30 Nov 2008

Cuba and eco materials

The ever excellent Green Left Weekly has an article about eco development in Cuba, we in Britain have so much to learn but are the policy makers listening. No, Nicholas Stern wishes to see not far sighted ecologists but blinkered bankers in charge of climate policy.

Cuba: Evo-materialis, hurricanes and solidarity

Trent Hawkins
29 November 2008

Dr Fernando Martirena from the Centre of Investigation in Structures and Materials (CIDEM) research institute at the University of Santa Clara, Cuba, recently visited Australia to speak to a number of meetings organised by the Australian Green Development Forum.

In 2007, Martirena’s team won the World Habitat Award from the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), an independent research organisation that promotes sustainable development and innovation in housing.

Green Left Weekly caught up with Dr Martirena to find out how the CIDEM is helping to build houses in Cuba using sustainable building materials.

Martirena explained that the US economic embargo on Cuba had forced the island to rely almost entirely on the Soviet Union for trade. With the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost half its oil imports and much of its food imports.

The economic crisis also had a major impact on housing and construction, as 86% of Cuba’s raw materials came from the USSR as well as 80% of its machinery. Construction was based on the large scale mechanised production of prefabricated building materials that were driven long distances.

Before the Soviet Union’s collapse, “we had energy and access to credit”, Martirena said. “Now we don’t have energy and have run out of money, so we had to look for solutions.”

“Our solution was to make local development in a local context without dependence on external resources”, Martirena explained.

Martinera’s research institute, previously focused on things like satellite technology, was redirected towards solving the immediate problems thrown up by the “Special Period” following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Through the CIDEM’s work it was able to develop a number of “eco-materials” for use in small-scale localised production of housing.

Eco-materials developed included a cement using a binder made from the ashes of sugar cane straw, called “lime pozzalana cement”, which contributes approximately half the amount of CO2 emissions of normal cement production.

Also developed were light, but strong micro-concrete roofing tiles; low-energy fired clay bricks using bio-waste products as fuel; and laminated bamboo sheeting.

Martirena pointed out that “transportation plays a major role especially in Cuba. We might produce tiles in Santiago de Cuba and send them via road to far away, travelling something like 1000km.

“So what we are doing is firstly to keep transport to a minimum, by working locally in a decentralised manner.

“We are encouraging recycled waste in different ways, so we try to recycle waste by using pozzaline and soda, and in this way try to preserve the environment.

“Basically, our approach is bottom up”, he explained. “We went into communities 15 years ago that needed building materials and had no other choices. We used the communities as a playground to experiment with technology — but at same time we were building houses and contributing to the community.

“We train the people and they organise the production. It’s a partnership with local governments because they don’t have money to pay us but they have access to resources. We set up a workshop in the area and the local government provides all the materials we need to produce.

“It is all organised in a very decentralised way. Each family has a contract with the municipalities. Because they don’t have the money they have to get loans, so we work with banks and we teach them how to apply for a loan.

“But the loans have only a very low interest rate, only 2-3% per year. So we give them the materials, they get a loan, they get credit, with this credit they can build their houses.

“We started in four municipalities and now we are in 26 municipalities, but only after the hurricanes we jumped to something like 40 municipalities. Now we have orders for another 20 more municipalities.

“In Cuba we have 168 municipalities, so now we have half the municipalities looking to use our approach.”

Martirena also explained how the expansion of organic urban agriculture in Cuba has also played an important role.

“Rather than housing, when I am at the municipal level I like to talk about development. And development integrates everything. When you give someone a house, you have to give them a job, otherwise they will move. You also have to secure food for them.

“You have to think about alternatives, so organic agriculture is important. It’s the same for health, education, food, everything is integrated.

“So in Cuba, we don’t really separate housing from a local development strategy. We have a holistic approach. This is why the municipalities are the core of our approach.”

More recently, Martirena’s research team has had to respond to the crisis caused by the three tropical cyclones that hit Cuba this year — hurricanes Gustav, Ike, and Paloma.

Thanks to Cuba’s world renowned hurricane response system, only seven people died. However Cuba suffered US$10 billion in damages, with more than 500,000 homes totally or partially destroyed.

Asked how the government has responded to the crisis, Martinera said that they have helped the best they can, but lack the resources needed to properly rebuild.

“It’s really complicated because on the one side, they have to make decisions that bring quick results. However the quick answers to the problem aren’t necessarily the best.

“What they have done now is to distribute 2 million square metres of corrigated roof — the same type of roofs that were blown away during the hurricane. They are giving them again to the population, which means that you are solving the problem now, but in one year with the next hurricane, the same thing will occur.

“So in Cuba we have to build houses which are hurricane safe, but again this is very complicated. You have to have a very heavy roof that won’t be blown away by a hurricane. The only way to have a heavy roof is to have a flat slab, and a complete slab requires portland cement, steel, all very expensive.

“You need three times the production capacity of Cuba to build these houses and we have no way to assume the cost.

“Also in the aftermath of disaster, you need urgent action. There is a lot of chaos, people don’t know what to do. They are afraid, their houses collapsed, the whole system has collapsed, nothing works, there is no electricity, phones, nothing.

“In the eight most effected municipalities, we have set up our workshops, in cooperatives. This has been a record in our history, in less than three weeks to have eight workshops in full operation.”

Martirena described how the 1959 revolution paved the way for the cooperation and solidarity that has enabled Cuba’s sustainable community orientated approach.

“The goal and the dream of the Cuban Revolution was to create the ‘new man’. This is what Che Guevara argued for. We failed to create this new man, but we have been able to create a man with high levels of solidarity — and this is really an achievement.

“I have been moving through these disaster zones and you see people that have lost everything helping others.

“This is a result of a situation where you try not to see others as your enemy, but as your friend. It’s very beautiful.

“We failed to create a new man, but we have succeeded in creating a man that has far more solidarity than any other country in the world.”

[A longer version of this interview can be found at http://links.org.au.]

An appeal from Leila Shahid


Action alert!

Dear Friends,

Please find here under an appeal from Leila Shahid, General delegate of Palestine toward the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg!

We must react urgently toward our European parliamentarians in order to block the ratification of the text which must be voted on Thursday 4th December!!

During the last ECCP lobby days, all European interlocutors says that the upgrading will never be ratified in 2008 – they will wait for the Czech Republic presidency, beginning of 2009… Thinks seems changed, in order to support Tsipi Livni (in stead of Netanyahu) Europe wants to sign the upgrading before the end of the year… (As they did for Ehud Barak in the past!!!).

As we are in a “pre-electoral” period, civil society must be heard… so please react urgently and massively toward you parliamentarians….

and forward to your members and contacts…

Best regards,



In its meeting on November 5 in Brussels, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security of the European Parliament endorsed the European Commission and Council proposal about Israel participation in the European Community programs. This new protocol of cooperation offers to Israel a full access to the EU scientific, academic, research and technical programmes.

For its entry into force, the agreement must have the backing of European Parliament (EP). It will be submitted to a vote at the plenary meeting on Thursday, December 4 in Brussels. The Israeli Foreign Minister will visit the European Parliament on Tuesday, December 2 to put pressure on MEPs to vote in favour of this agreement.

This new cooperation protocol between the EU and Israel intervenes while on the ground, Israel is accelerating settlements construction, reinforces the closure of Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, and practice many forms of violation of human rights.

I call on you to work for the mobilize of all non-governmental organizations in your country, to intervene with the EP in order not to grant this privilege to Israel before it implements the principles of peace.

Big pharm and IMF to privatise the NHS?

Could the pharmaceutical companies be short selling the NHS so they can bankrupt it and then buy it up cheap?

Pharmaceutical companies make huge profits because of monopoly power. They patent new drugs meaning they cannot be copied. Demand is high for drugs which are said to prolong life...who would not pay £1,000s for say an anti-cancer drug that would extend life for a few months more.

Pharmaceutical drugs bills are rising for the NHS and pharmaceutical companies are adept at running PR campaigns to weaken NICE (the organisation that decides whether the NHS can buy new expensive drugs). Who has not seen the news on TV with dying cancer victims lobbying for the NHS to fund a drug for them? A depressing sight. No one ever makes the point that someone is profiting on a huge scale from misery, do BBC reporters ask hard questions about company profits?

The pharmaceutical companies are motivated by profit pure and simple. They argue that the profit motive is good, giving rise to new products. I don't know what Ayn Rand would say to this? If cheaper generic drugs appear, their profits fall.

