30 Jun 2008

Torture in West Papua

Indonesian Police and Military officers

torture West Papuan government official

from Puncak Jaya

"Anton was … beaten from the front and back [by Indonesian police and soldiers] until he fell down. They stamped on his body with their jack boots and then beat him.”

Cenderawasih Post, [West Papua]

27 June 2008

PUNCAK JAYA – A bad day for Anton Asse (28 years old), a government official from the information and communication department, Puncak Jaya Regent’s Office. He was tortured by a police officer in Tingginambut on Wednesday (25/6/08).

The torture caused injury on his face and bruises on his right eye. He was beaten so hard that the back of his neck was painful and his head was dizzy. He was immediately taken to Mulia regional hospital to get medical treatment.

Anton told Cenderawasih Pos that at that time he was driving a government car (L200) with a red placard number DS 5796 AD (red placard is the special Indonesian sign for any vehicles that belong to the state government). Two government officials and a reserved driver were with him from Wamena to Mulia. They had just attended an inaugural ceremony of 5 new regencies and 5 new regents in Wamena.

The vehicle was moving at low speed as they entered Tingginambut district. When they passed Tingginambut police post, Anton saluted a police officer who was standing in front of the police post by waving his hand. It is a normal thing that Anton always does every time he passes the police post.

After passing the police post Anton increased the speed of the car because he wanted to reach Puncak Senyum before it got dark and foggy which could decrease his vision on the road.

About 1 km after leaving the police post, Anton saw a motorbike chasing them from behind. The motorbike rider was a police officer. Anton stopped the car. The police officer questioned why the three did not report to the police post. He had called them three times to stop but they didn’t. Anton said that he did not hear any calling. As soon as Anton said that, the police officer immediately beat Anton in his face. He beat Anton twice.

"I was beaten twice when I was still inside the car”, he said.

Dr Hendrik Bilangla’bi, head of information department, Puncak Jaya Regent’s office, who saw the incident himself, acknowledged that Anton’s statement was true. He said, “The police (who tortured Anton) ordered us to return to Tingginambut Police post to report.

They therefore returned to the police post. Upon arrival at the police post, Hendrik and Anton got out from the car, but the police officer began to beat Anton in the face again. Anton ran to the back of the car. Hendrik said, “I wanted to prevent and try to reduce the police officer’s emotions so I said ‘That’s enough’ but the police officer threatened to beat me as well so I just kept quiet”.

Inside the police post Anton was beaten by 5 people; 3 police officers and 2 Indonesian military personnel from battalion 756/WMS.

'Anton was standing. He beaten from the front and back [by Indonesian police and soldiers] until he fell down. They stamped on his body with their jack boots and then beat him.” Hendrik said.

He said that this behaviour is disgraceful. A police officer’s job is to protect and respect the people not to disobey the law. He further added, 'If we did something wrong, the police officer should question us wisely and tell us what we have done wrong. He should not justify himself by punishing us”. (nal)

Richard Samuelson
Free West Papua Campaign, Oxford, UK.


Had this from the camp, worth reading...its another way of doing Green politics.

Nice US greenwash blog.

Join the Greenwash Guerrillas to show that E.ON’S greenwash won’t wash!
Wednesday, 16th July, 8.15 AM, London

Just two weeks before the Camp for Climate Action at Kingsnorth, E.ON are
sponsoring a climate summit designed to help industry leaders ‘keep
stakeholders engaged’. Just like their plans for 'clean coal' at
Kingsnorth, this is greenwash of the highest toxicity: a
laughable-if-it-weren't-so-tragic attempt to distract us from the fact
that E.ON are planning to build the first coal-fired power station in the
UK for over thirty years. And that, in a time of unprecedented climate
crisis, is an unacceptable insanity.

This hot-air-fest cannot pass without a visit from… the Greenwash Guerrillas!

Don a white painter’s suit and come on down to the Business Design Centre
in Islington to join a crack team of greenwash detectors. We will be
cordoning off the area and warning summit delegates about the high levels
of toxic greenwash leaking from the building. (We suspect its source to be
E.ON Managing Director Bob Taylor, who’s got a top spot on the panel.) To
get a sense of what the demo will be like, check out the Greenwash
Guerrillas in action - http://risingtide.org.uk/node/250.

This should be a fun, subversive demo, with the Camp for Climate Action,
Rising Tide, People and Planet, Earth First! and WDM all helping to spread
the word. Join us and help show E.ON that our actions won’t be confined to
Kingsnorth this August. Climate Campers will go wherever we need to and do
whatever it takes to shut down Kingsnorth – permanently.

Where: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper St, London N1 0QH
When: Wednesday, 16th July, meet 8.15AM in front of the Business Design

Bring if you can: a white painter's/boiler suit and any home-made
greenwash detecting devices you can think up (eg. part of an old hoover, a
remote control, a hair dryer painted green – get creative!) If you can’t
bring these things, not to worry, extras will be on hand.

More info: info@climatecamp.org.uk / 07961 917 535

(Get in touch if you're coming from out of town and need accommodation the
night before)

29 Jun 2008

By-election blues

Some people just feel fed up with politics in general and don’t want to vote at all, and who can blame them when they have been betrayed so often. When told that politicians are just in it for the money I explained that I’m definitely not. To prove it, if I am elected - about which I’m feeling more and more optimistic - I undertake to give half my salary to the Green Party. I’m in it because I can’t bear to think about what’s going to happen to people, and other species, in the future.

I liked this statement from Shan, there are some by-election blues in the Howden and Haltemprice by-election and a lot of disillusionment with the whole political class amongst voters.

I had an interesting experience in the Sedgefield by-election last year, which I want to talk about and draw some lessons from for wider politics.

Sedgefield is a prosperous northern market town with some very attractive pubs, church, coffee shops...nice place to live. The constituency which is much larger than the town includes Newton Aycliffe and lots of former pit villages like Trimdon. Although many people commuted to work in Middlesborough and Durham, it has an air of post-industrial decline. After the miners strike the pits were shut, I don't think there is a single one open now and deindustrialisation during Thatcher and Major in the 1980s and 1990s seems to have accelerated economic decline.

Sedgefield was, of course, Tony Blair's constituency. He looked like a man who would have suited Sedgefield town may be but not the miners villages. The by-election was scary at times, the BNP gained 8%, although the candidate a former UKIP man, Andrew Spence, was involved in a fist fight with another BNP member a little later and left the pary.

On election day, a huge van covered in bizarre red crosss and decorated with various right wing demands cruised past the polling station where I was telling with my green rosette on, it obviously belong to some obscure faction to the right of Nick Griffin and co.

A lot of the youth were keen BNP supporters, which is something, I had not come across before and found pretty disturbing. Far right politics as youth culture. Economic decline is one factor, the 100% disillusionment with Blair was another, the constituency seemed very white and I guess a lot of local BNP voters had had little experience of diversity, which does little for tolerance and mutual respect. 99.3% white according to some sources!

The Green vote was not huge, which was a shame Chris Haine is an excellent candidate and Mike Toms as agent worked hard. As always in by-elections Clive Lord put in days of work, honorable mention to the great Elizabeth Barclay and the energetic Mark Hill. Sorry for any one I have left out, although there were not hundreds of us.

Any way plenty to tell, but the particular story I wanted to relate goes like this. A couple who were local Labour Party members came up to me and gave me a long account of how they had been active in the party since before Blair was selected, they were totally disillusioned.

You see it a lot in politics but especially in the Labour Party at present. Incidentally a good friend of mine who is a Labour Party member in Hackney told me how difficult it was to get anyone from the party out to canvass and campaign in the Mayoral Elections back in May (see I do have friends who are political but not ecosocialist Greens!).

It was a long and interesting account from the couple, covering the socialist tradition in the North East, the urge for something new and positive after the long years of Major and Thatcher, the problems with Blair and New Labour and of course the unnecessary bloodshed of Iraq. I not sure why they even stayed in the Labour Party, I am glad they talked to be some openly, see I do listen at least once a year!

They made a simple and heart felt point. They told me that time after time in politics, people are strongly attracted to charismatic politicians like Blair. For a while they inspire nearly everybody and induce almost passionate commitment amongst the faithful.

But the couple said to me they fail, being hungry for power and often unprincipled, this devastates their supporters, who become disillusioned and then often drop out of political activity.

Of course as fewer people become politically active, it is less and less easy to achieve positive change.

Gordon Brown is so dull at present that he is disillusioning his former supporters through lack of charisma but the Blair alternative or the alternative of those who trade on personality is dangerous.

I am great fan of Chavez, well hey he gets things wrong but he reads widely and is more than just a face and has a good sense of humour, so may be he will be an exception. However one should never put faith in a single individual, it is too risky and Venezuela well only progess if a mass movement is sustained and grows.
Incidentally Chavez who is the same age as Blair was, at first attracted to 'third way' politics, initially rejecting both the left and the right!

Yes I like Castro as well but he has stepped down and is a bit player like the rest of us, that makes me happy.

