31 Jan 2008

Should I defect to the Pirate Party?

I am shocked to find that Sweden is clamping down on the pirate site which is a big centre for file sharing.

The Pirate Bay said it will live on no matter what the outcome of a case brought by a Swedish prosecutor who charged four men involved with the running of the torrent tracker site today.

A blog post on the outfit's website declares: "In case we lose the pending trial (yeah right) there will still not be any changes to the site. The Pirate Bay will keep operating just as always. We've been here for years and we will be here many more."

Copyright infringement charges were filed by public prosecutor Hakan Roswall in Sweden against four men (Carl Lundstrom, Peter Sunde, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg) behind the operations of the infamous website, who are accused of being accessories to breaking copyright law.

He listed a number of examples of music and films that he claimed had been illegally shared via The Pirate Bay website, including the likes of Robbie Williams, The Beatles and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Just last weekend, The Pirate Bay gave two fingers to the film and music industry with its claim to have hit ten million peers and one million torrents on its site.

I don't think I need to join the Pirate Party quite yet though. Free software and file sharing are good examples of opposition to enclosure...what takes profits from fat sleek corporations gives something free to the mass of humanity, I am on the side of the file sharers.

Excellent statement from the European Green Parties on this which Nigel Rolland has alerted me to:

European Greens Launch Pro-Filesharing Campaign

Greens EFA,have launched a pro-filesharing campaign named “I Wouldn’t Steal”. Their goal is to counter the anti-piracy propaganda put forward by the entertainment industry, and encourage people to download and share. Please check out this link http://torrentfreak.com/politicians-launch-pro-filesharing-campaign-080119/

The bittorrent method of file sharing has great potential for distributing political propaganda, for example The Green Party of Canada has previously filmed and distributed their annual Conference by bittorrent transfer from Noam Chomsky's website "Chomskytorrents" which is now known as "Onebigtorrent" at http://onebigtorrent.org/ The European Green Parties may now want to look at Bittorrenting distribution themselves, bittorrenting is a grass roots controlled media distribution system, it is a potential radical alternative to the corporate controlled TV.

[It is a} cheap, sustainable and easily accessible method of peer to peer file sharing to distribute our own media

In Solidarity Nigel Rolland

Pirate blog here says:
We've got reasons to celebrate. Millions of them!

This week we've hit some magic numbers. We're tracking over 1 million torrents. We have had over 10 million simultaneous peers on the trackers. We're at 2.5 million registered users (and they are active as well). And this is blog post 100!

Tomorrow we will (hopefully) finish the long story about the site until now, as a celebration. If you can find the URL for it, go ahead and read it, but please don't tell anyone the URL in the comments if you do find it. The text is not ready yet, we're missing some entries and the pictures are not always at the correct place. But it would be cool if you wrote a comment that you _did_ find the page ;)

In case we lose the pending trial (yeah right) there will still not be any changes to the site. The Pirate Bay will keep operating just as always. We've been here for years and we will be here many more.

It also came to our attention that it's now possible to buy the documents, from the police!, in the current investigation about The Pirate Bay. But only on paper. And it's not 4000 pages, it 4620 pages. And they cost 6050 SEK for all of them (about 1000 USD). Our view of it? Why not just make a PDF, make a torrent of the PDF and seed it. We know a perfect place you can do that for free, and nobody would have to pay for all those pages of investigation. And a hell of a lot of trees would be saved... And even though the information in the investigation might be a bit personal at times (alcohol intake, sex addictions) we're not suing the police for commercially exploiting the material they took from us without permission.

Sharing is caring - to care for us please share even more then before! (and btw - Thanks to Pepsi for the AMAZING logo on the frontpage!

Strike Bike

Well workers occupied factories are spreading...here as promised is the strike bike factory report from the former East Germany.

Strike Bike
Report by Mag Wompel
Published here: 23/09/07

Dear Friends,

We hope you are going well. Here in Germany we have a new and interesting campaign. It’s a bicycle factory in eastern Germany. You can find more information in the press release below. You can find also it on our International-Germany-Site ‘Struggles and Strikes in Germany’. Please distribute it:

For further informations about the campaign of the FAU-’Strike Bike’-Solidaritygroup:
Spokesperson: Folkert Mohrhof
mobile 0179-4863252 and...
respectively monday till friday from 10 am till 3 pm:
+49 40 - 20 90 68 96

In Solidarity, Mag and Ralf


Staff of occupied bicycle factory in the Thuringian Nordhausen take up production in self-management again. Now they proudly presents: The ‘Strike Bike’ - Solidarity-Bikes from Nordhausen
The 135 colleagues of the bicycle factory Bike Systems GmbH in the Thuringian Nordhausen, who keep the factory occupied since 10th of July 2007, decided to resume the production of bicycles in self-management. For this aim 1, 800 binding orders on bicycles must be received till 2nd of October. So the collegues are working together with the anarcho-syndicalist union FAU (Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union ‘ Free Workers-Union), which formed for this campaign the internetpage www.strike-bike.de.

Since more than two month the staff keep the factory in the south of Harz Mountains in three shifts occupied. They want to prevent the definite dismantling and sale of the factory. The file for bankruptcy from 10th of august is against long odds: The factory is exploited and ran down, the hall was emptied except for the coating line. The staff receives unemployment compensation and hopes for a new concept and a new investor. In the time of occupation and in the wake of discussions during the visits of solidary people, the colleagues of the factory developed the idea to initially take up the production in self-management for a short time. Because it’s not the point to only prevent the evacuation of the last machines and to wait for a new investor, the idea of an own ‘Strike-Bike’ meet with more and more response. Now the opportunity arises to show the ability to develop an own concept and to self-manage production and distribution. If it goes well to collect 1, 800 advance orders for the bicycles produced in self-direction, we spread solidary ideas and bolster the colleagues in similar situations, not to let themselves easily being restructured to zero. By whomsoever! More Informations can be received at: www. strike-bike. de

For background informations and history of the occupation (only in German language)


Further backgrounds and the history of the conflict in English you can find in the article ‘The story so far ‘ an obvious lie!’ by anarcho-syndicalist union FAU (Freie Arbeiterinnen- und Arbeiter-Union ‘ Free Workers-Union)


To get in contact with the staff and to take orders

Bikes in Nordhausen e.V.
c/o. André Kegel,
Bruno-Kunze-Str. 39
99734 Nordhausen
Telefon: 03631 - 622 124 and 03631 - 403 591
Fax: 03631 - 622 170
eMail: fahrradwerk@gmx.de

30 Jan 2008

Corporate democracy is no democracy

Mumia has just backed Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party nomination which helps put the lie to suggestions that she is less radical than Nader!

This by the way is Mumia's take on US democracy...the democracy of billionaires.

The Corporate Elections
[col. writ. 1/22/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Do you ever wonder why certain candidates get mega-coverage and others get none?

That's because the corporate media concentrate more on a candidate's finances, than their positions. And they concentrate on the money race precisely because that money, for the most part, lands in the hands of the media industry.

Because media companies profit so handsomely from such donations, they can hardly be considered fair, detached and objective arbiters of either debates or other campaign coverage.

The money race begets the horse race; the horse race influences the media, and the media influences millions of voters; which starts the cycle anew.

I need not go into the phenomenon of 'pack journalism', for you've all seen it recently, where every media outlet gets it wrong in their collective predictions of how voters will vote.

And because of media power, those candidates who can't garner tens of millions of dollars before elections, are either ignored, or treated as colorful figures of occasional sidebar interest, the subject of smiles and faint shame.

Thus, neither Rep, Dennis Kucinich (D.- Oh.), Dr. Ron Paul (R. - Tex.), nor Mike Gravel can be taken seriously, even though all have been repeatedly elected to Congress, by healthy margins.

Because many of their messages conflicted with the market dictated "conventional wisdom" they have been virtually ignored, and most have been barred from televised political debates. In a nation of 300 million, any candidacy which doesn't get coverage over the airwaves isn't really a candidacy.

We've been told they're not serious contenders, because they've not raised serious money. Even though Dr. Paul beat Rudolph Giuliani handily in several states (coming in second in Nevada!), he's not serious, yet Giuliani is.

Money rules the roost!

It's been said that money is the mother's milk of politics.

It keeps the status quo static, for it winnows out those with views that do not cut the corporate mustard.

Why would a corporation donate (or bundle) tens of thousands of dollars -- or even millions -- with no hope of a return, such as favorable legislation or federal contracts?

No matter what any candidate may say before the elections, the odds are damned good that they won't change the rules afterwards. For to do so makes it easier for others to challenge them, and weakens their chances for reelection.

It ain't gonna happen.

