29 Dec 2014

Please prioritise #GreenParty motion supporting #Kurds #Rojava

The ballot to priorise motions for Green Party England and Wales spring conference has opened.

You can vote here http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1938402/b86cec820060

And you will need your user name and password for the members site.  Only open to GPEW members.

Please support the Rojava motion!

Rojava and the Kurds

Members website discussion here.
Derek Wall*, Adam Ramsay, Alcuin Edwards, Anne Gray, Caroline Allen, Emily Blyth, John Street, Les Levidow, Peter Allen, Robert Price, Ronald Lee.
This motion promotes solidarity with the Kurds in Rojava where they are promoting a self-governing ecological society, feminism and pluralism. Rojava is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists and should be given solidarity.
Add into RoPS
“On Rojava and the Kurds
The Kurds of Syria created a self-governing territory in 2012, known as Rojava (Western Kurdistan, Syria), which includes three cantons, Kobane, Afrin and Jazire. Rojava, while predominantly Kurdish contains communities self-identifying as Syriacs, Arabs, Armenians, Christians and other groups The largest political party in Rojava, the Peoples Democratic Union (PYD), is the sister Party of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Both political parties are inspired by the ideas of the social ecologist Murray Bookchin and the writings of Abdullah Ocalan. Rojava is being governed with attention to principles shared with our Green Party including grassroots democracy, ecological economics and social justice. Rojava promotes secularism, pluralism and feminism. Described by some as the Chiapas of the Middle East it is a beacon of hope not only in the region but globally Sadly relations with neighbour Turkey are tense and Rojava has been assaulted by Islamic fundamentalists belonging to the so called Islamic State.
It is vital that the Green Party of England and Wales shows solidarity with Rojava, defends their revolution, supports its Charter and self-autonomy based on pluralism, freedom of belief, gender equality and democracy as a model for all of Syria and learns more about this rare example of an attempt to create a sustainable,self-governing and feminist society.
1 The Green Party of England and Wales calls on Turkey to recognise Kurdish aspirations for peace and self-determination, recognising Rojava and negotiating with the Kurdish communities for a full and just peace settlement.
2 The Green Party of England and Wales supports the campaign to delist the PKK from the list of European Union and UK terrorist organisations.
3 The Green Party of England and Wales will promote greater understanding and solidarity with Rojava."

27 Dec 2014

Green Party to review its internal democracy and structures!

Well with over 30,000 members the Green Party of England and Wales is reviewing its structures, do we need to change Green Party Executive, Green Party Regional Council and reboot are internal democracy?

I have been sent the following and would value you other suggestions on governance if you have them I will blog!  This is one perspective parts of which I agree others of which I don't.

IMPORTANT! You probably know that the party is currently consulting on future governance structures. This affects all of us, and the consultation ends on 31st December.
At the heart of this are some really deep questions of principle, as well as specifics of how the party is structured. On the principles, I've consulted with a few like-minded colleagues and put together this charter which I hope will help people (if they agree with any of it) respond to the consultation. I would recommend you all to respond to the consultation, but whether you have time or not, I would encourage you to pledge support for part or all of the charter by emailing greencharterbox@gmail.com or leaving a comment here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/forum/national-forums/general-member-discussion/6885
The governance consultation can be found here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/news/governance-review-consultation