Generic drugs are chemically the same, have the same health effect but are cheaper.

The non generic drugs bill is damaging the NHS, patients and healthcare in general.

Lets add in government debt. My guess is the current economic catastrophe will lead to unsustainable government borrowing (this is everyone's guess is it not). The £ will collapse (hasn't it collapsed already!) neither the balance of payments deficit or government borrowing will be sustainable.

So Brown and Darling or Cameron and Osbourne will be forced to call in the IMF...who will insist on interest rates moving up to 15% and wide spread privatisation.

The NHS will be 'unaffordable' and will be sold, big pharm can buy it up cheap and get into a new area of 'healthcare'.

May be with the high cost of drugs that generate monopoly profits the end of the NHS will be hastened.

May be I am being too conspiratorial or not conspiratorial enough, depending on your point of view. Perhaps big pharm likes the NHS, a buyer for their often over priced products and would not want to buy up the goose that lays the golden eggs.

The European Commission has at least produced a report on the dangers of big pharm blocking generic drugs.

"Market entry of generic companies and the development of new and more affordable medicines is sometimes blocked or delayed, at significant cost to healthcare systems, consumers and taxpayers," said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"It is still early days but the Commission will not hesitate to open antitrust cases against companies where there are indications that the antitrust rules may have been breached," she added.

The Commission could impose large fines on drug companies if they have engaged in unfair practices.

More here

Unfortunately while Mcain and Obama (who I usually give very little credit too) in the US have picked up on the issue, British politicians seem to be ignoring it compleatly.

Sounds like state control of pharmaceutical companies would work better than the present monopolistic market arrangements or what about open source research?

29 Nov 2008

Crunch, crunch, crunch..new breakfast cereal from Miltion Friedman

We have reached another bifurcation point in history. While all eyes are on the credit crunch, less is being talked about the "eco-crunch" whose real-world losses – of habitats, water systems, species, soils – can't be bailed out. Even less is being written about the energy and food price crunch. Anyone proposing a strategy that fails to take account of these combined crunches is about to fall to earth with a bump.

hi friends and interested fellows

hope you are all well in this time of crunches

This is a quickly thrown together 600 words about the trinity of crunches (credit/eco/energy) that the guardian comment is free asked me to do.


and whilst your at it .. if you want to brush up on your contemporary climate science and get very depressed/outraged etc.. I just went to see this report being launched .. its terrifying..... !



Nice to hear from John Jordan you can click and have a look at his critique of the Green New Deal here

My comments on New Green Deal....

28 Nov 2008


I know one of your 'intelligence' officers was present at that meeting. It was the guy with the beard, who ordered Stella in the pub after the meeting.

More notes from the underground here

27 Nov 2008

Hugo Blanco blog

Oscar has put a blog together for his dad!

Great to see the most important Peruvian Marxist and a leading light of ecosocialism on the web! Via a location near Weston-Super-Mare.

So take a look here and make sure you tell 20 friends Hugo Blanco blogspot.

Its in Spanish and English.

The indigenous revolution for ecology

Over the course of more than 10,000 years, the rich biodiversity of the Andes-Amazon region has created a culture that is closely interlocked with Pachamama (Mother Nature). This culture is marked by deep knowledge of nature and is highly agricultural. Ours is one of the seven zones of the world to have originated agriculture. It has yielded the greatest variety of domesticated species.

This has given rise to a cosmic vision different from the Western outlook that views the creator as a superior immaterial spirit who created man in his image and likeness and created nature to serve him. For the indigenous cosmic vision, humanity is a daughter of and part of Mother Earth. We must live in her bosom in harmony with her. Each hill or peak, each river, each vegetable or animal species has a spirit.

The Morning Star click here have very generously published my article on the indigenous today, they have done a bit of an edit which is great because I was more ill when I wrote it so they have smoothed out a few wrinkles.

Here it is! Or you can buy the MS today from your friendly newsagent.

John Riddell who I met for a pint in London a couple of weeks ago, helps put together Socialist Voice a Canadian ecosocialist network...a lot of this article draws on one of his essays which you can read here.

oh big list of blogs by indigenous activists here!

Any way on to the article...

DEREK WALL looks at how the struggles of indigenous people are leading the way towards ecological sanity.

MANY scholars have been mystified as to why Karl Marx studied indigenous peoples in his later years rather than finishing Das Kapital or updating the Communist Manifesto.

But I believe that Marx's fascination was justified and that all socialists and ecologists should find out more about indigenous people.

It's not about patronising rainbow warrior clichés or being stuck in the past.

Marx and Friedrich Engels were well aware that indigenous peoples generally practised "primitive communism," showing that market relations are far from inevitable in human societies.

In an excellent review of Marx's work on indigenous peoples, my friend John Riddell writes that Marx notes that "the vitality of primitive communities was incomparably greater than that of Semitic, Greek, Roman etc societies, and, a fortiori, that of modern capitalist societies."

Today, indigenous people are at the militant cutting edge of the Latin American left. In just about every Latin American state, they have been organising for democracy, a break with US elites, for socialism and for ecology.

Riddell notes the following story from the great Peruvian revolutionary leader Hugo Blanco.

"A member of his community, he tells us, conducted some Swedish tourists to a Quechua village near Cuzco. Impressed by the collectivist spirit of the indigenous community, one of the tourists commented: 'This is like communism.'

"'No,' responded their guide, 'Communism is like this'."

I personally have been lucky enough to work with Blanco, who has a long-standing interest in ecology and Marxism, developed after spending time with the Zapatistas in Mexico.

Blanco led a rebellion in 1962 to liberate Peruvian peasants who were then so oppressed that they could be physically branded by landlords.

He was threatened with execution, imprisoned and exiled. He is still active today - very active indeed - and back in Peru.

About a month ago, I received a call from his son Oscar, who told me that his father had been jailed at the behest of a landowner after supporting a struggle by local peasants to take back land that had been seized illegally. He has been released following international protests.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is famously interested indigenous people too. He suspended coal mining in north Venezuela following protests from indigenous groups, which are protected under Venezuela's constitution. Chavez has also given cheap oil to Native Americans in the United States.

Blanco, Chavez and Marx are far-sighted revolutionary socialists who have been passionate about the importance of indigenous peoples.

Latin American indigenous movements are keen to build socialist economies that work. A near universal demand from Argentina to Canada is traditional communal control of land.

They are not "Luddites" or "primitives." They are generally keen to embrace modernity when it brings real benefits and their political organisations are just as reliant on mobile phones or the internet as any other political organisation.

Indigenous people are at the forefront of real action on climate change because they don't want to see the rainforests destroyed by logging, mining or oil exploration.

In West Papua, for example, indigenous communities see the forest as the basis of their economy and society. Without it, they will die.

Less well known than their Latin American counterparts, the indigenous Free West Papua movement is led by Benny Wenda, who was exiled to London after escaping from the Indonesian military.

Indigenous people are also highly active in ecological struggles to preserve forests in much of India and parts of Africa.

However, in Latin America, they have won some big victories recently. Blanco founded the newspaper Lucha Indigena (Indigenous Fight), which chronicles many of these struggles and the political debates of indigenous people. I imagine it being sold, Morning Star-style, on picket lines and protests in the Amazon.

If you can't get to the Amazon to buy a copy, regular articles will soon be appearing at hugoblancogaldos.blogspot.com

As Marx found, you need a whole second lifetime to explore indigenous society, given its huge diversity, but two particularly important struggles are worth flagging up.

Peruvian President Alan Garcia recently signed the country up to a free trade agreement with the US. It was accompanied by an attempt to open Peru to foreign corporations for oil extraction.

As part of the agreement, the Peruvian government tried to pass a law that would have made it easier to buy up communally owned indigenous land.

It would have allowed a huge increase in damage to Amazonian rainforests and accelerated climate change through oil extraction and deforestation.

But, in September, more than 50 very different indigenous ethnic groups united to fight the law with direct action.

They were well aware that corrupt deals would have led to their land been stolen and devastating ecological consequences. Their protests rocked the country, they defeated the plan and Garcia's poll ratings are now down to 18 per cent.

The people best suited to preserving the Amazon are indigenous people who live in it, but, rather than supporting them, many environmental NGOs are calling for debt-for-nature swaps and carbon offset schemes that would essentially privatise the forests and displace indigenous people.

