30 Jun 2010

Caroline Lucas calls for an end to war in Afghanistan

McCain declares (nuclear) war on Navajo & Sioux

'Our Mother is suffering....'

Radiation levels rising, uranium mining for 'clean' nuclear power is killing indigenous land in Arizona and McCain wants more, bet it would be different if his house was next to a radioactive mine.

Ken Coates dies

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Ken was a keen workers control leftist who supported the Lucas project to convert weapons into alternative energy systems, etc.

With my friend Hugh Kerr he briefly joined the Green group when they were both expelled as Labour MEPs

A sad loss.

Video is Ken in action at the Belgrano Inquiry.

More Here from John Palmer's obituary.

Human Rights Watch apologises to Peter Tatchell

“Inappropriate, disparaging, inaccurate, condemnatory and intemperate
personal attacks,” acknowledges HRW

“Apology accepted, let’s move on and work together,” urges Peter Tatchell

London – 30 June 2010

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has made a full and unreserved apology to
human rights rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

The apology has been made by HRW’s Executive Director, Kenneth Roth,
in New York.

It says sorry for a series of untrue and personal attacks on Mr
Tatchell, made by the head of HRW’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) programme, Scott Long.

The full text of the apology follows below, including statements by
Kenneth Roth, Scott Long and Peter Tatchell.

The apology by Human Rights Watch acknowledges that Mr Long made a
series of “inappropriate...disparaging...inaccurate...condemnatory...intemperate
personal attacks” on Peter Tatchell.

“I thank Kenneth Roth and HRW for their gracious and fulsome apology.
Their readiness to acknowledge the wrong done and say sorry is
commendable. My appreciation also to Scott Long for conceding his
false allegations and apologising. It can’t have been easy for him. He
has shown dignity and humility. I appreciate that,” said Mr Tatchell.

“I accept the apologies. It is time to forgive and move on. For me,
this closes the matter. The attacks on me are in the past. I look
forward to working with HRW and Scott Long in the future.

“Despite this unfortunate episode, my admiration for HRW’s inspiring,
effective work is undiminished. It is documenting tyranny and
oppression all across the world; exposing human rights abusers and
defending the victims. I urge people to support its humanitarian
endeavours,” said Mr Tatchell.

Referring to the nature of the attacks on him by Scott Long, Peter
Tatchell added:

“I defend the right of people to criticise me. But Mr Long’s attacks
went beyond criticism. He made false allegations, which misrepresented
my human rights campaigns. It is these untrue claims that are the
focus of my objections.

“Mr Long’s falsehoods and personal attacks were many and varied. They
included a highly libellous and defamatory essay written by him, which
appeared in the March 2009 issue of the journal Contemporary Politics,
published by Routledge, which is part of the Taylor and Francis
publishing group:


“This essay made inaccurate allegations. It grossly misrepresented and
denigrated my campaigns in defence of gay people persecuted by Iran
and in opposition to Islamist fundamentalism.

“I acted in good faith when I opposed the execution of Iranians
accused of homosexuality and when I campaigned against fundamentalist
Islam in Britain and worldwide.

“Contrary to Mr Long’s claims, I never accused the 13 year-old victim
of an alleged rape in Iran of ‘wanting the rape.’ Nor am I guilty of
‘belittling violent sexual assault, and blaming the victim.’ These are
outright fabrications.

In addition, Mr Long accused me of me ‘going after’ British Muslims
and adopting a ‘bullying tone’ towards the Muslim community in
Britain. This is also untrue. I have always made a clear distinction
between Muslim people in general and the Islamist extremists who
oppose human rights, including the human rights of fellow Muslims.
Indeed, I have often defended Muslim communities, in Britain and
worldwide, against prejudice and persecution. I will continue to do

“Sectarian smears against human rights defenders are wrong and
counter-productive. We should support each other in our shared
commitment to universal human rights,” concluded Mr Tatchell.

This is the full text of the Human Rights Watch statement and apology:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) apologizes to Peter Tatchell for a number of
inappropriate and disparaging comments made about him in recent years
by Scott Long, director of HRW's LGBT program. We recognise that
personal attacks have no place in the human rights movement.

Mr Long said: "Although we have our different viewpoints, I respect
Peter Tatchell's contribution to human rights and apologize for any
condemnatory and intemperate allegations made in haste and for any
inaccurate statements made in my personal capacity."

Mr Tatchell said: "Despite the unfortunate personal attacks on me by
Mr Long, I acknowledge his otherwise important contribution to LGBT
human rights and I continue to value the vital work of Human Rights
Watch worldwide."

Following Mr Long's apology and subsequent discussions, Human Rights
Watch is pleased to announce that both Mr Long and Mr Tatchell agree
that the movement to protect human rights, including the rights of
LGBT persons, is best served when activists focus their criticism on
those who abuse rights rather than those who seek to defend those

Mr Long and Mr Tatchell undertake to work to ensure that any airing of
disagreements on LGBT and other human rights issues takes place with
honesty, civility and respect. They also agree to encourage their
friends and colleagues to do likewise.

HRW hopes that this apology and agreement will enable us to move
forward together to pursue our common goal: the defence of universal
human rights.

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch – New York, 30 June 2010

NOTE: Please do not reply via this automated email system.


You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or
join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at


Donations are requested to help fund Peter Tatchell's campaigns
promoting human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice.

Peter depends entirely on donations from supporters and well-wishers
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Matsés indigenous denounce incursion by oil company

This was put out by Aidesep on monday, 70% of the Peruvian Amazon is being sold off for oil exploration, the indigenous people are keenly aware that their environment will be destroyed and climate change will become catastrophic if the oil companies get their way. The indigenous are resisting.

The video above is informative but I think inaccurate about their traditional agriculture and it doesn't stress that the Matsés are well organised politically. I am sure the Matsés will be posting their own videos at some point, I am continually inspired by the fact that remote indigenous communities use the web, facebook, twitter and engage with the ultra modern when it helps them!

Interesting that a group isolated from the rest of the world have a better understanding of climate change science than Lord Monckton.

AIDESEP, June 28, 2010.

The Matsés people have denounced the incursion of the Pacific Stratus Energy SA company in their indigenous territory, positioning on lots 135 and 137 superimposed on their communities and have agreed to ask the authorities to annul the grants of oil blocks.

'We do not want their presence in our territory, we want our water to be clean, so our children can grow strong and healthy'.

Dunuan Uaqui Angel Maya, Apu of the Matsés communities, said the development of hydrocarbon activities is against the citizens and the earth because the emission of more toxic gases into the environment from fossil fuels threatens our forests and effects of climate change are becoming more visible.

For this reason, continued Dunuan all Matses have decided that any activity that produces more impact on our Amazon should be avoided responsibly, and alternatives based on living well without doing harm to others and to the environment.

For this reason we ask that thinking about the future of the country, native communities, we ask the country's development plan in mind other strategies without compromising our communities or the lives of others.

"We feel we have expressed our feelings and our decision to authority and we hope to be served on this occasion, because authority has been reached by the decision of our people with the hope of being heard and addressed by the State in this remote jungle of Peru, "he concluded.

29 Jun 2010

Mumia on 'Obama-McChrystal tete'a-tete'

Generals & Presidents
[col. writ. 6/24/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The recent Obama-McChrystal tete'a-tete, which resulted in the general submitting his resignation (and the president accepting it) is but an historical echo from conflicts between the army and its civilian leaders, for generations.

When Abe Lincoln was enmeshed in the Civil War, one of his greatest opponents was also one of his generals, one George B. McClellan. When I heard of the words of disrespect attributed to Gen. McChrystal and staff towards the president and members of his cabinet, they seemed mild when set against the words and acts of Lincoln's generals.

Historians tell of Lincoln arriving at the Washington home of Gen. McClellan, only to be left waiting, for hours, only to be informed by the general's wife that he was indisposed. When someone in the Lincoln entourage remarked at this breach of protocol, Lincoln reportedly remarked that it mattered little that he was disrespectful, as long as he continued to fight and win his war.

But the general, who both loved and was loved by his men, couldn't bring himself to do that. He dilly-dallied, temporized, and threw away critical opportunities.

Lincoln sacked him, only to face him as a Democratic presidential candidate in the 1884 elections. Of course, Lincoln won, only to lose his life and win his war a year later.

The truth is, military men rarely really respect their civilian leaders, especially if they didn't serve in the military.

That was true for Lincoln (who only served during a brief skirmish during Illinois Indian wars).

It was true of Clinton.

It's true of Obama.

McClellan dissed Lincoln; McArthur dissed Truman; and McChrystal dissed Obama.

