30 Jun 2011

Green MSP Alison Johnstone says free the commons!

It’s also time to take another look at Scotland’s Common Good assets, most of which are the legacies of the old Burghs. They do not belong to local authorities - they belong to local people - and I’ll be pressing the Scottish Government to bring in a full register of these assets and clear and simple legislation to protect them for their original purpose. The same process could define how new assets could be brought into Common Good. A poor version of the same work is underway at Westminster through the Tory Government’s localism agenda. Scotland can, of course, do better.

There are other creative uses of land which are either vulnerable, being squeezed, or being neglected at a policy level.

This month has seen the launch of the Thousand Huts campaign, which aims to promote the kind of hutting people may remember from the Carbeth case, and I’ve been working with Reforesting Scotland and others to build support for them in Parliament. Huts may seem wacky, but in the immediate post-war period in particular they provided affordable access to the countryside for a generation. Across northern Europe and Scandinavia the benefits of huts are widely recognised
- for physical and mental health, for happiness and recreation - yet here they remain a minority interest. It’s not hard to see why. Land is difficult to find, under-used and unaffordable. Planning permission is hard to secure, and many landowners regularly try to demolish existing huts and clear land.


Remember when the nurses and teachers crashed the economy?

Remember when teachers, policemen, prison officers, ambulance staff, nurses, doctors and firemen crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither. Please copy and paste to your status/blog etc for 24 hours to show your support against the Government's latest attack on pensions and public sector workers.

29 Jun 2011

Green Party Trade Union support for tomorrow's strikes!

GPTU calls on all its members and all Green Party members to suppot the strikers of UCU, ATL,NUT and PCS in the pensions strike tomorrow. We have posted a message from Sally Hunt of UCU on the GPTU blog which explains that, contrary to media myth, public sector pensions are hardly generous. These pensions are in any case a slight compensation for the low salaries of the public sector where many workers do their work out of a sense of public service. Why should these workers pay with their pensions for a crisis of international finance?
As our French comrades are saying: “30 JUIN 2011 : SOLIDARITÉ AVEC LE ROYAUME UNI, CECI N'EST PAS UNE DETTE, C'EST DU RACKET !
Démocratie réelle maintenant ! Commission Actions des Indignés de la Bastille

Green Party Trade Union support for tomorrow's strikes!

GPTU calls on all its members and all Green Party members to suppot the strikers of UCU, ATL,NUT and PCS in the pensions strike tomorrow. We have posted a message from Sally Hunt of UCU on the GPTU blog which explains that, contrary to media myth, public sector pensions are hardly generous. These pensions are in any case a slight compensation for the low salaries of the public sector where many workers do their work out of a sense of public service. Why should these workers pay with their pensions for a crisis of international finance?
As our French comrades are saying: “30 JUIN 2011 : SOLIDARITÉ AVEC LE ROYAUME UNI, CECI N'EST PAS UNE DETTE, C'EST DU RACKET !
Démocratie réelle maintenant ! Commission Actions des Indignés de la Bastille

J30, we are many, they are few!

Strike action over the Teachers’ Pension Scheme tomorrow

As you will know tomorrow on Thursday 30 June UCU members in FE and post-92 universities will be taking strike action alongside PCS, NUT, and ATL and there are picket lines, demonstrations and rallies taking place across the country.

Members in post-92 universities, FE colleges and adult education are asked to support their pickets and observe the strike.

Members in pre-92 universities are not taking strike action tomorrow but are asked to show their support by visiting picket lines or support the rallies if possible.

March and rally in London

Tomorrow will also see a major march and rally in London, beginning at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and ending at Westminster Central Hall. This looks like being a big event and a major focal point for anger against the government’s plans to cut pensions.

The details are as follows:

March assembles Lincoln's Inn Fields: 11:00am

March begins: 11:40am
Rally: 1:15pm at Westminster Central Hall

Councillor Alan Weeks joins Green Party.

There is a small but interesting green and left tradition in the Liberal Democrats, think of all the sterling work the Young Liberals did to fight apartheid in the 1970's.

Indeed some of the people in the Green Party I work with like Victor Anderson come from this traditiona and of course, hate to say this but one of my real political heros is a lib, Eric Lubbock! (cos of his work for indigenous in Peru!)

With the orange book groups success in turning the Liberal Democrats to the right and the coalition, the minority of radical Lib Dems are leaving.

Great to see Alan Weeks, Hampshire County Councillor for Totton North, become our first councillor in Hampshire.

"When I was campaigning local voters made it clear to me that they were angry about the way they have been let down by the national Lib Dem party. What they were saying was right. I have been a Lib Dem (and Liberal before that) for about 25 years and it is not me that has changed. It is the values of the national Liberal Democrats that have changed. For example, on the tuition fees issue, it was untrustworthy for MPs to break personal pledges that they had made.

"It was a tough decision for me to resign and join the Green Party after almost 25 years of service as a Lib Dem councillor. But my heart has to be in what I do and I could no longer support the direction taken by Lib Dem leaders.

"Now I am looking forward and I am excited to be joining the Green Party. I realise that Green Party values of putting people and the environment before profit, provision and not privatisation of public services, promoting renewable energy and a high priority for animal welfare are in line with mine. After all, I already personally follow the philosophy by driving a car powered by electricity generated by my own PV solar panels.

"I look forward to working with some old friends and new Green friends, in providing a realistic alternative to the Conservative Party in Totton. I intend to work hard so that I continue to be Hampshire's first Green County Councillor after the next election in 2013."

27 Jun 2011



7.30-9.30 p.m.




Global warming, climate change, populations starving and indigenous peoples under attack.

The environment and the future of our planet is facing a crisis. Our economic system is in a state of collapse. Capitalism has failed internationally, with cuts in public services, austerity measures and unemployment affecting all of our living standards across the globe.

On June 30, joint industrial action by public sector workers represents a fight back against the Con Dem coalition. We are told that there is no alternative to their budget plans and we must simply accept it.

From Spain, Greece and the Middle East, people are saying there is an alternative which does not involve protecting bankers, dictators and corrupt politicians. The old solutions are being rejected in favour of international solutions based on people not profit and alternative environmental policies.

Come and hear the arguments and discuss the alternatives. Join us. All are welcomed.

Meeting organised by local eco-socialists .

Bookstalls from various groups will be available.

26 Jun 2011

Trees for Human Rights/ Víctor Jara Festival


Machynlleth, Wales

13 - 14 August 2011

As part of the Víctor Jara Festival Ecomemoria invites you to participate in the planting of 2 trees in memory of the victims of the Chilean military junta.


OVERVIEW (This information is in the attachment.)

The decades of the ‘70s and ‘80s were witness to the implementation of an estate of terror across the Latin-American continent, leaving in its wake a trail of terror and torture. In Chile the State sponsored regime of repression left hundreds of thousands of victims, over 3,000 murdered and 1,119 desaparecidos (“disappeared”). Moreover, there was a policy of systematic exploitation of the native forests and the indiscriminate pollution of the environment. An integral part of this socio-economic policy was the implementation of a strategy of “cover-up”, aimed at hiding all evidence of human rights violations and the destructive effects of their environmental policies. As part of the on-going movement to counteract this campaign of “institutionalised amnesia”, human rights groups have come together to put in progress a project that encompasses both the human rights and environmental violations perpetrated by the Chilean military dictatorship. At the heart of this project is the creation of a forest of native trees that will represent all of the victims of the military dictatorship. We propose to plant a tree for every political-executed and “disappeared” in Chile and across the world. With this symbolic act of union, ECOlogy and MEMORy (ECOMEMORIA), we propose to create a “living memorial” in homage to the victims and as a living testimony for future generations.

...a tree for each memory

each memory for a life,

a life in each tree,

reforesting the planet

sowing a new conscience…


This project is born from the necessity to keep alive the memory of all the victims of the military dictatorship of Chile. This living memorial takes form in the process of planting a native tree (ecomemoria) for each victim. This process will take place in its first phase by planting trees across Europe and the Americas and then in a pre-determined area of Chile with the participation of the local communities, human rights and ecological groups.

