31 Oct 2007


The London Islamic Network for the Environment Monthly Forums:


Date: Sunday 11th November
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 Tube: Goodge Street (Northern Line)


Anne Gray, Social Activist
Mark Barrett, People in Common

Muslims' commitment to social justice suggests a necessity for engagement in civil society. What challenges and opportunities confront Muslims within European societies in their pursuit of action to preserve the environment, to oppose unjust war and oppression? This topic will be approached from the perspectives of two people who have been political activist(s) for many years before turning to Islam, and who see religious and political commitment as mutually reinforcing. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and offer insights. Within the forum, we will also get to hear about environmental campaigning LINE is actively involved with, and how we can support the upcoming climate demonstration on Sat Dec 8th. As usual no charge and open to all.

About the Speakers:

Anne Gray is an academic researcher in social policy. She has been politically active for many years in the peace movement, solidarity with Palestine, the European Social Forum movement, and in the Campaign against Criminalising Communities, which works to oppose the abuses of civil liberties associated with the anti-terrorism laws. She is also active in the Green Party. Brought up as a Quaker, she practised no religion for many years but then turned to Islam in the last year

Mark Barrett originally trained in law but now works as a tour guide for an educational travel company. He has a strong interest in the relationship between art and politics. His main areas of concern are the question of constitution, community land rights and how to establish a democratic model of globalisation. He is an active member of People in Common which works to end government restrictions on protest within the vicinity of Parliament while exploring possibilities for a new constitutional model. Originally brought to religious life via Buddhism and Quakerism, Mark has also been much inspired by the poet Rumi. He is now exploring orthodox Islam and is particularly interested in the concept of ijtihad and its contemporary relevance.

Website: www.lineonweb.org.uk

LINE is the UK's first local Islamic environmental group. We hold open monthly forums in central London. Our activities include educational talks and workshops, climate change campaigning, and ethically orientated food and social events. Find out more about us by visiting our website: http://www.lineonweb.org.uk

30 Oct 2007

Don't taxi

Well no new news, I still have the flu, arrgh must stop running around and beat it,and George Galloway and the SWP still don't love each other in RESPECT..will post on the Diana Raby book Democracy and Revolution in the next few days promise

thanks to Pablo for the following:

watch it here:


Over one hundred prisoners have died in suspicious circumstances in U.S. custody during the "war on terror". Taxi to the Dark Side takes an in-depth look at one case: an Afghan taxi driver called Dilawar who was considered an honest and kind man by the people of his rustic village. So when he was detained by the U.S military one afternoon, after picking up three passengers, denizens wondered why this man was randomly chosen to be held in prison, and, especially, without trial? Five days after his arrest Dilawar died in his Bagram prison cell. His death came within a week of another death of a detainee at Bagram. The conclusion, with autopsy evidence, was that the former taxi driver and the detainee who passed away before him, had died due to sustained injuries inflicted at the prison by U.S. soldiers. The documentary, by award-winning producer Alex Gibney, carefully develops the last weeks of Dilawar's life and shows how decisions taken at the pinnacle of power in the Bush Administration led directly to Dilawar's brutal death. The film documents how Rumsfeld, together with the White House legal team, were able to convince Congress to approve the use of torture against prisoners of war. Taxi to the Dark Side is the definitive exploration of the introduction of torture as an interrogation technique in U.S. facilities, and the role played by key figures of the Bush Administration in the process.


29 Oct 2007

Islam I like is green islam

I get attacks from those who view any form of Islam as reactionary but lets face it there is a huge amount of progressive islam out there, Ok I am biased a lot of my friends and close political associates are liberal progressive Muslims and as a green I am really inspired by the LINE stuff, so especially for those of you who are new to it, take a look at the great work of LINE...hope this helps on the RESPECT discussion as well

London Islamic Network for the Environment.

A small but important correction!

The correct date of Larry Lohmann's article (2nd notice below) is '2007', NOT '2000'! as was originally stated in Ecobites. Apologies for the mistake.

The corrected notice is below.

Muzammal Hussain,

Peace -

In this edition of Ecobites are four notices.

First is news of the recent launch of LINE Leaf, the long awaited newsletter of LINE (London Islamic Network for the Environment). Next, Larry Lohmann sheds light on the UK Bank, Barclays, and its investment of US $257m into a gas pipeline project forced through a community of Thai Muslims, whilst the UK government claims leadership in tackling climate change.

Following this is notice of two public meetings on climate change: the first near East London Mosque with LINE, London Rising Tide and the World Development Movement, and the second at the Friends Meeting House in Euston, London, with George Monbiot, Greenpeace, Camp for Climate Action, & Campaign against Climate Change.



The recently launched newsletter can be downloaded from: www.lineonweb.org.uk/Resources/newsletter


2) As Barclays Bank invests US $257m into a gas pipeline project forced through a community of Thai Muslims, a question being asked is:


Larry Lohmann
3 August 2007

The full article can be viewed on:

As the European Union, the US and big business vie with each other to be recognised as taking serious action on climate change, Larry Lohmann wonders whether the real leadership is not to be found elsewhere.

Forget, for a moment, the Kyoto Protocol and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. Leave aside the burgeoning carbon "offset" business. If you're looking for real progress on climate change, your time might be better spent paying a visit to a couple of coastal towns in southern Thailand. For travellers on the road from Bangkok to Malaysia, the crossroads at Bo Nok-Baan Krut might seem only a collection of rice fields, fishing boats, tourist resorts, coconut trees, temples and shops. Yet this is a community that defeated corporate and state plans to build one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in Thailand on its beachfront. The victory cost years of sweat and blood. Today the community is consolidating its gains, exploring wind-powered electricity and lending a hand to communities battling fossil fuel projects elsewhere.

One such community lies several hundred kilometres south in Chana district. Chana's local monster is a prestige Thai-Malaysian natural gas pipeline and refining venture backed by Thailand's ousted tycoon Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Chana is less lucky than its sister community to the north. After years of fraudulent land deals, bribes, and intimidation and beatings by police, a huge gas separation plant now defiantly sits on community wakaf land, a supposedly inalienable Muslim commons entrusted to God, drawing gas from a pipeline illegally forced across a local beach. A gas-fired power plant is going up. Chemical works may not be far behind. But villagers are not giving up. They say that they are fighting not only for their lives and religion, but for a natural heritage that belongs to the whole country.

Some professional climate activists slight such local struggles as secondary to the task of negotiating global emissions reduction targets. They forget that dealing with climate change means, above all, finding practical means of keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

British officials... talk of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. Yet they promote airport expansion, back World Bank efforts to ramp up fossil fuel use worldwide and are committed to large-scale carbon trading — a messy US invention that only slows the transition away from fossil fuels.

In the private sector, meanwhile, banks such as Barclays parade plans to go "carbon neutral", while at the same time expanding fossil fuel investment and their fossil fuel trading teams. Emblematically, Barclays has even pitted itself directly against the hydrocarbon protesters of Chana. With an investment of US$257 million, Barclays Capital leads the consortium of banks supporting the Trans Thai-Malaysia gas project. Despite repeated invitations, none of its 13,200 worldwide staff has ever even visited the Chana villagers. Contempt — not only for local livelihoods, but also for the aspiration for a livable climate — doesn't come much clearer than that.

Chico Mendes, the Brazilian unionist who was murdered in 1988 while working to save the jobs of rubber tappers threatened by Amazon clearance, had a famous saying. "At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees", Mendes said. "Then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realise I am fighting for humanity."

Villagers in Bo Nok, Chana and elsewhere could say the same. Who are the real climate leaders? It may be time for a rethink.

[An account of the struggle in Chana can be found at < http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk>. This article first appeared in Red Pepper <http://www.redpepper.org.uk >).]


3) LINE, London Rising Tide & WDM invite you to:


Date: Thursday November 1st 2007
Time: 6pm - 7pm (Doors open 5:30pm)
Venue: London Action Resource Centre (LARC) 62 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, E1 1ES. (behind East London Mosque, opposite Tayyibs).

Are you concerned about climate change? You are invited to attend a meeting with speakers from: London Rising Tide, World Development Movement (WDM) & London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE). Find out how climate change is affecting, and will affect, the developing world. Meet people taking action near you. Discover how you can be more effective by working with others.

Streetmap: http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=534401&y=181549&z=0&sv=e11es&st=2&pc=e1+1es&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf

Websites: London Rising Tide: www.londonrisingtide.org.uk ; World Development Movement: www.wdm.org.uk ; London Islamic Network for the Environment: www.lineonweb.org.uk


4) Campaign against Climate Change invites you to a Public Meeting:


Date: Thursday November 8th
Time: 7.00pm
Venue: The Friends Meeting House, 173 Euston Road, London (opposite Euston station).

