the UK's food industry is heavily dependent on underpaid, expolititive, migrant labour. Eventually she starts work cockle-picking at Morecambe Bay. The film begins and ends with the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster, in which 23 illegal workers lost their lives while cockle-picking.

[edit] Cast

* Ai Qin Lin as Ai Quin
* Zhan Yu as Mr. Lin
* Zhe Wei as Xiao Li
* Man Qin Wei as Chiao
* Yong Aing Zhai
* Devi Zhu
* Shaun Gallagher as Robert

[edit] Title

The title of the film stems from the literal translation of 鬼佬 (Gwailo), meaning ghost, used by Chinese people to describe Caucasian people.

'Globalisation of the wrong kind exploits all but a minority' adds Dr Wall.

24 Aug 2007

We are in melt down

"The day Arctic people buy air conditioners, you go, 'Something's wrong here!'"

In a pioneering move, Watt-Cloutier launched the world's first legal action on climate change when she claimed that global warming is a human rights issue. In 2005, she sent the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights a petition that stated: "The subsistence culture central to Inuit cultural identity has been damaged by climate change and may cease to exist if action is not taken by the United States in concert with the community of nations."

Inuit people fear that climate change will destroy their way of life, read more here from an interesting article in the Guardian

23 Aug 2007

Green Political Thought : Introduction

Professor Andrew Dobson

‘Climate change. Deforestation. Acid Rain. Species loss. Ozone depletion. Pesticide poisoning. Genetically modified food. These are the issues that invigorated political life in the late twentieth century and will continue to do so in the twenty-first. This is an extraordinary circumstance and it has happened extraordinarily quickly. Even thirty years ago, the development of a political movement around these issues would have been unimaginable.’
Green Political Thought 2007:1

Well the task we all agree is urgent. Getting to a green world is going to be difficult it involves cultural, economic and political change. Power is not in one place where it can be captured. Globalisation has shifted it from the national state to some extent.

The old Green Party strategy of elect a green government in 2046 which then saves us is simply too naïve. Electoral politics is not the only show in town, direct action, use of culture/education, even a measure of lifestyle change helps.

For the electoral the Green Party needs to win at Westminister but without pr, outside of a few seats this is going to be very challenging. PR does make it easier to win at an EU level and lets face it the EU drives much legislation. The Greater London Assembly is already an example, two Green Party members, have a strong influence and can get eco action into Ken’s budgets.

How we win demand and get change is the big question. We need to think hard but act. So lets move on as promised to Andrew Dobson’s Green Political Thought..incidentally he is an active member of the Green Party of England and Wales, you can read his party bio here.

Incidentally he has written a good article for open democracy on how to help to get change on climate change, well referenced drawing upon strong social research he puts many members to shame. No quick fix answers here.

Green Political Thought Introduction
Well he notes that there is a whole academic industry looking at green politics from studies of green parties in power, environmental sociology, international relations and the environment…I might add eco theology or ecocriticism in literature (would love personally to look at the Green Shakespeare title published a year or two back).

One thought that comes to my mind is how Andy’s book produces a bridge between this literature (well may be not Green Bill and the mousetrap) and green activists, it’s a very good way into identifying some literature that is relevant. For example, do I ever meet green party members who have looked at the books which examine Green Parties in ‘power’, how they won seats (leaders necessary?), where they succeeded and where they failed?

Environmental sociology sounds esoteric but it explains how and why individuals accept or reject the green message, something Andy covers in the open democracy article, as well.

This title is a good start: Hannigan, J. A. (1995). Environmental sociology: A social constructionist perspective. London: Routledge Press.

Andy doesn’t get very stuck into social movement theory, which is one mild criticism I have of the book, at its best the American-European fusion, provides a very nuts and bolts approach to where movements succeed and fail.
He does name check my social movement book and indeed was my phd examiner for the thesis it was based on Wall, Derek (1999). Earth First! and the Anti-Roads Movement: Radical Environmentalism and Comparative Social Movements. Routledge,
Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Collective Action, Social Movements and Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1994 is a classic text and there is a way in via the wiki oracle here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_movement.

I am not familiar with the international relations and ecology literature.

By now you are getting one of the central ideas of the Dobson book, which is that environmental problems created by humanity are the produce of human society, so sociology, politics, etc must be understood to solve them.

Right lets move on Dobson argues that ecologism/green politics is an ideology just like liberalism, socialism or conserativism
‘my principal objective […] is […] to describe and assess that set of ideas regarding the environment which can be properly regarded as an ideology’ p.2

Dobson argues that environmentalism is different from green political thought. Green political thought ‘holds that a sustainable and fulfilling existence presupposes radical changes in our relationship with the non-human natural world, and in our mode of social and political life’ p.3

‘so government minister do not suddenly become political ecologists by trading in their limousines for hybrid (electric/petrol) cars’. P. 3

It brings to my mind the statement from Jonathon Porritt and his co-writer in ‘The Coming of the Greens’ The most radical [green aim] seeks nothing less than a non-violent revolution to overthrow our whole polluting, plundering and materialistic industrial
society and, in its place, to create a new economic and social order which will
allow human beings to live in harmony with the planet’ which Andy refers to later.

Porritt although still a Green Party member cannot be really said to adhere to this now.. charasmatic Green Party figures burn brightly and then work for the status quo.

Green Parties and even Porritt tend to start green in this sense and fade a little with office, this is the big question, how to remain green and become effective.

Dobson argues because green political though is subversive of the common sense of society and prevailing institutions it is interesting and important….politicians generally are more interested in lunch than radical social change.

The argument is that without radical social change, changing our lifestyles and the way we think we will not have a world.

