28 Apr 2012

Peru: narco card against Cajamarca ecological struggle?

The Lima tabloid Perú21 April 25 airs claims that northern Peru's Cajamarca region—site of the civil struggle against the US-owned Conga gold mine project—is a "new center of cocaine production." Without giving his credentials, the newspaper cites "expert in themes of narcotrafficking" Jaime Antezana to the effect that Cajamarca's province of Celendín has emerged as a key coca leaf production zone, replete with labs for processing the leaf into paste. The neighboring province of Hualgayoc, and especially its capital Bambamarca, is identified as the trans-shipment point over the Andes towards the Pacific, and local center of money-laundering. The paper says this intelligence has been "confirmed" by National Police Anti-Drug Directorate (DIRANDRO) and the official coca eradication agency, the Special Project for Control and Reduction of Coca Cultivation (CORAH).
The Unitary Struggle Command of Cajamarca Region responded the next day in a statement charging the assertion is a "psychosocial" strategy by the fujimontiollantistas—a portmanteau implying that President Ollanta Humala has joined the power bloc of imprisoned ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori. The statement said rondas campesinas (peasant self-defense patrols) of the named provinces are on alert for any attempt to plant drugs or arms. It charged that the aim of the allegations is to "militarize the zone so as to impose the Conga project at the point of bullets." (Online at Caballero Verde blog)


25 Apr 2012

Will Duckworth Green Party election video

Will Duckworth is the Green Party candidate in Dudley's Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews ward at the local election on Thursday May 3rd.

For more information about Will and Dudley Green Party's work visithttp://dudley.greenparty.org.uk/localsites/dudley.html

Published and promoted by Will Duckworth on behalf of Dudley Green Party, both at 122 Cinder Bank, Dudley, DY2 9BP

22 Apr 2012

Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies

Been a bit quiet here, more twitter and fb and I have been finishing a first draft of my new book.  However back now.

Do come along to this event I am involved with on 30th May, 7.30pm.  All about non market socialism.

Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies is a newly published Pluto Press book. Join Derek Wall (Green Party councillor, former Principal Speaker for the Green Party and author of Babylon and Beyond, The Rise of the Green Left) in conversation with visiting editor of Life Without Money, Associate Professor Anitra Nelson (RMIT University, Australia) and contributor Adam Buick (regularly published in the Socialist Standard) atBolivar Hall, 54 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DL. Come and participate in a stimulating discussion on why we, as a society, need to go money-free and how we might do it.

18 Apr 2012

Angye Gaona under threat in Colombia for defending indigenous

The Colombian poet Angye Gaona is currently on trial in Cartagena de Indias, facing trumped-up charges of  ‘drug trafficking’ and ‘rebellion’. A letter by Laurens Vancrevel, circulated to draw attention to her case, explains:
“Angye is completely innocent of these charges. She has passionately defended in several press articles and interviews the case of Colombian Indians (many of whom are being killed by paramilitary gangs on order of land developers; Angye has called this ‘genocide’) and that of working class people and their unions (who are constantly being repressed by industrialists, supported by the government). Angye has also called the present Colombian government ‘a terrorist government’.  She is now being considered a nuisance by the ultra-conservative government, because Angye’s voice has a considerable influence on young Colombians. But ‘rebellion’ or ‘drug trafficking’, no.
Her trial may have a very dramatic outcome if nothing is done. Colombia is known for its political trials. At the moment some 7,000 political prisoners serve long sentences in terrible and overcrowded prisons. It is necessary therefore to try to make known to the judiciary officials, that Angye’s case is being followed closely worldwide.”

International pressure on the Colombian junta is of crucial importance. We urge you to join others in writing to the examining judge, demanding a fair trial for Angye. The address is as follows:
Al Sr. Juez de Conocimiento, Centro de Servicios Juzgado Único Penal del Circuito Especializado De Cartagena Adjunto, Centro Barrio San Diego, Calle De La Cruz No 9-42, Antiguo Colegio Panamericano 2º Piso, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, South America.
Please send copies of your letter (by snail-mail or email) to the Colombian embassy in your country.

