31 May 2011

THEY SHALL NOT PASS!!! Hagamos que NO Pase!!!

THEY SHALL NOT PASS!!! Hagamos que NO Pase!!!

Picket Against Mining Fever in Colombia

1pm Friday 3 June, outside Colombian Embassy, London
3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LN
Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge



Saturday, 4 June 10am – 5pm
Draught Orders, 180 North Gower Street, London NW1 2NB

Guest Speaker: Alexander Martínez Rivillas
Lecturer in the Department of Agrarian Development in the Agronomy Faculty of the University of Tolima, and author of a risk study on the La Colosa project.

See http://sites.google.com/site/alexandermartinezrivillas/

REPORT: La Colosa: the quest for El Dorado in Cajamarca, Colombia

See http://www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk/mining/548-la-colosa-the-quest-for-el-dorado-in-cajamarca-colombia


Plantón en Contra de la Locomotora Minera en Colombia

1pm Viernes 3 junio, Embajada Colombiana, Londres
3 Hans Crescent, Londres SW1X 0LN
Metro más cercano: Knightsbridge

Conferencia: el sábado, 4 de junio 10am – 5pm
Draught Orders, 180 North Gower Street, London NW1 2NB

Keep out of Colombia's Seven Coloured Sea!

Oil Companies: Keep out of Colombia's Seven Coloured Sea!

Dear friends,

Please support local communities on an archipelago in Colombia's Seven Coloured Sea who who are trying to stop oil exploration and exploitation in a highly biodiverse UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Spanish oil company REPSOL and Colombia's state owned oil company Ecopetrol intend to jointly explore and exploit oil reserves inside one of the world's best-conserved and most extensive coral reef ecosystems, home to at least 57 species of coral, 400 species of fish and 150 species of birds and one of the last remaining nesting sites for sea turtles. Biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous communities on the islands will be at serious risk if oil drilling goes ahead.

Please go to


and send a letter to the companies, the Colombian government and UNESCO to avoid this atrocity. Many thanks in advance.

Best regards,

Guadalupe Rodríguez
Rainforest Rescue

'There is a war going on in Chile'

There is a war going on in Chile, a war that has been raging for over 500 years. It seems like such a normal part of life now that the world doesn’t even notice it anymore. Like many other conflicts, it concerns territory and resources. Those waging it are depicting themselves as the ‘General Custers’ of this story, bravely facing the threat of being scalped, carving out a niche for the more civilised and deserving. Those standing in the way of ‘progress’ are deemed savages, terrorists even. But is it terrorism to resist this second pacification of Araucania?

One of the darlings of the official narrative is Michelle Bachelet, head executive of UN women and ex-president of Chile. Bachelet has been hailed in the mainstream media as a new superhero for women’s rights around the world; painted as someone with great compassion who has suffered for her convictions, a paragon of integrity. Ms Bachelet does have a secret identity, but any analogy with superheroes must end there.

During her administration members of the Mapuche tribe - Chile’s first peoples – were imprisoned and tried using anti-terrorist legislation enacted during the Pinochet dictatorship. Since a return to democracy, successive governments have made amendments that widen the scope of acts that can be defined as terrorism. They have routinely used it to silence opposition to the misappropriation and misuse of indigenous land. Bachelet, however, explicitly promised not to do so during her election campaign. It would appear, though, that people power was not intended for the Mapuche.


30 May 2011

31 years of 'la resistencia pacífica del pueblo amazónico'

Today is day of celebration.

Probably the most important day in the year for those of us concerned with fighting climate change.

While environmental campaigns are under threat right across the world, while emissions and temperatures rise, there is at least one clear sign of hope.

Lets not forget that the climate change global conferences have failed, carbon trading has made bankers fat without reducing pollution and REDDS are turning forests into cash cows for corrupt politicians and corporate interests.

However in the Peruvian Amazon, the indigenous people have fought the destruction of the Amazon, using non violent direct action, legal challenges, political campaigning and social media.

Tragically their highly successful work has been ignored by most environmentalists, its we who need their advice not the other way around if we are turn round the climate and wider crisis.

Aidesep the inter-ethnic association of the Peruvian Amazon was born today 31 years ago, if you read Spanish take a look here.

They are committed to

por la defensa de los territorios indígenas ancestrales, el derecho a la libre determinación de los pueblos, nuestro derecho a definir el modelo del Buen Vivir Amazónico

The right to defence of their land, the right to free determination and the right to construct a system based on 'Amazon good living'

un acceso a la salud pertinente y sin discriminaciones, por la lucha de un país sin distinciones, por una capital (Lima) que no viva a espaldas de la amazonía y porque los políticos y autoridades entiendan que no somos iguales pero que todos somos peruanos.

To fighting for a Peru without discrimination, where all citizens are treated with equality not just for some but all Peruvians.

común denominador de la AIDESEP en estos 31 años es la resistencia pacífica del pueblo amazónico ante los ataques del Perro del Hortelano, traducido en una política netamente extractiva donde impera el poder del dinero más allá de la vida. En este contexto, es que el Apu Alberto Pizango Chota, actual presidente de la organización, convocó a los pueblos para reivindicar los derechos indígenas, desarrollándose dos protestas pacíficas en agosto del 2008

Common theme of all Aidesep has been for 31 years ' la resistencia pacífica del pueblo amazónico' the peaceful resistance of Amazon people' to those in political power who' del dinero más allá de la vida' who believe that money is more important than life.

Aidesep are my great hope, they show the way, we need to build an economy everywhere which respects life and rejects an extractivism based on taking oil, coal, minerals out of the earth as quickly as possible and throwing them away.

Life style ism, green consumerism, carbon trading, all the token green wash of business is part of the problem, we have to change economic and political structures.

Aidesep have been doing this, British politicians other than the wonderful Eric Lubbock said nothing when Aidesep members where massacred in 2008 at Bagua for their resistance.

Environmentalists should not forget that the people who live in the Amazon have agency and fight for their forests.

Romanticism, I don't think so, indigenous people always change, the campaign of Aidesep women for new status is a change, the move from violence to non violence is change....above all, based on an economics of the commons, the indigenous have embraced the inter-net and want what is of value from modernity including access to decent health care.

However what they don't want is for the resources to be stolen and the environment to be smashed.

If you love your planet give them solidarity and learn from them.

To me this is rational self-interest, an extractive economy based on waste, does not work, while the billionaires love, the billions of us have to construct something else.

Again think this is utopian, on the contrary where we are now with 21st century capitalism is the impossible place....we can build a different economy based on life not just money.

The Peruvian Presidential elections occur on 5th June, the right wing candidate Fujimori will continue the attacks on the indigenous....we should spread the word and support (not uncritcally) the left candidate.

We should also complain when the UK media ignore Aidesep...the Guardian is a prime example of media disinterest in Aidesep.

Economics after capitalism
Indigenous News
Some background on Aidesep and the attacks on the Amazon
Indigenous fight newspaper (Hugo Blanco)

“The Climate Crisis: Why is nothing Happening?"

Organised by Operation Noah

Date: Monday June 6th 2011
Times: 4pm (supporters meeting) & 6pm (special seminar)
Venue: Friends meeting house, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ

“The Climate Crisis: Why is nothing Happening?"
A Social, Political and Moral Perspective on Obstacles to Action”

Seminar led by Lynn McDonald
University Professor Emerita at the University of Guelph , & former member of the Canadian Parliament
A Director of the Climate Action Network of Canada; Co-founder of JustEarth: A Coalition for Environmental Justice addressing obstacles to action on climate change, lobbying MP’s, & publishing regular political leaders with an action-oriented message: www.justearth.net
An Anglican, Lynn works with a small group within the Canadian church to urge Church leaders to take on the issue of climate change. This led to a strong resolution being adopted at its last general synod

See you there & bring a friend !

For further details & to confirm attendance contact Natalie Hall, Operation Noah administrator: www.operationnoah.org

29 May 2011

COPINH reaffirms its conviction to fight

COPINH reaffirms its conviction to fight, alongside the nation, against impunity, and to do everything possible to ensure that there will be punishment for the authors and actors of the criminal coup, in addition to continuing with the historic struggle that we have been undertaking in our communities defending our natural resources, our sovereignty, our self-determination and the creation of a new society, refounded from below, capable of achieving decolonization, emancipation, and a dignified life.

