14 Jun 2013

Green Party councillors open letter on Brighton strike action

(please sign and share, you can sign by leaving your name in the comments if you are a Green Party member)

Open letter regarding Cityclean Dispute at Brighton & Hove City Council

As concerned Green Party activists, Councillors and trade unionists we feel we have no option other than to write this letter. This is our response to the news that the Council's Cityclean workforce intend to take industrial action following the collapse of negotiations relating to proposed changes to their pay and allowances.

We are appalled that the situation has escalated to the point where Council employees are forced to take strike action in order to be heard. We are concerned that as activists from a party which has spent years arguing for workers' rights that on this occasion the argument is wrong.

We continue to oppose the imposition of pay cuts as per the decision of our Emergency General Meeting in May. Further we will show solidarity with the workers affected by this decision.

We are Green Party members because we believe in its core value of social justice. Imposing a reduction to the take home pay of some of our lowest paid workers runs completely contrary to this.

We fully support the difficult process of trying to equalise the Council's very complex allowance system so that all staff are treated fairly. That said we deplore the fact that previous Labour and Conservative-led councils failed to fix the problem when they had the opportunity.

However, we cannot accept a situation which attempts to impose a settlement on staff without the agreement of all Unions involved. Negotiations should not pit worker against worker.

We remain concerned that as yet there appears to be no satisfactory negotiated resolution which means that balloting has happened and industrial action will occur from 6AM tomorrow morning for a week.

We ask all sides to urgently find a successful resolution to avert industrial action which we believe could cause all workers, the council and the City considerable pain.


Cllr Mike Jones
Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty 
Cllr Ruth Buckley
Cllr Sven Rufus
Cllr Amy Kennedy
Cllr Liz Wakefield
Cllr Alex Phillips
Cllr Ben Duncan
Cllr Stephanie Powell 

Lisa Murray
Luke Walter
John Medhurst
Valerie Philips
Martin Ashby
Tom Druitt
Carlie Goldsmith
Tammie Cook
Davy Jones
Steve Harris
Ali Ghanimi

On Saturday 15th June there will be a demonstration from 11:30AM at the depot.

13 Jun 2013

Solidarity Park Poetry

We are all poets and editors and have created Solidarity Park Poetry. The idea is to invite as many poems from the world over. We just launched yesterday and already the poems are rolling in! People seem excited by the initiative. Our Call Out for Poems is here: http://solidaritypark.wordpress.com/category/call-out/

Please do feel free to share and peruse our site, where we have petitions, stories and indeed poetry. It would be great to get some support if you were interested in whatever way you saw fit. We do hope Derek Wall will see this. (thanks I have!)

All Best wishes,

Solidarity Park Poetry


About The Editors:

Nia Davies's poetry, reviews and articles have been published in journals and anthologies in the UK and US. Her pamphlet of poems Then Spree was published by Salt in November 2012. She co-edits Poems in Which with Amy Key and works on communications and projects for Literature Across Frontiers and Cyfnewidfa Len Cymru / Wales Literature Exchange.

http://niadavies.wordpress.com/ http://poemsinwhich.wordpress.com/ www.lit-across-frontiers.org/ www.waleslitexchange.org/


Sophie Mayer is a writer, editor and educator. Recent projects include co-editing Fit For Work: Poets against ATOS which won the Morning Star award for protest in poetry and Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot for English PEN which won the Saboteur Award, and its Russian translation companion on Radio Free Europe. She teaches Free Speech & Literature classes for EnglishPEN & Bishopsgate Insitute. She has just started a one-year residency as Poet In Residence at Archive of The Now.





Sascha Aurora Akhtar

Author Pages:




Sascha Akhtar was born and educated in Pakistan and the U.S. She has a B.A in Liberal Arts from Bennington College where she studied writing, photography, filmmaking and multi-media installation art. In 2003, she was awarded a fellowship to attend the MFA Creative Writing Programme at UMass Amherst. Her debut poetry collectionThe Grimoire of Grimalkin is available on Salt Publishing.

In 2012, her work appeared in various anthologies, includingVallum in Canada andCatechism –Poems for Pussy Riot sponsored by ENGLISH PEN. She also performed at thePoetry International Festival in Rotterdam.

Her fiction has appeared inTears in the Fence magazine and is forthcoming in The Critical Muslim. She also works as a literary reviewer and arts journalist. Past appearances include the Avantegarde festival in Germany and the DSC South Asian festival of literature in the UK. Her work is included in the Shearsman anthology on UK women's poetries, ‘Infinite Difference’.

