Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Climate Change Public Forum


London Public Forum
Saturday 7th November 12-6pm

South Camden Community School,
Charrington Street
(nearest tube Kings Cross)

Open to everyone and free to attend, hosted by the Campaign against Climate Change the Public Forum will bring together leading figures to discuss and debate the Climate Emergency and what we can be doing to tackle it. See below for the programme for the day.

This event sees a great variety of speakers including
Aubrey Meyer (Global Commons Institute),
Oliver Tickell (author Kyoto 2),
Andrew Simms (new economics foundation),
John Stewart (HACAN),
Johann Hari (journalist),
Jean Lambert MEP (Green Party),
Damian Carrington (Head of Environment, the Guardian),
Alexis Rowell(Camden Council),
Chris Baugh (Public and Commercial Services Union)
Dr Stuart Parkinson (Scientists for Global Responsibility)

There will also be workshops with Biofuelwatch and the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union Group.

This is one of our last chances to get together before we hit the streets demonstrating in December.



Doors Open

12:15-13:15 Session
1 "10% Cuts by end 2010: the case for emergency action"

13:15-13:45 Break and Workshops including:
Introduction to campaigning against Agrofuels, hosted
by Biofuelwatch and Food Not Fuel

13:45-14:45 Session
2 "Green Jobs Now - a million climate jobs by end 2010"

14:45-15:15 Break and Workshops including:
Discussion of the role of Trade Unionists in building the Climate movement before and after Copenhagen , hosted by Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group

15:15-16:15 Session
3 "Decarbonising our transport fast - the way ahead"

16:15-16:30 Break
with musical entertainment

16:30-17:30 Session
4 " Copenhagen - the deal we need and the deal we're likely to get"

17:30-17:45 Climate


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birmingham Greens Demonstrate Left Unity In Action

The Green Party in Birmingham has voted to stand aside for Salma Yaqoob in the coming Parliamentary elections, the Steering Group of Green Left has agreed the release of the following statement:

Green Left welcomes the decision of Birmingham Green Party to stand aside in the parliamentary constituency of Hall Green to let Salma Yaqoob of Respect contest the general election there. The decision, which was endorsed by 86% of Green Party members in the area, is another step in forming an alliance between those forces on the Left of British politics campaigning against war, privatisation, the ongoing march to environmental disaster and Fascism. We regard this as an historic step in the campaign for the next general election and for progressive politics in this country.

Joseph Healy

Sue Tibbles


Green Left

More from Joseph, Derek on Socialist Unity site and Jim at Daily (Maybe).

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Monday, October 26, 2009

CPBF Events This Week

Media for all? The challenge of convergence

Saturday 31 October

School of Pharmacy, 29 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX, from 10.00am – 5.00pm.

(nearest tube Russell Square)

A major international conference on the future of media organised by the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.

Keynote speakers:

John Nichols, journalist with The Nation and one of the founders of the US Free Press Media Reform movement.

Alexander Stille, author of The Sack of Rome, an analysis of Silvio Berlusconi’s role in Italian media and politics.

Other speakers include Andrew Currah, Ray Fitzwater, Bob Franklin, Alison Harcourt, Kathrine Sarikakis,

Booking information

Attendance costs: Not for profit organisations and trades unions £25; individuals £20; students, unwaged or retired people £10.

Book online at: or email: by phone 0208 521 5932 or by post:

CPBF, 23 Orford Road, Walthamstow, London E17 9NL. Cheques payable to the CPBF.

Plus our pre-Conference meeting

The miners’ strike and politics today

Friday 30 October, 7.00pm

School of Pharmacy, 29 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AX


Tony Benn, John Nichols, Marc Valle and Paul Lewis.

Showing Ken Loach Which Side Are You On?