The Green Charter
We firmly believe in the need to review and reform Green Party governance. The current Party governance systems and structures are often insufficient to cope with the demands that a democratic, inclusive and participatory political party places on them. We believe that any changes proposed should adhere to the following principles:
1) We must retain the principle of a member-led Party with local decision-making taking precedence, and of a decision-making structure in which our leaders and officers work to empower the members, rather than exercise power over them.
2) Members should be first and foremost members of their local parties, then of regional parties, then of GPEW. Democratically agreed decisions and strategies at a local level should be made by local parties, subject to the need for local parties to cooperate with one another and subject to formal and transparent safeguards that core Green Principles are being adhered to.
3) The Party Conference must remain the sovereign decision-making body of GPEW, agreeing all policy, organisational and constitutional changes. But all efforts should be made to increase the numbers and diversity of members who attend.
4) Responsibility for the management of GPEW between conferences must lie with bodies that are directly elected by the entire Party membership, a GPEW conference, or an England-and-Wales-wide conference of an organised section of the party (such as Young Greens).
5) Members of all elected decision-making bodies must all be accountable to, and recallable by, the Party members that elected them.
6) Green MPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, and councillors should be accountable to both their electorate and - with power of recall as a last resort- the Local or Regional Party that selected them as candidates, but there should be a formal link between the party on a national level and all elected Greens (and Green Peers) with ultimate power of recall held by conference.
7) All decisions at conference and within elected bodies should be made democratically following standing orders and a full and inclusive debate, with diversity of participants maximised.
8) GPEW elected bodies should, as far as this can practically be achieved, seek to contain a minimum quota of members who identify as non-male, BAME, LGBTIQ, disabled and other groups that are disadvantaged in society and are underrepresented within the party and/or in politics. These must, where possible, be directly elected by members of an appropriate self-organised group. The party should also seek to maintain a good geographical spread of members of elected bodies.
9) Paid staff should be employed to support and/or advise on democratically agreed policies and strategies. In order to remain a member-led party, the decisions of officers elected by members should always take precedence over non-elected staff, although those staff will often be expected to give expert advice.
10) Powers of any disciplinary bodies should be limited to taking action where members are in breach of core Green principles or preventing the party from being a safe space for members. Genuine political disagreements, where all members are acting in accordance with core party principles, should be kept separate from this process.
11) Members who are not elected to a specific committee should find it easy to be aware of the work of that committee, and all papers, agendas and minutes (except anything referring to staffing, disciplinary or sensitive personal issues, or to sensitive electoral strategy decisions) should be made available to all Party members.
12) The party's governance structure should remain geared towards affecting change through both electoral and extra-electoral methods. The structure must help the party to be an outward looking, cooperative part of a wider movement, seeking to work with like-minded groups and bodies where possible.

3 Dec 2014

MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

just had this, good news

Press release: Tar sands oil - MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil


Press release – Brussels, 3 December 2014

Tar sands oil
MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

The European Parliament's environment committee today voted to reject new fuel quality rules proposed by the EU Commission, which failed to include a separate methodology for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil (1). After the vote, Green climate change spokesperson Bas Eickhout, who co-sponsored the rejection, said:
"Tar sands oil should not and cannot be part of the European fuel mix. The production of oil from tar sands is not only dirty and damaging to the environment, it also has a far greater impact on climate change than conventional oil. If the EU is serious about combatting climate change, it needs to be consistent with all its policies.
"In voting for this rejection, MEPs have voted against easing the way for tar sands oil to enter the European market. Despite the spin, tar sands oil has nothing to do with European energy security but is instead merely about placating the Canadian government in the context of the EU-Canada trade agreement. We do not need this highly-polluting fuel and we should not be encouraging its production.
"The bigger picture is the future of the fuel quality directive itself. It was one of the 5 legislative measures adopted by the EU at the end of 2008 as part of its climate and energy package and is a crucial piece of legislation that should deliver actual emissions reductions for 2020 and beyond. Today's vote should be seen as the basis for providing a robust methodology for EU fuel quality rules beyond 2020."
(1) Under the EU's fuel quality directive, suppliers are obliged to reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuel 6% by 2020 (compared to 2010). Originally, the idea was to have separate default values for calculating the lifecycle emissions of different sources of fossil fuels, so oil from tar sands would have its own greenhouse gas intensity value, separate to conventional oil. However, earlier this year, the Commission came out with a new proposal, with no separate method for tar sands oil. This would essentially make it much easier for increasing the share of oil from tar sands on the European market.
Today's vote by the environment committee must now be confirmed by the European Parliament plenary as a whole.

