Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Norwich North By-Election - Ready to Go!

The Norwich North by-election is being planned for July 23rd. The Green Party is ready for the challenge, and delighted that the fight for Norwich North can now begin in earnest.

The Green Party candidate for Norwich North is Dr.Rupert Read, a Norwich city councillor and UEA lecturer who narrowly missed election as an MEP in the recent European elections.

Rupert Read said today:

“After the gloom of the economic downturn and the scandal surrounding MPs expenses, which has sullied all three main parties,the Greens are offering a fresh new approach. We want cleaner politics as well as consideration for the environment underpinning every aspect of policy.

“For the first time ever, the national spotlight will be on the Green Party in a by-election campaign and our prospects are being taken extremely seriously. The big three parties have everything to lose. The Green Party has everything to gain.”

Dr Read, who has previously won plaudits for his Party’s ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’, recently saw a huge expansion of the Green vote in the east of England after his campaign for the European elections and came within 1% of securing a seat.

Green support peaked strongly in their emerging stronghold of Norwich, where the Greens came out on top with about 25% of the vote, a tremendous achievement and one which shows that the Green Party and Dr Read will be a major force in the forthcoming coming by-election. In Norwich North, the Green Party won two Council seats for the first time, giving it new momentum. (Labour won just one seat, and the Lib-Dems none at all).

Norwich Green Party Site.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Greens Prepare To Fight Norwich North By-Election

Here are some of the first news releases about the Green campaign in Norwich North -

Candidate selected for Norwich North

At a packed meeting of Green Party members this week, Dr Rupert Read was selected as the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for the Norwich North by-election, ahead of fellow Norwich City Councillor Claire Stephenson, and former councillor Jessica Goldfinch.

Rupert Read said: "I'm honoured to be given the opportunity to represent the Green Party in a by-election in which, for the first time ever, the national spotlight will be on the Green Party and our campaign and our prospects are being taken extremely seriously."

As well as being a Green city councillor, Dr Read (43) is also a lecturer in philosophy at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Read recently won a huge expansion of the Green vote in the east of England in his campaign for the European elections and came within 1% of securing a seat. Hundreds of supporters took an active part in that campaign, and, in the absence of the high-level funding enjoyed by other parties, the Greens are calling for similar assistance in Norwich North where they'll be organising their first major leafletting this weekend.

Norwich Green Party has 13 Norwich City Councillors (Labour 15, Lib-Dems 6 Tories 5). It has 7 Norfolk County Councillors serving 7 of the 13 Norwich county wards. In the 2009 European election, the Green Party secured more votes than any other party in the Norwich City Council area, gaining 25%.

Here is the news release on the first opinion poll relating to the forthcoming election -

Norwich by-election - Greens take off as Labour goes into freefall

The first poll in the Norwich North by-election shows a major increase in the potential Green Party vote - as Labour's support collapses.

The poll shows the Conservatives ahead on 34%. Labour have fallen to second place, and their support has plummeted FIFTEEN points to 30%. Meanwhile the LibDems are worrying on 15%.

But the poll suggests the Green Party's support has shot up to 14%, putting the Greens hot on the heels of the Liberal Democrats. In UK-wide polls relating to parliamentary elections in the last year, the Greens have more commonly been on around 3% - and the previous record was 8%.

The by-election is being fought for the Greens by Dr Rupert Read, a Norwich city councillor and local university lecturer, who narrowly missed election as an MEP in the recent European elections.

College poll shows popularity of Green Party higher education policies

The poll, which was conducted by ICM and commissioned by the University and College Union, also questioned respondents about their attitudes to education - and Green Party policy proved popular.

Nearly three-quarters of adults (73%) agreed that giving young people affordable access to local education and training would reduce crime and anti-social behaviour - a view shared by the Green Party.

Over four-fifths (82%) of adults in the Norwich North constituency agreed that every local person who met entry standards should be entitled to a free place at a local college or university. Green candidate Rupert Read, who teaches at the University of East Anglia, said he would do everything in his power as an MP to help bring this about.