In a nation where money rules almost everything, why would it no longer rule the political process?

--(c) '08 maj

Ecological perspective on Hajj

This is from my friends at LINE...very open to other pieces on green religion/spirituality so feel free to flag them and send them in.

Peace -

Here is advanced notice of our next monthly forum, the 2nd Sunday of the month, as usual. The talk within the forum will focus on Hajj, including an ecological perspective of the pilgrimage.


The London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE) Monthly Forums:


Date: Sunday 10th February 2008
Time: 2.15 pm to 4.45pm
Venue: 4th Floor, Muslim World League, 46 Goodge Street, London, W1T 4LU (entrance on the corner of Charlotte Street); Nearest Tubes: Goodge Street (Northern Line), Euston Square (Hammersmith & City, Circle, & Metropolitan Lines) & Warren Street (Victoria Line)

Speaker: Hassan Khabbazeh

Drawing on recent personal experience, this short talk will outline the various rites and rituals, as well as the stages and locations of the Hajj. The two themes running through the talk will be the spiritual significance of the Hajj and an ecological perspective of the pilgrimage. This will be followed by open dialogue on the themes raised within the talk, and then an opportunity to hear about environmental activities LINE is actively engaged with. As usual, no charge and open to all.

About the speaker:

Born in London to Arab and English parents, Hassan Khabbazeh lived and experienced two different languages and cultures with an appreciation and understanding for both. Islam was, however, the religion at home, and it was through its Islamic teachings of not being wasteful that led to Hassan's interest in the environment. Hassan volunteers for LINE, whilst also running his own interpreting, translation and teaching business in Brighton. Over the past few years, he has spent his spare time restoring a derelict Regency town house using reclaimed building materials.

More info: LINE Website: http://www.lineonweb.org.uk ; or call LINE on tel: 0845 456 3960 (local rate)


Our work depends on help from committed volunteers, as well as regular financial support. If you would like to support LINE's work with a standing order or donation, please go to www.lineonweb.org.uk/Finance/donate ; If you are interested in volunteering within our network, we suggest contacting us and also attending our monthly forums where you will get a chance to meet other volunteers.


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

US health care on the way: NHS to be closed by Brown

Dr Derek Wall has condemned the takeover the United Health Europe of three doctors surgeries in London

'Gordon Brown's obssession with free market economics will unless halted led to the end of the NHS. Your local surgery is under
threat from US based 'health' corporations or even perhaps Asda! PFI has been an expensive disaster and while the plan is to cut costs, the long term
consequences as shown by the US experience is rising bills and a falling service. Gordon Brown governs for corporations and is acceleration the erosion
of the public service ethos. From Nick Clegg's call for imaginative reforms to the Thatcherite traditions that still under pin Cameron's conservativism, there is a
three party consensus emerging that threatens the survival of one of Britain's greatest institutions; the NHS.

The Green Party is the only major political party which pledges to keep the NHS in the hands of the public and way from the reach of short term profit mongers'

GREEN PARTY TRADE UNION GROUP STATEMENT 30/01/2008 The Green Party Trade Union Group is extremely concerned to learn that (as reported in the Evening Standard: 28/1/2008), a private American health firm (United Health Europe) has won control of three GP surgeries in London. We fear that this is the first step in an attempt to privatise primary health care in the UK. We believe that this is being done without any proper consultation with the citizens of the UK, who as stakeholders are the true owners of the National Health Service. We also fear that this paves the way to monopolistic malpractice and profiteering if it allows pharmaceutical and retail conglomerates such as Boots and Tesco to have any control over the salaries, judgements and activities of GP’s and other primary health providers We pledge our full support to opposition this disgraceful step and any others like it by GPs, patient and pensioner groups, and trade unions in the health sector. We call on Green Party spokespersons nationally, locally and regionally to promptly issue public statements condemning this privatisation and call open the Green Party press office to give such statement maximum promotion. We further call on the forthcoming spring conference of the GP to pass an emergency motion along the lines stated above. (ends)

Strike Bike; more soon folks!

29 Jan 2008

Capitalism or beyond?

Joseph Healy
wrote: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/big-business-says-addressing-climate-change-rates-very-low-on-agenda-774648.html So much for the Jonathan Porritt line that it will be sustainablecapitalism, led by big business, which will save the planet in the end. Expecting capitalism to save the planet is like asking a pig to fly. First sign of a profit cut and it's back to basics!

Incidentally found some interesting essays on green economics, I disagree with the 'neither left nor right' assumptions but good food for thought and since when do I only flag up essays I agree with ...critical thought is needed in this critical point in history!

Abolishing Private Ownership.

Before I get jumped on by the Libertarians for being a socialist or communist,writes Robert Feinman, I need to explain I don't mean eliminating the concept of private property. I mean eliminating the concept of ownership and replacing it with "usage rights".
No one ever really owns anything permanently, they just possess it for a period of time. At the end of the period they dispose of it. It wears out and is discarded, or is sold, or eventually the owner dies and the item is passed on to others. So we don't "own" things we just use them for awhile.

What I'm proposing is formalizing this concept. Whenever a non-consumable item is purchased there is a usage fee included in the price. When the useful life of the product is over it is returned to a designated facility and the fee is returned to the buyer. The facility does not have to be the original store or manufacturer, but can be a proxy set up for this purpose. We already see some small scale attempts at this model. Batteries and inkjet and toner cartridges are now recycled and, in some cases, a premium is paid for their return. But this only works if the item has commercial recycling value. Bottle recycling is used in many areas to reduce litter, but the deposit is only nominal and the effort mostly depends upon people's good will.

28 Jan 2008

Footprint fun?

Well can't drive, stopped flying, vegetarian, generally refuse plastic bags, etc...i do my bit but green lifestyle is less important than the politics or to put it another way you need to change the structures to make lifestyle change, easy and worthwhile

So if there is no public transport, using the car less is probably impossible

I have written lots on green lifestyle....I know it is a popular topic so with the help of Ezgi here are some green lifestyle bloggers

I like 'low impact man'

He notes 'Let's be clear where I stand. In my life, I believe I can be most effective by a combination of individual action and political action.' and has a nice link to red worm composting.

Other green lifestyle blogs include the following, any thoughts of who you rate best or new lifestyle blogs...welcome might put together a blog rule of these














27 Jan 2008

Tawfiq Chahboune on Indonesia Holocaust Killer

Holocaust Day and deniers still deny as citizens are hacked to death today in Kenya, Tawfiq over at SU examines a killer.

There is something fitting but faintly uncomfortable in that the former dictator of Indonesia, General Suharto, died today. For today is International Holocaust Memorial Day, and it would be distasteful to celebrate any death, even that of Suharto’s, one of history’s supreme monsters. Remembering his crimes, however, is very necessary.

Famously, the liberal Clinton administration warmly praised the genocidal dictator as “our kind of guy”. (Incidentally, note how our governments and press refer to friendly dictators as “President”, while unfriendly ones are called “dictator”.) Having helped to overthrow the democratically elected Sukarno government, the U.S. and U.K. aided Suharto’s forces, which used jihadis as proxies, as they massacred approximately 1 million communists, socialists and peasants. The Left was annihilated, as was democracy for a generation. This is known as “supporting democracy”.

For those who choose to forget the grotesque details, the following example is instructive. Some ten thousand civilians were massacred in Bali by jihadi death squads linked to Suharto’s forces. The death toll may have been double that number, but, predictably, no one kept count. Later, when comparatively few Australian tourists were blown to bits by the forces of jihadism, the wailing and beating of breasts commenced. The wrong people had been massacred by our previous “kind of guys”. This is known as “blowback”, but to the ideologues a more exacting definition of the so-called “War on Terror” would be hard to find.

With extensive U.S. and U.K support, Suharto’s forces then invaded neighbouring East Timor and proceeded to massacre approximately one third of the population – a Nazi-like death rate. This is known as “supporting human rights”. The enthusiasm that this genocidal slaughter evinced in the U.S. and U.K. was depraved but unremarkable given the definition. Again, the right people were being massacred and, as ever, the liberal “Left” found the excuses required to put the necessary glow on a dark episode. Others simply chose not to draw attention to the slaughter by “our kind of guys”. These very same commentators now claim that they were “mistaken” and it was time to move on to a new future and not bang on about “history”.

Slowly, very slowly, solidarity movements grew with the East Timorese. The strongest of these were the ones in Australia. They had a role in changing Australian policy towards Indonesia, or rather East Timor. This was a phenomenal achievement given that Australia had been the only country in the world to recognise Indonesia’s territrorial claim to East Timor. Concurrently, however, the worst possible thing happened for the: Suharto started losing his grip on power. The economy was spiralling out of control and the Nazi-like massacres did not achieve the desired results as Indonesians started to revolt.