1 Dec 2014

Caroline Lucas says Cameron 'obssession with new roads is environmentally reckless'

Roads funding: Only Greens committed to delivering a real transport revolution

1 December 2014
*Transport policy still heading in the wrong direction
*Major new road schemes 'economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless'. 
The Coalition government’s re-announcement of plans to invest £15bn on roads over the next five years locks in our unhealthy, carbon-intensive transport policy, says the Green Party, the only party committed to delivering a genuine transport revolution.
Under the plans - initially announced in 2013 - £15bn will be spent on 100 new road improvement schemes and1,300 new miles of extra lanes will be added to motorways and A roads.
More must be done to reduce petrol and diesel use and make walking and cycling safer says the Green Party. Yet more roads are not the answer to our transport crisis.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“The Prime Minister’s obsession with major new road schemes is economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless.
“The Coalition’s claim to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is already in tatters. Recycling discredited road building policies from the Thatcher Government of the 1980s will only make matters worse.
“Road building simply does not reduce congestion. For decades, even the Government’s own studies have been showing this. Road building encourages more traffic, worsens air pollution, and causes severe loss and harm to our precious countryside. As new roads simply clog up, the economic arguments evaporate – especially when compared to the alternatives.”
Rupert Read, Cambridge MP candidate and Transport Spokesperson, said:  
“That the government is doubling down on its expensive, unhealthy, and carbon-intensive transport policy on the same day that it is pulling a political stunt on NHS (1) funding speaks volumes about the Coalition’s warped priorities. Imagine what our NHS could do with this £15billion rather than the paltry £2billion currently on the table.” 
Cllr Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson, said:
"The government announcement of £15 billion to be spent on roads across the country is both short sighted and retrograde.  If you build roads you get more traffic clogging up our towns cities and villages, adding to road danger, air pollution and congestion. The government should be investing in our public transport infrastructure and building convenient networks of cycling and walking routes rather than creating more traffic jams.
"The more we learn about the damaging impact of diesel pollution and physical inactivity on our health, the more urgent the need for this change in direction and priorities becomes. The £100m offered for cycling is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions being spent every year on roads while walking does not even get a mention. If the government is serious about creating jobs and supporting a sustainable economy they should be seizing the huge opportunities available from investing in new, less carbon-intensive transport technologies and looking to reduce our need to travel by car."

13 Nov 2014

Derek Wall and Robin Hahnel meeting 4th Dec on climate justice.

at 18:0019:30 in UTC
Malet Place Engineering Building, 1.02 (2 Malet Place, Greater London WC1E 7).
What strategies and policies should the environmental movement be focusing on? Robin Hahnel, radical economist and environmental activist, is joined by Derek Wall from the Green Party to discuss environmental strategy going forward, evaluating current programmes and what “we” should be doing in preparation for COP 21 in Paris in December 2015.

Derek Wall is International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales. He is a political economist, whose last book was ‘The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom’. He is a founder of Green Left, the anti-capitalist network in the Green Party. He is also a columnist with the Morning Star and is completing his new book for Pluto ‘The Economics of anti-capita...lism’ which will be published in 2015. You can find him on twitter at @anothergreen.

Robin Hahnel is a radical economist and political activist. He is Professor Emeritus at American University in Washington, D.C. and is currently a visiting professor in economics at Portland State University. He is best known as co-creator, along with Michael Albert, of a radical alternative to capitalism known as participatory economics His more recent work is focused on economic justice and democracy, and the global financial and ecological crisis. Politically he considers himself a proud product of the New Left and is sympathetic to libertarian socialism. He has been active in many social movements and organizations over forty years.

In conjunction with the release of a new edition of his book, The ABCs of Political Economy - a modern approach, Robin Hahnel will be on a speaking tour in the UK in December 2014. Find out more: www.participatoryeconomics.org.uk

This event is being hosted by the UCL Green Economy Society and Participatory Economics UK.

The event will be taking place in the Engineering Building, room 1.02.