The Honduran people suffered a coup, now the displaced President Mel Zelaya is back after an agreement brokered without US interference.

Indigenous people and workers suffered from death squads and abuse, that Mel is back is good but only part of the process.

This statement is translated by the fabulous Adrienne Pine here and reproduced via Rock against the Blockade and comes from the indigenous organisation 'Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras' here.

As we know much environmentalism is vague pissing about and agonising over lifestyle choices, indigenous people are increasingly organised to defend the environment and often get killed for their good works, give them some love and practical solidarity if you respect your planet!

COPINH on Zelaya's return to Honduras
COPINH declaration & call to action upon return of Zelaya
Source: Quotha.net, 27 May 2011,
Translated by Adrienne Pine.

Welcome General Coordinator of the FNRP Compañero Zelaya Rosales

COPINH expresses our happiness to have ex-president and General Coordinator of the FNRP Manuel Zelaya Rosales back on Honduran soil; at the same time we issue the following call to action:

To the Honduran people, to mobilize in order to provide a warm welcome to you, who symbolize the struggle of the Honduran people to create a participatory and human democracy.

To deepen all our efforts at denouncing the criminal dictatorship led by Porfirio Lobo Sosa, peon of the oligarchy and of North American imperialism.

To the entire Honduran population to NOT rest until we have dismantled the structures [and authors] of the coup, that continue to hold power enjoying complete impunity nationally and internationally, against whom we will continue to fight because we are a dignified people who are not disposed to retreat, and who with the strength of our legitimacy energetically condemns the imminent incorporation of the regime into the OAS, to whom we declare: if you think you will wipe the board clean and start over, you are mistaken; you are mistaken in your cold economic calculations, in your political pragmatism, in your urgent desire to serve imperialism in its project of rearranging the continent; you are mistaken in your hypocrisy of recognizing a murderous regime that is the inheritor of a coup d'état and that has not complied with the conditions for return imposed by the OAS itself, for which it was expelled in the first place.

COPINH reaffirms its conviction to fight, alongside the nation, against impunity, and to do everything possible to ensure that there will be punishment for the authors and actors of the criminal coup, in addition to continuing with the historic struggle that we have been undertaking in our communities defending our natural resources, our sovereignty, our self-determination and the creation of a new society, refounded from below, capable of achieving decolonization, emancipation, and a dignified life.

We will not forget, We will not forgive, and WE WILL NOT reconcile!!

With the ancestral force of Lempira Mota and Etempica we raise our voices full of life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace

Issued in Esperanza,
Intibucá, Honduras,
May 27, 2011

Green MP smashes watch on exit from a polluted parliament

My favourite green politician and if the truth be told the one I am closest to politically and personally of course is Nandor.


Its later than you think says Nandor.

If you don't know the video, enjoy. Reminded by this as its the great man's birthday today, 29th May.

Nandor kindly wrote this for a book of mine, Jah Rastafari!, he is a man with a strong hold on the economics of sensible sustainability as you can see from this snippet:

We humans think that we can own the planet, as if fleas could own a dog. Our concepts of property ownership are vastly different from traditional practises of recognising use rights over various resources. A right to grow or gather food or other resources in a particular place is about meeting needs. Property ownership is about the ability to live on one side of the world and speculate on resources on the other, possibly without ever seeing it, without regard to need or consequence.

The ability to "own" property is fundamental to capitalism. Since the first limited liability companies - the Dutch and British East India Companies - were formed, we have seen the kidnapping and enslavement of 20 - 60 million African people and the rape, murder and exploitation of indigenous people around the world. Colonisation was primarily about mercantile empires, not political ones. It was all about forcing indigenous, communitarian people to accept private individual ownership of resources, which could then be alienated, either by being bought or stolen. The subsequent political colonisation was just about how to enforce that ownership.

Today property rights are being extended through GATT and TRIPS agreements and through institutions such as the WTO and the World Bank. Private property rights are being imposed over public assets such as water, intellectual property and, through genetic engineering and biopiracy, on DNA sequences. Even traditional healing plants are under threat. In Aotearoa - New Zealand we have had multinationals attempting to patent piko piko and other native plants. This is all part of the "free" trade corporate globalisation agenda - to create tradeable rights over our common wealth, accumulate ownership and then sell back to us what is already ours.

This is only possible because we have lost our place in the scheme of things. We think of the environment as something "over there", as something separate from human activity, something to either be exploited or protected. The reality is that we are as much part of the environment and the planet as the trees, insects and birds.


What the Frac!

OK fracking isn't shale gas totally but could not resist, another bad days work from the coalition and a good response from the ever impressive Caroline Lucas MP.

Responding to a report published by the Energy and Climate Change Committee yesterday on the development of shale gas in the UK (1), Green MP Caroline Lucas said:

"Given the serious concerns outlined in this report, it is astonishing that the Energy and Climate Change Committee fails to reach the logical conclusion of recommending a moratorium on shale gas. Dismissing concerns, for example, on the grounds that UK regulations are stronger than in the States, while taking a ‘wait and see' approach here is highly irresponsible.

"The report itself admits that the benefits of shale gas are limited, stating that although it believes climate emissions from gas to be lower than from coal, they are still far higher than from many low-carbon technologies and can therefore contribute little towards our long term emissions reduction targets. In fact, research cited by WWF suggests that the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas may even exceed that of coal.

"The report also states that onshore shale gas is unlikely to increase our energy security ‘very dramatically', while offshore reserves are expensive and difficult to access. And perhaps most importantly, Committee chairman Tim Yeo MP acknowledges that exploiting shale gas may divert much needed investment away from genuinely low carbon technologies such as wind and solar, thanks to its effect on gas prices."

Caroline Lucas concluded: "So instead of caving in to fierce lobbying by the gas industry, the UK government should follow the example of France and several US states by agreeing a moratorium on new shale gas exploration, at least until the environmental effects are fully understood - while urgently prioritising the development of renewables and energy efficiency measures."


1) www.parliament.uk/eccpublications

Dissolving Oil Tankers

Lets move beyond an extractive economy! Ostrom! Commons! Usufrucht! If these are just weird words take a look here for some detail of ecological economics.

This is quite a nice tactic, take a look at the Dog Wood Project good stuff from BC.

Makes me think of Bertold Brecht who said '“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.'

Posters made with environmentally friendly, water-soluble ink were placed above wild postings around Vancouver. When it rained, the ink bled onto posters below, showing how oil spills affect everyone.


See some of you in Gateshead on 25th June, be great to be back in the North East, last time I was up was helping the Green Party candidate in the Sedgefield by-election a few years back.

South of Tyne Transition Town’s are organising the South of Tyne Transition Green Fest at Bill Quay Farm,
Hainingwood Terrace, Gateshead on Saturday 25th June (11am – 4pm).

Although the event is being organised by Transition Town South of Tyne, Bill Quay Farm are going to support
us by providing a tent and seating for the talks and entertainment (to be supervised and provided with
electricity by Bill Quay Farm staff), reserving the car park for stalls, offering us the classroom for educational
activities and catering for our needs in their cafe (by providing vegan, vegetarian and organic meat options
and an extra outdoor drinks and snacks stall for children). They have asked that the event be kept gentle,
family friendly and alcohol free.

Activities for children will include making boxes to attract various forms of wildlife such as solitary bees and games organised by woodcraft folk.

11-12am: Bill quay farm beekeepers

12-1pm: Live music from The Corn Sisters

1pm – 2pm: Live music from Summer Tumblers: emily.blyth@sunderlandgreenparty.org.uk

2pm-3pm: Sally Reckert, Transition Town Richmond, talk on forest gardening: sally@transitionrichmond.org

3pm-4pm: Derek Wall, former green party principal speaker, talk on Internationalism, Survival and the Environment

Volunteers are still needed, especially for stewarding. Please contact annaheyman2006@yahoo.co.uk or shirley.ford@stgreens.org.uk.

28 May 2011

Fairford Air Tattoo Sponsored bike ride

Saturday July 16 2011
Start Time: 09:00 AM

Just had this For more details email me on wallddd@hotmail and I can get you more info, not my event but certain supportive!

Thank you to everyone who has either offered support for the Sponsored Bike ride or has committed to coming. The numbers are really building up now and the whole initiative is starting to build a momentum of its own.

I will try and send around a weekly bulletin to update you all on where the preparations have gotten to, what sort of things that we need to to do next, what help is needed, and to allow on line discussion.