Sascha Akhtar’s poetry has been translated into Dutch, Russian, Armenian, Gaelican, Portuguese and most recently, Polish.



On-line press, Reviews:

Interview: http://idontcallmyselfapoet.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/sascha-aurora-akhtar/

SAkhtar named as one of the top twelve to watch in the Guardian (UK) article, Anne-Marie Fyfe on the New Poetry Scene "The New Beats":






DSC South Asian Festival:


Anthologies and Publications:

Infinite Difference anthology on Shearsman MARCH 2010


‘Sama Ghazal Salaam UK:Poetry and Lyrics Influenced by the Persian, Arabian and Islamic Sufi Writing Traditions" June 2009

Web only:

10 Jun 2013


MPs will demand to know how former Prime Minister Tony Blair was able
to push through a "flimsy case" for British involvement in the Iraq War
in 2003 during a landmark debate in the House of Commons this week [1].

A cross party bid led by Green MP Caroline Lucas has successfully
secured a six-hour debate to take place in Parliament on THURSDAY (13
JUNE) - giving today's MPs the chance to interrogate the process which
took the UK into war.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Parliamentary vote to go
into Iraq and 10 years since the US-led invasion, which led to the
toppling of Saddam Hussein, began.

The Chilcot Inquiry, established in the aftermath of the conflict in
2009 by Gordon Brown, is yet to report and there are signs it could be
further delayed until after the next election.

CAROLINE LUCAS MP, who led the application for a debate to the
Backbench Business Committee with support from MPs including Rory
Stewart (Conservative), Paul Flynn (Labour) and

Charles Kennedy (Liberal Democrat), said:

"Despite the huge controversy over the way the UK was taken to war in
Iraq in 2003, there has never been a full and totally independent
inquiry into the decision.

"British troops may have ended Iraqi combat operations in 2009, but
serious questions remain about many aspects of the conflict, including
allegations of systemic abuse of Iraqi detainees.

"With ongoing delays to the reporting of the Chilcot Inquiry, it is
critical that the public does not see Parliament just sitting back and
ignoring the 10-year anniversary of this devastating


"The legacy of the Iraq invasion is still with us today, and on crucial
factors such as exit strategies and so-called 'mission creep', the
experiences in Iraq clearly hold great relevance for our handling of
current conflicts.

"We owe it to the servicemen and women and all those who have lost
their lives in Iraq - not to mention the millions of people who marched
against the war - to carefully examine what happened, in order to learn
the lessons of arguably the most damaging foreign policy decision of
recent times."



9 Jun 2013

Standing up to big gold

On July 3, 2012, Peruvian police opened fire on a public demonstration in the Andean town of Celendin, killing four protesters. José Sánchez was shot in the throat; Eleuterio García in the chest; Faustino Silva in the head. César Medina — the youngest among the dead at only 16 years old — was also shot in the head. Dozens more were seriously injured, and several arrested without cause. They were among 3,000 people rallying against the Minas Conga, a proposed gold mine that threatens to contaminate their community’s water supply.

The government immediately called a state of emergency in Celendin and two other provinces, suspending civil liberties and mobilizing riot police and soldiers to the region. But the very next morning, police and soldiers again fired at unarmed anti-Conga demonstrators in the nearby town of Bambamarca, this time killing Joselito Vásquez, 26, and injuring and arresting several others.

News of the violence sparked indignation in Peru and abroad. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, along with a host of other human rights groups, condemned the brutality, calling for a thorough investigation.

The soaring price of gold over the past several years has sparked a surge in mining in Peru and elsewhere in the developing world. Mining activity has been linked to water shortages, the contamination of lakes, rivers and land, and the loss of fragile ecosystems. It has been connected to a spike in human rights violations: those who speak out against the mines in their own backyards too often face unlawful imprisonment, eviction, threats, violence and even death. Thanks to a growing global movement made up of Indigenous communities, human rights advocates, independent journalists, church leaders and other concerned citizens, mining-related abuses are beginning to face international scrutiny.

In a February report, the Peruvian government’s ombuds office counted 147 ongoing socio-environmental conflicts across the country and cited mining as the leading cause. And yet, Peru’s mineral wealth and mining-friendly laws continue to make this Andean nation a top destination for international mining corporations — many of them Canadian.


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

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