31 Oct 2010

An Evening of Climate Justice on tuesday with Bolivian Ambassador

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Bolivar Hall
54 Grafton Way
London W1T 5DL
(Nearest tube: Warren St)

Speakers include:
- Angelica Navarro, Bolivian Ambassador to the UN (Geneva)
- John Vidal, Environment Editor, The Guardian
- Keith Sonnet, Deputy General Secretary, UNISON
- Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth

In April this year the Bolivian government hosted the first World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Called in response to the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks last December, it brought together thousands of people from social movements, civil society and governments from around the world to create a People’s Agreement on Climate Change, and discuss real solutions to the climate crisis.

Join us at Bolivar Hall to hear more about the Cochabamba climate conference, the current state of the global climate negotiations ahead of December’s talks in Cancun, Mexico, and the radical steps we need to take as an international movement to achieve climate justice.

Plus, in the context of the UK Government’s cuts agenda, find out what lessons there are from Latin America on how solutions to the financial crisis are not contradictory to real and fair solutions to the climate crisis.

FREE EVENT - No booking required

Supported by: Bolivia Information Forum, Campaign Against Climate Change, Climate Alliance, Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Friends of the Earth, Gaia Foundation, Green Party, Jubilee Debt Campaign, UNISON, World Development Movement

28 Oct 2010

Yachaywasi 'the most important story on the planet '

When Two Worlds Collide (trailer)

When Two Worlds Collide: A hazardous journey of an Amazonian leader confronting the rules of the globalization game created by developed countries in order to protect corporate interests. With the Rainforest facing peril, this apocalyptic story presents two colliding visions that shape the climate future of our world.

If humanity and the rest of nature is to survive and prosper it is vital to conserve the rainforests. They regulate many key biological cycles on this planet and are a carbon sink absorbing CO2. In Peru, President Alan Garcia's government are auctioning 70% of the countries Amazon rainforest to oil, gas and biofuels companies.

If Garcia succeeds we are frankly doomed as a species, the release of huge quantities of fossil fuels will wreck the planet.

I am sceptical of most forms of environmentalism, most of the time, they are often plain ineffective, however in the Peruvian Amazon, indigenous people have used non violent direct action to halt the destruction of the Amazon.

They have a fantastically effective organisation AIDESEP that generally wins the battle, however in 2009 members of AIDESEP were massacred by the Peruvian government's military police. AIDESEP face severe repression (the UK government of course do nothing, I will try not to rant on about what a little shit Chris Bryant MP was as foreign office Minister tasked with Latin America!).

Alberto Pizango, the leader of AIDESEP was exiled from Peru, now he is back and is going to run for President of Peru.

A film is being made of his story, its absolutely vital that it is completed, AIDESEP's story must be heard.

The film makers need to raise funds, I am hoping James Cameron gives them a $1 million but as this is the real Avatar he made not want to fund a rival.

Anyway I have leant modestly on my credit card to help fund the film and I would urge all my readers to donate as well. If you go on the donation site you can easily send some cash large or small and it doesn't matter where you are in the world, it will convert your currency into dollars.

You can donate here.

So go for it, its the most important story on the planet and it must be told. You might also like to look at the work of my good friend Hugo Blanco, currently on the last few days of his European tour, to find out more about the Lucha Indigena.

27 Oct 2010

Freddie Kruger = Danny Alexander

Caroline Lucas article from Compass, original here

This is a challenging time for progressives. We have a coalition not only introducing savage cuts, but seeming to enjoy wielding the axe.

And that enthusiasm - with George Osborne and Danny Alexander competing to give the best impression of Freddie Kruger - gives the lie to the idea that these cuts are necessary because of the current recession.

We can see that they are ideologically driven. Many Tories, and some Liberal Democrats, want a smaller state and will use the financial crisis as the excuse to achieve it - even at the risk of plunging us back into recession.

And even at the risk of making the much greater environmental crisis that we face even worse, by slashing spending on green technology, on incentives for renewable, on the potential to create hundreds of thousands of green jobs.