Dobson debates the very many meanings of ideology and looks at the contribution of light green as well as more ideological green politics.

(Green politics is the war against sleep, to my mind, so when I see greens giving out the aspirins or saying how easy our project is, I get a little tetchy).

Ideology is a loaded word, may be it is not so much we have an ideology as an ideology has us (see Althusser) but while being more than sophisticated enough to acknowledge this Andrew Dobson uses an active approach, for his functions taking the following definition from Donald and Hall who define ideology as ‘the concepts, categories, images and ideas by menas of which people make sense of their social and political world, form projects, come to a certain consciousness of their place in the world and act in it’

Ideology is not a dirt word here, you know how it goes I have common sense, she is just being ideologically…in fact I could quote Jim Killock rallying against ideology at many a Green Party Executive meeting.

Next chapter after the intro when I can!

Hall, S. & Donald, J. (1986) Politics and Ideology: a reader. Milton Keynes: Open University Press by the way….

Here is a bit more from his open democracy essay where he think green not just environmentalism:

The problem is that the "can market capitalism be reformed?" question shows little sign of being debated in wider media discussions of climate change: technology, lifestyles and green taxes crowd it out. Even when it does make a cautious entrance on to the political stage, the liberal-capitalist culture gives it short shrift. Leave it to the market! Leave it to consumers! Mobilise self-interest!

So far, so ideological. But is this good social science? Recent work suggests that it isn't, and that there is a much deeper reservoir of social, political and economic possibilities available to us than the technology, lifestyles and green-tax mantras would have us believe. This research work suggests that now is the time to rescue the habits and practices of pro-social behaviour: behaviour that aims at the common good rather than the maximisation of individual self-interest. This is a tender plant that has been battered mercilessly over the past thirty years of market liberalism, but it is still there, and it is extremely important to the climate-change debate. The tragedy is that the very solutions that the governments of some of the countries most responsible for greenhouse-gas emissions could almost be designed to extinguish the remaining remnants of pro-sociality.

Incidentally here are a list of Jonathon Porritt's flights
JP Flights: July 2006-June 2007 from here.

Aberdeen x3
Belfast x4
Edinburgh x2

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

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

Incidentally here are a list of Derek Wall's flights: July 2006-June 2007
Add Image



to give his slightly soiled establishment due, he has been annoying the NFU with his discussion of veganism.

22 Aug 2007

Hanson challenges the deniers

Court jesters serve as a distraction, a distraction from usufruct. Usufruct is the matter that the captains wish to deny, the matter that they do not want their children to know about. They realize that if there is no ‘gorilla’, then usufruct is not an important issue for them. So, with the help of jesters, they deny the existence of the gorilla. There is no danger of melting the Arctic, of destabilizing the West Antarctic ice sheet, of increasing hydrologic extremes, more droughts and stronger forest fires on one hand and heavier downpours and floods on the other, threats to the fresh water supplies of huge numbers of people in different parts of the globe. “Whew! It is lucky that, as our jesters show, these are just imaginary concerns. We captains of industry can continue with business-as-usual, we do not need to face the tough problem of how to maintain profits without destroying our legacy in our children’s eyes.”

More on building a green commons from a 'conservative', essential reading here

The big question is about how we get the political will to save the planet.

21 Aug 2007

Social Movements succeed

We haven't prevented runaway climate change by camping beside Heathrow and by surrounding the offices of BAA, and nor did we expect to do so. But we have made it harder for Alf Pereira and the other invisible people to be swept aside, and harder for the government to forget that its plan for perpetual growth in corporate utopia is also a plan for the destruction of life on earth.

Scruffy anarchy social movements make history, lets face it political parties are part of the process can get ideas over too and if they succeed get the necessary policy change, so political parties are necessary.

However political parties often are too cautious to break the new ideas necessary for justice and ecology...social movements are almost always first with these.

Political parties risk becoming corrupted, social movements help keep them on track.

Here is George Monbiot's take, however this movement is not new it builds on reclaim the streets, Earth First(UK), Rising tide and they in turn built on the social movements of the 1980s like the Greenham Common women, who grew out of direct action against nuclear power in the 1970s, who drew upon CND, the peace movement and committee of 100 in the 1950s and 1960s, who drew upon the squatters who in the 1940s housed people...and so it goes....

well that's what I think, Monbiot writes here

20 Aug 2007

ITV 11PM, you must watch Pilger

ITV To Broadcast John Pilger's 'The War on Democracy' - Monday 20th August
[The War on Democracy, John Pilger's first feature documentary, will go to air on ITV1 on Monday, August 20 at 11pm. Set in Latin America and the US, The War on Democracy explores the historic and current relationship of Washington with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. In recognition of the film's significance, ITV will screen the film its entirety with only one commercial break. Since early June, TWOD has played at some 40 cinemas throughout the UK and returns to London on the 18 August at the Clapham Picture House. John Pilger will introduce the film on Sunday 19 August at 4pm and take post-screening questions.

Here is my review:


Derek Wall urges all Greens to watch 'The War on Democracy'...

The 'War on Democracy,' John Pilger's first cinema film, is to be released in cinemas in the UK on Friday June 15th 2007, starting with the Curzon Soho, Barbican, Ritzy Brixton and Cornerhouse Manchester. Derek Wall has urged people to go along and take a friend. (1)

Derek Wall commented: "The most harrowing part for me was seeing my friend Pablo's father, talking quite calmly about how he was tortured after the 1973 coup in Chile. In Chile a democratic and progressive government was over thrown with the help of the CIA and the notorious General Pinochet became a dictator. He of course became a close friend of Mrs Thatcher!