Convinced that Suharto’s time was up and that he was incapable of “restoring order”, the U.S. had no choice but to “support democracy”. Since another Nazi-like genocide was out of the question – on the grounds that it would not have the desired results – and Indonesia’s democrats were to overcome the odds and overthrow Suharto, the U.S. sided, albeit unwillingly, with the democrats. Up until this crucial point, our passionate PM of the day, Tony Blair, however, was not convinced that a further slaughter would not be efficacious and personally intervened to aid Suharto in his last rape and genocidal slaughter of East Timor. You see, Mr Blair is very “passionate” about human rights and freedom. He said so and therefore proof to the contrary is irrelevant. Unsurprisingly, the Western powers then congratulated themselves on helping overturn a psychopathic dictatorship and aiding democracy. Since you’ll be hearing a very different ”history” in the days to come from well-trained foreign and political editors, this “minority report” may come in handy.

PS. You’ll soon also hear great fairy stories about how Paul Wolfowitz, a former ambassador to Indonesia, was a strong opponent of Suharto and a leading voice for democratic reforms. This is all news to Indonesia’s democrats and human rights activists, who remember him as an apologist for a totalitarian and vicious regime, as well as being extremely and unnecessarily close to the most hardline thugs in the military. This is known as “anti-Americanism”.

Stop the bloody whaling

Martin and his daughter Sophie are a whole tribe of eco warriors all on their own. I salute them, they give me hope.

Here is the story:
LONDON (AFP) — A British teenager was arrested Thursday after tying herself to a staircase at the Japanese embassy in London in a protest over whaling, she said.

Fourteen-year-old Sophie Wyness and her father Martin attached themselves to a stone staircase inside the embassy lobby with cable ties saying it was wrong to "brutally murder" whales.

"It's a very important subject at the moment," she said.

"They're such amazing creatures and they deserve rights and love and a bit of respect... I have total respect for the Japanese people but not what they're doing out there with the whales," she added.

A police spokesman confirmed that two people had been arrested on suspicion of trespassing and were detained at a London police station.

Japan kills more than 1,000 whales a year using a loophole in a global 1986 moratorium that allows "lethal research" on the giant mammals. Only Norway and Iceland defy the moratorium outright.

Japan argues that whaling is part of its culture and has frequently accused Western nations, led by Australia, of cultural insensitivity.

this is from Martin:

The Japanese will be needlessly slaughtering nearly 1000 whales this year. Imagine if 1000 whales suddenly appeared in the Thames in central London. They would completely fill the river as far as the eye could see and for sure, they would lift the spirit of this country in a way rarely seen before.

If whalers then appeared on Blackfriars Bridge and started firing explosive harpoons into the giant visitors, the river would soon turn red with blood and gore from the thrashing, dying creatures. Outrage from spectators would quickly follow and the police would be hard pressed to stop ill feeling turning into action towards the harpoonists.

Why is it then, this great country of compassionate people continues to turn a blind eye to the same slaughter just because it is happening thousands of miles away? The majesty of the whales does not decrease with distance and our feelings for them should not either.

Why is the park in front of the Japanese embassy not full from dawn to dusk with people baying for an end to this disgraceful and brutal carnage? Why are we not boycotting all of Japans exports?

If we cannot stick up for these gentle marine creatures then we have truly lost our way. There will be a Court Case on the 6th February at 10.00 am. at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, 70 Horseferry Road, London. It is for a 14 year old girl who last week, was arrested inside the Japanese Embassy for peacefully refusing to leave until the Japanese promised an end to the slaughter.

Sophie has been charged with Criminal Trespass and has been fingerprinted and had her DNA taken. As it involved foreign soil, her case is serious enough to have to be decided by the Attorney General. She is to stand in an adult Court and faces a maximum sentence of 6 months in prison. Please, if you can, come along and peacefully support her in the fight to help save the whales lives. It would mean a lot to this young woman.

Sophie was inspired by the brave people on the Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace ships as they continue their lonely fight in the Southern Oceans. Come along and make sure those efforts are multiplied on land.

As Sophie herself would say, “for the whales and the world”.

Electoral Commission rule on RESPECT name

The description that candidates can use on election ballot is strictly controlled in the UK after candidates pissed off the Liberal Democrats by standing as 'Literal Democrats' and 'New Labour' damaging official Bliar Party. The electoral commission appear to have given the RESPECT name to Respect renewed...I am sure this will run and run, causing much confusion.

Satellite 'the size of a bus' could crash to Earth

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them, but they were only satellites
Its wrong to wish on space hardware

A US military satellite the size of a small bus is set to hit the Earth sometime in February or March we are told today. These people are maniacs, the world's hyper power has invaded space, yes I am sure satellites have all sorts of essential uses but like sex they should be safe. This one obviously was not fitted with protection.

And it is for military use.

The US is keen to establish missile defence systems in Britain at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire is planned as a key node in this system. Eventually we could see nuclear weapons in space or killer satellites. Short term policy objectives of a state drunk on its own power could lead to the colonisation of space and our immediate global atmosphere.

So hopefully it will burn up, the US military may try to shoot it down...so not only will we have to duck a piece of molten melt the size of a routemaster, we may have to look for missiles that go astray as well.

Then we have Richard Branson's tourist space rockets for bored billionaires...space is for the rich and militarists.

Any way the Telegraph report:
weighing as much as 20,000lb (9,000kg) and the size of a bus. It is believed to contain hydrazine, a common rocket fuel, which is hazardous to humans.

This is not the first time a large man-made satellite has de-powered and crashed uncontrollably in to the atmosphere. The largest was in 1979, when Skylab, a 78-ton abandoned space station, lost control and fell from orbit.

It fell apart on re-entry, with the debris crashing harmlessly into the Indian Ocean and across an uninhabited part of Western Australia.

Over on my other blog: Mumia speaks

Capital, as 'managed' pension funds aren't new in the north American context either. In some states, pension funds, managed by union-paid firms are the single largest pools of liquidity. The problem is that the powers of attorney that are signed over to these gigantic (one local teachers fund in Washington, for example, holds >50 billion) entities cuts them off legally from direct control. Some progress *has* been made in getting the charter documents changed to reflect more *progressive* investments (but they are piffling compared to the general line of march of the Wall St. boys who run them). Essentially, union members have little access to and almost no control over the disposition of their money. Mumia is absolutely right to highlight this scandal. Thank you for posting it.

The above is a thoughtful comment on an entry I posted on another blog....at last we can get Mumia's ideas out on the blog-o-sphere....I think incidentally I should be blogging more on the economic crisis...going to be talking about it at Green Party Conference in February

26 Jan 2008

Oxford protests and tree spiking

http://www.saveradleylakes.org.uk/ is the campaign to stop beautiful lakes south of Oxford being filled with fly ash by Npower...boycott their supposedly green energy scheme juice....nothing 'green' about filling up lakes and destroying habitats...green has to mean green not an excuse for doing damage and counting the cash. The Council have said the scheme of destruction can go on but the campaign needs cash to go to a judicial review.

Also from Oxford the tree sitting in Bonn Square continues.

The white S campaign are going for tree spiking, controversial stuff, not advocated by the other campaigns involved or of course the Green Party. Tree spiking was carried out by Earth First! in the US but abandoned because it caused injury to workers...the S campaign is arguing that trees which are clearly labelled are protected and the contractors warned off. Very controversial stuff even Schnews are coy about it.

Schnews take up the story of the Bonn Square protest...a good time to complain to John Lewis, I like the fact that they are a mutual with profit share for workers, however trapped in capitalist markets even mutuals can end up destroying the environment and exploiting people.

Schnews always have the essential news and analysis:

As protesters take to the trees in shopping centre nightmare

Mass protests, tree sitting, cat and mouse games with chainsaw-wielding
contractors, spurious arrests, tree spiking... no it's not yet
another nostalgic piece about the mid-nineties but 2008 in central Oxford.

And the cause of all this unrest? Another
screw-the-environment-it's-all-about-the-economy-stupid retail development of course. Despite
being already choked by its medieval layout, with its roads gridlocked
and groaning from the weight of traffic, since 1999 the council have
been trying to accept plans from Capital Shopping Centres to revamp and
massively expand the existing Westgate shopping centre.

Widespread opposition and a public inquiry led John Prescott to
eventually put the blockers on the deal in 2002 when the decision it was
'called in' (as the quaint governmental parlance puts it) and rejected,
leading to a failed appeal in 2003. But you can't keep a good cartel
of bigwigs down for long and in 2006 uncannily similar plans were
again presented and this time they meant business. Unfazed by their
alleged green sentiments and policy commitments to 'sustainability',
'renewable energy' and the like (as most councils usually are when big
business cash starts sloshing around), the council have again no
problem giving the green light to the monster expansion as part of a more
general gentrification scheme for the entire West end of Oxford.