Plus premier performance of Embedded with the bankers; the media and the financial crisis by Banner Theatre Group

Admission £5. Booking as detailed above or pay at the door.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Entirely Predictable Rise -and Fall? - of The British Far Right

Never have so many column inches and so much bandwidth been expended on a soundbite level chat show. I'm talking about, of course, this week's media coverage of the appearance of the leader of Britain's largest Far Right Party on BBC's Question Time. But the key questions seem to have escaped most of the commentators (with the possible exception of the Guardian's Gary Younge who seems to have a glimmer of the dynamic that is behind all this). These are the usual questions - what forces are intentionally or otherwise chiefly responsible for the recent rise of the odious right, and (hopefully assuming the prevention of a New British Reich)"Cui Bono?".

I think there is a case to be made that BNP in their current incarnation are actually the creation of the establishment - in particular the right-wing propaganda arm of the mass media. Griffin and pals were happily marginalised for much of the 80s and 90s. Their spectacular growth has come in the wake of two things - the so called war on terror and the cranking up of a concerted mass media hate campaign targetted at two or three main targets - Islam and Muslims in general, migrants from the New European entrants and the "undeserving poor". These campaigns all serve and are motivated by the interests of the ruling class in Britain. Griffin has been able to gear his "New Right" master plan (cribbed from Le Pen) to the narrative written and mass-propagandised by the British ruling class for their own ends. It is no surprise that he has moved from a friend of Gadaffi and anti-semitic elements of the Islamic world to a "hammerer of Islam", from European new right rhetoric to Little Englanderism and from Chestertonian ruralist elitism to embracing "the honest white working class" of places like Barnsley. These moves parasitize the zeitgeist created by ruling class mass propaganda.

1. The demonisation of Muslims is necessary to create support for the resource wars on behalf of Western Capital, led by the US Military industrial complex. This also works to aid recruitment of cannon fodder for the imperial wars and eases through the raft of security state measures that would have been desired by the ruling class (even if 9-11 had never occurred) in the face of the coming desperate, brutal, even semi-apocalyptic resource conflicts and environmental destruction that is the culmination and possible finale of capitalist accumulation. Even most radical Greens have not grasped the sheer scale and nature of what is likely to be coming.

2. The constant attacks on New European migrants are classic divide and rule designed to make union organisation more difficult, to attack those elements of the EU which the British ruling class find useful to scapegoat to distract attention from the aims they hold in common with other parts of the European ruling class and to obliquely label the British working class as lazy and greedy - see 3 below.

3. As ever, in an economic crisis the ruling class have very basic objectives, reduce the cost of labour, divide opposition to reducing the cost of labour and take back as much as possible of state property into private hands to recoup lost profits and expand the zone of operation of private capital which recession has shrunk (something which requires the attacks on TU organisation that the attacks on scapegoats one and two are being utilised for). To reduce the cost of labour the "reserve army of the unemployed" must be both increased and battered into a servile state through attacks on welfare. If these are to come about the unemployed and sick must be isolated and alienated from the rest of their class - hence constant "scrounger" stories in the tabloids to break up the diet of "millions of migrants" and "all muslims are potential terrorists" type front pages. Claimants are presented as largely criminal and fraudulent (see hype of recent transparently self interested figures released by the firms contracted to "test" those previously on Incapacity). This association with criminality is indispensible for any really serious scapegoating (and an element of it as old as the hills) and so is deployed against all three groups we are talking about.

It is no surprise that the concentrations of BNP membership shown by the recently leaked lists are not predominantly in ethnically mixed areas - they are largely in white dominated, even what some might uncharitably term "white ghetto" areas. It is not coincidental that these are the areas most isolated from the reality of life in much of modern Britain and Europe, and where the main source of information for the alienated elements recruited by the fascists is not the TV news, broadsheets or contact with a varied group of people, but tabloid hate stories constantly reinforced by social circulation in a limited parochial group. This is the depressing case for example in Ashfield, or Amber Valley.