The main objectives of this project are:

a) The creation of a forest of native trees that becomes the “living memory” of all the victims of the military dictatorship.

b) The conservation of native trees particularly those that are in danger of extinction. In Chile these include the Araucaria, Quillay, Laurel, Alerce, Canelo, Espino etc.

c) To provide a source of re-generation and re-oxygenation for the community.

d) To counter-act the indiscriminate exploitation of the environment that has endangered the native flora and fauna.



Human Rights International Project

E-mail: hhrr_project@hotmail.com

Tragic deaths of Alf Filer and Frank Gallagher

I am just back from a lovely weekend in the North East spending time with Green Party friends and sad to find news in my in-box of the death of two people who I respected so much.

One was Frank Gallagher from Donegal who did so much to oppose the Irish Green Party's descent into madness.

Also Alf Filer, I have only met Alf more than once or twice but he had asked me to speak in Worthing on tuesday, I can't believe that he has gone.

Alf Filer RIP
We are immensely shocked to have heard that Alf Filer was killed in a horrible road accident on the A27 in Brighton on Thursday night.
Alf only moved down from London to Worthing in November, but even before he did so had got in touch with The Porkbolter to find out how best to get involved in the local campaigning scene.
He threw himself with gusto into anti-cuts and anti-fascist campaigning and will be known to supporters of Worthing Solidarity Network and Worthing Alliance, among others. Alf also regularly updated his very informative blog, at http://sussexsocialistresistance.blogspot.com/
His ongoing energy, at a time of life (58) when many others are winding down, was a lesson for us all.
Alf also took part in the recent discussions on Real Democracy (mentioned in the latest Porkbolter) and had decided to stage a series of public meetings in Worthing, on a non-sectarian, non-party political basis, to bring campaigners together discussing key issues.
The first of these is the talk by Derek Wall on eco-socialism being held at the Friends Meeting House in Mill Road, Worthing, this Tuesday evening at 7.30pm.
Those who knew Alf are unanimous in insisting he would have wanted this event to go ahead regardless - and tributes will be paid to him at the meeting. Let’s have a good turn-out in his memory.
Please note there is no parking at the venue, but it is available on-street in the vicinity.

Tribute by Tony Greenstein (Brighton)
Alf Filer – A Jewish anti-Zionist and Fighter for Justice
The Tragic Death of a Much Loved Comrade
The older one gets, the more one becomes acquainted with the death of former friends and comrades. But nothing prepared me for the shock of learning that Alf Filer had died when his car broke down on the A27 and another car, whose driver I understand has been arrested, went into him.
I first met Alf at the inaugural meeting of the Labour Committee on Palestine in the summer of 1982. It was just after Israel’s blitzkrieg on Lebanon, when over 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese died as a result of a cruel invasion aimed at securing Israeli and Phalangist hegemony in the country.
Alf had already been involved in battles with Zionists in the consituency of Brent East, when Ken Livingstone was selected in place of the nondescript local MP, the Zionist Reg Freeson. Alf himself stood for Brent Council but was defeated after the local Labour Zionists urged a vote for the SDP. We discussed this as we were driving to Southampton on 13th June, when Alf freely volunteered that being defeated was the best thing that could have happened to him. Alf and being a councillor just wouldn't have gone together!
It was last Monday week, 13th June, that I drove a group of UNISON members in the unemployed centre minibus from Brighton to Southampton, to support a demonstration of council staff who have been under attack from the Tory Council, who are trying to cut their pay. On the way we took a diversion to pick Alf up opposite Worthing Pier which made us late!
Alf and I saw relatively little of each other after the LCP split in November 1982 after Ted Knight, then councillor and leader of Lambeth Council, but also a member of the Workers Revolutionary Party, decided to arrange for the WRP to take over the LCP in order to show how influential they were with their Libyan/Iraqi paymasters. At that point the division between the LCP and what became the Labour Movement Campaign on Palestine forced people on the left to take sides. I can remember heated debates before National Labour Briefing took sides despite threats to walk out by arch hack Valerie Coultas. Unfortunately but understandably, since he was in the same constituency as Ken, Alf followed Socialist Action in staying with Ken Livingstone (who was then allied with Ted Knight), Charlie Pottins of the Jewish Socialists Group and WRP and a few others who had been taken in.
On the bus back from Southampton Alf and I reminisced over what happened, as he had long since recognised the error of his ways and he freely admitted that the WRP had taken over the LCP in order to close it down. Likewise Ken Livingstone at a LMCP fringe meeting at Labour Party conference circa 1985 also admitted he’d got it wrong. Not so Socialist Action, whose only principle was sticking to Livingstone, their future cash cow.
Alf was an utterly principled fighter. He was one of the main organisers of the Harrow countermobilisation against the EDL, whose target was a local mosque. The EDL, those good fascist friends of the Zionists at the Ahava and Israeli embassy pickets, were sent packing when over two thousand people joined the counter mobilisation against some 30 fash.
A few months ago Alf moved from London to Worthing having retired early as a college lecturer. In a small space of time he had become involved in anti-cuts and anti-racist work and was about to get involved in Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Brighton. He was a born and tireless activist despite having caring responsibilities, having brought up two sons on his own.
Alf was living proof that you can be Jewish without being Zionist. He was someone who had total confidence in himself, extrovert whilst self-deprecating and loud. All, some would say, Jewish traits! He never treaded gingerly around an issue, the proverbial bull in the china shop. That's probably why we got on so well! And he was always just good fun to be with. It was impossible to be angry with him for long, however much he might put his foot in it at times. He was the embodiment of the idea that you can take your Jewish heritage from an anti-racist, class struggle and socialist perspective, not from the narrow nationalism and chauvinism that Zionism represents with its twisted face of hate.
Alf later joined Socialist Resistance, a small Trotskyist group that came out of the IMG and a split in the Alliance for Workers Liberty. But Alf was never an unthinking hack always accepting the party line without pause for thought. Experience had taught him the perils of that. When I wrote an article on this blog criticising a comrade of his in the ISG for having taken a right-wing stance in Unison in support of ‘personalisation’ of disability services, Alf wrote to the leadership to ask what was happening and why this was so. And true to form, he received no reply. Unlike so many in Trotskyist groups, who came later to adopt a Stalinist methodology and outlook, Alf remembered that being a revolutionary also means questioning one’s own leaders too.
To Alf all I can say is Lotta Continua. The best tribute we can pay to you is to keep the flame alight and the struggle for justice undimmed. Below is a letter Alf had in the Guardian on 3rd January 2009 as Gaza was being mercilessly bombed by Israeli war planes. It sums up his politics. We who are Jewish anti-Zionists fight on the side of the Palestinians because we above all know what racism and fascism means.
I salute you comrade and your memory will live on.
Tony Greenstein

From Alf’s letter: “Six days of illegal bombing, preceded by months of blockades. The excuses from the Israelis for the bloodbath of innocent civilians are an insult. These bombings are simply crimes against humanity. The EU, UK and US have all contributed to this situation through their agreements on trade and export licences, and funding of Israel. The Palestinians who struggle for survival, in spite of the unnecessary divisions, deserve our full recognition. Israel must be reminded that a "nation that oppresses another nation cannot itself be free". As a Jew, I condemn this massacre. It is not being done in my name, nor will it make me feel any safer as a result. There will not be any peace in the Middle East until the issue of Palestinian self-determination is fully resolved.”

24 Jun 2011

I am going to G..........

Gateshead, lol!

for the mini green festival.

see some of you tomorrow

Bill Quay Farm
Hainingwood Terrace
Created by:
South Tyneside and Sunderland Transition Town
More info
South of Tyne Transition Town and Bill Quay Farm will be holding Gateshead's first community green fest on the 25th June 2011, from 11 o'clock to 4 o'clock. It is going to be family and learning focused with some folky bands, lots of stalls, educational activities (including stalls where you can have a go at making things and an interactive exercise on how we can save money and the environment by using less oil), and some talks in a tent. The Farm is close to Pelaw metro station and is also a pleasant cycle ride from Newcastle. There will be an information stall where you can get advice on the different activities on offer and volunteers providing information around the site.

Groups and organisations getting involved will include:

North East Transition Town Coordinator's network
Newcastle Community Greenfest
The Summer Tumblers (band)
'Folk along Phil'
Pottery, textiles and cake makers
Brewery demonstration
The Green Party
Gateshead Community Agricultural association
The Food Chain
The North East Permaculture Network

Adrian Ramsay says 'No Nukes!'