The plan is to triple the size of the current Westgate church of
capitalism and turn it into a real retail cathedral, complete with a sorely
needed new John Lewis department store. That's along with 90 other
new shops and massive car park. All eating into nearby affordable
housing and precious bits of surviving green strips of land, including a
number of fine mature trees in the area.

Even though completion of the project involves obtaining compulsory
purchase (i.e. destruction) orders on Abbey Place, a fairly recent
development of council-run residential care homes for the handicapped, the
enquiry into that hadn't even finished when the contractors began
confidently to cut down nearby trees all ready for construction works
to begin. As usual, they assumed that by getting in early, maybe
nobody would notice. But direct action has reared its dreadlocked head
once again in the esteemed city of academia and learning as outraged
locals, students and activists alike attempt to stop the environmental

Since January 4th, efforts have been stepped up, no doubt inspired by
one Giles Chamberlain who took residence in a one hundred-year-old
sycamore in Bonn Square, where he managed to stay for over two weeks
until effectively starved down by police who stopped all attempts to
assist him (see Crap arrest).
Jan 9th saw a day of action back at the Westgate site where trees were
also being cleared. Work was temporarily stopped and a plane tree
occupied for 24 hours. Jan 12th saw over 100 people reclaim Bonn Square
in a feisty protest which even saw one of the green local councillors
arrested. Over 3500 leaflets were handed out and with support from
local shoppers and passers-by, people managed to block the council
from fencing off the site and forced work to stop. .

Giles eventually came down voluntarily on Jan 20th just as an eviction
order was granted. Within half and hour of the court judgement, the
corporate chainsaw crew were in Bonn Square to demolish the last
remaining natural beauty there. Scuffles ensued when one activist climbed
onto a wood shredder and then jumped on to the side of the truck
carrying the remains of the tree. Activists then wrestled with security
thugs trying to drag him off. Police moved in and arrested the
stuntman and one of his helpers.

Tuesday 21st saw an invasion of John Lewis' headquarters by activists
keen to point out to the retailers the errors of their ways. Also this
week, many of the remaining trees in the area have suddenly appeared
sporting painted 'S's on their trunks, along with a warning that
trees have been spiked. The idea is to make chainsaw operators think
twice before attempting to saw through wood which contains metal, which
could damage their equipment and dangerously throw the blade off
line. And the protests look set to continue as the crazy development
develops. Much of the more effective action is from the Oxford
Action Resourse centre.

Email: oarc@lists.riseup.net web: theoarc.org.uk

For an explanation of the 'white S' action, see

The ethical tree spikers argue:

We have inserted small ceramic and non-ferrous spikes into many of the trees most threatened in the Oxford City area. These spikes do not harm the trees. Any chainsaws used on these spiked trees may hit such a spike and the chainsaw may break. This will increase the cost of chopping down the tree - hopefully leading to more trees being saved from destruction. With clear ‘S’ markings, and warning notices on or near every spiked tree, we hope the chainsaw-operators will refuse to cut down these trees.

Safety for all

Although there is a chance that a tree-spike will cause a chainsaw to break, all commercial chainsaws have strong protective screens, and chainsaw-operators wear helmets with protective visors, kevlar trousers and jackets. So the chance of any operator being injured is very low. None-the-less, we have decided to clearly mark all spiked trees with a white ‘S’ as well as attaching clear warning notices to the trees. All of the spikes are in the main trunk of the tree, and none are in the branches, so future pruning of these trees is completely safe.

So far, over thirty trees in the Central Oxford area have been protected in this manner. Together we can help preserve the trees of Oxford.

25 Jan 2008

Peter Tatchell 56th birthday

I have known Peter since the late 1980s, at the time, when even though he was a Labour Party member he came and supported the Association of Socialist Greens. He is one of the most impressive figures in the Green Party and we are so lucky to have him. He works 100% supporting human rights and green politics, I really feel we ought to be giving him more support as candidate in Oxford East.

OUTRAGE and all his direct action for gay rights has been one of the good things about political campaigning in Britain.

And who would believe he is just 56 he looks much younger.

Yes he works far too hard and I can thing the occassional issue you might place a rizla paper between his position and me but Peter is a star...keep on keeping.


24 Jan 2008

Capitalist Party of India (Murders)

I noticed this blog critical of the Communist Party of West Bengal (M), I have no idea about the politics or personalities of the people behind the blog but I am keen that we criticise enclosure and people being made poor by it.

CPM stands for many things. It is said to mean: Communist Party of India (Marxist). The blog is intended to expose the fraud and hypocrisy of CPM which is a truly capitalist formation led by people who apply dumdum dawai (meaning: cadre engaging in violence and rape).

There is a good summary here from International Socialist Review of the essential politics of the situation..ISR is from International Socialists who left the Socialist Workers Party international network...they are different from the US Socialist Workers Party but publish Socialist Worker and as part of their work have been active supporters of the US Green Party...confusing while this might be have a look at their take on Nandigram.

A left that defends peasants is a good thing!

Repression in West Bengal

The Left-led government tries to expel peasants


SPEAKING ON the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque by far-right Hindu gangs, Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Communist Party of India [Marxist, CPI(M)], reminded his listeners that only the official Left has consistently opposed communalism in India. It is that legacy of opposition to attacks on India’s Muslim minorities by far-right outfits that have earned the CPI(M) its reputation among the Indian and international Left as a force for progressive change.

But Karat’s sense of the unsullied reputation of the CPI(M) stands in direct contrast to recent events that have taken place in Bengal. Just a few days before he spoke, the Left Front government in West Bengal [led by the CPI(M)] exiled Taslima Nasreen, a controversial Bengali Muslim woman whose novels and their frank discussions of sexuality and corruption in Bangladesh have embarrassed the Muslim elite of that country. Rather than stand up for artistic freedom and defend Nasreen’s right to remain in the state, the CPI(M) caved into pressure from conservative Muslim organizations in West Bengal.

Late last year, the Left Front government manhandled the peasants of Singur, a fertile agricultural village in Hooghly District in West Bengal, in pursuit of its industrialization policy. Land was forcibly taken from the peasant population in order to set up a 1,000-acre campus for Tata Motors, India’s largest auto manufacturer. When peasants resisted the enclosures on their land, CPI(M) cadres and police attacked the village ruthlessly.

Even more damning has been the CPI(M)’s handling of the events in Nandigram, a village in East Midnapur District in West Bengal, where peasants and civil society organizations fought off the state’s attempts to take their land for more than eleven months. In 2005, India passed a law legalizing the formation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which allow foreign industries access to land cheaply and allow them to produce free of taxes and duties that would otherwise apply. Several states in India have pursued multinational corporations, making land available for such companies as Nokia, Motorola, and Dell.

Incidentally a good article in International Socialist Review from the UK SWP (!)on Nandigram.

Protest with me about Gaza!

I will be attending on saturday see you there and spread the word!

Thousands of Palestinians flock into Egypt after border fence blasted

Demonstration and Candlelight Vigil: End the Siege on Gaza
Saturday, 26 January 2008, 16:00—18:00
Opposite 10 Downing Street , London (tube Westminster )

Friends of Lebanon is a proud supporter of the End the Gaza Siege Campaign. Collective punishment is being inflicted upon the Palestinians for voting for a government against the wishes of Israel , the US and the EU. The Fatah-Hamas conflict is an internal political issue for the Palestinians. The solution to this conflict should not be violently imposed by foreign states. Call on the British government to end its collusion with these policies, which have resulted in the imprisonment of 1.5 million Gazans whose lives are being deliberately and ruthlessly destroyed by denied access to food, electricity, clean water supplies and medical treatment.

The International Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza has declared 26 January a day of international solidarity with Palestine . Please join us at Downing Street this Saturday, 26 January, from 16:00—18:00 to show your support for Palestine .

Monday, 21 January. Palestinian UN observer Ryad Mansour recommended the 15-member UN Security Council adopt a resolution demanding that Israel lift "its crippling, cruel siege on the Palestinian civilian population."

Tuesday, 22 January. There are signs that public pressure works. The strong international reaction and warnings of a humanitarian crisis have pressured Israel into allowing a one-off delivery of basic fuel and medicine into Gaza . But we must keep up the pressure to end the military siege and to encourage political solutions to the crisis in Palestine.

Join us in calling on our government to call for
an end to the siege of Gaza immediately!