In Colombia, right-wing death squads are clearing indigenous people so that tropical forests can be cut down for biofuel.

The right-wing government of Alvaro Uribe is planning a huge expansion of biofuels with the support of the EU, which is insisting on creating a market in biofuel.

In the US, Barack Obama wants to press ahead with biofuel plans too.

If we care about socialism and ecology, we have to support the struggles of indigenous people. Groups such as the Colombia Solidarity Campaign need our active involvement. Indigenous people provide a beacon of hope in the struggle for ecological sanity.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, a leader with indigenous origins, said it all when he described indigenous peoples as "called upon by history to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature and life."

Some links to read
Indigenous people can save planet from climate chaos.
The indigenous rebellion in Peru in 2008!
Louis Proyect on Marxism and the indigenous

Karl Marx and the Iroquois

Some ngo ish indigenous and enviroment links.
A critique of Ward Churchill's critique of Marxism.

26 Nov 2008

Green Party Trade Union Group Fundraising Quiz

The Green Party Trade Union Group has had an active year - working with
trade unions, spreading the news of the work on workers rights being carried
out by our MEPs, Assembly Members and councillors, organising a Climate
Change Trade Union conference, taking part in campaigns, etc, etc. But we
need some financial assistance as we are not funded by the national party or
anyone else, and need to raise some funds for some of this important work
over the coming year.

That's where you come in. Whether you are a trade unionist, a party member
or a supporter of the trade union movement. We are having a fund raising

When? - Friday 12th December @ 7.30pm

Where? - Lucas Arms, 254 Grays Inn Road near Kings Cross station

What? - Unusual quiz involving all sorts of strange and interesting items
with quizmaster Noel Lynch

Who? - Open to all, relatives, friends, partners, ex-partners, internet
acquaintances etc. Form a team and enter the fray.

Come along and enjoy yourself with other Greens and trade unionists and help
the Trade Union Group carry on important work with the trade union movement
in 2009.

Joseph Healy

Trade Union Group Treasurer

24 Nov 2008

Venezuela Election round up.

Statement by VIC on the results of the regional and municipal elections in Venezuela

The final results of the Venezuelan regional and municipal elections have not yet been officially announced. However, it is clear that the United Socialist Party of President Hugo Chávez and its allies won 17 out of the 22 states and a clear majority of the total votes cast in the elections as a whole. When 95% of the vote had been announced they had increased their vote by 1.1 million over the referendum which President Chávez lost last year.

The Opposition won control of five states and the Mayoralty of Caracas. They boycotted the elections in most regions in the last regional and municipal elections in 2004 and so they were expected to increase their representation in these elections.

All sides accepted the election results as fair and democratic. This shows that most of the coverage in the British media prior to the elections regarding threats of tanks on the streets and so on was sheer fantasy.

Contrary to suggestions in the British media, President Chávez immediately accepted all of the results whether his party won or lost, just as he accepted his defeat in last year’s constitutional referendum and was the first to congratulate the Opposition candidate who won an important state governor position in 2004.

In fact, Venezuela has one of the most meticulously democratic electoral systems in the entire world and a President who has respected every single election result since he was first elected in 1998. This contrasts with the record of the Opposition who attempted a military coup in April 2002, tried to paralyse the economy with a strike of the management of the national oil company and repeatedly boycotted elections they did not think they could win.

The continuing majority support for President Chávez vindicates the social and democratic reforms which have transformed the lives of the great majority of Venezuelan people, particularly in the fields of health and universal education.

Within that context, it should be noted that the victory of the Opposition was successful in some important economic and urban areas, notably Caracas, Miranda, Zulia and Carabobo. This shows that a great deal remains to be done to address the acute problems of housing, crime, transport, waste disposal and other key areas of city life which are the legacy of 50 years of neglect before the election of President Chávez.

As the Opposition spent 50 years creating these problems, there is no chance whatsoever of them solving them. But, having tackled the gigantic problems of healthcare and education with remarkable success, these issues to improve the quality of life in Venezuela’s major cities will undoubtedly now be close to the top of the agenda of the government of President Chávez.

Overall, the elections show that Venezuela is a beacon of democracy and social progress in Latin America and the world.

VIC will continue to explain the truth about Venezuela and challenge the media distortions which, in reality, reflect incredulity that any Latin American country should have the temerity to break free of the tutelage of the United States and use its natural resources to improve the well being of its people.

Venezuela Information Centre



0207 250 0132

Edward Carpenter: gay, green victorian ecosocialist hero

Had this from Peter Tatchell....thanks Peter.

I have discussed Edward Carpenter in my 1994 book Green History.

Edward Carpenter - A life of liberty and love

By Sheila Rowbotham,

Published by Verso Books


London and New York, November 2008

This is one of the best political biographies for many years. As well as being a book about a little-known icon of past history; it is bursting with ideas that are still relevant to the future of humanity - for LGBT and straight people.

Author Shelia Rowbotham, the much-loved socialist feminist historian, has written an incredibly moving, inspiring account of the personal and political life of the prophetic gay English author, poet, philosopher and humanitarian, Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929.

Arguably the true pioneer of the LGBT rights movement in England, he lived openly and defiantly with his life-long partner George Merrill.

In the nineteenth century, he wrote some the earliest essays and pamphlets advocating homosexual law reform and spoke out enthusiastically for women's rights.

Unlike many others, he understood the connection between sexism and heterosexism: that the struggle for women's rights and gay rights are closely tied together (a view that was resurrected by the Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s and by OutRage! in the 1990s).

Decades ahead of his time on many social issues, Carpenter advocated green socialism, women's suffrage, contraception, curbs on pollution, sex education in schools, pacifism, animal rights, recycling, prison reform, worker's control, self-sufficiency, vegetarianism, homosexual equality, naturism and free love.

His socialism was libertarian, decentralised, self-governing, cooperative and environmentalist, with a strong streak of anarchism, individualism and (non-religious) spiritualism. He argued that socialism was as much about the way we live our personal lives as about changing the economic, political, social and cultural systems.

We need to change our hearts and minds before we can overturn the iniquities of capitalism, he observed. Otherwise, we might end up replacing one tyranny with another.

Echoing the left-wing arts and crafts movement, which was often derided by the Marxists of the Social Democratic Federation, Carpenter's vision of socialism included a cultural renaissance to promote access to the arts for everyone, not just the rich. He saw things of beauty as a way to uplift the human spirit.

Carpenter himself was not without fault; occasionally expressing anti-Semitic sentiments, which were standard and rife (but not therefore excusable) in the late 1800s. For someone who distanced himself from the mainstream and the mob on most issues, these lapses are surprising and lamentable.

Initially a member of the Social Democratic Federation (a forerunner of the Communist Party), disagreements with the SDF's advocacy of violence prompted Carpenter to leave the SDF in the 1880s and help found the Socialist League, where he worked closely with Eleanor Marx, William Morris and Edward Aveling.

In 1893, he joined with Kier Hardie, George Bernard Shaw and Ben Tillett to form the Independent Labour Party (ILP). He stuck with the left, despite the shameful homophobia of some left-wingers, including Frederick Engels and later George Orwell.

I recall meeting Fenner Brockway, the legendary ILP leader (1888-1988), in 1983, when he was 93 years old. He enthused about Carpenter's trail-blazing ideas; praising him as one of the greatest thinkers of the last 100 years. Probably he was.

This book is a fascinating, engaging insight into the life of a truly
remarkable man. Read it.

Peter Tatchell

Makeba, the Great (1932-2008)

Makeba, the Great (1932-2008)
[col. writ. 11/18/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Unless you are of a certain generation, the name Miriam Makeba will mean little of nothing to you.

But for generations this glorious, talented African woman stirred souls and fed hearts with a steady diet of lovely and lively songs which shared the rhythms and voices of South Africa with millions.

She was born March 4, 1932 under apartheid, the daughter of a Xhosa father and a Swazi mother, who was said to have been a sangoma (or mystic).

She showed musical promise at an early age and began public performances as a teenager. From that time until the end of her life, she was a majestic musical artist, and equally an activist for African freedom worldwide.

During her life she was the wife of South African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela, and later Black revolutionary, Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael). Her marriage to Toure resulted in the loss of scores of concerts and contracts, by forces which opposed the Black freedom movement.

For her songs which attacked and criticized the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, her music was banned and she was denied the right to return to her homeland. She lived away from her birthplace for nearly 3 decades, and the regime wouldn't even allow her to return to the country to attend her mother's funeral. In 1960 the government revoked her citizenship.