George Monbiot, Author, Journalist and Campaigner
John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace UK
Claire Fauset, Camp for Climate Action
Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator Campaign against Climate Change

This year the arctic ice cap shrunk to just 60% of its normal size (the average summer size for 1979-2000). We are seeing the first macro-impact of global warming. Some have speculated that only a small temperature increase (of a kind quite possible in the next ten years or so) could see the ice disappear completely and very rapidly. That would leave open sea which absorbs heat from the sun rather than reflect it back into the atmosphere as ice does. The warmed waters would then transmit heat to the land causing massive melting of permafrost, releasing huge quantities of CO2 and methane, triggering a massive warming event that would render much of the globe uninhabitable. This is just one of the terrifying "positive feedback" scenarios that have been suggested as a possible result of continuing to belch out greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the way we do now.

So what are we doing about it ? Changing the light bulbs. Buying cars that use slightly less petrol. At most, reducing emissions by a few percentage points a year. Do we have a plan even remotely radical enough to stand any real chance of heading off disaster? Where are the politicians conveying the true urgency of the situation ? Where is the solemn prime ministerial broadcast explaining that the nation and the world is in grave peril and we need to take extreme action? What can we do in this situation to turn the politics around and get the scale and speed of action that we really need ?

George Monbiot in his recent book "Heat" has offered a radical blueprint for survival. But recently he has said that even that does not go far enough.

Come to this Public Meeting to find out what he is saying now –what the Director of Britain's best known environmental pressure group has to say about it, too, - and also the view from the activists who hit the headlines with their 'Climate Camp' at Heathrow, earlier this year.

Website: www.campaigncc.org

Saudi Arabia has exported religious fundamentalism and terrorism

had this from Peter Tatchell, well said...what is the worst example of a repressive state..~Saudi Arabia, where does the cash come for regressive hate filled forms of Islam, Saudi Arabia.

Who does the British government buy oil from and who do British companies sell weapons to, Saudi Arabia.

shocking...far far worse than Iran and of course Gordon Brown's best friend state, say no to the Royal visit.

Incidentally very pleased to see the statement from Vince Cable, who I am not normally a fan of

And acting Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said he was boycotting the visit, citing the corruption scandal over Al Yamamah arms deal, and the Saudis' human rights record.

"I think it's quite wrong that as a country we should give the leader of Saudi Arabia this honour," he said.

from the BBC here

John McDonnell, MP is a star, I am not going to be sectarian if people do good stuff they do good stuff, the we are all wonderful and they are shite approach to politics is one of the things that puts people off!

I hope MPs support his early day motion and the demo called for wednesday.

Saudi tyrant embraced by Gordon Brown King Abdullah hosted at Downing Street & Buckingham Palace Protests re State Visit, arms sales and human rights abuses London - 29 October 2007

"Gordon Brown rightly refuses to meet Zimbabwe's dictator, RobertMugabe, but he happily welcomes to Downing Street the Saudi tyrant,King Abdullah. It is double standards," said human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell. Mr Tatchell will be joining protests this week in London against the Saudi leader's State Visit to Britain (details below).

"The Saudi regime is guilty of detention without trial, torture and public beheadings. Political parties, trade unions and non-Muslim religions are banned. Women not allowed to vote or drive a car. Gay people are flogged and executed. The country is a theocratic police state.

"Despite these shocking human rights abuses, the Queen has invited King Abdullah to stay with her at Buckingham Palace. Our head of state should not be entertaining a serial human rights abuser. "King Abdullah should be arrested and put on trial for torture, not embraced and feted. "The Prime Minister has spoken out against the Burmese junta, but he is silent about the grotesque human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. Britain is propping up the King's dictatorship by buying his oil and selling him weapons. Gordon Brown is colluding with Abdullah's oppression of the Saudi people. He's putting money-making before human rights.

"Saudi Arabia has exported religious fundamentalism and terrorism around the world. It should be designated a pariah state. Instead, weare giving an oil-rich, pro-western despot the red carpet treatment.It is especially disgraceful that a Labour government is backing this blood-stained regime," said Mr Tatchell.

More information: Peter Tatchell – 020 7403 1790

John McDonnell MP has tabled Early Day Motion 2102 opposing the Saudi State Visit.


"That this House notes with concern the state visit of King Abdullahbin Abdul Azaz al Saud of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom on 30thOctober 2007; believes that Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressives ocieties on earth, with no political parties, free elections,independent media or trade unions; views with alarm the systematichuman rights abuses that exist within the Kingdom, such as the lack ofbasic rights for women, the practice of public beheadings and the repression of homosexuals; condemns the recent sale of 72 Eurofightersto such a barbaric regime; and calls upon the British Government tobase its foreign policy towards Saudi Arabia on democracy and human rights rather than on narrow economic interests." Two protests are planned this week against King Abdullah's State Visit: Protest 1:Tuesday 30 October, 11.15am to 1pm, outside the ICA, The Mall, SW1Y5AH, as King Abdullah passes down The Mall, en route to Buckingham Palace at 12.30pm.This demonstration will protest against British arms sales to SaudiArabia and demand a re-opening of the Serious Fraud Office inquiryinto the bribery of senior Saudi officials. This demonstration isorganised by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT). Map:http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=529770&y=180214&z=1&sv=529770,180214&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf More information about Tuesday's protest:Symon Hill – CAAT – 020 7281 0297http://www.caat.org.uk/events/diary.php Protest 2:Wednesday 31 October, 6pm to 8pm, Saudi Embassy, 30 Charles Street,W1J 5DZ. A protest against human rights abuses. Map:http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=W1J+5DZ&ie=UTF8&ll=51.508075,-0.145741&spn=0.008641,0.010235&z=16&om=1 Speakers include Labour MPs John McDonnell and Katy Clark; Saudi tradeunionist, Yahya al-Alfaifi; Marsha-Jane Thompson, Chair of theSocialist Youth Network; Sandy Mitchell, a former British prisoner in Saudi Arabia; London Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi; and human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell. "The protest has been called to oppose British support for this repressive tyranny, and to stop our foreign policy being dictated bythe oil and defence industries," said protest co-organiser, OwenJones. "Just recently, Britain sold 72 Eurofighters to the dictatorsin Riyadh," he added. More information about Wednesday's protest: Owen Jones – 07870331835Marsha-Jane Thompson – 07983592998Socialist Youth Network - http://www.socialistyouth.org.uk/news.php ENDS -- Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East http://www.greenoxford.com/peter and http://www.petertatchell.net

Green Left rejects 'cults of personality'

At its meeting last Saturday, Green Left unanimously passed the following motion:

“Green Left notes the failures of ‘ top -down’ political leadership and promotes instead, ‘bottom-up’, democratic structures of political leadership in accordance with the best participatory democratic structures of the Green Party and in opposition to the cults of personality, and the emphasis on celebrities.”

Joseph Healy

I didn't make the meeting because I was debating with the Communist Party, nice people, good discussion but look how the cult damaged that brand of the left and how big brother damaged Galloway...participation is vital.

28 Oct 2007

Socialism today must be Green.

At first sight, environmentalists or conservationists are nice, slightly crazy guys whose main purpose in life is to prevent the disappearance of blue whales or pandas. The common people have more important things to think about, for instance how to get their daily bread. […] However, there are in Peru a very large number of people who are environmentalists […] they might reply, ‘ecologist your mother’, or words to that effect. […] Are not the town of Ilo and the surrounding villages which are being polluted by the Southern Peru Copper Corporation truly environmentalist? Is not the village of Tambo Grande in Pirura environmentalist when it rises like a closed fist and is ready to die in order to prevent strip-mining in its valley? Also, the people of the Mantaro Valley who saw their little sheep die, because of the smoke and waste from La Oroya smelter.
(Hugo Blanco quoted in Guha and Martinez-Alier 1997: 24)

I thought I would paste up a few notes on ecosocialism, I think the turmoil in RESPECT, the modest success of the Green Left and the need to deal seriously with the political economy of climate change are all fuelling interest in ecosocialism.

Many European Green Parties, in my view have moved to the centre ground and need an injection of ecosocialism if they are to be relevent, more positively the Latin American left as shown by the reaction of Cuba to oil shortages, to Chavez's condemnation of the great car economy to Morales speech to the UN, to the participation of Hugo Blanco in the ecosocialist network to the work of the green socialist in Brazil...shows that ecosocialism is making modest waves.

Do have a look at the speech by Ian Angus, who helps coordinated the Ecosocialist International network here.

The Ecology of Destruction by John Bellemy Foster is a great piece of writing on making red green politics work, do take a look here.

And why not join me by joining the Green Party of England and Wales, although I recognise that there are plenty of other paths people take...

My thoughts, my stray thoughts

Ecosocialists are strongly critical of capitalist growth. James O’ Connor argues that capitalist growth tends to degrade the environment it depends upon to sustain growth. Capitalism by polluting drinking water, reducing soil fertility and breeding toxins, weakens the ability of both workers and nature to sustain growth. This second contradiction like the primarily economic contradictions discussed by Marx, has a tendency to drive the system out of existence. O’Connor notes that to overcome environmental contradictions capitalism introduces new technologies that solve old environmental problems at the expense of creating new ones. Thus nuclear power is posited as an alternative to greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels, he also quotes Gary Snyder’s contention that capitalism ‘spreads its economic support system out far enough that it can afford to wreck one eco-system, and keep moving on’ (O’Connor 1998: 181).