I don't often find myself quoting Tim Yeo, but his comments over the weekend about this were spot on, when he pointed out that despite the national debt, spending on defence went up by 125% between 1930 and 1939. In the run up to the 2WW, we were running an even bigger deficit than today, but would never have won the battle of Britain if spending on defence had been sacrificed.

The point he's making, of course, is that we won't win the battle against climate change if we slash spending on it now.

And we need to make the case that not only are these cuts socially divisive, and environmentally disastrous, they are also economically completely illiterate.

The Ed Balls Bloomberg speech is something around which many progressives can unify - the speech where Balls made the case that it's through getting people back to work that we stand the best chance of addressing the deficit, through keeping people paying their taxes, rather than seeing tax revenue drain out of the economy, followed by redundancy payments and benefits payments.

But there's almost no discussion about the kind of work we envisage them doing, no debate about the kind of growth we need to see.

Yesterday, I spoke at a TUC conference which was entitled, without irony, Alliances for Green Growth.

Something about the alliteration seems to trick people into thinking the two ideas are compatible - green growth - it's like trade ministers talking about "free and fair trade", with no apparent recognition that just because free and fair start with the same letter, they're not the same things. Most free trade certainly isn't fair.

And if there is a form of growth which is genuinely green, genuinely sustainable, I'm not sure we know what it looks like yet.

So I think the challenge for progressives when it comes to the environment is to accept that our current economic system is economically and morally unsustainable. In other words, it only works by cheating future generations out of their birthright and by exploiting the vulnerable here and abroad.

So when we talk of a green recovery, we're not talking about a traditional economic recovery boosted by selling some home insulation or building some windmills.

We're not talking about business as usual, with a few green trimmings.

It's not about finding new products to sell, and sticking a green label on them.

We're talking about a recovery based on green principles and insights; one that is rooted in social justice and which balances our needs, against those of the developing world, the natural world, and those of future generations.

There's a lot of talk about fairness at the moment. Not just by the coalition government, who have stretched it to mind-boggling new limits, but now by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and their new report.

Yet there's very little debate about intergenerational fairness.

I'd argue that one of the fundamental challenges for progressive politics in the opening years of the twenty first century is that we haven't not yet come to terms with the full meaning of equality.

We have not properly thought through what it means, or how we can make it a reality.

And the reason for this is the way we have gone about forging a progressive consensus for the last 2 centuries.

Progressive politics have depended on ever rising economic growth and prosperity in order to bring about a redistribution of power.

And as the economy has grown, so elites have been persuaded to give up a little bit of their wealth and power.

They have accepted a little more taxation and redistribution; they have allowed political power to be spread a little more thinly.

That's not surprising. It's easier to ask people to take a smaller percentage of an ever growing cake.

But it has two consequences.

First, it gives the illusion of greater equality, while allowing for greater concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few.

And so Britain can, after 13 years of a Labour government, be more unequal than before they came to power.

Second, the prosperity itself may be built on rotten foundations. Already, we in Britain consume three times more than the world can sustain on an equitable basis.

The growth that has paid for our welfare state is built on the exploitation of natural resources and on the exploitation of people here and around the world.

And so often with the best intentions, the pursuit of increased national economic growth and wealth as a means to promote equality carries with it the seeds of its own failure.

The heart of the problem is a failure of imagination.

We are all equal.

And equality does not stop at the borders of the UK. Nor does it stop with the present generation.

And those whose world we are destroying, whose precious resources we are burning up, whose species we are making extinct, whose seas we are poisoning, and whose beauty and tranquillity we are sacrificing - those who are yet to be born - we owe them just as much as those around us today.

In business terms, we are treating our capital as income.

We use up our resources and say we are better off.

In the real world, if a business does this, it will go bust. In the parallel world of economics, we are supposed to carry on like this forever.

We haven't considered that by any rational measure, we are becoming not richer, but poorer. That economic growth is becoming uneconomic.

