31 Mar 2009

UEL G20 must go on!


Tuesday, April 31st 2009. 3 p.m.


* The G20 Alternative Summit must go on! Classes and lectures must go on!

* In only a few hours a petition to Keep UEL Open receives over 1400 signatories from across the world, including well-know academics and writers, e.g. Naomi Klein.

* University is a crucial centre of democracy. Democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis.

London – Following the decision of the University of East London’s Corporate Management Team to close down the entire university on Wednesday, April 1st and Thursday, April 2nd, staff and students have launched a petition to keep the university open, arguing that they “would feel ashamed of UEL if this institution […] were to become known as the university that had closed its doors to democratic debate and education in times of crisis such as these.”

The University of East London was scheduled to host the G20 Alternative Summit on Wednesday, April 1st, intended as a popular assembly for everyone engaged in current struggles for social justice. Amidst fears over ‘security’ in light of these G20 protest events, management first withdrew its support for the Alternative Summit and subsequently decided to shut down the entire campus for the duration of the G20 summit and protest events, cancelling lectures and classes and shutting the library.

In the petition, staff and students are arguing that such ‘security’ considerations are a “classic excuse for every historic attempt to curtail free speech. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become a common space thriving with creative energies, [the University of East London] plans to become an empty shell for two days.”

The petition states that,

“It is time for the university management to become accountable not only to the government funding bodies, but to the wider public to whom it owes both its livelihood and a duty to fulfill its role as a part of civil society. The past 3 decades have seen public spaces such as universities hollowed out by the state and by corporations, as more and more of our common resources are transformed into sterile commodities, valued only in cash terms. In universities this has led to a policy regime which increasingly sees ‘employability’ in the ‘creative industries’ or in ‘business and finance’ as the only benchmark of success by which a university education can be judged; which sees research separated from teaching; which sees ‘knowledge transfer’ to the commercial sector as the only legitimate destination for the fruits of inquiry."

The signatories to the petition, which include a number of well-known academics from universities across the globe, including writer and activist Naomi Klein, are urging UEL management to “reconsider [their] decisions and take this unique opportunity to open the university as a crucial centre of democracy, since democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis. We must keep our university open to staff and students, rejecting the claims and ‘risk assessments’ that reproduce fear instead of promoting dialogue. We urge you to take responsibility for enabling the university to act as a truly public space for debate in a time when nobody can doubt that radical new ideas are needed.



Press enquiries:

* Dr Jeremy Gilbert, j.gilbert@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0)7745886735

* Dr Eva Turner, e.turner@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0) 7940537794

*Prof. Massimo De Angelis, m.deangelis@uel.ac.uk, +44 (0) 7951991754

Further information:
* http://www.petitiononline.com/openUEL/petition.html; http://www.altg20.org.uk/

Cynthia McKinney in London today

Just spotted this from Cynthia who is speaking in London today...she ran as the Green Party Presidential candidate...and during the war tried to get into Gaza with aid...she has been attacked venomously by the friends of the IDF for her good works.

Hello! I’m currently in London, invited by the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, to participate in a Forum for Palestine sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The event is taking place at the Marriott Grosvenor Hotel on March 31, 2009. This one-day Forum will feature the Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Serri Rais Yatim giving the opening address and former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir presenting the keynote address. I will speak for about 20 minutes on the Genocide in Palestine and, of course, what happened to me in international waters while on a boat carrying medical supplies, attempting to reach the besieged people of Gaza.

Of course, it is right here in London that George Galloway’s triumph must be marked of reaching Gaza by land in a convoy of vehicles. Even in triumph, M.P. Galloway acknowledged that they still had to ask Israel’s permission for some of the vehicles to enter Gaza. Nonetheless, what Galloway did was absolutely phenomenal and those of us who tried to reach Gaza by sea, through the territorial waters of the Gaza remained committed to that goal. However, we must deal with the issue of impunity. Right now, we see that justice is blind–meaning that those most in need of justice are the ones to whom the system of justice constructed in our country and internationally, is blind. We must change that.

For those of you who are, or who have friends who are in London, please pass this message along. It would be great if we could have a better-than-expected turnout of our Power to the People friends who are “across the pond.”

I am in the process of putting a message together on the current economic morass into which Obama’s economic team, following Bush’s, is leading us. In short, what Washington, D.C. is doing is devoid of all sense, unless the objective is to aid and abet those who want to rob the taxpayer. During our Power to the People campaign, we put forward some principles that would ensure that the economy of the United States was one that worked for the people. In the time since then, I’ve met some wonderful “people’s economists” who point the way with practical policy recommendations that are being ignored. Heck, even David Walker, the US former Comptroller, is still being ignored. It’s not rocket science–although those in charge would want you to believe it is. And the it’s not being done because those in charge don’t want us to be the arbiters of our economic destiny. More on that later.

UEL closes down G20 discussion

A session discussing alternatives to the current global economic catastrophe has been banned by bureaucrats at the University of East London.

The cops and mainstream media have been attacking protesters for weeks, the usual moral panic is recycled, to make protest against greed bankers and bought governments forbidden.

UEL's Professor Chris Knight has been suspended as you may also have heard.

Please sign the petition....corporate management indeed.


Text here:

To: University of East London

To the Corporate Management Team (CMT) of the University of East London

We are writing to you to express our anger following your decision to cancel permission to hold the planned UCU (University and College Union) sponsored alternative summit and close down the university on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd of April 2009. We are urging you to reconsider both of these decisions.

In the last 15 years, anti-g8/g20/WTO/debt etc. protests have been held across the world; often to coincide with the meetings of the powerful, taking a stand of dignified rage against decisions that have led to increased poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, war, the violation of human rights, and a global economy that is now imploding after huge wealth has been concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The very vast majority of these protests have been peaceful. In the case of the Genoa demonstrations in 2001, as has been reported by a variety of sources - including leading newspapers in the UK - the police were found to have been responsible for the violence that ensued.

On these occasions, universities around the world have often played a crucial role in hosting fruitful debates between individuals and civil society organisations, in a common effort to develop strategies and visions to put the world on a better course. Alternative summits have often been held in university spaces, as occasions open to a wide public. There is a reason for this. The life-blood of democracy is the meeting and sharing of hearts and minds, and the university is one of the best existing institutions that can facilitate this: in fact, this is the university’s only fundamental purpose. A university like the University of East London (UEL), proud of its open access policy and of its commitment to inclusion, even more than others, must take a stand to defend its public role of facilitating dialogue and promoting social justice. But in order to do so, the university has to be open. It is the responsibility of its management to defend the historic role of the university as a sanctuary for open debate; not to collude with those who are responsible for the present crisis in depriving it of that role.

Yet, a few days ago, senior university management of UEL decided to cancel the alternative summit that was sponsored by UCU, citing ‘security’ considerations (the classic excuse for every historic attempt to curtail free speech). Now it even proposes to close the campus for normal academic activity. So instead of opening up to the world, UEL shuts down and closes in on itself. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become a common space thriving with creative energies, it plans to become an empty shell for two days.

It is time for the university management to become accountable not only to the government funding bodies, but to the wider public to whom it owes both its livelihood and a duty to fulfill its role as a part of civil society. The past 3 decades have seen public spaces such as universities hollowed out by the state and by corporations, as more and more of our common resources are transformed into sterile commodities, valued only in cash terms. In universities this has led to a policy regime which increasingly sees ‘employability’ in the ‘creative industries’ or in ‘business and finance’ as the only benchmark of success by which a university education can be judged; which sees research separated from teaching; which sees ‘knowledge transfer’ to the commercial sector as the only legitimate destination for the fruits of inquiry.

There is a deep connection between this process and the ones that have led the world to its current state of social and economic injustice and climate chaos. In all such cases, the real collective creativity that generates value of all kinds - from the factory to the seminar room, from the laboratory to the orchestra, from the field to the home - is channeled into the endless, mindless production of commodities. This connection between social creativity and commodification must be weakened, if we want to meet the challenges of our times. But this cannot be done if spaces for debate, questioning and social invention are closed down.

We can all see where such neoliberal dogma has led the global economy. Now is the time to decide whether UEL will carry on following the rules of this discredited programme, becoming a part of the deepening problem; or whether it will start to become part of the solution, as a university should.

We urge you to reconsider your decisions and take this unique opportunity to open the university as a crucial centre of democracy, since democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis. We must keep our university open to staff and students, rejecting the claims and ‘risk assessments’ that reproduce fear instead of promoting dialogue. We urge you to take responsibility for enabling the university to act as a truly public space for debate in a time when nobody can doubt that radical new ideas are needed. The alternative summit must go on; classes and lectures must go on. We would feel ashamed of UEL if this institution - to which its staff is so committed - were to become known as the university that had closed its doors to democratic debate and education in times of crisis such as these.