Is there a pattern here?

Most telling of the comments of McChrystal and his people weren't snickerings against Obama and his team, despite the press hype. It's the words of Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, formerly McChrystal's chief of operations, who was quoted as saying, regarding the success or failure of the Afghanistan war: "It's not going to look like a win, smell like a win, or taste like a win. This is going to end in an argument."

Hmmmm....If it doesn't look, smell or taste like a win, what should you call it?

BP oil spill harms whales and dolphins

Hampshire to be oil rush zone warns Keith Taylor MEP

Keith Taylor is the new Green Party MEP for the South East, after Caroline Lucas became an MP she stood down and he is next on the list, he is going to continue all her good work for peace, justice and the environment.

He fears that Hampshire could be blighted like the gulf of Mexico by oil exploration.

When Hampshire and the South East's Green MEP Keith Taylor tours Hampshire this Friday (1), he will warn that oilmen risk turning England’s southern counties into ‘one big oil field’ - pointing to a new trend for looking for oil here in the region now that North Sea oil is becoming too expensive to access.

Australian oil firm Norwest is reported to have found seven new sites in the Wessex basin, including under the western tip of the Isle of Wight (2).

Keith comments: “My greatest concern is that oil companies will earmark sites in Hampshire – both onshore and off-shore – for new drilling which could conflict with renewable energy plans.

“For example, energy company Eneco is planning to build a giant offshore wind farm off the Isle of Wight, which could be up and running by 2018. This kind of forward thinking development must be given priority over unsustainable new oil ventures in the region.”

A recent report by the Offshore Valuation Group has estimated that using just one-third of the UK’s wind, wave and tidal resource could unlock the electricity equivalent of one billion barrels of oil a year, matching North Sea oil and gas production, and could reduce CO2 emissions by 1.1 billion tonnes by 2050 – creating 145,000 jobs in the process.

The Green MEP continues: “In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and volatile oil prices, the need for urgent change away from fossil fuel-powered energy systems is clearer than ever. Investment in an energy system based on renewables and energy efficiency can bring about this change – creating new green jobs and helping to stabilise the economy in the process.

“Global Climate Network has found that more than 20 million new employment opportunities could be created between now and 2020 in low-carbon energy industries across nine leading economies.”

neo-lib dems cut job centre staff as unemployment rockets

Cutting jobcentre staff while unemployment rises is 'absurd', union says

Plans announced by the Department for Work and Pensions today (28 June) to
cut 8,000 jobs from jobcentres by March 2011 are "economically absurd", the
Public and Commercial Services union says.

Job cuts on this scale are unprecedented at a time when unemployment is
continuing to rise and the move will not just add to the jobless figures, it
will further damage the economy and seriously hit help and support for the

These are the first largescale job cuts announced by the new government, and
the union says it proves the coalition's deficit reduction plan is being
driven by ideology rather than ideas.

Instead of slashing public spending, and running the risk of plunging the
country into another recession, the government should be investing in the
public sector and creating jobs to increase tax revenues and reduce welfare

The union also says that if the government was serious about tackling the
debt, it would target the wealthy individuals and organisations whose tax
avoidance and evasion measures contribute to an estimated £120 billion being
lost to the UK economy every year; introduce a 'Robin Hood' tax on currency
transactions; and cancel the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile

Shortly after last week's budget was announced, PCS described it as "one of
the most regressive we have seen for many years", and this has since been
confirmed by independent economic analysts. The planned rise in VAT from
17.5% to 20% next January will disproportionately affect people on low
incomes. And plans to cut welfare spending by £11 billion included forcing
more people off disability living allowance, a three-year freeze to child
benefit and cuts to tax credits.

Now in a message to staff, DWP says it wants to cut posts in jobcentres from
just over 84,000 to about 76,000 by March 2011. The cuts will be to fixed
term appointments, hurriedly made 18 months ago to cope with rising
unemployment when the first effects of the recession were felt. The
appointments would not have had to be made if DWP had not cut 30,000 jobs
between 2005 and 2008, and the union has said consistently that these staff
should be made permanent.

PCS is seeking to work with other unions and campaign groups to form the
widest possible alliances to defend communities across the UK from the
devastating social impact of the government's cuts to the welfare state.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "When unemployment is still
rising, it's economically absurd to drive even more people out of work and
sever the lifeline for thousands and thousands of vulnerable people in our

"While the millionaires in the cabinet repeat the PR mantra that 'we're all
in this together', unemployed workers, pensioners, disabled people and
low-paid public servants are forgiven for wondering why they are being made
to shoulder all the burden.

"In just one month, this so-called 'progressive coalition' has set in train
the most disastrous economic plan in living memory - the effects of which
would be felt for decades to come if we don't do something about it. The
time has come for unions, community groups, campaigners - and everyone who
believes a better, more just, future is possible - to unite against this
shameful attack on the public sector and the welfare state."



- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public
servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200
departments and agencies. It also represents workers in parts of government
transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's fifth largest union and
is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the
president is Janice Godrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter http://twitter.com/pcs_union

28 Jun 2010

'particularly stupid, venal and/or corrupt economists'

Well I am bac in the UK (just as well I am not big on football!), in fact just meet Eric Lubbock (Lord Avebury) at Westminster but I am still focused on Ireland.

Must take more notice of Irish Left Review, do have a look at their review of a new book on the Irish economic fuck up.

It is rare indeed to be able to laugh in any of the books about Ireland’s mad rush to sell itself to its shiftiest shysters, but Allen brought tears of laughter to my eyes with his romp through the ‘predictions’ of our economists. Dan McLaughlin, for example, who must be either one of Ireland stupidest economists, or one of our crookedest, said that it was ‘completely ridiculous’ to suggest that ‘suddenly in 2008 the economy will fall off a cliff’. One of the things that has not been said much here is that this country is blessed with particularly stupid, venal and/or corrupt economists with enormous public profiles and consequent enormous egos, who wield incredible influence over public discourse in relation to work, unions, pensions, medical care, education, taxation and the economy in general. Their names are mentioned in hushed tones. They are Irish capitalism’s only acceptable intelligentsia. This writer humbly suggests that the next time an economist stands up to say something the general population should emit gentle farting sounds – through the orifice of choice, of course (neoliberalism is all about choice, although as with most neoliberal choices, authentic farters only have one real option).

Allen’s debunking of what he calls the five myths about our economy also makes salutary reading. He examines the claim that Ireland has a ‘bloated’ public service, for example, and dismisses it out of hand. The competitiveness mantra receives a similar treatment, as does the good tiger/bad tiger idea.

One of the startling discoveries for me was the link between the inventor of NAMA and property developers. Of course, we have all become used to the idea that the gene pool of Irish power is very small, but the idea that the Government would turn, for a solution for a collapsing property bubble to a property developer seems almost too stupid to be true. Yet NAMA was dreamed up by Peter Bacon, director of Ballymore Properties. The principal shareholder of Ballymore Properties, Sean Mulryan, is a Fianna Fáil hardhat – and his donations to that party include under-the table payments to the late-lamented Liam Lawlor. This incestuous system of kickbacks and favours, the perpetuum mobile of Irish privilege and power, has been brilliantly documented in Tasc’s paper Mapping the Golden Circle.



The Stop the War/CND public meeting in parliament on Monday 28 June has added
significance following a trumatic week for the political and military leaders
waging war in Afghanistan.

Many MPs will attend the meeting, including a number who were previously
supporters of the war. Among the MPs speaking are Caroline Lucas, Jeremy
Corbyn, Paul Flynn, John Trickett, Eric Joyce and Yasmin Qureshi.

June has been the worst month for Nato casualties since the war began in 2001.
Ten British soldiers have been killed in the last nine days and 66 have died so
far in 2010, which is more than double the 32 in the same period last year.

General McChrystal's sacking, for making indiscreet remarks about President
Obama and others, disguises the real reason for his removal -- his latest
report which told the truth about the war: Nato is losing and the Afghan
resistance is "resilient and growing".

David Cameron says he wants the troops home within five years, without giving
any convincing justification for them being there another five minutes.
Hundreds of soldiers will lose their lives and thousands will be maimed while
Cameron thrashes around looking for an "exit stategy" to save the face of
warmongers who can't abide admitting defeat.

And meanwhile, following a budget that will decimate public service, not a
penny will be cut from the £5-6 billion the war in Afghanistan is costing
every year, or from the tens of billions which are earmarked for the renewal of
the Trident nuclear missile system.