Greens say Britain should avoid dangerous nuclear distraction

"Nuclear power creates a toxic legacy of waste and is bad value for money.
Investing the same amount in energy efficiency and renewable energy would
make much more difference more quickly in reducing carbon emissions, making
our energy supply more secure and creating skilled, lasting jobs."

Green Party deputy leader Adrian Ramsay responded to the government's
announcement that up to eight new reactor sites have been designated for
development. Chris Huhne signalled that Britain will be "open for business",
and hopes to attract foreign nuclear investment, despite recent events at
Fukushima and elsewhere.

Mr Ramsay said:

"While the Conservatives and LibDems often talk about being 'the greenest
government ever', the coalition partners show their real priorities with
their policies. Reducing carbon emissions must be a top priority, but this
fixation on nuclear will divert investment away from the real solution -
energy efficiency measures and renewable energy. "

With the recent revelation that three of the four affected reactors at
Fukushima experienced full meltdown, and plants in America being put on
alert or shut down as a result of flooding alongside the Missouri River [1],
the risks involved with nuclear power are being illustrated all too clearly.
And the public is taking notice; Italian voters have overwhelmingly rejected
Silvio Berlusconi's plans to restart the country's nuclear programme [2],
and Germany has committed to closing all of its plants by 2022 [3].

Mr Ramsay concluded:

"There are good reasons why countries across Europe are turning away from
nuclear power and yet the British government is taking us in the opposite
direction. Nuclear power creates a toxic legacy of waste and is bad value
for money. Investing the same amount in energy efficiency and renewable
energy would make much more difference more quickly in reducing carbon
emissions, making our energy supply more secure and creating skilled,
lasting jobs."

21 Jun 2011

That Petrol Emotion Big Decision

That Petrol Emotion!

Marxist pop I love, Scritti Polliti, Gang of Four, etc.

Alberto Pizango believes that President-elect finds Peru in a deplorable condition.

The Amazon leader Alberto Pizango, exiled for time to Nicaragua by the previous Garcia government (who murdered the indigenous at Bagua in the government campaign to open the Amazon), has argued that the incoming President Humala finds Peru in a desperate state. Indigenous are in poverty and have had their land stolen for inappropriate projects. An economy that respects the indigenous and Planet Earth is necessary for shared prosperity.

I salute Alberto Pizango, this is my rough translation of his statement, original in Spanish here

AIDESEP, June 20, 2011.

AIDESEP President Alberto Pizango Chota, on his visit to the city of Cañete, said that the outoging APRA government, had left the country in deplorable conditions: broken socially, without respect for indigenous peoples, with more than 80 Peruvian indigenous killed during social conflicts and a host of allegations of corruption, proving that despite their assurances the country had been mismanaged.

The indigenous leader said that the next government was very interested in reconciling the country because the number of conflicts had increased substantially during the administration of the previous government.

During his visit, Pizango Chota said the government of Ollanta Humala must work hard to get the country out of economic crisis, and there are the clear examples of how indigenous communities live how riddled with poverty, of people who face serious diseases such as hepatitis B and a total absence of government support in overcoming these problems.

"But out in San Benito that people do not want development and that is a lie that will continue if the next government does not respect our way of living harmoniously with Mother Nature: we if we want development not only of our communities but for the country but we firmly believe it must be with respect and truth in hand, "he said.

Finally, he said the outgoing government was exclusive throughout its period of rule, and noted the problems faced by this new administration to understand a country that seeks, through peaceful protest, to find a middle ground and respect the way of life, development and future and not imposed projects [on indigenous people}.

Do Monkeys Wonder?


I wonder....

Couldn't resist the photo, though.

Green Party argues MPs must act on cruelty

Greens call on MPs to listen to constituents' views on wild animal ban

The Green Party has called on MPs to listen to the voices of their
constituents this Thursday, when they have an opportunity to vote on a ban
on the use of wild animals in circuses and make the coalition act on this
issue. Nearly 3 out of 4 British citizens favour a ban.

As MPs prepare to vote, ministers have tabled a counter-motion, which means
MPs may only be able to vote for or against the Government motion, and not
with the backbench call for a ban.

Caroline Allen, Green Party Spokesperson on Animals said:

"These majestic animals do not belong on the road, living in inadequate
enclosures, suffering from inappropriate, sometimes cruel, training
techniques and performing routines that demean them and their audience."

The government claimed that a ban would risk a legal challenge, but Greens
argue that this is little more than an excuse, with no evidence forthcoming
to back up the position. During a parliamentary

debate on 8th June, Caroline Lucas MP highlighted that the government was
given similar legal advice on banning the import of cat, dog and seal fur,
yet when other governments challenged similar legal advice they found that
they could implement bans.

Caroline Allen continued:

"This is once again a case where legal advice should be challenged, ensuring
that we ban this cruel practice once and for all. The government's proposal
to license and regulate instead of banning wild animals in circuses is
clearly unworkable, given the transitory nature of circuses.

"Unfortunately, this decision is not out of step with the government line on
animal welfare thus far. With question marks still remaining over the
government's position on the badger cull and its stated intention to call a
vote on hunting with hounds, this is a worrying time for all of those who
care about animal welfare."

Published and promoted by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.

US government apologies to indigenous with $3.4bn award

Good news but comes after the systematic theft of resources by corporations and US government

A US federal judge has approved a $3.4bn settlement over mismanaged Native American royalties, in a case that represents the largest settlement ever approved against the US government.

Elouise Cobell of Browning, Montana, claimed in the 15-year-old suit that for more than a century, US officials systematically stole or squandered billions in royalties intended for Native Americans in exchange for oil, gas, grazing and other leases.

Thomas Hogan, the US district judge, approved the settlement on Monday after a daylong hearing, saying the legitimacy of Cobell's claims could not be questioned.

"The government mismanaged these resources on a staggering scale," Hogan said.

The settlement does not make up for the losses native American tribes suffered for more than a century, Hogan added, but "at least it provides some certainty" to hundreds of thousands of individuals who will now receive payments of least $1,000 each from the government. Many will receive substantially more money.

Cobell, a member of the Blackfoot Tribe, will receive $2 million, and three other named plaintiffs will receive payments ranging from $150,000 to $200,000 each.

Battles and appeals

The government and lawyers representing Cobell settled the lawsuit in December 2009 after years of court battles and appeals. Congress approved the settlement at the end of last year, and Barack Obama, the US president, signed it into law.

But the case still needed Hogan's approval, which he provided late Monday after a hearing on the merits of the case and legal fees to be assessed.


20 Jun 2011

African Union says Libyan bombing must stop

On 15 June 2011, the United Nations Security Council and the African Union met to discuss the war in Libya. Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, gave the African Union’s stand on NATO’s bombing of Libya:

Mr President,

1. Thank you for organising this interactive dialogue. It is good that the United Nations Security Council has met the African Union (AU) Mediation Committee - High Level ad hoc Committee on Libya - so that we can exchange views on the situation in Libya in a candid manner. This should have happened much earlier because Libya is a founding member of the AU. An attack on Libya or any other member of the African Union without express agreement by the AU is a dangerous provocation that should be avoided given the relaxed international situation in the last 20 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from jail and his eventual freedom in apartheid South Africa.

2. The United Nations is on safer ground if it confines itself to maintaining international peace and deterring war among member states.

3. Intervening in the internal affairs of member states should be avoided except where there is proof of genocide or imminent genocide as happened in Rwanda or against the Jews in Germany and the European countries that were occupied by the Third Reich.

4. There are differences on the issue of Libya as to whether there was proof of genocide or intended genocide. Fighting between Government troops and armed insurrectionists is not genocide. It is civil war. It is the attack on unarmed civilians with the aim of exterminating a particular group that is genocide – to exterminate the genes of targeted groups such as the Jews, Tutsis, etc. It is wrong to characterise every violence as genocide or imminent genocide so as to use it as a pretext for the undermining of the sovereignty of States. Certainly, sovereignty has been a tool of emancipation of the peoples of Africa who are beginning to chart transformational paths for most of the African countries after centuries of predation by the slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African Countries are, therefore, tantamount to inflicting fresh wounds on the destiny of the African peoples. If foreign invasions, meddlings, interventions, etc, were a source of prosperity, then, Africa should be the richest continent in the world because we have had all versions of all that: slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yet, Africa has been the most wretched on account of that foreign meddling.