30 Mar 2009

Caroline Lucas acts over the detention of 'Mr U'

Caroline Lucas MEP challenges UK Government over continued detention of Algerian without charge under ‘draconian’ anti-terror laws

Euro-MP and Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas has today called on the Home Secretary to end the state persecution of the man known as ‘Mr U’. The Algerian national has been subjected to detention and home arrest for 8 years under ‘anti-terrorism’ legislation – despite no charges having ever being brought against him.

Dr Lucas has written to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to question the most recent arrest of Mr U, who is currently in limbo in Belmarsh Prison awaiting the results of a review of his case from the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission (SIAC).

The MEP has also challenged the powers held by SIAC, a Government body which rules on appeals against decisions made by the Home Office to deport, or exclude, someone from the UK on national security grounds.

Mr U, who fled war-torn Algeria in 1992 and claimed asylum in the UK, lived and worked in Britain for several years – but was arrested in 2001 on the basis of secret evidence. Threatened with deportation to Algeria where he could face torture, the evidence against him and the materials that provided the grounds for his deportation are unknown.

Caroline Lucas MEP said: “Once again we find the Government using repressive ‘anti-terror’ legislation as an excuse to gradually chip away at the civil liberties of individuals in this country. We are now so accustomed to seemingly arbitrary arrests and detentions which so clearly breach human rights law that it is easy to forget what the Government’s repressive tactics mean for the individuals involved.

“The authorities have had eight years to make a case against Mr U, but have chosen instead to keep him in a state of limbo and subject him to tyrannical bail conditions.

“Despite repeated intrusive searches by police and immigration officials during this period of house arrest, under conditions that even the SIAC judge described as ‘draconian’, no evidence was found of Mr U breaking his bail conditions – yet he was once again detained on 26 February.”

Dr Lucas MEP continued: “Ironically, Mr U has said that one of the reasons he sought asylum in the UK was because of its reputation abroad for upholding justice. This Government’s willingness to abuse the rights of individuals brings shame upon our nation – and our supposed commitment to the core principles of justice and equality.

“If there is sufficient evidence to detain and deport Mr U, why has it not been made available to him and his lawyers? Why has it not yet been used to charge him? If he is guilty of any crime, he must be charged immediately or else released.

“This Government is fast gaining a reputation for its active role in perpetrating injustice against individuals – not to mention its willingness to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses at home and abroad. SIAC should not be allowed to rule on such cases – especially when there is little to no chance of appeal.”

She concluded: “We must call ministers to account for their ongoing use of so-called ‘anti terrorism’ legislation as a smokescreen behind which to seriously undermine the human rights of individuals – and say very clearly that the British public will not tolerate it.”


Notes to Editors

1) The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) is a superior court of record created by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997. It deals with appeals in cases where the Secretary of State for the Home Department exercises statutory powers to deport, or exclude, someone from the UK on national security grounds, or for other public interest reasons.

Prosperity without Growth

Prosperity Without Growth? says that the current global recession should be the occasion to forge a new economic system equipped to avoid the shocks and negative impacts associated with our reliance on growth. Ahead of the G20 Summit in London, the report calls on leaders to adopt a 12-step plan to make the transition to a fair, sustainable, low-carbon economy.

The report argues that growth is unsustainable ecologically, by moving to more investment for the whole of society prosperity can be created without waste. Essentially capitalism has failed and we need to replace it with something better.

My contribution to the report is here...'Prosperity without Growth, Economics after Capitalism'.

Nice they used part of title....and its even in the Metro

Our 'debt-driven consumption' has created an unstable economy which has created the current financial crisis, a government watchdog said.

The 'fundamentally flawed' system has put jobs and livelihoods at risk, as well as damaging us psychologically and socially, said Prof Tim Jackson of the Sustainable Development Commission.

Rather than using stimulus packages to get back to 'business as usual', governments meeting for the G20 summit should adopt measures to make the transition to a fair, sustainable, low-carbon economy, the Prosperity Without Growth? report said.

29 Mar 2009

SDC reports on 'Prosperity without Growth'

GROWTH has broken our economic system and attempts by Gordon Brown to mend it by kick starting MORE GROWTH are ‘delusional’ and ‘pathological.’ So says a damning report by the government’s own advisors, including the Green Party candidates for the European Elections, Derek Wall and Dr. Miriam Kennet.

The two contributed to the scathing report Prosperity without Growth, out today (Monday 30th March 2009) by the Sustainable Development Commission of leading environmental advisors. It found capitalism has failed and was always destined to fail.

“The narrow pursuit of growth represents a horrible distortion of the common good and of underlying human values,” the report concludes. “The market was not undone by rogue individuals or the turning of a blind eye by incompetent regulators. It was undone by growth itself.”

We are living in an “age of irresponsibility”, it says.

“Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries, but question it we must,”

It points to the ‘the myth of growth’ which has failed to provide stability and to safeguard jobs. It has proved itself to be unsustainable and unworkable in the long run, and MUST be replaced by a fairer and more sustainable system.

“The people who say Capitalism has failed can no longer be viewed as radical loonies,” says Derek Wall, “We can see now all around us that the system has failed us, failed to safeguard peoples’ livelihoods, and must now be completely overhauled.”

According to the report, inequality is higher in industrialised nations than it was 20 years ago. The rich have got richer, but the poor have stayed poor, with wealth only reaching a “lucky few”.

The SDC also points to the ‘disastrous’ environmental consequences of the past quarter of a century of growth.

In the last 25 years the global economy has doubled, leaving 60% of the world’s natural ecosystems degraded and threatening “catastrophic” climate change.

It report recommends 12 steps to a sustainable economy which include respecting ecological limits, a fundamental overhaul of our work patterns and consumerist expectations, and tackling the gaps between rich and poor.


Derek Wall and Miriam Kennet, who contributed to the report, are available for Interview.

Dr. Derek Wall is an experienced Green political campaigner, published author and journalist. He was Male Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales, and writes a regular green blog. He's standing as a candidate for the Green Party for the European Elections in June.

Miriam Kennet, qualified in archaeology, economics, and environmental science, is a member of Mansfield College, and the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University and has researched into environmental economics at South Bank University, London, at Templeton College, Oxford University, and Keele University. She is co-editor of one of the few books on Green Economics; "Green Economics, beyond Supply and Demand to Meeting People's Needs. She's also a Reading Councillor and a candidate for the Euro Elections this year.

28 Mar 2009

Green Party defends disability role model

"Understanding and caring for people who are different needs to be taught to parents as well as children," the Green Party's disability spokesperson Alan Wheatley said today.

He was responding to news that the BBC had received dozens of complaints from parents about the employment of BBC children's television presenter Cerrie Burnell, who was born with one arm.

Cerrie Burrell co-presents the Do and Discover slot and Bedtime Hour on the CBeebies channel of the BBC. It has been reported that dozens of parents have complained that the presenter scares children. One parent reportedly said, "What is scary is the BBC's determination to show 'minorities' on CBeebies at every available opportunity." (1)

The Greens' Alan Wheatley commented today, "What would these parents who believe that 'minorities' should be neither seen or heard on children's television have them do? Is it not time for the parents to grow up to a global world and the social model of disability?"

Mr Wheatley explained that the social model of disability, integral to Green Party policy, points to the physical and social barriers that exclude people with impairments from fully participating in society. "Disabled role models on television can help to broaden the world-view of the parents as well as the children in the spirit of life-long learning in a very diverse society. Clearly one-armed people like Cerrie Burrell can achieve a lot, though not necessarily in the 'standard' way. Do some parents with both arms intact feel threatened by the prospect of a physically disabled person's success?"

He concluded: "Outside inclusive education hours, Cerrie Burnell might be seen as an icon of disability equality in public service broadcasting. She is a disabled person who has succeeded in the highly-competitive world of broadcasting, and that makes her an important role model."


1. See http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23649838-details/Parents+complain+that+disabled+TV+presenter+is+%27scaring+children%27/article.do
and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1152466/One-armed-presenter-scaring-children-parents-tell-BBC.html.

URL: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2009-02-24-disability-equality-needs-role-models.html

Published and promoted by Tracy Dighton-Brown for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

The Indian Nation

class struggle and the indigenous in Canada from an article posted by the excellent Socialist Voice

By Ray Bobb

The purpose of this mini-essay is to present Canadian Indians as an internal colony and to indicate some aspects of a strategy for sovereignty.

An internal colony is a people subject to colonial rule within an imperialist settler-state. Possibly, six internal colonies exist: American Indians, Canadian Indians, Aborigines, Maoris and, by way of slavery and annexation, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans. These peoples are colonized within four imperialist settler-states: the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Geographically, each internal colony is composed of many communities or territories that are distributed throughout an imperialist settler-state. Demographically, with the exception of the African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, internal colonies have small populations. Due to expropriation, the members of an internal colony are also members of the working class of an imperialist settler-state.