Some ecosocialists fear that the globalised economy is running out of fresh ecosystems to kill. Kovel presents a series of terrifying statistics to suggest that planetary ecology is bending if not breaking under the strain of environmental damage fuelled by neo-liberal globalisation. He notes how, between the first Earth Day in 1970 and 2000:

Oil consumption had increased from 46 million barrels a day to 73 million;
Natural gas extraction had increased from 34 trillion cubic feet per year to 95 trillion;
Coal extraction had gone from 2.2 billion metric tonnes to 3.8 billion;
The global motor vehicle population had almost tripled, from 246 million to 730 million;
Air traffic had increased by a factor of six;
The rate at which trees are consumed to make paper had double, to 200 million metric tons per year;
Human carbon emissions had increased from 3.9 million metric tons annually to an estimated 6.4 million – this despite the additional impetus to cut back caused by an awarness of global warming, which was not perceived to be a factor in 1970;
[…] average temperatures increased by 1 Fahrenheit – a disarmingly small number that, being unevenly distributed, translates into chaotic weather events (seven of the ten most destructive storms in recorded history having occurred in the last decade), and an unpredictable and uncontrollable cascade of ecological trauma – including now the melting of the North Pole during the summer of 2000, for the first time in 50 million years, and signs of the disappearance of the ‘snows of Kilmanjaro’ the year following;
species were vanishing at a rate that has not occurred in 65 million years;
fish were being taken at twice the rate as in 1970;
40 per cent of agricultural soils had been degraded;
half of the forests had disappeared;
half of the wetlands had been filled or drained;
one-half of US coastal waters were unfit for fishing or swimming;
despite concerted effort to bring to bay the emissions of ozone-depleting substances, the Antarctic ozone hole was the largest ever in 2000, some three times the size of the continental United States; meanwhile, 2000 tons of the substances that cause it continue to be emitted every day; and
7.3 billion tons of pollutants were released in the United States during 1999.
(Kovel 2002: 3-4)

Kovel is convinced that such appalling statistics can be correlated with and explained by rising economic growth. Echoing the criticism of economic growth by Greens noted in chapter four, he observes how between 1970 and 2000 global economic product rose by 250% from 16 to 39 trillion dollars. As we have seen higher growth has increased global inequality. He argues that environmental damage;will gradually rise like a tide. Incrementally, day-by-day, climatic conditions will become worse with the greenhouse effect, toxins will increase in our bodies and new diseases will evolve and spread as ecosystems are disrupted:

If the world were a living organism, then any sensible observer would conclude that this ‘growth’ is a cancer that, if not somehow treated, means the destruction of human society, and even raises the question of the extinction of our species. The details are important and interesting, but less so that the chief conclusion – that irresistible growth, and the evident fact that this growth destabilizes and breaks down the natural ground necessary for human existence, means, in the plainest terms, that we are doomed under the present social order, and that we had better change it as soon as possible (Kovel 2002: 5).
It is a sad irony that Kovel had to write the obituary of his ecosocialist co-worker Walt Sheasby who died of the effects of the West Nile virus which is spread by mosquitos that have travelled north through the state with rising temperatures. Sheasby wrote extensively on ecosocialism, was a founder of the Green Party in California and chronicled Marx’s love of the environment and affinities with Zen. I come to the end of a sentence, scratch my head and think Walt will know, only to remember he won’t be answering my emails any more.

While ecosocialists agree that capitalism is characterised in the third millennium by the activities of transnationals and the finance capital needs of the bank, even without such forces the market would tend to be destructive. Ecosocialists have a tradition of using the term imperialism but imperialism based on the activities of monopolistic corporations is not enough to explain ecological destruction. For Kovel, the conflict between Islamic Jihadists and the Bush administration since the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001 is a product of oil imperialism, however things go deeper:
As organized by the capitalist-industrial economy, progress and modernity require the limitless exploitation of energy resources: in a word, oil; and in another word, imperialist control over the oil-soaked parts of the earth, the chief parts of which happen to be inhabited by Islamic peoples. Thus the fundamentalists do not hate us because of our free life-style. They hate us because of the ruin brought upon their societies in order to fuel that life-style.

Nor does the ruin end with the direct effects of imperialism on the peoples of one region. The whole of terrestrial nature is afflicted with the by-products of capitalist expansion. The same process that brings corrupt dictatorships and violence from the skies also gives us global warming, indeed, the entire ecological crisis, that destabilization of the natural ground of society which puts the very idea of a future at risk.

The planes that slammed into the World Trade Center brought down more than great buildings and thousands of lives. They brought us up against the unfaced contradictions of our civilization.
(<www.joelkovel.org> Beyond The Deadly Dance)

Kovel argues that the distinction between exchange values and use values outlined by Marx in chapter one of Capital is the essential insight for understanding both globalisation and the ecological and social ills that it unleashes. In an economy based upon the market, we do not directly produce goods because they are useful to us. We produce goods that we exchange for money that we can then use to exchange for other goods. This seems a sensible and convenient arrangement. However, we constantly have to sell if we are to buy. This means that we have to persuade others to buy our goods if are to survive. A contradiction tends to develop between the usefulness of goods and their value from exchange. We thus have to sell goods that previously had no use to maintain our ability to buy goods and services. This tendency has a tendency to get out of hand.

In the third millennium, the contradiction between use and exchange values has accelerated to an astonishing gap. Abstract economic activity with no apparent use value commands billions, while concrete useful activity particularly in the ‘domestic’ sphere of caring for kids, relatives, preparing basic foodstuffs (the subject of subsistence discussed in chapter four) is largely unrewarded. Producing for use is no priority at all. If goods were quite useless one might be reluctant to exchange them and this would lead to economic problems, For the moment, however, society is focussed on exchange. If you buy this book instead of borrowing it from the library this increases exchange value, but it would be better ecologically and socially to provide books, Cds, DVDs, children’s toys, tools, etc via libraries because this would circulate use values more widely. Anything that increases exchange values is encouraged in our society because it allows the market economy to function, this however means that use values are largely ignored or achieved through duplication and waste.

For ecosocialists it is clearly not enough to reform the worst aspects of capitalism or to define capitalism in such a way that mild change is possible. Many of the anti-capitalists examined in these pages see capitalism as the poisoned out growth of what is a basically sane system. The abolition of fractional reserve banking, localisation of economies, an element of state or community planning, for example, can be used to heal the system. Ecosocialists see the need for economic growth as built into the market. This takes us a long way from all of the elite theories of capitalism. Such elite theories are political rather than economic. They suggest that a particular class or even group of conspirators get together to design a globalising system that brings them immense personal wealth and power at the expense of poor and planet. Ecosocialist approaches suggest that the reality is even more worrying. Rather than there being a particular group who could be replaced, the system tends to self-perpetuate and is driven by apparently extra human forces.

The Chairman of the board will always tell you that he spends his every waking hour laboring so that people will get the best possible products at the cheapest possible price and work in the best possible conditions. But it is an institutional fact, independent of who the chairman of the board is, that he'd better be trying to maximize profit and market share, and if he doesn't do that, he's not going to be chairman of the board any more. If he were ever to succumb to the delusions that he expresses, he'd be out. (Foster 2002: 48)

Kovel argues that capitalism is like a virus spreading through the world, that moves extensively through geographical space and intensively into our very souls. Globalisation is driven by the crises of capitalism. To maintain profit firms must sell more and exploit labour with greater vigor. A falling profit rate can be overcome by a combination of exploiting labour more intensively (getting them to work harder) or extensively (getting them to worker for longer) and selling to new markets. To survive capitalism has therefore to grow for ever. New economic niches must be exploited by constructing new needs. Capitalism, Luxemburg argued, needs an outside to colonise (Luxemburg 1971). Nature must be commodified by enclosing and exploiting new habitats. People must constantly consume more and work harder:
In 1992 alone U.S. business spent perhaps $1 trillion on marketing, simply convincing people to consume more and more goods. This exceeded by about $600 billion the amount spent on education--public and private--at all levels. Under these circumstances we can expect people to grow up with their heads full of information about saleable commodities, and empty of knowledge about human history, morality, culture, science, and the environment. What is most valued in such a society is the latest style, the most expensive clothing, the finest car. Hence, it is not surprising that more than 93 percent of teenage girls questioned in a survey conducted in the late 1980s indicated that their favorite leisure activity was to go shopping. (Foster 2002: 46-47)

Clearly, as the many activists and writers discussed in these pages show, capitalism keeps moving on to new areas. The process of privatisation encouraged by the WTO, IMF and World Bank means that new areas of corporate economic activity are developed to attempt to maintain profits.