What we see at the moment is the capitalist class (in the shape of Tories, the right wing media and other elements of the establishment like military figures and New Labour Ministers) attempting to do a bit of "house cleaning" by belatedly attacking - constantly this week - the BNP, by-product of their own strategies. This could tell us various things - 1. that the limits of growth of the far right are set by the ruling class - to a certain level they are useful, beyond that they become threatening as loose cannons that could provoke resistance to the whole shooting match. 2. That the establishment right would now like to claim back the territory ceded to the far right - in coded language they talk about the mainstream needing to address "the issues" that motivate BNP support - whilst claiming to be centrist they move the whole political spectrum further rightwards as "defence" against the "threat" of fascism that they created. Job done.
If this is the picture, then those of us on the green left, those of us who seek workers' unity and those of us who defend the social gains of the last Century have a hard fight ahead. If the ruling class has miscalculated, as it did in pandering to far right demagogues in several countries in the 1920s and 30s, the situation may be even more serious.....

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Teachers' Union Backs December Climate Demos

In an encouraging development the NEC of the NUT have declared their support for the demonstrations in London and Copenhagen in December designed to put pressure on world leaders to come up with a meaningful deal at the Copenhagen conference:

This motion was agreed unanimously by the National Union of Teachers National Executive Committee on 8 October 2009

Mobilise for UN Climate talks in Copenhagen, December 09

“This meeting believes that we need a just, global and collectivised transition from a greed economy to a green economy. Sustainability rather than profit should be the hallmark of success as we recover from economic crisis.

This requires government investment in green industries such as renewable energy, insulation of all homes and workplaces, re-skilling of workers and research into further technological development. This will create or save tens of thousands of jobs at a time when many workers and students are concerned for their own future employment.

We congratulate workers at the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight, who highlighted this issue so well by occupying their factory during August 2009, and who continue to campaign for the nationalisation of wind turbine and other green production since its closure.

We believe that the United Nations Climate Talks in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December 2009 could be our last chance to secure such a global, democratic commitment to measures that might avert climate catastrophe, before our planet’s ecology destabilises irreversibly.

Therefore we call on the national bodies of all TUC affiliates, and the TUC itself, to support a demonstration in London on Saturday 5 December 2009, and mobilise for an international workers’ and students’ presence throughout the Copenhagen talks, especially on 12 December.

We ask all such bodies to work with Stop Climate Chaos ( and the Campaign Against Climate Change ( in planning and preparing for these events.”

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keep Our NHS Public Benefit Night

The following is information on the Keep Our NHS Public benefit evening planned for this weekend - sounds like a good night out for a good cause if you are in the London area.

Raising a toast to KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC
A special benefit performance

Sunday 18 October 4 pm

The New Players' Theatre

The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NG

Your entertainment and enlightenment will be hosted by:

Martin Soan, master of prop comedy
and his glamorous assistant
Pierrettes Cobaz (from Peckham)

For your entertainment

The Anna
Mudeka Band

The exhilerating,
body-swaying, vibrant sounds of Africa


From Radio 4's
"The Spoken Word"

Ian Saville
Celebrated Socialist Magician: "Captitalism is in big trouble. He'll make it disappear".

Armenian sounds, renaissance songs, celtic strings

Elizabeth Mansfield
sings Piaf
Acompanied by Stephen Rose
"Mansfield delivers the famous songs superbly . . . " Guardian


Box office 020 7478 0135

Book in advance for an "early bird seat" £12 (£10 concessions)
Tickets on the door £15 (£12 concessions)

Pre and post show meals can be booked on 020 7930 5868

Help Keep Our NHS Public by joining/affiliating/donating

Please help by filling in our standing order form, and campaigning locally for trade unions, pensioners' groups, community groups and others to join or affiliate to us.