The concept of a Native internal colony is diametrically opposed to the new Canadian concept of First Nations. The concept of First Nations is a product of Canada's ongoing effort to make circumscribed treaties with Indian tribes and bands that will, ultimately, de-legislate the existence of a colonized people and, formally, incorporate them into Canada. Treaties are, by definition, made between nations. For the purpose of piecemeal treaty-making the federal government has designated Indian tribes and bands to be nations, i.e., First Nations.

The federal government is intent upon treaties as opposed to other types of agreements because the matter on which Canada wants resolution concerns the relationship between two peoples and, therefore, two nations. The "new relationship" that Canada wants to establish is, simply, one in which Indians no longer exist. Canada's present Indian policy is tantamount to bureaucratic ethnic cleansing and forced annexation.

In the federal government's comprehensive treaty process Indians are required, tribe by tribe or band by band, to (1) renounce their nationality by agreeing to remove themselves from the jurisdiction of the Indian Act and (2) cede their right to self-determination by formally incorporating into Canada. These requirements of the treaty process contravene Article 15 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 1 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that state, respectively, "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality" and "All peoples have the right of self-determination." Insofar as the treaty process is a bottleneck for receiving government funds and having Indian rights recognized, it is coercive.

The federal government's present Indian policy was, for a short time, proposed as the Government White Paper Policy on Indians (1969). The White Paper proposed to unilaterally abolish the Indian Act, the Department of Indian Affairs, Indian reserve land, old treaty rights, and aboriginal rights and title. This proposal was actively opposed by all Native people. The federal government began immediately to create a Native leadership that is dependent upon government funding and that can be depended upon to carry out government policy. In 1973, the federal government reaffirmed the objectives of the White Paper in its Comprehensive Land Claims Settlement Policy and, along with its captive Native leadership, proceeded to effect the objectives of the White Paper, bilaterally.

To date, Natives on 40 percent of Canada's land area (all of the North including northern Quebec) have signed treaties, and many tribes and bands in the South have entered the treaty process or have signed treaties.

Some Indian people accept the First Nations designation in that it appears to be a recognition of nationhood. It is true that the early treaties signed between the Indian tribes and Great Britain were made on a bona fide nation-to-nation basis. However, when the remaining British colonies in North America became the independent Dominion of Canada (1867), an imperialist settler-state came into being and within it was established an internal colony of Canadian Indians. The term "Canadian Indians" refers to the national entity created by internal colonialism, composed of the formerly independent tribal peoples, and, subjected to direct rule by Canada.

Furthermore, national entities exist in the contemporary world not only because of their moral entitlement but also because of their individual and allied power. Tribes were defeated at contact precisely because they were national entities on the level of tribes pitted, separately, against developing world empires. In the twentieth century, nations have demonstrated that, militarily, they can defeat imperialism in the Global South.

The situation and condition of the internal colonies ally them to the two great social movements of modern history – the national liberation movements in the Global South and the socialist movements in the imperialist countries. The national liberation movements are the principal and determining conflicts of our time. The victorious growth of these movements can only strengthen and help to define the internal colonies.

In the early twentieth century, the revolutionary movements in the imperialist countries were subverted by reforms conceded to the domestic working classes based on imperialist superprofits derived from the colonies.

The national liberation movements, inevitably, will weaken imperialism and preclude reformism in the imperialist countries. This will reawaken class struggles in the imperialist countries. The members of the internal colonies can be a part of these struggles, can demand support therein for the right of all oppressed nations to genuine self-determination, and can negotiate therein the terms of native self-determination.

The type of self-determination achieved by the internal colonies will be a product of national liberation in the majority world, choice in the internal colonies, and negotiation with worker's power in the imperialist settler-states. It may be that the settler-states and the internal colonies are so closely interrelated that complete separation is not possible. Sovereignty for the internal colonies may require economies that are integrated with those of the former settler-states and rights of dual citizenship for those resident on the land of the other. While sovereignty cannot be the answer to all the world's problems, unity and peace are unlikely to be achieved without the prior liberation of the oppressed nations.

Ray Bobb is a member of the Seabird Island Indian Band, based on the lower Fraser River. He can be contacted at raywbobb[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

26 Mar 2009

LGBT delay in Caracas

Andrés Duque has left a new comment on your post "LGBT advances in Venezuela":

That actually was originally from my blog:


Unfortunately, it has been refuted:


Thanks for this Andrés, I know that the LGBT agenda has moved forward in Venezuela but it is a disappoint to read this....here is hoping it will make into 'organic' legislation soon.

LGBT advances in Venezuela

Rowland's blog which is becoming crucial reading for ecosocialists had this, which I think he had from somewhere else and so on...good news.

Latin America's sexual conservatism is crumbling....

Venezuela and the Bolivaran Revolution are on the verge of taking a major step forward on the issue of LGBTI-Q rights, and becoming yet the latest country to leave the United States in the dust with regards to the LGBTI-Q rights struggle. According to National Assembly member Romelia Matute, who is Deputy of the Assembly’s Family Commission, the legislature in Venezuela is well on its way to approving a bill that would grant same-sex couples legal recognition, including shared patrimony and inheritance rights.

In the story first reported this past Friday by Spain’s ABC, Matute said that the “report on the ‘Organic Bill for Gender Equality’ is almost ready for a second - and final - [legislative] debate.” She stated that the bill would include language allowing “the union between two people of the same gender” in the form of something she called “co-inhabiting associations”. Matute also said that members of the National Assembly, of which a majority belong to President Hugo Chávez’ United Socialist Party of Venezuela, have met a number of time with Venezuelan LGBTI-Q rights organizations and also said that it was those organizations who had requested that the usage of the term “co-inhabiting association”. Matute said that the government would recognize “the joint-living associations formed by two persons of the same gender, on mutual accord and free agreement, with the full legal and patrimonial effect”.

In another enormous step forward for members of the Venezuelan LGBTI-Q community, according to Matute the the bill would also address transgender issues, saying that “Whoever changes their gender through surgical means, or any other means, exercising their freedom, has the right to their identity, and to drafting or changing all documents associated with their identification”. Taking into consideration how it is that the mainstream “queer” rights groups in the United States tend to shove trans issues off the side in order to push a heteronormative agenda that only addresses gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, it is amazing to see Venezuela taking the step towards recognition of the rights of trangendered people. In a statement that was delivered today by Radio Reflejos of Venezuela , which also operates an online LGBTI-Q show, it was called a collective achievement for the LGBTI-Q right movement in Venezuela. It also singled out a few individuals who, they say, have attended meetings with those drafted the bill, including: Transgender rights activist Rummie Quintero from Transfemenina, who is said to be the first transgender person to be ever called for consultation by the National Assembly; Elena Hernaíz from the Reflejos Foundation; transgender attorney Tamara Adrian, from Diverlex (pictured right); and organizations such as Union Afirmativa, the Lesbian Feminist Collective, and others.

It is interesting to note those who were not among the list of people brought in for consultations on the bill, including the United Socialist Bloc for Homosexual Liberation or their leader Heisler Vaamonde, who aligned themselves with Chávez’ government over the years despite few advances in LGBTI-Q rights during his decade-old rule.

Finally, LGBTI-Q activists have urged people to contact the Deputies of the Family Commission in order to offer their support too this initiative as it reaches the parliamentary floor for a vote. They include:

Marelys Pérez Marcano: marelysperez@an.gob.ve
Flor Ríos florrios: @ an.gob.ve
Carmen Rodríguez Rauseo: carmenrodriguez @ an.gob.ve
Juan José Molina: juanmolina @ an.gob.ve
Diluvina Cabello: diluvinacabello @ an.gob.ve
Alberto Castellar: albertocastelar @ an.gob.ve
Viva Chavez! Viva Venezuela! Viva the Revolution! Viva the LGBTI-Q struggle!

25 Mar 2009

Brecht bricks banker?


“We are angry that rich people, like him, are paying themselves a huge amount of money, and living in luxury, while ordinary people are made unemployed, destitute and homeless.

“This is a crime. Bank bosses should be jailed.

“This is just the beginning.”

Bertol Brecht has been up to Edinburgh and has the bricked the windows of 'Greedy Banker' Sir Fred Goodwin.

Bankers they take your hard earned dinero and then lose it! They pay themselves huge amounts of money for all the hardwork involved in losing it.

The people in the barrios down the hil are rising up, insisting on their rights and smearing excrement on the carpets of the bankers.

Who will they go for next?

Sir Fred certainly likes his carpets according to the Dundee Press.

'And it has also been claimed two huge RBS boardrooms were re-carpeted twice, at a cost of £100 per square yard, because Sir Fred did not like the colour.'

He also liked to have, it is alleged, his fruit flown in from Paris. I bet he took one bite of the apple and throw it at his chaffeur...carbon trading means merchant bankers every where can pay for their wasteful ways, while old people will have to switch their single bar electric fires off and freeze to death.

Well looks like people are not wearing this any more. The Bolivarian process could wash up on these cold shores.