RAFAH, (PIC)-- Thousands of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip flocked into Egypt at dawn Wednesday after unknown armed men blasted holes in the border fence separating the Strip from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.
Eyewitnesses said that tens of armed men planted explosive devices in separate parts of the border fence and blasted them.
They noted that big portions of the border fence, built by the Israeli forces before withdrawal from the Strip, collapsed as hundreds penetrated into the Egyptian city of Rafah to buy badly needed goods and medicine.
The witnesses pointed out that tens of Palestinians who were stranded at the Egyptian side of the border for many months were able to return to Gaza without any obstacles.
The incident followed Tuesday's demonstration in which thousands of Palestinian women and children headed to the Rafah terminal demanding its immediate opening to allow treatment of the sick and wounded and to allow entry of food supplies to the besieged Strip. The Egyptian border guards used water cannons to disperse them but they managed to break into the Rafah border point before returning to Gaza.

Further details: www.palestinecampaign.org; www.endgazasiege.net

23 Jan 2008

Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Conference
Saturday 9th February 2008
University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY
Speakers include: Mark Serwotka, Michael Meacher, Matt Wrack, Frances O'Grady, Caroline Lucas, Tony Kearns, John McDonnell

Climate Change is the most serious threat facing humanity. As the earth's temperature rises, millions of people face the devastating consequences of increasingly unpredictable and worsening weather.

Trade Unions have always been at the forefront of the fight for social change, and this conference will discuss exactly what change is needed to limit Global Warming and how Trade Unionists can play their part in this struggle.

Leading figures from the Trade Union and environmental movements will speak at a series of workshops and plenary sessions, to discuss Carbon Trading, Greening the Workplace, Alternative energy, Building Sustainable Cities and Transport, and the role of Global Treaties beyond Kyoto.

Delegate fees are £10 per person.

Download the agenda/booking form here:


More information from Martin Empson, 0795 853 5231 or email CCCTU@hotmail.com

Speakers include: Mark Serwotka (General Secretary PCS), Matt Wrack (General Secretary FBU), Frances O'Grady (Dep. General Secretary TUC), Christine Blower (Dep. General Secretary NUT), Michael Meacher MP, Caroline Lucas MEP, John McDonnell MP, Tony Kearns (Deputy General Secretary CWU), Larry Lohmann (Corner House), Catt Hobbs (Transport 2000), Nick Rau (Friends of the Earth), Hilary Wainwright, Caroline Molloy (TUC Green Workplaces Project leader), Amrit Srivastava (India Resource Centre), Jane Loftus (President CWU), Elaine Graham-Leigh (Respect), Dr. Derek Wall (Green Party), Jonathan Neale (Campaign Against Climate Change).

22 Jan 2008


Green Party Principal Speaker Dr. Derek Wall has praised the work of psychologist Oliver James, and will be discussing similar themes in his speech in Leeds at 4-5pm on Thursday 24th January at the Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre 1, Leeds University, LS1, hosted by the University Green Society

Outlining his lecture, Dr Wall said: "Green politics is the politics of survival dealing with the threats of climate change and environmental degradation. Green politics is politics for life, it covers all policy areas stressing ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace"

Commenting on James' explosive new book, Dr. Wall commented: "I have just finished reading Oliver James's book 'The Selfish Capitalist'. It is a devastatingly clear account of why our obsession with economic growth is leading to a huge increase in human misery.

"Capitalism is based on increased consumption, increased work and increased inequality. James argues that the work of Mrs Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, in removing barriers to capitalism, have created an epidemic of mental illness. They have privatised and deregulated, all three celebrating billionaires and worshipping corporations.

"Although this is supposed to raise standard of living it has made almost all of us poor when it comes to quality of life. In a dog eat dog society people, insecurity and unhappiness have risen to extraordinary degrees.

"As Greens we know ever increasing economic growth is ecologically impossible, and James reminds us that it is no guarantee of a better life either.

"James draws on a powerful understanding of psychology to outline research that indicates that a society's increased Gross National Product (GDP) can actually lead to greater dissatisfaction. His powerful interpretation of 'To Have or to Be' by Erich Fromm, psychologist and grandfather of green politics, is inspiring.

"If you read one book this year, read 'The Selfish Capitalist – it provides powerful food for thought and will be a vital campaigning tool for those who want to move to a new greener, gentler, people orientated economy."

As a flavour of the persuasiveness of James's critique, Dr Wall highlighted this passage:

"We desperately need - and before long, I predict we will get – a passionate, charismatic, probably female leader who advocates the Unselfish Capitalism of our [Western European] neighbours. The pitch is simple. Not only would reduced consumerism and greater equality make us more ecologically sustainable, it would halve the prevalence of mental illness within a generation.'

"With overstimulated aspirations and expectations, the entrepreneurial fantasy society fosters the delusion that anyone can be Alan Sugar or Bill Gates, never mind that the actual likelihood of this occurring has diminished since the 1970s. A Briton turning 20 in 1978 was more likely than one doing so in 1990 to achieve upward mobility through education.

"Nonetheless, in the Big Brother It Could Be You society, great swaths of the population believe they can become rich and famous, and that it is highly desirable. This is most damaging of all - the ideology that material affluence is the key to fulfilment and open to anyone willing to work hard enough.

"Selfish Capitalism stokes up relative materialism: unrealistic aspirations and the expectation that they can be fulfilled. It does so to stimulate consumerism in order to increase profits and promote short-term economic growth. Indeed, I maintain that high levels of mental illness are essential to Selfish Capitalism, because needy, miserable people make greedy consumers and can be more easily suckered into perfectionist, competitive workaholism."


I get quite a bit of useful mail through, this was from Sylvia...seems like a good idea.

Some environmental action is more ritual than real, lines are painted, reports are published but real strategies to reduce climate chnage are lacking. Although things have improved a bit, are cyclists and pedestrians really helped and considered.

Why not set up your own version of 'Crap cycling and walking in Waltham Forest' and embarrass your local authority into action.

Or better still join the Green Party and get some green councillors elected?

The Waltham Forest blog is also flagging up the threat of incinerators...which are currently marching across the country pretending to be 'energy from waste' schemes.

Subject: [hq2600] From Cynthia McKinney: "Something for Which to Vote"
MLK, Jr. Day 2008
From: HQ
Date: Mon, January 21, 2008 9:18 am
To: updates@lists.allthingscynthiamckinney.com

"We cannot be satisfied so long as the Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and the Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963

Dear Friend,

Are you:
* Incredulous at the fact that two Presidential elections were stolen and no one was held accountable?
* Disappointed that, as a result, our country is at war, involved in torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace?
* Concerned, especially in light of New Hampshire, that your vote might not be counted in November and that the will of the voters will be thwarted yet again with election fraud or outright theft?
* Disquieted that the use of electronic voting machines, coupled with laws that restrict public access to election data "owned" by voting machine companies, might thwart your ability to verify election results if they are in question?

As acknowledged in the documentary American Blackout, I worked with investigative journalist Greg Palast and conducted my own Congressional investigation into election theft in Florida and across our country in the Presidential election of 2000. Those proceedings documented the role of Data Base Technologies, now a part of ChoicePoint, and election officials in Florida, in illegally "scrubbing" the voter rolls.

In 2001, with Al Gore presiding, I objected to the seating of the Florida electors. Not one Senator objected and so there was no discussion and no debate in the Congress about what happened in Florida and across our country in the 2000 Presidential election during the seating of the Electoral College. The same pattern of fraud and theft was planned and executed in the 2004 Presidential election. But this time, not relying on any political party, the people themselves demanded and funded an investigation into what happened in Ohio. More and more information comes to us about how the will of voters in Ohio was deliberately suppressed to produce a desired outcome. This effort at discovering the truth of Ohio was led by independents, Libertarians, and the Green Party because the Democrats had already conceded the election.

In my own 2006 Congressional election, Georgia courts have ruled that the electronic election data cannot be made public because they belong to Diebold. The matter is going to be appealed all the way to the Georgia Supreme Court, but isn't that a shame? In my election night speech I declared electronic voting machines a clear and present danger to our Republic.

I want to keep election protection and a radical common sense approach to issues on the table. As the candidates with populist appeal, but without their party's support, are being pushed to the margins, I want to make sure that the election results are truly a reflection of the will of the voters. That will only happen if there is another voice raising critical issues.

Are you also:
* Waiting to hear the leading Presidential contenders say that it's past time to repeal the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Bush tax cuts, the Military Tribunals Act, bring our troops home now, and institute a livable wage?
* Infuriated that 48 million of our neighbors have no access to health care while those of us with insurance have our claims too often denied?
* Ready to have the Parties' solutions to the shrinking dollar and the ballooning national debt explained, especially in light of rising food prices and unemployment?
*Tired of the belligerent talk being directed at Iran and Pakistan and ready for our country to become a leader in pursuit of peace? And finally, are you also
*Afraid that the issues you really care about won't get addressed in this election season and therefore the likelihood of them being addressed by the incumbent is almost nil?