5. Whatever the genesis of the intervention by NATO in Libya, the AU called for dialogue both before the UN Security Council passed resolutions 1970 and 1973, and after they were passed three months ago. Ignoring the AU and continuing the bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-handed, arrogant and provocative. This is something that cannot be sustained. To a discerning mind, such a course is dangerous. It is unwise for certain players to be intoxicated with technological superiority and begin to think they alone can alter the course of human history towards freedom for the whole of mankind. Certainly, no constellation of states should think that they can recreate hegemony over Africa.

6. The safer way is to use dialogue to resolve all problems.

7. The UN or any other body acting on behalf of the UN must be neutral in relation to the internal affairs of member states. Certainly, that should be the case with respect to African countries. The UN should not take sides in a civil war. The UN should promote dialogue, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and help in enforcing agreements arrived at after negotiations, as in the Sudan.

8. Regardless of the genesis of the Libyan problem, the correct way forward now is dialogue without pre-conditions. The demand by some countries that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi must go first before the dialogue is incorrect. Whether Gaddafi goes or stays is a matter for the Libyan people to decide. It is particularly wrong when the demand for Gaddafi’s departure is made by outsiders.

9. In order for dialogue, without pre-conditions, to take place, we need a ceasefire in place that should be monitored by African Union troops among others. This will help the AU to confirm the veracity of stories whether or not Gaddafi has been killing civilians intentionally.

10. That dialogue should agree on the way forward in respect of introducing competitive politics. Gaddafi thinks he has the most democratic system in the world giving authority to the people and to elected local committees. Since so much chaos in Libya has emerged on the issue, Gaddafi should see the wisdom of accepting competitive democracy. Gaddafi cannot ignore the fact that the rebels took over Benghazi and his authority melted away before NATO came in to confuse the picture. The pre-NATO uprising in Benghazi was, mainly, internal. Gaddafi may say that they were organised by Al Qaeda. Even if that is so, it is a fact that some Libyans in Benghazi did not accept Gaddafi’s authority. Therefore, Gaddafi must think of and agree to reforms, resulting into competitive politics.

11. A transitional mechanism could, then, be worked out and competitive elections would take place after an agreed timetable.

12. What about security for the opposition members? We have plenty of experience on such issues. What did we do in Burundi? We provided a protection force (a brigade) for the Hutu leaders who were living outside Burundi or were in the bush. One of them is now the President of Burundi after winning democratic elections.

13. How about those who are alleged to have committed war crimes – including Gaddafi and the rebels? Again, our decision in Burundi is useful here. We used the concept of "immunité provisoire" (provisional immunity), for all the stakeholders so that they could participate in the dialogue. After peace is realised, then a Truth and Reconciliation body could be set up to look into these matters. After democratic elections, trials of guilty parties can take place.

14. Long-term safety of everybody can be ensured by security sector reform and especially reform of the army, so that it takes orders from any elected President.

15. The intervention in Libya was premised on the basis of protecting civilians and preventing further civilian deaths. However, the humanitarian situation in Libya remains serious and continues to get worse with continued hostilities. Looking at how UNSCRs 1970 and 1973 are being implemented, the international community and the United Nations in particular, are being severely put to the test, as what is happening in Libya will undermine future efforts of the UN in the protection of civilians. There is, therefore, no need for any war-like activities in Libya because there is a peaceful way forward. There has been no need for these war activities, ever since Gaddafi accepted dialogue when the AU mediation Committee visited Tripoli on 10 April 2011. Any war activities after that have been provocation for Africa. It is an unnecessary war. It must stop.

16. The story that the rebels cannot engage in dialogue unless Gaddafi goes away does not convince us. If they do not want dialogue, then, let them fight their war with Gaddafi without NATO bombing. Then, eventually, a modus vivendi will emerge between the two parties or one of them will be defeated. The attitude of the rebels shows us the danger of external involvement in internal affairs of African countries. The externally sponsored groups spurn dialogue or building internal consensus and, instead, concentrate on winning external patrons. This cannot be in Libya's interest. Mobutu’s Congo as well as performance of all the other neo-colonies of Africa in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and their eventual collapse in the 1990s prove that foreign-sponsored groups are of no value to Africa.

17. It is essential that the UN Security Council works with the African Union to ensure that a ceasefire is immediately established with an effective and verifiable monitoring mechanism and dialogue embarked upon leading to a political process including transitional arrangements and the necessary reforms. The crisis in Libya requires a political solution and not a military one. The AU Road Map is the most viable option.
Finally, what is needed on the issue of Libya is a genuine partnership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union. By working together we can find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya.


1. African Union Issued Warning to United Nations to Stop Attacks on Libya
2. Fabricated Evidence of Libyan Terrorism
3. Israel Sides with Rebels: No News about Lockerbie
4. Lockerbie PMQs for David Cameron

Green Party must confront war culture.

love water melon harris blog, great blog from Australia, must must must re-post more of his stuff.

If you are in the know Leichhardt is a word to conjure with!

More deaths in Afghanistan - the Greens must confront Australia's war culture
The Greens attempt to challenge Australia’s Afghan war policy in parliament last year has by and large sunk without trace. In spite of recent polls showing overwhelming public opposition, Australia’s Afghan commitment rolls on, with the recent deaths of more Australian soldiers. And the war continues to claim the lives of Afghan civilians.

For the major “war” parties, and the military, political and media elites who support Australia’s war culture, it has been “as you were” since the parliamentary debate. For the Greens the debate reached an inevitable dead-end, based as it was around the limited argument that only parliament should approve foreign troop deployments. With the major parties supporting the Afghan commitment such a vote would make no difference to the current situation. While the recent military deaths has seen the Greens national parliamentary leadership renew calls for Australian troop withdrawals, a new, more assertive, strategy is called for.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her 2010 Christmas message remembered those Australian troops killed during 2010, - “they died for us” - and this sentiment has been re-enforced through the passing of another ANZAC Day, and the positive spin it places on the notion of “sacrifice”. But as playwright Alan Bennett put it in The History Boys, memorialising war is about forgetting its truths: “it's not lest we forget, it's lest we remember”. So what are the Greens to do in the face of the national amnesia underpinning Australia’s war culture?


Peru After the Elections: A Panel Discussion

Peru After the Elections: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday 22nd June 2011
4pm - 6pm

Committee Room 4a
Palace of Westminster

Following a tightly-run contest, left-of-centre candidate Ollanta Humala narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori on 5th June 2011 to become Peru’s next president. But what will the new administration look like and what will be the major political, economic and social challenges it is likely to face over the next five years?

To analyse the implications of Humala’s victory for Anglo-Peruvian relations and for human rights and development in the country, the Peru Support Group, Christian Aid and CAFOD will be hosting a panel discussion in the UK parliament on 22nd June. Confirmed speakers are:

LORD AVEBURY (Chair) - President of the Peru Support Group

PAULO DRINOT - Senior Lecturer, Latin America (Institute for the Study of the Americas)

ÁLVARO GARCÍA - Campaigner, South America Team (Amnesty International)

FIONA CLOUDER - South America Head (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

EMMA REYNOLDS MP – Shadow Foreign Office Minister (Labour)

This is a public event and all are welcome to attend. You should use St Stephen's entrance and allow 20 minutes to pass through parliament security.

For further information, or to register for the event, please e-mail: info@perusupportgroup.org.uk or call 0207 263 1016.

19 Jun 2011

Daisy Zapata Fasabi salutes the Aymara struggle for Mother Earth!

Aymara protesters have mobilised to stop a silver mine on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Southern Peru, three days ago, their leader Walter Aduviri was threatened with arrest by Alan Garcia's government after a TV interview.

For a time Aduviri was trapped in the TV building but is now free, Garcia's police murdered hundreds of indigenous Amazonians at Bagua.

The vice president of the federation of Amazon indigenous people Daysi Zapata Fasabi, pledge solidarity, in the Aymara struggle to preserve Mother Earth.

Garcia is on the way out and indigenous people backed Ollanta Humala the newly elected president...the worlds media, markets and financial institutions are urging him to attack the indigenous and attack the environment of Peru. The Peru indigenous in the Amazon, the Andes and amongst the Aymara of the south are militant, strategic and superbly well organised.

So if you love you plant learn from them and spread the word!