24 Mar 2009

Daniel Tanuro comments on the ecosocialist manifesto

Daniel is definately one of the people on the left who takes ecology seriously, pleasure to spend some time with him in Brussels last November for the Belgium LCR ecosocialism conference...he is one of the people pushing the USFI to take ecosocialism forward...parallel to those of us in Green Parties trying to push forward ecosocialism.

Ironically the tough bit is the 'eco'....a lot of people pay lip service to the environment but the commitment needs to go deeper.

Some comments on the draft ecosocialist “Belem Declaration”
Daniel Tanuro

Because the globalisation of economic and climate crisis makes ecosocialism so urgent and necessary, the declaration should give much more importance to the social demands of workers.

Dear friends and comrades,

The “Belem Declaration” is an important document issued at a very important moment.

As an ecosocialist focused on climate change, I totally agree with the general orientation of this document: denunciation of capitalist growth, productivism, and capitalist strategies to cope with global warming. Among other points, the link with the indigenous peoples, their culture and their struggles is especially important, in my view.

But the declaration lacks some key aspects, on the one hand, while some precise statements are clumsy or wrong, on the other hand.

My main remark is that an ecosocialist declaration should absolutely link the climate crisis to the worst and deepest business crisis since 1929. This is a key condition if we want to get some influence among the workers and the poor in general.

We should explain that the combination of both crisis opens a totally new situation. Indeed, this combination means nothing less than a general exhaustion of the capitalist system: on the one hand, a new long wave of capitalist growth would ask a very brutal attack against the working class and the poor in general, on the other hand a real business recovery –even a green one- would provoke a catastrophic runaway climate change. In this context, there is simply no alternative, but an ecosocialist one.

(I have just written a document about this combination and some strategic conclusions to draw of it. You can find it – in French- on Europe Solidaire sans Frontières: http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article12340.)

Because the globalisation of economic and climate crisis makes ecosocialism so urgent and necessary, the declaration should give much more importance to the social demands of workers. Rich economies have to reduce their energy consumption by 50% or more. Such a reduction can not be achieved only by better energy efficiency: a certain “de-growth” of material production and consumption will be necessary. This means the declaration should absolutely support and promote demands like a radical reduction of working time without wage losses, the nationalisation with expropriation of utilities, the retraining of workers without wage losses and under workers control, public services devoted to the insulation and energy improvement of buildings, a redistribution of wealth thanks to the taxation of the rich and the nationalisation of the bank system, etc.

By the way, I find following statements clumsy or even false (in some cases):

“for the capital commands the means of production of knowledge (…), accordingly, its professors send forth an endless stream of proposals, all variations on the theme that the world’s ecological damage can be repaired without disruption of market mechanisms and of the system of accumulation that commands the world economy”. Would you say that to James Hansen, or Ignacio Chapela, or others scientists like these two? Surely, they are not ecosocialist activists, but neither are they “professors of the capital”! We should encourage honest scientists in their fight against capitalist lobbies, call them to take their political responsabilities, and start a dialogue with them. The text is really clumsy from that point of view.

(in the Kyoto system) “polluters are not compelled to reduce their carbon emissions”. This is simply not true. Polluters are compelled to reduce their emissions, they will even be fined if they do not 100 (Euros/t in the ETS). Though, this is the reason why they managed to get an overallocation of quotas, free allocations and more carbon credits. This is one of the “positive” aspects of the Kyoto Protocol. Though, another “positive” aspect is that there are indeed some limits “to the amount of emission credits which can be issued by compliant governments” (and to the kind of activities giving right to credits, too). Even if the Protocol is bad, insufficient, dangerous, we should not underestimate some “positive” aspects of it, because there is a risk that the new treaty will be worse.

“Since verification and evaluation of results are impossible, the Kyoto regime is not only incapable of controlling emissions…”. This is partly true for carbon credits (due to the loopholes in the CDM) and for carbon sinks (technically very difficult) but not for the CO2 emissions in developed countries, which are very precisely measured, reported and verified.

As even the Wall Street Journal put it in March, 2007, emissions trading “would make money for some very large corporations, but don’t believe for a minute that this charade would do much about global warming.” We should be careful with that kind of quotations coming from that kind of bourgeois newspaper. The Wall Street Journal, like many others in the US, is (was?) opposed to Kyoto for very bad reasons, indeed!

“Bali avoided any mention of the goals for drastic carbon reduction put forth by the best climate science (90% by 2050)”. Sorry, this is untrue. Instead, the footnote in the Bali roadmap clearly refers to very precise and very important pages in the IPCC AR4. Page 776 of Working group 3 contribution, for instance: from the table at this page, one must conclude that developed countries must reduce their emissions by 80-95% by 2050 while developing countries must “deviate substantially from the business as usual scenario”. Ecosocialists should repeat and repeat that the drastic emission reductions “put forth by the best climate science” ARE mentioned in the Bali agreement, and that this agreement engages the governments. They should denounce the governments because they do not respect their Bali engagement. Actually, not to do that makes it easier for the bourgeois governments to kick “the best climate science” into the long grass. This, in my view, is a very important tactical point in the mobilisation. Not only towards the governments and the media, but also towards the environmental NGO, which also dodge some figures from the Bali roadmap (see my article – in English - on this very on http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article11808). By the way, for the same tactical reason, the declaration should quote the Intergovernmental PCC on this point, instead of using a vague formula about “the best climate science”.

“Ecosocialism involves a revolutionary social transformation, which will imply the limitation of growth”. Two remarks: (i) a negative growth (and note barely a limitation of growth) of the MATERIAL production and consumption (not a general one) is needed now, immediately, in the developed countries, and (ii) I suggest ecosocialists to make a difference between growth on the one hand and development on the other hand.

The concrete demands relating to the energy system should give the absolute priority to energy efficiency and the reduction of energy consumption. This a “sine qua non” condition for the transition towards a system based on renewable sources. Giving this priority is also very important in the polemics against green capitalism, green win-win recovery, etc. By the way, all renewable energy sources, except geothermal, are solar sources. I do not know if it is still possible to change the document. I hope so, because the initiative is excellent and we all need something like that, indeed.

Comradely yours


Daniel Tanuro, a certified agriculturalist and eco-socialist environmentalist, writes for “La gauche”, (the monthly of the LCR-SAP, Belgian section of the Fourth International), and Inprecor.

Solidarity with the Roma people!

Belarusian Roma Lawyers Group was opening monument dedicated to Roma victims of Holocaust in Uzda, not far from Minsk . On that picture you can see me and 2 other our activists. One is a veteran of Second World war. wrote Nicolas Kalinin to Green Left convenor Sarah Farrow.

'the Belarusian government must pay attention to the Roma minority and start to work. So far, Roma activists knocking on closed doors. People need to be honest, and start to respect Romani rights.' Nicolas Kalinin

In Green Left we get information from Nicolas Kalinin who works for Roma rights in Belarus.

In Belarus Roma people are persecuted, often harassed by the police, are discriminated against in education.

Belarus is part of the former Soviet Union...but racism against Roma people is found right across Europe.

I turned the Politics Show on sunday, here in the UK, to hear a Conservative politician coming out with racist statements about Roma. I am not damning all Conservatives...they are not all racists.

However right across Europe racism against Roma is seen as acceptable.

In the Holocaust, as well as the Shoah which aimed to exterminate the Jews, as well as the killing of LGBT people, Roma were also targeted.

In Britain in the 1970s you could still find notices that said 'No Blacks, Irish or Gypsies', racist statements against other minorities is unacceptable now but not for Roma....the Roma over here face more racism than any other group.

Italy is the worst example, perhaps, a far right populist government with ex(?)-fascists as part of the coalition, is whipping up hatred against Roma (Muslims are another target).

Take a look here for the Italian experience of Roma people.

In Eastern Europe far right political parties are whipping up hatred against Roma.

With recession, racism is on the rise...we need to show solidarity with Roma people and spread the word.

A human rights report notes for 2008:

Official and societal discrimination continued against the country's 40,000 to 60,000 Roma.

The Romani community continued to experience high unemployment and low levels of education. In 2005 authorities estimated the unemployment rate among Roma at 80 percent. Roma were often denied access to higher education in state-run universities.

Romani children were subject to harassment from non-Romani children and teachers. The majority of Romani youth did not finish secondary school. There was no public school in Minsk for Roma, although there were schools for Jews, Lithuanians, and Poles.1

Handy pro-Roma British blog here by the way.

Very interested to get and post Roma stuff if you want to mail me!

Green Party dissidents fell government

Just got the news!

I wish I could say this was Ireland....the dissident Green Party MPs have swung the vote and toppled the centre-right government.

Why the Greens were in government with a Czech conservative party that supported missile defence bases from George Bush and had one of Europe's most important climate change sceptics as leader beats me.


Conference organisers were celebrating something of a coup in securing as a keynote speaker the Czech president, Václav Klaus, at a time when his country holds the rotating presidency of the EU. Klaus, a Eurosceptic, believes that efforts to protect the world from the impact of climate change are an assault on freedom.