At the Stop the War/CND meeting on 28 June, anti-war MPs will be joined by
other speakers, including a representative from Military Families Against the
War, to discuss why the war is wrong, why Trident should be scrapped and why
the troops should come home now. This is a public meeting open to all.

Speakers include: Caroline Lucas MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Paul Flynn MP, John
Trickett MP, Eric Joyce MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, (other MPs to be announced),
member of Military Families Against the War.

An Fís Nua new Irish political party to register.

The two-day meeting in Parnell Square was attended by former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna and ex-Green Party councillor Pat Kavanagh of Wicklow town as well as members of the Donegal Greens which recently disaffiliated en masse from the Green Party.

David Grey of Tralee, a former candidate for the party, advocate for the disability sector and founder member of GM Free Kerry also supports the new group, but said he could not attend the weekend meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Kavanagh said the weekend had considerably moved the agenda forward for the new party, which she likened to “a federation”.

She said membership would be open to individuals, but also to organisations which wanted to retain their separate identity while aligning with An Fís Nua.

“It is a federation with a political structure with a view to fielding candidates in the next local and general elections,” she said.


27 Jun 2010

New Irish Political party born

I have just spent the last couple of days in Dublin, where I was invited by the Emerald Forum, the group of dissident Irish Green Party members who left the party over NAMA.

A lengthy meeting in the Teachers Club, Parnell Street, produced a draft constitution and a draft manifesto....I am still not sure of whether they came up with a 'Federation with a Party structure' or a 'Party with federal structure' but a start has been made

Well its still very concentrated in Donegal and Wicklow and lot of people are waiting to see how it will develop before getting involved but the decision has been made to form a new Irish political party and to contest elections on a platform of anti-corruption, local democracy, environment, peace and social justice.

The Donegal Green Party are very impressive people and it was a pleasure to meet them for the first time and of course to buy the great Frank Gallagher a pint of guinness.

One of the high points of the weekend was hearing how Frank got involved with the German Green Party, simply because he was working as a carpenter in Germany and was asked to build a roof for a building in a protest camp against the expansion of Frankfurt runaway....he also told me that every local bar he went into took a poster for protest except one run by another Irish man, a certain John Gormley. This was back in the 1980s.

Cllr Pat Kavanagh, who was one of very few Greens to be elected last year, is also an impressive person, she is a committed community activist and has also supported the 'Shell-to-Sea' campaign.

For her the Greens support for NAMA was a disaster and she was appalled by them walking away from campaigns that they had supported like Shell to Sea and Tara.

I wish the project good luck but the re-birth of green politics in Ireland is going to be a hard job and there is resistance to the very term 'green' in the country.

I hope other region Green Parties join Donegal, do check out the Donegal Green Party website here and I will post more news when I hear it.

Oceanfrogblog 'A blog by a true Irish Green, who is disgusted by the performance, ethics, and gombeenism of the Irish Green Party in Government' is also very useful for news.

24 Jun 2010

New Irish Green Party meeting.

This includes Patricia McKenna, Chris O'Leary, David Grey, Pat Kavanagh, and the Donegal Greens (en masse).

The first meeting is this saturday and I have been kindly invited....so its train and ferry tomorrow morning.

Details of the meeting are as follows;
Emerald Forum Meeting
Saturday, June 26, 2010
12:00pm - 6.00pm
Teacher's Club, Parnell Square, Dublin

Ocean Frog takes up the story

I am very happy to give a plug to the next Emerald Forum Meeting which will happen on Saturday, June 26, 2010. Cllr Pat Kavanagh (Independent Green) is the driving force behind this new initative, and I greatly admire and support all she is doing. Pat is genuinely one of the good guys, and she is striving for change ... real change ... in Irish politics.

Pat has said that since the last meeting, the forum have been putting together proposals for a Manifesto and a Constitution. You are invited to do the same and to either email them in advance to emeraldforum@gmail.com or to come along on the day to amend and/or vote for our collective proposals.

Emerald Green are very pleased to welcome Derek Wall, Green Left and last principal Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales to our meeting. Derek's support and experience will encourage the endeavours of the Forum at this most difficult time in Ireland's political history.

More than ever, our country needs people who will put the wishes of the people ahead of their own vested interests. Are you ready to be a part of this movement? If so, then you know what to do!

I encourage everyone to attend if possible. This is an exciting initative, and one that has the potential to effect real change away from the tweedledum and tweedledumber politics we have had to suffer in this country for the last generation or more.

Licence to Spill

Beautiful art is funded by an ugly business

Apart from catastrophic spills like the Deepwater Horizon, there are a whole host of adverse impacts that are associated with the production of oil. On the local level, it often involves extreme forms of pollution for local communities, while regionally oil is frequently associated with greater militarization and conflict. Globally, carbon emissions, oil companies, and our collective dependence on the product they push, are taking us ever closer to the edge of climate catastrophe.
In order for an oil company to produce oil and transport it to the global market, it needs either the support or the silence of the population in those areas of the world in which this takes place. Where the necessary support - or ‘social licence to operate’ - is not forthcoming, the ability of that company to carry out its business becomes seriously impaired.
The building of this social licence takes place to some extent in the countries of the distant oilfields, but to a far greater degree in the cities of the global North, such as London, one of the companies’ key centres of operation. Here, Shell and BP have between them sponsored almost all of London’s most prestigious museums and cultural institutions over the course of the last decade.

The financial support that the companies provide strengthens their position as a part of Britain’s cultural and social elite, and creates a perception of making a positive contribution to our society. This in turn not only provides them with an important profile with ordinary fuel customers, but far more importantly strengthens connections between the corporations and vital bodies such as government departments. The support of institutions such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, or the Department of International Development, are far more important to the global operations of Shell and BP than that of the populations near the oilfields or on the pipeline routes. These relationships are made at the gala openings and concerts, where the audiences made up of civil servants and decision makers rub shoulders with the oil executives.

A decade ago, tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions to gain support from – the current BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery was previously sponsored by Imperial Tobacco. Now it is socially unacceptable for tobacco to play this public role, and it is our hope that oil and gas will soon be seen in the same light, as the public comes to recognise that the sponsorship programmes of BP and Shell are means by which attention is distracted from their impacts on human rights, the environment and the global climate.



Howie Hawkins 'raise benefits for unemployed workers'

Hawkins Urge Democratic Leaders to Raise Unemployment Benefits, Pass Farmworkers and Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called upon the state Democrats to take action to help working New Yorkers before going on vacation for the rest of the year by passing legislation to raise unemployment benefits and to extend basic workers rights to farmworker.

Hawkins said he was encouraged that state lawmakers appear to be close to extending basic labor rights to domestic workers and urged them to finish the job.

"Especially in these difficult economic times, New York needs to raise benefits for unemployed workers and make sure that all workers are entitled to basic rights. The Democrats like to claim that are the party of the working person but somehow they can't find the votes to raise unemployment benefits to half of the individuals weekly benefits. NY's max rate for such benefits of only $405 a week has not been raised in a decade and is clearly too low to support a family," said Hawkins.

"Labor advocates assumed that once the Democrats controlled the Senate and the Governor's office, we would finally give farmworkers the same basic rights as other workers after decades off struggle. It is scandal that the Democrats continue to conspire to allows these workers to be treated as second class citizens. I strongly support changing the Farm Bill and other agriculture policies to guarantee our family farmers a decent income rather than wasting tax dollars to subsidize corporate agribusiness, but the failure of agriculture reform is no excuse to delay extending labor protections to farmworkers," said Hawkins.

Legislation has been pending for several years in the state legislature to gradually increase in the unemployment benefit over 4 years, to raise the maximum weekly benefit to $625.00 per week. This is about 50% of the average weekly wage.. It should then be indexed to inflation. The bill would also provide a small increase in unemployment benefits for the lowest paid workers.

Studies have shown that every dollar in unemployment benefits generates a $1.64 increase in economic activity. People who are unemployed spend their unemployment benefits almost immediately, to buy groceries, purchase household necessities, and pay the rent. Their unemployment dollars are quickly dispersed back into the local economy, and help to sustain local businesses, and increase the tax coffers of local governments throughout our state.

The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act grants collective bargaining rights, workers' compensation and unemployment benefits to farmworkers. It also allows laborers on farms a weekly day of rest and overtime pay, and requires safe and sanitary working conditions.

The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will reform state law to guarantee basic work standards and protections for the nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers who keep New York families functioning and make all other work possible. The Bill of Rights is a comprehensive response to domestic workers’ vulnerability to abuse and mistreatment, and works to counter domestic workers’ exclusion from most labor protections.