Capitalism also has a psychological dimension. The system tends to select those who are most aggressive and inspired at increasing profit. Individuals in firms who decide that there is a kinder, gentler way of doing things or who have priorities other than profit trying to produce what is most ecological or useful, for example, either fail to rise to the top or are replaced:
People who are genuinely forthcoming and disinterestedly helpful do not become managers of large capitalist firms. The tender-hearted are pushed off far down the ladder on which one ascends to such positions of power. For capital shapes as well as selects the kinds of people who create these events. (Kovel 2002: 38)
Every member of a capitalist firm could be replaced by another and the system would still maintain its trajectory. Capitalism colonises us internally and makes us dream of shopping.

Capitalism is a system that has evolved out of human action but seems to have developed its own inhuman power. Capitalists recognising that the end of the world may ultimately be bad for business will try to find ways of creating sustainable growth. Companies will seek corporate solutions to the ecological crisis. However, as far as market players are concerned, declining profits are a threat today and pollution a threat tomorrow, so share values are likely to take precedence over indices of species destruction.

John Bellamy Foster summaries the ecosocialist account of globalisation by comparing it to a giant treadmill:
First, built into this global system, and constituting its central rationale, is the increasing accumulation of wealth by a relatively small section of the population at the top of the social pyramid. Second, there is a long-term movement of workers away from self-employment and into wage jobs that are contingent on the continual expansion of production. Third, the competitive struggle between businesses necessitates on pain of extinction of the allocation of accumulated wealth to new, revolutionary technologies that serve to expand production. Fourth, wants are manufactured in a manner that creates an insatiable hunger for more. Fifth, government becomes increasingly responsible for promoting national economic development, while ensuring some degree of "social security" for a least a portion of its citizens. Sixth, the dominant means of communication and education are part of the treadmill, serving to reinforce its priorities and values.

[…] Everyone, or nearly everyone, is part of this treadmill and is unable or unwilling to get off. Investors and managers are driven by the need to accumulate wealth and to expand the scale of their operations in order to prosper within a globally competitive milieu. For the vast majority the commitment to the treadmill is more limited and indirect: they simply need to obtain jobs at liveable wages. But to retain those jobs and to maintain a given standard of living in these circumstances it is necessary, like the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, to run faster and faster in order to stay in the same place. (Foster 2002: 44-45)

Adapted from Babylon and Beyond...Derek Wall (Pluto 2005)

27 Oct 2007

More on RESPECT crisis

I have seen things that I can no longer accept.
I have heard things from meetings I have been at described in a way that I don’t recognise.

No longer will these things be done in my name.

For the reasons that I have set out, as from this moment I am resigning from the SWP.

This is from the resignation letter of Jerry Hicks a longstanding Bristol member of the Socialist Workers Party....the split between the SWP and most of the rest of the RESPECT Party is causing huge interest and gossip.

I am keen to see greens, socialists and progressive Muslims and plenty of other sections of society work together but I guess like most on the left I have not been confident that RESPECT would hold together....if a broad, pluralist, democratic party comes together out of the current rows the Greens ought to find ways of working with it towards shared goals of ecology, social justice and no war. However I think that the most likely outcome is more division of the left, with two RESPECT Parties but lets wait and see.

Certainly in Scotland...greater cooperation between the Greens and the Scottish Socialist Party would have been great but the SSP split over Sheridan...don't get me back on to the Leader debate!

This one will run and run...

26 Oct 2007

Don't mess with the badgers

Healthy now, I must admit I haven't looked at a computer screen since tuesday...been busy around Green Parties in Monmouth, Bath and Birmingham and even did an office occupation in support of new housing for people on the Masefield Estate, Birmingham.

Right back to blogging...here is Caroline's statement against culling.

Culling badgers 'counter-productive'

23rd Oct 2007

Badger culling is a distraction to the uncomfortable truth

Green Party Principal Speaker Caroline Lucas today criticised the the government's Chief Scientific Advisor's recommendation that culls of badgers should be carried out to control the TB epidemic in cattle.

Sir David King said yesterday that culling badgers was the 'best option available at the moment to reduce the reservoir of infection in wildlife'. His recommendation is in stark contrast to the views of the Independent Scientific Group report into the matter - a near 10- year government study of badger-culling which found that culling could 'make no meaningful contribution.' (1)

Dr Lucas, a former vice-president of the EU's committee of inquiry into the UK's foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001, said:

"Culling badgers to control the spread of TB in cattle appears to be completely counter-productive.

"A culling-based TB strategy in South-West England led to an increase in cases amongst cattle, and to cases developing in areas that had previously been free of the disease."

"We need a rational, evidence-based policy for halting the spread of bovine TB, 80 per cent of which is caused by cattle-to-cattle infection and has nothing whatsoever to do with badgers. In the remaining cases, culling badgers could be increasing the range of neighbouring populations, causing the disease to spread more widely."

"Badger culling is a distraction - and the uncomfortable truth is that bovine TB is more likely to be spread between cattle kept in crowded quarters. The answer is more likely to lie in improving animal welfare standards."


Notes for Editors

(1) To see the full report please download it at http:// www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/tb/abouttb/badgers.htm#public

23 Oct 2007

The last time I did nothing was years ago, a day and half of doing nothing is just what the Doctor ordered so feeling a bit chipper, might see some of you at the meetings I am doing in Monmouth, Bath, Birmingham and Croydon.

Well how do we win. I am on the left but the left at least in the OK seem better at fighting than any other part of the spectrum, there is huge interest in the fallout between the Socialist Workers Party and Galloway.

And political parties period tend to get corrupted by power, even the Greens...so can we have a non sectarian left that agrees to differ on some issues but fights for justice shoulder to shoulder or electoral parties that win power without becoming drunken with it.

Is the iron law of oligarchy really balanced by an iron law of democracy?

Answers on a post card or blog comment please

nice thoughs on social movememt reading here, I have the same feeling towards social movements as Homer Simpson has to doughnuts...come here I love you!

They can fuck up as well but worth getting involved with and thinking about.

Nice review and reading list here

I bet this person is really called 'Meeting' but has put it in Mexican to impress, thanks anyway

22 Oct 2007

Flu strikes Dr Wall

Well I am as sick as a sick person, with the flu I caught off of Joel Kovel last week,

so today sans Havana Club, which is what you need when you have the flu, sitting around watching Queer as Folk, making extra hot curry and regretting I have run out of ron...could this be voodoo from political enemies or instant karma for working too hard. No, no as Wittgenstein used to say 'causes are superstitions'....any way it is knocking the blogging on the head, although I have contributed to a press release on oil addiction, talked to Morning Star and open a number of letters from angry pensioners.

I have a vision of some people practising sorcery to sum up Ludwig and ask him advice.

Been watching too many horror movies as well, The Shining (good), Hellraiser (pretty good), Creep (not very good but charing cross underground is a bit spooky!), is there one about Ludwig Wittgenstein, 'Nightmare on analytic philosophy street' or 'The Prison House of Language'? anyway, stop rambling Dr Wall and get yourself another paracetemol...

thought this was fun from the great politics in the zeros blog...exam for fox tv employees...that reminds me the simpsons are on at 6. hope you like this, its all you are getting, I am concentrating on getting a bit of rest to energise myself for the Green Party meeting in Mommouth tomorrow night.

7. Your response to the “global warming crisis” is to:

a) buy stock in Canadian oil drilling companies in advance of them being able to drill in the now-open Northwest Passage.
b) ridicule global warming activists while doing a).
c) find a crackpot scientist who will “prove” global warming isn’t happening, then feature him repeatedly on my news show.

More here

21 Oct 2007

Poles vote today

From Joseph Healy


Poles in the UK vote today and hopefully will help to remove from office a government which has been anti-semitic, homophobic and generally reactionary in the extreme. Carol Dimyon from Brighton GP has organised a bus full of Polish voters travelling to the Polish embassy in London to vote. She was interviewed last night on Polish TV and read a statement in Polish from Caroline Lucas MEP.

This morning at Friends Meeting House in London, myself and the Coordinator of the London Federation of Green Parties will greet the voters after they have voted and offer them Polish cakes and leaflets about the Green Party. I hope in time that the party will be able to produce leaflets in Polish for the huge Polish community living in the UK.

Many of these young Poles will be voting for a more tolerant and open Poland which is looking towards the future and away from the phantoms of the past.

Joseph Healy

GPEx International Coordinator

20 Oct 2007

Great day in Bristol, lots of people came to the East Bristol Green Party conference and I bumped into my old mucker Pete Taylor who showered me with anti-car stickers.



The latest at the Hill Of Tara, where the Irish Govt are trying to build a
motorway through one the most important archaeological sites in Europe (See
SchNEWS 585), is that more ancient burials have been discovered and
protesters are making an emergency appeal for the road to be re-routed. The
road is due to go through forty-odd known sites of ancient historic
interest, with new sites being unearthed during the excavations - and being
promptly destroyed. The latest discovery is at Philpotstown, where the
motorway will cut into the Hill Of Tara, where they have dug up a system of
ancient fields, ceremonial and burial structures, and an Iron Age hill fort.