We must let the Colombian authorities know that the world is watching.

Down The Pipe – by Angye Gaona
I follow the way of the sternum,
I search for the origin of thirst,
I go to the bottom of a pipe of silver walls,
solid due to time,
moving when the flood,
when childhood, was freezing.
I collect the rootlets of thought.
I carry them on my eroded back
next to the wild oblivion falling from me.
They look out
from small caves,
the signs of pain,
and fast elude the looks
and hide again in the skin of the pipe.
Inscribed on the walls
are the undecipherable coordinates
of the prehistoric ray
that formed my face.
It is a time of depths,
a time without syllable,
when I am only a sound
in transit to fatigue.
I search for a spring
to bathe the question affixed on my history.
I search for a new-born life
and I find thirst.
I follow the way of the sternum.

Translated by Nicolás Suescún

13 Apr 2012

Ken Livingstone Black History Month video

Boris abolished Black History month....he is likely to win the election, every day the Evening Standard attack Ken.

The bankers are backing Boris but if you are part of the 0.1% you can buy victory.

So register, vote and do your bit to oust the bankers friend Boris, going to be tough he has the cash and the support of the hyper rich and super powerful.

8 Apr 2012

International Roma Day marks resistance.

It's International Roma Day.  With a demonstration and march in London today to protest attacks on travelling peoples.

A march past many of the embassies of states which systematically oppress Roma and Traveller’s, ending at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
  • Sunday 8 April 2012, 12pm
  • Assemble at Hyde Park Corner, London
Roma people along with other minorities remain sadly under attack, their is certainly huge racism against Romas in the UK and often violent repression in parts of Eastern Europe.

Hitler's regime murdered Romas on a huge scale. 200,000 were killed during the holocaust.

It's ironic that with the Liberal Democrats in government more legislation is being put forward with the far from liberal aim of making the Roma way of life almost impossible.


Roma traditions need to be celebrated, there are fascinating stories to be learnt.  We used to live in a world of travellers with nomads moving from place to place.  Different ways of life should be celebrated not repressed and attacked.

6 Apr 2012

Occupy the atmosphere: Alternative Conference for the Rio Summit

Alternative Conference for the Rio Summit

Saturday 16th June to Sunday 17th
(the weekend preceding the summit Wednesday 29th to Friday 22nd)
 Organised by the Campaign against Climate Change with the School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Department for Development Studies.

Taking place at the central London Universities - SOAS, the Institute of Education (IOE) and University College London (UCL). Opening plenary in IOE, Thornhaugh Street off Russell Square, Russell Square Tube. Map here.
Rio to Rio: 20 wasted years?
Between 1992 and 2012:
The global surface temperature has risen by 0.38C.
The Arctic sea ice has decreased by 2.94 million square kilometres
The CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 35.19 PPM.
30 661 900 hectares of Brazilian forest have been lost.
More than 431,215.08 million tonnes of CO2 have been emitted.
The amount of CO2 emitted per year has risen from 21,421.45 to 30,398.42 million tonnes.
A wide range of workshops and seminars  - and an exciting main plenary  - are planned.
Titles include :