Please send this this bulletin around your networks and if you receive this second hand, and want to be on the mailing list, then please contact me at the above email address.

Our objective in this is big - we want to totally deligitimise the right of corporations and armed forces to pollute and destroy our planet by going for their bases of power and making the excess consumption that they create and that supports them morally reprehensible and illegal.

The solution to climate change is fundamentally an issue about challenging the power structures in our global society – and those power structures stem from the military industry complex. Without tackling the military industrial complex and connecting it directly with the failure of climate change agreements, there will never be the progress that we desperately need.

Moscow police break up Gay Pride protest

Just had this from Peter, who does a heroic job and was badly injured at a previous Moscow Pride event....we need to fight Russian state hatred of the LGBT community.

At least 18 arrested at Kremlin and City Hall

Moscow - 28 May 2011

"At least 18 gay rights protesters were arrested today, 28 May, as they tried to stage a banned Gay Pride parade," reports British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was part of the protest group in Moscow.

"Eight people were seized by the Kremlin: international gay rights supporters Andy Thayer, Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin; plus Moscow Gay Pride committee member, Anna Komarova and other Russian gay activists (names unknown).

"A further three Russian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) campaigners were arrested outside City Hall.

"These arrests took place between 1pm and 2pm Moscow time.

"I went to City Hall but was separated from our protest group. Neo-Nazis identified me for attack. Being alone and without police protection, I had to escape down side streets and alleyways to avoid a beating.

"Dan Choi, a former US military officer who was dismissed from the American armed forces because of his homosexuality, was violently manhandled by police. He was wrestled to ground and punched. He has some minor injuries.

"Neo-Nazis made repeated attempts to bash the LGBT campaigners as they were being arrested and taken to police buses. Some of the campaigners were struck but none were hurt seriously.

"The whereabouts of some of the arrested persons is unknown at this time.

"Dan Choi and Louis-Georges Tin are being processed at Presnensky Police Station. They are appearing before a police court. Some others are being held at Tverskaya police station.

"Anna Komarova, who is under arrest, reports being pressured by the police to give information about the organisation of Moscow Gay Pride. The police are threatening to detain her for 48 hours unless she gives them the information they want.

"Neither of the Moscow Gay Pride lead organisers, Nikolai Alekseev nor Nikolai Baev, have been arrested. It is unclear whether Mr Alekseev participated in the protests, as he has a bad leg injury from a fall as he left Moscow TV studios on Thursday night," said Mr Tatchell.

Culture, Conflict and Ecology: The Commons in History.

I have started writing my latest book, my ninth, which will look at commons in history.

This will be an academic title rather than introductory or polemical like my last few books.

Feedback and thoughts welcome....I do think commons provides the key to a sustainable and prosperous future.

Let me know what you think, there is economics beyond the market and the state!

Culture, Confilct and Ecology: The Commons in History.

1. Commons Ecology
- What is the Commons?
- The tragedy of the commons
- Commons as a solution
- Social sharing as an ecological path
- Succesful commons in India, Eastern US, Peru and England
- Ecologically failed commons.

2. Culture in common
- Commons as an economic solution
- Culture as a means of conservation
- Culture versus economics
- Contested cultures
- Misreading the cultural commons

3. Commons in conflict
- The destruction of the commons through history
- The radical case for the commons
- Conflicted commons
- Continuing commons
- Restoring the commons.

4. Questions for good ancestors.
- Summary
- Critical questions
- Commons for a sustainable future.



Suggestions for further reading.

Links to commons based sites and information sources.

6. Chapter summaries

Chapter one introduces the concept of commons, debates the nature of common property rights and examines contrasting notions of commons put forward by Hardin and Ostrom. It examines the ecological utility of commons in a variety of past contexts.

Chapter two looks at the cultural under pinnings of commons. It debates the extent to which commons based management of natural resources depends on shared cultural norms. The historical record of contrasting cultures of commoning is examined. The problematic nature of applying cultural understandings in a contemporary context is also discussed.

Chapter three looks at the erosion of commons by markets, colonialisation and empires. It examines and challenges the 'radical' case for commons, while showing that commons have not simply been obilterated but have continued in past contexts in new forms despite the introduction of state and market property relations.

Chapter four summarizes debates around the ecological, cultural and conflictual nature of commons. The contested commons reminds us of a number of questions we should ask if we seek to act as good ancestors working towards a sustainable future for future generations and other species.

27 May 2011

Attica State

What a waste of human power
What a waste of human lives
Shoot the prisoners in the towers
Forty-three poor widowed wives

Attica State, Attica State,
we're all mates with Attica State

Media blames it on the prisoners
But the prisoners did not kill
"Rockefeller pulled the trigger"
That is what the people feel

Attica State, Attica State,
we're all mates with Attica State

Free the prisoners, jail the judges
Free all prisoners everywhere
All they want is truth and justice
All they need is love and care

Attica State, Attica State,
we're all mates with Attica State

They all live in suffocation
Let's not watch them die in sorrow
Now's the time for revolution
Give them all a chance to grow

Attica State, Attica State,
we're all mates with Attica State

Come together join the movement
Take a stand for human rights
Fear and hatred clouds our judgement
Free us all from endless night

Attica State, Attica State,
we're all mates with Attica State

Attica State, Attica State,
we all live in Attica State

Attica State, Attica State,
Attica, Attica, Attica State

the best way of uncovering lies without falling into paranoia

I think the best way of uncovering lies without falling into paranoia is to have some other way of looking at the big picture. As well as looking at the official lies, you have to see the truth on the ground.

I thought of this while reading Greg Muttitt's excellent new book Fuel on the Fire, published this month. Greg has been drilling into the allied policy on Iraq's oil for years and he hit a reservoir of lies.

His book pumps them to the surface, after long Freedom of Information battles.

In 2003 Blair said it was "absurd" to believe oil was involved in the decision to attack Iraq. Greg unearths and explains document after document showing the British government thought about Iraqi oil all the time. Making plans for war meant making plans of oil.

BP denied meeting the government before the Iraq war, but Greg shows that in November 2003 its man was telling British civil servants "Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP are desperate to get in there."

Blair said oil wasn't an issue, but as the war drums beat, Labour's ever-business friendly minister Baroness Symons was meeting regularly with BP and Shell and demanding British companies didn't "lose out" in the battle for post-war oil contracts.

Greg's book shows the British had powerful strategic interests in Iraqi oil as well as an urge to profit from it directly. A 2003 meeting of civil servants about Iraq shows they wanted to create "an oil sector open and attractive to foreign investment."

They thought Iraqis must be guided away from the "temptation"of a nationalised oil industry, knowing they would face "accusations of interventionism" from Iraqis, but wanted to push past them anyway.

It wasn't just making money from Iraq's oil, it was making sure that they could influence the world supply of oil using Iraq's vast reserves, seeing "Iraq as a member of [international oil cartel] Opec but on the dovish side, favouring greater output at more sustainable prices" with an "oil sector that acts as a role model for how other Middle East countries might open their oil sectors to foreign and private sectors."

Again and again Greg refines the truth from the oily talk of freedom. But he also manages to paint a picture of the real Iraq, way beyond the dishonesty he exposes.


26 May 2011


to the hundreds of you who have wished me happy birthday on facebook today, saludos!

Keep on struggling to the victory, neither Washington or Moscow but Caracas, Bagua and Havana, companeros!

Green Party rises dramatically in poll

OK one poll doesn't make a summer but encouraging to see Green Party up.

Caroline Lucas is having a very positive impact.

The Green Party needs to consolidate and advance....be good to see improvement in things like the website and resources for local parties.

Conservative 33
Labour 41
Liberal Democrats (Lib Dem) 11
Scottish/Welsh Nationalist 5
Green Party 5
UK Independence Party 2
British National Party 1
Other 1

Full details here

hat tip to Peter Cranie

25 May 2011


This is from tomorrow's Morning Star....I am not really a fan of Amazon but it does seem to be one place you can buy La Commune click here.

It's time to be inspired again by Peter Watkins' film La Commune

This month marks the crushing of the Paris Commune 140 years ago when, in 1871, the workers took control of the French capital and governed democratically for all.

In doing so they demonstrated that it's not just a minority of human beings who have creative power and can run society in the interest of all.

It was a positive moment historically because of their victory but on the negative side it was brutally crushed and the Commune provides many lessons, not least in the revolt against neoliberalism globally today.