On a legal front the European Commission is starting legal action against
the Irish Govt over the motorway. The commission decision will force the
Irish government to defend its position at Europe's highest court, which
will lead to fines if it loses the case. The European Environmental
Commissioner says that the National Monuments Act doesn't offer enough
protection for important archaeological sites and that it is in
contravention of directives about environmental assessment. The Irish Govt's
only defence is to say that re-routing will cause delays and cost an extra
200million Euros.

There's an ever urgent call out for people to support and visit the site:
* Contact Tara Solidarity Vigil (from UK dial) 00353(0) 861758557; Fianna
Nua Camp, Rath Lugh: 00353( 0) 861537146
* See www.tarapixie.net www.savetara.com www.tarawatch.org
* There will be a Samhain gathering at Tara Oct 31st - Nov 3rd.- bring
music, food and firewood. www.circlecommunity.org

19 Oct 2007


Crass was an English anarchist punk rock band, formed in 1977[1][2] and based around Dial House, an open house community near Epping, Essex.

Whereas the Sex Pistols might have mentioned 'anarchy' for shock value (thereby furthering the common misconception that it is simply a synonym for chaos), Crass actually promoted genuine anarchism as a legitimate political ideology, way of living, and as a resistance movement, popularizing the seminal peace punk movement and touching on such overtly far left political issues as anti-consumerism, direct action, animal rights, feminism, anti-war, anti-corporatism, environmentalism, LGBT rights, anti-globalization, reproductive rights, anti-racism, squatting, and the separation of church and state.

Taking literally the punk manifesto of "Do It Yourself", Crass combined the use of sound collage, graphics, song, film, and subversion to launch a sustained and innovative critical broadside against all that they saw as a culture built on foundations of war, violence, sexism, prejudice, capitalism, religious hypocrisy and unthinking consumerism. They were also critical of what they perceived as the flaws of the punk movement itself, as well as wider youth culture in general. Crass were amongst the progenitors of the anarcho-pacifism that became common in the punk music scene
From here

Been reading Ian Bone's biography 'Bash the Rich', which I guess is not something in Nick Clegg's briefcase, Ian who I used to run into on demos during the 1980s, was an arch anarchist provacteur exploiting the tabloid press and being exploited by them with his mix of violent threat and humour. In fact Class War, according to Ian's book, tended to be all about violent threat mixed with a lot of alcohol, the autobiography is pretty funny and honest, talking about how class war activists disrupted CND events, for example, heckling Bruce Kent before picking a lift with him, to everyones embarrassment. Ian, the drunken advocate of violent anarchism, admit that he thought Bruce, the arch pacifist had a lot of 'bottle'. Ian loved EP Thompson's work, (I agree with him here) especially the 'making of the working class', which celebrated the 'mob' however one of the class warriors nearly brained the socialist writer by drunkenly chucking stuff at him during another CND event in the 1980s. I suffered at his hands, he recently mixed me up with Rupert Read in Freedom (insisting that I was an ex member of the SDP who went to Oxford rather than a former member of the Ecology Party who went to the University of London) and notably when he spotted me on the march for social justice proclaimed 'I always see you with a different women' which did not impress the mother of my kids. We were then charged myself, the women formerly known as Mrs Wall and the toddlers by mounted police, oh happy days. Ian, he has rude word for everyone, bless him.

Actually there is lot of interesting material from corruption in Swansea to Welsh repulican socialist politics to various bits of anarchist sectariana in the book...violent, pissed publicity seeking anarcho...but he tells a good tale...

The 1980s played out to a back drop within radical politics of black clad youthful anarchists who were often into radical animal rights campaigns, I was never an anarchist and even if I had been would have lacked the street cred but it was all going on in the background, I used to go and listen at meetings of the UCL anarchist society, watched the usual SI videos....did go and sab a bit as well and made a few anarchist book fairs (one on next weekend by the way).

So intrigued to read a very bizarre story in the Guardian today about some american guy doing cover versions of Crass numbers. All a bit odd...see what you think here.

It is said They were the most extreme band of punk's first wave, influencing everyone from the DIY movement to, er, David Beckham which seems as likely as Chris Huhne being influenced by Durruti or Vincent Cable mugging up on Tony Negri while listening to the Poison Girls.

Crass the great vegan pacifist anarcho revolutioneries who lived in a commune in Essex were underground classics, although a bit difficult to listen too...I guess most greens are nearer to their non violence but they were pretty violent in their non violence...and it took may while to work out the gender of Penny Rimbaud.

"How does it Feel to Be the Mother of A Thousand Dead" was their famous anti-Thatcher track, much banned...read more about them on the wiki oracle here

Nostalgic...may because I am in Bristol tommorrow...

18 Oct 2007

Reject the Swedish model for the sex industry

Well said from Sian and Jean,

Siân Berry, Green Party Mayoral Candidate for London, and Jean
Lambert, Green MEP for London, have signed the Safety First!
Petition, which calls for the complete decriminalisation of sex work,
so that the focus of official efforts can be on protecting the most
basic human rights of prostitutes, life and health. (1)

Siân noted that Green Party policy called for the complete
decriminalisation of prostitution on the “New Zealand model”, so that
the focus for sex workers moved on to their safety and wellbeing.

She said: “The so-called ‘Swedish model’ of criminalisation of the
customers of prostitutes is receiving much attention at present, but
the fact is that this approach drives sex work, and particularly
street sex workers, further into the twilight, further from
traditional areas, further into danger.

More here

17 Oct 2007

Green Party Spring Conference

Dear all

SPRING CONFERENCE, READING TOWN HALL, 14-17th FEBRUARY 2008 - VENUE Spring Conference next year will be in Reading. That is the decision of Conferences Committee.

DATE The dates of the Spring Conference will be 14-17th February.

Had this from conference comm.
Is this because the Principal Speaker lives in Berkshire, I could not possibly comment but it will be nice to cut the travel times down and may be I can put up a few guests at the Wall Dacha in East Berkshire (go on Dr Wall admit you are mobile home dweller!)

any suggestions for fringes, etc...will be well received, other than from trolls...

Party democracy under threat from leader

“I have passed a national leader (who aspires to be part of the party) to the Disciplinary Council for talking nonsense. I will be watching closely … Critical thinking is fundamental to a revolution, but that is very different to going around talking badly about a party that has not been born, collecting signatures to present them who knows where. Anyone who wants to be an anarchist, get out of here, you are not wanted, what is needed here is a creative, but disciplined active membership.” 4

Well one of my functions is to be critical and this being the blogosphere you will know doubt be pretty critical of me, sobeit...as Erich Fromm used to say the first classic virtue is disobedience.

I am a great fan of Chavez, amusing, intelligent, a great thinker and interested in ecology, I don't support him uncritically so thought I would post this essay flagging up concerns about discipline in the United Socialist Party.

Criticism is necessary but should not be used as ammunition to be fired by the great dictator in Casa Blanca, the Latin American left are an amazing hope and I am also aware of the kind problems in terms of corruption that the Bolivarian project faces, I am also aware of the drive in Venezuela for real direct democracy

but take a look at this critical account of discipline in the party.

[For Edgardo Lander, a Professor of Social Studies at Caracas' Central University, the establishment of a disciplinary tribunal in Chavez’s new socialist party before it even has statutes and structures is a worrying sign for those committed to radical democracy in Venezuela

Read more here

Protest against sex killings in Saudi

Saudi Arabia! Stop persecuting queers!

Gay men sentenced to 7,000 lashes Protest against potential death sentences

Friday 19 October, 1:30pm - 2.30pm Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia 30 Charles Street, London W1J 5DZ Map: www.mofa.gov.sa/Detail.asp?InSectionID=1722&InNewsItemID=24829

On the 2 October 2007 two young men in the Saudi Arabian city of Al-Bahah were reportedly convicted of 'sodomy' and sentenced to 7,000lashes. In Saudi Arabia same-sex relations are illegal and the maximum penalty is death. 7,000 lashes is a form of torture, calculated to cause maximum,prolonged suffering. So many lashes can be fatal, depending on howmany are delivered at any one time. To protest against the persecution of queers in Saudi Arabia , the National Union of Students LGBT campaign is organising a protestoutside the Saudi Embassy in London this Friday. The protest issupported by LGBT human rights group OutRage! Peter Tatchell is a guest speaker. The protest comes ahead of the State Visit to the UK of the bloodthirsty Saudi tyrant, King Abdullah bin Abdul Azaz al Saud, on 30 October 2007 Mr Tatchell said: "The British and US governments support the despotic, corrupt Saudi regime. As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial,torture and the public beheading women who have sex outside of marriage. Migrant workers are de facto slaves. The media is heavily censored. Trade unions, political parties and non-Muslim religionsare banned. The country is a theocratic police state," he said. "We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the continued criminalisation, imprisonment, torture andmurder of LGBT people in Saudi Arabia," said Scott Cuthbertson, NUS LGBT Officer. "We will be handing a letter of protest to the Saudi Ambassador, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, calling on his Government to respect thehuman rights of its own LGBT citizens. Please join us in the struggle for Love without Borders - LGBT rights around the world - and makeyour views known to the Saudi Ambassador on Friday." "This year NUS LGBT Campaign is campaigning for 'Love withoutBorders'", added Claire Anderson, another NUS LGBT Officer. "Around the world, LGBT people are persecuted, imprisoned and even murdered in state-sponsored homophobia. We live in a global community and no longer can we stand by while LGBT people are persecuted. Now isthe time to use our freedom to fight for the rights of others acrossthe globe. When abuses of human rights take place we must not besilent."

