Showing posts from August, 2011

'economics can be bent towards serving the needs of humanity and nature rather than its own violent abstract growth'

Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Globalist and Radical Green Movements (Review)

This is a vital book for those who, like me, recognise that there is much to stand against in our current consumer culture, but who find themselves caught between light-bulb replacing platitudes on one side, and angry radicalism on the other. It turns out that the protest movement is broader and more diverse than I realised, and more thought-out and intentional than the news footage would imply.

Anyone with a social conscience and a eye on the newspapers knows that the consumer society is not all it seems, that there is a catalogue of atrocities behind the shiny veneer. We know that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, that trade is unfair, that our consumption patterns are unsustainable, and that globalisation has not delivered its much lauded benefits evenly. The problem is, what do you do about it? How else could it work? And even if we can imagine an alternative…

My manifesto!

Book Review: "The Rise of the Green Left" by Derek Wall

Derek Wall is a former Speaker of the Green Party of England & Wales and a key proponent of the growing ecosocialist movement which is the subject of his book, "The Rise of the Green Left". He teaches political economy, but this is no dry academic text riddled with political theory. Rather, it is a cri de coeur, with a vital analysis of the problems confronting the planet as untrammelled capitalism hungrily gobbles up our biosphere, spreading the poisonous profits it generates so unequally that billions either go hungry or compliantly join in the rape and destruction of our living space, buying into the lie that their hard work will eventually be rewarded.

Derek Wall contrasts the long term sustainability of the shared Commons, written about extensively by Elinor Ostrom, with the inherent need for capitalism to create goods which become obsolete sooner and sooner, either via technical breakdown or aspirat…

'from Sappho and St Augustine to Sismondi and Schumacher'

I have written eight books on Green Politics, put together this anthology in 1993, met the mother of my kids while I was occupied with Green History.

Alice Walker was so kind to let me include her essay "Nobody was supposed to survive' about the MOVE organisation massacre in Philly, these are the people who Mumia Abu-Jamal was inspired by.

here are some comments and if you want to buy it great but library is even better (ha my publishers hate me!) greener, open source....

'Where Green History really scores is the way in which Derek Wall binds together that would otherwise be interesting but frustratingly disconnected literary snippets. His chapter introductions are extremely helpful in linking the separate parts to what emerges as the `green whole'.' - Jonathon Porritt, BBC Wildlife Magazine

'Derek Wall has assembled some compelling writing to underline how environmental concerns are as old as civilisation itself ... He teases out the beginnings of strands now…

Pimps and economists

Love this, not that I am an anarchist, its poetry.

The concept of an older women as lead singer punk rock goddess is the most political and sweetest thing about the Poison Girls.

This is a message to persons unknown

Persons in hiding. Persons unknown

Survival in silence

Isn't good enough no more

Keeping your mouth shut head in the sand

Terrorists and saboteurs

Each and every one of us

Hiding in shadows persons unknown

Hey there Mr. Average

You don't exist you never did

Hiding in shadows persons unknown

Habits of hiding

Soon will be the death of us

Dying in secret from poisons unknown

This is a message to persons unknown

Strangers and passers-by

Persons unknown

Turning a blind eye

Hope to go unrecognized

Keeping your secrets persons unknown

Housewives and prostitutes

Plumbers in boiler suits

Truants in coffee bars

Who think you're alone

Big men on building sites

Sick men in dressing gowns

Agents in motor cars

Who never go home

Women in factories

One parent families

Women in…

'I simply want to put an end to capitalism before capitalism puts an end to us.’

Hugo Blanco is my inspiration, I am lucky to have spent some time with him, a living legend, he just sent me this from New Internationalist.

He is the most important influence on my practical politics at 77 he fights for indigenous, socialism and ecology!

He says 'I simply want to put an end to capitalism before capitalism puts an end to us.’ that is what it is about!