Read more here

Peter Tatchell in the Indy

New Statesman magazine named him as one of the "heroes of
our time", and The Independent included him among 50 men and women who
had madethe world a better place. So it is a shock to hear this lifelong
advocate of non-violent protest say, in carefully chosen words, that
he believes the problem of Mugabe may now have only one solution:

On to Peter, I am such a fan, he is a human dynamo, always on the media, politically sophisticated....however he should take a weekend off at least every weekend...I think he would be even more effective....he is an ecosocialist and frankly being an ecosocialist in my mind demands the occassional beer, spliff, period of zazen, quality time with ones loved ones...any way I am not really ticking him off and people accuse me off working too hard and yes my love would like I guess to see more of me.

I have heard lots of encouraging noises from Oxford he has already started knocking on doors in anticipation of an October General Election...be good to go down and help.

The Independent on Sunday - 19 August 2007

Profile Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell: 'There may be a case for the people of Zimbabwe to kill
Robert Mugabe'

Despite many beatings in pursuit of equal rights, Peter Tatchell has
always abhorred violence. Now he says he could understand the murder
of an African dictator

Interviewed by Cole Moreton


Peter Tatchell speaks very carefully. He stops in mid-sentence to edit
his words – "Sorry, let me rephrase that" – as if a conversation is a
radio interview. Remember that when the famed campaigner for human
rights says something truly shocking about what he would like to see
done to Robert Mugabe. But first this thin, intense man is telling me
the terrible things that other people would like to do to him.

"We are going to kill you gays," says Tatchell, reading from a
transcript he has made of threatening telephone calls. "The punishment
for sodomy is death." The calls have been frequent, usually late at
night. He takes them in this musty room, where every spare space is
filled with stacks of books or papers. They tell him: "You are going
to be beheaded: that is the punishment in Islamic law."

I was going to start lightly, with a question about the Manchester
Pride festival, where he will be on Thursday, arguably the biggest,
most joyfully riotous celebration of gay

culture in the country. I was going to ask Tatchell, best known for
his outrageous direct action in support of lesbian and gay rights,
whether the battle for equality had been won and it was time to kick
back and party. But instead we're talking about death threats.

"I know that most of them are bluff and bravado, but there is always a
danger that someone might be deadly serious and have a go," he says.
I'm on a low sofa, trying not to kick over copies of The Humanist.
He's looking down on me from a hard-backed wooden chair he has pulled
close. He has an unsettling habit of keeping constant eye contact,
except for when his energy or attention flags momentarily.

Tatchell still suffers headaches, blackouts and memory loss from his
beating by Russian Neo-Nazis (and possibly secret policemen) at a
Pride event in Moscow in May. The 57-year-old has been assaulted many
times during 40 years of campaigning. Homophobic Muslim clerics with
friends who like to call and make threats in the dark are among the
more gentle of his enemies. Followers of Jamaican reggae were said to
have taken out a contract on his life after he called for the banning
of songs, such as Buju Banton's "Boom Bye Bye", that advocate the
shooting, hanging, burning or drowning of gays.

The police gave him armed protection for a while, but it seems to have
gone. The windows of his three-roomed council flat in a tenement just
off London's Elephant and Castle are protected by security bars, and a
notice on the front door warns that it is under 24-hour electronic
surveillance. That stopped people putting dog-shit through the
letterbox, but Tatchell is less than impressed with the official
reaction to the latest calls, which have been going on for three
months. "We have managed to trace the number to identify the
perpetrator but that person has never been interviewed, let alone
questioned by the police. It's an absolute fucking disgrace."

Tatchell is edgy. It's late afternoon and he has been arguing with
officials all day in an attempt to prevent a lesbian being deported
back to a country where she believes she will be executed. He has had
no breakfast and only "a small banana and apple" for lunch, which is
not unusual.

"Some of the abuses these people have suffered are so catastrophic,
they are difficult to block out. Until I can find some kind of
solution they do play
on my mind and I find it difficult to sleep." He looks drawn. "I'm
getting into the Margaret Thatcher mode of sleeping for three or four
hours a night. But I know I need eight."

Thatcher has an inevitable presence in a room whose walls are
decorated with the ephemera of four decades as an activist. There's a
Coal Not Dole sticker and a badge that says, "If Thatcher is the
answer, it was a bloody stupid question".

Thatcher has long gone, but every radical figure needs a nemesis, and
for Tatchell, her place was taken by Robert Mugabe, the President of
Having supported the struggle for independence in that country,
Tatchell found himself appalled by the President's violent persecution
of gay and lesbian people, and his treatment of his own people. It was
challenging Mugabe that also transformed Tatchell's public image.

He was part of human rights campaigns even as a teenager in his native
Australia, but here he was long seen as a single-issue obsessive: in
the Nineties, the papers called him a "homosexual terrorist" and
"prize pervert" for seizing the Archbishop of Canterbury's pulpit at
Easter and trying to "out" gay public figures with his group Outrage!.

Labour's victory in 1997 began a political shift towards equality, but
the way Tatchell was seen did not shift dramatically until 2001, when
he tried to make a citizen's arrest of Mugabe at the Brussels Hilton.
The sight of the determined but slight protester being forced to the
ground by the President's bodyguards won him many new admirers.

Last year, New Statesman magazine named him as one of the "heroes of
our time", and The Independent included him among 50 men and women who
made the world a better place. So it is a shock to hear this lifelong
advocate of non-violent protest say, in carefully chosen words, that
he believes the problem of Mugabe may now have only one solution:

"The prospects for democratic, peaceful change seem to be closed, in
the same way as in Nazi-occupied Europe," he says. "In all normal
circumstances, I'm against violence.