Contact phone number: Claire Anderson NUS 07845 605152 Peter Tatchell OutRage! 020 7403 1790 ENDS -- Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East http://www.greenoxford.com/peter and http://www.petertatchell.net

PETER TATCHELL HUMAN RIGHTS FUND Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell's campaignspromoting human rights, democracy and global justice.Peter is unpaid and receives no grants.To continue his human rights work, he depends on donations fromfriends 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:http://www.tatchellrightsfund.org To email PTHRF:info@tatchellrightsfund.org Thank you. Richard Kirker, Treasurer PTHRF For information about Peter Tatchell's campaigns:http://www.petertatchell.net

15 Oct 2007

Re-elected as Principal Speaker


Results of GPEx election postal ballot count 15th October 2007

The four remaining GPEx positions were elected by postal ballot. The candidates elected are as follows;

Female Principal speaker: Caroline Lucas

Male Principal speaker: Derek Wall

Local party coordinator: Jon Lucas

Chair: Richard Mallinder

The turn out for the election was just over 20%

The votes in detail

Female Principal speaker

Caroline Lucas 1190 votes ELECTED

Jenny Jones 335 votes

RON 6 votes

Spoiled 7 votes

Male Principal speaker

Ashley Gunstock 138 votes >>> Ashley's votes were then redistributed

Derek Wall 752 votes >>> + 60 = 812 votes ELECTED

Darren Johnson 625 votes >>> + 53 = 678 votes

RON 16 votes >>> + 5 = 21 votes

Spoiled 1 spoilt paper

Local party coordinator

Jon Lucas 748 votes ELECTED

Chris Haine 692 votes

RON 24 votes

Spoiled 5 votes


Richard Mallinder 781 votes ELECTED

Peter Cranie / David Ford 683 votes

RON 21 votes

Spoiled 5 votes


Jim Jepps
Cambridge Green Party and ERO

ps please now consider these reults announced so feel free to discuss and distribute them as you see fit.

'I am both honoured and humbled to have been re-elected as Green Party Principal Speaker with such a decisive and increased vote. I am going to have another year of standing up for radical green politics, ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace. My job is to trumpet the Green Party Manifesto for a Sustainable Society and I will do so with renewed energy and vigour. Green politics more than ever is vital, it's the politics quite literally of survival, we live in a world where another way of living is necessary and green politics is about making it real. Just look at the climbing temperatures and the spread of global warfare, the US drive towards global imperialism supported by Brown as usual, we Greens must renew our anti-war activism, Iraq must not be followed by the destruction of Iran.

I am also pleased to have been re-elected (last week) as a coordinator of the Ecosocialist International Network, I believe in ecosocialism without apology, this network will bring activists together from Green Parties, the wider left and from grassroots social movements, globally. I have also been reselected as Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Windsor constituency.

Across the globe but especially in Latin America people are struggling for a green vision, environmental protection is about making sure forests, rivers and other habitats sustain strong local economies. A world based on ever increasing capitalist economic growth wrecks the very conditions neeeded for real prosperity.

There are so many things to campaign on and provide support but obviously green politics includes a respect for other species and I am a supporter of animal liberation. The threatened dismembering of the Post Office is another current issue and I hope to sustain green party support for the CWU, along with action for a trade union freedom bill.

The high points of this year have included visiting the wonderful climate camp, my trips to local green parties where activists and councillors are getting things done in places like Stroud, meetings with progressive green Muslims like the amazing London Islamic Network for the Environment and of course being shouted at on programmes like HardTalk.

Politics is always tough I have had great support from lots of people but number one is my partner Sarah Farrow. It would have also been difficult if not impossible without the inspiration of people like Nicholas Hildyard and Larry Lohmann from the corner house, possible the most sophisticated think tank on the planet and of course where necessary I criticise leaders but I am also inspired by them, Viva Morales, his astonishing speech at the UN is one of the most important green political documents since the work of William Morris.

I offer my heart felt congratulations to other elected members of Green Party Executive, together we have a big task to complete.

I am going to do my best with them to build a bigger, better, feister Green Party of England and Wales....please join us to change the world, so we have one.

Finally, finally I would like to say a big thank you to Joel Kovel, very much my mentor, who inspired me to stand as Principal Speaker in the first place.'

Here is Morales speech:

Evo Morales to U.N.:
“Let Us Respect Our Mother Earth"
Letter from Bolivian President Evo Morales to the members of the United Nations on the issue of the environment.

Sister and brother Presidents and Heads of States of the United Nations:

The world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease is the capitalist development model. Whilst over 10,000 years the variation in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the planet was approximately 10%, during the last 200 years of industrial development, carbon emissions have increased by 30%. Since 1860, Europe and North America have contributed 70% of the emissions of CO2. 2005 was the hottest year in the last one thousand years on this planet.

Different investigations have demonstrated that out of the 40,170 living species that have been studied, 16,119 are in danger of extinction. One out of eight birds could disappear forever. One out of four mammals is under threat. One out of every three reptiles could cease to exist. Eight out of ten crustaceans and three out of four insects are at risk of extinction. We are living through the sixth crisis of the extinction of living species in the history of the planet and, on this occasion, the rate of extinction is 100 times more accelerated than in geological times.

Faced with this bleak future, transnational interests are proposing to continue as before, and paint the machine green, which is to say, continue with growth and irrational consumerism and inequality, generating more and more profits, without realising that we are currently consuming in one year what the planet produces in one year and three months. Faced with this reality, the solution can not be an environmental make over.

I read in the World Bank report that in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change we need to end subsidies on hydrocarbons, put a price on water and promote private investment in the clean energy sector. Once again they want to apply market recipes and privatisation in order to carry out business as usual, and with it, the same illnesses that these policies produce. The same occurs in the case of biofuels, given that to produce one litre of ethanol you require 12 litres of water. In the same way, to process one ton of agrifuels you need, on average, one hectare of land.

Faced with this situation, we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth; with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes. Today, the indigenous peoples of Latin America and the world have been called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life.

I am convinced that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently approved after so many years of struggle, needs to pass from paper to reality so that our knowledge and our participation can help to construct a new future of hope for all. Who else but the indigenous people, can point out the path for humanity in order to preserve nature, natural resources and the territories that we have inhabited from ancient times.

We need a profound change of direction, at the world wide level, so as to stop being the condemned of the earth. The countries of the north need to reduce their carbon emissions by between 60% and 80% if we want to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2º in what is left of this century, which would provoke global warming of catastrophic proportions for life and nature.

We need to create a World Environment Organisation which is binding, and which can discipline the World Trade Organisation, which is propelling us towards barbarism. We can no longer continue to talk of growth in Gross National Product without taking into consideration the destruction and wastage of natural resources. We need to adopt an indicator that allows us to consider, in a combined way, the Human Development Index and the Ecological Footprint in order to measure our environmental situation.

We need to apply harsh taxes on the super concentration of wealth, and adopt effective mechanisms for its equitable redistribution. It is not possible that three families can have an income superior to the combined GDP of the 48 poorest countries. We can not talk of equity and social justice whilst this situation continues.

The United States and Europe consume, on average, 8.4 times more that the world average. It is necessary for them to reduce their level of consumption and recognise that all of us are guests on this same land; of the same Pachamama.

I know that change is not easy when an extremely powerful sector has to renounce their extraordinary profits for the planet to survive. In my own country I suffer, with my head held high, this permanent sabotage because we are ending privileges so that everyone can “Live Well” and not better than our counterparts. I know that change in the world is much more difficult than in my country, but I have absolute confidence in human beings, in their capacity to reason, to learn from mistakes, to recuperate their roots, and to change in order to forge a just, diverse, inclusive, equilibrated world in harmony with nature.

Evo Morales Ayma
President of the Republic of Bolivia
September 24, 2007

Translated by Federico Fuentes, Bolivia Rising

Terracotta protest and more

Martin said to me why don't we go down to the British Museum on sunday, mask up some of the terracotta statues and protest against rising Chinese CO2 emissions....and he did, I am afraid I didn't make it being out of London with my children but he did and got in the Daily Mail and other papers.

I did hook up and support him on the anti-Tasmanian clear cutting demo on saturday

Well done Martin, a good example of a Green Party member using his head to stir up some media attention....