Hugo Blanco
Hugo Blanco is a legendary figure in Latin America. In the early 1960s, when Blanco led a ‘Land or Death’ peasant uprising that sparked Peru’s first agrarian reform, the military called for his execution. But Blanco’s life was spared following an international campaign led by the likes of Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Che Guevara. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison and eventually served eight. Now a feisty 76, he publishes the Lucha Indígena (

Roxana Olivera
Dressed in blue jeans, an alpaca sweater, sandals and a large straw hat, Hugo Blanco stands outside the main doors…

LONDON AFIRE, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia's links to ecosocialist and deep green politics here

10 August 2011
After decades of political betrayal by the Labour Party, and the blatant attacks on the working class by the Tories (the
British Conservative Party), there has emerged an angry and bitter class that has rocked what was once the center of a
global empire: London.

Fires have erupted In Birmingham, Croydon, Bristol, Liverpool and Tottenham at last count, sparked by the very same
fuse that lit the explosions of the 1960s, and 1990s: police violence-this time against a 29-year old father of four, Mark

But while this cop violence may prove a spark, that doesn’t mean it was the reason. Years of cutbacks, joblessness,
slashed educational opportunities and plain old political mean-spiritedness aimed at the poor and the dispossessed,
immigrants and the like, left sour tastes in the minds of many. Especially in the midst of a city that became the financial
center of Europe, who were living a life of excess and p…

Crisis of Civilization

Neo-liberalism is going to eat your head!

Green trade union/anti-cuts event in Belfast

I enjoyed taking part in the "Jimmy Browne debate", Greg who organised it and his wife were wonderful hosts, Greg told me a lot about traditions of rural trade unionism with members of agricultural unions fighting against pesticides that harmed them and the wider environment. This in its self was worth the tip.

Greg is an inspiring red-green or green-red, very committed to practical work to advance socialism and environmental sustainability. Can't wait to be back in Belfast again and Portaferry!

With the disturbances going in England it is with no little irony that the Unite union organised the first "Jimmy Browne debate" which took place at the union's office in north Belfast recently.

Speakers included Jimmy Quinn, senior organiser and comrade of Jimmy Browne, the Green Party's Derek Wall and Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary of the Irish region, and chaired by education officer for Ireland Ritchie Browne.

The lunchtime gathering drew progressives fr…

'tell an addict to cut their habit and they get angry'

A blast from the past but gives you an idea of my approach when I was Green Party of England and Wales Principal Speaker a year or two back.

Talking around the theme 'Catastrophe and Resistance', Derek Wall outlined the ways in which radical green politics can equip us to challenge the threats of ecological and economic catastrophe. Dismissing the Tories as 'green pretenders', he cited conventional politicians 'lack of understanding, lack of vision and lack of aspiration.'

"Gordon Brown commissioned the Stern review, but there is little evidence that he has read it.

"We have new green, the painted on environmentalism of Cameron, Campbell and Brown, united yes by ecotaxes but also by support for nuclear weapons and the insanity of ever increasing economic growth. They use accountancy to pretend they are doing something, but its more like pushing food around your plate than eating up the problem."

"Cameron the neo-con backs war in Iraq as well…

Councillors lack strategy to fight the cuts.

So what is Plan B? *( An article on local government and cuts by Sean Thompson )

In an interview in the August edition of Environmental Health News, Bill Randall, Leader of Brighton Council, said that while the Green Party in Brighton won with a manifesto that promised to resists the cuts to the greatest possible extent, the council cannot actually stop them. He said he is not going to defy the government, adding ‘I am not going to be a George Lansbury.’

Of course, he was referring to the 1921 Poplar Rates Revolt - the refusal of Poplar councillors, led by George Lansbury, to collect a precept for the LCC and other London wide bodies in protest against the unfair burden the then rating system placed on a desperately poor borough like Poplar. The majority of the borough’s councillors were committed to prison for contempt, but after six weeks, in the face of huge public support for the councillors and other councils starting to threaten to take the same action, the Government backed dow…

Passivhaus positive!


