Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekly Links - 24/05/08

Another quick selection of links for you this week during a busy period.

Lots of comment everywhere about Labour's Crewe and Nantwich by-election disaster. As ever, perceptive comment from Green blogger Jim at Daily (Maybe)

From Jim's piece -

Hidden beneath the anger that New Labour had departed from Old/real Labour policies has always been that layer of voters who thought that was a good thing. Who wanted them to be less socialist, less working class, less orientated on the trade unions. More than that, New Labour persuaded a whole layer of people that it was the right and proper thing to do to desert those Labour traditions. There has been a gradual shift to the right in society, one that is becoming more obvious as Brown's government slowly crumbles and dies.

That means all we're left with is whether Labour are a more efficient, in touch Conservative Party than the Tories. And for a few years they were. But no more. As Harriet Harman said that "people are feeling the pinch". That's right. You for one.

Socialist Unity Blog have the Labour soft left Compass response to their party's defeat and an analytical piece by SUB uber-blogger Andy Newman.

The big protest against the Third Runway at Heathrow is coming up on 31st May - more from the Campaign Against Climate Change here.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Book On Climate Change Action

Friends Of The Earth have a new book out on acting on climate change -

How Can I Stop Climate Change?
By Helen Burley & Chris Haslam

£12.99 (RRP £14.99)

We can do almost anything we put our minds to. Just run towards it.

- Marcus Brigstocke, comic and presenter

How Can I Stop Climate Change? is a step-by-step handbook to today's hottest issue, providing a complete guide to improving the quality of your life and the planet's, both as an individual and by scaling up your impact through political action.

Written by the experts at Friends of the Earth, it clearly sets out climate science and solutions - how much carbon we can live with, how to change old habits, and how to reduce your carbon footprint at home, at school, at work and in your neighbourhood.

This indispensable guide is perfect for those keen to make a difference but unsure of where to start. The message is loud and clear - if you want to help save the planet, get in the know and think big.

Nothing's more delicious than the vegetable you've grown yourself, few things feel better than a cosy, well-insulated home, riding a bike is fun and it makes your bum smaller. Someone tell me, please, what's not to like?

- Marcus Brigstocke, comic and presenter

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekly Links - 19/04/08

I am very busy at the moment and over the next couple of weeks - hence the more infrequent nature of posting. Just time this week, then, to post a few links of interest.

The main continuing stories in the news have been the terrible disasters in Burma/Myanmar and China. In Britain the Burma aid effort is being coordinated through DEC, the Disasters Emergency Committee that links together major charities and aid organisations. The British Red Cross is coordinating a China Earthquake appeal.

Green Politics
A hard hitting new report on Climate Change was published last week and drew comment from the South East England Green Party Euro MP Caroline Lucas. Jim at Daily (Maybe)last week posted his final analysis on the London election results.

Tim at Green Left Infoasis posted links to a range of interesting stories on Friday, including this article about John Cusack's film War Inc.

Derek Wall commented on the trials (and trial!) of infamous right wing Anglo-Irish blogger "Guido Fawkes" on the Socialist Unity Blog.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Transition Town Meeting In Nottingham

If people in the East Midlands are interested in Transition Towns there is a talk on Tuesday 27th May at the Nottingham Mechanics , South Sherwood St at 7.30 by Rob Hopkins, the architect of the Transition Town movement in the UK. The talk is entitled 'From oil dependancy to local resilience'.
Penney Poyzer, Nottinghams very own "Queen of Green" will also be speaking there.

From the Wikipedia article linked above:

The Transition concept emerged from work permaculture designer Rob Hopkins had done with the students of Kinsale Further Education College in writing an ‘Energy Descent Action Plan’. This looked at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of energy production, health, education, economy and agriculture as a ‘road map’ to a sustainable future for the town, and was unanimously adopted by Kinsale Council.

The idea was adapted and expanded in September 2006 to Hopkins' hometown of Totnes where he is now based. The initiative spread quickly, and as of 25 April 2008, there are over fifty communities recognised as official Transition Towns[2] in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. While referred to as Towns, the communities involved range from villages (Kinsale), through council districts (Penwith) to cities and city boroughs (Brixton).

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekly Links - 12/05/2008

Critical Labour Left blogger Dave Osler has started a discussion on the class nature of Ken Livingstone's "progressive alliance" following Ken's latest Guardian article.