Martin Wyness, a father of two young daughters, said he made the protest on Sunday to draw attention to the lack of international action on global warming and specifically China's growing role in the climate crisis.

"It is a protest against China's CO2 emissions. Nothing was damaged. It was all very respectful," he told Reuters, adding he had then been grabbed by security guards and bundled out of the "First Emperor" exhibition.

More here

So Ming has resigned, I won't repeat my worries about the Green Party getting a leader, the media would just spend their whole reporting succession conflict or would a leader be a wonderful thing?

Socialist Unity blog is still inspiring and informing me, if you are interested in a bit of political gossip read on

Do you want to be part of an organisation where any questioning of the line is met by expulsions and purges?

The history of left politics is littered with failed projects where all-knowing and infallible leaderships have used bureaucratic means to discipline the members, and tell them what to think. But when debate and dissent is stopped then it allows the organisation to build a self-delusional understanding of the world.

Who could they be talking about, seriously folks its a very informative blog and would encourage you all to take a look

14 Oct 2007

On tour!

I am packing in meetings in Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Croydon, London and Monmouth over the next fortnight, so may be catch me if you can.

I must admit I enjoy meetings on economics in particular and generally get to hear some interesting comments and discussion, certainly the people at the Twickenham Green Party meeting on green politics and growth made me think, a week or two back.

First up the Green Left meeting on having a single leader, I am seriously bored with this debate and having got nervous the pro leader camp are now insisting we could have a co-leader, this is not on the table in the referendum, it is a vote for or against, I am incidentally worried by the excesses of the New Greens (renew your membership on line and get a string bay is the latest mad scheme) and am really worried that Caroline Lucas is fronting this as some kind of soft left Kinnock figure who will make the change palatable before being discarded for the Green versions of Smith, Blair and Brown...I hope am wrong about this, she has such a strong record as a radical Green but I fear a future of string bags,soft focus environmentalism and personality politics.


There are certainly some very effective and radical people involved with the pro leader camp, Chris Haine who is a Green Party activist in the North East is very impressive and of course so is Ann Were who is of course the leader of the Green Party in Wales.... may be Bob Crow and Ann Were as co-leaders might tempt me with the right mix of focussed intent and assertive action, seriously folks I am unconvinced that the leader will give us a lift, the shallowness of conventional party politics based on media battles about who struggles to the top as Richard III is not something I would like to see....any way on to business.

Green Left debate 'Should the Green Party have a leader?'
Tues 16th Oct
The Grayston Centre, 28 Charles Square, London N1 6HT http://www.greenempowerment.org.uk/meetings.shtml

Thursday 18th we are having a celebration dinner in honour of Joel Kovel to mark his work and activism for ecosocialism.

Saturday, 20th October its off to talk about the Greening of Bristol at the East Bristol Green Party Conference at the Trinity Centre,Old Market from 11.30. it will be very nice to be back in Bristol, lived there in the late 1980s through to 1994 in Easton, St Pauls and St Werburghs....a fun city and with a strong Green Party presence
Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall is to address Bristol's Green Future - a community event hosted by Bristol Green Party. As well as giving a talk, Derek will also take part in a workshop on local politics, alongside Bristol's Green councillor Charlie Bolton.

But the day is about much more than just politics. It's intended as a celebration of local action, and the power of Bristol communities. Other workshops will tackle transport, education, the transition movement, community growing and housing. There wll also be apple pressing, green mapping, a photography exhibition and much more.

Local groups due to take part include Transition Bristol, Friends of Bristol Suburban Railway, Sustrans, Greenbank Chocolate Box, alternative educators and Eastside Roots Community Garden Centre.http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/east/index.htm

Tuesday 23rd October, 7.30pm The Shire Hall Community Room, Monmouth, Monmouth Green Party, Green economics and green transport from Derek Wall plus 'The Gwent Levels and the proposed M4 toll road Is it worth it? with Julian Branscombe Chief Executive of Gwent Wildlife Trust.

Wednesday 24th October Bath University 6PM and Bath Green Party 8pm 6pm : Meet at Bath Uni 8W 3.22

6.15 : Talk hosted by Bath Uni One World society. Room booked for 2 hours, holds about 80.

Green Economics plus questions.

The meeting is only open to Bath uni staff and students.

8.30 : Meeting with Bath Green Party activists at The Rummer.

25 October 7.30pm Public meeting of Birmingham Campaign Against Climate Change

Birmingham City Council Rooms 3&4

Colin Challen MP (Chair of all-party Parliamentary committe on climate change)
Derek Wall (Principal speaker, Green Party)
Roy Wilkes (Manchester CCC)
David Wasdell (International coordinator, Meridian Programme) http://www.campaigncc.org/local.html

Saturday 27th October, 3.15pm-4.30 CEDAR HALL
Global future or globalised disaster?

Alan Mackinnon, Derek Wall, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Salma Yaqoob, chair: Carolyn Jones

Communist University, Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD http://www.communist-party.org.uk/index.php?file=unive

here is a letter form Ann Were, from the Western Mail which makes some relevent points about the Lib dem love affair with motorway building and shows I can unite with leaders if they do solid stuff (please please get rid of the string bags, Jim!)

Best is not that good

SIR – It always makes me smile when politicians such as Chris Huhne MP announce “new” and “radical” policies to combat climate change (Western Mail, Thursday Essay, September 20.).

The only new Lib-Dem policies worth their salt have been lifted almost entirely from the Green Party’s Manifesto for a Sustainable Society.

These include proposals for government-funded, Wales-wide home insulation schemes, strident taxes for gas guzzling vehicles and feed-in tariffs to encourage investment in renewable technologies.

But, worse than that, Mr Huhne is clearly ignorant of the issue of energy supply as it relates to Wales, as he suggests that we should investigate the possibility of building a barrage across the Severn Estuary.

He is obviously unaware that this option has been under investigation for the past 20 years or so but, because of the ecological disaster that it would cause, environmentalists are almost unanimous in their condemnation of it. He also talks about reducing emissions from road transport, but his party’s elected representatives continue to support road building schemes, such as the proposed M4 bypass which, history tells us, will result in more cars, more congestion and more emissions.

Finally, Mr Huhne is proud the Green Alliance rated the Lib-Dems the most environmental party, but he omitted to say that only the main parties were up for consideration. The Green Alliance stubbornly refuses to even talk about either the Green Party or Plaid Cymru.

To be the best of a bad bunch is not that good really, is it?


Leader of Wales Green Party, Monmouth

13 Oct 2007

Jean Lambert rejects Star Wars

off to the strand to defend the forests in Tasmania...great to see Jean as usual working hard for peace

"Star Wars": The Green MEP Strikes Back
Jean Lambert MEP will address demonstrators at a United States 'spy base' inYorkshire, on Saturday 13th October from 12-4pm, in protest against itsinvolvement in the "Star Wars" missile system. The demonstration, organised by the Campaign for Accountability of AmericanBases (CAAB), will take place at the Menwith Hill communications centreoutside Harrogate: where military, economic and political information isgathered and fed back to the US Government.
On 25th July the UK Government announced that it had given permission forMenwith Hill, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world outsideAmerica, to be used in the American Missile Defence System. The site is run by the US National Security Agency (NSA), which monitors theworld's communication for US intelligence, and employs around 1,800 UScivilians and servicemen to analyse communications, mainly from Europe,Russia and the Middle East. All telecommunications traffic to and fromEurope and passing through Britain is intercepted at the base: includingprivate telephone calls, faxes, emails and other communications. Much ofthis information is collected from spy satellites, which is captured at thesite by dishes contained in large white 'golf-balls' or radomes. The data isthen processed and relayed back to the United States automatically. Jean Lambert MEP said: "The Government approved the Menwith Hill site for missile defence withoutany parliamentary debate; undermining the democratic process in this countryand revealing that they are not prepared to discuss the implications of thisdecision." "In allowing the US to use the base, our Government is making our countrymore vulnerable to attack. Any US adversary could now target Britain inorder to destroy the effectiveness of the missile defence system." "Our long-term security requires international conflict resolution and acommitment to averting potentially disastrous environmental problems likeclimate change. On the contrary, this missile defence system simplyintensifies divisions between nations." ENDS For more information please contact: Georgina Bloomfield, Media Officer Tel: 020 7407 6280 Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk Notes to editors Jean Lambert MEP will be available for interview on 13th October, at MenwithHill or in Harrogate. Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and HumanRights and is a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home AffairsCommittee. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the EuropeanParliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Greenrepresentatives in the European Parliament. Published and promoted by Elizabeth Barclay, Harrogate and District GreenParty (Communications) Rainbows End, Ure Bank Top, Ripon, HG4 1JD Tel: 01765 508750 or 07799150879 Georgina Bloomfield Media and Public Relations Officer Office of Jean Lambert, London's Green MEP Suite 58, The Hop Exchange 24 Southwark Street London SE1 1TY Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 6280 Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk Website: www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