In this country the commune is almost forgotten. There's no better way to jog the memory than watching La Commune by Peter Watkins - director of the War Game which the BBC banned for years because it showed the consequences of a nuclear attack on Britain - which is his most important yet least-seen film.

Shot in just 13 days in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Paris, it shows how the workers - in revolt after the rule of Emperor Napoleon III and the national humiliation of France by the Prussians - took power, ruled and were eventually massacred with huge loss of life.


Lowkey and Logic at Bolivar Hall, 16th June

16 June · 17:30 - 21:00


Location Bolivar Hall 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL


Created by: Pablo Alborada, Carlos Martinez


More info Latin America Rising, Culture and Empire

::: 5.30-6.45pm: Documentary screening of ‘Inside the Revolution: A Journey into the Heart of Venezuela’, introduced by film's director Pablo Navarrete

6.45-7pm: Break

::: 7-9pm: Latin America Rising, Culture and Empire (Panel Discussion and Cultural Performance)

7-8.30pm: Panel discussion with Q&A session. Latin America Rising, Culture and Empire (chaired by rapper Lowkey)

Panelists: Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (writer), Rebel Diaz (rappers), Francisco Dominguez (academic), Lizzie Cocker (journalist)

8.30-9pm: Cultural performance: rapping/beatboxing from Rebel Diaz, Lowkey, Logic + others.

Venue: Bolivar Hall 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL


Event organised by Alborada and Beat Knowledge

Supported by Tipping Point Film Fund & Movimientos

More info: http://alborada.net/larising

Greens Rule Out Fusion

Just had this from my friends in NYC! Go US Greens!
Greens Rule Out Fusion, Will Run Their Own Candidates

Select Peace Sign as Ballot Symbol

New York's Green Party state committee adopted rules over the weekend that affirmed the party will run its own candidates on its own Green Party line. Meeting in a Rensselaer church on Saturday, May 21, the Greens ruled out running fusion candidates who appear on the ballot lines of more than one party.

The practice of fusion or cross-endorsement is common among the other five ballot qualified parties - Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Working Families, Independence. The three minor parties usually nominate major party candidates to run on their ballot lines.

The Green Party also voted to make the peace sign their official ballot symbol to highlight their status as the only peace party on the ballot. The Greens have actively organized against the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya and call for a 50 to 75% cut in the military budget. Nonviolence is a core principle of the Green Party and was adopted as part of the party's official principles, along with grassroots democracy, ecology and social and economic justice.

The Green Party's rules also bar its candidates from accepting campaign contributions from for-profit businesses and their trade associations and PACs (political action committees).

"We intend to elect Greens with votes on the Green Party line. We are not another ballot line for the other parties. We are different. We are the alternative. We are challenging the two major corporate-funded parties as well as the minor parties that are satellites of the corporate parties through the practice of fusion," said Howie Hawkins, a co-chair of the Green Party and its 2010 gubernatorial candidate.

"We believe our political independence builds more power to advance our policies than helping to elect the candidates of other parties. Running our own candidates makes the candidates of the other parties compete for Green votes. That gives us far more power to set the policy agenda than giving our votes away to other parties through fusion," Hawkins added.

"Minor party advocates of fusion say voting for a major party candidate on their line shows support for their minor party's policies. We believe the real message to the major party candidates is that the minor party's members' votes can be taken for granted because they will vote for them anyway on another line," said Peter LaVenia, the other co-chair of the party.

"Minor party advocates of fusion also say that they cross-endorse the lesser evil of the major party candidates in order to stop the candidate they most fear. We have three answers for that. First, we intend to become a major party that elects its own candidates on its own line," LaVenia said.

"Second, minor parties cross-endorsing lesser evils advance the lesser evil's platform, not their own. Third, if minor parties are worried about how winner-take-all, single-member-district elections encourage voters to vote for lesser evils rather than their first choice, we want to work with them for a real solution to that problem: a system of proportional representation," LaVenia said.

LaVenia explained that "under proportional representation, every party gets representation in legislative bodies in proportion to the vote they receive. Every vote counts toward election of the candidates of one's preferred party. No votes are wasted on losers. This system is practiced by most democracies around the world and it results in higher voter turnouts and more women and more minorities, political as well as ethnic, being elected to legislatures."

For single-member executive offices, LaVenia added, instant runoff voting where voters rank their choices in order of preference is a system that eliminates the incentives for lesser evil voting while insuring that the most preferred candidate is elected.

The Green Party's rules do allow for fusion among independent progressive candidates and parties. The rules allow independent candidates who are not enrolled in any party to receive the Green Party nomination. The Green rules also permit fusion with other parties that share policy goals and political independence from the corporate parties and their fusion satellite parties. Such candidates, who would not be from any of the current parties with a ballot line in New York State through 2014, could receive the Green Party nomination and put their own line on the ballot by independent nominating petition.

The Green Party established themselves as a ballot line party in New York State when its gubernatorial ticket of Howie Hawkins for Governor and Gloria Mattera for Lt. Governor received nearly 60,000 votes in 2010. Under New York's election law, parties need at least 50,000 votes for the gubernatorial ticket secure a ballot line for the next four years.

Since receiving the ballot line, Greens have run in three elections. Alex White received 9 percent of the vote in a three-way special election for Mayor of Rochester on March 29. Jason West, a Green Party member running on the village party Cooperative line, recaptured his position on May 3 as Mayor of New Paltz after a four years out of office. Ian Murphy, who received national attention for posing as Tea Party funder David Koch in a phone call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, was the Green Party candidate in the special election of May 24 for the 26th congressional district.

Every tank of fuel leads to murder

Biofuel petrol runs red....

Food versus Fuel. Threatened Communities in Colombia.

Hosted by Pablo Del Monte for LAPE & Peter Deane from Food Not Fuel.

Taking questions will be:

Jane Calliste, Colombia Solidarity Campaign

Josie Cohen, ActionAid

Deepak Rughani, Biofuelwatch

José Sagaz, Bolivia Solidarity Campaign

Wednesday, 25 May, 5-7pm.

Room S13, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL. Nearest tube: Russell Square, Euston Square.

24 May 2011

Blood soaked president gets a warm welcome in London!

Uribe paraco, el pueblo está berraco - picket against the presence of Alvaro Uribe at the Latin American Business Forum in London, May 21, 2011, organised by Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Latin American Workers Association - LAWAS UK - Hands Off Venezuela! - and many others

US right attack environmental historian

The historian William Cronon has been in the news recently in the US because of assaults on his civil liberties and academic freedom by the Wisconsin Republican Party.

This story is likely to be of interest to Green Left Weekly readers because of the collision between university research and powerful corporate interests.

However, Cronon's work as an environmental historian since the 1970s means that he deserves to be read by all those who take an interest in environmental issues and ecosocialist politics.

In books such as Changes in the Land, Nature's Metropolis and articles such as “The Trouble with Wilderness” he has challenged the common sense of the environmental movement.


22 May 2011

Fuel on the Fire

Just had this, looking forward to going tomorrow night...

Hi Folks,

Just a quick reminder about the exciting launch of Greg Muttit's gripping new book 'Fuel on the Fire' on Monday evening.

7-9pm SOAS Khalili Theatre

Greg Muttit will be in conversation with Madeleine Bunting, Associate Editor of the Guardian. The event will be interactive, with plenty of opportunities for discussions and a Q+A with the author.

As news reports reveal that the UK government's latest military adventure in an oil rich country, Libya, will cost the UK taxpayer at least £1 billion http://www.facebook.com/l/ed790V-SrxZAeqJplnq31gyRJVg/tinyurl.com/44eesg6 - we'll be talking about the drivers of these wars and the impact of subsequent occupations. Most importantly we'll be discussing how social movements in Iraq have been resisting the corporate takeover of their country and what we can do to support them.

'Revolution' in Spain is a warning to the Left

The left in Latin America for all its weaknesses and contradictions has provided an alternative to neo-liberalism, in Europe the left have generally bailed out the bankers with the cash gained from closing down old peoples homes.

The Irish experience has been, for example, devastating and has led to huge suffering and incidentally the virtual collapse of the Green Party.

In Spain protest is rocking the country with people rejecting the traditional left.....This is via Martin and worth reading.