Keep Our NHS Public |
19 Vincent Terrace, London, N1 |

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Interesting Background On The Kingsnorth Decision

A letter from the North West Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies in Saturday's Guardian shed an interesting light on the recent decision to shelve the development of the Kingsnorth power station -

Professor Catherine Mitchell asks "why did E.ON postpone its Kingsnorth plan?" (Kingsnorth's coal bluff, 9 October). The answer lies in Brussels. On 1 October the European commission presented a technical committee of the council of ministers with its recommendations for seven carbon capture and storage projects across Europe that should each receive a €180m initial EU subsidy, the sum to be matched by national governments. Applications from the UK included schemes at Kingsnorth, Hatfield, Longannet and Tilbury, with just one to qualify. The decision will be announced publicly in a week or so, but it's an open secret in this city that the commission did not recommend funding for Kingsnorth. My money's on Hatfield.

Chris Davies MEP

Liberal Democrat, North West

We should see within the week if Davies is right in his suspicions.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Notts Incinerator Inquiry Postponed!

In a dramatic move the Nottinghamshire Incinerator Public Inquiry has been adjourned until April 13th 2010 and will now run for 4 weeks instead of 3 weeks.
Here's hoping that Veolia might think it is too much hassle or NCC might walk away.

On Wednesday 14th. October, the Public Open Forum will not now be needed. However, PAIN has decided to keep this date in place in order to update members.

The PAIN meeting is at
Rainworth Methodist Church Hall,
Southwell Road East,
NG21 0BN
on Wednesday 14th October. 6.30 for 7pm. Cake will be available!

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Friday, October 09, 2009

High School Osborne......

This is a bit obvious....but worth posting anyway.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Notts Incinerator Inquiry Starts

The Nottinghamshire Incinerator Public Inquiry started yesterday, but after what was supposed to be a boring (but turned out to be exciting) start the Inquiry was adjourned until Thursday. Seems Veolia are now truly rattled and Notts County Council not a little uneasy themselves!
More from the local Chad newspaper here.
Apparently a possible special protection area for Nightjars might be a "showstopper".
According to the Chad Veolia originally called for a three month adjournment!
PAIN and UKWIN remain committed to fighting the incinerator whereever it is proposed - the proposed incinerator is an outdated model of an inappropriate technology to tackle a reducing waste stream that would be better tackled with other methods - anaerobic digestion, increased recycling facilities, etc
Tha anti-incinerator campaign has the full backing of local Greens.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Victory over Veolia!

Good news!
The giant multinational waste, transport, water and services conglomerate Veolia has been defeated in its' attempts to withhold important information from local anti-incinerator activists and Council Tax Payers in Nottinghamshire. The decision of the High Court on 1st October is a landmark decision and a victory for dynamic PAIN* and UKWIN* activist Shlomo Dowen and Friends of the Earth in the UK who supported the case against Veolia.

The court case came about when activists sought to see details of the fantastically expensive waste contract signed between Veolia and Notts County Council under regulations governing local government auditing. Under these rules members of the public are allowed to see Council accounts and financial details during the audit process. Veolia sought an injunction against anyone seeing details relating to the County Waste Contract which includes the controversial incinerator plans for Rainworth in Sherwood Forest.

This led to the farcical situation of Notts County Council, (aware of their legal duties and the likelihood of them loosing a challenge if they complied with the wishes of Veolia) confronting their favoured contractor in court.

This is all a good omen for the Public Inquiry into Veolia's White Elephant Notts Incinerator (improved waste treatment technology and increasing recycling rates are already making it increasingly obsolescent before it even has final approval - the argument for an alternative waste strategy strengthens by the day) - the Inquiry starts in Rainworth next Tuesday and the public have their right to have their say on 14th October in the evening session of the Inquiry at Rainworth Methodist Hall.

Well done to Shlomo, PAIN, UKWIN and FOE and good luck for the Inquiry!

* PAIN - People Against Incineration - local Notts campaign against projected Veolia incinerator in Sherwood Forest.
* UKWIN - National anti-incinerator network, UK Without Incineration.

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