Showing posts from June, 2012

What do you mean by 'the commons'?

You have written much about how the concept of “the commons” provides the basis for an alternative, ecological economy that is democratic, resource-efficient, decentralised and sustainable. What do you mean by “the commons” and how could it be applied across whole economies? The commons is collectively-owned property, as opposed to state or privately-owned. To me it is the essence of ecosocialism, involving the democratic ownership of the means of production. Communities, including indigenous and peasant farmers, have collectively regulated resources including land, forests and fisheries for thousands of years. Access is free, but those with access must conserve the resource. Commons is key to Marx’s ideas, as we can see from the quote from Das Kapital above. In 2009, [US political economist] Elinor Ostrom won a Nobel Prize for economics, incidentally the first woman to do so. Her research shows that, with care, commons can create sustainable and prosperous economies. There are numero…

Full list of Green Party candidates for leader.

The Green Party today (29th June) announced the candidates standing for the Leader and Deputy Leader of The Green Party of England and Wales.

For Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Pippa Bartolotti, currently Leader of Wales Green Party Natalie Bennett, current Chair of Green Party Women Peter Cranie, currently lead candidate in the North West for the European Elections Romayne Pheonix, currently Chair of the Coalition of Resistance

For Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Caroline Allen, Recent candidate in London Assembly Elections, Member of Policy Committee Cllr Will Duckworth, Dudley Cllr Richard Mallender, Nottingham Cllr Alexandra Phillips, Brighton

A tale of two conferences: The social and ecological crises of capitalism

by Chris Williams
“It’s impossible!” I said.
“No Johnny, we’re impossible. It’s like it always was ten million years ago.
It hasn’t changed. It’s us and the land that’ve changed, become impossible, us!”
—Ray Bradbury, from the short story “The Foghorn” Sometimes, the calendar of international conferences attended by global elites serves up potent lessons for the rest of us, when they shine a spotlight on the deliberately murky affairs of the people who run the system. As the 20 most powerful world leaders deliberate on economic issues in Los Cabos, Mexico for the G20 summit, representatives of the rest will be simultaneously converging on Rio de Janeiro to consider how to follow up on the original Earth Summit, 20 years ago this year. At these seemingly separate gatherings, we in truth observe the two sides of the capitalist coin. Namely, how can the capitalist elite continue the necessary work of exploiting both humans and the natural world in the service of profit, while cloaking thei…

Why are the Greens winning in West Midlands? Interview with Will Duckworth

THE Green Party were celebrating this morning (Friday) after winning their first ever seat on Dudley Council.
Will Duckworth romped home to victory in Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews where he polled 1,525 votes beating his nearest rival (Labour's Mahbub Rahman) by 256 votes. Conservative candidate Steven Ridley (standing in after sitting councillor John Davies retired) was left trailing behind with 335 votes while UKIP went home with 257.
Former maths teacher Will, aged 58, described his first-time win - after placing second last year - as "amazing". He told the News: "It really shows that when you've got someone working hard for the residents they take notice. We've been telling them constantly what our policies are and people like our policies because they make sense."


1. The West Midlands Green Party are winning seats at a faster rate than any other part of the party, can you tell me more about this?

WMGP’s recent electoral success has come…

Rio statement 'take back the commons'

An impatient Trade Union Assembly in Rio on 11-13 June adopted a statement which represents an important step forward, in which it realises "that our current profit-driven production and consumption model, identified as the source of rising social inequalities and environmental degradation, must be replaced if a truly sustainable development is to be achieved".
It further demanded that "the Commons, natural and energy resources are brought and kept under public ownership, securing their public preservation and administration with social control."
In order to replace the existing model, the trade union movement must play "a decisive role in fighting for an alternative development model for our societies, grounded on peoples' needs, on solidarity, on economic democracy and on a fair distribution of wealth".
In this struggle, the trade union movement must "make use of our organisational capacity and our experience of past struggles to form a strong, or…

Notes from the Borderland: Essential Green Left Reading

I have had the pleasure of knowing Larry O'Hara since around 1989, he is one of the pillars of the left in the Green Party and a man with a Phd on the British far right.  He is also one of the network that puts together Notes from the Borderland, well yes its controversial stuff and yes the articles are long with lots of footnotes and yes its quite cutting about the personalities involved.   Nonetheless its essential reading in my book.  This is what they say about themselves:

Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then.
Our political perspective is Left/Green, but we welcome truth-tellers, whatever their affiliation. Research interests include the secret state (MI5/MI6/Special Branch) & their assets, including those in the media. We are resolutely anti-fascist, and to that end investigate the far right and state infiltration of va…

join GreenParty before 29th June and you can vote for our new leader to replace Caroline Lucas

If you join the GreenParty before 29th June and you can vote for our new leader to replace Caroline Lucas.

And its only £5 if you are a young person or student.