“Food Security how can we stop a tragedy unfolding ?”
“Green Energy versus ‘Extreme’ Energy”
“One Million Climate Jobs”
“Inequity is not only bad for society but a barrier to dealing effectively with the ecological crisis”
“Renewing Political Commitment to win the global battle against eco-calamity: a lost cause or is there a way forward. ?”
“We will not achieve environmental justice without a fundamental shift in values”
“New legal frameworks for a new era of environmental progress and justice”
“Can London lead the way in the fight against climate meltdown ?”
and more workshops on Green growth vs De-growth, bioenergy and land grabs, forests and biodiversity, aviation, geo-engineering, oceans, Zero Carbon Britain by 2030, arctic methane time bomb, generational justice, climate refugees, civil disobedience, “fracking”, population, gender and climate change, false solutions, TREC: energy from the deserts, …and more.  
 Early confirmed speakers include:
John McDonnell MP (Labour), Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party). Fiona Harvey (Guardian correspondent), Jenny Jones (Green AM & Mayoral candidate), Aniol Esteban (New Economics Foundation), Derek Wall (Green Party/Green Left),  John Stewart (chair Airport WatchHACAN etc) Stephen Tindale (ex-Director, Greenpeace), Oliver Tickell (author Kyoto 2), Mayer Hillman, Mel Evans (Platform), Prof Peter Mollinga (SOAS), Hannah Smith (COIN & Refugee & Migrant Climate Forum), Deepak Rughani (Biofuelwatch), Murad Qureshi (GLA & Bangladeshi community), John Lanchberry (RSPB), Rich Hawkins (PIRC), David Powell (Friends of the Earth), George Barda (Occupy LSX), Centre for Alternative Technology,  World Development Movement,  Action AidNative Spirit FoundationUK Tar Sands Network,  David Wasdell (Meridian Project), Andrew Lockley & Tim Kruger (on geoengineering), Suzanne Jeffrey (CCC Trade Union Group), Paul Mobbs, Debi Wagner (US Citizens Aviation Watch via skype), Chris Baugh (assistant General Sec Public  & Commercial Services Union), Peter Challenor  (National Oceanography Centre), Tony Kearns (assistant General Sec Communication Workers Union), Speaker from the Eradicating Ecocide Campaign, Gerry Wolfe (TREC-power from the deserts), Frans C.Verhagen (US Aviation Watch via Skype on Green Economy), Muzammal Hussain (Wisdom in Nature), Susan Roaf & Fergus Nichol (on built environment), Terry Reintke (co-spokesperson FYEG- Federation Young Euro- Greens), Miguel Angel Diaz (National Coordinator Joves d'Esquerra Verda, Catalonia), Melanie Strickland (Wild Law, Occupy), Daniel Scharfe (Greenspeed)   …and many more invited.
Check http://www.campaigncc.org/altsummit  for updated details.

4 Apr 2012

Interview with Adam Ramsay on direct action, green politics and anti-capitalism

Emily and I went to help Adam Ramsay in Carfax ward, Oxford yesterday.  In the photo above Georgina Bavetta who is the Green Party candidate for NUS Bloc of 15 (her election address can be found here.)  Adam is well known for being a left Green and direct action activists with UK uncuts, just the kind of candidate we need to work to get elected.

The Lib Dems took the Carfax seat from the Green Party in 2010 when the world was full of Cleggmania, we are working to take it back.  Adam is an excellent candidate. Please get involved lots of volunteers are needed for canvassing and leafletting, the campaign is the centre of Oxford so easy to get involved. For more information https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adam-Ramsay-for-Carfax-vote-Green/260795210658508

Here s my interview with Adam.

How did you get involved in green politics?

I joined the party (well, the Scottish Green Party) in 2001 when I was 15 - I had always been interested in politics, and had been given Greg Palast and Joseph Stiglitz and George Monbiot for Christmas. I looked up the manifesto online and joined straight away. While I was a student at Edinburgh, Green MSP Mark Ballard took me under his wing, and I volunteered in his office in the Parliament for 3 years, helping organise for the 2005 G8 protests, write speeches, rin campaigns and so on. I ended up as president of my student union, and involved in numerous struggles from education to housing, global to hyper-local. And I was proud to find that, in (almost) every case, my party was on the right side.

Its fair to say you see green politics as left politics?

Yes. Green politics has to be about understanding that capitalism is an exploitative system and that we urgently need radical, democratic alternatives. That's obviously left wing. In the 20th century, the left ultimately lost. We need to learn lessons from those defeats and we need to build a left rooted not in disempowering beaurocracies, but in empowering radical democracy. For me, that's what Green politics is about.

You have been involved in direct action most obviously with uncuts action at Fortnum and Mason, do tell us more about this?