Green Left blogger Jim has an article on the Green-Ken "alliance" from the Green perspective (responding to the Independent publishing a critical letter on it from a "former" ultra-rightist, political tourist and all round dodgy individual), and also talks about Burma.

Sian Berry, the Green's Mayoral candidate posted
her response to the result of the campaign on her New Statesman blog on Friday.

Meanwhile, GPEW Male PS Derek Wall posted an appeal for support for Zimbabwe's persecuted trades unionists on the Socialist Unity Blog.

Human Rights
The Amnesty International short film The Stuff Of Life exposing the reality of the torture known as "waterboarding" has been creating a real stir. You can watch it (not for the faint hearted or squeamish) here.

Nuclear Issues
An interesting analysis of some of the reasons why the British Government's enthusiasm for nuclear new build is misplaced by a member of the ruling party and former Cabinet Minister was published in the Guardian last week.

The Left
Former Soviet dissident and Socialist Boris Kagarlitsky had an article published by the CPGB this week giving his take on the choices facing the Left in Europe. Basically he diagnoses a fatal combination of utopianism and then disastrous alliance with the neo-liberal captured "centre left" in the name of "realism".

The Australian Green Left magazine last month had an article on the global food crisis and the role played in that by Biofuels.

Green Politics
The Crewe and Nantwich By-election is scheduled for next week on 22nd May and campaigning is well under way. The Greens have a young candidate, Robert Smith, fighting on a progressive platform with a focus on transport and the issue of the disaster that has been rail privatisation.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Act for International Animal Welfare

The following is from the WSPA (World Society For The Protection Of Animals)

No excuses for cruelty

In 2007, artist Guillermo Vargas showed an emaciated live dog in a Nicaraguan gallery. Despite public outcry, the country's lack of animal welfare laws meant he faced no consequences. This year, when Vargas was invited to compete in an art show in Honduras, WSPA and member society the Honduras Association for the Protection of Animals and their Environment (AHPRA) acted to ensure this cruelty could not be repeated by any artist.

Elly Hiby, WSPA's Head of Companion Animals, commented: “Information regarding the treatment and fate of the dog used in the 2007 exhibition is inconsistent, but for WSPA – irrespective of the exact outcome – chaining a dog without food or water for public entertainment is a reprehensible abuse”. Our attempts to discuss the matter with Vargas' representative were met with silence.

But images from the Nicaraguan gallery were not forgotten. When Vargas was invited to enter the VI Central American Visual Arts Biennale (to be held in Honduras this year), an independent internet petition against the artist and his work attracted over two million signatures. WSPA sought a meeting with Business Owners for Art (Empresarios por el Arte), one of the sponsors of the Honduras Biennale.

In the meeting, WSPA's representative gave sound welfare arguments against the work shown in Nicaragua and formally requested that the Honduras AHPRA be invited to observe the Biennale exhibition.

After pressure from WSPA, the Honduras AHPRA and the public, the Biennial organizers have agreed not only to make AHPRA official observers but also to include new competition rules that prohibit the abuse of animals.

While we are satisfied that no-one will be able to abuse animals in the name of art during this forthcoming exhibition, stronger laws need to be in place that prohibit animal cruelty. WSPA and member society UCC are currently supporting a campaign, led by the Commission for Natural Resources and Environment of the Nicaraguan Assembly, calling for legislation to protect animals in Nicaragua.

You too can support the protection of animals worldwide by signing the Animals Matter to Me petition. This calls for a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, an internationally accepted set of principles about the treatment of animals that would encourage countries to improve their legislation.

Sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare >>

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

IWW To Hold Historic Meeting In Notts

The IWW (Industrial Workers Of The World) the member-controlled international radical union organisation is to hold a historic meeting in Nottingham on 21st May with the aim of setting up a new Nottinghamshire General Membership Branch or Group of the Union.

The IWW continues to grow rapidly in Britain and now has over 400 members in this part of the world. These are organisers in workplaces and communities, some holding dual card membership of existing TUC affiliated unions and long histories of activism. The basic idea of the IWW is to organise industrially rather than by craft or trade and to be uncompromising in rejection of business unionism, bureaucracy and sell-outs. As an organisation based on our common class interest as employees rather than the finer points of political programmes the IWW unites workers with a variety of political viewpoints and all workers are welcome provided they agree to the aims and principles and do not seek to use the IWW for the benefit of their own current or party. This is a refreshing atmosphere for those of us used to the sectarian wrangling of much of the British Left. Unity is strength!