12 Oct 2007


'Save Tasmania’s Wild Forests - Forests are the Worlds’s Lungs' 12 pm, Saturday 13th, Australian High Commissions Strand, London, WC2B 4LA

Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker, today urged people to attend this demonstration: "The proposed new pulp mill in Tasmania will consume 6 million tonness of ancient old growth forest and consume 26 to 40 billion litres of fresh water each year. It will emit 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and discharge 64, 000 tonnes of toxic effluent in to the sea, everyday. "Scientists have warned that planned logging in Tasmania’s north-east threatens animals and birds with local extinction. "Send a message to the Australian government and join me in making our opposition to this known, and supporting the Australian Greens, on Saturday. " ENDS

Further info: http://www.wilderness.org.au/regions/tas/
Tell the Australian Government to protect its old growth forests: Email Peter McGauran MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Peter.McGauran.MP@aph.gov.au

Green Party Press Office 020 7561 0282http://www.greenparty.org.uk
Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

11 Oct 2007

#eco revolution in Latin America

well have my criticism of Ecuador government on shark conservation but for my 700 post I am running this from the superb Hugo Blanco this is from here

Hugo Blanco:
A Triumphant Advance in Ecuador

Popular Forces Sweep Constituent Assembly Elections

Hugo Blanco was leader of the Quechua peasant uprising in the Cuzco region of Peru in the early 1960s. He was captured by the military and sentenced to 25 years in El Fronton Island prison for his activities, but an international defence campaign won his freedom. He continues to play an active role in Peru’s indigenous, campesino, and environmental movements, and writes on Peruvian, indigenous, and Latin American issues.

He wrote this article for Socialist Voice on the eve of the sweeping victory of the Country Alliance Movement (Movimiento Alianza País) and President Rafael Correa’s anti-imperialist government in the September 30 elections for Ecuador’s new Constituent Assembly.

Mercopress reported October 2 that "Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa received a landslide support in the Sunday election for a Constitutional Assembly which will be tasked with reforming the country’s constitution and leading it towards what he has defined as XXI Century Socialism." Alianza Pais will end up with somewhere between 76 and 80 seats of the Assembly’s 130 members, enabling Correa "to work, in alliance with smaller groups with a comfortable majority."

Kintto Lucas, writing in Ecuador Rising, notes that "The victory in the Constituent Assembly is the result of years of agitation and struggle by Ecuador’s indigenous and social movements along with an unorganized, largely middle-class movement of people known as the forajidos, an Ecuadoran term meaning outlaws or bandits who rebel against the established system. In March when the Congress and the right wing political parties tried to sabotage the elections for the Assembly, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Quito, blocking the entrances to Congress and backing the disbarment of the Congressional members who wanted to suppress the elections."

—Phil Stuart Cournoyer
A Triumphant Advance in Ecuador

By Hugo Blanco

Today Ecuador is undergoing a triumphant advance. Of the three anti-imperialist governments in South America that are now pursuing a process of change, the regime in Ecuador has the broadest support.

Bolivia is advancing, but the Right, which holds office in four departments, has unfortunately been able to line up a sector of the middle class against change.

In Venezuela the Right achieved some success in its campaign of lies against the supposed violation of "freedom of the press" with regard to a company whose broadcast permit should have been lifted when it supported a coup d’état. Instead, it was permitted to continue through to the end of the license term.

In Ecuador, as in Bolivia, victory in the presidential elections was no more than one successful step in a long process of massive popular struggles. This process had seen the repeated ouster of presidents who, obedient to the interests of the large corporations and the United States, had promoted the pillage of their countries and accelerated environmental degradation, driving their countries into poverty.

The previous Ecuadorian president, to gain the support needed to govern, had initially surrounded himself with some progressive ministers, a set-up that soon collapsed. One of these transitory ministers was Rafael Correa, and his fleeting presence as minister led him to be seen as someone who could direct the economy. He was elected president in 2006.

The people deeply despised parliament, the heart of reaction. They demanded a Constituent Assembly. Correa not only promised to convoke such an assembly, but refused to present candidates for parliament, convincing voters of his consistency.

After his election, Correa paid homage to the indigenous mass movement that was so crucial in his victory by going to the mountain village of Zumbahua to receive a staff of office from the indigenous peoples. Promising that his would be "an indigenous government," he explained, "This is not an epoch of change; it is a change of epochs."

Once elected, of course, he ran into the frontal opposition of the reactionary parliament. Not only did it stand in total opposition to convening the Constituent Assembly; it even had the nerve to vote a huge increase in deputies’ salaries.

The first great battle was to hold a referendum approving election of a Constituent Assembly. Parliament was dead against that, of course, but the highest electoral authority decided to go ahead with the vote. The deputies voted to fire that tribunal’s chairperson. But he responded that it was the deputies that should be ousted, for having moved against him in violation of the constitution.

This disagreement was resolved by the people through mass demonstrations that surrounded the parliament. Fortunately, Correa did not restrain the people as Juan Perón of Argentina and Salvador Allende of Chile did in the past, when they were threatened by a right-wing coup. Correa did the exact opposite. He said that the people had every right to mobilize peacefully and that this mobilization was the only guarantee that the needed changes could go forward.

In March 2007, the electoral authority removed 57 deputies for having obstructed convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The law provided for their replacement by alternates chosen by their parties. Of course the parties, which did not recognize the deputies’ removal, ordered the alternates to refuse to be sworn in. But such is the hunger for posts in these circles that many alternates quickly took the oath and voted approval for the referendum on convening a Constituent Assembly. This should not be taken as a sign that the present deputies are any less reactionary and corrupt than their predecessors.

The referendum was held on April 15, and 80% voted for convening the Assembly, with 10% opposed and 10% spoiling their ballots.

The Constituent Assembly elections will take place on September 30. In my opinion, this assembly will not have the rough ride experienced by its equivalent in Bolivia. It will be a great triumph for the people, from which will emerge a constitution far different from the present one, which serves to exploit the country and subject its people to poverty. The new constitution will be a tool enabling the Ecuadorian people to manage their country in the interests of the population in a framework of respect for the environment.

That of course will not end the struggle. The process of liberation is lengthy. The Ecuadorian people have taken control of the government, but they do not have power, which remains in the hands of the large corporations. The election of the Constituent Assembly will be an important step in this struggle.

Greetings, brothers and sisters of Ecuador!

September 28, 2007
(Translation by John Riddell)

rich and poor electoral war

Sad stuff British politics at a party level, mainly about tax cuts in leafy suburbs as far as I can see.

"The rich and super rich have thrived under the last ten years of Labour. The top 10 per cent now own more of the country's wealth than they did in 1990 - in the region of 54 per cent. Yet, around only 5 per cent of the country currently pay inheritance tax. (1

More here

10 Oct 2007


Ecosocialist International Network Launched
News Release: October 8, 2007

PARIS: On October 7th and 8th 2007, a group of ecological activists from thirteen countries met in Paris to inaugurate the Ecosocialist International Network. The International Ecosocialist Manifesto, written some years ago by Joel Kovel and Michael Löwy, was the starting point for this initiative. “Ecosocialism is a word that does not yet appear in any dictionary,” said one of the conveners of the event, “yet we believe that it represents the single best hope for healing the planet and saving society from ecological devastation.”

More than 60 activists from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States belonging to various political parties and ecological movements took part in this meeting. It was decided to organize a larger ecosocialist international conference on January 2009, in association with the next World Social Forum in Brazil.

The conference elected a coordinating committee which will help to develop the network in its opening phase; its members are:

Ian Angus (Canada)

Pedro Ivo Batista (Brazil)

Jane Ennis (UK)

Sarah Farrow (UK)

Danielle Follett (USA/France)

Vincent Gay (France)

Joel Kovel (USA)

Beatriz Leandro (Brazil)

Michael Löwy (France/Brazil)

Laura Maffei (Argentina)

George Mitralias (Greece)

Jonathan Neale (UK)

Tracy Nguyen (UK)

Ariel Salleh (Australia)

Eros Sana (France)

Derek Wall (UK)
The committee intends also to incorporate members from China, India, Africa, Oceania and Eastern Europe.

Ecosocialists believe that the driving force of the ecological crisis is the ruthless pressure of the capitalist system to expand, in a process which destroys not only the integrity of nature but also the ecological basis of human survival. They therefore reject pseudo-solutions that only adjust the system, and seek basic changes in society and its relationship to nature.

Ecosocialism is a dynamic synthesis between ‘red” and ‘green’ approaches. It has no fixed blueprints for transforming society and takes a critical viewpoint toward the experiences maide in the name of socialism during the last century.

Ecosocialists are united in the belief that if we are to have a worthwhile future, the whole world needs to come together to drive capitalism from the stage and create an alternative society based on principles of social and environmental justice as well as popular participation. Thus the network sees itself as enabling communication and solidarity among the ever-increasing numbers of people and organizations who are coming to this realization.

For further information, please consult www.ecosocialism.org.

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...