On 15th May 2011, around 150,000 people took to the streets in 60 Spanish towns and cities to demand “Real Democracy Now”, marching under the slogan “We are not commodities in the hands of bankers and politicians”. The protest was organised through web-based social networks without the involvement of any major unions or political parties. At the end of the march some people decided to stay the night at the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. They were forcefully evacuated by the police in the early hours of the morning. This, in turn, generated a mass call for everyone to occupy his or her local squares that thousands all over Spain took up. As we write, 65 public squares are being occupied, with support protests taking place in Spanish Embassies from Buenos Aires to Vienna and, indeed, London. You probably have not have read about it in the British press, but it is certainly happening. Try #spanishrevolution, #yeswecamp,#nonosvamos or #acampadasol on Twitter and see for yourself. What follows is a text by Emmanuel Rodríguez and Tomás Herreros from the Spanish collective Universidad Nómada.

15TH May, from Outrage to Hope

There is no doubt that Sunday 15th May 2011 has come to mark a turning point: from the web to the street, from conversations around the kitchen table to mass mobilisations, but more than anything else, from outrage to hope. Tens of thousands of people, ordinary citizens responding to a call that started and spread on the internet, have taken the streets with a clear and promising demand: they want a real democracy, a democracy no longer tailored to the greed of the few, but to the needs of the people. They have been unequivocal in their denunciation of a political class that, since the beginning of the crisis, has run the country by turning away from them and obeying the dictates of the euphemistically called “markets”.

We will have to watch over the next weeks and months to see how this demand for real democracy now takes shape and develops. But everything seems to point to a movement that will grow even stronger. The clearest sign of its future strength comes from the taking over of public squares and the impromptu camping sites that have appeared in pretty much every major Spanish town and city. Today––four days after the first march––social networks are bursting with support for the movement, a virtual support that is bolstered by its resonance in the streets and squares. While forecasting where this will take us is still too difficult, it is already possible to advance some questions thatthis movementhas put on the table.

Firstly, the criticisms that have been raised by the 15th May Movement are spot on. A growing sector of the population is outraged by parliamentary politics as we have come to known them, as our political parties are implementing it today––by making the weakest sectors of society pay for the crisis. In the last few years we have witnessed with a growing sense of disbelief how the big banks received millions in bail-outs, while cuts in social provision, brutal assaults on basic rights and covert privatisations ate away at an already skeletal Spanish welfare state. Today, none doubts that these politics are a danger to our present and our immediate future. This outrage is made even more explicit when it is confronted by the cowardice of politicians, unable to put an end to the rule of the financial world. Where did all those promises to give capitalism a human face made in the wake of the sub-prime crisis go? What happened to the idea of abolishing tax havens? What became of the proclamation that the financial system would be brought under control? What of the plans to tax speculative gains and the promise to stop tax benefits for the highest earners?

Secondly, the 15th May Movement is a lot more than a warning to the so-called Left. It is possible (in fact it is quite probable) that on 22nd May, when local and regional elections take place in Spain, the left will suffer a catastrophic defeat. If that were the case, it would be only be a preamble to what would happen in the general elections. What can be said today without hesitation is that the institutional left (parties and major unions) is the target of a generalised political disaffection due to its sheer inability come up with novel solutions to this crisis. This is where the two-fold explanation of its predicted electoral defeat lies. On the one hand, its policies are unable to step outside a completely tendentious way of reading the crisis that, to this day, accepts that the problem lies in the scarcity of our resources. Let’s say it loud and clear: no such a problem exists, there is no lack of resources, the real problem is the extremely uneven way in which wealth is distributed, and financial “discipline” is making this problem even more acute every passing day. Where are the infinite benefits of the real estate bubble today? Where are the returns of such ridiculous projects as the airports in Castellón or Lleida, to name but a few? Who is benefiting from the gigantic mountain of debt crippling so many families and individuals? The institutional left has been unable to stand on the side of, and work with, the many emerging movements that are calling for freedom and democracy. Who can forgive Zapatero’s words when the proposal to accept the dación de pago[1]was rejected by parliament on the basis that it could “jeopardise the solvency of the Spanish financial system”? Who was he addressing with these words? The millions of people enslaved by their mortgages or the interests of major banks? And what can we say of their indecent law of intellectual property, the infamous Ley Sinde? Was he standing with those who have given shape to the web or with those who plan to make money out of it, as if culture was just another commodity? If the institutional left continues to ignore social movements, if it refuses to break away from a script written by the financial and economic elites and fails to come out with a plan B that could lead us out of the crisis, it will stay in opposition for a very long time. There is no time for more deferrals: either they change or they will lose whatever social legitimation they still have to represent the values they claim to stand for.

Thirdly, the 15th May Movement reveals that far from being the passive agents that so many analysts take them to be, citizens have been able to organise themselves in the midst of a profound crisis of political representation and institutional abandonment. The new generations have learnt how to shape the web, creating new ways of “being together”, without taking recourse to ideological clichés, armed with a savvy pragmatism, escaping from pre-conceived political categories and big bureaucratic apparatuses. We are witnessing the emergence of new “majority minorities” that demand democracy in the face of a war “of all against all” and the idiotic atomisation promoted by neoliberalism, one that demands social rights against the logic of privatisation and cuts imposed by the economical powers. And it is quite possible that at this juncture old political goals will be of little or no use. Hoping for an impossible return to the fold of Estate, or aiming for full employment––like the whole spectrum of the Spanish parliamentary left seems to be doing––is a pointless task. Reinventing democracy requires, at the very least, pointing to new ways of distributing wealth, to citizenship rights for all regardless of where they were born (something in keeping with this globalised times), to the defence of common goods (environmental resources, yes, but also knowledge, education, the internet and health) and to different forms of self-governance that can leave behind the corruption of current ones.

Finally, it is important to remember that the 15th May Movement is linked to a wider current of European protests triggered as a reaction to so-called “austerity” measures. These protests are shaking up the desert of the real, leaving behind the image of a formless and silent mass of European citizens that so befits the interests of political and economical elites. We are talking here of campaigns like the British UKUncut against Cameron’s policies, of the mass mobilisations of Geraçao a Rasca in Portugal, or indeed of what took place in Iceland after the people decided not to bail out the bankers. And, of course, inspiration is found above all in the Arab Uprising, the democratic revolts in Egypt and Tunisia who managed to overthrow their corrupt leaders.

Needless to say, we have no idea what the ultimate fate of the 15th May Movement will be. But we can definitely state something at this stage, now we have at least two different routes out of this crisis: implementing yet more cuts or constructing a real democracy. We know what the first one has delivered so far: not only has it failed to bring back any semblance of economic “normality”, it has created an atmosphere of “everyman for himself”, a war of all against all. The second one promises an absolute and constituent democracy, all we can say about it is that it has just begun and that is starting to lay down its path. But the choice seems clear to us, it is down this path that we would like to go.

Tomás Herreros and Emmanuel Rodríguez (Universidad Nómada)

(hurriedly translated by Yaiza Hernández Velázquez)


21 May 2011

Seven bullets for Tapan Dutta

Just had this from my dear friend from West Bengal, Debal Deb.

This is green politics on most of the planet, defend a wetland and get bullet in the head.

Vital ecosystems, for example, a wetland that stops disasterous flooding, are converted into cash.

People are displaced.

Commercial interest work with corrupt officials and those who stand for what is right are killed and tortured.

The media takes little notice.

It is shameful that Green and environmental organisation so rarely draw attention to this process.

India here in this example but right across the world from Russia to El Salvador, Paraguay to Papua.

Human freedom = Species Survival = ecology = one struggle and one fight!


Dear Friends,

You may be aware that the former Howrah District Youth Trinamul Congress President, Tapan Dutta was fighting to save the wetland near Bali - Jagacha in Howrah District. A portion of the 750 Acre wetland was being filled up illegally by some corporate houses like Anmol, DLF etc. with the connivance of local authorities and district administration. At a later stage, filing up activities started in the other portion for the proposed Railway Coach Factory. Most of the canals have been blocked, drains got choked. The whole area gets inundated in monsoons. Tapan Dutta was very much concerned with the civic nuisance caused by water logging in the adjacent areas.

He with his friends and associates formed "Bali Jagacha Jala Bhumi Bachao Committee" and made series of appeals, organised deputations. At a later stage they filed a case at the Calcutta High Court. Accepting their demand partially, the High Court passed an interim order prohibiting filling up of any water body in that area (there were/are several large and medium water bodies in this wetland). But filling up continued in a massive way. The Committee demanded implementation of the High Court Order, developed active resistance against filling up, organised demonstrations and road block.