I am very much of the polycentric i.e pluralist left, good luck to left not in the Green Party and to greens who maybe not ecosocialists!  However we have to build.  Internal politics matter, think of how the lib dems were taken over by the Orange book group or how Labour is being targetted by Progress.  Political parties have a role and internal party politics is part of the work we need to do, although from culture change to non violent direction action there are other vital dimensions.

Caroline Lucas has done a brilliant job setting the agenda and pushing a no cuts anti-austerity approach based on serious action on climate change.

She will continue to do so as MP but having a good leader and deputy are important.

So put your shoulder to the struggle, these things matter and Green Party internal elections can be very close!

Romayne Phoenix to chair Coalition of Resistance national rally

Tuesday 19th June Coalition of Resistance, Public meeting

Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London, 6.30pm

Speakers include Tony Benn, Wendy Savage of Keep our NHS Public, Len McCluskey of UNITE, Christine Blower NUT and the chair of the event is Romayne Phoenix, London Green Party. This meeting is a preparation for the TUC day of action to be held 20th October 2012.

PROTEST at the PERUVIAN EMBASSY Friday 15 June 1-2pm

PROTEST at the PERUVIAN EMBASSY PLANTÓN frente a la EMBAJADA del PERÚ Friday 15 June 1-2pm 52 Sloane Street, London SW1X 9SPKnightsbridge Tube
520 years after Colombus and Pizarro’s genocide for gold, the movement in Peru demands an end to domestic slavery and gold mining. 
A year ago, after decades of organising, domestic workers won the historic Convention 189 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which recognises their rights as workers. Governments must now ratify the Convention. So far, despite promises by President Ollanta Humala’s party during the election campaign, the Convention has not been ratified. On Friday, Lima’s domestic workers’ trade union SINTTRAHOL will take to the streets to demand immediate ratification.
Impoverishment drives thousands of women and children from Indigenous and other rural areas to the city, where they are forced to take domestic work in slave conditions – unending hours; denial of wages, benefits or pensions; rape and other violence.  
Leddy Mo…

Elinor Ostrom (RIP): A personal appreciation

To an outside observer, my career may look rather successful at the current time. Has it always been this way? To be honest, the answer is no. My entry into an undergraduate major in political science was almost accidental. Fortunately, I had a short business career before starting my graduate program or I might have been discouraged by the advice I was given when I applied to graduate school. My research interests took me down a long and interdisciplinary path to the study of complex social-ecological systems—a path that many colleagues in political science strongly criticized. I was deeply interested in how institutions were initially crafted, and then how they affected the incentives and outcomes of human interactions in many settings. Although the theory I participated in developing was general, most of the settings where I conducted empirical research were viewed by some in my home discipline as being irrelevant to political science. Why was I studying local governance and polic…

50 reasons to oppose ACTA (Green Party campaign video)

While you could put a rizla paper between my ecosocialist politics and that of say the German Green Party, its superb that the Greens in the European Parliament are fighting ACTA.

The Pirate Party sits with the Greens in the European Parliament, good stuff from one of their Swedish members on the video above.

Today June 9th is anti-ACTA Day, please spread the word,

Newcastle anti-cuts rally with Mark Serwotka and Romayne Phoenix

Watch Romayne Phoenix - Stop the ConDem Cuts! Coalition Of Resistance in News  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Thursday 14 June - 6.30-8pm - Royal Station Hotel (next to Newcastle Central Station)

This is the LAUNCH RALLY for Newcastle's mobilisation to make 20 October's TUC national demo a massive show of opposition to cuts and privatisation. Organised by Coalition of Resistance,... this rally will feature PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka and a number of other anti-cuts, anti-privatisation speakers (see below).

Stop regional pay - defend pensions - oppose privatisation in the NHS, education and across the public sector.


Romayne Phoenix, Chair of Coalition of Resistance and Green Party activist,

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary

Paul Noble, Newcastle NUT assistant secretary

Meriem Evans, student activist at Gateshead College

Chair: Clare Harwood, Gateshead Unison.

plus speakers from UCU, Coalition of Resistance and Keep Our NHS Public.

Elinor Ostrom, Caroline Lucas and radical Republicanism

I am a republican of course.  Having said that I have not been shouting 'Off with their heads' and demonstrating.

I just think people should be self-governing.

I have also been busy with my research into Elinor Ostrom's work,  Elinor was the first women to win a Nobel Prize in economics for her work on the commons.  She is currently putting together a huge global comparative research project into socio-ecological systems.

I am a huge fan of Elinor and the more I find out about her work the more unique and it important it seems.

Briefly she holds many of the values that a green leftist like me holds, while she does not reject the market or the state, her work is revolutionary in that it shows that collective democratic ownership can work, putting people in charge while promoting sustainability.

She is an advocate of the seven generation rule, respects indigenous people and is passionate about solving ecological problems.

But her conclusions have come from a career rooted i…