The Scottish Socialist Party was helped immensely by Tommy Sheridan but his dominance was one of the key factors that nearly lead to its collapse and the socialist parties in Scotland are now weak. The great man or women is a great target for those who wish to destabilise radical politics.

Figure heads if we treat them as figureheads can have a role but they are only human and the will to political power produces not just feet of clay but legs and arms of the stuff.

The average politician is probably good hearted, at least, at first but eventually they will steal you last rollo and justify the act in terms of saving the penguins or promoting a strong economy.

Harden your heart to leaders, treat them as potentially flawed and you will probably keep active in politics, open you heart and put your faith in them and your heart will be broken.

I guess voters may be ahead of those of us who are members of political parties when it comes to this piece of wisdom.

28 Jun 2008

Green Left Steering Meeting

GreenLeft steering committee, Minutes of meeting of Monday 2nd June 2008, QEH cafe, Southbank.

1. Attendance: Sue Bineham, John Henry Marvin, Joseph Healy, Pete Murry, Sarah Farrow, Farid Bakht, Derek Wall, Andy Hewitt, Tim Summers.
2. Apologies for absence: Sean Thompson, Payam Torabi, Cllr Romayne Phoenix, Jane Ennis, Sue Tibbles.
3. Co-options: John Henry Marvin was co-opted to the Steering Committee, Tim Summers also as GL Secretary. Payam Torabi is invited for co-option, (not as NHS rep).
4. Population policy: Joseph reported from GPex that a second, amended draft of population policy by Nicola Watson has been circulated, but was unlikely to be included in the agenda of Autumn Conference. Instead, Brian Heatley will chair a conference Population Policy fringe meeting open to all points of view. Meeting discu ssed and approved 3 items of policy towards this discussion: to reject a population target, for eco-friendly housing stock according to need, and to consider the "push and pull" factors of migration.
5. Migration Policy: a conference motion will propose that GPEW adopts the European Green Party paper on Migration (agreed at GL/AGM), and Joseph will organise a fringe meeting on Migration with Theresa Hayter and a Dutch Green as speakers. GPTU offered to host this fringe.<\li>
6. Zionism and "anti-Semitism": a small pro-Zionist group will propose a motion to Autumn Conference that GPEW shares no platform with representatives of �anti-Semitism� e.g. Palestine Solidarity Campaign, recognises the state of Israel to exist, and to regard Zionism as a respectable ideology. GreenLeft must mobilise opposition and hold a conference fringe with Simon Lynn of the Jewish Socialist Group to speak (a title for our fringe needs devising).
7. Minimum & Maximum Wage policy: a Conference motion in favour by Sean Thompson is likely to be rivalled by a policy for a "local living wage".
8. Socialist Resistance Conference, Saturday 28th June 08, 10.30-4pm at ULU, Malet St. Joseph will speak on European Green Parties and Sian Berry has also been invited, other speakers from Portugal and Die Linke. GL attendance encouraged.
9. Socialist Party Conference, Sunday 29th June 08 at ULU will propose their campaign for a "new workers´ party". Everyone except the SWP has been invited. GL attendance is encouraged.
10. National Officers: discussed
11. Leader & Deputy Leader: discussion favoured the commissioning of the Election Reform Society to conduct the GPEW elections of GPex and leaders, at a likely cost of £2,000. GL must draft a motion and use its minutes,discussion list and blog to populise this proposal. Tim will promote dissatisfaction with GPRC´s validation of the recent Leadership Ballot, at the next meeting of the London Federation on 16th June.
12. GL Finance: Sue, Treasurer reported current funds at �£285 and reminded supporters to join GL at an annual subscription of £5 each, before the deadline of October 2008.
13. Any Other Business:
1. Pete will circulate a draft for a GL leaflet by blog.
2. Derek reported the evening at the Cuban Embassy and the invitation to GPEW and GL to visit Cuba ( by flight) next year. The Cuban government´s ecological self-sufficiency,its intentions to hold democratic elections and to end state homophobia were noted with approval, and a GL policy of critical support for Cuba was agreed nem con.
3. GL will hold its eve of conference fringe meeting on Thursday 4th September 08 at Birkbeck College or Bolivar Hall, London. Derek will seek a panel of speakers, the Venezuelan Ambassador and representatives of the Cuban Embassy and Socialist Resistance and he will speak on the work of Hugo Blanco. The event must be publicised in London´s Latin-American press.
4. GPTU Conference, 12th July 08 at Friends´ Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AF, £8/4 concs, speakers Caroline Lucas MEP, Tony Kearns (CWU) and workshops.
5. GPTU will circulate its motions on the boycott of arms shipment to Zimbabwe and support for NUT/UCU.
6. Tolpuddle Martyrs´ Rally, Dorset on Friday 18th July 08, Derek to speak, attendance encouraged.
7. Royal Festival Hall level 2 is a good London venue for future GL steering committees.
8. The 2009 Ecosocialist International conference may be held in London.
14. GreenLeft next General Meeting on Saturday 9th August 08 at Sarah´s pub, Headcorn, Kent.
15. Questions: can GL have another Summer Camp soon, a General Meeting in Manchester this winter and a Scottish GL?
16. The Meeting Closed-

EDITED GL/SC Minutes of 2-6-08 recorded by Tim Summers, secretary 020 7737 6289.





via: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)

JOIN the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) and the International
Concerned Family and Friends of
Mumia Abu-Jamal on FRIDAY, JULY 4TH, on the 26th ANNIVERSARY of Mumia's
incarceration on
Death Row.

HALL AT 12 NOON to remind the entire nation that Philly's filthy court
system sentenced an innocent man
to death just to beat their barbecue deadline.

We will also be highlighting a new book, "The Framing of Mumia
Abu-Jamal" by J. Patrick O'Connor, that
not only points convincingly to Mumia's innocence but also identifies
the likely killer of the police officer for
whose death Mumia has been on Death Row for more than a quarter of a
century. To travel with us and for
more info, please leave your name and contact number on our Hotline at



Alan Wheatley praises special edition of The Big Issue

I can commend a two-page article in The Big Issue on privatisation of
CAB services by cost-cutting councils. The edition is 23 to 29 June, so
it would be a good idea to approach your nearest Big Issue seller for
one by Sunday 29 June. (I only picked up my copy today.)

The marketisation of debt advice services, etc that the article refers
to has also been applied to a 'quantity over quality' restructuring of
the way Shelter and other specialist advice services are ordered to work
by their management. The Green Party Trades Union Group has been active
in supporting trade union activity against such practices that are
ultimately designed more to satisfy fat cats than they are to
alleviating poverty.

I believe the kind of socialism New Labour practices is akin to that of
the late Robert Maxwell. He is reputed to have said, "I take people and
I squeeze them until the pips squeak."

Alan Wheatley
Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party and
co-proposer of Emergency Motion 119 at Green Party Spring Conference, 2008.

Editor note: it isn't actually the Monkey edition of Big Issue in the North, I Doctor Wall of the Green Party of England and Wales thought this was a nice cover though.

27 Jun 2008

A sad day for Derek as Nandor steps down

The Green Party politician, who says he smokes marijuana "for religious reasons", claimed the first thing he had done when he entered Parliament in 1999 was buy a watch and he had been "cuffed" to it ever since.

"So today I remove that shackle, because when I look at the state of our rivers, our atmosphere and our people I don't need a watch to tell me what time it is," the dread-locked lawmaker said before smashing his watch with a hammer.
More here

well its only been an internet relationship but I have worked with Nandor, he is 100% great and even amongst Greens there are many who replace 'ecology' with shallow egotism. He is an exception and is aware that politics is more than personality.

I am sad to see him go but yes politics can be bad for you, at least corrupt parliamentary politics....looking after children and being domestic matters as well

I love his smashing the watch.

Are we going to be saved by a Joan of Arc or Joseph of Arc winning and transforming the world...no its a bigger, deeper and more subtle process.

More 'people get ready' than 'look at me I'm great, when I win I will save you all'.