We don't think of the consequences of our actions in years to come.

This is seen most clearly in the approach to climate change.

And here I get to the crux of what I want to say.

The challenge for progressive politicians is to grasp that an incremental approach to tackling climate change is doomed to fail.

That the next 8-10 years are going to be absolutely critical in terms of getting our emissions in the industrialised world to peak, and start to come down, and that if we don't act within that briefest of windows of opportunity, then the chances of avoiding the worst of the climate crisis get very much slimmer.

And that means fundamentally challenging our current growth model.

Yet the number of politicians or civil society organisations focused primarily on the implications of today's growth model remains tiny. Worse, millions of environmental campaigners seem to seriously believe that we can address climate change, slow the loss of threatened species and habitats, manage chronic water and resource shortages and put an end to over fishing and continuing soil erosion, whilst pursuing pretty much the same kind of economic growth that brought these natural systems to the edge of collapse in the first place.

In other words, the trade off appears to be to ignore the inevitable long-term consequences of business-as-usual growth in order to help to protect short term organisational effectiveness. It may make sense from a tactical point of view, but strategically it's unsustainable.

So how do we make this shift from incremental change to systemic reform?

How do we build that public and political momentum for change fast enough?

What chances are there for civil society organisations to coalesce around the challenge to make the case for a very different kind of economic model?

And what role for progressive politicians?

I look forward to the debate.

Caroline Lucas 'cuts will target pensioners, poor, disabled people'

This is Caroline Lucas's speech to the National Pensioners Convention today.

Thank you all for inviting me here this afternoon and for all your work in support of a fairer deal for pensioners. At least 2 million of Britain’s pensioners currently live in poverty and I am sure I am not the only one here who fears this figure may increase significantly in the wake of one of the most regressive budgets this country has even seen.

A budget which will destroy half a million jobs in the public sector, according to the government's own estimates. And with the knock-on effect of at least as many jobs lost in the private sector.

When those public sector workers find themselves out of work they will, along with disabled people, feel the full force of the additional £7 billion worth of cuts in welfare spending, on top of the

£11 billion of cuts announced in June. The housing benefit regime will become much more harsh, risking a rise in homelessness. They will also find that the loss of public services that this budget represents will massively disadvantage them, and all the most vulnerable people in society who rely on those services.

Where's the fairness in a budget that lets vital public services go to the wall, hitting the poorest hardest? Hitting women hardest, hitting disabled people hardest and hitting pensioners hardest.

And all unnecessarily.

Yes, it’s important to reduce the deficit but cutting spending will not do this. What we need to do instead is address the collapse in tax revenues with a fairer taxation system that ensures those who can afford to pay more into the pot do so.

That ensures tax avoidance and tax evasion are genuinely a top priority, not just when it suits.

And that doesn’t plan to cut, yes cut, corporation tax over the next few years, despite the fact we are apparently all in this together.

We need too to instead to invest in the future not decimate it. So I think we should, for example, be creating new green jobs with programmes like free insulation for all those homes that need it, giving priority to pensioners and those living in fuel poverty. Given that almost one in three older people live in homes with inadequate heating or insulation making their homes more difficult to heat and/or keep warm this would deliver real benefits to some of the most vulnerable in society. It would also, of course, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the fight against climate change.

Not all the news is gloomy I would like to welcome David Cameron’s recent announcement that he is backing long standing Green Party policy with the introduction of a universal state pension. This is something we have argued for over the years and which I know the National Pensioners Convention supports too. Cameron has promised £140 per week which is still £30 below the poverty line of £170 per week and the level of state pension Greens recommend. But it is a starting point.

I believe that we should treat longer life as an opportunity, not a problem. Older people have the wisdom, skills, experience and time to be of enormous benefit to our society. Pensioners deserve a state pension sufficient to cover their basic needs and enable them to live with pride and dignity. For me, a Citizen’s Pension is a citizen’s right. We don’t know many details yet about what Cameron is offering and we certainly need to retain a degree of healthy scepticism about what might amount to little more than a press stunt to generate some positive headlines after so many negative ones.