If her homeland was out of reach to her, Africa and the broader Black world were not.

She acted in films and on TV. She appeared as a guest star on the Cosby show, and in the acclaimed 1992 movie, "Sarafina", about the youth rebellion against the regime in Soweto.

Her sweet contralto graced many songs but she was perhaps best known for her upbeat "Pata! Pata!" song, as well as her hit "The Click Song", which was based on clicking sounds used in Xhosa.

She died on stage in Italy, at an anti-Mafia concert following the slayings of 6 Ghanaians, after performing so well that the audience shouted for an encore.

Makeba was 76

--(c) '08 maj

23 Nov 2008

A Celebration of Palestine

Just had this from Mike Cushman...thanks Mike

A Celebration of Palestine

29th & 30th November

11am – 6pm

Free Entry

SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square

London, WC1H 0XG

Text Box: A wonderful array of Palestinian products & experiences: Palestinian Olive Oil – Nablusi Soap – Olive Wood – Embroidery - Hebron Ceramics – Clothing - Almond, Dates, Za’atar – Jewellery – Music and Books – Olives – Calendars and Cards – Artwork – Cremisan Wine & Brandy – Tours to Palestine – Exhibitions: Nabil Anani Prints & Palestinian landscape photography Relax and enjoy a delicious Palestinian lunch Dabke dance and story telling Talks and workshops

A two day fair trade fair and celebration of Palestinian culture

See http://www.zaytoun.org/journal/

The Occupation and Israeli civil society

Gideon Levy (Ha’aretz)
Karma Nabulsi (Oxford University) [replacing Samia al-Botmeh]
Prof Ilan Pappe (Exeter University)

Saturday 29 November, 2pm
Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental & African Studies
Malet Street, London WC1 (nearest tube: Russell Square)

• ‘Today there is hardly a university [in Israel] that does not offer special courses for officers, pilots and secret agents.’

• ‘The entire nation is an army and Bar-Ilan [University] is all security.’

• ‘The universities must not allow themselves to be conscripted into safeguarding Israel’s security. They must not bow down to this idol.’

These comments from a recent article in Israel’s leading daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, direct attention to the role played by universities in the illegal occupation of Palestine.* The author, campaigning journalist Gideon Levy, suggests that Israel’s academic institutions are integral to the Occupation: that together with the media, the legal system, the health system – in fact the whole of civil society – they are part of the means by which military rule is sustained.

Israel’s civilian institutions serve the Occupation. Palestinians, meanwhile, are denied the most basic resources. Under military rule they are denied access to land and water, movement is restricted, schools and universities struggle to maintain teaching, and hospitals lack basic equipment and trained staff.

You are invited to join this discussion about the recruitment of Israeli society to the service of the Occupation. What are the implications – and what can be done in Israel, Palestine and here in Britain?

* “Shin Bet's academic freedom”, Ha’aretz, 8/9/2008, at: www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1018912.html

Supported by SOAS Palestine Society, Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Guardian grovel after green terrorist story

there was understandable dismay at a recent story which told of a 'growing threat from eco-terrorists'.

Police were said to be investigating the eco-movement Earth First! which, they claimed, had supporters who believed that reducing the Earth's population by four-fifths would help protect the planet. The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit was concerned that a lone maverick might attempt a terrorist attack. It had also warned several companies they were being targeted as major polluters by the group and had offered them advice on how to withstand attack.

It's perfectly legitimate to report police security concerns, but none of the statements were substantiated. No website links were offered, no names were mentioned, no companies identified and no police source would go on the record.

The article linked Earth First! to climate camps established last summer, including one at Kingsnorth power station, Kent, and at Heathrow.

Earth First! in its early days in the US had a few population bomber types, who said sad and indefensible things. They did not however plot killings.

I am very critical of Malthusians but I don't know they are actively calling for death camps!

EF! Uk rejected the population hysteria for an anti-capitalist analysis.

Even if EF! were mad green terrorists they are not identical to the climate camp, so layer upon layer of distortion here.

If you want to know more about EF...may be have a read of my book Earth First! and the anti-roads movement. Routledge 1999.

or look at their site

Ian Bone is celebrating the Guardian U turn, he did a bit of digging on the story, so all credit to him on this one.

Not that I endorse every thing he said on the Jonathon Ross show! That though is another story...

22 Nov 2008

New Guardian slurs against Chavez


you can tell the Guardian's high standards by the fact they run propaganda demonising environmentalists as ecoterrorists sourced some suggested straight from the military!

The great thing is if you can get a 'left' or 'liberal' paper to run propaganda those on the left are more likely to be fooled.

In Colombia to the North of Venezuela, death squads clear indigenous people from the land to make way for biofuel...this is what the media and conventional politicians are happy with. No media frenzy against Uribe. Journalists who punish Chavez and praise Uribe, drip not with ink but blood.

Any way I am sure the Guardian are suffering with the recession, so let them know what you think about their recent material!

Chavez's work which is over whelmingly progressive is demonised, I for one quite strongly disagree with his nuclear power decision, but the media goes into over drive when he and others make progress.

Rory Carroll is the Guardian Venezuela 'expert' read about him here.

Some salient points from Venezuela Information Centre in reply:

The piece is overwhelmingly negative with a number of misrepresentations and inaccuracies, which undermine the legitimacy of the elected government of Venezuela, ahead of the local and regional elections tomorrow.

Whilst acknowledging some of the social gains and Venezuela's "vibrant democracy" it suggests that Chávez is restricting freedoms, is "autocratic" and gives the impression that Venezuela is going backwards under his leadership. In reality 10 years of the Chavez-led government in Venezuela has seen dramatic increases in social inclusion and democracy, more information on which is provided below.

1) Extended democracy and human rights

The piece claims that the Chávez government is "an autocratic government," and implies it no longer will "uphold a constitution that guarantees basic human rights". In reality democracy and human rights have been expanded in Venezuela in recent years:

· The best people to judge this are Venezuelans themselves. The 2008 annual survey of Latin American views by the respected Latinbarametro organisation found greater satisfaction with and support for democracy. Support for democracy is at 82% in Venezuela but across Latin America averages 57%. Additionally, Venezuela is the region's second-most satisfied country regarding the functioning of democracy with 49% support, against a regional average of 37%.

· Previously excluded sections of the population are now able to vote, with 17 million Venezuelans eligible to vote in these elections, reflecting a 64% increase in the number of registered voters between 1998 and 2007.

· President Chávez and his coalition of supporters have won eleven out of twelve national votes since Chávez was first elected in 1998. In the 40 years prior to President Chavez's election, there were only 15 national electoral contests.

The piece also includes a specific, inaccurate, allegation that the government is "cowing" trade unions. The reality is that trade union rights are guaranteed constitutionally, the percentage of trade unionists in the workforce is increasing and the ILO at its recent annual conference group rejected claims that Venezuela "violated" trade union freedoms.

2) Social progress and increased living standards

The editorial implies the government is overseeing a deteriorating social situation. In reality, social progress and a commitment to public services in Venezuela has meant:

· In October, Venezuela's Finance Minister presented a national budget increasing social spending to nearly half the national budget.

· Over 1.5million Venezuelans have learnt to read and write in five years through the programme Mission Robinson, and illiteracy has been eradicated to UNESCO standards.

· Millions more people have access to education. The percentage of the budget allocated to education will be 18.2%, more than double the percentage allocated to education in 1998 before President Hugo Chávez took office.

· Extreme poverty has been halved from more than 20% in 1998 to less that 9% today.

· Child malnutrition in Venezuela has fallen from over 20% in 1998 to 4% today.

· Venezuela now has the highest minimum wage in Latin America.

· Unemployment has been more than halved, from 14.7% to 7.2%.

Specifically, the claim of "chronic food shortages" does not recognise recent developments. A national poll by IVAD (a well reputed, anti-Chavez, pollster) conducted for the period 16 Sept - 10 Oct 2008 did not register this as an issue the population believed needed urgent attention. In part this is due to recent actions of the government in tackling food hoarding and embarking upon a programme of public food distribution, especially in poorer areas

21 Nov 2008

Your local BNP members

A very good statement from Jean Lambert on the ex Green Party members on the infamous list.