Nandor perfect!

this is what he wrote for my book:

Nandor Tanczos
Human beings face the greatest challenge in the history of our species. We face the destruction of the life support systems on which our very existence depends, and we face it because of our own activity.
There are some who deny or diminish that threat. They mostly either retreat into fairy tale thinking – that technology, or the ‘free’ market, or UFO’s will save us - or hope that by closing their eyes they can it go away.
Yet the evidence is mounting almost daily that the threats are very real and are gathering momentum. A new report from the UK is saying that if we don't turn carbon emissions around in the next decade, we will not be able to stop runaway climate change whatever we do.
Authoritative voices are warning us that we are very close to the point where world demand for oil will outstrip the capacity of the oilfields to supply. Our total dependence on fossil fuels, the use of which has provided the energy for an enormous expansion of human activity and population, is like a chemical addiction. And as the USA has recently confirmed in Iraq, strip a junkie of their supply and the temptation to turn to crime can be irresistable.
“The American way of life” says George Bush the First “is not negotiable”.
A time of crisis, however, is also the time of greatest opportunity. More and more people are waking up to the need to change, to change at a fundamental level, and to change right now. People are waking up to the fact that the institutions of society that so many have put their trust in are failing us. Government won’t do it. Big business can’t do it.
Because the challenge we are facing is about more than changing a few policies or practises. It requires a fundamental rethink of what it means to be a human being. Government and business can become allies, but the power to make real change lies in the hearts and the lives of ordinary people.
It is already happening. The international people’s movement against genetically engineered (GE) plants and animals has demonstrated how the reckless agenda of multinational corporations, aided and abetted by our own governments, can be stopped in its tracks and rolled back. One conglomerate has been outed bribing government regulatory officials in Indonesia, GE companies are pulling out of the EU and Australia, and GE agriculture firms are facing massive stock market losses. The promised gold rush is proving to be a fantasy, largely because of global consumer resistence.
While the campaign has significant support in the scientific community, for many ordinary people it began as a sense that something just didn’t feel right. That feeling is often quickly backed up by investigation, but the sense of something being fundamentally arrogant and wrong about GE is the key - it is our humanness talking to us.
What is it to be human? Western society, at least, defines us as individuals whose value can be judged by what job we have, what colour credit card, what kind of car we drive and the label on our clothes.
Yet beneath these displays of status, real people are emotional, social and spiritual beings - intrinsic characteristics that cannot be considered in isolation from each other. We seem to have forgotten that our relationships – with one another and all the other beings with whom we share this beautiful planet – are fundamental to who we are.
There is a passage in the Bible that says “where there is no vision, the people perish”. The inability to step back and clearly see and understand the ‘big picture’ is the central problem that we face in the world today. The main motivations for Western industrial society for the past few hundred years - belief in unlimited growth and technology as the solution to all problems - are the very things that are killing us.
We cannot grow forever on a finite planet. If we continue to assume that endless growth and consumption is possible, and disregard the biosphere’s capacity to meet our greed, and if we continue to neglect social justice and fair and sustainable wealth distribution, we will reap a bitter harvest.
Neither will technology on its own fix the problem. Yes, we need better technology, more efficient technology that uses non-polluting cyclical processes and that does not depend on fossil fuels. But just more technology will not do, because the problem is in us and the way we see ourselves in the world.
We humans think that we can own the planet, as if fleas could own a dog. Our concepts of property ownership are vastly different from traditional practises of recognising use rights over various resources. A right to grow or gather food or other resources in a particular place is about meeting needs. Property ownership is about the ability to live on one side of the world and speculate on resources on the other, possibly without ever seeing it, without regard to need or consequence.
The ability to ‘own’ property is fundamental to capitalism. Since the first limited liability companies - the Dutch and British East India Companies - were formed, we have seen the kidnapping and enslavement of 20 - 60 million African people and the rape, murder and exploitation of indigenous people around the world. Colonisation was primarily about mercantile empires, not political ones. It was all about forcing indigenous, communitarian people to accept private individual ownership of resources, which could then be alienated, either by being bought or stolen. The subsequent political colonisation was just about how to enforce that ownership.
Today property rights are being extended through GATT and TRIPS agreements and through institutions such as the WTO and the World Bank. Private property rights are being imposed over public assets such as water, intellectual property and, through genetic engineering and biopiracy, on DNA sequences. Even traditional healing plants are under threat. In Aotearoa - New Zealand we have had multinationals attempting to patent piko piko and other native plants. This is all part of the ‘free’ trade corporate globalisation agenda - to create tradeable rights over our common wealth, accumulate ownership and then sell back to us what is already ours.
This is only possible because we have lost our place in the scheme of things. We think of the environment as something ‘over there’, as something separate from human activity, something to either be exploited or protected. The reality is that we are as much part of the environment and the planet as the trees, insects and birds.
It is time to relearn what it means to be human.

Fight dem biofuels! Fight dem!


The EU is currently debating the draft Renewable Energy Directive, which
includes a 10% mandatory biofuel taret for transport. There will be at
least one important vote by an EU parliamentary committees during July.

We have got a new email alert to UK MEPs, asking them to vote against a
biofuel target and to support a moratorium on agrofuels
from large-scale monocultures and in particular on all targets and
incentives. Such an EU moratorium call is supported by over 200
organisations (see: www.econexus.info/biofuels.html)

You can find the email alert and more background information at
http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/red_mep_2008.php .

Apart from taking part in the email alert, it would be very helpful if you
could also contact your MEPs directly - either phone, or, if possible,
meet them during a surgery. To find out who your MEPs are, see
www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm .

This email alert is only for people resident in the UK. A similar letter
which will be sent to all European MEPs can also be signed at
www.regenwald.org/international/englisch/protestaktion.php?id=274 .

Many thanks.

Best regards,

The Biofuelwatch Team

Greens celebrate 30 years of the Rainbow Flag



Greens celebrate 30 years of the Rainbow Flag


To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Gilbert Baker’s Rainbow flag[1], Georgia Wrighton, Green Councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove, stated at the rainbow flag being flown from Brighton Town Hall:

“I'm delighted to see the Rainbow Flag flown on Brighton Town Hall to commemorate its 30th Anniversary. The Flag symbolises so much for the people of Brighton and Hove, and is a well-known expression of the strength behind the LGBT community both here and around the world.

Georgia continued:

“It is fantastic that we are commemorating the Flag's origins in this way, and through this kind of leadership, the Council can express its pride in the vitality and dynamism of the LGBT community in this City.”

Greens joined with other political parties in marking the 25th June and honouring the flag’s creator Gilbert Baker and all those who have maintained the spirit of Pride across the world, by holding Pride Parades in the sight of adversity.

History was made in Riga and Warsaw this year with the flying of the Rainbow flag over the British Embassies in solidarity with LGBT people and their friends and families.

This follows a letter to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband from Caroline Lucas Green MEP for the South East of England who requested that all British Embassies be encouraged to fly the rainbow flag and take other positive actions to support Pride Parades across Europe.


Notes for Editors:

For further information, please contact Phelim Mac Cafferty Media spokesperson for the LGBT Group on 07765 474 621

[1] Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag made its first appearance in a gay pride march in 1978 in San Francisco. The stripes in Baker’s original design denoted sexuality (pink), life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), magic (blue), serenity (indigo) and spirit (violet). The pink stripe was ejected when the flag was being mass-produced and it lost the turquoise so that an even number of stripes would be visible when hung from lamp posts.

Principal Speaker supports RMT cleaners

'Poverty exists in the midst of plenty in London. Outsourcing and 'competition' have driven workers wages down. The Green Party made campaigning for fair pay a key plank of our election campaign in May. We must keep the pressure up. I support the RMT tube workers, they must be supported in their campaign for a living wage and decent working conditions'
Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker



More than 700 RMT Tube Cleaners who work for 4 private contractors voted for strike action to win the London living wage and decent living conditions. They voted for a series of strikes with a landslide of over 99%.
As the RMT general secretary says, "In 21st century London, a living wage is reckoned to be at least £7.50 an hour. We have members who are being paid at rock-bottom minimum wage rates little more than £5.50 an hour, and the abuse has to stop." The people who clean one of the world's most prestigious metro systems have the right to be paid a wage on which they can afford to live in London.
The previous mayor promised the cleaners on Metronet contracts they would receive the London living wage as soon as they passed into Transport for London control. Metronet is now under Transport for London control, but the Cleaners remain on the same low pay and degrading conditions. If Boris Johnson wants to be seen as mayor for all Londoners, he surely should honour that pledge.
The private contractors also continue to impose horrifyingly poor conditions; including the barbaric practice of "third party sackings" whereby cleaners can be dismissed with no disciplinary hearing or right of appeal, at the behest of parties other than the employer - a device used to get rid of trade union activists. This is why RMT cleaners want a change to 28 days' holiday, sick pay, decent pension scheme and travel facilites.( All other workers on the Tube get free travel as a right, but not the worst-paid!)
With £1million-a-week profit, the share-holders of Tubelines (the other major privateering company now Metronet's been brought under Transport for London) are unlikely to feel a noticeable dent in their pockets if our Tube Cleaners get a living wage and basic conditions. CATP believes these issues are a Health & Safety question for passengers ( remember the Kings Cross fire). If you find a carriage or platform has a build-up of slippery or combustible materials, you are perfectly entitled to complain immediately to the station supervisor. We support the Tube Cleaners action and want cleaning brought back into the Public Sector.

If you want to help the
Campaign Against Tube Privatisation, phone Dave Welsh 0207- 837- 0845 to find out about more action and send your views to Boris Johnson at City Hall, Queen's Walk, SE1 2AA

Leaflet with CATP
Friday: 27th June, 8.00-9.30p.m Finsbury Park Tube( Wells Terrace entrance)
Monday: June 30th, 4.30-6.00p.m. Archway Tube
Tuesday: July 1, 8.00-9.30a.m Stratford Tube
Wednesday: July 2, 4.30-6.00p.m King's Cross (new Euston Rd entrance)

Greens beat Labour in by-election

Well I think this is the first time the Greens have beaten Labour in a by-election, I went to help the candidate Mark Stevenson, who is a local organic farmer. He was excellent: radical and persuasive. The campaign literature was professional and thoughtful. I was particularly impressed by the newsheet from Oxford Green Party with an article in opposition to war in Afghanistan and stuff on incinerators.