All violence. But in the extreme situation of a dictatorship where
tens of thousands, if not millions, of lives are at stake, there may
be a moral and ethical case for the people of Zimbabwe to kill

It would have to be a black Zimbabwean, he says, so the motives could
not be misunderstood. "And preferably someone who had opposed Ian
Smith's white-minority rule."

This is not frustration then, or a moment of ill-temper. He has
thought out the strategy. But still, it seems extraordinary coming
from him, as if all the energy and fury that enabled him to challenge
the powerful with nothing but his body and his willingness to take a
beating has been twisted into the single, burning thought of a gun and
an expedient death.

Not that Tatchell will worry about what it does to his image. He has
never attempted (or been able) to make money from that, earning only
about £8,000
a year from journalism. His colour-spattered tie looks like a relic
from the Eighties and his red jeans and red shirt are not new,
although they are neatly pressed. The long-life lightbulb remains
unlit as the shadows darken, although he does switch on the kettle to
make a good, strong cup of tea. And offers biscuits. He is witty and
friendly, when he's not being recorded.

On Thursday, Tatchell will attend the massive Pride festival that will
fittingly dominate Manchester, a city whose regeneration has been
helped by gay culture. Sponsors include Manchester City Council
(flying a rainbow flag from public buildings) Selfridges and even the
Highways Agency.

After a carnival-style parade watched by "young and old, gay and
straight, friends and family", Gossip will headline a concert; but
there is also classical music, theatre and comedy, film and even
sporting competition. Tatchell will speak on the question, "Queer
human rights: what next?" In the midst of such a big party one answer
would be, "Relax". But not for him. "There are unfinished battles."

Such as? "Imagine how we would feel if the black or Jewish communities
were told, 'You're banned from getting married but we'll give you a
separate system of civil partnership.' This is a form of sexual

Then there are the problems in the playground. "A recent survey found
two-thirds of lesbian and gay pupils had suffered homophobic abuse in
school. A quarter had been physically assaulted. That's truly

The asylum system is unjust too, he says. "Time and time again, we see
gay and lesbian asylum-seekers, who have been jailed, tortured and had
their partners murdered, being told they are not genuine refugees and
deported back to violently homophobic countries like Jamaica, Nigeria
and Iran."

And it is a mistake to believe that the violence has ended here, he
says. "About a quarter of all lesbian and gay people here have
suffered assaults by homophobic gangs. We're talking about at least a
million people. Over the past two decades, I have been physically
attacked more than 500 times. When was the last time? Tatchell pauses,
and clears his throat. "The last incident was about two years ago."

Things have changed for the better? He switches tack. "Yes. The
decline of physical attacks on me is probably a rough barometer of the
demise of homophobia in Britain. I don't want to diminish the gains of
the past decade, but it would be a mistake to assume they are
permanent. Let's not forget, Berlin was the gay capital of the world
in 1930. Then Hitler came to power and gay and bisexual men were
carted off to concentration camps."

Now he campaigns (for free) across a wide range of issues, including
climate change and the need for an overhaul in our democracy, which he
thinks will only be achieved by "a new mass movement such as the
Chartists or Suffragettes". Despite this, he will stand for the Greens
in Oxford at the next election. He just can't stop, and admits to
working almost every weekend and evening, responding to 60 calls and
300 emails a day. "I don't have the capacity to switch off my mind to
other people's suffering. I can't help it."

His heroes, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, had movements around
them. Tatchell has a close circle of friends, mostly fellow
campaigners, but admits he does not spend enough time with them. It
sounds like a lonely life. "It's not lonely. It has been one of my
great failings to not build a movement, but that's perhaps partly
because I have been involved in so many campaigns."

Perhaps it's also because he's difficult to get on with? He ponders
for a moment. "I guess I am sometimes driven." He has charm, but after
two hours
his intensity is exhausting. "The downside is that it has made
sustaining a partnership with someone difficult. Who would put up with

Have lovers come close and been put off? "Yeah." Tatchell smiles, but
he does look drained. "I work the hours of two people. I do recognise
the way
I'm living my life is not ideal, by a long way. If George Soros or
someone said to me tomorrow, 'Here is £150,000 for 10 years to run and
staff an office,' I would grab it, and take the occasional weekend

His expression says we both know that is unlikely. "I have been unable
to attract funding," says the awkward, driven, maverick Peter
Tatchell. "I don't know why."


19 Aug 2007

cut carbon, stop a new runway.

Protest today

Well the protesters are marching on the BAA offices, good for them, everyone else talks green they do something. Good stuff, politics is about opening up more space for this not about personal power, very very impressive.

This was posted on the Guardian 39 minutes ago:

Protestors leave the Camp for Climate Action in Sipson near Heathrow Airport for their day of action

Anti-airport expansion protesters kicked off 24 hours of direct action with a midday march to the proposed third runway at Heathrow to form a human chain.

Two separate marches set off from the Camp for Climate Action outside the airport's perimeter fence, as local Harlington residents joined campaigners who have spent almost a week at the camp.

Campaigners oppose Heathrow's planned expansion because, they say, it will contribute to climate change.

Around six hundred people set off to mark out the 3km stretch of land set aside for the runway, while a separate march led by children headed off for Sipson village – also part of the proposed development site.

A third airport runway would see many homes within Sipson, close to the makeshift camp, bulldozed for the airport expansion.

Children blowing whistles joined face-painted activists banging drums and holding aloft multi-coloured umbrellas decorated with streamers. Banners carried slogans such as "You Fly, They Die", "Climate Change Kills" and "No Third Runway: Sipson Village RIP".

The Guardian's John Vidal, who was at the scene, said the children's march had not got very far before being stopped by police.

One mother pushing her two-year-old daughter and six-year-old son in a pram said she was taking part because she feared people were destroying her children's future with demands for air travel.