Rupert Read said today: "This poll is very encouraging for the Green Party.

"In the Norwich North by-election, the big three parties have everything to lose. The Green Party has everything to gain."


The poll was commissioned by the University and College Union and carried out by leading pollsters ICM. It surveyed a random sample of 504 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 19-21 June 2009. More detailed results can be found at:

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wobs Support The Wildcats

Birmingham members of the radical industrial unionist IWW this week took action in solidarity with the workers sacked last week by Total and the wildcat strike action that has spread around the country in their defence.

This is their news release:
Following the sacking of 647 striking workers by Total last week, the Industrial Workers of the World yesterday (Tuesday) protested outside one of the main Total petrol stations in Birmingham. They called for an end to the further assault on workers' rights. Total sacked the 647 striking workers and ordered them to re-apply for their jobs. This has since prompted a wave of wildcat strikes involving around 3000 workers and a rally outside the plant yesterday (Tuesday). The IWW protesters held placards that read 'Stop Total Sacking Striking Workers' and 'An injury to one is an injury to all'. They maintained a presence in front of the petrol station for 2 hours during the evening rush hour. Most of the cars crawling past in the slow-moving traffic showed signs of support, and trade at the petrol station was much slower than normal. The owner of the petrol station was indignant that the protest was focused on his petrol station. But he did seem to acknowledge that as an employer even his best interests weren't served by Total's mistreatment of workers. Keeping up bad publicity for Total, and combining it with the ongoing workers' struggles and strikes, will hopefully end with a victory for the striking Total workers. "We need to end this practice of bosses cutting pay, jobs and working conditions in order to line their own pockets - and that means fighting back when they try it!", said one of the IWW protesters.

West Mids IWW

More on the Lindsey Oil Refiinery dispute from Left Luggage, here.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interesting Discussions

There are a variety of interesting articles and discussions across the British left blogosphere at the moment on the future of the left in this part of the world and more generally the state of union and community level activity.

Left Luggage cover much of this in their latest round up.

An article that has got a lot of attention in certain circles has been the post election analysis on the Independent Working Class Association site.

There is a new entry on the infrequent Stargrave1 blog that sketches out the obstacles presented by Labourism and Leninism to left wing progress in Britain.

Elsewhere, the attention of Greens is turning to the forthcoming Norwich North By-election, as noted by Derek Wall on the Socialist Unity Blog.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Demand Freedom For Jailed Iranian Workers!

Amnesty International has launched an online campaign this week demanding the release of jailed trade unionists in Iran. Please sign up today:

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Support the Iranian Struggle

The following is from human rights campaigner and Green candidate Peter Tatchell regarding solidarity action on Thursday -

Support the Iranian people's struggle for democracy and freedom

Protest this Thursday 18 June, 6-8pm, outside the Iranian Embassy in London, 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT.

Spread the word via twitter, facebook, myspace and your email address book.

Show the Iranian people that they are not alone.

Show the Tehran regime that the humane world is against its vote-rigging and tyranny.

“We are protesting in support of the Iranian people's struggle for democracy, freedom, equality and social justice,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
“They are heroes and heroines. We salute their courage and
determination. May they triumph over the forces of dictatorship and

If you cannot attend the protest, write, phone or email your protest to the Iranian Ambassador, Rasoul Movahedian:
020 7225 4208
Embassy of Iran, 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT.

Thank you and solidarity, Peter Tatchell

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Support The SOAS Occupation!

An occupation is ongoing at the SOAS in London, following a chain of events that led from bad treatment of migrant workers to official collaboration with deportation arrests.

BBC Report here.

Greens in London have been heavily involved in the campaign to support the workers and students in their struggle. More from London Green MEP Jean Lambert here.

You Tube video here.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran - Elections Stolen, Repression Continues

The repression against the independent workers' movements in Iran continues, now combined with widespread Police and secret police action against supporters of opposition parties after the disputed election.