Ok it was a modest third as the candidate says but he didn't exactly have an army of canvassers or a huge political machine behind him. When I went to help it was just the two of us!

Ok as Mark says it was a distant third but in encouraging....where next from Brown, down to 3% on the anniversary of his installation (with out a vote) as Prime Minister.

We came third! Woopee! (OK, a rather distant third,
but even so . . .)
Howell (C) 19796
Kearney (LD) 9680
Stevenson (Green) 1321
Rait (BNP) 1243
McKenzie (Lab) 1066
Adams (UKIP) 843
+ 6 also rans

This got national media coverage with Sky and BBC. Got
a plug in for Brighton and Oxford East.
Thanks to all who helped. This now means that we are
the ONLY party whose vote share has consistently gone
up over the last three parliamentary elections here.
(But I'm afraid we still didn't get our deposit back.)
We're already planning for the GE!

Mark Stevenson
Green candidate for Henley

26 Jun 2008

Mortgage the future with the MPC

letter sent to papers early this year, looks fairly prophetic now...but based on obvious stuff

Dear Editor,

Your report on the bleak prospects for Mervyn King as he goes into his second term as Governor (Guardian Jan 31st) with all signs showing a noxious mixture of economic recession and spiralling inflation on the horizon, is timely. Rising fuel prices, in the 1990s a barrel of oil cruised at $10 now it hovers around $90 plus more expensive food, means that to keep inflation low, the Bank will need to raise interest rates. Yet collapsing house prices, falling consumer confidence, a liquidity squeeze/credit crunch and a dour US economic outlook, demand that to prevent recession, the bank will have to cut interest rates. The MPC and Mervyn will, thus, be damned whatever they do with interest rates at their monthly meeting next week.

While in 1997 putting the Bank of England in charge of interest rates and therefore economic management looked like a master stroke, it is evident that the economy can no longer be stabalised purely by monetary means. Government needs to take an interest as well.

Equally there are a whole herd of elephants in the room, economic growth is ultimately impossible on a finite planet, to solve recession we have to consume at ever faster rates, yet with peak oil and climate change this looks positively dangerous. We have a whole system built on debt, the housing bubble could burst at any moment and with it could come 1930s style mass unemployment. Financialisation builds ever more risk into the system and with the use of ever more esoteric economic instruments such as derivatives, policy makers have less and less understanding of the real state affairs. We need a new Keynes and some serious work in constructing a new economics unless we are to lurch from every deepening crisis while we mortgage the future through environmental damage and spiraling monetary chaos.


Dr Derek Wall,
Green Party Principal Speaker,
1a Waterlow Road,
N19 5NJ

25 candidates in by-election

As well as David Davis and Shan Oakes, we have a varied list of 23 others.

The full list of candidates issued by the acting returning officer Nigel Pearson includes Conservative Party candidate David Michael Davis and Independents Grace Christine Astley, David Craig, Herbert Winford Crossman, Thomas Faithful Darwood, Tony Farnon, Eamonn Fitzy Fitzpatrick, Christopher Mark Foren, John Nicholson, Jill Saward, Norman Scarth, Walter Edward Sweeney, John Randale Upex and Greg Wood.

Also on the list are David Laurence Bishop of the Church of the Militant Elvis Party, Ronnie Carroll of Make Politicians History and Mad Cow-Girl for The Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

Tess Culnane for National Front Britain for the British, Miss Great Britain Party's Gemma Dawn Garrett, George Hargreaves of the Christian Party, Hamish Howitt of Freedom 4 Choice, David Icke, Shan Oakes for the Green Party, the New Party's David Pinder, Joanne Robinson (English Democrats - Putting England First) and Christopher John Talbot of the Socialist Equality Party complete the list.

Letter of support to Hull and East Riding Greens

This went out last week...you could get quite an interesting book out of the stuff on the debate around this....

You are welcome to forward the letter more widely if you wish

Dear Hull & East Riding Greens,

We the undersigned are aware that some members at national level have
expressed concern about your local party contesting the forthcoming
Haltemprice & Howden By-election. However, we want to reassure you that
there are many people in the party and many experienced election campaigners

who are fully supportive of your contesting this by-election. Although David

Davis is correct on the issue of 42 days, we note his appalling record on
many other areas of policy including LGBT issues, climate change and the
human rights act. With no Labour or Liberal Democrat candidates the Green
Party would be the only credible left of centre challenger in this
by-election and we believe it is absolutely right that voters be given a
credible alternative to David Davis. Moreover, we believe that even though
this seat has not been contested by us before, the unique nature of this
contest is likely to deliver the Green Party's best ever vote share in a
parliamentary by-election, and significantly higher than the previous best
of 6.1%. We therefore urge you to stand and believe that contesting this
by-election will enhance the party's future prospects as a serious electoral


Cllr. Darren Johnson AM - London Assembly Member and Candidate for Lewisham
Deptford (former Elections Organiser for Hull Green Party 1988-90)

Cllr. Jenny Jones AM - London Assembly Member

Joseph Healey - International Co-ordinator, GPEx

Jonathan Essex - Campaigns Co-ordinator, GPEx

Cllr Romayne Phoenix - Candidate for Lewisham West & Penge

Noel Lynch - Co-ordinator, London Federation of Green Parties

Penny Kemp - Former Chair, GPEx

Cllr Rupert Read - Norwich Councillor and Lead Candidate, Eastern Region

Andy Hewett - London GPRC representative, Candidate for Greenwich & Woolwich

Cllr Dean Walton - Lewisham Councillor (born and brought up in Hessle)

Home Secretary ‘misled’ to claim safety of LGBT people returned to Iran



Home Secretary ‘misled’ to claim safety of LGBT people returned to Iran

Urgent review of Home Office approaches to LGBT asylum needed


The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, does not consider Iranian LGBT asylum seekers to have fears of persecution if they are returned. According to Smith who has had correspondence with Lord Roberts of Llandudno published in a letter in today’s Independent, ‘evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation.’

In condemning the Home Secretary’s response, Phelim Mac Cafferty, media spokesperson for LGBT Greens stated:

“Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, is playing a dangerous game with the lives of Iranian LGBT refugees: effectively she’s trying to rubbish the argument that LGBT people are being persecuted for their sexuality in Iran. Her claim that as long as people are ‘discreet’ a regime notorious for its treatment of LGBT people will somehow stop persecuting them is misled at best and homicidal at worst.

“Instead of this macho posturing from the Home Office on keeping asylum figures down, we desperately need a Home Secretary prepared to look the Iranian regime in the eyes and stand up for what’s right for LGBT people.

“Iranian LGBT refugees have fled from persecution and torture and we now need an urgent review of the services provided for all LGBT refugees. We need-

1. Compulsory training for all asylum staff on sexual-orientation and trans-awareness.

2. Explicit instructions to all immigration and asylum staff, and asylum judges, that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum.

3. Clearer and up-to-date guidance from the Home Office for asylum judges to reflect

the accurate scale of LGBT persecution throughout the world

4. Legal-aid funding for asylum claims need to be substantially increased."

Congress Report Calls for Israeli Boycott Campaign

http://www.ictu. ie/press/ 2008/06/18/ congress- report-calls- for-israeli- boycott-campaign /