Calling herself Lisa, the mother said: "Climate change affects them more than it affects me so I'm doing this for my children."

Another large group waited at the camp before setting off to lay siege to airport operators BAA's nearby headquarters.

Graham Martin, one of the Heathrow Camp for Climate Action organisers, said today's direct action would be "safe and non violent" though not necessarily lawful. He said: "We are very optimistic there will not be any significant violence during the course of the day. If police stop protesters going outside the BAA offices, campaigners may go elsewhere."

Yesterday, up to six arrests were made after protesters locked themselves to the gates of an Israeli firm which flies produce to the UK.

A 22-year-old man was later arrested outside the protest site on suspicion of harassment and causing actual bodily harm. And a 28-year-old man was arrested late last night, initially under anti-terrorism legislation. He was later released but rearrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause criminal damage.

Today's march began with only a few minor scuffles as police officers ringed the protesters during their procession.

Organisers have complained at the "overkill tactics" of officers policing the area. "We have had police pointing cameras at us almost continuously," said Mr Martin. "They are very much using overkill tactics, and making it difficult to get on and off site."

The Metropolitan police said today's marches were being "appropriately policed", with around 1800 officers on duty.

A police van led several hundred protesters in a slow march from their camp down to Sipson village, part of the site for the controversial third runway.

On Saturday, airline pilots asked protesters to take part in "peace talks" over climate change issues.

The British Airline Pilots' Association said "an informed debate" about climate change would be better than the campaigners embarking on any action. Protesters said they would be willing to have talks after the camp was over.

Airport operator BAA recently obtained a High Court injunction banning certain protest groups from the airport.

A fifth terminal will open at Heathrow in March 2008 and a new runway has been proposed by the government for about 2020.

My debate with Caroline Lucas on Radio 4 today

Sunday Radio 4, The Westminster Hour Principal Speaker, Derek Wall will be debating with Caroline Lucas MEP on whether to change the party's structure to alter the title of Principal Speaker to that of Leader. Caroline will be arguing for a single or Co- Leaders whilst Derek will be maintaining that the current structure of Principal Speakers more accurately reflects the non-hierarchical nature of the Green Party as per its philosophical basis. Both Derek and Caroline are united on the need for Green Leadership but Derek will be showing that the Green Party has leadership based on empowerment, decentralisation and consensual decision making.

Caroline argues:
“This referendum offers us a vital opportunity to demonstrate that alternative models of leadership are possible - not top-down and authoritarian, but inspirational and persuasive. Given the scale and urgency of the Green message, we owe it to ourselves, and to the electorate, to make our Party as effective as we can - I believe that developing authentic leadership models is a major part of that process.”

Caroline Lucas MEP, South East England

How could I possibly disagree, I don't.

Derek Wall, Principal Speaker:
"Leadership is vital. We must have effective voices. However, conventional leadership with a single leader has been disastrous for political participation. It almost always comes with commitments to water down the message, to remove real debate and participation. It turns ordinary members into observers."

Support green empowerment which is against a single leader.http://www.greenempowerment.org.uk/index.shtml

Or go to green yes that wants a leader and a deputy or co-leaders http://greenyes.org/

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that person is crazy. David Barry.

I have no idea who Dave is but found this amusing.

18 Aug 2007

Green Party Exec nominations close

well you can vote for Darren, Ashley or Me.

A short year as I was elected in November but I have tried to pack it in.

The following four positions are contested by two or more candidates and will be decided by ballot of the membership.

Principal speaker, female
- Jenny Jones
- Caroline Lucas

Principal speaker, male
- Ashley Gunstock
- Darren Johnson
- Derek Wall

- Richard Mallinder
- Peter Cranie and David Ford (as job share)

Local Party Coordinator
- Chris Haine
- Jon Lucas

The following positions are currently contested by one candidate and will therefore have nominations reopened at conference and the elections for these positions (and internal communications) will take place there.

International Coordinator
- Volker Heinemann

Publications Coordinator
- Peter Murry

Elections Coordinator
- Sarah Birch

Management Coordinator
- Pete McAskie and Tony Cooper (as job share)

Policy Development
- Brian Heatley

External Communications
- Jim Killock

Campaigns Coordinator
- Jonathan Essex

Finance Coordinator
- Khalid Hussenbux

Quakers for ecology and justice

Society of Friends Meeting Place, Winchmore Hill
Even belief in God is not a necessary part of attending worship. At one meeting I recently attended a woman spoke about how she felt that, after reading Richard Dawkins book, "The God Delusion" and in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting she felt unsure about how a benevolent God could exist. Read more here

Going around the country to promote the Green Party I run into local party activists who are Quakers, the Green Party is of course a secular party and within it their are lots of us who are tolerant socially active Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.

I am as you may have picked up someone who practicises Zen, although to be honest, with all the Principal Speaker running around, it has been a month or two. The Quakers I guess must be the biggest spiritual affliation in the Party, Julian Edmonds late of Slough and now in Hungary is one example of Green Quaker I have worked with. And during Sedgefiend I stayed with Jo Smith in Durham another Quaker, the crash accomodation for conference always used to be the Quaker Hall!

If I remember rightly the great Robin and Heather Tanner were Quakers, when you look they are everywhere in the Green Party here, wonder whether this is the case elsewhere

Here is the wiki oracle on the Society of Friends (their official title)

Mark Barrett has posted a really fascininating account of how the Quakers fit with green politics, anti-authoritarianism, a spirituality akin to that of may be the more familiar territory (at least for me of) Sufis and Zen.

Mark is writing lots of stuff of a very provactive and interesting nature about religion and radical political struggle from the grassroots.