"Farm workers and domestic workers were left out of the original Wagner Act/National Labor Relations Act in 1935 at the behest of Democratic leaders in Congress who wanted to keep black workers, who were concentrated in domestic and agricultural labor in that Jim Crow era, super-exploited without any legal recourse. It is shameful that the Democrats still have not fulfilled the implicit New Deal promise of basic workers rights for all workers 75 years later. Our Green New Deal will complete the promise of the original New Deal and take it to the next level of building an economy that is democratic, green, and sustainable." added Hawkins.

The Green Party (www.gpny.org) is committed to ecology, grassroots democracy, nonviolence and social and economic justice.

23 Jun 2010

World cup trumpets?

The Spiritual and the Profane
[col. writ. 6/16/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

The sounds of vuvuzelas, tens of thousands of them, have become the buzzing background for the World Cup, the megasized sports event held in South Africa.

The vuvuzela, as every spectator knows, is the long, plastic, tube-like instrument that resembles an elongated trumpet, without keys. While an omnipresent pest to Western sportscasters, it is a thing of joy to South African soccer fans, as it expresses their exuberance.

This instrument, which creates a sound likened to a maddened wasp hive, didn't begin as a tool of sports enthusiasm.

It was an instrument of religious expression, used by the Shembe church movement, originating in South Africa in the early 1900's under the leadership of the African prophet, Isaiah Shembe, in a distinctive synthesis between Zulu culture and Christianity. Shembe founded the Nazareth Church in 1910. Today it has hundreds of thousands of members in KwaZulu-Natal, the ancient homeland of the AmaZulu.

The Shembe Church holds pilgrimages of believers who retrace Shembe's footsteps, in bare feet, to the holy mountain, Mount Nhlangakazi.

Church elder, Ref. Goga, speaking of his church, said, "Jesus for Israel, we believe Isaiah Shembe is an African prophet and on a higher level than Jesus."

The Shembe play the vuvuzelas using the lower tones.

In this year's pilgrimage, over 300,000 men and women, clad in white robes, made the trek to their holy mountain, accompanied by the low tones of the vuvuzelas.

--(c) '10 maj

[Source: "Unholy Row Over World Cup Trumpet," The African Times, (Africa Watch) May 1-15, 2010, p.3.)

'Read my lips no new VAT' said Nick Clegg

22 Jun 2010

Caroline Lucas “ A budget for pointless austerity”

A “budget for pointless austerity”

“Swingeing cuts were neither unavoidable nor fair” says Green MP

Commenting on today’s “budget for pointless austerity,” the UK’s first Green MP Caroline Lucas said:
“In spite of the Chancellor’s protestations, this budget was neither unavoidable nor fair. Instead it was a massively failed opportunity to shift the economy onto a fairer, greener pathway.

“Devastating public spending cuts of the sort announced today are not ‘unavoidable.’ They are not an economic inevitability – they are an ideological choice.

“Nor was this budget fair. A VAT rise, benefits cuts for all, a public sector freeze, and swingeing cuts in most government budgets of 25%, will all of them hit some of the poorest hardest.”

Cuts are “unnecessary and destructive”

This week Caroline Lucas published a new report (1) arguing that the cuts are both unnecessary and destructive – and saying that by cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance the government could raise tens of billions of pounds a year.
“It’s been demonstrated that any efforts that are needed to address the deficit, once the economy is back to better health, can be paid for through progressive tax reform, so that the poorest are not forced to pay the highest price for the excesses of the bankers.

The Green Party leader and Brighton Pavilion MP continued:

“We need a Green New Deal – a major investment package to rapidly modernise the UK economy for a low-carbon future, while seeing off the recession through large-scale job-creation. That’s the kind of policy the new government should have put centre-stage.”

Vote Blue, get Blue

Caroline Lucas concluded:

“Any notion that by voting Blue you get Green was nailed today by the stark absence of any serious measures to promote urgently needed environmental measures.”


1. See http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2010-06-19-callous-cuts-report.html. The full report - called Cuts: the callous con trick – can be read at http://www.financeforthefuture.com/TaxBriefing.pdf.
2. Contact Green Party press office, 020 7561 0282.

Published and promoted by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon for the Green Party, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

Caroline Lucas says budget 'a massively failed opportunity'

Caroline Lucas, Britain’s first Green MP and leader of the Green Party, comments on today’s budget:

“In spite of the Chancellor’s protestations, this budget was neither unavoidable nor fair. Instead it was a massively failed opportunity to shift the economy onto a fairer, greener pathway.

“Devastating public spending cuts, of the sort announced today, are not ‘unavoidable.’ They are not an economic inevitability – they are an ideological choice.

“It’s been demonstrated that any efforts that are needed to address the deficit, once the economy is back to better health, can be paid for through progressive tax reform, so that the poorest are not forced to pay the highest price for the excesses of the bankers.

“Nor was this budget fair. A VAT rise, benefits cuts for all, a public sector freeze, and swingeing cuts in most government budgets of 25%, will all of them hit some of the poorest hardest.

“And any notion that by voting Blue you get Green was nailed today by the stark absence of any serious measures to promote urgently needed environmental measures.”

21 Jun 2010

Reencounter of the Original Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala in Ecuador

this is one view, I am sure there are others, an important event nonetheless...

Reencounter of the Original Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala in Ecuador

Written by Marc Becker
Monday, 21 June 2010

Representatives of the original peoples and nationalities of the Americas returned to Ecuador last week for the twentieth anniversary of a historic gathering that advanced hemispheric unity. The Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala met from June 14 to 16. Abya Yala is a word for the Americas in the language of the Kuna people in Panama that has gained broad usage as an aboriginal term for the hemisphere.

In July 1990, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) together with the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) and the South American Indian Information Center (SAIIC) organized the First Continental Conference on Five Hundred Years of Indigenous Resistance. Four-hundred representatives from 120 Indigenous nationalities and organizations throughout the Americas formed a united front against oppression, discrimination, and exploitation. Delegates demanded autonomy and self-government, including respect for customary law and traditional justice systems within their own communities.

Twenty years later, 250 representatives from 16 countries returned to the same Nueva Vida (New Life) camp outside of the capital city of Quito in the highlands to continue these discussions. Both meetings drew on a prophecy that a new era would be ushered in when the southern condor met up with the northern eagle. Both birds are powerful representatives of original peoples of Abya Yala.

CONAIE organized the 2010 meeting together with its three regional affiliates (the Confederation of Kichwa Peoples of Ecuador [Ecuarunari], the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon [CONFENIAE], and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Coast [CONAICE]), as well as the Scientific Institute of Indigenous Cultures (ICCI), the Intercultural University of Indigenous Nationalities and Peoples (Amawtay Wasi) in Ecuador, the regional Andean Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI), as well as Tonatierra and the Seventh Generation Fund For Indian Development in the United States.

The meeting was organized around 16 workshops grouped into four themes. The most explicitly political discussions took place in the workshops grouped under the theme of self determination. Because of the low level of participation, rather than meeting in four workshops as planned delegates grouped the discussion of “plurinationalism and interculturality” and “democracy vs. self government” together. Another group discussed “economic systems” and “identities.”

At the other end of the discussions was the much more spiritual theme of cosmology. Again, because of the low level of participation delegates discussed the four themes of “thought systems of original peoples,” “transmission of knowledge,” “symbolism,” and “cosmology” together rather than meeting in separate breakout sessions.

The other two overarching themes were knowledge and Pachamama or the mother earth. Under the theme of knowledge, delegates discussed “systems of information and communication,” “ancestral geometries,” “administrative forms,” and “ancestral technics.” Under the theme of the Pachamama were “territoriality,” “development vs. living well,” “being,” and “food sovereignty.”

The conversations provided an opportunity to link continental struggles. For example, Art Manuel from Canada raised the issue of how much of the mining currently being undertaken across the continent is financed by Canadian capital. Mining companies had brought First Nations members from Canada to Ecuador to claim that they were in favor of mining, but that was simply not true. Manuel pointed out that Indians were the poorest of poor in the wealthy country of Canada. They represented their own third-world country, existing economically at roughly the same level as Latin America.

Much of the anti-capitalist discourse advocated a return to ancestral economic systems rather than building a new and better socialist future. After an Aymara from Bolivia presented on ancient vertical archipelago economic exchange systems in the Andes, a delegate from Argentina pointed out the ludicrousness of advocating pre-monetary systems at an international gathering. Were they supposed to bring a plane loads of potatoes to barter for their needs at the meeting? Instead, he pointed to the take over of factories in the aftermath of the collapse of Argentina’s economy as a credible, positive, and viable alternative.