Direct action is one of the many tools we have at our disposal. Done right, it can be powerful - it can put an issue centre stage in a way few other things can. And that's what UK Uncut has done with tax dodging. Fortnum and Mason is just one of many UK Uncut actions that have taken place - the biggest being when 3000 of us blocked Westminster Bridge to protest against the Health and Social Care ('end of the NHS') bill. The difference with Fortnum and Mason was just that the police decided to arrest us. Most had charges dropped, but because I happened to facilitate a couple of the meetings inside, the Crown decided I must be an organiser. In a trial  in the Westminster Magistrates Court dominated by farce, I was found guilty and ordered to pay £1000 costs. But my fellow convics and I are appealing to the High Court, where we have a good chance of having the verdict overturned. 


There is great disillusionment with party politics and many Green Parties have moved right, so why is the Green Party of England and Wales different?

Mass privatisation means the main decisions about our day to day lives are now primarily mediated not by democratic proesses, but by the market. Politicians once held many of the important levers of power in our economy - from rent controls to industrial strategy. These are now gripped by the stock exchange. Whatever MPs promise, they can't really change the facts which ultimately impact on peoples' day to day lives unless they are willing to change the system which has desmembered democracy.  At the same time, we've had an generation of what some call 'capitalist realism'. We have constantly been told that there is no alternative to that system. And so yes, people have become cynical about politicians' ability to change things. 

Green Parties are or are not different in so far as we are or are not willing to change that system - to strip corporations of those powers and to democratise them. Some Green parties around the world have always essentially been liberals with an environmental twist. They were conned by 'capitalist realism' and essentially called for some tweaks to the system as it was. I don't think it's so much that some Green Parties have moved right, it's that they've been subjected to harsher daylight. Throughout the era of capitalist realism the best we could do was point to a few problems. And Greens tend to agree on those - from poverty to the climate. Now that there is a much broader understanding that our system has been made - and that it has been made badly, and can be unmade then re-made, the debate has opened up. The questions have changed. And so those who lacked that systemic analysis have fallen behind. 

Most of the Green Party of England and Wales is different in that we have tended to be more willing to look at the structural problems of the global economy. And now that the economic collapse has laid these bare, we need to make sure that we strike while the iron is hot. 


You are standing in Carfax ward, what are you chances?

Right across the Western world, people are voting for whichever party of the left is seen as the most viable alternative to the traditional social democrats: from Canada's NDP to the SNP to George Galloway. Greens should have a strong chance everywhere this year, if we put the work in and show that we represent people's frustration and that we are a credible alternative. That said, in Carfax, Greens came second last time. One of the streets I've been canvassing, Woodin's Way, is named after the former Green councillor for the ward - the late Mike Woodin. But the Lib Dems and Labour both seem to be targeting it too, and it'll be a tough race.

If you win you will unseat a Liberal Democrat councillor, are you gaining student votes from those who feel betrayed by the party on fees and cuts?

Yes. There's lots of students in the ward who are very cross with the Lib Dems. But many come from places where the Greens have no chance, so unless I can get to them, they are unlikely to vote for me - it'll all come down to the next few weeks of the campaign - and whether people come over to Oxford to help out.

1 Apr 2012

'We have a King who rides on a donkey'/ Saint Oscar

The biblical film that made the biggest impact on me, when I was at film school, was Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St Matthew...Up to that point, I had an idea to do a film on Jesus, in cinema-vérité style, in the Lower East Side of New Yorkwith everyone wearing suits, a modern-day interpretation of the story we know. So I was moved and crushed at the same time by the Pasolini film because in a sense it was what I wanted to do. Jesus was played by a Spanish law student, and it was shot in the south of Italy...Pasolini’s use of faces was marvelous. It reminds me of Renaissance art even though it’s in black and white, and I love the music – the Missa Luba and Bach. Just compare his Christ with Jeffrey Hunter. He doesn’t act walking, he is walking; it’s not self-conscious and yet it’s very determined...I like [Pasolini]’s Christ as a kind of conspirator. It was a revolutionary Jesus. In fact, at the time, people referred to him as a Marxist Christ. The strength of Matthew’s language comes out very clearly, and it’s purer because it doesn’t try to make it a straight story from beginning to end. There are no transitions between scenes, characters come and disappear, they reappear in no dramatic way. Yet the key to the whole picture is Jesus – how forceful He is and how He carries through. 'Do not think I have come to bring peace on this earth. I have come to bring a sword...He who loves his father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me.' This is not the stuff you usually hear on Sunday morning in church! He’s a very strong Christ, you’re either with him or against him, and some of the sermons do give you the sense of being yelled at and beaten down 