Blood on the margarine?

Unilever has a problem: For many of its products, the company buys palm oil from one of the most ruthless producers in Indonesia, Wilmar International.

The world’s largest multinational palm oil company is notorious for illegal logging and severe human rights violations. Now, one of its subsidiaries has once again resorted to violence on the Indonesian island of Sumatra: The Brimob, a special operations force unit, was hired to destroy a whole village and shoot at the indigenous people.

The reason: A man had wanted to sell palm oil fruit which the company claims to own. The methods of its suppliers have been long known to Unilever. We want to remind the company of its responsibility, and we demand the palm oil in its products to be consistently replaced with native fats.

Please sign our letter of protest to Unilever: One more request: The residents of the affected village are left with nothing, five of them still remain in prison.

We collect don…

Repeat after me 'Even though we disagree we share a common enemy'

Theres always been a pattern of struggle and defeat
Never that cycle incomplete
Never enough to tip the scales
Too many people rotting in jails
Or bloodied on the battlefields
The history books from every age
Have the same words written on every page
Always starting with Revolution
And ending with Capitulation
Always silenced by the truncheon
Or bought out with concessions
Always repetition...
Repetition... repetition... repetition...
Im the boss of the factory
Im in charge of the U.K.C.
Shopfloor workers run and fetch
As I sit around and smugly watch
And the process makes me stinking rich
Were all links in the factory chain
And the chain grows longer day by day
And whilst were apart
The process wont stop
Repetition... repetition... repetition...
But were kept apart by philosophies
And moral stances and policies
Well be stuck in our own little ghettos forever
Til we start to work together
Together... Together... Together... Together in the open or together in our lit…

Nick Clegg is 'destroying the Liberal Democrat party and its progressive soul'

Alexis Rowell’s resignation letter:

Dear Nick,
I’m afraid I’ve decided to leave the Liberal Democrats. My principal reason for doing so is Chris Huhne’s support for nuclear power. Opposition to a new round of nuclear power stations has always seemed to me to be a key Liberal Democrat policy and a potent symbol of Lib Dem values. Before Fukishima I could think of many reasons why the Lib Dems were right to oppose nuclear power.With that tragedy still ongoing, and rivalled only by Chernobyl in terms of its adverse impact on nature and mankind, the list grows ever longer.
When I was interviewed as a potential Lib Dem councillor candidate in 2006 I said that the only thing I could foresee which would make me leave the party was if it decided to support nuclear power. The party hasn’t, but Chris Huhne and the Lib Dem coalition negotiators have.
As I think you know I’ve also been quite unimpressed with the coalition’s general record on environmental issues. The bar set by the previous govern…

Green Party policy endorsed by Treasury Committee!

The Green Party have welcomed a report from the Treasury Select Committee of MPs, saying that it endorses their long-held position on the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). PFI is used to gain private sector money for public projects.

The report described PFI as "extremely inefficient" and inherently inflexible (especially for NHS projects). It said that it is an "illusion" that PFI shields the taxpayer from risk.

The cross-party report also pointed out that the long-term expense of PFI deals are now much higher than more conventional forms of borrowing.

MPs found that the cost of capital for a typical PFI project is over eight per cent - double the long-term government gilt rate of approximately four per cent.

It also emerged that the majority of PFI debt does not appear in official data. If it were, the UK's national debt would increase by £35 billion, or two and a half per cent of GDP.

"We need efficient, high quality and publicly-owned services provided…

Liberal Democrat resigns to join Greens citing coalition assault on 'social fabric'

“I have been growing increasingly disillusioned with the Lib Dems since the party joined the coalition government. My principal reason for leaving was Chris Huhne’s support for nuclear power, but I have also been completely unimpressed with the coalition’s overall environmental record and appalled by what their policies and cuts are doing to the social fabric.” said Alexis Rowell on tuesday.

The former Liberal Democrat councillor and Camden Eco Champion, Alexis Rowell, will be the Green Party candidate for the Highgate by-election on Thursday 15th September.