Here is my very rough translation.

Vice President of AIDESEP, Daysi Zapata Fasabi,i expressed solidarity with her Aymara brother Walter Aduviri who was threatened with arrest by the APRA the APRA government after he left a media interview and suggested that the threat of arrest was to distract from Congress debate over the Forestry and Wildlife Law.

The indigenous leader, and people's representative, said that most reject the government approach of criminalizing protest, chasing their representatives who simply do not agree with the form of development that is imposed from Lima with a narrow vision, centralist and predatory.

Zapata Fasabi recalled that what is happening in Puno is a similar to the events of Bagua in 2009: Amazonian peoples demanded dialogue, to listen and to respect self-determination over their territories, however, the APRA government instead of dialogue ordered a confrontation for no reason. Puno has now been paralyzed for two months and the president instead of looking at this area of ​​the country is thinking of other things.

"It is possible that the president of a country is more aware of colossal buildings, which gives priority to cement in place of life and does not meet the demands of the Aymara and Quechua. Everything indicates that Garcia still lives on the backs of the people, still thinks that the only important thing is what he decides and instead of asking the Peruvian population. It is outrageous to think that he prefers confrontation rather than solutions, " she said.

Spanish original here

Brian Haw - Rest in the peace you fought for every day

So sad that Brian Haw has died.

He worked for peace and was a thorn in the side of the killer clowns in the House of Commons.

Met him once or twice, a towering presence and a proud embarrassment to the killers, arms dealers, back bench MPs who did so much evil.

He was persecuted everyday....him memorial will be more of us making a noise for peace.

Saturday 18th June 2011

Dear friends and supporters,

It is with deepest regret that I inform you that our father, Brian, passed away this morning.

As you know he was battling lung cancer, and was having treatment in Germany.

He left us in his sleep and in no pain, after a long, hard fight.

With your help we have been able to share months more than we should have had with him, and for that we are eternally grateful.

We would like to have this time to be together as a family, to share in the love he gave us, and respectfully ask that you allow us this time undisturbed.

We will make further arrangements known to you all in due course.

Once again thank-you for your kindness and continued support,

Kind regards,

Brian's family.


'"Activism is my rent for living on the planet."

Alice Walker once said "Activism is my rent for living on the planet."

I owe Alice a big thank you, when I was writing my anthology 'Green History', published in 1993, she let me use her piece 'Nobody was supposed to survive' about the MOVE organisation, radical ecologist murdered in Philadephia.

You can find it fairly easily on the net and its always worth reading:

'Nobody was supposed to survive.' - Ramona Africa (New York Times, 7 January 1986)

Police Drop Bomb on Radicals' Home in Philadelphia - New York Times 14may85
After the Inferno. Tears and Bewilderment - New York Times 15may85
Nobody was Supposed to Survive - Alice Walker from Living by the Word 1988
Philadelphia, city officials ordered to Pay $1.5 Million to MOVE Survivor - CNN 24jun96
6 Bodies in Ashes of Radicals' Home; Assault Defended - New York Times 15may85

I was in Paris in mid-May of 1985 when I heard the news about MOVE. My traveling companion read aloud the item in the newspaper that described the assault on a house on Osage Avenue in Philadelphia occupied by a group of 'radical, black, back-to-nature' revolutionaries that local authorities had been 'battling' for over a decade. As he read the article detailing the attack that led, eventually, to the actual bombing of the house (with military bombing material supplied to local police by the FBI) and the deaths of at least eleven people, many of them women, five of them children, our mutual feeling was of horror, followed immediately by anger and grief. Grief: that feeling of unassuageable sadness and rage that makes the heart feel naked to the elements, clawed by talons of ice. For, even knowing nothing of MOVE (short for Movement, which a revolution assumes) and little of the 'City of Brotherly Love', Philadelphia, we recognized the heartlessness of the crime, and realized that for the local authorities to go after eleven people, five of them children, with the kind of viciousness and force usually reserved for war, what they were trying to kill had to be more than the human beings involved; it had to be a spirit, an idea. But what spirit? What idea?

There was only one adult survivor of the massacre: a young black woman named Ramona Africa. She suffered serious burns over much of her body (and would claim, later in court, as she sustained her own defense: 'I am guilty of nothing but hiding in the basement trying to protect myself and ... MOVE children'). The bombing of the MOVE house ignited a fire that roared through the black, middle-class neighborhood, totally destroying more than sixty houses and leaving 250 people homeless.

There we stood on a street corner in Paris, reading between the lines. It seems MOVE people never combed their hair, but wore it in long 'ropes' that people assumed were unclean. Since this is also how we wear out hair, we recognized this 'weird' style: dreadlocks. The style of the ancients: Ethiopians and Egyptians. Easily washed, quickly dried - a true wash-and-wear style for black people (and adventuresome whites) and painless, which is no doubt why MOVE people chose it for their children. And "for themselves: 'Why suffer for cosmetic reasons?' they must have asked.

It appeared that the MOVE people were vegetarians and ate their food raw because they believed raw food healthier for the body and the soul. They believed in letting orange peels, banana peels, and other organic refuse 'cycle' back into the earth. Composting? They did not believe in embalming dead people or burying them in caskets. They thought they should be allowed to 'cycle' back to the earth, too. They loved dogs (their leader, John Africa, was called 'The Dog Man' because he cared for so many) and never killed animals of any kind, not even rats (which infuriated their neighbors), because they believed in the sanctity of all life.



18 Jun 2011

Palestinians call for flotilla support

More than 40 Palestinian civil society organisations released a statement on June 12 calling for international support for the Freedom Flotilla 2, which aims to break the siege of Gaza.

The first freedom flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza was violently attacked in May, 2010. Israeli commandoes killed nine Turkish volunteers aboard the Mavi Marmara, the flotilla’s lead ship.

Israeli troops boarded the ship at night and used live ammunition against unarmed activists. The attack occurred in international waters in violation of international law.

An even larger flotilla bringing aid, involving about 1500 activists from more than 50 countries, is set to sail to Gaza in late June. Israel has threatened to use snipers against the flotilla.


"They care more about trees than people"

Interesting article from Naomi about the population debate from last year, Amartya Sen's work on population and the 100 million missing womenis also essential.

Charles Coven wrote recently in the Sunday Times of the green dividend to the child benefit cut. Put simply, less benefits will result in fewer children and therefore less consumption and while this is not the aim of the cuts it is unintentionally "greening" the benefits system. While there has been much written about the disproportionate impact on women of benefits cuts, particularly child benefit, the 'population control' debate is remarkably devoid of women. You know, the ones that are having the babies.

The green movement is often, wrongfully, accused of misanthropy. "They care more about trees than people", screech the professional oppositionists. But the obsession with population control by a minority of greens opens them up to very legitimate accusations of authoritarianism, 'classism' (i.e. it's the poor we want to stop having babies) and gender-blindness. It is a paradigm dominated by elite men which spectacularly misses the point and ignores the evidence that actually protecting sexual and reproductive rights and empowering women to control their own fertility results in lower birth rates and importantly, lower death rates.

No one who works in maternal and reproductive health talks of 'population control'. For historical and contemporary reasons it is associated with eugenics, China's one-child policy, forced sterilisation and forced abortion. These morally abhorrent examples might be dismissed as extremes but they are simply the results of a way of thinking about reproduction which is coercive and rejects individual rights as fundamental to public policy.


17 Jun 2011

New victory for Amazon indigenous as Peru recognises their languages

Aidesep are amigos of amigos, the federation of indigenous Amazon people in Peru, they mobilise for their communities and Mother Earth especially seeking to conserve the Amazon.

I have quickly translated this news of the new law in Peru to defend indigenous languages. Spread the word, salute Aidesep!

AIDESEP, June 15, 2011.

The Peruvian Congress has approved the Law for the preservation and use of indigneous languages, a measure proposed by Congresswoman Maria Sumire, who noted that this decision is part of the United Nations Declaration in the sense that indigneous peoples have the right the full enjoyment of all fundamental freedoms recognized by the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To refute the comments of the Executive, Congresswoman Sumire said it was required that public administration had to communicate in more than 80 native languages ​​exist as in Article 2, of opinion, there is a declaration of interest national use, preservation, development, recovery, development and dissemination of indigenous languages ​​in the country.