I have traveled across our country to almost half its states. I have met too many people disillusioned by their fears that their issues won't be addressed in this campaign season. I've met many people who want to participate, but who long ago figured out that the system was rigged against the interests of working families and so, dropped out, but who want to have hope that our country can be delivered from its current morass.

Too many are feeling that they have nothing for which to vote, that their votes won't count, even worse, they might not even be counted. To them, I suggest looking another way. As I have done. On March 17th of 2007, I declared my independence from national leadership that deepens the slough in which our country finds itself today. That leadership has enabled our country to throw away traditional American values of justice, and peace, and freedom.

I have now become a member of the Green Party and am seeking its Presidential nomination.

I'm encouraging the people I've met to join me and do some things we've never done before in order to have some things we've never had before. I hope you will lend your support so we can press for election integrity and put real solutions to the problems faced by real people on the table in real talk that we all can understand.

This election in November is critical. The future of our country and the content of the current debate can be influenced by us. Please help me create the political space for real issues to stay on the table. I know you support the truth. I know you want to help the American people know the truth.

Please visit www.allthingscynthiamckinney.com to review my record. Please visit www.runcynthiarun.org to donate to this effort.

Please take the time to view two youtube offerings: http://youtube.com/watch?v=03cOM9r51Nw and http://youtube.com/watch?v=ozQ_iPuqCxg

After viewing these films, I hope you will agree that our work deserves your support. The time is too precarious, the issues too important, our futures too much at risk for us to lose any more critical voices on important issues.

Thank you again for your support of truth. I hope to hear from you soon.


Cynthia McKinney

P.S. You can mail your donation by U.S. Postal Service to:

Power to the People Committee
Cynthia McKinney for President
P.O. Box 311759
Atlanta, GA 31131-1759

Please complete and include in your mail our contribution form to help us comply with federal election reporting requirements:


Please note: Campaign Contributions are not tax-deductible. Corporate contributions are not permitted. Only U.S. residents and citizens aged 17 or older may make contributions to federal elections.

"It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral." General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Press Club, February 17, 2006

"My brother need not be idealized . . . beyond what he was in life. To be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Eulogy of Bobby Kennedy by Teddy Kennedy, June 18, 1968

"Certain material weaknesses in financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work resulted in conditions that, for the 10th consecutive year, prevented us from expressing an opinion on the federal government's consolidated financial statements." David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, December 15, 2006

21 Jan 2008

My new blog team

Well I have been invited to join the blog team at Socialist Unity, once edited I believe by one James Jepps...funny to be welcomed after observing the spat between different left bloggers which nows seems to have blown over.

So thought I would start with 'When the Left goes wrong'...don't worry I haven't changed into Nick Cohen...but as you know if the Dalai Lama needs criticism I am not afraid to challenge him, this time it is a look at Michael Albert, Tariq Ali and Chomsky who I think are wrong on an important issue...I am glad that Chavez, Caroline Lucas and Mumia Abu-Jamal have not joined them!

For me the politics is always about resisting enclosure, restoring the commons and defending the grassroots...the left and environmentalists often forget this.

Nice to have the invite....I am getting quite a range of publications that take my stuff from Guardian comment is free to Morning Star to Green Party of course!

'Are Biofuels Sustainable?'

'Are Biofuels Sustainable?' Greens respond to EAC report
21st Jan 2008

Today's report is one more nail in the coffin of the mass biofuels industry

Green Party Principal Speakers Dr. Derek Wall and Dr. Caroline Lucas today responded to the report 'Are Biofuels Sustainable', released by the cross-party Environment Audit Committee (EAC). The Committee launched the inquiry on 25 July 2007, examining the role biofuels might play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as the wider economic, social and environmental impacts of agrifuels. (1)

More here

Mumia on Kenya

* The Madhouse Called 'Home' (Kenya) ** {col. writ. 1/12/08} (c) 08' Mumia Abu-Jamal ** * * *

The continuing carnage in Kenya (E. Africa) evokes feelings of confusion mixed with shame. Confusion because if the cause of such infernal conflict is tribalism, the word has little meaning for U.S. Blacks, for the grandchildren of slaves were detribalized, or perhaps more accurately, compressed into a single national tribe of Blackness. Shame, because Blacks still feel a kinship for (an idealized) Africa, and thus, their calamities seem like ours, and, since the relatively recent end of colonialism, many African countries have had more than their share of calamities.

Kenyan human rights activist and writer, Koigi wa Wamwere, in his 2003 book, Negative Ethnicity (Seven Stories Press/Open Media) records a harrowing event in 1998 Kenya, when a man named John Mwangi detailed what happened to him in the Makuru district of Kenya: I am down, and around me a big fire rages. Our village is razed anddestroyed. There are screams everywhere. They are hurt and down.I inhale smoke and smell burning flesh, food, and timber everywhere.I see a man coming with a flaming torch for burning houses and foodstores, a spear to stab my heart and sword to slit my throat and kill meas they have others. I think this is the end, but not yet.Please, don't kill me, I plead with whatever breath I have left. We areAfricans. We are brothers.Without looking at me, he thrusts the spear into my side and cuts mythroat. Die, die, you dirty louse, he says. I am not your brother. I amnot your tribe.Tasting blood in my mouth, I slide into unconsciousness with that wordringing -- /tribe, tribe/ - until the world falls silent.When I wake up, I am in the hospital, wrapped in bandages from head tofoot. A Good Samaritan picked me up and brought me here.Several months later, I go to my village, but it is no more. Both the newhouse and the land now belong to him who tried to kill me. BecauseI am from another ethnic community I am evicted from my home and landand cleansed from the Rift Valley Province where anyone who is notKalenjin is called a foreigner.I cry and ask, Why? No one answers. [pp. 9-10]

Although the U.S. press has reported that the present tribal warfare was unprecedented in modern Kenya, in fact, such clashes happened as recent as a decade ago (1998), and nearly a decade before that (in 1992). Such clashes are usually manipulated by political leaders for communal ( read: 'tribal') support for a ruthless struggle for resources, cattle, and yes -- lebensraum (German for 'living room'). Wamwere put it pointedly when he recounted a quasi-joking between he and some other Gikuyu and Kalenjin friends. They joked about Kalenjin getting the best jobs, the best spots in school, or bank loans. The Kalenjin would retort, "Now is our time to eat. You Gikuyu had yours." (66) For Wamwere, tribalism (or in his term, 'negative ethnicity') has been a powerful tool used by politicians to communicate the notion of 'it's our time to eat.' Wamwere tells a classic and chilling tale of when Jomo Kenyatta came to power after colonialism, and his government slew one of its own ministers, Tom Mboya, a prominent Luo politician. Luo riots shook Nairobi and Kisumu. Wamwere recalls how Kenyatta responded by forcing Gikuyus to take a loyalty oath. Those who didn't take it were beaten or killed. Wamwere explained that he too took the oath, partly in fear, and partly in fascination. This oath was against the Luos. This took place in 1969. The notion of nation is a transient one; for nations come and go; tribe remains. So, politicians run on the implicit promise that, 'if you elect me, we will eat.'

And while tribe fights tribe over crumbs, the whole socio-economic order serves to send the fat of the land into the kitchens and coffers of Europe and America, while politicians ship their excess wealth to Western banks to hold. For what are these countries but Western creations, with borders designed to preserve corrupt economic relations where the continent becomes a vast plantation, with Black overseers, who manage Black workers for Western profits and exploitation? While millions of Africans suffer from malnutrition, millions of Americans and Europeans spend billions to try to manage their rampant obesity. Tribalism? Negative Ethnicity? Or poor people fighting for scraps?

--(c) '08 maj {Sources: Wamwere, Koigi wa, Negative Ethnicity: From Bias to Genocide (New York: Seven Stories Press/Open Media, 2003); Wamwere, Koigi wa, I Refuse to Die: My Journey for Freedom (New York: Seven Stories, 2002) (for the author's critique of the Moi dictatorship).}

20 Jan 2008

Biofuel crops 'will harm the planet'

Well everyone from Deepak at Biofuel watch, to Cllr Andrew Boswell to that pensioner in the track suit in Havana have got stuck in...I know I have annoyed at least one sailor and several police people on this...but the tide is turning...palm oil from rainforests could be out...at least EU and UK may I repeat may be changing their minds

Biofuel crops 'will harm the planet'

By Charles Clover, Environment Editor

Last Updated: 2:01pm GMT 20/01/2008

Plans to promote “green” petrol and diesel made from plant crops will do the planet more harm than good and should be scrapped, a committee of MPs has demanded.