Some participants complained that the conversations were long on rhetoric but lacked concrete proposals. Men heavily dominated the presentations.

Representatives from several Indigenous universities were present at the meeting, and how to build alternative knowledge systems became a recurrent theme. Delegates from Ecuador, Colombia, and Nicaragua presented the published findings of meetings in Ecuador in 2008 and 2009 where leaders formed a network of Indigenous universities. A third meeting of Indigenous universities is planed for next year in Bolivia.

The encounter concluded with delegates reporting the resolutions from the working groups in a plenary session. As part of the culturalist orientation of the meeting, organizers emphasized that people could express themselves in a variety of ways, not just with long-winded speeches. Responding to this suggestion, those involved in the cosmology working groups presented their conclusions in the form of rituals. In advocating a break from western organizational forms, Kitu-Kara yachak (shaman) Jaime Pilatuña had participants move their chairs in the auditorium into a semi-circle. The other three groups resorted to the now standard power point presentation. Even the more political of the presentations still had a strongly culturalist flavor.

Organizers plan to publish the resolutions of the working groups in July. Unlike with many meetings, this one did not end with the presentation of a proclamation. The Quito Declaration that emerged from the 1990 conference is a landmark document in the advancement of Indigenous rights struggles.


A recent series of Indigenous summits in Ecuador (2004), Guatemala (2007), and Peru (2009) have represented the growing strength of international organizing efforts, with thousands of delegates attending the recent meetings. The 250 people in Quito pale in comparison, and even that number was less than the 400 that organizers had expected. The low attendance was due in part both to a lack of international participation as well as the absence of local delegates.

In recent summits, the most vocal and politically militant delegations have come from Bolivia. In fact, given their rising stature in a continental movement the next continental summit is tentatively scheduled for 2011 in Bolivia. Only a handful of representatives from that country, however, attended the Quito meeting. Many Bolivian groups had decided instead to focus their time, efforts, and resources on the climate change summit that president Evo Morales had organized in April. Other countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia also contributed similarly small delegations.

In contrast to the diminished participation from the south, the Quito meeting had a much more sizeable presence of representatives from the north than other recent continental gatherings. Tonatierra and the Seventh Generation Fund brought delegations of about 15 people each, giving the United States the second greatest presence at the meeting next to Ecuador. Considering that northern groups typically have a more culturalist orientation while southern groups tend to be more political, this presence notably influenced the flavor of discussions. Furthermore, groups in attendance from Argentina and Uruguay were also interested in reclaiming and reconstructing ancestral identities, further reinforcing that focus.

As a result, the flavor of the discussions at the meeting were heavily oriented toward spiritual and culturalist themes, rather than the overtly political themes of how to gain state power clearly present in recent gatherings due to the election of Evo Morales as the Indigenous president of Bolivia. Curiously, despite the culturalist orientation at Quito few delegates introduced themselves in their original languages as has typically been common at these types of meetings.


The Quito meeting took place in the midst of a proposed shift in language to refer to the aboriginal peoples of the continent. In the 1970s and 1980s, some of the most radical organizations embraced the colonial term “indio” or “Indian” that historically had connotations of ignorance and filth. In a “queering” of the language, militants stated that they were colonized by that term and that they would use it to liberate themselves.

In the 1990s, “indígena” or “Indigenous” replaced Indian as a more proper or respectful term. Some activists and scholars, however, resisted the use of a term that implied the homogenization of hundreds of distinct peoples and nationalities across the continent. Instead, they argued, it should be more appropriate to refer to different peoples by their own names.

Now, in an influence that comes from Bolivia, some activists are advocating employing the terms original or ancestral peoples. Indigenous, these advocates contend, is an imposed and derogatory term. Several delegates from the North, however, resisted this linguistic shift. The term, they argued, had legal force, specifically in the context of the United Nations Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and it could be used to advance their struggles. One person claimed that the term was their own, something that they had created as a tool to unify their struggles. Although they agreed that a transition in terminology might eventually prove to be beneficial, discarding the term “Indigenous” now was premature and would prove to be a mistake.

Minga for a Plurinational State

At the same time as delegates were discussing cosmologies at the Nueva Vida camp, another similarly sized group of a couple hundred people were engaged in a CONAIE-organized march billed as a “minga” for a plurinational state. Minga is the Kichwa term for a communal work party.

The march began on June 10 in Puyo, the capital of the Pastaza province in the eastern Amazon. Participants arrived in capital city of Quito in the highlands before dawn on June 21, parading through the streets with torches to light their path. It concluded with a day of public actions.

In communities along the way, marchers held assemblies to discuss proposals for the construction of a plurinational Ecuador as promised in the 2008 constitution. The objectives of their proposal include forcing the government to respect their territories and to include their concerns in debates on a water law and food sovereignty bills currently under consideration in the national assembly. Their goal is the construction of a truly plurinational state where all sectors of society can participate in debates and decision-making processes. They also demanded the clean up of Amazonian rivers that have been contaminated by transnational oil, mining and logging companies.

Similar to the meeting at Nueva Vida, the march comes on the twentieth anniversary of a massive uprising in June 1990 that visibly placed their political, economic, and culture concerns in the public eye. In that event, communities across Ecuador blocked major highways in a non-violent demonstration to bring the discrimination and unjust policies facing Indigenous peoples to the forefront of public consciousness. The march, however, retraced the path of an April 1992 “caminata” or walk to demand recognition of Indigenous territories. In both events, leaders talked about the participants as the children of the historic 1990 movements who were now ready to begin assuming leadership roles and greater responsibility in the movements.

Initially the minga was to arrive in Quito on June 14 in time to join a march from plaza San Francisco to the Itchimbia cultural center that inaugurated the encounter. Instead, however, the two events ran parallel to each other, with some leaders shuttling back and forth. The low attendance at both indicated that the majority of the grassroots bases simply stayed away. This diminished participation contrasts dramatically with a massive popular mobilization a month earlier against threats of water privatization that brought congressional debates of the legislation to a standstill. In that uprising, CONAIE successfully built an alliance with competing organizations including the Federation of Farmer, Indigenous, and Black Organizations (FENOCIN) and the Federation of Indigenous Evangelicals of Ecuador (FEINE). The grassroots responded to the concrete and materialist demands of the water mobilizations, but seemingly found less value in the vaguely
culturalist discourse of both the encounter and minga.

The last 20 years have been a period of tremendous struggles and remarkable advances for movements of the original peoples and nationalities in Ecuador. As the Quito encounter and minga for a plurinational state indicat, however, activists are still struggling to make their voices heard in the public realm.

Marc Becker is a historian who studies Indigenous movements in Ecuador.

forwarded by:

Les Evenchick
New Orleans

Groundhog Greenwash Day

It was Green Britain Day last week, brought to you by French energy giant EDF, Électricité de France. The message, plastered over billboards, newspapers and the Internet, was difficult to escape.

Unfortunately for EDF, the enormous amount of publicity around the campaign included the voice of renewable energy provider Ecotricity, who exposed EDF for greenwash, and drew attention to the many activities of the company which are anything but ‘green’.

There are a growing number of companies wanting to improve their image by appearing green and sustainable, whether they are or not. The green marketing campaigns that result run the risk of drawing negative attention to their behaviour. EDF are now being scrutinised for their use of nuclear power, continued use of coal and associated emissions, and their lack of investment in renewable energies. It makes you wonder whether this would have happened had they never sought to run a green campaign.

On one hand, it’s likely that this image-doctoring is largely successful; the campaigns never undergo scrutiny, and therefore fool many people. On the other, in an era of increasing transparency of companies’ behaviour and scepticism of their marketing messages, I wonder whether it pays off for companies who jump blindly onto the sustainability bandwagon.

More here

Wongkumarra Solidarity

Being Green Left indigenous liason officer is keeping me busy....in Dublin on friday and saturday so might be able to link up with these people, in the House of Commons and the Venezuelan Embassy next week as well to do with my post!

Wongkumarra Solidarity Ireland The Australian Embassy is located at:
Fitzwilton House, Wilton Terrace, Dublin 2 - just off Stephen's Green

Wongkumarra Solidarity Ireland was formed today on the Hill of Tara, for the purpose of campaigning against the continuing breaches of human rights of the indigenous Wongkumarra people by the Australian government, and various mining companies.

Hope Ebsworth and Donnie Dixon, of the Wongkumarra people, travelled from Australia to meet with TaraWatch members and the public and perform 'dreaming stories' on the Hill of Tara, for the Summer Solstice festival. They also related their family stories, which involve genocide, ethnic cleansing, misappropriation of lands and mineral resources, and destruction of sacred heritage sites.