I also think the photo above should clear up any confusion on this matter....racists and homophobes don't tend to find the Green Party in tune with their prejudices, rare that they join, rare that they stay and after due procedure they would be expelled any way.

Plenty of Tories, UKIP and I am told Labour and Lib Dems on the infamous list, I am told, nearly forget to mention ex-Tories, UKIP, Labour, Lib Dem...

Responding to the news that two former Green Party members have been reported as being linked to the BNP, Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, who is a well-known advocate for equal rights and an outspoken voice against racism, said:

"Let there be no doubt that the Green Party stands firmly against both racism and anti-Semitism. The Green Party has long fought for equality for all, supported the rights of migrant workers and spoken out against fascism and racism. People with those views are not welcome in the Green Party."

Gordon Brown could green the banks

This from Kevin, thanks Kevin, a little better today but still ill, so some nice copy to copy is great...


A green economy could be ours
The government should use its shareholder position in the newly recapitalised banks to push for proactive change from within

Kevin Smith
guardian.co.uk, Friday November 21 2008 07.00 GMT

In early November, representatives from 20 different organisations from around the world gathered in Spain as part of the BankTrack network to lay out a response to the banking crisis. The resulting El Escorial statement on banking and the financial crisis made a number of common sense recommendations as to the practical steps that need to be taken to provide a more stable, equitable and democratic banking system in the wake of the recent economic upheaval. In contrast, the UK government is planning to essentially let the banks get on with it, but using public money this time.

More than a month after it was announced that British tax-payers would be stumping up billions of pounds to bail out the banks, the two men responsible for overseeing the public investment, Philip Hampton and John Kingman, announced in an article in the Financial Times that they "must operate on a commercial basis at arm's length", and will act only "to manage the taxpayer's investments, not to manage the banks".

This "arm's length" approach amounts to a monumental cop-out on the part of the government and a nigh-on unconditional bail-out for the beleaguered bankers. The banking crisis has clearly highlighted the fact that left to their own devices, financiers will always recklessly career down the road of short-termist profit maximisation.

While we wait to see what form the government's re-regulation of the banking sector will take, it could and should use its position as a shareholder in the newly re-capitalised banks to push for proactive change from within. The arm's length approach is effectively more of the same, when what is necessary is for the state to have a more "hands-on" approach.

The current crisis is not only an economic and financial crisis, but one of governance and the government could play a key role in addressing this issue through its probable majority stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Such a role could curtail the massive "shadow banking" boom in hedge funds and derivatives, which largely serve no social function other than to make the rich even richer. Capital needs to be taken out of this "casino economy" and redirected to the real economy in order to meet the needs of society regarding sustainability.

In today's carbon-constrained world, this financing of the "real economy" needs strict regulation as to its climate impact. The government has been pushing for its clean energy investments abroad to be counted towards its EU renewables targets. This is a fudge, and is not likely to help carbon accounting, but it is noteworthy that the government has not volunteered to correspondingly count the emissions from its dirty energy investments (such as those financed by RBS) overseas against its Kyoto targets.

In October alone, among its many instances of project finance, RBS took part in a $500m loan to Great Plains Energy, a US power generator whose coal-fired plants emitted 26.5 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006. October also saw RBS subsidiary bank ABN-AMRO facilitating a loan to the highly controversial "tar sands" extraction in Alberta, Canada.

Critics say that intervention from the government would discourage investors from purchasing the shares from tax-payers in the future, but banks such as the Co-op and Triodos, both of whom have ridden out the crisis relatively smoothly, have demonstrated that ethical lending policies can be attractive to investors.

The threat of climate change calls for a broader interpretation of public interest in the context of the massive public investment that has been made into the ailing banks. The "Green New Deal" being proposed by the New Economics Foundation and the Guardian's Larry Elliott, among others, calls for massive public spending to bring about the urgently needed transition to a low-carbon economy. The public could shortly be the majority owner of a financial institution that could play a key role in the Green New Deal if the government was willing to spend a fraction of the amount of political will that it took to bail out the banks in the first place. The widely touted interests of the tax-payer as shareholder would be much better served by creating a more climate-secure future than by the short-term inflation of RBS's profit margins.

20 Nov 2008

Well I am off like I suspect a lot of you with a nasty flu cold, which I am finding, a little difficult to shake off...so not in the mood for blogging..did find this nice site from Appalachian Greens which I have open sourced the graphic from.

Also hoping to get to blog on Rabbis for Human Rights...these people do the work of God, all strands of Juadism taking part in imaginative non violent direct action in defence of Palestinians, the feel good story of the year...spread the word, especially if it takes me a day or two to blog properly

Jacqui Smith provides visa for "kill gays" singer

Visa for "kill gays" singer

Home Secretary grants visa and work permit

Inciter of murder allowed into the UK

Black MPs "silent and spineless"

London - 20 November 2008

"The Home Secretary has granted a visa and work permit to a Jamaican singer who incites the murder of gay people," reports human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

"Although inciting murder is a serious criminal offence, Jacqui Smith is giving Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) permission to perform at a concert in east London this Sunday," added Mr Tatchell.

"Bounty Killer was banned from Guyana earlier this year, but the British government says he is welcome to sing in the UK.

"A white racist singer who advocated the killing of black people would be refused entry to Britain. Why the double standards?

"This singer encourages and glorifies gang violence. At a time when so many young people have been murdered in gang-related gun and knife crime, it is reckless and obscene for the Home Secretary to give Bounty Killer a visa and work permit.

"Rewarding maladjusted thugs who incite violence sends the wrong signal.

"Mr Killer helps reinforce and legitimate gang violence by encouraging, glorifying and celebrating the killing of gay people. His negative impact goes way beyond the gay community. He psyches up a whole generation to see hatred and violence as cool and street cred.

"For the sake of parents whose sons have been murdered in gang attacks, it is time we closed the door on Bounty Killer and similar murder music singers," urged Mr Tatchell.

Watch this video of a Bounty Killer concert, where he openly incites the crowd: "Faggot, I kill every one of them":

See examples of Bounty Killer's lyrics urging the murder of queers below.

Mr Tatchell has written to the Home Secretary, setting out six reasons why she should revoke Bounty Killer's visa and work permit (a copy of the letter follows below).

He has also issued a stinging rebuke to blacks MPs, condemning them as "silent and spineless."

"Murder music fuels the culture of violence that has claimed the lives of dozens of black teenagers. Instead of speaking out, black MPs sit on their hands and say nothing. They don't condemn singers like Bounty Killer who encourage straight black men to murder gay black men, and who incite a culture of violence that fuels gang warfare and has resulted in the killing of more than 20 black youths in London this year," said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell 0207 403 1790

Bounty Killer songs that incite homophobic violence

Another Level
Bun a fire pon a puff and mister fagoty (Uh huh)
Translation: Burn a fire on poofs and faggots (Uh huh)
Poop man fi drown an dat a yawd man philosophy (Uh huh)
Translation: Shit men [queer men] must be drowned and that's a yardy man [Jamaican] philosophy

Man A Badman
You know we need no promo to rub out dem homo
Translation: You know we don't need prompting to rub out [kill] a homo

Look Good
Mi ready fi go wipe out this fag wid pure laser beam
Translation: I'm ready to go wipe out this faggot with a pure laser beam

Peter Tatchell's letter to the Home Secretary

The Home Secretary
Home Office

19 November 2008

Dear Jacqui Smith,

Request to ban Bounty Killer (Rodney Price) from entering and performing in the UK

Name: Rodney Price (stage name, Bounty Killer)
DoB: 12 June 1972
Nationality: Jamaican

Mr Price is scheduled to perform at the Stratford Rex venue in East London this Sunday, 23 November 2008, under his stage name, Bounty Killer.

In view of the unacceptable levels of gang violence and gun and knife crime, which has tragically claimed the lives of so many young people, the LGBT human rights group OutRage! urges you, as Home Secretary, to take prompt, effective action against singers, such as Rodney Price / Bounty Killer, who contribute to the acceptability of gang culture and violence by encouraging, glorifying and celebrating the killing of LGBT human beings.

We respectfully request that you deny Rodney Price / Bounty Killer (BK) a visa and work permit (or revoke his visa and work permit) and prohibit him from performing in the UK on the following grounds:

1) BK has not signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, whereby artists promise to halt inciting hatred and violence - indeed, he was asked to sign the RCA and he refused to do so.

Read a sample of the Reggae Compassionate Act here:

2) BK has incited murder, which is a serious criminal offence and a threat to public order.