Congress Report Calls for Israeli Boycott Campaign
18 Jun 2008
Congress today (June 18) formally launched the report of a senior union delegation visit to Israel and Palestine which recommends support and promotion for a "boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies."
The Congress delegation report recommends (full list below) that this course of action be pursued in order to encourage Israeli compliance with International Law and to cease its violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people.
The Congress report also calls for the Irish government to initiate change at EU level, with regard to policy on Israel and Palestine.
The delegation visit (in November 2007) comprised senior Congress officials and was led by the current President of Congress, Patricia McKeown. The delegation visited Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and met with trade unionists, human rights activists and senior politicians.
The visit followed the unanimous adoption by Congress, in July 2007, of two motions that specifically called for a boycott and a campaign of disinvestment.
The report also recommends that Congress raise these issues at senior levels in the Irish government and at a European level, in order to build support for a campaign.
It also calls for Irish government assistance for building civic capacity in both Palestine and Israel, with regard to conflict resolution, along with investment in the Palestinian economy.
1. That the report is presented to the Executive Council and is published as a Congress document for widespread distribution throughout the Irish, European and International Trade Union Movement.
2. The Executive Council should meet with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss the findings of the delegation and the content of the two resolutions carried at BDC 2007. The objective purpose of these meetings is:
- to request the Irish government to initiate policy change on Palestine, at EU level with regard to the illegal actions of the Israeli Government;
- to request the Irish government to oppose the withholding of EU funding for the Palestinian Authority and to call for the end of the preferential trading status afforded Israel under the Euro/ Mediterranean Agreement.
3. The Executive Council should meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss the financing of specific programmes for the Palestinian people. These should include:
- building capacity in civic society including conflict resolution both intra and inter Palestinian and Israeli society;
- encourage and provide expertise for Irish investment in the Palestinian economy;
- for development of the Equality Agenda and a Rights Based Approach to the political and civic institutions in Palestine;
- the provision of expertise from Ireland in building social partnership between the various pillars in both Israel and Palestine.
4. Following on from the distribution of the report a further meeting to be held with our sister confederations in GB with the objective of a Council of the Isles campaign on behalf of the Palestinian people.
5. Through ICTU membership of the ETUC and the ITUC to raise the plight of the Palestinian people with particular emphasis on building solidarity with the PGFTU.
6. To engage with the Israeli labour movement and the Israeli government to discuss the above policies and to lobby for a change of policy focus, from the primacy of security to the primacy of a political resolution.
7. To encourage other trade union delegations to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.
8. That ICTU pursue active engagement and collaborative working with Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups and other civic society organisations as necessary.
9. To support and promote a boycott campaign of Israeli goods and services and a policy of disinvestment from Israeli companies as a means of encouraging the Israeli government to comply with International Law and to cease the human rights violations of the Palestinian people.
10. That ICTU hosts a high level conference with international speakers, to develop trade union solidarity.

The Alan Wheatley column

Community Care magazine columnist Simon Stevens is a disability service
user who employs care assistants. He has kicked up a storm online by
accusing unions of spreading 'caveman propaganda that disabled people
are naturally bad employers' (Community Care, 19 June 2008, page 5).

Meanwhile, as a talented disabled jobseeker and ex-support worker to
adults with learning difficulties I note that New Labour's welfare
reform agenda would rather give £62K for global corporation per disabled
person off Incapacity Benefit and into paid work than invest properly in
extending the personalisation agenda to the point of helping disabled
people become their/our own bosses. At A4e Holloway on New Deal recently
I was told that for signing off Jobseekers Allowance to become
self-employed, I would get £500; the Jobcentre told me it would actually
be just £100 plus 4 weeks Housing & Council Tax Benefit.

Please note also that the weekly 'earnings disregard' on JSA is less
than an hour of the national minimum wage and has not gone up since 1988.

Alan Wheatley
Disability Spokesperson for London Green Party

25 Jun 2008


Well I had to work quite hard to get the national party to reverse a decision and allow Shan to stand. Now we have to give our full support.

Her blog is here

She notes:

After a democratic debate inside the Green Party about whether we should stand in this by-election, I’m thrilled to announce that today the national party gave the go-ahead to us standing in Haltemprice and Howden, after I was selected last night by the local party to contest the seat against the Conservatives’ David Davis on July 10th.

That’s 16 days time!

Our constituency-wide leaflet is due to go to the printers tomorrow, and we’re starting campaigning in earnest. Any offers of campaigning help can be directed to Martin Dean at sokuto12@sokuto12.karoo.co.uk

I’m looking forward to highlighting the Tories’ hypocrisy on civil liberties.

Here is the press release, we have put out:

The Green Party have today launched their Haltemprice and Howden by-
election campaign.

Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall has backed local education
and environment activist Shan Oakes to contest the election. Shan has
lived in East Riding since 1975, where she was an English teacher for
many years and is one of the founders of Voice International, an
organisation working to promote sustainability through education and
is Chair of the Trustees of the Development Education Centre.

Leading Greens will be joining the Shan on the campaign trial in the
next few weeks, including Dr. Wall, human rights spokesperson Peter
Tatchell, target Parliamentary candidates Darren Johnson AM and Cllr.
Adrian Ramsay, and prospective MEP candidates Peter Cranie and Cllr.
Rupert Read.

Dr. Wall said

"This by-election was supposed to be about civil liberties.

"But it's been called by a man - David Davis - who thinks it's okay
for the government to lock you up for four weeks without even telling
you what you're supposed to have done.

"David Davis also believes that you should have no right to criticise
the government within a mile of Parliament.

"He believes that if a child is being bullied for being gay, his
school should not have a policy to protect him.

"And he believes that a judge should be allowed to kill you if he
thinks you've committed a serious crime.

"So the Green Party had to stand. Someone had to stand up for civil


Donations to

Hull & East Riding Green Party

3 Norwood


East Yorkshire

HU17 9ET, UK

Green Party must convince on economics if it is to win

I ran into David Fleming a couple of days ago http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2008/06/dr-david-fleming-presents-energy-and.html. David is one of the most entertaining and thoughtful people I have met in a long time, a political thinker, an academic with a bit of popular bite. He is enthusiastically developing new solutions to climate change . Back in 1978 with Jonathan Porrit and Paul Ekins, he worked hard to get the Green Party (then called the Ecology Party) on its feet. He was a visionary moderniser in the best sense, the Party got a bit more organised, and a bit more media friendly, in 1979 it contest 53 parliamentary seats at the General Election that gave us Thatcher. We had never met before and we enjoyed much mutual verbal back slapping on the lines of ‘Ecology Party Executive, toughest job in the world’.

50 constituencies was a magic number back then, it gave the party a party political broadcast and helped us make a splash. Membership rose from a few hundred in the 1970s to 8,000. Then it fell again and the Party nearly collapsed. In 1989, when I was first Principal Speaker (confusingly there were three of us, Sarah Parkin and the great Jean Lambert), we Greens achieved 15% of the vote at the Euro elections. Membership rose to 20,000 and then fell.

Well without proportional representation, life for we Greens is tough but in the early 1980s and the early 1990s, one of the key factors that stopped us progressing was the economic climate. Recession is not good for Green Party growth. In 2008 recession, despite the odd sign of rising sales, looks on the agenda. Can we make the Green Party grow and place environmental concern at the heart of politics, even as the economy goes into reverse, unemployment rises and prices rocket. The general view is one of pessimism about green politics in the cold climate of recession.

Academics argue over Inglehart’s post-materialist thesis but if correct it suggests that the Green Party will have a very tough time over coming years. Inglehart argued, to vulgarise a little, that with rising prosperity people have the luxury of basing their politics on environmental concern rather than ‘bread and butter’ issues. With rising growth we move from the old social movements based on class and cash, such as trade unions and ratepayers associations on to the New social movements of green, feminism, sexual liberation (gay and straight) and peace. The reverse of course is true if you agree with his basic analysis.

I have never bought this. If you mess up the environment, you suffer in a pretty material way. However, with a cloudy economic outlook we Greens have to make our economic policies clear. Difficult to do when the media just want to ask us about the ozone layer and polar bears. However, unless we can answer tough questions about the PSBR, the golden rule and the deficiencies of ‘neo-classical endogenous growth theory’, we will not be able to win the hearts and minds we need to save the environment.

The good news is the Green Party has excellent economic policies but we need to emphasise them more. Wage rises of at least the rate of inflation are needed for public sector workers. Yet government borrowing is out of control. Why should nurses and teachers pick up the tab for money mistakes made by Gordon and Alistair? Well let us try spending less. Luckily, there is plenty of fat to trim, so both borrowing and fair pay can be achieved. Why spend $70bn on Trident, why contemplate £bns on nuclear power, why waste £bns on the killing fields of Iraq.

Then there is the black stuff, who was stupid enough to waste North Sea oil rather than investing it in creating a post-oil economy, I think that will be Thatcher, Major and Blair. By localising economies, promoting renewables and going for organic agriculture, we can cut our spending on oil. Vital for keeping down inflation and a literal lifesaver if we are to deal with climate change. Just think of Hugo Chavez pouring oil revenue into social services and health care, while trying to diversify the economy of his country so he can stop extracting the stuff.

Green economics, well its everything from economic democracy where we put power into the hands of workers and consumers via coops and mutuals, to promoting prosperity with less energy use. Marketisation is no longer a solution….look at how it is killing postal services. In turn the effect of shifting our economy from industrial production to the city has been a disaster. How are we to build the electric buses and wind generators we need for a Green Britain without reindustrialisation? Equally we are all collectively mortgaged to dodgy high interest home loans to the poorest inhabitants of Miami. Finally city bonuses have fuelled an increasingly unequal society here in Britain. Hey it’s the economy stupid.

The neo-liberal economic agenda is falling apart, greens have to go on the ideological offensive. Economics has to be central to the Green Party message,if we are to make a breakthrough in British politics.

23 Jun 2008

Principal Speaker backs local Green Party over Davis by-election

Hull Green Party are meeting tonight to decide formally whether to select a candidate for the Haltemprice and Howden by-election.

As Principal Speaker I am proud of the democratic tradition of our party, I will support the Hull Party whatever decision they make.

It makes me proud to be green that members not some spin doctor has real power.

What contrast with the traditional parties.