Members of TaraWatch and the CELT, the environmental educational institute, joined with members of the public to formally establish the Wongkumarra Solidarity Ireland.

A protest outside the Australian Embassy is planned for Wednesday, 23 June, at 11.00am.

The group will be contacting the embassy tomorrow, Monday, to ask for a meeting with the Australian Consulate, in which case the protest will be cancelled.

Hope Ebsworth said:

"We will be presenting our five major grievances to the Consulate, involving breaches of human and civil rights.

"It has been impossible to make any progress at home, so we have come to Ireland, in hope of making this an international issue.

"We will be making complaints to members of the Oireachtas, MEPs and the United Nations."

SEE: Irish Times - Hundreds attend solstice at Tara

No Shock Doctrine for Britain

One year after the Bagua massacre House of Commons event

I have never met Lord Avebury so I am particularly looking forward to saying hi, he has done sterling work defending the people of the Peruvian Amazon, he may be a Liberal Democrat but the hombre is a star!

Venue: Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster
Please allow about 20 minutes to pass through security checks. Members of the public enter via the Visitors' Entrance, next to St Stephen's Entrance, the Palace of Westminster.

Date: Monday 28th June 2010
Time: 5pm - 6.30pm

Please e-mail the Peru Support Group to register your attendance info@perusupportgroup.org.uk

Chair: Lord Avebury (President of the Peru Support Group)

Speakers will include: the Peru Support Group; Amnesty International;
and CARE Peru.

On 5 June 2009, Peru witnessed probably the worse loss of life since the end of the country's internal armed conflict in 2000, following protests by indigenous groups against a series of legislative decrees, collectively known as the 'Law of the Jungle' (Ley de la Selva). These were approved by President Alan García in 2008 to make Peruvian law conform to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The protest by Indigenous Peoples against the exploitation of natural resources on lands traditionally occupied by them, which had been going on for 50 days on the stretch of road known as the Curva del Diablo leading to Bagua and Bagua Grande in Amazonas department, was broken up by police and resulted in the deaths of 33 people.

Twenty-three of those killed were police officers, five were local townspeople, and five were indigenous people. The fate of one police officer remains unknown to this day.

On 26 May 2010, Alberto Pizango, the leader of one of the Peru's main indigenous organisations, AIDESEP (Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana), was immediately detained by Peruvian police when he returned from exile in Nicaragua. He had been granted asylum by the Nicaraguan government after the Peruvian authorities accused him of being responsible for the violence which led to the deaths in Bagua. He was released on bail the day following his detention, pending trial for the charges of sedition and conspiracy.

On 19 May 2010, Peru's Congress passed the Law on the Right of Indigenous People to Consultation (Ley de Consulta) - a law providing for consultation with Indigenous People on matters that affect them. The law still has to be enacted by President García. If he observes it, the law will return to Congress and be subject to a parliamentary debate.

20 Jun 2010


Open to all members of the Green Party of England and Wales

If you wish to join GL send a cheque for £5 (or more) to:

Peter Murry (Acting GL Treasurer)

18a Oxgate Gardens

London NW2 6EB

Please also complete and send the following with your cheque






Alternatively payments cam be made directly into the GL bank account (details below):

acc name GREEN LEFT

Co-operative bank, PO Box 250 , Delf House, Southway, SKELMERSDALE WN8 6WT

sort code 089299

acc 65284751

On receipt of your subscription the Treasurer will send you an email confirming your membership.

Britannia oils the waves

When Barack Obama referred to a major UK-based criminal organisation by its former name, British Petroleum, a storm of outrage followed in the UK's corporate press and in the statements of Britain's Liberal and Conservative politicians. They strenuously denied the US President's outrageous implication that BP, the destroyer of lives, livelihoods and the environment, is a British company; while at the same time they insisted that the British government must bravely stand up for BP, Britain's most lucrative company in terms of shareholder dividends and the lifeline of the UK's pension funds.

More Here

Cuts “destructive and unnecessary” says new report

Cuts “destructive and unnecessary” says Green Party leader

New report proposes tax-based alternative to spending cuts – and calls for massive investment in job-creation

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP will this week tell the coalition government there is “no good reason for any cuts in public expenditure during the life of this parliament.”

On Monday 21 June Britain’s first Green MP is to issue a new report – Cuts: the callous con trick (1) – in which she will make the case that cuts are unnecessary “because the economy could instead be rebalanced using additional tax revenues.”

The report, written jointly with tax expert Richard Murphy and Colin Hines of Finance for the Future, condemns the government “for failing to put to the electorate the option of fair tax instead of cuts,” and accuses ministers of increasing the likelihood of a double-dip recession.

Cuts “are not an economic inevitability but an ideological choice”

Caroline Lucas said today:

“Cuts are not an economic inevitability. They are an ideological choice. Politicians of all parties are now sharpening their axes to slash public spending, forcing those on lower incomes, who depend on public services the most, to pay the highest price for the recent excesses of the bankers.

“There is a choice. We should ask those best able to pay to foot the bill through fairer taxation. That’s the challenge I’m issuing: for that political choice to be made. It must be clearly asserted that we are not all in this together: that some had more responsibility for this crisis than others, and some benefited more from the boom that preceded it. Those who enjoyed the largest benefits must pay up now. For that to happen, fair taxes, not cuts, must become the new big idea to replace today’s callous and uncaring cuts fanaticism.”

Tax avoidance and evasion “truly staggering” – could be as high as £100bn a year

The Brighton Pavilion MP continued:

“The UK is currently one of the most unequal societies in Europe. But the financial crisis offers us an opportunity to rebalance the tax system. We could do it, for example, by applying the 50% tax rate to incomes above £100,000, abolishing the upper limit for national insurance contributions, raising capital gains tax to the recipient’s highest income tax rate, and helping lower earners by reintroducing the 10% tax band.

“Moreover, the huge extent of tax avoidance, tax evasion and unpaid tax in the UK economy is truly staggering. HM Revenue & Customs themselves admit that tax evasion and avoidance together come to at least £40 billion a year, whilst in November 2009 they also admitted there was £28 billion of unpaid tax owing to them. Shocking as these numbers are, some experts have suggested that tax evasion – that’s deliberately breaking the law to not pay tax – might be as high as £70 billion a year, and tax avoidance – in other words, exploiting loopholes in tax law – might be £25 billion a year. That would take the total target for necessary action to collect tax due and owing to more than £100 billion a year”

Cut tax abuse, not tax-collectors’ jobs

Caroline Lucas continued:

“Whilst these appalling losses to the nation’s coffers are occurring, HM Revenue & Customs are pursuing a programme of job cuts which will ultimately reduce their own staff by 20,000 – close to one quarter of the total. This makes absolutely no sense. This programme should be reversed, staff re-employed, and local tax offices re-opened in order to tackle tax abuse. It has been calculated that at least £15 billion of extra tax could be collected each year as a result. That could prevent a massive range of cuts”.

Richard Murphy, tax expert, chartered accountant and co-author of the report said :

“Our report sets out a range of additional options for changing the tax rules for the UK so that more than £40 billion of additional taxes could be raised each year by the end of the life of this parliament. That, together with the tax collecting efficiency savings already noted, would together deliver more than £60 billion of tax revenues for the UK – so preventing the need for any cuts at all.”

Richard Murphy added:

“A government really can spend to save the economy when in a recession. During this one, borrowing has been smaller and unemployment lower than forecast because of the measures taken by the last government to stimulate the economy. This report argues that a Green New Deal involving public and private investment in a massive labour intensive UK wide energy saving programme and a rapid shift to renewables should be the basis for continuing that programme of support for our economy. This would ensure that we come out of the recession better equipped for the future we’re going to face.”

Caroline Lucas concluded:

“Fairer tax not cuts must become the real battleground of this new Parliament. It is the debate the Coalition and Labour alike must embrace. As the full ghastliness and unfairness of the cuts become ever clearer, the public clamour for fairer taxes rather than cuts can only grow.”


1. The report can be read at: http://www.financeforthefuture.com/TaxBriefing.pdf

19 Jun 2010

World cup censors football protest

Thousands of people 'disappeared' killed by the military in Argentina....the football squad marked this but were banned.

The World Cup is a festival of Budweiser, compassion and care are ruthlessly suppressed.

Its been taken off of youtube I believe as well.

Darren just sent me this

From an Argentine socialist:

Dear friends, I am attaching a picture of the Arg World Cup Team holding a banner in support of the candidacy of the Grandmothers of May Square for the Nobel prize. I am sending it for good reason.