See examples of his "burn and drown" gays lyrics here:

Watch this video of a Bounty Killer concert (uploaded to YouTube on 24 August 2008), where he openly boasts and incites the crowd: "Faggot, I kill every one of them":

All eight singers in this Dancehall Dossier should be prohibited from entering the UK, as they have all incited the murder of LGBT people. Some singers such as Buju Banton have signed the RCA, but have since denounced and violated it. Prohibiting BK would be a good start to tackling these proponents of homophobic murder.

3) BK has specifically incited the murder of LGBT people, which is a threat to community cohesion and good community relations. See the links above.

4) BK has been associated with repeated concert violence and anti-gay hatred and abuse. Caribbean World News reported in April this year that the government of Guyana has banned BK on the grounds of violence, disorder and his torrent of homophobic abuse at his concert that month.

5) The Home Office and the Metropolitan Police ban foreign racists and those who incite racist violence from entering the UK and performing in public, so you should adopt the same policy towards foreign homophobes and those who incite homophobic violence: no entry, no concert. LGBT people are entitled to the same protection from murderous incitements as black people - no more, no less.

6) BK's incitements of violence are not confined to overseas. His songs advocating the killing of gay people are played on some radio stations and sold be some records stores in the UK. BK is therefore inciting violence and murder within the UK.

We do not accept the Met Police excuse that Bounty Killer will not be permitted to perform songs that incite homophobic violence at his concert on Sunday. This does not make his performance acceptable.

A white racist singer who advocated killing black people would not be allowed to perform in London, even if he agreed to not incite the killing of black people at his concert. The Met Police would argue that any stage performance by a white racist singer would risk public disorder and damage community cohesion. They would ban him, full stop. They have adopted this zero tolerance policy towards white racist bands.

Yet when it comes to straight homophobic singers who urge the murder of gay people, the police take a softer stance. They have agreed to let the Bounty Killer concert go ahead on Sunday, despite the police's professed commitment to oppose homophobic hate crimes.

As Home Secretary, we believe you should stop Bounty Killer from entering the UK. He has committed the criminal offence of incitement to murder. If a white singer advocated the killing of black people he would not be allowed into the country. You would rightly insist on his exclusion; and deny him a visa and work permit. Why should there be double standards?

It is unacceptable to say that racism is worse than homophobia and that different standards should apply.

Allowing Bounty Killer to enter the UK is particularly difficult to justify, given the exclusion from Britain of the American Black Muslim leader, Louis Farrakhan, of the Nation of Islam. I don't agree with Mr Farrakhan's politics or religion, but he has not urged his followers to kill anyone. So, if he is banned from the UK, singers like Bounty Killer who incite the murder of LGBT people should definitely also be banned.

I hope this information will prompt swift action by you to block Bounty Killer's entry into the UK and his performance this Sunday.

Many thanks and best wishes,

Peter Tatchell

19 Nov 2008

'Ecofascist' BNP member's islamphobia

Harry's place has been working to find Greens on the BNP list, I wonder why this could be....three are listed apparently and Lib Dems, Conservatives, Labour Party and UKIP.

I think publishing details of bnp members addresses is unethical and it is no debate illegal....it is not something I am going to do. However I am going to look at one ex-member of the Greens who joined the BNP in the 1990s, all the material is from available and legal sources..

One ex-Green who joined the BNP was Robert Baehr...his particular angle seems to be Islamaphobia...I remember him from Whatley Quarry so a bit sad about his political trajectory...we were there protesting not as bit part actors in Doctor Who.

Indymedia noted years ago:

Newbury bypass protest veteran and founder of the Tinkers Bubble eco village Robert Baehr is a BNP activist!

Robert Baehr hit national heasdlines during the Newbury bypass protest when he broke a court injunction and was sent to Pentonville Prison for campaigning against the road. He is also the founder of Tinkers Bubble Britain's best known alternative community. His involvement in the BNP came to light after an interview he did for Countrysider paper the paper the BNP produced for the countryside march. Other people in the environmental movement like Earth Firth should be aware of fasicsts like him in the movement!

This is from an Observer article:

After a sour 90 minutes, there is a break, during which I speak to an organic farmer and longtime road protester from Somerset called Robert Baehr. He left the Greens, he says, because they were multiculturalist and feminist. He is worried that the orchard that he plans to bequeath to his sons will be seized by the Islamic republic he believes Britain is set to become.'

'They will do to us what the grey squirrel did to the red squirrel in this country,' he says. This kind of thinking has long played around the fringes of the ecology movement. Back in the 30s, Henry Williamson, the author of Tarka the Otter, was a vocal advocate of Mosely

I also found this, I am assuming it is the same Baehr

This piece brought out one real crazy by the name of Robert Baehr of Haselbury Plucknett in Somerset. He called our Prophet (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) the Antichrist. The 4th-century bishop Cyril of Jerusalem identified the Antichrist as someone who would come as "the concluding events of the world draw nigh", not thousands of years before that; who would decieve the Jews by lying miracles, while our Prophet (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) saw only very few Jews convert to Islam; who would reign for three years and six months, and then be overthrown by the return of Jesus (peace be upon him). By Baehr's reckoning, the Second Coming has already happened and the world should be no more; in reality, the Prophet's (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) mission lasted about twenty years. Some of what I quoted conflicts with Islamic teaching (such as the exact length of time the Antichrist will be on Earth), but this is what a real Christian theologian says about the Antichrist, and it bears no resemblance to the Prophet (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam).

Baehr further alleges that "Jesus stood between the fallen woman and the lynch-mob, whereas Mohammed would have been the first to cast a stone". In fact, the passage is disputed, and some early manuscripts don't contain it at all (see the footnotes to the Good News Bible); Jesus (peace be upon him) may have been using his authority as a Prophet and Messenger of God in the case of this one woman. Our Prophet (sall' Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had a woman's hand cut off for stealing, and this woman was a member of one of the more powerful tribes of Makkah, the Makhzoum, and rebuked one of the Companions for trying to intercede for her.

BNP membership has soared with Islamphobia...

Nick Griffin seems to be a fan of Mr Baehr, he is on record discussing a trip to Somerset:
Also heavily involved at the well-attended inaugural meeting is an old hand, Bruce Cowd, and the anti-road protester and Tinker’s Bubble rural collective co-founder Robert Baehr, who gives a quiet but passionate speech about how we each must strive to be worthy of this ancient and delicate land of ours. This is nationalism at its deepest level, almost of religious intensity and profoundly moving.

More on why some people go from Green to far right another day...but lets not pretend it happens very often or that the fash don't include some ex-Tories or even ex-Socialist Alliance members, Lib Dems, MRLP, etc...and of course there is the old MI5 trick of individuals being members of different political organisations at the same time...met a few of them as well in my long years as a Green Party member.


UK politicians call for the release of prisoners and an end to Israeli

Three human rights activists travelling with a group of Palestinian
fishermen remain in custody in Israel today after they were taken illegally
from fishing boats by the Israeli Navy on Tuesday.

Andrew Muncie from Scotland, Italian Vittorio Arrigoni, and American Darlene
Wallach, all working with International Solidarity Movement (ISM), were
surrounded by the Israeli Navy and arrested alongside 15 Palestinian
fishermen seven miles off the coast of Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip.

Since their arrival on the first voyage of Free Gaza in August, the ISM
volunteers have been accompanying Palestinian fishermen who are regularly
attacked by Israeli Navy vessels from as little as 3km from shore. They have
filmed Israeli forces using live ammunition, shells and water cannons
against unarmed fishermen (1).

Green Party MEP Dr Caroline Lucas said: “Despite worldwide condemnation,
Israel persists in flouting international human rights law through its
hugely damaging blockade of Gaza and the constant military attacks on the
Palestinian people.

“That our own Foreign Secretary is agreeing with other European leaders to
upgrade the EU’s preferential Association Agreement on trade with Israel
while Israel continues to abuse Palestinian human rights is intolerable.
Israel must release the three human rights campaigners immediately and stop
harassing and detaining Palestinian fishermen who have every right to fish
for food off the Gazan coast.”

Baroness Jenny Tonge and the Rt Hon Clare Short MP both travelled on the
Free Gaza boat trip in August and today sent messages of support to the
campaigners and to the Palestinians in Gaza.

Baroness Tonge said: "The time has come for the international community, and
especially the European Union to take action against Israel's consistent
breaking of international law. The EU-Israel Association Agreement should be
suspended until Israel complies with this law.