22 Jun 2008

Venezuela aids US Native American struggle

Got this from the superb Socialist Voice
US: Penobscots struggle, with Venezuelan help
By John Riddell & Suzanne Weiss
13 June 2008

“The Penobscot Nation is committed to continue our efforts until the fish, wildlife and plants are safe to eat, and the sacredness is restored to the river. Only then will our culture be whole again …”

These were the words of Butch Phillips, a tribal elder of the Native American Penobscot tribe — whose traditional territory covers sections of north-eastern United States and eastern Canada — in 2006.

Amid all the struggle regarding indigenous rights in the northern half of Turtle Island (the Native American term for North America), little is heard of indigenous peoples south of the Canadian border. When our vacation took us to New England, we seized the opportunity to visit the Penobscot Nation.

There are today about 3000 Penobscots, of whom about 700 live on their island in the Penobscot River, close to Bangor, Maine. This is all that is left of their ancestral territories, which once embraced most of that state.

The Penobscots maintain a small and well-organised museum, which tells something of their history. They have reprinted a decree issued in 1755 by the local representative of King George. It declares war on the “perfidious” Penobscots for unexplained reasons, orders the “killing and destroying [of] all and every of the aforesaid Indians”. It promises bounties for every Penobscot scalp, including 20 pounds for scalps of children under 12 years of age.

Their problems continued after the War of Independence. The museum displays their indignant declaration of sovereignty, issued in 1957, which pointed out that they had never surrendered to settler authority and that every treaty they signed in the interests of peaceful co-existence had been ignored and violated by settler authorities.

In 1980, the Penobscots achieved an $80 million settlement from the US government in return for ceding the majority of the state of Maine.

Since then, the Penobscots have put much effort into campaigns to save their natural environment from further devastation. We viewed a video of their struggle to save the river on which they live — a river that is the heart of their culture. The once-rich river fishery has been devastated by a system of dams, which block spawning runs, and by pulp mills, which poison the water.

The Penobscots were recently successful, in alliance with other forces, in blocking a proposal for a harmful new dam. The alliance has secured an agreement for river restoration, which has, however, not been implemented. The Penobscots have demanded that the Maine state government force pulp mills to remove the poisons from their discharges into the river, pointing out that technology is readily available for such an upgrade.

The state government has refused, citing the need to “protect jobs” — meaning increasing corporate profits. As a result, fish in the river are judged unsafe for consumption.

The Penobscots have established good relations with the Venezuelan government of socialist President Hugo Chavez. The director of the Penobscot museum told us that he had met Chavez this year — he paid their island nation a visit during a US trip.

The Penobscots have been strong supporters and beneficiaries of the Venezuelan government program that distributes 100 million gallons of free heating oil to indigenous tribes and other impoverished US citizens each year. There is no other comparable program in the US.

Venezuela also had a deal with London authorities to provide discounted oil that was used to fund a special public transport discount for the city’s poor. However, the Conservative Party’s Boris Johnson was elected London mayor this year and cancelled the program.

Recently, a proposal was made in the US House of Representatives to officially label Venezuela as a supporter of “terrorist” organisations, which would mean, among other things, an end to the Venezuelan petroleum aid project in the US

“Why would Congress do this?” asked James Sappier, Penobscot spokesperson. “The program has provided a donation to the US poor people of almost a billion dollars.” He has alerted all the 200 Native tribes involved in the program to protest. “We’re worried sick that we’re going to lose the program because of this kind of frivolous attitude of some congressmen.”

Challenge to arms trade with Israel

This from Phelim

Palestine motion at Unison conference passed overwhelmingly- Called for Sanctions against Caterpiller and others and an end to the arms trade with Israel.


Real Road Rage

[col. writ. 6/12/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

As the price of gasoline soars, Americans are forced to think in ways that they haven't in generations: to drive, or not to drive?

Do they park the car and opt for public transportation?

Or do they try to sell the ole gas guzzler (better known as SUVs) for a tiny foreign import?

For most of the latter 20th century, a car was seen as an American right, more sacred than freedom of the press, for while many may've felt that the functions of a free press was problematic, the freedom to drive (with relatively cheap gas) was part of the national psyche.

For 50 years suburbs sprang up in the hinterlands of major American cities -- white rings around blacker and bleaker urban centers. Those mass migrations were made possible by the car, and affordable gas.

Those days are fast receding into yesteryear as gas prices break records almost daily.

And despite the sound and fury echoing from the nation's Capitol, or various presidential campaigns, the simple truth is that U.S. politicians have little impact on this phenomenon.

That's because oil is an international resource, affected by global economic and political forces beyond American control. It's also true that the toxic tensions released by the Iraq war have destabilized the region so much that a mere rumor can send prices spiking, feeding speculation, which profits from his cycle.

In 2003, before bombing even began over Baghdad, oil was selling at nearly $30 a barrel.

It's now over $135 a barrel.

More than a natural resource, oil has become a financial asset in itself, like stocks, bonds, real estate or gold. And like many assets, as long as it appreciates in value it will attract speculators who trade in oil futures, and in the absence of any real regulation, will push the price as far as the market will bear (and, after all, isn't that what a 'free market' means?).

One industry observer, Daniel Yergin, of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, noted, "People are hedging against a falling dollar by buying oil and that hits the price. The most important thing that could be done would be for the dollar to rebound. And that is nothing you can legislate. " * Moreover, some industry experts have written that speculation hikes prices from 20 to 40%! That means that the price of a barrel of oil is really closer to $54 than $135, and thus that the price per gallon should be closer to $2.70!

So, the next time you coast into a gas station, and your jaw tightens as you notice the latest gas prices, remember why. That price was spiked by the twin forces of the Iraq war, and the government policy of deregulation.

Those who expect politicians to ease this problem are dreaming, as shown by the rejection of a recent bill seeking a windfall profits tax on oil companies in the Senate.

Exxon, for example, made more money in the last several quarters than any corporation in the history of business. Will the politicians who accepted millions from the likes of them choke this golden goose?

I think not.

So, get angry at the goof who just cut you off, or stole your parking space. Get angry at the car full of boys who are banging the bass so loudly the highway is bouncing.

Get angry at everybody, except the system that made this situation inevitable.

--(c) '08 maj

[*Source: Mouawad, Jad, "Oil Prices Are Up and Politicians Are Angry, Yawn.," New York Times, May 11, 2008, Sun., p.2 (Week in Review section). ]

Justice for Iraq

Don't think we will be seeing David Davis at this event but like me he is been in the Morning Star! big interview yesteday...!

A day conference
Saturday 19 July, London

Justice for Iraq is a call to action – a campaign that demands a complete policy reversal of those countries who have invaded and occupied Iraq since 2003. Ending the military occupation remains the most urgent priority. But Iraq will remain a broken nation without urgent measures aimed at delivering lasting peace and justice for its people and healing some of the wounds caused by this disastrous war.

Justice for Iraq will pressure Iraq's occupiers to:

withdraw their troops and privatised security forces;
restore Iraq's full economic, legal and political sovereignty;
dismantle the Green Zone and the other occupation walls;
clean up toxic and unexploded weapons of war;
release and compensate detainees;
assist refugees and displaced persons;
help Iraq to relieve dire shortages in food, water, energy and medical supplies;
agree to pay reparations for waging a war of aggression;
ensure that war criminals face justice.
These demands do not represent a complete or final list. This campaign is in the process of emerging and we are reaching out to build a network of organisations and individuals who share a similar goal. Join us on 19th July to be a part of debating, building and launching this campaign.

Speakers confirmed so far:

Hans von Sponeck, Former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq
Haifa Zangana, Iraqi writer and activist
Sami Ramadani, Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation
Kamil Mahdi, Senior lecturer in Middle East economics at University of Exeter
Mazin Younis, Iraqi League
Ewa Jasiewicz, Hand Off Iraqi Oil
Greg Muttitt, PLATFORM
John Hilary, War on Want
Jehangir Jilani, Public Interest Lawyers
Liz Davies, Iraq Occupation Focus
Marion Birch, Medact
Milan Rai, Justice Not Vengeance
Sarah Parker, Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq
11.00-17.00, Saturday 19 July 2008
United Reformed Church
Buck Street, Camden (close to Camden Town tube)
London NW1 8NJ

Entry by donation (suggested amount: £7/£5 unwaged)

For more information download the event leaflet or visit the Justice for Iraq blog at: www.justiceforiraq.net.

Organised by Iraq Occupation Focus
Contact: iraqfocus@riseup.net

20 Jun 2008

Green Party will fight David Davis at by-election

Well after some debate the Green Party of England and Wales will fight the Haltemprice & Howden by-election against David Davis. I am must admit I have had to think hard about this...but I have just been told we are going for it.

Martin Deane local party secretary has polled the members and they want to go for it, so Shan Oakes will fight the constituency.

A decision strongly influenced by Aled's post. Davis decision is some what off set by his reactionary voting record on a range of issues from pro-Iraq War and fox hunting.

The members have spoken, the Green Party is grassroots democratic, so the job is to support our candidate...you have heard of 'democratic centralism' this is democratic decentralisation.