She argued that the law of preservation and use of indigneous languages provides that any person is entitled to their ethnic and cultural identity and stressed that this debate comes at a very special month as it celebrates farmer's day and in the city of Cusco, capital of the empire of the Incas the festival of Inti Raymi,

The LAW is INCLUSIVE support not only men and women from the Quechua nationality, but also Aymara and Amazonian peoples.

Spanish original here!

15 Jun 2011

Green leader challenges homophobe visit to parliament

Green Party leader in Scotland, Patrick Harvie does an impressive job, just spotted this story.

Brigham Young is a hardcore anti-LGBT university, what with Brian Souter's support for the SNP it makes one wonder whether an independent Scotland would be friendly to LGBT people.

BY university states quite boldly:

"Homosexual behavior or advocacy of homosexual behavior are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings. Advocacy includes seeking to influence others to engage in homosexual behavior or promoting homosexual relations as being morally acceptable."


Anyway on to Patrick's statement

Green party leader Patrick Harvie has condemned the Scottish Parliament for letting the leader of a homophobic academic institution to address MSPs.

Cecil Samuelson, president of US-based Brigham Young University - which is owned and run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - was asked to deliver the Time For Reflection speech before Holyrood on Wednesday.

Mr Harvie said: "Mr Samuelson should never have been invited to address the Scottish Parliament, given he leads an institutionally homophobic academic institution.

"Contrary to the position he holds, there is nothing dishonourable about loving another man or another woman, and the idea that a university might expel students for feeling otherwise is utterly outdated and absurd.

"Parliament is an institution for the whole of Scotland, and this platform must never again be given to someone with this kind of attitude to Scotland's gays and lesbians.


Mass blockade of Hinkley nuclear power station announced

With Italy being the latest European country to reject nuclear power, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups in Britain has announced plans to hold a mass non-violent blockade of Hinkley Point nuclear power station on 3rd October. The plant, near Bridgwater in Somerset, is expected to be the site of the first new nuclear power station, if current plans go ahead.

Hundreds of campaigners are expected to take part in Gandhi-style civil disobedience, risking arrest by blockading the access road to the site in protest over the threat posed by nuclear power. Other campaigners will support those blockading whilst not risking arrest. The blockade is the first action of ‘Stop New Nuclear’ - an alliance of local and nation groups opposed to nuclear new build which has been founded by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Kick Nuclear, South West Against Nuclear, Shutdown Sizewell, Sizewell Blockaders, Trident Ploughshares and Stop Hinkley. Groups in different areas of the UK are already mobilising campaigners to travel to the protest.

Kate Hudson, General Secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said “Whilst Germany and Italy are now set against nuclear power, Britain seems to be taking almost no account of the lessons that must be learnt from the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. If the government pushes ahead with new nuclear plans, a wave of civil disobedience will dog construction at each site. Millions of people live in the areas equivalent to the zones evacuated in Japan. Are we really prepared to risk our safety by pursuing a dirty, dangerous and expensive technology which cannot make any serious contribution to the fight against climate change?

“We’ll be joining the blockade to put down a marker to the government. This protest will come to be seen as just the tip of the iceberg if they decide to build a whole new generation of these toxic timebombs, which are only ever a few errors away from leaving vast areas contaminated with radioactive poisons. We demand that the government – which includes Lib Dem ministers who opposed nuclear power until they entered the coalition – scrap their plans and instead invest in the creation of genuinely green power sources."

Andreas Speck of Kick Nuclear said “This blockade will be the first big mobilisation against new nuclear. If the government and nuclear firms like EDF continue to ignore the lessons of Fukushima we will be back to organise more and more civil disobedience. This is not just a fight about one proposed power station - if people power stops these plans at Hinkley Point, we will be stopping the whole programme dead in its tracks.”

Angie Zelter of Trident Ploughshares stated that nuclear weapons disarmers from across the country would be joining the blockade in an alliance that recognises the close links between the civil and military uses of nuclear energy and aims to promote nuclear disarmament and safe, sustainable and community-owned energy production. She said, "It is appalling that new nuclear power stations are being built when they will be adding to the mountain of highly dangerous radioactive waste that we have no idea how to dispose of safely.”

Date and time: Early morning, Monday 3rd October
In the run-up to the event training sessions will be run to facilitate a safe and peaceful protest where disruption to the local community is kept to a minimum. Local events are planned in the Bridgwater area in the days running-up to the blockade.

Further details at http://www.stopnewnuclear.org.uk/

Green politics and socialism

Chris Burton joined the Green Party because of its environmental policies but has increasingly been impressed by its socialist principles.

Here he kicks off a debate.

To my mind Caroline Lucas has got this right already, no ecology without social justice.

Socialism must be 'eco', democratic and effecient (think commons/open source/Ostrom).

Indeed Caroline has written about Elinor Ostrom here.
Capitalism cannot deliver prosperity or environmental quality, hey but you know my views...on to Chris.

I am hesitant to use the word "socialist" when describing the Green Party, largely because the term is not understood and has very negative connotations. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the "socialist" label is a bullet we should bite?

It would certainly get us a good deal of publicity, and force the media to understand our belief that the environment cannot be saved under our current financial-capitalist system. There is a lot of truth in the saying that "there's no such thing as bad publicity". If the media starts saying "the Greens - they're a bunch of socialists", it will at least give us a chance to explain why we are socialists and how our policies will benefit everyone, especially the poorest and disadvantaged. If that helps our message to get through to the poor and disadvantaged then we will surely take over Labour's complete constituency, just as they took over the Liberal vote in the last century. And as the full and true nature of Green policies comes under the scrutiny that the "socialist" label will attract, the middle classes will come to see that Green policies hold no fears for them.

When I joined the Green Party, I did so on environmental grounds (i.e. the human world will end if we do nothing, or do more of the same). I had no idea that our social policies were, basically, socialist. But, much to my initial surprise, I have found them all to be pretty much exactly right and proper. I am now more than happy to defend socialism. In fact, the human world cannot be saved without it.

I think we need to emphasise the Green Party's stand on social issues. We have no need to talk about environmental issues, not because it is not important (it is) but because everybody already knows that the Green Party supports sensible environmental policies. But few members of the general public have any idea about what our "fairness" policies would mean to their lives. And yet our social policies are exactly what everyone needs, if only they knew it. Even the bankers would benefit - not financially, of course, but through finding (no doubt to their own surprise) a better quality of life, spending their time on the things that really matter. If we could put our social policies absolutely to the fore (and get the media to understand that we have much to say on the topic) then maybe we can achieve in the next 20 years what the Labour party did in same period of the last century.

What do others think? Should we declare ourselves absolutely as "socialist"? Not necessarily by adding "socialist" to our party name ("Green Socialist" or "Socialist Green" makes us sound like a different party altogether), but simply by putting it to the forefront of our branding.

14 Jun 2011

Sign the petition for arrested students


Defend the right to protest – Drop the charges – Full independent investigation into SOAS arrests now!

On late Monday afternoon, a hundred students and staff from SOAS and the University of London assembled to protest against Universities Minister David Willetts’ visit to the college.

In order to avoid a repetition of what happened to A.C. Grayling’s lecture at Foyles bookstore, or Richard Dawkins at the Institute of Education SOAS management had not listed the event on its website. In addition, SOAS management flouted the fact that both the Students’ Union and UCU at SOAS have voted motions of no confidence in David Willetts. Instead they invited the police onto college grounds to guard the door to the Brunel Gallery.

Asserting their democratic right to protest, students and staff entered the building and occupied the foyer of the lecture hall in which Willetts was speaking. Once the occupation had ended the police arrested a student, and went over to arrest three more. Police were using batons, they erected metal barriers outside the Brunel Gallery and one plain clothes police officer was spotted giving hand signals to the police. The police's actions were provocative, violent and turned a good-natured protest into a scene of mayhem.

The events of yesterday are indeed worrying as they show once again the brutal methods the police will employ in order to quell dissent on the streets and on our campuses. It seems that now, every time the students’ and trade union movement calls a protest, the police abuse their powers to intimidate and attack people taking part.

On June 30, up to one million public sector workers will be striking in defence of their pensions and livelihoods. Yesterday’s attacks on our right to protest resemble the arrests before the Royal Wedding and in the run-up to March 26.