In his remarks last night, Klaus accused European governments of being "alarmist" on the subject of climate change and in thrall to radical environmentalists.

"They probably do not want to reveal their true plans and ambitions to stop economic development and return mankind several centuries back," he said.

He received a standing ovation. But Klaus admitted that his position was a lonely one.

"It is evident that the climate change debate has not made any detectable progress," he said. "It reminds me of the frustration people like me felt in the communist era."

Ok Klaus was only president and does not get on with the present Civic democrat Prime Minister (well Pm until this afternoon) but you don't have to be a super red green radical to view this as weird!

Klaus now leads the EU! Astonishing.

However dissident Green MPs have swung the vote.

Hope the same happens in Ireland with Fianna Fail government who are bulldozing a motorway through one of Europe's most important ancient landscapes at Tara!

More positively the Green Party over here in England and Wales has got some new radical green policies including a splendid migration policy (credit where credit is due...this originates from the European Greens (who I sometimes find less than radical).

23 Mar 2009

Green MPs to topple Czech govenment

The Czech Green Party got taken over by a business man and find themselves in a coalition headed by a climate change denier!

Looks like a revolt from Green Members of Parliament could break the present government and prevent the missile defence programme.

So good for the dissident MPs...dissident in that they support Green politics, just shows there is hope.

Can the Irish Greens throw off the yoke of the porketeriat...here is hoping?

For more on Czech situation take a look here.

Very good conference over here for the Green Party of England and Wales with some excellent motions passed including the Green New Deal from Sean Thompson.

Green Left stalwart Tim Summers was elected on to International Committee amongst other news....so if you want your Green Party to go green, it can be done....you got to educate, agitate and organise.

22 Mar 2009

Harriet Nahanee died fighting climate change, why is she forgotten?

I went for a pint or three with Ian Angus the Canadian ecosocialist back in October 2007 at the George Inn, London Bridge, just a couple of days after the ecosocialist international meeting in Paris.

He was critical of the Canadian Green Party and on the whole did not feel that the left in Canada were active enough on the environment. There are groups like Socialist Voice who are excellent and individuals in the GP or left groups. He was though very enthusiastic about the leadership shown by indigenous people in resisting ecological threats.

I have since been linking up more with indigenous people and it was an important part of my work when I was Green Party Principal Speaker.

Just seen this excellent essay on Rowland's site looking at the struggles of the indigenous for ecology and socialism in Canada.

'A notorious example of this was the punishment of Indian Warrior Harriet Nahanee, a Pedachat elder that found herself sentenced to provincial jail for contempt of court for playing a part in the Sea-to-Sky highway expansion protest at Eagleridge bluffs. Later she passed away as a result of pneumonia and resulting complications at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Feb. 24th, one month after her sentence. It is suspected by many in Indian country that Nahanee’s condition became worsened during her incarceration at the Surrey Pre-Trial centre. However, as can and should be expected, Solicitor-General John Les denied any government responsibility in her death and has refused requests from the community for an inquiry.'

Many Greens forget the indigenous, they are doing the work, we should give them solidarity...they give me hope.

For many like Harriet, it is unfortunarely a life and death struggle. I hope Elizabeth May makes indigenous work a priority, this is the issue on which I judge 'Green Party Leaders'.

This is on Harriet's death from one Green Party member. This stuff is central to green politics, yet for many Greens it is forgotten.

Police use violence during anti-Gypsy raid in Belarus

Just had this, must blog on Italy where the tide of racism is rising, with a far right government including ex-Fascists and discrimination from the state against Roma.

Last news from Belarus:
Police use violence during anti-Gypsy raid


On 5 Jan officers of Partyzanski district police department of Minsk detained more than 80 representatives of Gypsy minority in the Suburb of Stsiapianka and took fingerprints from them.

All of the detainees were videoed for the police archive. The detainees accuse the police of self-will and lawlessness. One of them said that at 8.30 a.m. the police burst at the house where his family lived. ‘They did not knock on the door. They ran, knocked everybody down and shouted: ‘Lie down, bitches!’ We had to lie on the floor for almost 40 minutes almost nude, as most of us were sleeping when it all started.

Then they started a search without showing any warrant. They did not even tell they were from the police. They asked an elderly woman where she kept her gold. Then they lined us up and led to their bus…’ told one of the victims.

‘All our neighbors watched it… They took us to the police where there were about 70-80 Gypsies already. They told they would take our fingerprints and then would let us go. We returned home only at 4 p.m. They told us: ‘Have you heard about the terroristic action?’ Now they are making terrorists out of us,’ he added.

Some other people were detained outdoors. ‘While I was driving my car out of the yard, three people in masks overlapped the way. They pulled me out, threw me into the snow and started beating. I have a black eye, and they fractured my leg,’ said another detainee.

‘We told the police we would complain against them. They answered that then they would find some drugs at our place next time and would hold such raids every month,’ he said

Kalinin Nicolas

Delegate in European Roma Travelers Forum

21 Mar 2009

Political activism at Fast for the Planet

Muzammal Hussain, initiator of Fast for the Planet, and Chair of LINE said:

"There is no doubt that we need a radical approach like this, because although intellectually most of us know what needs to be done, old patterns of living continue to dominate, and green-house gas emissions continue to rise. Now, here's a way to really get our bodies and hearts directly involved in a process that will help break us out of outdated destructive patterns and lead to a better world".

Helen Gilbert, co-organiser of Fast for the Planet, and Events coordinator at St Ethelburgas said:

"We are pleased to be hosting this event at St Ethelburga's because it challenges us at a deep level to consider what reconciliation means in the context of humanity's troubled relationship with the earth. As a practice that has deep roots in many spiritual and faith traditions, fasting is a powerful and unifying resource we can draw on in challenging, both the personal and societal, status quo."

I am very pleased to have been asked to speak at the Fast for the Planet event put together by London Islamic Network for the Environment and St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.

Date: Sunday 22nd March 2009
Time: 4pm to 8.20pm

Organised by London Islamic Network for the Environment (LINE) & St Ethelburga's:

Venue: St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, 78, Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG. (Nearest tube: Liverpool Street)

I have been very impressed by a lot of good work done from a Muslim perspective on the environment.

The event is multi-faith and no faith, all are welcome. Given the day if you are a mother you are especially welcome and if you have a mother please bring her.

LINE run lots of excellent events and have been discussing Andrew Dobson's idea that green politics is more than environmental concern, that it embraces social justice, non violence, justice for other species and transformation of society.

So hopefully see some of you tomorrow..I am talking for 10 mins (so won't do my usual Hugo Chavez length discourse) on 'Political Activism'.

If you want to come along all the details are here.

If you want to get involve with LINE click here.

20 Mar 2009

From my correspondent in Guantanamo North

Against the War -- Against Empire!
[speech writ. 3/15/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Ona Move! LLJA!

Dear brothas and sistas against empire!

I greet you all from America's Death Row (or, what some have called, Guantanamo North.)

As you gather today against the carnage and hell brought to both Afghanistan and Iraq, know that the rumblings and warnings of dissent, of the voices of millions back in Spring, 2003, have come true.

Many people said the war would wreak destruction not just abroad, but here at home, as the economy would crumble.

It's now 2009 -- look around you, and you can almost see things falling. This is but the latest crisis of capitalism. The stock market is a jack 'n' the box, and I needn't even mention the foreclosure crisis. It's but the latest bubble to burst.

And joblessness!

But as bad as things are here, they pale in comparison to the hell lived by millions under U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why should anyone be surprised that the most popular man in Iraq is Muntadher al-Zeidi, the journalist who launched a pair of size 10's at the American president (Bush), and not the U.S. puppet installed as Prime Minister?

In Afghanistan, the so called president is little more than the Mayor of Kabul, and also the head of the biggest heroin ring on earth.

Isn't it time to say goodbye to empire?

I thank you for your kind invitation!

Down with all Imperial Wars!

Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!

Mumia Abu-Jamal

--(c) '09 maj

The Age of Stupid out this weekend

My review from the Star in tomorrow.

THE Age Of Stupid is a film that every one of you should watch - it's powerful stuff.

It is set in 2055 with Peter Postlethwaite playing the last human on the planet, living in a gigantic metallic base 60 miles north of the Norwegian coast.

It is an archive for the whole of a now-extinct human civilisation. Postlethwaite sits among servers that contain the entire digital remains of human culture from episodes of Big Brother to Einstein's speech on relativity. The remains of the world's greatest art collections are scattered around in crates.

This is docudrama at its very best - a powerful warning of the stupidity of ignoring climate change and pretending that it is not happening. Postlethwaite reviews video archives of refugees in Jordan forced out of Iraq by a war for oil, Nigerian women who have to wash their fish with detergent to get rid of the oil spilt by the petroleum industry and a New Orleans oil company worker made homeless by Hurricane Katrina.