All these were affecting the vested interest of promoter-mafia group. They were both threatened and offered bribe. But Tapan Dutta with very few associates continued the struggle relentlessly. He was assassinated on 6th May, 2011 at 9.40 PM at Bali Railway crossing gate. Several bullets pierced him from point blank range.

Let us salute him, salute his uncompromising struggle. Let us demand a proper inquiry of this murder so that the real culprits are booked. Let us try to save the remaining wetland in particular and all wetlands, water bodies and channels in West Bengal which are under threat. Let us discuss our future course of action.

Nagarik Mancha, Akhon Bisongbad, Gana Udyog, APDR Bali, Purba Kolkata Paribesh Samikhsan, DISHA

(Due to time constraint the mail is being circulated by those who have already consented to be joint convener. Please feel free to add your/your organisation's name as convener and circulate. Please invite all your friends to attend the meeting.)

Derek Wall on the flaws in coalition climate policy

A battle has been won for climate change and it seems petty or fundamentalist to criticise it. However, criticism of climate policy remains necessary.
While it is welcome that Chris Huhne has beaten his colleague Vince Cable and produced a policy for cutting emissions, it is debatable whether emissions will actually fall, and fall in a way that serves human beings and the environment rather than narrow corporate interests.

The recent announcement on climate change promises a reduction by 2050 of 80 per cent of CO2 compared with 1990 and promises binding legislation to achieve this. Given the hegemony of climate change denial on the right and a huge fight by the Tresury to water down climate action this seems encouraging. It also involves practical policies not just vague aspirations. 40 per cent of energy in the UK will come, it is proposed, from wind, waves and solar by 2030. Heat pumps will be fitted to 2.6 million homes by 2025 and there will be an electric car revolution.
All apparently good. However, binding legislation is never truly binding, a law to say that carbon will be cut, does not necessarily lead to effective policy. Future governments may unbind! The target set also seems too modest to halt a rise in temperatures. However depressing, the political climate is such that realistic policies on climate are difficult to achieve.

There are also a series of get out clauses. Ultimately the policy is within a carbon trading framework, so at worst we can go on producing as much CO2 as we do currently and buy carbon permits to permit more pollution. Equally much of our carbon is embedded i.e. we import goods from countries like China whose manufacture leads to carbon emissions. Such embedded CO2 is simply ignored
Equally the climate policy model contains a role for biofuels. While biofuels sound superficially green they are highly damaging to the environment. The main source of biofuels is palm oil from Colombia, Indonesia and Malaysia. In all three countries rainforests are cleared to grow biofuel crops, which means that biodiversity is reduced and climate change actually increases.


20 May 2011

Five cheers for Liz Campbell!

We seem to be gaining councillors every day at present, there is a revolt against neo-liberalism and left leaning political activists are joining the Green Party.

We have a clear commitment to social justice and against cuts, we need to build on this and keep moving forward!

Well done to Liz Campbell who is now the first Green Party district councillor in Milton Keynes.

She said today:

“The Green Party is not just about the environment. I have always strongly supported social justice and believe that we should save services, not cut them,” she said.

“Unlike the traditional parties, who all share a privatisation and cuts agenda, the Green Party is willing to stand up for ordinary local people, and I’m happy to stand with them.”


LSE wrong to host killer

One might have thought that the London School of Economics at least would have learned the wisdom of caution after getting its fingers burnt for other dubious guests. And yet the LSE and the London Business School are both hosting the visit of Colombia's notorious rightwing former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez on Monday.

Uribe was George Bush's favourite Latin American leader, seen as the model of a "war on terror" style stabilisation in the region, and he arrives in London days after the debate in Colombia's Congress over a proposed victim's law. Uribe's former defence minister Juan Manuel Santos is now president and he promised reparations for all victims of political violence, significantly including victims of state forces, as well as leftwing guerrillas and the rightwing paramilitary groups generally seen as state proxies. In his heated interventions, Uribe has objected to defining the confrontations as an "internal armed conflict", insisting on his preferred Bush-era formulation of a "war on terror". Uribe refuses to identify the guerrilla movements as anything other than "terrorists". Santos has been at pains to find common ground with his former boss – neither would grant "belligerent status" to the guerrillas – but the spat highlights how the government is trying to move on from Uribe's own unrepentantly belligerent presence.


19 May 2011

David Cameron soaked in blood welcomes dictator to Downing Street

Blood soaked dictators are so welcome in Downing Street if they use British kit to maim and kill their people!

We should thank Peter Tatchell for letting us know about this and for all the other excellent work he does around human rights.

Bahrain's dictator Prince feted by David Cameron

Downing Street's welcome insults the victims of Bahraini repression

London - 19 May 2011

"It is a shocking misjudgement to fete the Crown Prince of Bahrain at a time when his regime is arresting, jailing, torturing and killing peaceful democracy protesters. This welcome is a slap in the face to the victims of repression. Britain should be siding with Bahrain's democrats, not with the dictatorship," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has been working with and supporting the Bahraini democracy movement.

He was commenting on the meeting at Downing between David Cameron and the Bahraini Crown Prince, scheduled for 6pm today.

"Britain should not be conducting business as usual with a tyranny that is guilty of gross human rights abuses," added Mr Tatchell.

"David Cameron should press the Bahraini authorities to lift the state of emergency immediately, stop attacking peaceful protesters, halt the use of torture and release all political prisoners. Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be urged to withdraw their troops.

"If the duty to protect civilians applies in Libya, why not in Bahrain?

"Instead of cosying up to the dictatorship, Britain should be working with the rest of the international community to impose sanctions on the Bahraini regime.

"These sanctions should include a halt to arms sales and military cooperation, a travel ban and assets-freeze on top regime officials and a prohibition on the export to Bahrain of luxury items for the rich ruling elite.

"Bahrain's leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council on charges of torture and crimes against humanity.

"Human rights activists in Bahrain report that at least 30 civilians have been killed, including four people who have died in custody after beatings and torture. Around 400 democracy protesters have been injured. Doctors and nurses who treated the wounded and spoke publicly about their injuries have been arrested, beaten and tortured. Forty-seven of them are being put on trial.

"Already four protesters have been sentenced to death, following military trials held behind closed doors.

"Close to 1,000 Bahrainis have been arrested since the start of protests in February, although about 300 of these have since been released. Twenty-one opposition activists and human rights defenders are being prosecuted on trumped up charges. An estimated 1,000
professionals have been sacked from their jobs, accused of pro-democracy and pro-Shia sympathies. The country's only opposition newspaper has been closed down. The editors of Al-Wasat are being put on trial on bogus charges of misreporting the protests and the
government's crackdown. Twenty-seven Shia mosques, meeting houses and shrines have been destroyed or damaged," Mr Tatchell added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has condemned the brutal tactics of the Bahraini regime as "shocking and illegal conduct."


Greening the Green Party?

Taking part in Dave Bangs rally for forest access at Houghton Woods in Sussex and walking in the woods with him and other well informed naturalists, last saturday, it struck me that I ought to do more ecology. My knowledge of pollards and orchids is sadly limited!

I have, however, despite having taught economics for pretty much all my working life, a background in environmental science (sort of).

My first degree was in Environmental Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, which is now part of University College London.

So I studied soils and pollen and snails and human inter actions with the rest of nature. Very useful and interesting but a while ago.

Being for the 'environment' means little unless you have appropriate policies and ecology shows that sometimes counter intuitive ideas work.

For example, slash and burn agriculture (with limits) may be good for forest biodiversity.

Ecology needs to be re-integrated into green politics, when the Green Party started we were the Ecology Party and had input from scientists.

I don't believe there should be an absence of the social, social justice is a green political principle.

And the growth/waste imperative of capitalism means that to sustain life we need an economic system that is ecological.

I would be interest to know opinions of Green Party members who work in environmental science or have expertise in ecology.

Do we need to re-green the Green Party?

17 May 2011

The border agency insists!

Just ask Noah


Climate Change: Neck Deep in the Big Muddy
by Glenn Scherer
The Mississippi River has risen to levels never seen in U.S. history – lapping levee tops and threatening cities and hamlets from Memphis to the Gulf. Floodwaters cover an area bigger than Connecticut, the result of a record 90 inches of precipitation in the Midwest.