Alexis formally resigned from the Lib Dems on Monday, paving the way for his selection by the Greens on Tuesday night. In his resignation letter to Nick Clegg he said: “I recognise that any government would have had to make difficult decisions, but I’m still shocked by the fact that you signed the foreword to the bill to privatise the NHS, by the draconian frontloaded cuts to local government, by the free schools policy, by the v…

16 tons 'a kind of an anticapitalist masterpiece'

"Sixteen Tons" is a song about the life of a coal miner, first recorded in 1946 by American country singer Merle Travis and released on his box set album Folk Songs of the Hills the following year. A 1955 version recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts, while another version by Frankie Laine was released only in the United Kingdom, where it gave Ford's version competition.

According to Travis, the line from the chorus "another day older and deeper in debt" was a phrase often used by his father, a coal miner himself.[4] This and the line "I owe my soul to the company store" is a reference to the truck system and to debt bondage. Under this scrip system, workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with non-transferable credit vouchers which could be exchanged for only goods sold at the company store. This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings. Workers also usually lived in company-owned dormito…

A song for David Starkey

'Evil men with racist views'

Vote in the Total Politics awards!


Green Party councillor Gus Hoyt 'Do we build a better future or live in a police state?

By Gus Hoyt
Green Party councillor for Ashley ward

I would like to start with one important premise which has been lost in the divisive language of the last few days: to understand is not to condone. I wish to understand what has happened to our society to create the extreme behaviour of the last few days; but I do not wish to condone violent behaviour.
Many independent shops, homes and charities have been targeted in these recent events. So many people from different backgrounds have been arrested and the confusion – and therefore the need for understanding – has continued to grow. This is such a wide-ranging issue I will omit more than I can include. Such is the nature of limited space.
I am a pacifist who understands that violence begets violence and that a violent backlash against the rioters on the streets (with water cannons and plastic bullets) and in the judicial process (through exaggerated sentencing) will only create more mistrust, anger and ultimately violent behaviour in …

Global green politics

1 Global green politics

The term ‘green politics’ was once synonymous
with the German Greens, who have participated in
governments for much of the last three decades. But
Green parties have now gone global – from Kenya
to Mongolia, Taiwan to Brazil. And green political
activity encompasses non-electoral campaigns and
direct-action techniques the world over.

IN 1983, 28 MEMBErS of the German Green Party
were elected to the West German parliament. Dressed
informally in jeans, some of them brought in plants to
place on their desks. Their colorful arrival contrasted
with the suited members from the traditional parties.
Their success marked the first entry into a national
parliament of a group of greens. The German Greens
were elected in 1983 on a platform with four key
elements: ecology, social justice, peace and grassroots
Green parties were born in the early 1970s, grew
in the 1980s and green politics is now a global
phenomenon. Green politics is first and foremost the


Saturday 1st October, London
The economic crisis of 2008 is still gripping Europe. Governments are telling us that we are all in it together. But we are not responsible for this crisis of the neo-liberal system.

The EU Central Bank and the IMF are trying to impose austerity programmes on a scale not seen since the 1930s. This means mass unemployment, wage cuts, reforms of pensions, and privatisation of public services. Meanwhile the same bankers collect bonuses worth millions. But these programmes are not working. Greece and Ireland are now asking for more help as they are unable to pay back the first financial bail-out.

There is an alternative.

This crisis is not our crisis. We should refuse to pay their debt. Together across Europe, we must take action to resist these attacks and to defend our public services and jobs. And together, we must organise for a society which meets the needs of people and the planet, not private profit.

Join us in London on Saturday 1st October 2011


NATIONAL DEBTS, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

NATIONAL DEBTS, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

[col. writ. 7/30/11], Mumia Abu-Jamal

Amidst the political brinksmanshlp occasioned by the rising of the national debt ceiling, a question arises.

What is the nation‘s debt?