We also need to press for any universal pension to not restrict an individual's right to continue working, and for any additional earnings to be taxed just as they would for those below the pension age. A Citizens Pension must be unconditional, given as a right and not subject to means testing. It must not be restricted to those people who have paid National Insurance contributions, which, for example currently leaves many women without a proper state pension due to having an incomplete payment record.

Scrapping means testing also helps address the fact that between an estimated one-quarter and one-third of pensioners are unlikely to claim the full benefits they are entitled to because the process can be both bureaucratic and humiliating, making a huge saving for the government at the expense of pensioners.

Crucially any funding for a Citizens Pension must not be at the expense of other necessary support for pensioners, like winter fuel grants, health care benefits and travel passes. These already make a difference to the lives of millions of pensioners and the Green Party is committed to protecting and extending them.

And funding for a fair and universal state pension must not be at the expense of decent social care. Around 80% of those in need of care at home do not get it from the state and again any provision is linked to means testing. Modern society is supposed to be about progress but when we look at how pensioners and older people are treated we seem to have gone backwards.

Well, I want to reverse that trend and also maintain the principle of a free NHS by implementing in England and Wales the scheme that provides free social care to the elderly in Scotland. If the Scots can do it so can we. Yes there will be a price tag attached but the value of something is about much more than what is costs something the coalition government have failed to realise.

It is wonderful to see so many of you here today committed to making sure that changes. To making the case for genuine fairness and to standing up for pensioners rights. The Green Party are with you all the way.


65 activists have today stopped trading at Vodafone’s largest retail store on
Oxford Street, London, by blockading the doorway in disgust at the HMRC’s deal
with Vodafone that have allowed them to walk away from paying a tax bill thought
to be worth £6bn to the public purse[1].

The action started at 09:30 this morning where activists gathered at The Ritz
hotel near Oxford Street following rapid mobilization over the weekend via
Twitter, Facebook, blogs and text messaging.

The 65 activists confronted the minor security in front of the shop to gain
entry to the shop and proceeded to blockade the entrance with arm tubes and
banners before the store had chance to even receive its first customer.
This comes exactly a week after George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review
in which he announced that another £7bn will be cut from welfare, producing a
total of £18bn of cuts from vital welfare services.

These cuts have been widely condemned by charity groups representing the most
vulnerable in society, and the highly respected Institute of Fiscal Studies
confirmed on Thursday last week that the coalition’s cuts will indeed hit the
poorest in society the hardest.

The issue of tax evasion by corporations and the wealthy was not however even
mentioned during Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review speech, despite the
fact that it is estimated that the deficit to the public purse from tax evasion
amounts to at least £12bn each year [2].

To add salt to the wound, Osborne also announced last week that large
corporations in addition will be expected to contribute 4% less in tax to public
services across the next four years through a reduction in corporation tax.
Activists on today’s action also note that Andy Halford is both a financial
advisor to Vodafone and a corporation tax advisor to the treasury [3].
Under a banner that read “Pay your taxes - save our welfare state”, Jennifer
Kyte said, “The cuts are not fair, we're not all in this together, and there are
alternatives. Why not start by collecting - instead of writing off – the tens of
billions owed in taxes by wealthy corporations?”

She continued, “The economic downturn was caused by the reckless greed of the
private sector, but it is the public sector and those at the bottom that are
picking up the bill. Is this their idea of the wonderful Big Society?”
Zeketa Darby said, “We will not pay for their crisis! The public need to join
together and hit the streets to take concerted action to fight these cuts”

For more information email: actionagainstthecuts@gmail.com
Twitter: @ukuncut

[1] The details of the Vodafone scandal have been released originally following
an investigation by the satirical magazine Private Eye.