10 Nov 2014

Kobane solidarity event in London this weekend

Ciwanen Azad Kobane Event
Understanding the Rojava Revolution:

At the Kurdish Community Centre, Haringey
11 Portland Gardens, N4 1HU

Saturday 15 November

5 - 6pm Debate about the Rojava Revolution & the Constitution

6  - 6.30pm Screening of the 'Female State'

Sunday 16 November, 6pm

Kobane Concert with

Koma Zelal
Grup Umut
Hakan Kobane Xan
Ahmed Husseini (Kurdish Poet)

Slide Show;  Food & Drinks; Merchandise for Kobane

All contributions will go to Kobane through Heyva Sor

Organised by Ciwanen Azad, Kurdish Youth Group

19 Oct 2014

Dirty Coal Tour

Cross posting from http://londonminingnetwork.org/2014/09/dirty-coal-tour/


BHPBilliton Dirty Energy
The world’s biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, is holding its AGM in London on Thursday 23 October. London Mining Network (LMN) is working with LMN member groups Colombia Solidarity Campaign, Coal Action Network, Coal Action Scotland, Down to Earth, War on Want and WDM, and with People and Planet and Fossil Free Universities groups, to host representatives of Colombian communities affected by the company’s part-owned Cerrejon coal mine and Indonesian organisations working to stop BHP Billiton opening an opencast coal mine in the rainforest of Central Kalimantan.
They’ll be attending the company’s AGM to tell shareholders about the destruction of Colombian communities and livelihoods by the Cerrejon mine and the potential impacts of BHP Billiton’s proposed mine in Indonesia. They’ll speak at a public meeting at University College, London, which is sponsored by BHP Billiton. And they’ll be speaking at venues around England and Scotland.
The programme so far is as follows:
Thursday 23 October, 10am-11.30am, demonstration outside BHP Billiton AGM,  The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1.
Thursday 23 October, 7pm-9pm, public meeting, UCL: Chemistry Auditorium, Christopher Ingold Building, Gordon Street, London WC1.
Friday 24 October, UEA Lecture Theatre 2, Norwich NR4 7 , Norfolk
Sunday 26 October, Mappin Lecture Theatre 2, MAPP-LT02, Sheffield University, 4pm - 6pm.
Monday 27 October, Room ER145, Elvet Riverside 1, Durham University, DH1 3JT,  7pm – 9pm
Tuesday 28 October, Fine Art lecture hall, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, 7pm-9.30pm
Wednesday 29 October, Glasgow (venue to be confirmed)
Thursday 30 October, 6pm-8pm, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL
Friday 31 October, South Lanarkshire
Monday 3 November, Oxford
Keep an eye on this webpage or follow us on Twitter for further details as they are confirmed.

16 Oct 2014

The Resistance of Kobane will Triumph Over Tyranny

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign Statement, 16 October 2014 

The Resistance of Kobane will Triumph Over Tyranny 

The Kurdish people of Kobane have shown tremendous courage and resilience in their resistance to the ISIS onslaught. The determination of the men and women to fight to defend the territory where they have established democratic self-rule has inspired people across the world. 

The Kurds in Kobane are defending the values of democracy, inclusiveness, respect for difference and gender equality, against a ruthlessly intolerant force that offers only an orgy of bloodletting, carnage, public executions, vile abuse of women and even the repudiation of the right to education, learning and independent thought. The Kurdish resistance, and in particular the brave men and women fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ), represent the hope that these humane values will triumph over a tyranny that would take humanity back to the dark ages.  As such, the Kurds have received widespread respect.    

In stark contrast, Turkey has been exposed for its duplicity and total unreliability as an ally in the coalition against the ISIS threat. Turkey’s leaders from President Erdogan downwards have preferred to bomb Kurdish camps, as they did on 14 October, rather than take swift and effective action against the murderous jihadists 

Turkey deployed 25 tanks near Mursitpinar near Kobane on 6 October but no attempts have been made to intervene to save the strategically important city. Turkey has preferred to bargain with its allies to obtain support for the plan to establish a buffer zone in the Kurdish region of Syria and to force the US-led Coalition to launch an attack on Damascus, rather than to confront ISIS directly. We are supposed to believe that the ‘’buffer zone” is designed to protect the civilians as a safe haven, but in reality the Kurds had secured their own safe haven for themselves in Rojava, of which Kobane is a part.  Rojava needs to be recognised as a democratic entity rather than support any attempt by Turkey to set up a buffer zone. How can Turkey be trusted following its at best lukewarm approach to confronting ISIS? 