“It was only last week that I personally met with the fishermen whose boats
are illegally water-cannoned and fired upon by Israeli gunboats as they
peacefully fish in Gaza waters. The human rights observers who were taken
unlawfully by Israel should be released immediately."

Rt Hon Clare Short MP commented: " If there is to be any hope of peace in
the Middle East, international law must be upheld. This means that the siege
of Gaza must be lifted and the constant attacks by the Israeli navy on Gazan
fishermen halted.

“Those who have been arrested must be released and the UK must insist that
these illegal attacks on Gazans, fishing peacefully within their own waters,
must cease."

The three international Human Rights Observers (HROs) have now been moved to
Maasiyahu prison in Israel and continue to face deportation, which they had
pledged to resist until the Palestinian fishermen were released. Mr Muncie
had begun a hunger strike in protest at the treatment of the fishermen by
the Israeli authorities (2).

News of the arrests comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressed
fears for the Palestinians suffering the severe economic consequences of the
ongoing Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip (3).


Notes to Editors

(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZBwcPcAeFA
(2) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7735876.stm
(3) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7737243.stm

When the Dragons Return Home

[col. writ. 11/12/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have seen the naked rule of the dollar, unrestrained, wreak havoc around the world.

The reasons aren't as much ideological, as they are practical. It is the pursuit of profit (to quote Malcolm X) "by any means necessary."

In economic terms, we've seen the rise of the theories espoused by the late Milton Friedman, who advocated a "pure" form of capitalism, one unrestrained by regulation, and unbridled by the narrow interest of nationalisms.

Friedmanites roamed around the globe in the 1990's, supporting dictatorships throughout Latin America because they were good for business profits. They supported dictatorships in Asia for the same reason.

For profits trumped all other considerations.

The method they utilized was "structural adjustment", or the programs pushed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank that demanded countries cut social services, eliminate trade barriers, and open up their markets to foreign plunder, in order to get IMF loans.

Every country that did so, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, et al., went into a spiral of depression and social disaster. One Latin American country's currency became so worthless that they used their pesos to cover the walls -- because it was cheaper than wallpaper.

One of the IMF's long-term economists, Davison Budhoo, witnessed their policies and resigned, and wrote why he quit. In his resignation letter, he decried the IMF's practices of:

...[H]awking your medicine and your bag of tricks to governments and to people in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa. To me resignation is a priceless liberation, for with it I have taken the first big step to that place where I may hope to wash my hands of what in my mind's eye is the blood of millions of poor and starving peoples...[p.251].*

The architects of this economic theory based their profiteering on either exploiting or creating shocks, for under such conditions new rules could be made that further weakened social networks and strengthened foreign capital.

These crises can come from any source, natural, political or economic; the result is the same: destruction and disorientation, conditions which allow for better exploitation by national and foreign oligarchs.

But, capital, unleashed, is notoriously mobile. Restless, ravenous, always in search of profit, it has returned to its nest, and is ravishing anew.

The present economic crisis, born of unmitigated greed, while terrifying and disruptive in its impact, is also a tremendous opportunity for profit-taking as stocks fall, and corporations are able to be acquired for a song.

The late Black revolutionary, Malcolm X, is long remembered for his quip on the JFK (Pres. J.F.Kennedy) assassination: the chickens have come home to roost.

Today, the vultures have come home, to feed at the breast where once they nursed. Ravenous, they feed, ripping flesh from bone, until little is left.

This is capitalism unleashed. And it ain't pretty.

--(c) '08 maj

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org

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P.O. Box 19709
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Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
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Web - www.freemumia.com

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
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Waynesburg, PA 15370


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18 Nov 2008

British National Party membership list made public

On previous episodes of membership list leaks...take a look at Notes from the Borderland

Review of Borderland here which is worth a look if you want to get beyond mainstream media spin and fascist responses when it comes to stolen list...this is a story that has hit the news several times before.

The entire British National Party membership list has been published on line, no I am not giving you the link, although I had a glance at the document...

Lots of discussion on the web, and members of the far right party running for cover.

Indymedia seem to been first in on the act...

I am not sure what this is about, an internal feud, incompetence, state infiltration, disgruntled cleaning lads, pissed off tea girls.

I know that the secret state is keen to build up these kind of lists.

False or doctored lists might occur...why not make up some names to cause chaos?

There have been cases of false lists, used to wind up tension between left and right.

Who knows?

I would certainly not trust any such list....in the Green Party we had a little legal battle a couple of months back to reject release of membership details.

Some may laugh when a far right group has its membership list published but publishing names and addresses on the internet is unethical as far as I am concerned.

Any organisation should take that the people with access to membership data are limited and vetted with care...can you imagine if some stole the Green Party list.

Stop new laws vs consenting sex!


Stop new laws vs consenting sex!

As the governments announces new prostitution offences, we ask: who benefits from criminalising sex workers & clients?

The English Collective of Prostitutes co-ordinates the Safety First Coalition


On Wednesday 19 November, under the guise of protecting women from trafficking, the government will announce new laws against prostitution. While they claim to target men who have sex with a woman controlled for gain, what will be their effect on women? Bitter experience tells us that any law against consenting sex forces prostitution further underground and makes women more vulnerable to violence. Women Against Rape agrees: “We know from women we have helped over the years that criminalisation is the main obstacle to sex workers reporting rape and getting justice.”

In our submission to the government, we said:

“Prostitution is not an offence at present and we see no reason why sex between consenting adults should be criminalised just because one party pays the other for her or his services. While the new proposed offence speaks of sex with a person controlled for gain, how will it be established that the person is controlled for gain? Controlled by whom? For whose gain? Will a co-worker, a maid, a partner or any one else who relates to a sex worker be considered guilty? Are clients expected to know what sex workers’ working arrangements are? Which arrangements will be deemed legal and which not?” For full submission see: www.prostitutescollective.net

Just like in any other job, many women prefer to work together: it is safer and less boring. Often younger women work for older ones. Under the proposed offence, any client of a woman working for another could be convicted. But what is his crime? The woman is working voluntarily and is likely to be making a better income than most women in commonly available low waged jobs.


Tuesday 25 November 2008 6-8pm, Committee Room 16, House of Commons

Come and hear how wide ranging opposition to the government proposals is.

The meeting is hosted by John McDonnell MP.

Speakers so far:

Niki Adams, English Collective of Prostitutes

Victoria Andrews, lap-dance club manager & ex lap-dancer

Sian Berry, Green Party candidate for Mayor of London

Toni Cole, ex-sex worker, first successful private prosecution for rape in England & Wales

Sue Conlan, Solicitor

Niamh Eastwood, Head of Legal Services, RELEASE

Richard Faulkner, House of Lords

Jean Johnson, Hampshire Women’s Institute

Catherine Stephens, International Union of Sex Workers

Dr Helen Ward, Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health, Imperial College, London


Public opinion is increasingly hostile to repressive policies that force prostitution underground, and make it less safe for sex workers.

o In February, the Safety First Coalition with MPs and Peers defeated government attempts to “rehabilitate” sex workers and increase arrests.

o On 14 November, the IQ2 debate at the Royal Geographical Society defeated “It is Wrong to Pay for Sex “by 449 to 203.

o The Communications Workers Union has voted for decriminalisation.

o Long established women’s organisations are canvassing their members.

o Lapdancers handed into Downing Street a 3,000-strong petition against tightening licensing laws.

o Internationally, New Zealand’s five-year review showed decriminalisation is a success. In US, the historical election that voted Barrack Obama as president by a landslide, was also memorable in San Francisco for Proposition K to decriminalise prostitution in the city. Prop K got 43% of the votes – astonishing given that its sex-worker-led campaign had no funding, and that the police, District Attorney and Mayor used their position to misinform and scare voters.

Workers don’t benefit from criminalisation. The ECP has been inundated by women who have been raided, arrested and charged, and face imprisonment for running safe, discrete premises where no coercion is taking place. Anti-trafficking legislation is being used to justify these raids. Who will support families hit by recession when mothers and daughters who sell sex are imprisoned? How can women who want to get out of prostitution find another job if they have a criminal record?

Pimps, violent men and “rehabilitation” projects benefit. Pimps are attracted by any illegal economy. Violent men know that illegal workers can’t report violence or exploitation. And more anti-prostitution projects will be funded to “save” the rest of us.