[2] The exact amount lost through corporate tax evasion is by its nature
decidedly hard to pin down, however Richard Murphy from the tax justice network
has estimated that £12bn is lost

[3] http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/tax_forums_business_tax_competitiveness.html
[4] A callout was put up on this blog site. http://theircrisis.wordpress.com/

26 Oct 2010

'For a society to base its financial system on alchemy is a poor advertisement for its rationality'

[B] anking crises are endemic to the market economy that has evolved

since the Industrial Revolution. The words “banking” and “crises” are natural bedfellows. If love

and marriage go together like a horse and carriage, then banking and crisis go together like Oxford

and the Isis, intertwined for as long as anyone can remember. Unfortunately, such crises are

occurring more frequently and on an ever larger scale.

Mervyn King, head of the Bank of England has made an astonishing speech. He argues that the present banking system is bankrupt, that banks are fragile based on forms of highly complex and risky investment.

He argues that only if the system is over hauled, with an end to risk banking based on esoteric derivatives, mutual funds for bailout, high liquidity reserves, new crisis will occur.

For almost a century after Bagehot wrote Lombard Street, the size of the banking sector in the UK,

relative to GDP, was broadly stable at around 50%. But, over the past fifty years, bank balance

sheets have grown so fast that today they are over five times annual GDP. The size of the US

banking industry has grown from around 20% in Bagehot‟s time to around 100% of GDP today.

And, until recently, the true scale of balance sheets was understated by these figures because banks

were allowed to put exposures to entities such as special purpose vehicles off balance sheet.

Surprisingly, such an extraordinary rate of expansion has been accompanied by increasing

concentration: the largest institutions have expanded the most. Table 1 shows that the asset holdings

of the top ten banks in the UK amount to over 450% of GDP, with RBS, Barclays and HSBC each

individually having assets in excess of UK GDP. Table 2 shows that in the US, the top ten banks

amount to over 60% of GDP, six times larger than the top ten fifty years ago. Bank of America today

accounts for the same proportion of the US banking system as all of the top 10 banks put together in


While banks‟ balance sheets have exploded, so have the risks associated with those balance sheets.

At present the banks make huge profits if they succeed and being too big to fall, we pick up the bill if they fail, at present huge cuts in public spending and tax rises.

Maturity transformation brings

economic benefits but it creates real economic costs. The problem is that the costs do not fall on

those who enjoy the benefits. The damaging externalities created by excessive maturity

transformation and risk-taking must be internalised.

King argues this has to stop.

A market economy has proved to be the most reliable means for a society to expand its standard of

living. But ever since the Industrial Revolution we have not cracked the problem of how to ensure a

more stable banking system. We know that there will always be sharp and unpredictable movements

in expectations, sentiment and hence valuations of financial assets. They represent our best guess as

to what the future holds, and views about the future can change radically and unpredictably. It is a

phenomenon that we must learn to live with. But changes in expectations can create havoc with the

banking system because it relies so heavily on transforming short-term debt into long-term risky

assets. For a society to base its financial system on alchemy is a poor advertisement for its rationality.

There are even more fundamental problems with our economy. Continuous growth is impossible ecologically, fossil fuels are likely even if we ignore climate change as a restraint to rise rapidly in price, unrestrained globalisation has caused concentrations of wealth and income that lead to instability.

A series of basic contentions outlined by Marx are coming into play, crisis multiple....a democratic economy based on need not greed and respecting basic ecological cycles has to become a practical alternative.

I hope Mervyn King continues to think deeply, reads Ostrom and looks to an economic system that works. The problem is deeper than banking but he has made an excellent start.

The fact that he can see that the banking pieces in the jigsaw no long fit is a start, tragically the Con Dem government are ignoring the fundamental economic issues from banking to reliance on fossil fuels and the failure of neo-liberal economics.

You can read more of Mervyn's speech here


Hugo Blanco will speak at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday.

Mr Blanco is a leader of the Peruvian peasant movement and has been politically active since the 1950s.

In the 1960s he played a central part in the ‘Land or Death’ peasant uprising, after which he was captured and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Recently he has been at the forefront of a struggle to save Peru's Amazon rainforest.