The Turks have not only stood by as passive onlookers on the border while the city of Kobane has been besieged, they have consciously exacerbated the crisis in order to weaken the Kurdish resistance. Turkish leaders have resorted to making increasingly wild and unsubstantiated allegations about Kobane and the motives of the Kurds. 

Turkish troops have contributed towards the suffering of the civilian population of Kobane by obstructing volunteers seeking to help defend the city.  

They have closed the border to supplies and blocked Kurds from Turkey trying cross to Kobane in an attempt to bolster the resistance. People throughout the world have watched on utterly aghast at Turkey's shocking actions and they have drawn their own conclusions. Many now see Turkey as acting in collusion with ISIS and share the outrage of the Kurds that this is a shameful and unforgivable act 

President Erdogan's repeated assertions that the PKK is as much of a threat as ISIS, if not greater, are simply baffling and utterly unsubstantiated by the facts. But this seemingly perverse attitude does expose the deep seated animosities against Kurds held by large sections of the Turkish public and it has become clear that this extends right into the heart of government. Ankara perceives its strategic interests to be at risk from any success achieved by the Kurds in Syria because it will inspire the Kurds inside Turkey to demand similar rights. The self-rule experiment in the three Rojava cantons of Northern Syria must have filled Turkish policy makers with utter dismay and it seems that they have viewed the appearance of ISIS as an opportunity to destabilise Rojava if not to overturn it altogether. The intransigence displayed over Kobane is a clear demonstration of such a malicious intent.  

The Kobane resistance and the associations, real or imagined, between Turkey and ISIS that have come to the forefront of the world’s attention over recent weeks have radically transformed political perceptions. This has been a transformative moment in global politics. Many more people have now become all too aware of the ruthless calculations that determine Turkey's politics. Its preference of ISIS over the Kurds poses a challenge for even Turkey's staunchest defenders to support with any semblance of convincing arguments.  

The Kurds, by contrast, have earned enormous respect for their fortitude and determination in putting up a resistance against ISIS for so long and so successfully given the huge odds stacked against them. ISIS is a formidable force; it is well funded, well-armed and can count on some powerful supporters.  

The remarkable support shown by Kurds in the UK and throughout Europe for Kobane has had an enormous impact on changing public opinion. A momentum of support for the Kurds has been building up with more and more people convinced by their impressive stand against ISIS which is seen as an enemy of humanity. 

The conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish state is at the root of the attitude of Turkey towards ISIS in the current crisis over Kobane. A credible resolution to this conflict must entail decriminalising the only party that truly represents the Kurds in Turkey and which is affiliated with the Kurdish resistance in Syria, namely the PKK. Erdogan’s attempt to characterise the PKK as another ISIS simply lacks all credibility and should not be given credence by members of the Coalition formed to fight ISIS, many of whom are Turkey’s fellow NATO members. 

There will ultimately remain no alternative to the peace process between Turkey and the Kurds despite the hostility shown by Erdogan towards Kurdish interests in Rojava. Much more effective pressure must be brought to bear on Turkey to restart the peace process and take concrete steps to negotiate a political solution to the conflict which should include the delisting of the PKK and the release of Abdullah Ocalan. 

The Kurds have earned their entitlement to be treated as equals in any negotiated peace. That's the central lesson that needs to be drawn from the siege of Kobane and the inspirational Kurdish resistance to the tyranny of ISIS. 

Peace in Kurdistan  
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question 
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie  Sirinathsingh - Tel: 020 7272 7890 
Fax: 020 7263 0596 

Patrons: Lord Avebury, Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Elfyn Llwyd MP, Conor Murphy MP, John Austin, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie

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