Ministers and the EU were accused of being “reckless” in subsidising fuels made from plants in the absence of international agreements to prevent rising the accelerated destruction of the tropical forests.

The Environmental Audit select committee warned that growing conventional crops, such as wheat and sugar beet, in Britain to make fuel would cause a rise in the price of food and make it harder to meet targets on water quality and to meet targets on the conservation of birds, plants and animals.

MPs said an immediate moratorium should be imposed on “expensive and inefficient” subsidies directed at the present generation of “green” fuels – whether made from maize, rape, wheat, sugar cane or palm oil.

Instead policies should be redirected at the growing of “biomass” – wood and other crops that can be grown on non-crop land and used to generate heat – and the development of “second-generation” biofuels from waste, which required far less fossil fuel to grow and did not accelerate the destruction of the world's forests, or “carbon sinks.”

This would involve delaying support for green fuels for up to a decade.

The MPs report, “Are Biofuels Sustainable?”, also called for policies to be re-directed towards international mechanisms to enable the creation of new carbon “sinks” by protecting more tropical forest that would otherwise release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

From April, petrol and diesel sold in Britain must have 2.5 per cent biofuel, derived from such crops as rape seed and sugar beet as well as animal products such as tallow. This proportion will rise to 5 per cent in two years' time. The EU wants to increase this to 10 per cent by 2020.

The committee's criticisms follow the admission last week by the European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, that the EU's decision to push ahead with biofuels had already led to an increase in the destruction of rainforests and a rise in food prices.

He indicated that the EU's policy, due to be launched on Wednesday, might have to be delayed until it was possible to certify “sustainable” biofuels.

A report by the Royal Society last week warned that “green” fuels were capable of doing more damage to the atmosphere than fossil fuels by encouraging the accelerated destruction of tropical forests, which lock up billions of tons of carbon, for palm oil. MPs say the EU's plan for the certification of sustainable biofuels “is not good enough.”

Tim Yeo, the Tory MP who chairs the committee, said: “On the basis of current biofuel technology, more greenhouse gas cuts could be achieved at lower cost and risk by implementing a range of other policies. ”Advanced second generation biofuels may have an important role in the future, but these technologies are some years away.

The Government should support their development by creating a stable investment climate out to 2020.”

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union, said biofuels were “the only renewable alternative” for replacing fossil fuels in transport and tackling the quarter of British carbon emissions it was responsible for.

"Those savings can and should be improved. But for the committee to conclude that, because the savings are small, they are not worth having at all, is illogical and ill-informed.”

Jeremy Tomkinson, chief executive of the National Non-Food Crops Centre, said: “The Government is setting up world-leading policies to ensure that these benefits will be obtained. I would urge the Government to continue on this path.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport insisted it was “determined to support only those biofuels which deliver genuine environmental benefits”.

A spokeswoman said: “The committee's report says that biofuels can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from road transport, but that there are risks associated with them.

The Government agrees. ”We have made clear that we will not support any increase in current biofuel targets until we are convinced that the biofuels can be delivered sustainably.”

Irish Green Party vote not enough to support Lisbon EU treaty

Irish Green Party are in government supporting this, I believe, but members are free to campaign on either side...a strong Europe is one thing, a neo-liberal one quite another.

The EU Green Parties are generally quite strongly pro a stronger EU even if taken with a dose of market mechanism...nice to see that the vote has not locked Irish Green Party members into Lisbon support.



The Irish Green Party (Comhaontas Glas) has not voted to support the Lisbon Treaty by the required two thirds majority. This leaves members free to campaign for a Yes or a No vote in the forthcoming referendum in the Irish Republic.

Joseph Healy

International Coordinator

Green the NHS

Obesity, lack of awareness of the world around us, not to mention the debt crises and its impact on mental and physical health, are all driven by capitalism and affluenza. Changing to a sustainable and green future requires fundemental changes in every aspect of our lives.

Green the Health Service

More here from Stuart

Capitalism = ill health

We desperately need - and before long, I predict we will get - a passionate, charismatic, probably female leader who advocates the Unselfish Capitalism of our neighbours. The pitch is simple. Not only would reduced consumerism and greater equality make us more ecologically sustainable, it would halve the prevalence of mental illness within a generation.

I think it is a bit more difficult than this to get the social change we need...but more here from the above!

And I am going along to the seminar!

The Selfish Capitalist book is interesting and draws strongly on Erich Fromm who wrote 'To Have of to Be' and David Harvey the socialist geographer's account of neo-liberalism. Very useful campaigning tool for ecosocialists from Oliver James.

19 Jan 2008

Mumia on the Presidential race plus a blog war

It's virtually forgotten now that Rev. Jesse Jackson got over 7
million votes, won 13 primaries and caucuses, and controlled almost a
third (29%) of the party delegates in his second run in 1988.

My USA correspondent writes about the Presidential campaign so far....it is interesting piece on the success of black candidates in previous elections.

Well we all know political party people can get a bit tetchy but it takes the blosphere to have a real row....three socialist blogs that I like seem to be punching each other...Dave Osler has described Andy Newman of Socialist Unity as 'seemingly reinventing himself as some sort of Stalinist'...and somehow Lenin's Tomb has been drawn in.

I find all three of these blogs good sources of information and comment and they have all kindly linked here....and I have linked to them.

Lenin has suggested:
I just want to point out that in terms of readership, neither Socialist Knitting Network nor Dave's Spare Part is even in the same league as yours truly. They aren't even barking up the same tree, although they bark very loudly. I'm insulted at being placed next to these sad, sad people.

I suppose next I'll be categorised alongside Oliver Kamm simply to satisfy your blog-lust, you weirdo.

He wasn't attacking me but having a go At a Very Public Sociologist...which is yet another interesting left blog from a social movement phd student at Keele.

Be nice if peace broke out....however why is it that none of them run stuff from my US correspondent....we need to free Mumia Abu-Jamal from jail and we need to read his journalism...and I would like to see it on more blogs and sites than mine.

So I would say a gentle 'feck off' to left bloggers who ignore Mumia...anyway on to the man himself....I guess in prison they don't let you blog?

* The 'Oops!' Factor *
* {col. writ. 1/10/08} (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal *
* *
* *
As the race for presidential primaries and caucuses gains in speed
and tempo, this current campaign has taught me at least one important
lesson: "You can't rely on polls!"

Talking heads are sounding sillier by the day trying to explain how
the junior senator from Illinois went from a double digit lead a day
before the New Hampshire primaries, to losing by 2 percentage points by
night's end.

I wrote a piece, but just like those talking heads, I got it wrong,
and wrote as much. If I'm lucky, you'll never get to hear it.


I, too, was shocked by Sen. Hillary Clinton's win over Barack Obama
(I bet you so was she!), but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to
figure out what happened. In my view, it had absolutely nothing to do
with Hillary's tears, nor any such nonsense.

It had everything to do with people walking into the booth, pulling
a curtain, /and having second thoughts./

It had everything to do with what, to some, is still unimaginable: a
Black president of the United States of America.

I don't think people consciously lied to pollsters. I think they
really believed what they said; but belief and action are two separate

Blacks have dreamed of the idea for more than 1/2 a century (if not
longer), and past nominees, more often than not ran on third parties, or
were 'favorite sons' of certain regions; yet, almost always, they were
protest votes, safe alternatives, votes meant to show support, but not
to elect.

Some of the names will doubtless ring a bell, but many won't elicit
a bare ripple of recognition.

Rev. Channing Phillips of Washington, D.C., was nominated for
President at the raucous Chicago Democratic National Convention on
August 28, 1968, and received 67 1/2 votes from delegates. Throughout
that year, two other Black men, Eldridge Cleaver (then Minister of
Information of the Black Panther Party), and comedian turned civil
rights activist, Dick Gregory, shared the presidential nominations of
the Peace & Freedom Party. Cleaver was on the ballot in at least 5
states, while Gregory polled in at least 9 states. When the votes were
tallied, Cleaver took roughly 10,000 votes, while Gregory garnered
nearly 50,000.

In July , 1972, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (N.Y.-Dem) received
151.95 votes on her presidential nomination at the Democratic National
Convention in Miami, out of 2,000 delegates' votes.

By 1988, Independent (New Alliance Party) Dr. Lenora Fulani, on the
ballot in at least 35 states (and Washington, D.C.) netted over 218,159
votes. While seemingly impressive, it pales when one considers that
91.5 million people voted in the 1988 presidential elections (her share
of the vote was thus 0.24%). Four years later (1992), with new laws in
place restricting ballot access, she would pull perhaps a fourth of that
number, as she had considerably fewer states (about 20) in which to find
her party represented on the ballot.