We pledge to defend and assert our right to protest, and demand

- SOAS management instigate a full independent investigation with the involvement of student and staff from the college into what happened at the demonstration

- the police drop all charges against the arrested protesters

- An end to political policing


Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC & Education Activist Network
Jim Wolfreys, UCU Kings College
Jelena Timotejevic, UCU and Defend the Right to Protest
Clare Solomon, ULU President
Sean Rillo Raczka, ULU Vice-President
Ruby Hirsch, NUS NEC (FE place)
Derek Wall, former Green Party Principal Speaker

Eider duck or how sustainability can still be cruel.

My surprise was slightly modified when I knew that this tranquil and solemn personage was only a hunter of the eider duck, the down of which is, after all, the greatest source of the Icelanders' wealth.

In the early days of summer, the female of the eider, a pretty sort of duck, builds its nest amid the rocks of the fjords—the name given to all narrow gulfs in Scandinavian countries—with which every part of the island is indented. No sooner has the eider duck made her nest than she lines the inside of it with the softest down from her breast. Then comes the hunter or trader, taking away the nest, the poor bereaved female begins her task over again, and this continues as long as any eider down is to be found.

When she can find no more the male bird sets to work to see what he can do. As, however, his down is not so soft, and has therefore no commercial value, the hunter does not take the trouble to rob him of his nest lining. The nest is accordingly finished, the eggs are laid, the little ones are born, and next year the harvest of eider down is again collected.


13 Jun 2011

Caroline Lucas looks to decriminalising drugs

An urgent new evidence-based approach is needed to tackle the UK’s drug crisis and make our communities safer, Caroline Lucas MP will say today.

The Green party leader will make a speech to NHS healthcare professionals in Brighton this evening. She will echo the findings of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which earlier this month called for a major review of drugs policy.

The Brighton MP will say:

There is growing agreement across the scientific and political communities, in the police and the legal professions, that we need to move away from prohibition of use towards an evidence-based, public health approach to drug addiction.

One of my top priorities as a local MP is to tackle Brighton and Hove’s very sad reputation as the drugs death capital of the UK. In order to do that, we need to recognise the reality that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has failed – and start dealing with drugs differently.

Lucas is an active member of Parliament’s All Party Group for Drug Policy Reform.


Italian voters say good bye to Berlusconi

Just got this from an Italian facebook friend.

WE WON!!!! The referendum in Italy repealed the laws for the return of nuclear power, for privatization of water and immunity for prime minister. The age of Berlusconi is coming to an end. In a green way ;)...

looks like Italy is heading in the Green direction.

Love to see Blair in prison with Berlusconi, Tony used to borrow the old crooks holiday home.....which helps tell us why New Labour is a toxic brand.

12 Jun 2011

Indigenous leaders threatened with death

Indigenous leaders, community members, rural workers and members of social
movements are receiving death threats because of their opposition to the Belo
Monte Dam Complex on the Xingu River in Pará, Brazil.

The threats, which have been going on for some time now, are adding to an
extremely tense situation which has only worsened [...]

Continue Reading:

EUROZONE IN CRISIS - Solidarity with the Resistance

just had this from Joseph Healy, gracias Joseph.

EUROZONE IN CRISIS - Solidarity with the Resistance
Wednesday 15 June 6:30pm
University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1
Esther Romero, Democracia Real Ya – London
Sofia Hilari, Greek anticapitalist activist
Kate Hudson CND
Alex Kenny, NUT

The EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank have created a Europe of bailouts for the rich and cutbacks for the rest. But resistance is rising. Hundreds of thousands have joined demonstrations, strikes, and mass occupations of public squares. Thousands have occupied Madrid’s Puerta del Sol in conscious imitation of the Arab Spring revolutions. The example has been followed in scores of Greeks have copied them in occupying Athens’ Syntagma Square. There is a pan-European movement of resistance forming. The Coalition of Resistance has called this meeting on Wednesday 16 June in support of the Spanish, Greek, and other European protestors. Join us in solidarity and resistance.

#SpanishRevolution, and the Commons Here and Now

Its commons or catastrophe, I believe.

Going to take part in this splendid event, hope some of my readers do too....spread the word

24 June · 13:00 - 17:00
SOAS - School of Oriental and African Studies London, Woburn Suite Large Room (B102)
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, United Kingdom

“In the beginning, nobody, not the traditional media, nor the big parties thought that it was a significant event. On May 15, a demonstration was called for in the main Spanish cities under the slogan “Real democracy now!” By Sunday evening, the main Spanish squares were full of people shouting and calling for more democratic participation and more transparency in political decisions. Since then, they have occupied Puerta del Sol, the central square in Madrid and a democratic virus has begun to sweep through the rest of the country.”

What can we learn from them? How can lessons from the Spanish Revolution contribute to the transition to a
post capitalist , commons-based society?

“The Commons is the social and political space where things get done and where people have a sense of belonging and have an element of control over their lives, providing sustenance, security and independence. Commons are organised around resources that are collectively owned or shared between or among populations. It gives voice to civil society and helps us to learn new social practices, imagine a political, economic and social system beyond capitalism or communism. It is beyond party politics or other sectarian beliefs and practices.” (Wikipedia)

What are the self-organisation and self-governance principles of the Commons, present in the practices of the Spanish Revolution?

The School of Commoning invites you to a workshop to explore and experience what commoning is about, and how the evolution of our consciousness and society relate to each other.

The Spanish revolution is beyond any revolution that has come before. Beyond ideology right or left. Beyond Capitalism. Beyond Communism. Stirring from within the hearts of ordinary people far and wide, a deeply human urge to reach for our highest potentials. Thresholds being reached, a yearning for something new. Convergence of social online and offline peer to peer networks as our new operating system.

Events of the present are calling us to co-create the future as it emerges from them.

Donation: £10
email: markjagdev@gmail.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/commoningschool

More details here.

Climate change' an excuse to pay bankers a bonus and steal forests?'?

The global solutions to climate change are pants, they use market mechanisms to commodify nature, and to line the pockets of bankers....even the survival of the planet is an excuse for the fattest people on the planet to put on more weight. Stupidity and greed are the statues that worshipped by the policy makers, we need real action on climate change and we need it now.

REDDS as Bolivian indigenous argue will take their forests and do nothing for climate.

After one week of UN climate change negotiations in Bonn it is still unclear whether countries will adopt a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol – the only legally binding treaty which obliges developed countries to reduce their emissions of green house gases.

“These reduction targets must be binding for all Annex 1 countries. They must be ambitious to guarantee a level of reduction in line with what is demanded by science. Current emissions targets will lead to an increase of four degrees centigrade in temperature by the end of this century”, said social movement leader Lauriano Pari.

With 2010 one of the hottest years on record, Bolivia’s indigenous peoples demand urgency on a comprehensive global deal to prevent irreversible climate change. Time is running out as the first commitment period of Kyoto Protocol finishes at the end of 2012.

Indigenous leader Rafael Quispe said: “Our glaciers are melting, causing desertification of our lands. Now our communities are forced to migrate to the cities. It is not possible that forests, that are our home and that we have been the guardians of for many centuries, are converted into simple carbon sinks and providers of environmental services. They should have a broader vision viewing them as areas of biodiversity and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples”.

“There must be a holistic vision of forests. Forests will not be protected through a mechanism that issues certificates for the reduction of emissions to be sold on a carbon market. With these certificates for the reduction of emissions in our forests developed countries and companies will not fulfill their emissions reductions obligations”, added Lauriano Pari.

“There must be financial reward for countries and indigenous peoples who preserve their forests. This financial reward cannot be based on market mechanisms. Instead funds should come from developed countries and innovative funding sources should be explored. For example, by establishing a new mechanism for a tax on financial transactions that would generate funds without any conditionality”

Lauriano Pari finished by saying, “We believe that in the build up to the Conference of the Parties COP17 instead of promoting the commodification of nature through the REDD mechanism we should follow a path where we recognize the rights of Mother Earth”.

webcast of press conference here

11 Jun 2011

Indigenous welcome Humala victory but remain firm in their protest

video is a little out of date but if you don't hable Espanol, it will give an idea....sin embargo its best to get the news from the indigenous rather than mainstream media...

Just translated this, the indigenous welcome Humala's victory but remain firm. The social movements in Peru are strong and strong in defence of their rights and the rights of Mother Earth, I salute them, spread the word, save the planet.