Some would point an accusatory finger at human-caused global warming. But as any climatologist will tell you, no single weather event is attributable to global warming.

Meanwhile, Texas is in flames. It has endured the 7 driest months on record, with drought parching 98 percent of the Lone Star state. No one has ever seen the like of it, with 2.2 million acres already scorched black by wildfires.

Of course, as any Obama administration official will gladly testify, no one weather event can be traced back to climate change.

Out West, record snowpack, a staggering 200 percent above normal, has brought severe flood risks to Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. While eastern Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are enduring drought and gearing up for an equally severe fire season.

Of course, as any freshman Tea Party Congressman will insist, no one weather event can ever be said to be created by human-caused climate change.

And who can forget last month, when 312 tornadoes smashed the Southeast, with a record-setting 228 twisters spawned in a single day? Some of those killer funnel clouds were a mile wide and stayed on the ground across several states.

Of course, as any Exxon or Koch brothers-funded climate change skeptic will scold you, no one weather event can ever be seen to be the result of human-caused climate change.

Go out in your backyard, stick a thumb up in the air or look at what's blooming today, and you'll likely know. The times are a changin' –fast. Your community and mine are hotter, dryer or wetter, with nastier storms than you or your grandparents ever saw.

But… as any Fox News anchor will assert, no single weather event can ever be seen as being the product of human-caused climate change.

But, how about thousands of weather events? Shattered heat records. Drought records. Deluge records. Winters grown milder and shorter. Summers grown longer and brutally hot. Icecaps melting, ice shelves collapsing, glaciers in galloping retreat. It's exactly what climate modelers began forecasting two decades ago.

Except, the scientists told us then these sorts of catastrophes wouldn't hammer us until 2050 or later. Hell, Greenland wasn't supposed to melt significantly until after 2100, but it is melting significantly now. Global coral reefs are dying now, global food harvests are in decline now, and food prices are breaking records now due to changing climate.

Still, we're a nation with its head in the sand. Worse, like a drug addict whose connection just got popped, we're sniffing out fossil fuel under every rock; raping the Canadian tar sands; readying drilling platforms in Arctic seas and Gulf deepwater; and turning vast swathes of rural America into a pincushion of drilling rigs fracked for natural gas.

This spring, President Obama even called for an enormous expansion of the dirtiest, most polluting industry of all. Under his plan, new coal mines will increase U.S. climate change emissions by over fifty percent beyond what we're producing currently.

Damn the risks. We need our energy fix!

Meantime, the Mississippi rolls on. "We've never seen anything like this. I was scared not knowing what's going to happen or where we can go from here," said flood victim Tamara Jenkins of Frayser, Tennessee, talking to CNN.

Well, Ms. Jenkins, you may be neck deep in the Big Muddy and not know what's going to happen next. But the fossil fuel industry, our president and congress do. They have complete confidence in our business as usual energy policy, and say we should push on.

After all, Ms. Jenkins, every damn fool knows that no single flood of biblical proportions can be attributed to human-caused climate change. Just ask Noah

Glenn Scherer is senior editor of Blue Ridge Press. You can comment at scherer@blueridgepress.com.

LSE hosts human rights abuser



Pickets / Plantones :
4pm-7pm Saturday 21 May
27 Sussex Place, Regent's Park, NW1
Nearest tube: Baker Street
5pm-8pm Monday 23 May
LSE Campus, Houghton Street, WC2
Nearest tubes: Covent Garden, Holborn, Temple

Convened by / convocados por Colombia Solidarity Campaign y Polo Democartico UK con el respaldo de ASLOPOEDA, Bolivia Solidarity Campaign, Hands Off Venezuela, Latin American Workers Association, Movimientos Ecuador en el Reino Unido, Quinto Suyo Nacionalista UK, Rock Around the Blockade, Voces Todas y mas organismos.
Version Espanol

With the smugness of a petty tyrant, Uribe self-congratulates his eight years in government, claiming his success was based on three pillars – ‘security’, ‘social cohesion’ and ‘investor trust’. Let us see …

‘Security’ ? State terror and crimes against humanity; corruption
Two thousand bodies were found in a common grave next to the army camp at La Macarena after school children detected a sour taste in the water from local stream. The army said that the bodies are of guerrillas killed in combat, but this is the normal cover story for their massacres; known as ‘false positives’ where they dress up the cadavers of civilians in combat fatigues. There were over three thousand extra-judicial killings by the official state ‘security forces’ known of under Uribe – clearly an executive strategy. Uribe frequently stigmatised his critics, laying them open to assassination, as happened many times. Heads of the DAS secret police reporting to Uribe were caught mounting extensive phone tapping of journalists, politicians, high court judges and supplying lists of trade unionists to be assassinated. The Colombian political system was even more corrupted by Uribe, with a hundred congress seats occupied by paramilitary front men, the majority Uribe supporters. 90% of the demobilized paramilitaroes were granted amnesty, in spite of their responsibility for human rights violations. Uribe’s family and close associates have been involved in a series of scandals which in a functioning democracy would have obliged his resignation. Uribe leaves a sour taste indeed.

‘Social cohesion’ ? Displacement and poverty; yet more violence
Uribe’s regime has polarised the gap between the rich and poor, especially through the forced displacement of poor farmers, indigenous and Afro-colombians from rural areas. The evictions have resulted in hyper-concentration of land ownership, 63% of the land is owned by just 0.37% of the proprietors. 2.65 million Colombians were displaced in the eight years of Uribe’s rule, almost all now destitute. Official agencies only recognise a third of these people who are left utterly abandoned by the state, except when the riot police descend at night to evict them again, from their cardboard shacks on the fringes of the big cities. In the city it is the displaced and working class youth who are targeted for assassination.

‘Investor trust’ ? Record profits, corporate complicity
Multinationals have made huge profits, especially in the extractive industries. Coal corporations made $1.7 billion, and oil and gas corporations made $6.1 billion profits in 2008 alone. Under Uribe there was a more than ninefold increase in outgoing profits. His strategy was to encourage a huge land grab - mineral claims rocketed from 1.13 to 8.53 million hectares. Mining on this scale will devastate the environment. The mining zones are overrun by the military, working with paramilitaries. Corporations like BP have benefitted from ‘disappearances’ to deter community and trade union organisation.
Big business toasts Uribe, but no amount of public relations gloss can cover up his strategy of state terror and misery for the majority of Colombians. Uribe craves international status to protect him from the inevitable, growing and justified demands for his trial. By offering Uribe a platform, the London Business School and LSE are legitimizing state terror and giving impunity to a criminal. Shame on you.

P&p Colombia Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ
email: info@colombiasolidarity.org.uk Web www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk

Jenny Jones opposes Met resources for Madeleine McCann

My thoughts too, well done Jenny.

Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson announced last week that his officers would undertake an evaluation of Madeleine McCann case, following a request by home secretary Theresa May. Madeleine McCann vanished during a family holiday on the Algarve in 2007.

Jenny Jones, Green member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, and Green candidate for Mayor of London, said:

"As a mother and a grandmother, I feel for Kate and Gerry McCann, and of course, they are desperate to help locate Maddy. However, as a member of the MPA, I have to look at how resources are responsibly used.

"There are many serious crimes in London, and it is the job of the Met Police to investigate crimes on a fair and impartial basis. Tying up vast amounts of police time and resources on one case does not instill confidence that each crime will be investigated on its own merits.

"For example, the forensic service unit has been closed, and many will wonder exactly what the Prime Minister's motives were, and whether he understands how difficult policing it in this economic climate.

"It is my belief that the Prime Minister was wrong to allocate Met Police resources to this new investigation. He appears to have been swayed by the Sun newspaper, and it is wholly wrong to capitalise in this way and try to win popular support for what is fundamentally a Portuguese investigation."

For more information on Jenny Jones's campaign for London Mayor in 2012, please see: http://www.jennyforlondon.org/

Going Where the Grass is Greener - Why I'm Leaving Labour

Josiah Mortimer

It's been an tough decision to make, but I have decided to join the Green Party. For the past year I've been in the Labour party, and met some fantastic people - principled people, including many on the left. MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have consistently acted upon their socialist beliefs, and been dedicated to fighting for social justice and egalitarianism. The election of Ed Miliband provided some hope for people like me, that is, Young Socialists (sadly just 'Young Labour' now) by offering a split from New Labour. But I have decided to change party for a lot of reasons, which I'll try and explain.