It seems to have been censored on every mainstream media outlet, including Internet concerns they control, because the main owner of the main private media group in Argentina, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, has a couple of stolen children. After a most protracted justice process, they are at last to undergo a confrontation of their DNA with data in the world famous National Genetic Data Bank of Argentina.

The CEO of the group has been reported as boasting long ago that he had obtained the kids for Mrs. Herrera de Noble.

In the midst of a war against the great media, the results of this comprobation are unfathomable.

And it is the Grandmothers who are behind the whole thing.

Please circulate as widely as you can.

18 Jun 2010

Green Left advances

Had this from Joseph Healy

The Green Left AGM is being held tomorrow at the Lucas Arms in Gray's Inn Road, London. It will be four years since Green Left was formed and I was one of the founder members. I am currently the male Co-Convenor and have held that post for the last two years but will not be standing for re-election at the AGM. Instead I will be standing for the position of Secretary and taking the poisoned chalice of ensuring that the minutes of all meetings are completed in good time and are accurate, and also correspondence with other bodies.

Green Left has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and has had influence way beyond its size in the Green Party. Its essential aims remain a commitment to ensuring that the Green Party remains a radical and Left party and also that links are developed with the wider Left in England and Wales. The fate of some of the sister Green parties in Europe is one that we are very aware of and want to ensure that nothing similar happens here.

As an Irish person I have been in regular contact with Greens in Ireland and have watched with dismay what has been happening to the Irish Green Party since they entered the coalition in 2007. Many of the best and most radical Greens have left the party and I recently met with some of them in Dublin, including the former MEP, Patricia Mc Kenna, and others who are now independent councillors. One of them is Pat Kavanagh, a councillor in County Wicklow and Pat will be addressing the AGM tomorrow about what has been happening in Ireland over the last few years. Pat resigned from the Green Party a few months ago and has now established an organisation called 'The Emerald Forum' which consists of many ex-Greens but also some current members of the party. They are holding a conference in Dublin next week and Derek Wall, also a member of Green Left and who is about to publish several books on Green politics and economics, will be going to address the conference.

We will also be discussing motions and fringe meetings at the Green Party autumn conference, as well as the organisation of a series of speaking engagements for Hugo Blanco, the well known activist and fighter for the rights of indigenous people from Peru, who will be touring the UK in September speaking about the situation in Peru and Latin America. There is also the possibility of Green Left participation in the next convoy which sails to Gaza to bring relief supplies to the Palestinians. We will also be discussing our involvement in the general Left campaign against the cuts agenda of the Coalition government.

Finally, we will be looking at organising a Green Left Summer Camp, which is likely to be held in Cambridge this year. I am looking forward to a good day of political discussion and to meeting Green Left comrades from around the country.

17 Jun 2010

'Cuts will kill' Tories plan to sack all tube drivers

RMT slams 'lethal and unworkable' Tory plan to axe all tube drivers and operators in a dash for cuts TUBE UNION RMT tonight condemned “lethal and unworkable” plans leaked to the BBC from within the GLA Tory Group to axe all train drivers and operators on London Underground and to move the entire tube system to a driverless operation.

The leaked report, confirmed as being under discussion by the GLA Tories and which London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson is aware of, recommends sacking all of the 3,525 train drivers and operators estimating that it could result in savings of £141 million per annum.The report is also clear that the plan is part of a secret drive by the Tory Party to break the strength of the Tube’s biggest and most powerful trade union, RMT.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:“Under normal circumstances I would be tempted to dismiss this leaked report as some kind of a joke, cooked up by anti-union fantasists, but in the current climate of cuts and attacks on public services we are taking it very seriously.“People only have to look at the footage of the carnage down the tube after the 7/7 bombings, and the brave and critical role played by train operators and platform staff in dealing with that emergency situation, to see why these crew are so vital to the safety of Londoners.

“The people behind this Tory Party report not only want to get rid of the drivers but they want no staff on the tube trains at all. That just proves that they have no understanding of the tube system and a complete and utter disregard for passenger safety.

“It may well be that some junior politician is simply flying a kite to make a name for themselves but RMT will not sit back and allow this lethal and unworkable idea to gain any traction whatsoever.“We are already involved in a battle to defend Tube Lines, station and platform jobs and our fight for safe staffing levels across London Underground, including the use of industrial action, will continue.”

BP picket

A reminder that weekly pickets are continuing outside BP, the latest is today at 5pm:


1 St James Square, London.
Nearest tubes Green Park & Picadilly Circus

Please come along and support, also cascade to any anti-BP activists.

15 Jun 2010

Pentagon goes green

The news that the Pentagon is using biofuels for its fighter jets shows that 'greenwash' reaches every area of society:

'President Obama recently extolled the military's endeavors to reduce its fuel consumption via biofuel-using technologies, specifically the Navy's FA/18 fighter jet, nicknamed the Green Hornet due to its putative eco credentials, and the Marine Corp's Light Armored Vehicle.(4)

Such "greenwashing" helps to mask the fact that the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world's countries. If the U.S. military were a nation-state, it would be ranked number 37 in terms of oil consumption—ahead of the likes of the Philippines, Portugal, and Nigeria—according to the CIA Factbook.'


14 Jun 2010

Dr Wall has a rare green business moment

Like the fact they have banned palm oil, I don't think green business are generally green but good for Lush.

Must post more videos especially from Johnny Cash, wish he was still alive and fighting for the workers and indigenous.

Refugees are not here to scrounge off our welfare system'

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has today marked Refugee Week by urging people to celebrate the “invaluable contribution” refugees bring to life in the UK. The aim of Refugee Week is to challenge misconceptions about refugees through awareness-raising events, while show casing the many ways in which the UK has benefited from their diverse skills. One of the biggest myths is that the UK operates an “open door” policy on asylum and the country is being “flooded” by immigrants. To the contrary, the UK only received 25,670 asylum applications in 2008 [1], a figure that has fallen by almost half over the last five years, and we are ranked just 17th in a league table of industrialised countries for the number of claims per head of population[2].

Jean, who is a leading voice on asylum and immigration, says: “With so many negative myths surrounding the issue of asylum and immigration it is easy to lose the real story. Refugee Week offers a unique opportunity to dispel these misconceptions and focus on the truth behind the misinformed hype.

“Refugees are not here to scrounge off our welfare system, they are people forced out of their homes because their life and often the lives of their families have been put in danger because of war, conflict or political persecution. Increasingly, we are also seeing the most vulnerable communities losing their livelihoods and homes because of the impact of climate change, with rising sea levels, local water supplies threatened and land and crops lost to dramatic changes in weather.

“Asylum seekers are looking for a place of safety, not, as some people would have you believe, a place that would be economically beneficial. Indeed, many refugees live in hope that one day they can return to their homeland but whilst a variety of reasons often means that this is impossible their contribution to life in the UK is invaluable. From the NHS, to theconstruction industry, from the world of business to the service sector,refugees are an integral part of the very fabric of our society and Refugee Week is a celebration of this.

“But, of course, behind the celebration we mustn’t forget that refugees have not chosen to live here, they have had that choice made for them. To address this situation we need political action to reduce conflict, protect human rights and protect our planet.”

For more information please contact:

Kate Sole, Media Officer

Tel: 020 7407 6280 Mobile: 07917 881648

Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk


Notes to editors: [1] Home Office quarterly statistical summary, asylum statistics 2008http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=261 [2] UNHCR Asylum levels and trends in industrialised countries 2007 and 2008 http://www.unhcr.org/47daae862.html For further information on Refugee Week visit: http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk Jean Lambert is the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the revision of theQualifications Directive and was recently responsible for securing theEuropean Parliament’s support for the creation of a European Asylum SupportOffice. She is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK Greenrepresentatives in the European Parliament. Jean was first elected GreenParty Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 Europeanelections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

Caroline Lucas 'Education is a right that should be available to all'

Letter to the Guardian

With fees already at an eye-watering £3,225 a year, it's unaccept able for David Willetts to indicate that tuition fees may rise. We are creating a generation of students who will have crushing debt levels for at least a decade after graduating. Education is a right that should be available to all, regardless of income. If we had a fair and progressive taxation system then graduates who earn higher salaries would repay the cost of their education through higher taxes. In late April, more than 400 Liberal Democrat candidates signed an NUS pledge to oppose tuition fee rises, while only 13 Conservative candidates did the same. It's clear who has won this argument within the coalition cabinet.