Of the 14.3 trillion cited in published accounts, over a quarter of that amount, or $4.4 trillion, is the projected costs of the mad adventures In Iraq and Afghanistan, in military material expenditures, wages, financial supports to occupation governments, and perhaps the most steadily increasing price tag: medical bills for tens of thousands of those wounded in the wars--costs that will continue to accrue for the rest of their lives.

Indeed, the needless, wasteful and disastrous wars (talk about weapons of mass destruction!) account for 31% of the rampaging national debt!

Should the millions of Americans who took to the streets in the largest anti-war demonstrations in generations, who warned against this folly In Spring 2003, be saddled with this stunning burden of trilIions?


Feed the world without destroying the planet tour coming soon!

Really pleased to be on board with this, Mindanao is the site of an ecosocialist struggle, a little bit of hope that ecosocialism via indigenous, workers and peasants can grow in Asia like it has in Latin America....I would love to get out to Mindanao at some point (however trying to stick to my no fly policy!) , any how spread the word, this is going to be good.

Feed the world without destroying the planet
Tour of Philipina Ecosocialist

In November 2011 Socialist Resistance and Green Left will be hosting a national tour on the vital subject of food production and food sovereignty.

This is a crucial subject in a world where soil erosion, desertification and famine for millions of poor people is an ever-increasing reality while the profits of large landowners and supermarkets continue to soar.

The main speaker will be Maria Neri B. Pampilo from Mindanao in the Philippines. Maria is a longstanding activist and ecosocialist. She will share her fascinating experiences in the struggle for…

'make the world your priority try to live your life ecologically'

I could say fck the lifestyle, study the politics, its not about changing your light bulbs it is about learning about Simon Bolivar and making the change! Nice song though...enjoy

is it right or wrong
try to find a place
we can all belong?
be as one
try to get on by
if we unify?
we should really try...

all this time
spinning round and round
made the same mistakes
that we've always found
surely now
we could move along
make a better world?
no it can't be wrong

let's come together
right now
oh yeah
in sweet harmony

let's come together
right now
oh yeah
in sweet harmony

let's come together
right now
oh yeah
in sweet harmony

let's come together
right now
oh yeah

time is running out
let there be no doubt
we should sort things out
if we care
like we say we do
not just empty words
for a week or two

make the world
your priority
try to live your life
play a part
in a greater scheme
try to live the dream
on a wider scene

let's come together

How they learnt to riot and burn?

I was on the train listening to feral youth, trainee bankers smug as they talked about stealing from us, stealing big style is the socially accepted norm, cops taking bungs from Murdoch to turn a blind eye to phone hacking, city hacks, rioters....its a system which does not even disguise the greed. Can we move from a society based on burn, steal and batter? We have to.

Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets
by David Harvey
11 August 2011

“Nihilistic and feral teenagers” the Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.

The word “feral” pulled me up short. It reminded me of how the communards in Paris in 1871 were depicted as wild ani…

Socialist Worker central committee 'Why we need an ecosocialist network'

Karl Marx, in Capital, Volume III noted:
“Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations as boni patres familias [good heads of the household].”

Great to see Aotearoa/New Zealand Socialist Worker embrace ecosocialism, ecosocialism currents are growing fast in socialist and green organisations, to my mind ecosocialism is about 3 three things.

1. Democratic control of society i.e. the Commons
2. Respect for future generations i.e. the idea that we must act as good ancestors advocated by Marx, Ostrom, indigenous, etc.
3. Disciplined and focussed struggle to achieve 1 and 2 so we have a decent democratic ecological and equal society

None of this belongs to one political organisation, we have to make paths by walking them. I am not a supporter of the Socialist Worker A/NZ, its not my traditio…

Stealing the commons and looting the streets

The elite steal and the people steal from each other for thought here.