Currently the IWW in Britain is heavily involved in the campaign to defend workers and services in the National Blood Service and the campaign to defend Adult Education in Leicester.

Members, rather than officers or full-timers are the backbone of the union. In the current climate, there is a pressing need to organise amongst low paid, exploited and migrant workers as well as to link together the most militant workers in better organised sectors afflicted by unions with a business union or timid Labourist outlook.

The IWW comes with a great history of doing just these things in legendary episodes of North American Labour History, but is now perhaps finally beginning to spread, to fulfill it's early promise to be a truly international "One Big Union" and to rebuild in a globalised and connected world that could make the original vision much more realisable.

Later in the year another historic meeting will take place where the IWW holds a General Assembly outside North America, hosted by the London General Membership Branch. This will hopefully be attended by representatives of various syndicalist, industrial unionist and union base organisations from across Europe and the world. Rampant global neo-liberalism deserves a response on an international level - we need to work towards the building of a counter power to the banks and corporations and their puppet politicians.

The Nottingham meeting is at the Navigation Inn, Wilford St, 7.30pm, Wednesday 21st May. All supporters, members and those interested in building a real alternative and practical suportive network for ourselves are welcome to attend.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Weekly Links 05/05/08

This corner of the blogosphere
Jim at Daily (Maybe) has an excellent round up of green and left responses to this week's election results.

Also on this subject, Septic Isle at Obsolete takes a sober look at why Boris beat Ken.

Meanwhile over at Socialist Unity Blog, Labour left winger Louise looks at the poor Labour performance last week, Phil BC looks at the post-election situation in the Potteries and Andy Newman looks at the relative success of Plaid Cymru.

May Day Events
Lots of May Day events over the last few days. Here is a report and pics from the Nottingham event. West Midlands IWW had a May Day celebration on May Day evening, reported here. There were major confrontations in Istanbul (where the state tried to cruch the demonstrations) and in Hamburg where there was a three cornered fight between fascists, anti-fascists and police. In the US there was a dock strike against the war in the face of legal and bureaucratic opposition.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

London Election Results

Congratulations to Sian Berry and the London Greens for fighting a very strong election campaign in difficult circumstances. The result was as follows:

Boris Johnson Conservative Party 1,043,761 42.48% Transfers = 124,977 Final Toatal 1,168,738
Ken Livingstone The Labour Party 893,877 36.38% Transfers = 135,089 Final Total 1,028,966
Brian Paddick Liberal Democrats 236,685 9.63%

Siân Berry Green Party 77,374 3.15%

Richard Barnbrook British National Party 69,710 2.84%

Alan Craig Christian Peoples Alliance and Christian Party 39,249 1.60%

Gerard Batten UK Independence Party 22,422 0.91%

Lindsey German Left List 16,796 0.68%

Matt O'Connor English Democrats 10,695 0.44%

Winston McKenzie Independent 5,389 0.22%

Very good coverage and comment on the London elections from Jim at Daily (Maybe) including breakdowns of the vote.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Greens Advance In Norwich

I will post on the London election results when we have them in full, but the good news is that the Greens in Norwich have achieved their short term goal of becoming the second largest party on the Council there. This bodes particularly well for their dynamic young general election hopeful Adrian Ramsay.

This is a triumph on many levels :

Finishing the night with an increased number of City Council seats from 10 to 13, Norwich Green Party has leapfrogged the Liberal Democrats to become the official opposition on Norwich City Hall, just 2 seats away from the ruling Labour Party. At the same time, the Greens have beaten Labour on local election vote share across the Norwich South Parliamentary constituency by approximately 2000 votes. For the first time, the Norwich Greens also won more votes than Labour across the entire city.

The political make-up of Norwich City Council is now:

Labour: 15 seats. Green Party: 13 seats LibDems: 6 seats Conservatives: 5 seats

Norwich City Council is in no overall control. Labour is expected to continue running a minority administration with the Green Party as the main opposition group.

Congratulations to the Norwich Greens, the Green Party councillors holding their seats and the new Green councillors, Samir Jeraj, Adrian Holmes and Peter Offord.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day Greetings, 2008.

May Day greetings to all my readers, particularly those involved in struggle around the world to defend themselves against neo-liberalism, authoritarianism and discrimination.
Solidarity Forever!

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