This is from Aidesep, who have of course are Amazon based but give solidarity, lets give solidarity too....the world's media and markets will be urging Humala to oppose the indigenous and extract the resources.

In the absence APRA government dialogue, the Quechua and Aymara indigenous people of Puno continue to block the road between Puno and Desaguadero.

As their demand to cancel all mining concessions in the region is intact so the indefinite strike will continue until the government shows a willingness to talk which is based not on whim but on a real desire to protect the health of the planet.

In an act of openness to dialogue, the president of the Front for the Defence of Natural Resources of the Southern Region of Puno, Aduviri Walter said that it is possible that the leaders would travel to Lima for talks with representatives of the Executive, so as to reach an agreement.

Although in recent days it has been claimed that they accepted another agreement that does not involve permanently canceling the mining concessions (not sure if my translation is correct here!).

Meanwhile, the region north of the inhabitants of Carabaya persist in their protest against the construction of the Inambari hydroelectric project .

Around 15,000 Aymara occupied the city of Puno, which was suspended after disruptive incidents that paralyzed the capital for several days and left many tourists stranded.

The Central Government has rejected the cancellation, but agreed with the Aymara communities to suspend mining and oil concessions in Puno for 14 months in four provinces (Yunguyo Chucuito Collao and Juli).

However, these communities also require the repeal of Supreme Decree 082-2007-EM, as Walter Aduviri, President of the Front for the Defence of Natural Resources for the southern Puno region, has stated.

Aduviri said that while they felt positive about the victory of nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala, the Aymara will not be satisfied with promises, but require written agreement. Meanwhile, the president of the Regional Government of Puno, Mauricio Rodriguez, has asked the president-Ollanta Humala intervene in this case ..

original in Spanish leer mas!

Take action against Brian Souter knighthood

We the undersigned are deeply offended that Brian Souter has been awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2011.

Mr. Souter ran a campaign of fear and misinformation which was deeply hurtful to the LGBT community in Scotland.

The Keep The Clause Campaign increased hatred towards an already victimised group and saw a corresponding increase in violence against LGBT people.

We believe that it is wrong for such a person to be given such a high honour by Her Majesty The Queen and call on HM Government to withdraw this award.

Petition here

Great article from the ever excellent Bright Green here

Oil is thicker than blood?

Lot of hot air about climate change but when the indigenous defend the Amazon and stop it being wrecked by gas and oil companies, how many environmentalist defend them from the death squads?

Too busy worrying about climate change to defend the indigenous defending our collective future?

Two years ago over a hundred indigenous people were massacred at Bagua. Defeating the hard right candidate in last week's election of Peru President the indigenous won a victory but oil remains thicker than water.

Just had this from Hugo Blanco

Two years since “Baguazo”: much needed accountability

A Otra Mirada

June 8, 2011 – Last Sunday, the day of the run off election, also marked the second anniversary of the bloody events that occurred in the city of Bagua on June 5, 2009. This date should not be overlooked now that a new government, which has promised to respect the rights of the indigenous peoples within the framework of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, is about to take office.

What agenda points are still pending in order to achieve reconciliation between the indigenous peoples and the Peruvian government?

First, we need to officially know why and how the so-called “Baguazo” took place. We currently have a number of reports that explain these events: the final report issued by the commission investigating the events that occurred in Bagua, which is not backed by the majority of its members; the minority report signed by the indigenous leader, Jesús Manacés, and the nun, Carmen Gómez; as well as the minority report issued by the commission led by congressman, Guido Lombardi. The fact that there is no consensus about the events that occurred in Bagua is extremely worrisome.

Second, we need Congress to pass an Indigenous Peoples Prior Consultation Act once and for all. The Executive Branch observed this legal provision about a year ago, but its debate has come to a standstill. Even worse, due to the absence of this law, sectorial decrees, which undermine the purpose of prior consultation and hinder the adequate resolution of social conflicts, continue to be enacted.

Third, we need to know which policy makers are responsible for “Baguazo”. In March, the Military and Police Supreme Court ruled against the officials tried for the bloody events, which occurred on June 5, 2009 in Bagua. Peruvian National Police Generals, Luis Muguruza Delgado and Javier Uribe, were found guilty for the crime of failure to comply with duties in an operation. In this case, the weakest link of the chain broke, in other words, the officers in charge of the operation, but, who gave the orders? Did these generals, by any chance, act alone?

What happened to the indigenous movement that came to life during the Amazon protests in 2008 and 2009?

The Amazon indigenous movement weakened because, among other aspects, a right-wing sector insisted on undermining its agenda, because the media branded the indigenous leaders as violent and because of a lack of unity within this movement and the absence of an alliance with other social movements in the country.

In this regard, although the election of the indigenous congressman, Eduardo Nayap Kinin, who ran for the Gana Perú party, is a sign of progress insofar as political representation is concerned, it is not enough for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region to legitimize their demands on Peruvian society. This task, which the Amazon peoples will have to address through their own leadership and with the backing of the government, is still pending.


10 Jun 2011

Another World is Probable: Opening of the People's Bookshop in Durham

Just had this from Benm gracias Ben!

As many of you will know, since leaving the TUC at the end of February, I have been hatching a plan to open a second hand bookshop in Durham.

The first stage came with the discovery of a beautiful little space tucked away in Saddlers Yard. Now, after a lot of hard work, the rest of the pieces of the jigsaw have finally been shoved into place and on Saturday the 18th June, the People's Bookshop will open to the public.

The People's Bookshop will be an independent, radical bookshop in the heart of Durham City. We will deal mainly in second hand books and will offer a range of alternative books, specialising in radical and labour movement politics, history, local interest, poetry, sport and a smattering of children's books. The aim is to create a more radical, community-orientated bookshop than that which is currently on offer. We believe that bookshops should reflect their communities and radical bookshops are an important part of the creation of a better world.

For more details about the People's bookshop, please visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/insights/?sk=po_206528372717351 and of course, you can follow us on twitter: @PeoplesBookshop. Look out for the website coming soon - at www.peoplesbookshop.co.uk. I'm also attaching a flyer about the People's Bookshop with contact details and a map.

On our opening weekend, we will be open from 9.30 on the Saturday and 11.00 on the Sunday. It would be great to see you over that weekend or in the coming weeks. Below are our normal opening hours:

Thursday 9.30 - 17.30
Friday 9.30 - 17.30
Saturday 9.30 - 17.30
Sunday 11.00 - 16.00
Monday closed
Tuesday closed
Wednesday closed

If you're in or around Durham, make sure you check us out. If you would like to go on our supporters list, please send me a quick email at benhenrysellers@yahoo.co.uk. I'd also like to ask that you publicise the bookshop through your networks whenever possible. I know a lot of people will love this venture, but it won't work unless people hear about it.

Tahrir is in Yorkshire

Library Square until at least Sunday

Inspired by similar camps around Europe and in Trafalgar Square, the camp is turning the newly revamped Library Square into a place to debate the failures of our current political system, and cuts are high on the agenda. A statement explaining the camp (and an early draft) are on the website: http://democracycampyork.wordpress.com

Regular news updates are on: http://twitter.com/democampyorkAlso, there's a Facebook page called "Democracy Camp York"

Speaker's Corner @ Democracy Camp York
5pm, Friday 10th June
The camp is hosting an open microphone (well, megaphone) session to encourage debate about the current political reality and the alternatives.

9 Jun 2011

Vote Tory, kill a cyclist?

Injury and death to cyclists seems to be the policy!

Jones AM, Green Party candidate for London Mayor 2012, has responded after
Conservative Assembly Members walked out on her motion calling for the
retention of the 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge.

The temporary
limit was put in place due to road works, but Jenny's motion would have
sent a strong message to Mayor Boris Johnson that the bridge had to be made
safer for cyclists and pedestrians. It was supported by the London Cycling

Jenny Jones said:

"It is striking that, keen as our mayor is
on cycling, his party would react in such a childish way to this motion.
The Tories have shown a complete disregard for the safety of London's
cyclists and pedestrians. The delay in discussing this motion could be
fatal if it leaves Blackfriars Bridge unsafe."

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

Derek Wall ’s article entitled  Imperialism Is the Arsonist: Marxism’s Contribution to Ecological Literatures and Struggles , argues that Ma...