This week the international news has been dominated by two distinct, yet not unrelated events. First was the international financial crisis precipitated, or more accurately exacerbated, by the decision of S&P to downgrade the US credit rating, something that led to $3 trillion (that’s 3 with 12 zeros) to be ‘lost’, a topic addressed at length in the article by Horace Campbell this week. The second was the eruption of young people onto the streets of Britain (see Alex Free’s article). Two features of these events are worth pointing out.

First, the reaction to the events reflect the growing crisis of the ruling classes in being able to imagine a solution beyond trying to solve the problem with the same kind of thinking that created the problem: in the first case, neoliberal economics that serve the interest of financialised capital has itself created a crisis in a world economic system that dep…

Sour times in Britain.

I get the impression that 98% of the population want water cannons, horrendous but understandalbe, this is worth reading and the horrifying video is instructive....and I have pasted in one of Jenny Jones statement which is important. A cycle of violence looks increasingly likely in the UK as the jilted generation meets alienation with looting and they in turn face more repression...sour times.

Public opinion on this will probably be under the belief that this just means getting protesters a bit cold and wet so they go home. We must be clear that the use of water cannons is brutal and dangerous, and can result in the following:

This man had his eyes ripped out by a water cannon (see picture above) in the protests in Stuttgart against the construction of the Stuttgart 21 train station. The image is taken from Der Spiegel, and has done the rounds in Germany, but is not well-known here in Britain. It is vitally important that we spread good information on the dangers of water cannon use …

Jenny Jones statement on events in Tottenham

Green Mayoral candidate and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority,
Jenny Jones, has reacted to last night's riots in Tottenham by calling
for swift action to restore vital youth services and a review of
communications failures between the police and the community.

Jenny Jones said:

"We urgently need to examine all the factors that led to last night's
events in Tottenham, a community suffering from one of the highest
deprivation levels in the country [1], and take appropriate action to
prevent repercussions.

"We need a full investigation into the shooting of local man Mark Duggan
which seems to have been the trigger for last night's riots, and an
urgent review of stop and search and what communications failures there
were between the police and Tottenham's community. Violence and looting,
and smashing up your own streets is not the answer. It's bad for the
old, the poor, and those who run the small businesses people rely on.

"The Government must tak…

Derek Wall discusses “The green left alternatives” in Belfast

Belfast Béal Feirste
Tuesday 9 August, 1 p.m.
Unite Political Summer School, 2011
First Jim Brown Debate: “The green left alternatives”
Speaker: Derek Wall (environmental activist). Chairperson: Ritchie Browne (Unite).
▶Unite (26 Antrim Road)

Máirt 9 Lúnasa, 1 i.n.
Scoil Samhraidh Pholaitiúil Unite, 2011
Céad Díospóireacht Jim Brown: “The green left alternatives”
Cainteoir: Derek Wall (gníomhaí imshaoil). Cathaoirleach: Ritchie Browne (Unite).
▶Unite (26 Bóthar Aontroma)

Very pleased to have this invite to address the Unite Summer School in Belfast.

I am trying to stick to my no fly rule, so its train and ferry there and back, so less blogging from me for the next day or two!

Here is a biog of Jim Brown, proud to be doing the first of what will be a series of annual events in his memory.

And of course its 'green left alternatives' so not based on one political organisation but thought the GL banner would be appropriate for this post!

Jim Brown

Trade Unionist – Socialist – Anti -Fasc…

Left publisher should reject racist author

I am shocked that Zero books are apparently publishing a book by Gilad Atzmon, who is a pretty solid example of anti-semite, as I noted here.

I often disagree with Harry's Place and I am sometimes known to have my disagreements with Socialist Unity but this seems a straightforward example of a racist being helped to promote his views.

Atzmon claims that Jews were responsible for their persecution by Nazis, and argues that Hitler’s persecution was a “direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership. “
Atzmon has argued that American Jews do “try to control the world by proxy”, which “makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant”
Atzmon claims that “Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution”
Atzmon has written that the credit crunch was caused by “Zionists”
Atzmon promotes the views of Holoc…