Mark writes:
Like Buddhists, Sufis and other contemplative traditions, Qs cultivate equanimity, compassion and wisdom through the practice of silence, stillness and an emphasis on God's presence, insight and revelation. Qs believe that God's presence is everywhere, and that it can be felt through Christ who is simply the 'inner light' common to all.

Although slight correction there is no god in Buddhism....but silent practice is part of the practice,

Qs were leading activists in the fight to end the slave trade. This is much less well known than it should be, because Q's were then disbarred from political office, so had to campaign outside the system. They helped to spearhead Wilberforce's successful campaign (Wilberforce was Church of England, so was entitled to be an MP). And also, on the interesting question of the link between George Fox and Gerrard Winstanley (leader of the Diggers),

There is a non party political Quaker Green Action they seem to have less profile publically than the various Islamic eco bodies but obviously do good work.

There most recent newsletter on the website promotes the camp for climate action.

Here is their general blurb
Quaker Green Action is a network exploring and promoting awareness of the need for a green lifestyle.

It was formed in 1986 to provide a gathering point for Quaker members, attenders and others concerned with finding Quaker responses to the global ecological crisis.

Our activities
supporting learning and discernment to develop a Quaker witness for the Earth and its people
bringing Friends together at workshops and other events around Britain and at Yearly Meeting
providing news, information and resources through the newsletter earthQuaker, other publications and a Website
communicating the views, positions and insights of the membership to Quaker and other organisations and individuals
providing practical support to Friends in developing a witness to sustainable living in their lives and meetings
working with other Quaker and non-Quaker groups on areas of common interest

To join Quaker Green Action:
Send £5 (£3 if aged 18-25 or free if under 18) & your contact details to Quaker Green Action, 4 Holway Hill, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2HB.
For more information, contact laurie @ livingwitness.org.uk.

The website is here.

17 Aug 2007

Tara’s Last Stand?

choose a leader, choose power, fuck the planet!

Green politics has to be about survival, about change not taking office without power.

So please vote no leader, please support real green politics and please defend the green hills of Tara.

Here is the latest

Tara’s Last Stand?

An open letter to all who are interested in the defence of the earth and the standing-up to power.
Please forward, copy, or circulate.

Place: Tara Valley, Hill of Tara, County Meath, Republic of Ireland
Time: NOW

History: Tara Hill and Valley are part of an ancient temple complex of earthworks, henges, raths (forts), and souterrains (underground tomb chambers). Many of the works pre-date the pyramids. Tara was used as the crowning place of the old high kings of Ireland. It is still in use for ceremonies today, and is particularly associated with Samhain (Hallowe’en).

Threat: The Irish government have sanctioned a route through the Tara valley of the M3 motorway. This road will be tolled, is the least-favourable of the five options available according to principles of road-building and economic sense, will ’save’ fifteen minutes of time to the M50 bottleneck (British M25 equivalent) during the morning rush hour to Dublin, and is being sited on a stretch of road that is not even that busy. A gigantic complex of shopping malls is planned at an interchange, due to be sited 1000 yards from the Hill of Tara. Many ancient monuments have already been destroyed. Many more new and unusual findings DUG UP DURING THE EXCAVATION OF THE LAND FOR THE ROAD have been either recorded by record’ (ie made a note of in a book and destroyed) or are being stored in warehouses. Such ancient artefacts dug up include human bones from old graves.

Actions to date: Around ten to twelve regular people have taken it in shifts for the past year in keeping an unbroken vigil fire and camp burning on Tara Hill. These people have held up the progress of the road by direct action, including digger-diving thus far.

Current Situation: The European Parliament (EU) has told the Irish Government that the work they are doing is illegal and to cease immediately. Just after this was announced in the press, many more diggers and machines were sent, on Wednesday July 18th, to a monument on the site known as ‘Soldier’s Hill’ for the road company to establish a compound. Having recruited many more drivers, and turned them into nominal security guards for the day, the company deployed its staff to aggressively remove all protestors from site. Seven protestors were arrested for not following a policeman‘s orders and public order offences. Three were bailed at 500 Euros, with the condition they cease to go to the sites to protest. A further four refused those bail conditions and were remanded on a week’s custody at Clover Hill prison, Dublin, until a court case pending Wednesday July 25th. Internet footage of the high levels of violence utilised by the road company’s men surprised even the long-term campaigners at Rossport, used to dealing with such intimidation.

The Last Stand: A court case is pending in the EU court, but the road company, aiming to save on much lost time and money has started a big push, and has now reached the part of the route where a gigantic WOODHENGE was unearthed during the excavation. This site is currently being ‘recorded by record’ by state-appointed archaeologists. Their work is SAID to need another two to three weeks to complete. The EU court case is due mid-to-late August The Henge is looking like the site of the last stand. The company has drafted in round-the-clock security. The Irish Police has said it will arrest anyone found on site, even if they are merely mounting a peaceful protest. The road company and the Irish Government have continued destroying monuments, even before the ‘recording by record’ process has finished. There are currently around ten to twenty protestors on site.

A Plea: If anyone out there has it in their heart, time, space, trip, whatever to come and lend a hand, the following three general areas would love to be catered for:

1. DIRECT ACTION: anyone with any experience of, enjoyment in doing and a continued desire to do locking-on, tree-house building, ropeway-slinging and so on are instructed to make their way to the site as soon as possible. This plea is especially directed to those who are part of the victorious Nine Ladies camp in Derbyshire, who may be at a loose end and may want to get involved in this action. It may only last a month, one way or the other. Although Irish police has said it will arrest anyone on site, there is still the possibility of digger-diving and road-blocking, provided the numbers are increased.