The film places climate change firmly in the context of corporate corruption, wars for oil, colonialism and capitalist excess.

The clarity with which it explains the reality of human life on Earth in the third millennium makes it essential viewing. The message that capitalism is a system that must be transcended is crystal clear.

It draws on a powerful heritage of radical film-making from The Battle Of Algiers to director Franny Armstrong's McLibel film. It's informative, politically engaged but engaging.

One criticism is that many of the solutions to climate change put forward are "stupid." Carbon trading, biofuels based on rainforest destruction and nuclear power are not going to save humanity.

The danger is that viewers will watch this amazing film which calls for the transformation of our economy, society and culture and simply sign a petition or write to an uninterested MP. However, if it inspires even a minority to take more radical action, it will have achieved something very special.

The Age Of Stupid is on general release this weekend and I would urge Morning Star readers to buy tickets and take some friends - in a system dominated by Hollywood, independent film-makers need all the friends they can get.

Visit www.ageofstupid.net/screening/uk_cinema_release to see where the film is being screened.

Stupid links

I call the age of lemmings, as they leap towards the cliff of climate change chaos...lots of stupid links here and buy tomorrow's soaraway Morning Star for my review and detailed discussion of stupid environmentalism...

Morning all,

A massive cheer from Team Stupid to everyone who helped spread the word about the premiere. The Film Council (who lent us a few quid for the event) carried out an official survey at three of the cinemas and were totally bowled over by the results, which are way, way better than for a normal film: 98% of viewers liked the film (56%: excellent, 31%: very good, 11%: good, 2%: fair, 0%: poor), 98% said they would recommend it to their friends and.... wait for it.... 75% of them had heard about the film from word of mouth (as opposed to our non-existent advertising, reviews etc). Hats off to all you word-of-mouthers. What a team effort.

Yes, the cinema release starts today. No, we still haven't got our act together compiling all the details. 15 extra cinemas came onboard after the premiere - which is of course fantastic news, but meant we had to scrap all our artwork/flyers/webpages and start again, so we got a bit behind. But I'll break our own rules by sending another message later this morning with all the final screening/speaker details for you to pass on, if you would be so kind. Everyone from Ed Miliband, Nick Stern & Ken Livingstone to Pete Postlethwaite, Jason Isaacs & Jeremy Hardy will be attending screenings over the coming week.

Apologies for the five repeat messages last time (our server can't cope with how big this mailing list got - we're moving soon) and also for not writing earlier: complete exhaustion set in the second the lights went down at the premiere. Speaking for myself, that is - I couldn't even stand - but the young 'uns managed to party for 14 hours straight.

Even bigger apologies to everyone who was trying to watch on the webstream, which was the only element of the whole event which didn't work. Well, that and the Eden project link-up, which was part of the same non-functioning web operation. Oh well, we tried our best. (And you can watch the Eden video here.)

Premiere Videos
Maldives message: http://vimeo.com/3661849
Postlethwaite vs Miliband: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5RCHXLW93E
Eden Project: http://vimeo.com/3668540
Kids Premiere: http://vimeo.com/3698238
Franny's Dad's report: http://www.oneclimate.net/2009/03/17/the-worlds-greenest-movie-premiere/
Eco-Tube report: http://www.eco-tube.com/v/NEWS/Age_of_Stupid_Premiere.aspx
BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7945283.stm
Channel 4 news: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/arts_entertainment/the+green+premiere/3032062
New Zealand news: http://www.3news.co.nz/Video/CampbellLive/tabid/367/articleID/95785/cat/56/Default.aspx#video
Sky News: here

Premiere Photos
All of them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ageofstupid/
Ed and Franny make up: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ageofstupid/3362941402/

Premiere Feedback
We've had over 1000 responses, which Katie is busy compiling for the website. (I broke my personal record yesterday morning while trying to sort through my own 2652 outstanding emails: 300 outgoing emails sent by 11am. Previous record: 4pm). Here's a few quotes to give you a flavour:

>> A big massive well done on the biggest climate change event in the UK ever!!!!!!
>> The youth premiere was blazing
>> Your film changed my life completely, it's hard and scary but I've been converted to full on activist status!
>> My fifteen year old twin sons watched the film at The Fulham Vue for the first time and were both totally blown away. They're now going to try and persuade their school to hold a viewing for all the pupils.
>> It was amazing and inspiring to come from organising with people in their sitting rooms, church halls, community centres and climate camp to be then organising with 260 people in a massive cinema linked up to about 14,000 to 16,000 people UK wide! and the President of the Maldives of course.
>> Just wanted to say a massive WELL DONE! I was at Greenwich Odeon and the film went down a storm. It was great being linked up to events in town and you got lots of cheers and claps. I was with some none politically active friends who pledged there and then to march in December and to come to climate camp in a few weeks time – brilliant result!
>> I just want to say a massive thank you for offering me the opportunity to be part of something so massively powerful. You have created a movement that has brought people together in a way that no one else in the climate movement has done before. Despite the general message of doom about climate change, you have created a massively inspiring, positive energy around this film and the campaign. And it’s because you have worked with 100% honesty and integrity, an ability to see a “no” as a challenge not an end, and you have followed your dreams.
>> What a massive impact that has had on me. I work for a large Corporate so I went back into the workplace on Monday filled with passion to make a difference and have set up a host of meetings to do just that.
>> The only drawback - I spent so much time discussing it on the 'phone on Monday I didn't have time to do my French homework for my class that night BUT, my teacher at City Uni told all the students to go and see it this weekend so we can discuss it at our next lesson.
>> A very very welcome boost forward for the debate in this country. Now let's get on the streets!
>> The build up before the film with the satellite links and attempting to take blurry camera-phone photos beforehand gave us in the audience a real sense of coalition and purpose.
>> What a goosepimply great night! I had seen previews and the Making Of mini-film beforehand, and there was already a buzz in the air that this was going to be a really important moment in film history. It felt important to be part of it. Nothing else has ever made the issue clearer, the solutions more obvious, and the urgency more acute. Nothing else has ever shouted more loudly. I challenge anyone to watch this film and not feel compelled to take action.
>> I'm ecstatic; have already emailed my son's school (City of London) to say they MUST show it to the pupils
>> It was a fantastically great evening and well worth the journey through most of Cheshire to get to Cheshire Oaks.
>> Having listened to all the incredible speakers in the second satellite broadcast, seen the fear on Ed Miliband’s face, and the passion in Pete Postlethwaite’s, I abandoned my carefully rehearsed script on the night (papers went on the floor!) and went for a more personal heartfelt talk...about feeling afraid but positive and confident we can as a group take action. As Ashok Sinha said at the NW FoE meeting in Preston, “they can’t ignore all of us!”
>> Last night was amazing. You made a staggeringly powerful message.
>> I gathered my 9 friends at Vue Islington to watch the premiere this evening and we had a great time - everyone was impressed and moved. Bottom line - it starts with individual action and you have provided a perfect example of how to take something personal (i.e. your enthusiasm to spread the word about climate change) and make it contagious! I hope I (and all your supporters) can do the same!
>> Everyone was fully attentive and reacting appropriately from time to time with applause or groans or laughter.
>> If I were the Queen I'd have the young women who made it in the Honours List [Hmmm, did they miss the bit where Pete said he'd give back his OBE?]
>> We thoroughly enjoyed an admittedly extra-cinematic experience here in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. It was like a three-course meal and perhaps can be done more often, with live link ups both to London and the Maldives!
>> The other day a young chap wrote to us out of the blue saying he really wanted to help organize local support for wind farms. He said he realised he had to get involved after seeing your film.
>> I went to your premiere in Bath. It's great to see people conveying a real sense of urgency about climate change and I loved watching Ed Miliband be put on the spot!
>> Mum brought me tea this morning and burst into tears on my bed. She had been up since 5am thinking about the film, and how we live, and getting upset. She and P were going to go to Nepal in a week, but Mum has decided not to go [non-refundable tickets and all]. The atmosphere in the house this morning feels a bit like we have all been to a funeral. And it IS a bit like that - I really think Mum and P have watched their lifestyle, preconceptions and framework for understanding their world, die. And as their daughter, it is unsettlingly like observing the loss of innocence that I imagine a parent experiences when they watch their children growing up. It is happy but also sad at the same time. But we aren't feeling (too) overwhelmed, but quite empowered. I think this film has acted as a tipping point. I have been banging on about this for years (quite ineffectively I now realise), but the film acted to distill, and make stark, the totally misplaced and confused framework through which we value things. So I think there will be quite a few positive changes around here. So, all of that is just me wanting to let you know that it really hit the soul of this household.
>> In this world where the forces against good are phenomenal, we need a great many more people to follow your example.
>> I was full of admiration for you both in leading the whole thing, and the way you pinned down Ed Milliband in a non aggressive but very forceful way.
>> I was at the Aberdeen showing and there was a definate buzz about it's hoped success. Many of the attendees were local activists which was a brilliant opportunity for people to all get together and have a bit of a chin-wag.
>> You left us normally loquacious lot speechless. It was BRILLIANT. The whole team worked like a smooth flowing super-efficient bunch of genii – at least that’s what it looked like! How DID you all do it?
>> We were in Wimbledon, and saw every second of the live feed from Leicester Square – and apart from some quite novel SciFi feedback FX of the like I’ve never heard live before (looked like you were hearing it too), it all worked brilliantly. The session after the film was riveting, especially putting Ed Milliband on the spot.
>> Saw it at The Light (Leeds) one of the sold-out cinemas. It was great to be "with you" at Leicester Square, and afterwards.
>> Now I've run out of superlatives. Simply, an unforgettable evening. I was awake half the night thinking about it.
>> The folks I took to Exeter were suitably moved and left the screening wanting to change their lives. Even go on the march in December! These were decent 'ordinary' people, not converted activists.
>> Thought you might enjoy hearing about our little Tuesday morning action... www.soilassociation.org/todaysnews.... Partly inspired by our viewing of the People's Premier of The Age of Stupid on Sunday in Bristol!
>> The world seems a little different today, in the lovely spring sunshine.