He is visiting Oxford as part of a tour of the UK organised by the Green Left and Socialist Resistance.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm.

Anti-Cuts Direct Action – Wednesday 9.30am

The cuts have come and we need to get to work opposing them fast. This Wednesday we will take direct action against a target to expose the lies that these cuts are necessary or fair.

The target has to stay secret until Wednesday morning but we need as many people as possible to join us. We’ll be meeting outside the Ritz (right next to Green Park tube) at 9.30am. Look for the person with the orange umbrella. Be prompt: you’ll be briefed quickly and then we’ll move to the target.

There will be lots of different ways to participate. Come along and make your mind up there how you want to help.

See you on the streets!


A working class hero.

25 Oct 2010

Targeted citizens

Targeted Citizen - English from Adalah on Vimeo.

Police punching anti-fascist caught on camera

Just when you think you had seen all the police violence and miscarriages of justice you could take for this year, along comes another one, this time in Bolton. Alan Clough, a 63 year old veteran anti-Fascist campaigner was protesting against the EDL in Bolton several months ago. He was arrested and accused of physical assault against the police. But, as luck would have it, Granada TV had a very different tale to tell based on their film from the day. It shows that far from attacking the police, Mr Clough was the victim of an unprovoked attack from the police. Charges against Mr Clough were dropped and Greater Manchester Police are now conducting an internal investigation.


Security of tenure for tenants in the private rented sector campaign

Kevin Allen successfully proposed a motion at the recent Green Party conference which aimed 'to reverse the previous Tory Governments introduction of insecure tenancies in the private sector (Assured Shortholds), which do not provide security or stability for tenants and discourage them from seeking to enforce their legal rights.'

Condem policies are going to make life very difficult for tenants so please sign the petition to support secure tenancies.

We the undersigned request that the UK Government introduces legislation to make all new tenancies in the private rented sector Assured Tenancies (as introduced in their current form in the 1988 Housing Act) instead of Assured Shorthold Tenancies which do not provide security and stability for tenants. Assured shorthold tenancies discourage tenants from seeking to enforce their legal rights as landlords have an automatic right to possession by giving 2 months notice (after the initial 6 months of the tenancy).

We request that legislation is introduced so that all new tenancies are automatically 1988 Housing Act Assured Tenancies.

Sign here

Of course the Condem attacks on council house tenants security and their cuts in housing benefits are also big threats, in Britain some will have seven houses and millions will have no home, that's what you get for voting Lib Dem!

Boycott the 35 firms calling for cuts

35 business leaders signed a letter insisting that the government cuts hard. Its not difficult to see why, short term economic wreckage will lead to a long term cut in trade union power and obviously firms like Asda will gain as we can't afford to shop anywhere else.

So boycott the neo-liberals.

Here is a list of the business heads who signed the letter from the Telegraph

Will Adderley
CEO, Dunelm Group
Robert Bensoussan
Chairman, L.K. Bennett
Andy Bond
Chairman, ASDA
Ian Cheshire
Chief Executive, Kingfisher
Gerald Corbett
Chairman, SSL International, moneysupermarket.com, Britvic
Peter Cullum
Executive Chairman, Towergate
Tej Dhillon
Chairman and CEO, Dhillon Group
Philip Dilley
Chairman, Arup
Charles Dunstone
Chairman, Carphone Warehouse Group
Chairman, TalkTalk Telecom Group
Warren East
CEO, ARM Holdings
Gordon Frazer
Managing Director, Microsoft UK
Sir Christopher Gent
Non-Executive Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline
Ben Gordon
Chief Executive, Mothercare
Anthony Habgood
Chairman, Whitbread


24 Oct 2010

Vote Jerry Hicks

Proud to call Jerry Hicks a friend, a real red-green grassroots militant, number one thing you can do to fight the cuts is support Jerry Hicks, spread the word,

For Unite members it’s more of the ‘shame’ and business as usual

or a chance for change in the election for General Secretary.