2. MAGIC ACTION: as part of a psychological warfare front, music, dance, song, partying and all the rest of it are very welcome at this time. This is not only a call for Direct Action people. The festival of Lughnasa (Lammas or Harvest Festival) starts on Wednesday August 1st and it is intended to hold ceremony, play games, sing, recite poetry, and have a party in the woods, from then and throughout the weekend of July 3rd to 5th, and on and on. Even if you can only make it over for a few days, do come for the party anyway!

3. PRACTICAL ACTION: All manner of kitchen workers, camp-cleaners, fire-tenders- you-name-it-ers, whatever it takes to maintain a decent camp. There are always things to do, and there are not really enough there yet to make the stand that is required.


Experienced Direct Action protestors reckon that a good stand could be made at the Henge if there are AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED PEOPLE THERE. If there are TWO HUNDRED, then the position is that much stronger, while THREE HUNDRED would, it is reckoned, tip the balance against the road company.

In order for the road to be stopped, AS MANY AS POSSIBLE are pleaded with to help in any way they can, to come to Tara AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Otherwise, it may be too late.

Thank you for your time.

We Hope to See you on the Hill

yours, in love of the land,

THE FIANNA FAERY (Soldiers of Faery)

Brian Haw says Phone Ken on 0207 983 4100

Parliament Square fenced off, Brian Haw eviction threat...commons, enclosure, democracy nixed...latest news here

Apparently it is the GLA who have fenced off the Square. According to Kay from the Global Women's Strike Anna - 07786 465 238 who is there too on the ground in Parliament Square Maria is now inside her tent trying to stay. Brian is not being asked to leave but he is adamant that he needs his supporters like Anna and Maria.

The Global Womens Strike suggest ringing the Mayors Office: 0207 983 4100 and the GLA Switchboard 0207 983 4000 to ask for the fence to be removed.


thanks Miranda, you read it here first, but those late comers the BBC are reporting the eviction threat here.

More from Miranda Dunn:

Having spoken to Carl Robert Shaw at the Mayor's Office I have been advised that anyone wishing to complain about the Fencing of Parliament Square should email: mayor@london.gov.uk

and anyone wishing to complain to the Police about the treatment of Anna from Global Womens Strike and Maria from Brian Haw's Peace Camp should write to Commissioner Ian Blair at: commissioner@met.police.uk

Parliament Square fenced, enclosed, cut off

Maria rang me at approximately 12.15pm today Friday 17th August, 2007, to let Greens know that Parliament Square has been surrounded by a Security Fence. This is just the latest intimidation Brian and Maria and other Peace Protestors face.

Please do everything you can to publicise this unreasonable behaviour and ask for the eyesore fence to be removed.

Miranda Dunn
Barnet Green Party

had this 5 seconds ok, disgusting, predictable...every where the fences rise at their command.

Has any one a photo? What of Brian Haw?

A little late Dr Wall writes:

'Sian has just posted me this You can see the fence on the BBC jamcam here:

16 Aug 2007

filmed by FIT, chased by clowns, impressed by the eco toilets

Eco toilets at the camp
well the visit to the climate camp was great fun and really encouraging, I must admit I was a bit tetchy and tired because ironically the planes over my modest shack in Berkshire have been waking me early!

Everything look really organised and together, I was expecting a Glastonbury style sea of mud. Got extensively filmed by my old friends the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) but no problems getting on to the site.

Recycling, eco toilets, good self-organised catering...impressed I was.

Did get chased by clowns shouting 'you are Derek Wall, Green Party Speaker' which was a bit scary!

The anti-capitalist economics workshop saw 60 people stuffed into a small tent, I looked at why capitalism demands ever increasing economic growth, flagged up commons regimes, open source, the exciting bits of Marx.....the level of discussion was steller with lots of different views on building a just and ecological economy.

All very exciting, so get down to the camp!

Over the weekend alas I am limbering for my great debate on Radio 4 Westminister Hour, she wants a leader for the Green Party and I of course don't, just think of the extra abuse from the clowns, who work hard to remind us that green politics is about more than personality.

Here are some thoughts from Aled Fisher:
Aled Dilwyn Fisher, SOC, LSE SU Green Party Male Co-Chair, Young Greens National Committee
"Personality politics is a gamble based not on the real personal qualities of leaders, but on their created PR personas. Green politics is about radical social change and cannot be contingent on PR skills and the vagaries of the media. The media will be able to focus on one personality, create sensationalist caricatures and then attack the whole party on that basis.

Leaders will not make this party successful - concerted grassroots activism in defence of those who face social and ecological injustice will. Our principles of grassroots, decentralised, participatory democracy are appealing to an increasinly disenfranchised and ignored public. That is where we will recruit activists, members and voters."

15 Aug 2007

Camping for climate

Well the uniform is a bit snug but I am off to the climate camp today.

"The camp is a scandal to the government because it sits on the very site of the proposed runway, a runway that will bulldoze a whole village. The camp reminds Gordon Brown, his Cabinet and BAA of their complicity in devastating environmental destruction. Non violent direct action to combat ecological destruction is the right thing and The Green Party explicitly supports it, and it is shameful but hardly surprising that terrorist legislation is being used to try to silence their voices.

Read more here

14 Aug 2007

Oppose homophobic hate crimes

Thank you Phelim for this

Hi everyone

please sign the petition to introduce specific homophobia and transphobia hate crime legislation. If you remember the horrible murder of Jordi Dubrowski in Clapham (who was so badly beaten to death his dental records had to be used to identify him) his murderers were sentenced on the grounds of ‘hostility based on sexual orientation’ as an aggravating factor, as the judge was unable to throw the book at their homophobia as the actual reason for the attack. The summary of that case led many to start pushing for specific homophobic hate crime legislation as one of the strongest legal routes to establish more fairness.