More Reviews
>> Entertaining one from Taiwan attached. God knows what it says.
>> News of the World - FOUR STARS - "A Deeply Inconvenient Kick Up the Backside... you won't see a more important film this year"
>> Financial Times - FOUR STARS - "lectures us sternly and pitilessly - but also intelligently and provokingly"
>> The Times - FOUR STARS - "the most imaginative and dramatic assault on the institutional complacency shrouding the issue"
>> The Telegraph - FOUR STARS - "Bold, supremely provocative, and hugely important.... a cry from the heart as much as a roar for necessary change."

Newboy Matt is doing his best trying to get all the reviews onto the site: http://www.ageofstupid.net/press_reviews

Help Needed Today
Rhiannon needs volunteers to help pack more activist packs in London today. Anyone free? Contact rhiannon@ageofstupid.net

The Amusements Continue
>> Some very naughty people calling themselves the Clever Crew have been up to all sorts of photogenic shenanigans involving petrol stations, RBS, train stations and wind turbines: http://clevercrew.wordpress.com/
>> Four publishers have contacted us wanting to publish the Book Of The Film. We're definitely going to take one of them up on the offer (though where I'm going to find a spare three months to write a book before July, I'm not quite sure)
>> Martin Durkin (Great Global Warming Swindle filmmaker) and I traded blows for Newsnight yesterday. Surprisingly, no actual fisticuffs were involved, even when I gave him the first ever Stupid Certificate. Watch on Newsnight Review, 11pm tonight, BBC2. (Alongside the Pet Shop Boys, my favourite ever band - yahey)

See you

19 Mar 2009

Green Party Conference Blackpool

Conference is about to open in Blackpool.

I am hoping conference will endorse the excellent migration motion, reassert our opposition to nuclear power and learn from the debacle over the Irish Sea.

Amongst many excellent motions is the Green New Deal motion from Sean Thompson.

A Green Party is a delicious sweetmeat for corporations, a corporate Green Party will be tempted into government but the temptation is that it acts as a mud guard for a dirty neo-liberal vehicle.

We need to remain 'Green'....if I wanted a corporate Green Party my next move would be to centralise candidate selection so that radicals i.e Greens, could be removed. Letting members decide candidates is not the way of the corporate political party!

If I wanted a corporate Green Party I would also abolish the Green Party Regional Council...no over sight lovely for the corporate Greens!

Then the Party would be in a position to be bought up with offers of government coalition....(power would be absent, position and title temptingly apparent!)

The Irish Green Party in government with motorway building corrupt Fianna Fail is the way forward for corporate Greens everywhere.

Happily from Cynthia McKinney to the New Zealand Green Party there are plenty of examples of non corporate Green Parties...but we have to struggle to stay Green in a grey world.

Here is hoping!

What could be more dangerous than a Green Party transformed into an instrument for corporations? Not much!

Sadly the once wonderful Irish Green Party seems to have fallen...to fall in this way is to make the changes we need for a sustainable and socially just world, so much more difficult to achieve.

Still if the revue at conference is funny, sharp and prepared to look at the risks, we are still on the right track!

Criticism is necessary for progress! Silence is a way of preparing for the corporate greens...

No to the Euro homphobes



LGBT Greens: Conservative Party- No to alliances with the Polish homophobic Law and Justice Party!

Green Party Fringe Meeting on Challenging Homophobia in Eastern Europe

For Immediate Release


The news that the Conservatives in Britain may politically ally themselves in the European Parliament with the Polish homophobic Law and Justice Party is the cause of great concern to the Green Party’s LGBT Group.

"We are concerned, if not surprised, that the Conservatives might be planning political alliances with reactionary forces in society," Stated Phelim Mac Cafferty, Media Officer for LGBT Greens.

"Poland under the Law and Justice Party has been one of the most hostile places in Europe to be L, G, B or T. Jarosław Kaczyński, the Chair of the Law and Justice Party in 2005, said that "The affirmation of homosexuality will lead to the downfall of civilization. We can't agree to it" Disgracefully, in June 2006 the party announced an investigation into all of Poland's LGBT groups for paedophilia! It is clear that Poland's homophobes need to be given the cold shoulder they deserve from all quarters, not acknowledged as partners in politics."

Joseph Healy, European Parliamentary Candidate for London, and openly gay himself said:

“LGBT Greens will hold a fringe meeting at the Green Party’s Spring conference[1] on ‘Homophobia in Eastern Europe’ with a speaker (Aleksandra Krestowska) from the Polish Green Party.

“In Poland,” Joseph continued, “the Polish Green Party have been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBT rights against a homophobic Catholic Church and those political forces, which largely consist of the Law and Justice Party. Many young LGBT Poles have come to the UK to escape homophobic attacks and persecution.

“It is inconceivable in this environment that the Conservative Party is even considering allying themselves with a political party which has spearheaded the appalling treatment of Poland’s LGBT citizens. And we are again seeing signs of the lack of changes we’ve been assured had happened within the Conservative Party.

Joseph concluded: “We call upon the Tory Party to come out and declare if these are their future allies in Europe. If this is the case, we urge all LGBT people and Polish citizens voting for the European Parliament on June 4th to send them a firm rejection!”


18 Mar 2009

Tescos take over pubs

This is from The Morning Advertiser this week


Tesco is planning to cash in on pub closures by converting them to small town centre stores. The supermarket giant is reported to have lodged hundreds of planning applications to take full advantage of the pub crisis. Currently around 6 pubs close for good a day.

Pubs are attractive to TESCO as they are licensed to sell food and alcohol and so do not require a change of use application. A spokesman said: "It's not specifically pubs. if we put in an application, it is because that's what would benefit the community and it has got to be in the right place."

Federation of Licensed Victuallers Ass Chef Ex Tony Payne said: "Tesco has driven pubs into the ground with deals - now it will take full advantage."

16 Mar 2009

Left triumphant in El Salvador election

The FMLN fought a brave war against appalling deathsquad right wingers, Arena, funded by Ronald Reagan and more than happy to kill priests and nuns who might be on the side of the poor.

The campesinos were under severe pressure from Washington backed right wing regimes, the FMLN are far less radical than much of the Latin American left but this is a superb victory for the poor, the indigenous and for the hombre in the street.

Not expecting ecosocialism and still worried about forests and people in El Salvador but hey I am still celebrating. Great report from the Morning Star, a newspaper I am proud to work for (ok they don't pay me!)

SALVADOREAN leftwinger Mauricio Funes vowed to crack down on tax-evading corporate chiefs on Monday after he won presidential elections.

The country's election commission released figures on Sunday which showed that Mr Funes of the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN) garnered 51.27 per cent of the vote against 48.73 per cent for Rodrigo Avila of the ruling Arena party, ending two decades of right-wing rule in El Salvador.

Jubilant, red-clad FMLN supporters poured into the streets of San Salvador on Monday, singing, clapping, blowing whistles and waving large party flags as fireworks lit up the night sky.

Addressing the rally, Mr Funes said that "the time has come for the excluded, the opportunity has arrived for genuine democrats, for men and women who believe in social justice and solidarity."

He vowed to boost public spending on education, health and poverty alleviation.

And Mr Funes gave notice to big-business bosses who exploit government complacency to evade taxes, pledging to bring the full force of law to bear on them.

The former freelance television reporter harnessed a wave of discontent with two decades of Arena party rule that have brought economic growth at the cost of growing social inequality.

Fuel and food prices have soared, while powerful gangs extort businesses and fight for drug-dealing turf, resulting in one of Latin America's highest murder rates.

Mr Avila, a former police chief, had warned that an FMLN victory would send El Salvador "down the communist path" and threaten the country's warm relations with the United States.