It's virtually forgotten now that Rev. Jesse Jackson got over 7
million votes, won 13 primaries and caucuses, and controlled almost a
third (29%) of the party delegates in his second run in 1988. Though
Rev. Al Sharpton would try his hand in the 2000 and 2004 races, his
campaign was widely regarded (at least by the corporate media, and
through them, the predominantly white electorate), as a symbolic run, in
the long tradition of protest candidacies. Indeed, one observer, law
professor Kimerle W. Crenshaw has opined that Sharpton's July 2004
Democratic convention speech "electrified" the place, with his critique
of the Bush administration's penchant for appointing right wing judges
to the U.S. Supreme Court would whittle away rights won over long, hard
struggles. Crenshaw noted:

Not only did journalists such as Wolf Blitzer and others perform a
questionable disciplinary role in denouncing Sharpton as being "off message" -- CNN's Jeff Greenfield went further to declare that Sharpton delivered the most incendiary comment of the entire convention. [Fr.: Crenshaw, K.W., "Sharpton Sharpens the Challenge with an Overtime Victory," CommonDreams.org (July 30, 2004).]

In this context, the apparent fawning over Obama by many of these
same media figures may owe more to his seeming nonracial presentation,
than any real concern for Black political empowerment.

Politics is about more than strange bedfellows. It's ultimately
about power, and that's why there are second thoughts.

--(c) '08 maj

18 Jan 2008

A valuable lesson from the Values Party

I have been brushing up on my Green Party history and was interested to find this:

Values was one of the first Green Parties in New Zealand in the 1970s...it nearly fell apart after very radical party decentralization proposed by Guy Salmon.

The story is taken up below

Not only did Salmon cease forthwith to participate in the Values Party, he then quickly
switched his political allegiance. The non-executive ‘National Secretariat’ set up in line with his re-organisation proposal consisted of one woman, Cathy Wilson. In the second newsletter which she sent out after the conference, she noted that ‘...Guy Salmon, prominent at the 1973 national conference and the originator of the plan to do away with a national leader, has been elected to the executive of the youth-oriented National Party "ginger group", Pol-Link...’(Linkletter No. 2, 1973, 5).

Within two years of this about-face Salmon had obtained a position as the first full-time paid employee of the Native Forest Action Council, an executive and leadership role which he has retained for over twenty years. He carried it on into the Maruia Society that was formed from a merger of NFAC and the Environmental Defence Society. During this time he has acted as a consultant and contributor to New Right societies and think tanks, including the Mont Pelerin Society and the Tasman Institute. In 1995 he became a founder and leader of the Progressive Greens party, which contested the 1996 general election with a ‘more market’ approach to solving environmental and social problems. With a small list and no constituency candidates it won 0.24% of the vote.

Given the tenor of Salmon’s post-Values career it is reasonable to ask whether his proposal to the 1973 conference was a deliberate (and very clever) attempt at sabotaging the new political party. Alternatively, it may merely have represented the terminal point of a very brief left/green phase in his political development.

So from anarchist decentralist to libertarian or something more sinister:

By far Timberlands' greatest public relations asset, though, was Maruia Society executive director Guy Salmon. Previously called the Native Forest Action Council (NFAC), the Maruia Society was New Zealand's most active environmental organization during the period from 1975 to 1985. Throughout this period, Salmon's conservativism led to conflicts with many of the group's active members. By the late 1980s, other environmental groups had become dominant, and shrinking membership forced the Maruia Society to close many of its branches.

In the 1990s, Maruia's principal activity consisted of lobbying and writing by Salmon, who traveled to the United States in 1989 and returned enthusiastic about "third wave" environmentalism. This was the idea that, rather than opposing environmentally damaging activities, environmentalists needed to work closely with companies so that they would improve their development plans voluntarily. Instead of relying on environmental regulations developed by the state, "third wave" environmentalists argued that sustainability should be achieved by harnessing "market mechanisms."

Salmon put this theory into practice by habitually taking the side of Timberlands whenever the issue of West Coast native forest logging arose. Timberlands devoted a separate section of its 1994 PR strategy to Salmon and the Maruia Society, based on an aggressive "direct enviro approach" rather than the "bridge-building" approach designed for groups like the WWF. Timberlands realized that Salmon's belief in collaboration with industry could be used to attack the philosophy of other environmentalists.

"When appropriate," the strategy went, "initiate direct contact for discussion on the overall environmental debate, its direction and its future (Maruia). Audience: Guy Salmon and similar thinkers." They were the "future," in Timberland's eyes, because environment groups that opposed rainforest logging were outmoded. The only real environmental issues worth discussing concerned not whether, but how to proceed with the logging. Ironically, the Maruia Society had been named after the Maruia Valley which, thanks to its outstanding beech forests, was where Timberlands planned to begin its beech logging scheme.

By 1997, however, the "outmoded" environmental campaign to protect the forests grew to a point where they threatened the company's beech logging plans. In September 1998, the new logging plans were leaked to environmental groups, released to journalists and publicly condemned by opposition party leaders. Guy Salmon immediately approached Simon Towle of the WWF and suggested they issue a joint news release, which was sent out the same evening.

The release stated that Timberlands' proposals for sustainable "harvesting" of beech forests should be given "serious and open-minded consideration." Borrowing industry phraseology, it characterized the plans as "a very sincere and impressive effort to achieve very low impact sustainable management of the forest. . . . The two groups also noted that Timberlands had made a significant contribution to scientific research into the conservation of endangered species such as kokako and kiwi, and into control of major pests such as stoats."

Predictably, the news release was reported as an indicator of divisions within the environment movement. "Environment groups are split over proposals to log native beech forests on the West Coast," reported one newspaper.
From here.

17 Jan 2008

Obama loves Ronald Reagan

Astonished to find that Obama is reaching out to 'Reagan Democrats' and praising the late radioactive cowboy.

I remember Reagan for killing funding death squads in America and toying with first strike nuclear war, he made bonfire of environmental protection to.

Appparently Obama love his opposition to big government...now I don't centralised all powerful states but this not about self-mamaged socialism it is about giving the poor starving billionaires a bit of the cake.

I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what's different are the times. I do think that for example the 1980 was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing. said Obama

So, am I right that he is the most right wing Democratic candidate out of Clinton, himself and Edward?

Ronald Reagan’s many admirers may find this idea offensive, but – given a new report by the Washington Post – it might be fitting to have a display at Reagan National Airport to show how Salvadoran baby skulls were used as candle holders and good luck charms. Perhaps the presentation could contain skeletal remains of Guatemalans and Nicaraguans, too.

It might be modeled after skeletons on display in Cambodia from the slaughters by the Khmer Rouge. After all, it was President Reagan – more than any other person – who justified and facilitated the barbarity that raged through Central America in the 1980s, claiming the lives of tens of thousands of peasants, clergy and students, men, women and children.

Jean Lambert speaks up for Pakistan human rights


From the Office of Jean Lambert London's Green Member of the European Parliament

London MEP expresses concerns over Pakistan in European Parliament

London Green MEP, Jean Lambert, addressed the European Parliament yesterday afternoon (16/01/08) during a debate on the political state of Pakistanfollowing the assassination of Benazir Bhutto earlier this month. Speakingahead of President Musharraf's visit to Brussels next week, Ms Lambert expressed her concern over the judicial system and security of the country,which has a stock of nuclear arms.

Jean Lambert expressed her sympathy for the family of Benazir Bhutto and allthose who have lost loved ones in recent violent attacks. The European Commission also paid its respects to Ms Bhutto, describing her death as a "national tragedy" and "a loss to the world". It called for the elections totake place without further delay and signalled that it would be deploying aformal observation mission to oversee the elections in Pakistan to ensurethat a fair and transparent process takes place.

Jean Lambert, who is a Member of the Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justic eand Home Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, said: "I fully support the steps the European Commission intends to take to aidfair and transparent elections in Pakistan. It is essential that people haveconfidence in the electoral system and its outcome. "It's also vital that the people of Pakistan have an independent and fully-functioning judicial system which ensures fair trials. There must be an end to detention without charge and secret prisons and there should be a commitment from the next Government to continue the enquiries into thecivilian disappearances that have taken place.

"There is a desperate need for stability in Pakistan, both for its people and the international community: this is, after all, a nuclear state. I welcome the commitment from the European Union to give aid for education,which I believe will be more powerful for the country than the support through arms that other states have provided."

ENDS For more information please contact: Georgina Bloomfield, Media Officer Tel: 020 7407 6280 Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

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