Showing posts from August, 2010

Žižek 'How Marx invented the symptom'

I enjoy Žižek, don't always understand him and don't always agree with him. He is great, fun and very stimulating. Just been reading 'How Marx invented the symptom' from his first book to be translated into English, The Sublime Object of Ideology.

He combines Lacan and Marx, noting that Lacan suggests the psychoanalytic concept of the 'symptom' was invented by Marx.

I am not in a position to summarise the article but do give it a read.

Two insights though.

1) Belief befor belief.

The individual does not have belief in say Catholicism or Socialism but because they wish to believe they go through the rituals, by carrying out the

rituals they then gain belief. Practice leads, as Marx suggests to a change in consciousness, the twist here is that one wants to change consciousness.

2) The contradiction between the 'forces' and 'relations' of production

It is not, according to Žižek, that Marx believes that the contradiction between 'relations' (the…

Lily Allen message to the fascists

If you didn't catch this first time around, here it is again, great lyrics, to all those who confronted the English Nationalist Alliance in Brighton today or the EDL in Bradford on saturday, thanks for fighting the racists.

Message to the EDL

And report here on the abortive ENA march today in Brighton, claims Greens need to be out on the streets but I am sure his taunts about 15 year girls will get him flack, if the anti-fascists were mainly 15 year old girls, good for them.

Nice message above from the Asian youth to EDL

The England Nationalist Alliance (ENA) marched through Brighton today. About 30 of “England’s finest”, protected by several hundred police, made their way from Brighton Station to Victoria Gardens. There was at least one police vehicle for every member of the ENA – excluding the police helicopter.
The ENA is not a Brighton-based group and they were made to feel unwelcomed. They could only take to the street protected by the police. I assume that the ENA is just a front for the English Defence League (EDL).
A group of anti-fascist demonstrators (from what I could see made up mainly of 15 and 16 year old girls) were penned into an enclosure around the Mazda Fountain (at the bottom of North Road). This require…

Message from striking London Underground staff to passengers


London Underground plans to:

get rid of around 800 station staff posts
reduce ticket office opening times by around 7,500 hours
carry out essential maintenance checks on trains every four weeks instead of every two weeks
cut the number of train drivers’ posts
Tube trade unions RMT and TSSA have tried for months to persuade London Underground to scrap these unnecessary and dangerous cuts. We have spent hours in talks, have lobbied politicians, and have won lots of support from passengers. But London Underground and the Mayor have not listened.

London Underground has left members of the two unions with no choice but to hold strikes and other industrial action. We are prepared to lose money by striking because we are not prepared to see London’s workers and passengers put at risk, left without help, or have vital services withdrawn. We are professional railway staff and we want to be able to do our jobs safely and properly.

We believe that…

Spiderman arrested for skyscraper climate climb

Famous building scaler Alain "Spiderman" Robert was arrested after climbing the Royal Bank of Scotland in Sydney, Australia.

He had climbed up and displayed a banner advertising One Hundred Months, the organization that believes we have a 100 month deadline to fix global warming or suffer dire irreversible consequences.

Dressed as Spiderman Alain Robert climbed one of Sydney's tallest buildings to raise awareness of climate change.

He is promoting the website.

Good for him, a reminder that some of Australia's most senior politicians like would be Prime Minister Tony Abbott are on record as saying climate change is a myth.

As Australia has faced huge forest fires and the Murray-Darling river basin is drying up drastic action is some times needed to combat the well funded deniers.


Fascists march in Brighton tomorrow- Mobilise against them

Fascist demonstration in Brighton on August bank holiday

Call out for a counter mobilisation

On August 30th, bank holiday Monday, two days after the English Defence League are planning to march in Bradford, the English Nationalist Alliance aim to march through the streets of Brighton. The ENA want to impose their nationalist, far right idea of English identity on us all, their approach to Muslims being to “force out these bastards coz we ain't got the room”.
Whereas the English Defence League officially attempt to hide their far right politics, the ENA are open in their attacks on anti-racists, anti-war and anti-arms trade campaigners, anarchists and socialists. In their own words they intend to “protest against the militant students and attacks on industry in the region by Palestinian militants and socialist extremists, to support the English people of the region against the constant anti-English activities in the more support of Palestinian terrorists...militant studen…

BNP Doctor in slimming pill crisis appeal

I just don’t have the money to relaunch my cosmetic career . . . I’m in a bit of a state at the moment.
“I need equipment, lasers and so on, but I’m broke.
“In a way it might have been better if I’d been struck off . . . at least then I could have looked at starting afresh in a new career. This has left me hanging on for three years

The racist BNP is in apparent free fall. Despite earlier crisis, indications are that they could now be in real trouble. Marmite-gate, where the party breached corporate copyright looks likely to lose them £100,000s, leader Nick Griffin's heavy handed approach to internal critics has led to calls for a new far right Party from former 'legal advisor' John Lee Barnes, the Party's only representative on the Greater London Assembly ex- gay porn producer Richard Barnbrook has gone independent.

To add to this the saga of Dr Allan Paterson's on going dog fight with the medical establishment continues. Lead candidate for the North East Euro con…

Abandon Affluence!

Ted Trainer wrote a piece for my first book 'Getting There- Steps to a Green Society' published in 1990 (on green strategy if you are asking).

His book Abandon Affluence! looking at why capitalist growth was wrecking the planet was very important to my political education, he has feed his ideas into the Australian Green movement which is flourishing with Green Party gains and the amazing Green Left Weekly.

He has written an interesting but friendly critique of the Transition Towns movements here.

This is from an interview with him on the 25th anniversary of Abandon Affluence!