Why are resources wasted on policing consenting sex when most rapists are getting away with it? Why are anti-trafficking laws used to deport women?

Sex workers want rights, not charity. We want safety, not prison.

Listen to the workers, not the preachers.



English Collective of Prostitutes

PO Box 287

London NW6 5QU

Tel: 020 7482 2496

Fax: 020 7209 4761

Email: ecp@allwomencount.net

Web: www.prostitutescollective.net

17 Nov 2008

it’s like begging the wolf not to eat up little red riding hood.

More from Fidel, cool!

The illustration is from this very nice knitting and dress site, please click on and start a project....I am hoping to have the time myself.

Reflections by comrade Fidel


Bush seemed happy to have Lula sitting to his right during dinner on Friday. On the other hand, Hu Jintao, whom he respects for the enormous market in his country, the capacity to produce consumer goods at low cost and the volume of his reserves in US dollars and bonds was sitting to his left.
Medvedev, whom he offends with the threat of locating strategic radars and missiles not far from Moscow, was assigned a seat rather distant from the White House host.
The King of Saudi Arabia, a country that in a near future will produce 15 million tons of light oil at highly competitive prices was also sitting at his left, at Hu’s side.
Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and his most faithful allied in Europe, could not be seen close to him in the pictures.
Nicolas Sarkozy, who is rather disappointed at the present architecture of the financial order, was far from him looking embittered.
The President of the Spanish Government, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a victim of Bush’s personal resentment attending the conclave in Washington, I could not even see in the television images of the dinner.
That’s how those attending the banquet were sitting.
Anyone would have thought that the following day there would be a profound debate on the thorny issue.
On Saturday morning, the press agencies were reporting on the program that would unfold at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Every second was covered. There would be an analysis of the current crisis and the actions to be taken. It would start at 11:30 a.m. local time. First, there would be a photo op, or “family picture” a Bush called it, and twenty minutes later the first plenary session would start followed by a another one in the second half of the day. Everything was strictly planned, even the fine sanitary services.
The speeches and analysis would last approximately three hours and 30 minutes. Lunch would be at 3:25 local time, immediately followed by the final declaration at 5:05. One hour later, at 6:05, Bush would be leaving for Camp David to rest, have dinner and have a pleasant sleep.
Those following the event were impatient to see the day going by and trying to know how the problems of the earth and the human specie would be dealt with in such a short time. A final declaration had been announced.
The fact is that the Summit’s final declaration was worked out by previously chosen economic advisors, very much in line with the neoliberal ideas, while Bush in his statements prior to the summit and after its conclusion claimed more power and more money for the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other world institutions under strict control of the United States and its closest allies. That country had decided to inject 700 billion dollars to bailout its banks and multinational corporations. Europe had offered an identical or even higher figure. Japan, its strongest pillar in Asia, has promised a 100 billion dollars contribution. In the case of the People’s Republic of China, which is developing increasing and convenient relations with Latin American countries, they are expecting another contribution of 100 billion dollars from its reserves.
Where would so many dollars, euros and pound sterlings come from if not from the deep indebtedness of new generations? How can the structure of the new world economy be built on paper money, which is what is really circulating in the short run, when the country issuing it is suffering from an enormous fiscal deficit? Would it be worthwhile traveling by air to a place on the planet named Washington to meet with a President with only 60 more days left in government and signing a document previously designed to be adopted at the Washington Museum? Could the US radio, TV and press be right not to pay special attention to this old imperialist game in the much-trumpeted meeting?
What is really incredible is the final declaration adopted by consensus in the conclave. It is obviously the participants’ full acceptance of Bush’s demands made before and during the summit. Some of the attending countries had no choice but to adopt it; in their desperate struggle for development, they did not want to be isolated from the richest and most powerful and their financial institutions, which are the majority in the G20.
Bush was really euphoric as he spoke. He used demagogic phrases which mirror the final declaration.
He said: “The first decision I had to make was who was coming to the meeting. And obviously I decided that we ought to have the G20 nations, as opposed to the G8 or the G13. But once you make the decision to have the G20 then the fundamental question is, with that many nations, from six different continents, who all represent different stages of economic development, would I be possible to reach agreements, and not only agreements, would I be possible to reach agreements that were substantive? And I’m pleased to report the answer to that question was, absolutely.”
“The United States has taken some extraordinary measures. Those of you who have followed my career know that I’m a free market person –until you are told that if you don’t take decisive measures then it’s conceivable that our country could go into a depression greater than the Great Depression.”
“[…] we just started on the $700 billion fund to start getting money out to our banks.”
“[…] we all understand the need to work on pro-growth economic policies.”
“Transparency is very important so that investors and regulators are able to know the truth.”
The rest of what Bush said goes more or less along this line.
The final declaration of the summit, which takes half an hour to read in public due to its length, is clearly defined in a number of selected paragraphs:
“We, the leaders of the G20 have held a first meeting in Washington, on November 15, in the light of serious challenges to the world economy and financial markets…”
“[…] we should lay the foundations for a reform that will make this global crisis less likely to happen again in the future. Our work should be guided by the principles of the free market, free trade and investment….”
“[…] the market players sought to obtain more benefits failing to make an adequate assessment of the risks and they failed…”
“The authorities, regulators and supervisors from some developed nations did not realize or adequately warned about the risks created in the financial markets…”
“…insufficient and poorly coordinated macroeconomic policies as well as inadequate structure reforms, led to an unsustainable macroeconomic global result.”
“Many emerging economies, which have helped sustain the world economy, are increasingly suffering from the world brakes.”
“We note the important role of the IMF in response to the crisis; we salute the new short-term liquidity mechanism and urge the constant reviewing of its instruments to ensure flexibility.”
“We shall encourage the World Bank and other multilateral developing banks to use their full capacity in support of their agenda for assistance…”
“We will make sure that the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral developing banks have the necessary resources to continue playing their role in the solution of the crisis.”
“We shall exercise a strong monitoring of the credit agencies through the development of an international code of conduct.”
“We pledge to protect the integrity of the world financial markets by reinforcing protection to the investor and the consumer.”
“We are determined to advance in the reform of the Bretton Woods institutions so that they reflect the changes in the world economy to increase their legitimacy and effectiveness.”
“We shall meet again on April 30, 2009, to examine the implementation of the principles and decisions made today.”
“We concede that these reforms will only be successful if they are based on a serious commitment to the principles of free market, including the rule of law, respect for private property, free trade and investment, efficient and competitive markets and effectively regulated financial systems.”
“We shall refrain from erecting new barriers to investment and trade in goods and services.”
“We are aware of the impact of the current crisis on the developing nations, especially on those most vulnerable.”
“We are certain that as we advance through cooperation, collaboration and multilateralism we will overcome the challenges and restore stability and prosperity to the world economy.”
This technocratic language is beyond grasp of the masses.
The empire is treated courteously; its abusive methods are not criticized.
The IMF, the World Bank and the multilateral credit organizations are praised despite the fact that they generate debts, enormous bureaucratic expenses and investments while supplying raw materials to the large multinationals which are also responsible for the crisis.
This goes on like that until the last paragraph. It’s a boring declaration full of the usual rhetoric. It doesn’t say anything. It was signed by Bush, the champion of neoliberalism, the man responsible for genocidal wars and massacres, who has invested in his bloody adventures all the money that would have sufficed to change the economic face of the world.
The document does not have a word on the absurd policy promoted by the United States of turning food into fuel; or the unequal exchange of which the Third World countries are victims; or about the useless arms race, the production and trade of weapons, the breakup of the ecological balance and the extremely serious threats to peace that bring the world to the brink of annihilation.
Only a short four-word phrase in the long document mentions the need “to face climate change.”
The declaration reflects the demand of the countries attending the conclave to meet again in April 2009, in the United Kingdom, Japan or any other country that meets the necessary requirements --nobody knows which- to examine the situation of the world finances, dreaming that the cyclical crisis with their dramatic consequences never happen again.
Now is the time for the theoreticians from the left and the right to offer their passionate or dispassionate criteria on the document.
Form my point of view the privileges of the empire were not even touched. Having the necessary patience to read it completely, one can see that is simply a pious appeal to the ethic of the most powerful country on earth, both technologically and militarily, at the time of economic globalization; it’s like begging the wolf not to eat up little red riding hood.

Fide Castro Ruz
November 16, 2008
4:12 p.m.

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