Martin Deane argues

With the ability and enthusiasm to stand, if we were not to, it would
make us – nationally - appear that we agree with the present
"two-party" system. The others standing aside sends that message, so
people like Davis can make this sort of protest about one strand of
policy, namely the assault on civil liberties, but that everything
else is pretty much ok. Yes, it is great to see someone, somewhere,
finally, standing up for some principle on anything these days. But
yet our territory remains radically different from Davis'. There is
hardly a view of his that comes to light that we would give the time
of day: capital punishment, the war, gay rights, GMOs, economy,
resource decline, etc, etc. We should simply not let him have it all
his own way.

Aled noted:

David Davis is, amongst other things:

* For the death penalty;
* Very strongly for the Iraq War;
* Against equal rights for LGBT people;
* Against the ban on hunting.

Interestingly, he has apparently “never voted” on parliamentary transparency – strange, given that Davis repeatedly made the point that he felt the ’sanctity’ of parliament had been defiled by Labour’s dodgy dealings with various groups to buy the 42 days vote. Marr countered by noting that parliament has always been the scene of dodgy dealing, which begs the question of why this particular issue at this particular time has led to this particular reaction from this particular Tory frontbencher.

Most significantly, Davis backed 28 days detention, and even admitted that and stood by it in the interview today. Apparently, banging people up without charge for 4 weeks is fine; 6 weeks, and its time for a principled resignation on the issue of, erm, banging people up without trial for too long.


Green Party Principal Speaker Dr Derek Wall is calling on all Green Party members to support the action to shut down Kingsnorth (the power station not the author from Oxfordshire.)

'Sometimes we need to use non violent direct action, time is short to tackle climate change, yet instead of mining less coal or extracting less oil, its full steam ahead with the madness that is heating up our world. Does Brown care about climate change, if he did, he would not allow Kingsnorth to go ahead. We must resist. Climate camp is part of the process we need to preserve the basic ecological life support systems on this planet. I was so inspired by the organisation of last years Camp, it really put climate change on the agenda and contributed hugely to the campaign against a new runway at Heathrow.'


This summer the Camp for Climate Action will be located in Kent near
Kingsnorth coal-fired power station, where 10 million tonnes of carbon
dioxide are pumped into the atmosphere every year. On Saturday August 9th,
the camp will culminate in a spectacular mass action to shut down the
power station. Why Kingsnorth? While the power station is scheduled for
demolition, its owners E.ON are planning to build a brand new coal-fired
plant in the same place – a ludicrous response to the climate crisis
threatening hundreds of millions of lives around the world. The Camp for
Climate Action has other ideas. Beginning on August 9th, we intend to shut
down Kingsnorth – permanently!

Those at the camp will be joined by thousands more from across the UK to
converge on the power station via land, sea and air. We are organising
ourselves into four different groups, each using different tactics.
There’s something for everyone (including a group accessible to parents
and children).

The ‘Great Rebel Raft Regatta’ (GRRR) will be launching an armada of rafts
of every shape and size. From pirate ships to Viking boats, a multitude of
different themed rafts are being constructed out of recycled materials and
every bit of scrap imaginable (materials will be available at the camp for
you to build your own rebel raft – for more info see www.thegrrr.net).
Once on the river, rafts will swarm towards Kingsnorth like a giant shoal
of disobedient fish, all with a single aim – shut down the climate
criminal. Safety is obviously of paramount importance and full safety
briefings and equipment will be provided.

If you’re a landlubber, not to worry, you can join the ‘Orange Pod’, who
will be putting on their dancing shoes and heading straight for the main
entrance in a colourful, musical spectacle. And if you’re more of a fan of
wild undergrowth than endless economic growth then the ‘Green Guerrillas’
will be approaching through the surrounding fields and woods, looking for
weak points in the perimeter fence – up, under or through.. As for the
aerial approach – these plans are strictly under wraps, find out more at
the camp!

If you can’t make it to the camp, join us just for the day. Trains run
from central London to a pick up point near Kingsnorth every few minutes
and take less than an hour. If you have more time, come to the camp the
night before, or for the full week (August 4th – 10th) where you can take
part in over a hundred workshops and experience sustainable living in
action, like 1,500 people did last year.

Times, transportation information and more details about the groups and
their meeting points will be available at

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Be there on August 9th. Shutting down this power station promises to be a
defining moment in the global struggle against climate


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19 Jun 2008

An ecosocialist manifesto from Morales

The desperate plight of our planet means that we need to transform political, economic and social systems...the biggest progress towards this has been in Latin America.

All who are serious about promoting a realistic green politics must engage with Latin American leaders such as Morales...the indigenous people are increasingly showing us the way.

Viva Morales!

Bolivia’s President Urges Development Of Economic System Based On ‘How To Live Well
Offers ‘10 Commandments’ to Counter World’s ‘Unbridled’ Development Model;
Secretary-General: Indigenous Have First-Hand Knowledge about Climate Change Impact
April 24, 2008 By Evo Morales
Source: United Nations Economic and Social Council

Bolivian President Evo Morales' 10 commandments to save the planet, life and humanity:

1-Acabar con el sistema capitalista
1-Stopping the capitalist system

2-Renunciar a las guerras
2-Renouncing wars

3-Un mundo sin imperialismo ni colonialismo
3-A world without imperialism or colonialism

4-Derecho al agua
4-Right to water

5-Desarrollo de energías limpias
5-Development of clean energies

6-Respeto a la madre tierra
6-Respect for Mother Earth

7-Servicios básicos como derechos humanos
7-Basic services as human rights

8-Combatir las desigualdades
8-Fighting inequalities

9-Promover la diversidad de culturas y economías
9-Promoting diversity of cultures and economies

10-Vivir bien, no vivir mejor a costa del otro
10-Living well, not living better at the expense of others

EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, said the Forum was to be viewed as a model for "living together" and was an extension of the decades-long struggle of indigenous peoples for equality and justice. It was also appropriate that the Forum focus on climate change and the role of indigenous peoples in tackling that problem, since indigenous peoples were human beings with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else.

He noted that the indigenous movement had successfully organized itself to defend access to land and basic services, in the face of attacks and threats of extermination. That fight should continue for as long as needed. In the meantime, the Forum, along with similar bodies, could put forward alternative economic models to ensure the survival of indigenous peoples as they continued their quest.

In the context of finding solutions to environmental issues, including climate change, he said indigenous peoples had the moral authority to participate in those discussions, having lived closely with Mother Earth and defended it for ages. Indigenous peoples in Bolivia had "achieved the Presidency", enabling it to proceed in the fight for justice and equality. It now fell to gatherings of indigenous peoples, such as the Forum, to work with other world leaders to encourage them to play their part.

He said indigenous peoples wanted to express "how to live well" within their vision of Mother Earth, which was the source of life. Living well was not possible under the current capitalist system, which sought to turn Mother Earth into a capitalist good. The conclusion had been reached in many circles that the authorities of many places were to be blamed for encouraging climactic factors that caused harm to peoples, which had brought floods and global warming. A conversation must be held with other communities on establishing a new model for living. World leaders must encourage more contact with indigenous peoples.

He offered a series of "ten commandments" that he thought should underpin the new model, beginning with

First: a call to end the capitalist system. The capitalist system was inhuman and encouraged unbridled economic development. The exploitation of human beings and pillaging of natural resources must end, as should wars aimed at securing access to those resources. Also, the world should end the plundering of fossil fuels; excessive consumption of goods; the accumulation of waste; as well as the egoism, regionalism and thirst for earning where the pursuit of luxury was taking place at the expense of human beings. Countries of the south were heaped with external debt, when it was the ecological debt that needed paying.

Second, the world should denounce war, which brought advantage to a small few, he said. In that vein, it was time to end occupation under the pretext of "combating drugs", such as in South America, as well as other pretexts such as searching for weapons of mass destruction. Money earmarked for war should be channeled to make reparations for damage caused to the Earth.

Third, there should be a world without imperialism, he said, where no country was dependent upon or subordinate to another. States must look for complementarity rather than engage in unfair competition with each other. Member States of the United Nations should consider the asymmetry that exists among nations and seek a way to lessen deep economic differences. Moving along those lines, he said the Security Council -- with its lifelong members holding veto rights -- should be democratized.

Fourth, he said access to water should be treated as a human right, and policies allowing the privatization of water should be banned. Indigenous peoples had a long experience of mobilizing themselves to uphold the right to water. He proposed that they put forth the idea of forming an international convention on water to guarantee it as a human right and to protect against its appropriation by a select few.

Fifth, he said the world should promote clean and eco-friendly energies, as well as end the wasteful use of energy. He said it was understood that fossil fuels were nearing depletion, yet those who promoted biofuels in their place were making "a serious mistake". It was not right to set aside land not for the benefit of human beings, but so that a small few could operate luxurious vehicles. It was also because of biofuels that the price of rice and bread has risen; and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were now warning that such policies must be prevented. The world should explore more sustainable forms of alternative energy, such as geothermal, solar, wind and hydro-electric power.