With the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, replying positively to a back bencher question on the subject in July, with more pressure we could have the positive legislation that we need and deserve.

all the best

Full text below:
"In remembering the 40th anniversary of the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality and those who have been murdered and had their lives destroyed by homophobia, including David Morley and Jodi Dubrowski, we the undersigned urge the Prime Minister to introduce specific homophobia and transphobia hate crime legislation. We believe that the law should be re-written now to target incitement of hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity."

BBC sleeping with microsoft

I am off trains, tubes and apocalyptic bike ride through the rapidly flooding Berkshire countryside to the station to protest at the BBC releasing their programmes via DRM microsoft.

So see you all at 10.30ish this morning outside the BBC at Wood Lane.....oh and don't forget the climate camp is officially launched today as well.

This is an event organised by the Free SoftWare Foundation calling for the use of all alternatives not just micro soft.

Today the BBC made it official -- they have been corrupted by Microsoft. With today's launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating system to view BBC programming on the web. This is akin to saying you must own a Sony TV set to watch BBC TV. And you must accept the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) that the iPlayer imposes. You simply cannot be allowed to be in control of your computer according to the BBC.

Read more here

13 Aug 2007

West London Green Party Letter on climate action

thanks to John Hunt for drafting this.

Last week, judge Caroline Swift rejected BAA's application for an unprecedented injunction against five million people, and substituted her own wording, to allow lawful protest, as safeguarded by the European Convention on Human Rights under Article 10 [the right to freedom of expression, including imparting information and ideas without interference by public authority] and Article 11 [the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others].

Opposition to expansion at Heathrow has grown since the Terminal Five public enquiry ten years ago where, of the 50 major parties giving evidence, over 95% opposed T5. At the end of the enquiry, inspector Roy Vandermeer found that a third runway would be "totally unacceptable". He imposed a cap of 480,000 flight movements a year: yet we already have 471,000, though T5 is not scheduled to open until March.

Last December, a cross-party alliance of twelve boroughs, concerned "that the Government consistently fails to either acknowledge or assess the airport's full environmental impact", launched the "2M Group". The group "believes that the Government and the industry consistently overstate the economic benefits of aviation and fail to measure the full environmental costs"; has called on the Government "to commission an independent cost-benefit analysis for all expansion proposals"; and cannot comprehend that the Government will "allow for a doubling of carbon emissions from domestic aviation by 2050 ­ while expecting all other sectors to reduce their emissions".

In February, a report by the Parliamentary Transport Committee condemned the Department for Transport for failing against its own targets, including for air quality and carbon dioxide emissions. Committee Chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody painted "a terrible picture of failure", exposing the DfT for lacking a clear strategy and a timetable of policies which are necessary to bring improvements. The Committee found that transport is the only sector of the economy in which greenhouse gas emissions have been rising consistently since 1990 and are projected to carry on rising, and cited a COMEAP estimate that respiratory disorders associated with particulates are responsible for 8,100 additional deaths and 10,500 additional hospital admissions in the UK each year.

Frustrated local residents, having lost faith in consultations after repeated Government lies about Heathrow expansion, mounted protests earlier this year: on 6th March at Chatham House, where the Secretary of State for Transport addressed aviation heads of industry; and on 20th June with street theatre at the Department for Transport, demonstrating how the DfT are cosily in bed with BAA.

Now Heathrow's "Camp against Climate Change" has come to Sipson: one of the villages between the A4 and the M4 which BAA and the Department for Transport are intent upon destroying, in order to build a Third Runway and Terminal Six. The Camp, from 14th - 21st August, is described as "a working ecological village using renewable energy, composting waste and sourcing food locally". Its programme for the week [available at www.climatecamp.org.uk/wshops.pdf] lists over 100 workshops and other events, with speakers from many environmental organisations, including --perhaps unexpectedly-- the "Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences" and Christian Aid.

Alarmingly, Saturday's "Guardian" reports that the government has encouraged police forces to make greater use of terrorism powers "especially the use of stop and search powers under s44 Terrorism Act 2000", and that last month a student cycling near the airport was arrested and held for 30 hours without charge. Then on Sunday, after the camp site --a sports ground owned by Imperial College-- was occupied, it was reported that police had closed a public road and were obstructing access to the site to local residents donating goods.

Recent coverage by national press has quoted some of the residents whose villages would be demolished by the proposed third runway, understandably "100% against the proposed third runway and further airport expansion". One resident whose daughter died from the air pollution supports the camp completely: though, amazingly, others are reportedly opposed to direct action. Do they think, after years of Government lies and sham consultations, that they have any other means of saving their homes?

The judge who last week rejected BAA's application accepted the Wikipedia definition of direct action: "a form of political activism which seeks immediate remedy for perceived ills, as opposed to indirect actions such as electing representatives who promise to provide remedy at some later date. ... [They] are often (but not always) a form of civil disobedience ... demonstrations are not illegal (in most constitutional democracies). ...", [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action].

As members of the Green Party, we "do not believe that there is only one way to change society, ... [and] generally support those who use reasonable and non-violent forms of direct action to further just aims", [GP "Manifesto for a Sustainable Society", PB501: see http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/]. We will attend the Camp this week, and expect to participate in the "Mass Action" event on Sunday, 19th. We are appalled at the report of police use of anti-terrorism powers to deter peaceful protest, and will document and pursue any instances of this that we encounter.

In the meantime, we welcome Climate Campers to Heathrow, in the hope and expectation that the week will be informative and beneficial to all who are involved.

John Hunt, Hounslow;
James Page, Twickenham;
Sian Berry & Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speakers

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...