The finish line [or could it be the starting post] is now in sight, and the race to lead the largest union in Britain and potentially the most powerful starts next week, Monday 25th October when the ballot papers will be despatched to 1.3 million Unite members. Whether employed or unemployed, whether in Unite or not, students and pensioners, everyone will be affected by the result as to who becomes the General Secretary of Unite.

Les Bayliss attacks the BA cabin crew, brave enough to resist and fight for a better future, not the Con Dems for slashing 500,000 public sector jobs. Tony Woodley and his chosen successor Len McCluskey would have planned the timing of the BA cabin staff ballot and the ballot papers for the election of General Secretary being sent out at precisely the same time [goes beyond mere coincidence]. The aim being to present Len McCluskey as a successful negotiator bringing the year long dispute to a successful end - knowing that the ‘devil in the detail’ of the deal would not be exposed to the vast majority of the members voting in the ballot for General Secretary, until after they have voted.

Woodley on behalf of McCluskey expresses outrage at Bayliss’s breaking of the election protocols - then breaks all the rules himself when publicly promoting McCluskey at an anti cuts rally in Westminster.

Talk is cheap while poor judgement is costly. Ed Milliband, who Unite’s leadership supported using members’ money, distanced himself from the union and action against the cuts as soon as he became the leader and failed to turn out and support working people by not voting for John McDonnell's Private Members Bill in Parliament last week. Shame on the Labour Party leadership for failing to back this bill whose sole aim was to stop employers seeking unwarranted injunctions to prevent lawful strikes on minor technicalities as in the BA dispute.

Why did we not make support for the bill a condition of our support for Ed Milliband’s leadership?

Jerry Hicks is the only candidate that says "We must ensure that those that don’t support our policies no longer receive any support from our union".

The choice could not be clearer. Les Bayliss looks up to employers and offers a ‘strike free union’ while he talks down to members and offers a ‘free diary’.

Len McCluskey uses the BA dispute to promote himself. He wants us to believe he will fight the anti union laws but hopes we forget he has done nothing about it during the 3 terms of a Labour government!

Gail Cartmail sounds like a manager at a team brief, offering only generalities and plays the gender card.

Some things they say are different but they all support the appointment of officials. They all said nothing for 13 years, 3 terms of a Labour Government. But they all have plenty to say now; they will talk about ‘fighting’ but with someone else’s job, pay and pension. When was the last time any of them lost any pay in a dispute? When was the last time any of them was threatened with a disciplinary or suspension or the sack over a dispute?

Jerry Hicks says "Well, it’s too late to tell us what you are going to do tomorrow or next month. Why didn’t you all do it when you had the chance? The stakes are too high to let them get away with this any longer. Handing the baton of power to a ‘chosen one’ has to end. Instead let’s get the union back".

Jerry Hicks is a union member who wants a member led, member controlled union. Who believes members should decide who represents them by electing all union officials.

Jerry Hicks will only take an average wage, and is independent of the cliques, factions, official machines and cronyism.


Notes to Editors: Jerry Hicks having come second in the election for Joint General Secretary, Amicus section of Unite less than 19 months ago is thought by many to be a possible winner in this election of the whole Union.

Contact Jerry Hicks either on 07817827912 or by email jerryhicks4gs2010@yahoo.co.uk

For more information visit www.jerryhicks4gs.com

Sack Ed, draft Lily Savage.

I take it all back, Ed Miliband is utterly useless.

The Labour Party are incapable of providing opposition to savage and unnecessary cuts.

The Condems are going to tip Britain back into recession which will make the debt worse, they have cut corporation tax and shifted the tax burden on to the poor with a VAT increase.

They could slice Trident but prefer to make thousands homeless, close down care homes, sell off cemeteries, etc, etc......Labour have similar policies and are floundering.....who is going to lead the resistance.

Step foreward Paul O'Grady, for non UK readers best known as drag-tastic Lily Savage!