It is shameful that some self proclaimed "liberation" leaders and "international socialists" are lining up behind the authoritarian and dictatorial Iranian leadership. Lessons there for those who tend towards idolisation of "radical" regimes in South America and elsewhere.

Fortunately international workers' organisations are not so foolish and know the difference between solidarity with fellow workers and standing aloof in the name of a dogmatic and abstract "anti-imperialism" that identifies with regional rulers.


Four global union organizations representing over 170 million workers have called a worldwide action day on June 26 to demand justice for Iranian workers. Demonstrations will take place outside Iranian embassies and consulates to protest the ongoing denial of rights and arrests of trade unionists within the country. Please visit the campaign's new website at and make sure to click on the 'Get Active' link.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Green progress in Europe

This is the news release from the Greens' European grouping:

Great Result for European Greens strengthens GREENS/EFA Group by at least 10 Seats

The European Green Party has had an excellent result in the election to the European Parliament. A total of 46 Green MEPs have been elected, up from 35. The Greens/EFA Group is now likely to have 53 MEPS (46 Greens and 7 EFA MEPs), up from 43, although the exact formation of the Group is still to be confirmed

EGP Co-Spokesperson Philippe Lamberts, who has been elected a MEP for the Belgian French-speaking Green Party Ecolo, said: “To have increased the number of Green MEPs from 35 to 46 is a great success. Our showing is even more remarkable when you consider that we have 11 more seats than before in a parliament with 49 fewer MEPS and that all other groups have shrunk. Countries which deserve a special mention from our point of view include France where Europe-Ecologie obtained an amazing 16% of the national vote and so will have 14 MEPs and Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland which will all have more Green MEPs than last time round and Greece which now has its very first Green MEP (The Greek Greens’ campaign demonstrated European solidarity as an Austrian-Greek Green stood as a candidate to support the Greek party). What our 31% increase in seats proves beyond any shadow of a doubt is that the Greens are a major political force to be reckoned with and that we are gaining the trust of more and more voters, not only in our traditional areas like the environment and climate policy and human rights, but also economics and social policy. “

EGP Co-Spokesperson Ulrike Lunacek, who was also elected a MEP for the Austrian Greens, who maintained 2 seats despite an electoral atmosphere marred by rightwing populism, continued:” I would like to congratulate all Green parties and their members, candidates and workers for their hard work and to thank all the people who, as our slogan said, dared to “Think Big, Vote Green. We will fight hard on their behalf for a Green New Deal for Europe, which was at the heart of our common election campaign and obviously appealed to many voters, including many who had never voted Green before. The Green New Deal would not only create 5 million new Green-Collar jobs in 5 years but would also help fight climate change as 500 billion Euros of public and private funds would be invested in renewables, energy efficiency and other future-oriented technologies. While we are generally very pleased with our showing, we are very disappointed not to have made an electoral breakthrough in the EU’s new member states or in southern Europe, with the notable exception of Greece. From now until 2014, working hard with Greens in those countries will be our major priority so that we can ensure that voters in every EU member state have a viable option of sending a Green MEP to the Parliament.”

(Note - the EFA part of the Parliamentary grouping is composed of Regionalist and Left Civic Nationalist Parties including the SNP and Plaid Cymru.)

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Green progress in local elections

In the June county council elections the Green Party continued to make steady progress.

The party made its breakthrough onto four county councils - Cambridgeshire (1 seat), Devon (1), Gloucestershire (1) and Suffolk (2).

In Norfolk the Greens held 2 seats and gained 5.

In Lancashire the party successfully defended 1 seat and gained a second. Lancaster Greens also held a city council seat in a by-election, and continue to hold 12 seats on the city council.
More here and here.

Also last week, two leading Green political activists, Peter Tatchell and Caroline Lucas, were awarded prestigious ethical awards.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009



Make it more than a protest vote.

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