It's Palm Sunday so was reminded by my partner that her folks would be off to church to sing 'We have a King who rides on a donkey'.  And this reminded me of some of the albeit repressed magic of the gospels.

While I am a non believer, I do think there is a lot of good in religion and a lot of very nice stuff in the whole story of Jesus.

Religion can be about repression but remember Jesus went out of his way to challenge injustice and sought out those at the margins of society, stressing that those who were down trodden would rise.

Nicely expressed in the hymn title, imperialists don't come to town riding humble pack animals.

St Paul added some sexual repression and the religion of Jesus became the official Christian doctrine of the late Roman Empire, alas.

Much fundamentalist Christianity like fundamentalist Islam, forgets the message and seeks to assault those who are weaker and gets its collective knickers in a twist about sexuality.

Far from attacking those with a different sexuality Jesus asked that he or she without sin should throw the first stone.

Jesus turned over the money lenders tables he didn't go and shout at his local gay bar (I am sure there were a few in downtown Jerusalem in AD 30ish).  Both Mohammed and Jesus were notable for their compassion, a few of their supposed followers could listen to their message more closely in my view.

The donkey also expresses that Jesus was also of this world and celebrates its nature.  There is a strong vein of green creation centred theology.

Jesus as most clearly expressed in Oscar Wilde's essay The Soul of Man under Socialism was of the left, was green, was an advocate of liberation:

‘Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written. And the message of Christ to man was simply ‘Be thyself.’ That is the secret of Christ.
When Jesus talks about the poor he simply means personalities, just as when he talks about the rich he simply means people who have not developed their personalities. Jesus moved in a community that allowed the accumulation of private property just as ours does, and the gospel that he preached was not that in such a community it is an advantage for a man to live on scanty, unwholesome food, to wear ragged, unwholesome clothes, to sleep in horrid, unwholesome dwellings, and a disadvantage for a man to live under healthy, pleasant, and decent conditions. Such a view would have been wrong there and then, and would, of course, be still more wrong now and in England; for as man moves northward the material necessities of life become of more vital importance, and our society is infinitely more complex, and displays far greater extremes of luxury and pauperism than any society of the antique world. What Jesus meant, was this. He said to man, ‘You have a wonderful personality. Develop it. Be yourself. Don’t imagine that your perfection lies in accumulating or possessing external things. Your affection is inside of you. If only you could realise that, you would not want to be rich. Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you. And so, try to so shape your life that external things will not harm you. And try also to get rid of personal property. It involves sordid preoccupation, endless industry, continual wrong. Personal property hinders Individualism at every step.’ It is to be noted that Jesus never says that impoverished people are necessarily good, or wealthy people necessarily bad. That would not have been true. Wealthy people are, as a class, better than impoverished people, more moral, more intellectual, more well-behaved. There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor. What Jesus does say is that man reaches his perfection, not through what he has, not even through what he does, but entirely through what he is. And so the wealthy young man who comes to Jesus is represented as a thoroughly good citizen, who has broken none of the laws of his state, none of the commandments of his religion. He is quite respectable, in the ordinary sense of that extraordinary word. Jesus says to him, ‘You should give up private property. It hinders you from realising your perfection. It is a drag upon you. It is a burden. Your personality does not need it. It is within you, and not outside of you, that you will find what you really are, and what you really want.’

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...