On Sunday, he vowed to lead "a vigilant opposition that would ensure that the country does not lose its liberties."

The FMLN was formed in 1980 as an umbrella group to unite progressive guerilla groups struggling against the US-backed military regime and its notorious death squads.

After signing the Chapultepec Peace Accords in 1992 which ended the bloody civil war, it became a legal political party.

In January's legislative elections, the FMLN won 42.6 per cent of the vote and 35 seats, making it the largest party in parliament, though it does not have a governing majority.

In Washington, the Obama administration has assured Salvadoreans that it will work with Mr Funes - a marked departure from the approach of former president George W Bush who indicated that an FMLN victory would hurt ties.

Chair of Stop the War to speak at Green Party Conference

'It has been confirmed that Andrew Murray, Chair of the Stop the War Coalition, will be attending the Green Left fringe meeting on ‘NATO Expansion. A new Cold War in Europe?’ at conference on Saturday at 13.00.'

We have had Mark Steel and Roberto Perez at previous Green Left conference fringes, is it fair to say we have better speakers than the main event?

15 Mar 2009

Age of Stupid

The age of stupid film asks are we stupid.

If we ignore the perils of carbon trading, we are stupid...it doesn't work.

If we ignore the use of biofuels based on cutting down rainforests, a solution to climate change that makes it worse we are stupid.

If ignore Cuba's success at using permaculture, renewables and public transport to slash fossil fuel use, we are stupid.

And if we ignore the indigenous who are the cutting edge of the resistance to climate change and winning some big battles we are really stupid.

When will some one make a film about my friend Hugo Blanco, to ignore him would be really dumb.

So please Franny Armstrong make a picture about Hugo Blanco, Pete Postlewaite could play him...just think would any one make a film about 'El Che', well for me while Che was great, Hugo Blanco is better even than Che and still working for revolution today in 2009 just like he was in 1962.

For the time being here is an article about Hugo...please film makers, read it and then start putting a script together.

Perhaps I am being greedy I was in an ecosocialist political group with Keir Starmer and he was the star of Franny Armstrong's last film McLibel....Hugo Blanco - La Película, por favor....

The convert - El convertido
Artículo publicado en Canadá en septiembre del 2007


The convert
Legendary campesino Hugo Blanco merges old-style Marxism with earth-first land reform philosophy

The western hemisphere has a new name. On October 12, indigenous peoples from many countries met in Bolivia to celebrate the United Nations declaration on their rights, and once again rechristened (so to speak) our continents Abya Yala.
In the Kuna language, this means "land in its full maturity." Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer of the late 1400s, lost his naming rights to descendants of settlers who arrived 10,000 years earlier.
The rising sense of power among the hemisphere's 50 million indigenous people is transforming politics in what used to be called South America. But few people have been changed as profoundly by this new politics of identity as Hugo Blanco, the legendary Peruvian Trotskyist revolutionary.
It was Blanco, back in the 60s, who invented the now famous chant of peasants and campesinos the world over: Land or death.
During a lecture tour of Canada last month, he showed how deftly he has wedded old-style Marxist revolutionism to his relatively recent encounter with his own indigenous heritage.
At a meeting at a Ryerson lecture theatre in September, Blanco sports the typical floppy sheepskin hat worn by the Quechua people of the frigid mountains of southern Peru. I only learn afterward that the young-looking 73-year-old wears the hat at all times on doctor's orders, for fear that his skull, which has suffered too many police beatings, can't withstand an accidental bump.
Even with his disarming appearance, Blanco's opening lines surprise me. They're nothing like what I remember from the fiery speeches that almost got him executed when he was tried for his role in a 1962 armed peasant revolt.
The reason native politics are so charged today, 500 years after Europeans invaded, he begins through a translator, is that mines and oil and gas wells are poisoning Pachamama, Mother Earth.
And the aggressive materialism of global corporations is destroying "ayllu," the indigenous sense of community that encompasses every being in a village, including hills, rivers, animals and plants, each of which is endowed with a spirit.
But he's still a socialist, he says at the end of the lecture. After all, reports of Inca civilization inspired Voltaire and Thomas More, contributing to Europe's tradition of utopian socialism.
One of Blanco's daughters, raised in Sweden during one of his many periods of exile, once led Swedish tourists through a Peruvian village and was told it looked like socialism. You have that backwards, he recalls her telling the Swedes; socialism looks like this.
But the world has changed since his youth, he says. "When I was young, I took up the struggle for equality. Now the struggle is for the survival of the species."
Blanco, educated in a radical European culture when he was a student in Argentina during the 1950s, confesses that he is still a recovering Eurocentric. It's easy to see he's struggling to make the transition from the polemical truths of his youth to something else.
South American radicals "copied our social analysis from Europe," he says, "yet socialism, social democracy and Communism have all been defeated in the South.
"I don't know how much Eurocentrism is still in me," he adds. "I am in the process of overcoming. We must initiate this revolution within ourselves."
What does this mean for future organizing? He doesn't know, "but little by little we move forward." The newspaper he edits, Lucha Indigena, follows what indigenous people are doing, not the line of a political organization such as the one he once led. Many of his statements end with a quotation from the Spanish poet Antonio Machado y Ruiz: "Walker, there is no road. The road is made by walking."
Working without a compass is something he says he learned from studying the Zapatistas of Mexico, another country he spent time in as an exile. Blanco has a totally different sense of power than the one he held during the 1960s, when the struggle for campesino and worker power was at the heart of the manifesto Land Or Death: The Peasant Struggle In Peru that he wrote on death row in prison.
"Among revolutionaries, we were negatively affected by an obsession with power," he now says. His movement has since overcome old-style illusions thanks to the experience of pseudo-revolutionary Shining Path terrorists, who once ordered him killed, he says.
Indigenous communities practised consensus, he says. "We are not about taking power, but building power," he says. He now likes to organize "peasant circles" that displace judges and corrupt government officials with self-managing groups at the municipal level.
I luck into a two-hour after-lecture dinner with Blanco, Phil Cournoyer, the translator of his memoirs, and assorted friends at a nearby Internet café serving Somali food.
When Blanco chanted "Land or death," Cournoyer tells me, the activist had "an incipient understanding" that it was different from the Hispanic tradition of "Fatherland or death," a popular cry in Cuba. It reflected a deep-seated and intuitive psychological and spiritual understanding that land, identity, meaning and life were one continuum.
"It is not the earth that belongs to the people but the people who belong to the earth," Blanco clarifies.
From the leader of militant land reform during the 1960s comes a land reform philosophy for the 21st century.

Tara meeting at the Jonathan Swift Theartre

Lectures and panel discussion, hosted by The Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Trinity College Dublin and TaraWatch


Jonathan Swift Theatre - Trinity College Dublin

Tues, 24 March 2009 - 7.30 pm - 9.00 pm.

Admission free - All welcome

This is the first meeting of the The Hill of Tara Round Table, a problem-solving initiative, aimed at finding a mutually beneficial solution to the Hill of Tara / M3 motorway problem.

There will be a focus on the UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination of the Hill of Tara, as well as the public consultation currently being conducted by the Department of the Environment, Heritage, and Local Government, on Ireland's List of Tentative UNESCO Sites.

There will also be lectures on the law of the human right to culture and the protection of cultural heritage sites in Ireland, in order to stimulate debate on the value of Tara, and cultural sites.


Sean Goggins (NUI Galway, Irish Centre for Human Rights) on human right to culture;

Meghan Aibigail (NUI Galway/University of Texas Law School) on UNESCO and protecting cultural heritage;

Sue Redican on the UNESCO nomination of the Great Blasket Islands;

Vincent Salafia, TaraWatch - The UNESCO nomination of the Hill of Tara and other sites.

More information




Threat to Tara shows more evidence for 'The Age of Stupid'

Emma who is a member of the Green Party of Ireland sent me this on Tara. Thanks Emma...sadly other members of her party still seem to be living in the age of stupid on this issue...I will try not to digress into a long rant about DeValera and Joschka Fischer at this point!

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

The Irish government have sanctioned a route through the Tara Valley for the building of the M3 motorway, which is now in progress. Many ancient monuments have already been destroyed. Many more new and unusual findings dug up during the excavation of the land for the motorway are stored in black plastic bags in warehouses. Such ancient artefacts dug up include human bones from old graves.

Most tragic of all is the threat to the Mound of the Sages on Rath Lugh, which is at the foot of the Hill of Tara. The motorway, which was to be twenty metres away from Rath Lugh, is actually only five metres away due to an error by the National Roads Authority (NRA). It is only a matter of time before the Mound of the Sages becomes unstable and starts to slide. This instability will occur because of the traffic on the motorway.

Please do what you can to help us to get this destructive motorway halted so that the entire M3 project can be reviewed and some kind of environmentally acceptable and heritage friendly compromise can be negotiated.

More information available on the Save Tara message boards: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/savetara/messages

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...