Mumia Abu-Jamal on the Mid-term US elections

Lost Opportunities, by Mumia Abu-Jamal
[col. writ. 10/17/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

If polls are any measure of things to come, the first Tuesday in November will be a brutal day indeed, for Democrats.

As economic crisis persists and joblessness rises to levels not seen since the 1970's, working class Democrats are feeling decidedly lack-luster about members of Congress whom they feel have not fought for their interests.

When one is facing the terror of unemployment, voting is seen as a luxury that few can afford.
It is entirely possible that there are significant cohorts which are missed and thus are invisible to traditional pollsters. These voters are precisely those most willing to vote for Democrats: Black, young, students, for example; many of whom don't own landlines, and some who don't use the phone calling feature at all, opting to text instead.

If half of the 20 million young people who voted in 2008 vote come Nov. 2nd, the pollsters will have egg facials Wednesday morning.

But that's a pretty big 'If'.

For millions of young, progressive and left voters, the Obama presidency, once so ripe with promise, has been a profound disappointment.

From Guantanamo Bay, to Af-Pak (Afghanistan-Pakistan); from extraordinary renditions to tortures abroad to black site prisons run by the CIA; from a tepid health care bill that protected corporate profits more than the people; from respect shown to the rabid right wing to tongue lashings from the left, the reasons to ignore the election are legion.

It is hard enough to make history; it is harder still to make it twice.

In a few days we shall see if history can burp itself.

--(c) '10 maj

Secret Iraq Files from Wikileaks

Living Well is the Best Revenge

The Concept Of “Living Well” - A Bolivian Viewpoint
Bolivia Delegation at The UN

Article distributed in English by the Bolivia delegation at the UN. April 2010

We should live in a simple way for others to be able to live as well.
Mahatma Gandhi

He who is richer is not who has more, but who needs less.
Zapotec saying, Oaxaca, Mexico

We suffer the severe effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises. This is not the product of human beings in general, but of the existing inhuman capitalist system, with its unlimited industrial development. It is brought about by minority groups who control world power, concentrating wealth and power on themselves alone.

Concentrating capital in only a few hands is no solution for humanity, neither for life itself, because as a consequence many lives are lost in floods, by intervention or by wars, so many lives through hunger, poverty and usually curable diseases.

It brings selfishness, individualism, even regionalism, thirst for profit, the search for pleasure and luxury thinking only about profiting, never having regard to brotherhood among the human beings who live on planet Earth. This not only affects people, but also nature and the planet. And when the peoples organize themselves, or rise against oppression, those minority groups call for violence, weapons, and even military intervention from other countries.

Living Well, Not Better

Faced with so much disproportion and wealth concentration in the world, so many wars and famine, Bolivia proposes Living Well, not as a way to live better at the expense of others, but an idea of Living Well based on the experience of our peoples. In the words of the President of the Republic of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, Living Well means living within a community, a brotherhood, and particularly completing each other, without exploiters or exploited, without people being excluded or people who exclude, without people being segregated or people who segregate.

Lying, stealing, destroying nature possibly will allow us to live better, but that is not Living Well. On the contrary, Living Well rather means complementing one another and not competing against each other, sharing, not taking advantage of one’s neighbor, living in harmony among people and with nature. It is the basis of the defense of nature, of life itself and of all humanity, it’s the basis to save humanity from the dangers of an individualistic and highly aggressive, racist and warmongering minority.

Living Well is not the same as living better, living better than others, because in order to live better than others, it is necessary to exploit, to embark upon serious competition, concentrating wealth in few hands. Trying to live better is selfish, and shows apathy, individualism. Some want to live better, whilst others, the majority, continue living poorly. Not taking an interest in other people’s lives, means caring only for the individual’s own life, at most in the life of their family.

As a different vision of life, Living Well is contrary to luxury, opulence and waste, it is contrary to consumerism. In some countries of the North, in big metropolitan cities, people buy clothes they throw away after wearing them only once. That lack of care for others results in oligarchies, nobility, aristocracy, elites who always seek to live better at other people’s expense.


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