Caroline Lucas MP

Leader, Green Party

John Reynolds: 'build a people's movement that is capable of fighting back against devastating cuts in jobs and services'

Bronx State Senate Candidate John Reynolds Speaks Out

"Poor and working class communities throughout the Bronx are under siege," Reynolds said, "and we urgently need to put aside narrow partisan and personal agendas to build coalitions across long-standing racial, ethnic, and geographic divides in this borough so as to build a people's movement that is capable of fighting back against devastating cuts in jobs and services."

At the South Bronx Community Congress held at Hostos Community College on Saturday, June 5, 2010, John H. Reynolds, the Green Party candidate for NY State Senate in the 33rd SD in the Bronx, spoke out forcefully and unequivocally on behalf of labor and workers rights; and on the need for empowering communities of color and immigrant communities in the Bronx.

"Poor and working class communities throughout the Bronx are under siege," Reynolds said, "and we urgently need to put aside narrow partisan and personal agendas to build coalitions across long-standing racial, ethnic, and geographic divides in this borough so as to build a people's movement that is capable of fighting back against devastating cuts in jobs and services."

"Cuts in the MTA budget have already resulted in hundreds of layoffs which will directly affect the safety of the riding public, and the availability of free student Metrocards," Reynolds declared. "These issues," the candidate continued, "are not merely about labor and workers' rights, essential as those rights are. This is about people's rights! These cuts hit us not only where we work and shop and go to school—they hit us where we live! And, needless to say, these cuts will be disproportionately devastating to communities of color."

Reynolds referred to the recent layoffs and firings of nurses, and on the lack of sufficient summer jobs for students as additional examples of the need for a fight-back strategy in which Greens can be, and ought to be, active participants and partners in building grassroots labor-oriented community organizations.

"Furthermore," Reynolds went on, "we in the Bronx Green Party fully and unequivocally support the workers at Woodlawn Cemetery who are struggling to win respect and dignity on the job in a work environment where racism, harassment, and vicious abuse is rampant. It is shocking and outrageous to us Greens, as I am sure it is to all decent New Yorkers, that Woodlawn Cemetery management could permit such practices on the job, practices which one would have thought had long since disappeared, along with the racist Jim Crow culture of a previous era."

Addressing immigrants' rights, the Bronx Green Party candidate said that his party's positions are simple and straightforward: "Stop the raids! Stop the deportations! Amnesty now! Legalization—because no person is illegal"

Turning next to the Community Benefits Agreements (CBA's) which have been such stumbling blocks as far as providing livable wage jobs and real benefits to local communities in the Bronx; whether one speaks of projects such as the new Yankee Stadium, or the Kingsbridge Armory, Reynolds called for legislation that ensured that any publicly owned, or publicly financed or subsidized initiative, or project, MUST HAVE A MEANINGFUL AND ENFORCEABLE CBA.


Finally, echoing one of the main themes of the day-long South Bronx Community Congress, Reynolds concluded: "Above all, what we need now in the Bronx, now more urgently perhaps than ever, is unity and solidarity around demands for dignity and justice. Considerations of privilege need to be put aside in favor of the greater good of our Bronx communities. The corruption and self-serving behavior among our official representatives in Albany must end. For all of us in the Bronx, the watch word from this point forward must be:

"Uno para todos, y todos para uno!"

In this connection, Reynolds claimed, the Green Party truly is not an alternative but an absolute imperative. Only the Green Party, said Reynolds, stands in opposition to the corrupt, play-for-pay, business-as-usual in Albany; only the Green Party stands in opposition to the Democratic Party machine in the Bronx which enables the corruption in Albany.


13 Jun 2010


My sources suggest it is possible that two or three Green TDs will hang on because of local support and distance from the Fianna Fali government but it could be total wipe out....in Dublin soon to help launch a new Green Party, the present Green Party from support for biofuels to motorway building and huge cuts has been a disaster.

These poll results are disastrous for the Green Party and the Dublin support figure offers more cause for concern than the national figures does, given that the party main support lies there and given that five of the party’s six TDs represent Dublin constituencies. With the party’s support levels in its strongest region now effectively less than half of what it was in 2007 and with an expected fall-off in transfers from other party, the party simply is in a position where it is not in contention for a seat in any constituency, with the exception, maybe, of Galway West,


Hollywood Green award won by Amazon indigenous

This warms my heart usually this kind of thing is total bullshit, not this time,

Take note of her wise words and take action!

Not sure why the 2009 awards are only on video now though!

12 Jun 2010

Enlightened self-interest in the Amazon

Ray has put together some links on the Peru Amazon struggle....useful, spread the word.

The Struggle of the Indigenous People of the Amazon Rainforest in Peru
to preserve the precious rainforest and their way of life
By Ray Beckerman

I am going to collect links here to sources of information about this important and heroic struggle. The fight these beautiful people are waging is not just for themselves, but for all mankind. The rainforest, and the culture and ways of life of these and other indigenous peoples, are precious resources which form part of our heritage. It is not a luxury, but a necessity, that human rights be respected, and that our natural resources be preserved.

It is no accident that so much of our most precious, remaining natural resources are in the hands of indigenous people, because they do not see themselves as owners, but as stewards, of nature's precious gift. They have taught us that the land is not something we inherit from our fathers, but something we borrow from our children.

The senseless brutal attacks on these people, starting with a pre-dawn helicopter attack upon defenseless people sleeping on the side of a road, and continuing with numerous instances of shocking brutality, including the hunting of unarmed people with machine guns shooting from helicopters and the forcible removal of injured people from hospitals, are crimes against humanity, and cry out for the immediate prosecution of Pres. Alan Garcia and others responsible.

(If you know of other events or actions, please send to RayBeckerman on Twitter or by email.)

A great list of actions that can be taken, including protest events, and contact information for Peruvian Government, United States Government, and United Nations, is maintained here on Peruanista.
Action Alert: Tell Peruvian President Alan Garcia: Stop the persecution of Amazonian indigenous leaders
Youth for Truth
Petition to sign
Contribute to Peru emergency Fund
"Action Alert in Solidarity with the Peoples of Peru"
fPcN Call to Action
Join Facebook Group "Solidarity With Peru" (Solidaridad con Perú)
Send a message to the President of Peru
Join Q'orianka Kilcher's Action alert and information meetings, email: peru.initiative@yahoo.com
Contribute to "Intercontinental Cry" web site; a voice of indigenous people worldwide


Mockus not quite a Green Party super-hero?

This is interesting but critical, I guess Mockus is not really my kind of green and he has been criticised on environment and justice, however I still think his rise is a spectacular good news story and I think he is an extremely interesting political figure. Colombia is famed for its corruption, violence and the use of death squads against workers and indigenous people...that's why Cameron and Obama support it....violate human rights in Latin America and you will be flavour of the month and get regular invites to the White House, did I mention Alan Garcia?....

Mockus: not quite man of the hour
Gearóid Ó Loingsigh

Gearóid Ó Loingsigh, a journalist based in Bogotá, gives his interpretation of the surprising election results in a special piece for LAB.

Mockus: not quite man of the hour

The results of the first round of Colombia’s presidential elections were a bit of a surprise. Polls had placed Antanas Mockus, the Green presidential candidate, neck and neck with Uribe’s heir apparent, Juan Manuel Santos (pictured). In the end Santos got just over 46% of the vote, more than double the 21% obtained by Mockus, making it highly likely that the latter will become the next president of Colombia.

Mockus has an uphill, though not impossible, battle on his hands. The Colombian electorate is fickle and not very ideological. In the congressional elections last March the Greens obtained just over 530,000 votes, but 1.8 million voted in the ‘internal’ consultation to choose Mockus as the Green’s candidate and now more than three million voted for him in the presidential elections. The poor congressional election results can be explained partly by corruption and the buying of votes with cash payments or promises for schools, roads etc by other parties.

The presidential elections, too, are not immune to a little bit of vote rigging. According to Gustavo Petro, the candidate for the Polo Democrático, approximately one million dollars was spent on bribing voters in the first round, particularly on the Caribbean coast. It is a common practice, even in Bogotá where a vote goes for 10 to 15 dollars with lunch thrown in for good measure. However, Colombians tend to ignore local concerns and promises made when it comes to the presidential elections.

The crowds that gathered at Mockus’ post-electoral rally chanted “It can be done” and they are probably right – it is possible though not probable. The Conservatives have all but pledged their 4% to Santos, the Liberals are divided but the regional sections in Santander and Valle de Cauca have publicly stated they will support Santos, making it all but academic what Cambio Radical and the Polo decide. Mockus needs to convince a section of the more than 50% of the electorate that did not vote to turn out for him on June 20th.


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...