Sixth, he said there should be more respect for Mother Earth, and the indigenous movement must bring its influence to bear in fostering that attitude. The world must stop thinking of Mother Earth in the capitalist sense -- which was that of a raw material to be traded. For who could privatize or hire out his mother?

Seventh, he stressed the importance of gaining access to basic services for all. Services such as education and transport should not be the preserve of private trade.

Eighth, he urged the consumption of only what was necessary and what was produced locally. There was a need to end consumerism, waste and luxury. It was an irony that millions of dollars were being spent to combat obesity in one half of the globe, while the other was dying of hunger. He said the impending food crisis would necessarily bring an end to the free market, where countries suffering hunger were being made to export their food. There was a similar case with oil, where the priority lay in selling it abroad, rather than domestically.

Ninth, he said it was important to promote unity and diversity of economies, and that the indigenous movement should put forth a call for unity and diversity in the spirit of multilateralism.

Tenth, the world should live under the tenet of "trying to live well", he said, but not at the expense of others.

He said the best way forward lay in social movements, such as the indigenous people's movement, which would not fall silent until it had brought about change. He ended by greeting fellow South Americans in the room, acknowledging their role in the fight. In Bolivia, the provisions of the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples had been made into law, and he expressed hoped that other countries would do the same. He welcomed the attention, good or bad, he was receiving as a member of that movement, saying that perhaps it would lead to ideological clarity.

The ant is mightier than the sword says Fidel

Well one of the things I like best about being Principal Speaker is Fidel mails you his latest bits of journalism. Do you think any one will read Gordon Brown's article's in years time, let alone when he is 80.

This is a great piece and worth thinking about...a real turning point was when Castro in preparation for the 1992 Rio environmental conference proclaimed the need for socialism to go green. His influence has been one factor in making the new Latin American left conscious of environmental issues and green politics, a real development from the Soviet tradition that ignored environmental issues with terrible consequences.

Just bought Castro's My Life in English and Spanish to help me with my Spanish

Reflections by comrade Fidel


It would seem there's no topic worthy of addressing that would not bore our patient readers, after the Round Table program of June 12, which dealt with the new edition of a book published in Bolivia 15 years ago, featuring now a prologue I wrote. During this program, an introduction was also read written at a later date by Evo Morales and a message from the prestigious Argentinean writer Stella Calloni, to be included in an upcoming edition. I had carefully chosen the information I used for that prologue.
A powerful internationalist spirit, which had its roots in the broad contingent of Cuban combatants who participated in the anti-fascist struggle of the Spanish people and made the best traditions of the world worker's movement its own, had developed in Cuba in the first years of the Revolution.
We are not in the habit of publicizing our cooperative efforts with other peoples, but it is at times impossible to prevent the press from mentioning it. Our cooperative efforts stem from profound feelings that have nothing to do with a desire for publicity.
Some ask themselves how it is possible for a small country with scarce resources to carry out tasks of such magnitude in fields as decisive as education and health, without which contemporary society is unthinkable.
Humanity developed the goods and services essential to its existence since establishing its first society, and the latter has in turn developed from the most elementary to the most sophisticated of forms over many thousands of years.
The exploitation of man by man was inseparable from this development, as we all know or ought to know.
The different ways in which this reality has been perceived have always depended on the place each of us occupies within society. For long, exploitation was seen as something natural and the immense majority was never aware of the above relation.
At the very height of capitalist development in England, which was a world leader, next to the United States and other countries in Europe, in a world that was already dominated by colonialism and expansionism, a great thinker and history and economics scholar, Karl Marx, on the basis of the ideas of the most prestigious German philosophers and economists of the time –including Hegel, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, with whom he disagreed– elaborated, wrote and published his ideas on capitalism’s relations of production and exchange in 1859 in a work titled Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. In 1867, he continued to spread his ideas with the publication of the first volume of his most important work, a work that made him famous: The Capital. Most of the long book, on the basis of Marx’s notes and comments, was edited by Engels, who shared Marx’s ideas and, like a prophet, spread his work after Marx’s death in 1883.
What Marx published constitutes the most serious analysis ever to be written about class society and the exploitation of man by man. Marxism had thus been born, as the foundation of revolutionary parties and movements that proclaimed socialism as their objective, including nearly all social-democratic parties that, when World War I broke out, betrayed the slogan proclaimed by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto, first published in 1848: "Workers of the world, unite!”
One of the truths that this great thinker expressed in simple terms was that: “In the social production during their lives, men establish certain necessary relations independent of their wills, relations of production which correspond to a given phase of development of their material productive forces. It is not man’s consciousness which determines its being, but on the contrary, it is its social being which determines its consciousness. On reaching a given phase of development, society's material productive forces come into contradiction with existing production relations...From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations become obstacles to the latter and an era of social revolution thus begins...No social formation disappears before its productive forces are fully developed and no new and more advanced production relations emerge before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the old society".
I could not find better words to more clearly and precisely express these concepts elaborated by Marx, concepts whose essence, with a basic explanation from a teacher, even one of the young Cubans who joined the Young Communists League this past Saturday June 14th could understand.
To describe the concrete development of the class struggle, Marx wrote The Class Struggle in France from 1848 to 1850 and the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, two excellent historical analyses that delight any reader. He was a true genius.
Lenin, a profound continuator of dialectical thought and Marx’s research, wrote two key works: The State and Revolution and Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Marx’s ideas, put into practice by Lenin through the October Revolution, were also developed by Mao Zedong and other Third World revolutionary leaders. Without them, the Cuban Revolution would not have taken place in the United States’ backyard.
Had Marxist thought simply limited itself to the idea that "no social formation disappears before its productive forces are fully developed", the capitalist theoretician Francis Fukuyama would have been right in proclaiming that the collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of history and ideologies and that all resistance to the capitalist system of production should cease.
When the founder of scientific socialism published his ideas, society’s productive forces were far from fully developed. Technology had not yet yielded deadly weapons of mass destruction capable of exterminating the human species; the aerospatial domain did not yet exist, nor did the unlimited squandering of hydrocarbons and non-renewable fossil fuels; climate change had not yet been detected in a natural world whose potential seemed infinite to humanity, nor had the world food crisis, to be borne by innumerable combustion engines and a population six times larger than that which inhabited the planet on the year Marx was born (then of one billion), made itself known yet.
Cuba's socialist experience takes place at a time when imperial domination has expanded across the globe.
When I speak of consciousness I am not referring to a will capable of changing reality but, on the contrary, to knowledge of objective reality which can determine the path to follow.
Tens of million of people died in the war sparked off in the mid 20th century by fascism, an ideology which was new at the time, born in the anti-Marxist bosom of the developed capitalist world Lenin had foretold.
In Cuba, as in other Third World countries, the struggle for national liberation, under the leadership of the middle classes and petite bourgeoisie, and the struggle for socialism that the most advanced sectors of the working class and farmers had been waging over the years, combined and strengthened one another. Ideological and class contradictions also flourished. Objective and subjective factors varied considerably from one process to another.
The United Nations and other international organizations, where many saw the beginning of a new, international consciousness, emerged from the last world war. Those hopes were betrayed.
Fascism, whose instrument Hitler called the National Socialist Party, was re-born, more powerful and threatening than ever.
The empire deploys and keeps aircraft carriers in all of the world's seas, ever ready for military intervention. What does it decide to do in order to compete with Cuba in our hemisphere? To deploy an enormous ship turned into a floating hospital that works ten days in each country. It can assist a number of people daily but it cannot solve a country's problems. It does not compensate for the brain-drain, and it cannot train the specialists who are needed so that real medical services may be offered on any day of the week and year. All of the world's aircraft carriers, which today are instruments of military intervention deployed across the world's oceans, working as hospitals, could not offer those services to the millions of people treated by Cuban doctors in remote corners of the planet, where women go into labor, children are born and there are sick people in urgent need of attention.
Our country has demonstrated that it can stand up to all pressures and help other peoples.
I was thinking about our cooperative efforts, not only in Bolivia, but in Haiti, the Caribbean, several countries in Central America, South America, Africa and even distant Oceania, 20 thousand kilometers away. I also recalled the missions undertaken by the Henry Reeve Brigade, which responded to serious emergencies, traveling in our planes, transporting personnel and other resources.
We are not far from reaching the figure of one million people annually operated on for sight problems, free of charge. Can the United States really compete with Cuba?
We will make use of computers, not to create weapons of mass destruction and exterminate people but to convey knowledge to other peoples. From the economic point of view, the development of the intelligence and conscience of our fellow citizens, made possible by the Revolution, allow us not only to aid those in most need at no cost to us, but also to export specialized services, including healthcare services, to countries that have more resources than our own. In this field, the United States will never be able to compete with Cuba.
Our small country shall continue to hold its ground.
In one phrase: The ant has proved mightier than the elephant!

Fidel Castro Ruz
June 18, 2008
7:35 p.m.

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...