Firstly, the old cliche, which I've just realised to be true. Though there are some socialists in the Labour party, it is fundamentally, and unfortunately, not a left-wing party. That is not to say this won't change in the future (social democratic parties have been wiped out in Europe after the '90s) - but the Labour party doesn't represent all that many progressive views. Cuts are being supported by Labour. Just at a slightly slower rate - not really encouraging for people about to lose their job or having their disability support slashed. And in education, Labour still supports a view of education that sees it as a mere commodity to be sold to students, or 'customers' as we are increasingly called. Education is a public good, a gift from one generation to another. It pays for itself in extra tax revenue from higher earning graduates. It creates well-rounded individuals. And ability to pay shouldn't come into the public sector - whatever part of the public sector that is. On Trident, the war in Afghanistan, on Gaza and NATO, the Green Party is on the side of progressivism when frankly Labour isn't.

I voted for Ed Miliband. He appeared to support a future for Britain that is centre-left on the side of equality. But now he seems keen on reducing the role of trade unions within the party and is cozying up to 'Blue Labour' - effectively a continuation of New Labour but with slightly less free-market obsession and slightly more racism and xenophobia. Again, not all that inspiring.

I come back to the point of socialists in the Labour party. John McDonnell, the beacon of hope within the party, couldn't even get on the ballot for the leadership election. He had to drop out to boost Dianne Abbott's chances of getting on there. And she sent her kids to private school. Caroline Lucas MP is to the left of Abbott - and leads the Greens. I want to be part of a party that not only has strong left element, but that is actually led by the left.

Of course, there are flaws with the Greens. They don't have trade unions at their heart. But unlike Labour, the Green's stand on a platform of removing anti-trade union laws. Something Labour didn't do in their 13 years of power. And the Greens perhaps have a presentation problem of being seen as a bourgeois humus-eating elitist clique. However, all the Green Party members I know are rooted in realism and the working class. Are they a single issue party If so, which single issue Wishing to clamp down on tax dodging Seeking a fairer tax system to stop the cuts. Through their 131 councillors, their MP and MEPs, they have shown that they most definitely are not a single-issue party. Nonetheless, if they were it would be preferable to a party that has no firm beliefs anymore at all.

The Greens are growing. Membership is going up. Their democratic representation is increasing all the time - even under First Past the Post (which, unlike Labour, the Greens oppose) - as they now control Brighton council and have councillors across the country. Their stature and credibility as a party is growing. It took a long time for me to be convinced of that, but it's true.

I don't want, or need, to list what I think the Labour party did wrong over the past thirteen years. Because many good things happened. Sure Start, investment in the NHS, the minimum wage, devolution and so on. And I am filled with a certain sense of guilt for leaving a party that declares on our membership cards it is a 'democratic socialist party'. But then I remember this was only put in as a concession after the tragic removal of the radical Clause 4 in the '90s.

Again, I have to stress, I fully support the left within the Labour party. The Labour Representation Committee has played a fantastic role in keeping it alive within the movement, and I will sorely miss not being able to retain my LRC membership. Even of those not on the left there are some fantastic people locally who I respect and wish all the best. And were the Labour Party to ever (as unlikely as it may seem) shift back to the left, I will be one of the first to rejoin. But this is looking increasingly remote the more disillusioned I become with Ed Miliband and the rest of the leadership.

So. All the best to all the Labour comrades I have met over the past year and hope to remain friends with - and solidarity with all the trade unionists and socialists still sticking with the party. I'm going to make a firm pledge now that if I ever stand as a Green candidate it will never be against a dedicated left-wing Labour member.

And neither am I going to ask anyone to follow suit. I don't want to be a human billboard for ditching the Labour party. But as the saying goes - the Labour party left us, not the other way round.

16 May 2011

My meeting with Rene Ramirez

Very impressed with Rene Ramirez, Minister of Planning and Development for Ecuador, spooky talking to an economics minister who speaks Ostrom, indigienity, Marx, very serious guy, real sign of an alternative to capitalist productivist economics winning battle in Ecuador....absolutely the real deal!

We have to fight and win the battle here and everywhere against the work, consume, throwaway extractivist economy.

Too much green is pale green!

Too much socialism is just capitalism!

Too much politics is trivia!

We have a sucidal economic and social system, very encouraging to meet some one else with an idea of an alternative.

Do go and listen to Rene Ramirez, speaking on wednesday, 6.30pm LSE!

We have got to fight and win on this, nothing else matters when you think about it.

Lib Dem councilllor defects to Greens

Cllr Howard Allen joins Green Party****Green Party now has 4 seats on Solihull Council*
Shirley West Councillor, Howard Allen, has switched to the Green Party [1]having been a Liberal Democrat or Independent Liberal Democrat Councillor since 2003. Councillor Allen joins three other Green Party Councillors in Solihull to form a “gang of four”. Councillor Allen’s decision follows a string of defections and changes in allegiance by Councillors in Shirley West in the past year. Shirley West ward is now represented by one Green Party Councillor, one Labour Councillor and one Conservative. All three seats were in the hands of the LiberalDemocrats in May 2010.

The Green Party group on Solihull Council plans to work to hold the new Conservative Council to account, especially over regeneration andpreservation of green space across the Borough, key reasons for Councillor Allen’s decision to join the Green Party.

Sanctions now against King Al Khalifa's tyranny

just had this from Peter, thanks Peter!

Halt crimes against humanity, protect civilians

UN, EU, US & UK must withdraw support from Bahraini regime

London - 16 May 2011

Speaking at a pro-democracy rally outside the Bahraini Embassy in London on 14 May 2011, organised by Justice for Bahrain, Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said:

"We are here in solidarity with the people of Bahrain who are struggling for democratic reforms, human rights and social justice. The state of emergency must be lifted immediately, all political prisoners freed and Saudi Arabian and UAE troops withdrawn. The people of Bahrain should be free to determine their own future by the exercise of their democratic rights, without external interference.

"The international community has failed in its duty to protect the civilian population from arrest, detention without trial, torture and murder by the regime of King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.

"If the duty to protect civilians applies in Libya, why not in Bahrain?

"The UN, EU, US, UK and Arab League should work together to: halt all arms sales to Bahrain, cease military cooperation, suspend the operation of the US naval base, institute a travel ban and assets-freeze on top regime officials, prohibit the export to Bahrain of luxury items for the rich ruling elite, refer Bahrain's leaders to the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council on charges of torture and crimes against humanity, and report Saudi Arabia and the UAE to the UN Security Council for their interference in the internal affairs of Bahrain and the role of their troops in the violent suppression of the democracy protests," said Mr Tatchell.

Speaking after the protest, Mr Tatchell added:

"The protesters in Bahrain are demanding democracy and human rights, especially for the Shia Muslim majority who comprises more than 60% of the population. Shias are excluded from political power by the pro-Sunni monarchy and government. They suffer sustained discrimination, especially in housing and jobs.

"Human rights activists in Bahrain report that at least 30 civilians have been killed, including four people who have died in custody after beatings and torture. Around 400 democracy protesters have been injured. Doctors and nurses who treated the wounded and spoke publicly about their injuries have been arrested, beaten and tortured. Forty-seven of them are being put on trial.

"Already four protesters have been sentenced to death, following military trials held behind closed doors.

"Close to 1,000 Bahrainis have been arrested since the start of protests in February, although about 300 of these have since been released. Twenty-one opposition activists and human rights defenders are being prosecuted on trumped up charges. An estimated 1,000 professionals have been sacked from their jobs, accused of pro-democracy and pro-Shia sympathies. The country's only opposition newspaper has been closed down. The editors of Al-Wasat are being put on trial on bogus charges of misreporting the protests and the government's crackdown. Twenty-seven Shia mosques, meeting houses and shrines have been destroyed or damaged.

"A total of 1,500 Saudi and UAE soldiers entered Bahrain in March and are helping with this systematic repression," Mr Tatchell added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has condemned the brutal tactics of the Bahraini regime as "shocking and illegal conduct."

See these reports in The Independent:
http://tiny.cc/hpzoa and http://tiny.cc/7gh3y and http://tiny.cc/s0d57

See also Justice for Bahrain: www.justiceforbahrain.com

Even before the current wave of repression, Bahrain had a poor human rights record; having been criticised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International report:

Human Rights Watch report:

Imperialism Is the Arsonist: Marxism’s Contribution to Ecological Literatures and Struggles

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