Could you explain more about your concept of the “simpler way”?
It can be summarised in a few principles.
First, lifestyles cannot be affluent. This doesn’t mean deprivation at all. It means having perfectly adequate food, clothing and shelter — a better lifestyle than most of us around the world have now — but without the wasteful gadgets and jet-away holidays.
We’d have to provide ways of life that provide us …


This is an excellent article from Ben in Australia.

A new urgency
The failings of economistic 20th century leftism have allowed capitalism and consumerism to run rampant to the extent that the biosphere of the planet is beginning to experience a catastrophic breakdown, best known in the form of climate change (although broader than that most pressing problem).

Climate change and the ecological crisis are demanding a reinvigoration of the left’s imagination. No longer can workers settle for demanding pay rises and economic advances. No more can the left settle for reactive campaigns calling to stop this or that crime, or to save this service from cutbacks. These are the defensive posturing of a movement that has put their visions of a better future off indefinitely as impractical or impossible just now.

Climate change demands action now. It demands solutions. They are feasible, and we can fight for them, but they are a radical departure from the consumerist life. This life is what the Wes…

Mumia Abu-Jamal 'A Matter of the Mosque'

[col. writ. 8/22/10] (c) '10 Mumia Abu-Jamal

In Manhattan, the controversy over the placement of a mosque (or Islamic house of worship) just a few mere blocks from what is now known as 'Ground Zero' -- the site of the New York plane strikes on 9/11, rages on.

Sides have been assembled, and arguments have been hurled like mental Molotov cocktails on both sides of the fray.

The argument, no matter how resolved, shows us how empty is the Constitution, which has an express provision protecting free religious practice.

What an argument for those who claim fealty to the Constitution!

For a right that can't be practiced is no right at all.

One is reminded of how the Constitution 'protected' the rights of Blacks after the Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution were passed from 1865 to 1870. It looked fine on paper, but over a hundred years later they had no reality in the lives of millions of Blacks, who couldn't vote, couldn't sit on…

Thank God man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax.

Thank God man-made global warming was proven to be a hoax. Just imagine what the world might have looked like now if those conspiring scientists had been telling the truth. No doubt Nasa would be telling us that this year is now the hottest since humans began keeping records. The weather satellites would show that even when heat from the sun significantly dipped earlier this year, the world still got hotter. Russia's vast forests would be burning to the ground in the fiercest drought they have ever seen, turning the air black in Moscow, killing 15,000 people, and forcing foreign embassies to evacuate. Because warm air holds more water vapour, the world's storms would be hugely increasing in intensity and violence – drowning one fifth of Pakistan, and causing giant mudslides in China.



A few years ago I came across a document called “The Ecosocialist Manifesto.” It had been co-authored in 2001 by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy. I contacted Joel and arranged for him to write a piece on ecosocialism for Canadian Dimension. That article appeared in the November/December 2007 issue of CD. The cover of that issue reads “Capitalism vs. The Earth: The Ecosocialist Alternative.”

Since then I have been immersing myself on the literature of ecosocialism — elements of which I had first read many years earlier. It didn’t take long to conclude that the single most important contribution to ecosocialism has come from U.S.-based Marxist economist, James O’Connor.

It was in 1988 that Jim and his partner Barbara Laurence founded the journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. CNS brought together dozens of ecosocialists in several collectives around the world and sparked a vigorous intellectual discussion, which is still ongoing. Jim also acted as editor of a series of very important books …

Rainforest priest Paul McAuley under new threat

Many oil and gas projects in the Amazon have met fierce resistance from indigenous groups.

Residents accuse the government of abusing their land rights and failing to consult them about big investment projects, the BBC's Peru correspondent Dan Collyns says.

Brother Paul has repeatedly said that oil exploration and logging are threatening to the indigenous population of the Amazon.

He admits that his work might lead to people asking for their rights.

"Education is often accused of inciting people to understand their rights, to be capable or organising themselves to ensure their human rights," Mr McAuley told the BBC.

"If that's a crime, then yes I'm guilty," he added. "As a member of a Catholic order, my life's been dedicated to human and Christian education."

Had a message yesterday from Fr Paul McAuley, he is based in the Peruvian Amazon and works with local people to preserve their environment and human rights.

The Peruvian govern…

Hugo Blanco Tour

Hugo Blanco is a historic leader of the Peruvian peasant movement, who has been active for more than fifty years. In the 1960s he played a central part in the ‘Land or Death’ peasant uprising in the southern highlands of Peru. He was captured, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The consistent struggles of the indigenous peoples of Latin America against neoliberalism and in defence of the environment are an inspiration to many ecosocialists across the world and this event, and other parts of the tour will give us an opportunity to find out more - including about the struggles in Peru which are less well known.
Today Hugo Blanco is the editor of the Cusco based newspaper Lucha Indigena, and part of the purpose of the tour is to raise funds for that publication. The indigenous organisation Aidesep have been intense conflict with the neo-liberal Peruvian government for several years, fighting to prevent the Amazon rainforest from being sold to oil and gas corporations. In 2009 Peruvian m…

‘Greenslide’ a shift to left

‘Greenslide’ a shift to left — neither major party wins majority mandate
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

By Peter Boyle

Rally for equal marriage rights, Sydney August 14, 2010. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By denying both the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the the Liberal-National coalition an outright majority in primary votes and in House of Representatives seats, Australian electors voted “neither of the above” for the traditional parties of government.

This followed an election campaign in which the major parties conducted an ugly race to the right, most notoriously by scapegoating the few thousand desperate refugees who attempt to get to Australia on boats.

The effect of this race to the right was to promote racism, further breakdown community solidarity, and a bolster a range of other conservative prejudices on issues ranging from climate change to the economy to same-sex marriage rights. Important issues like Indigenous rights and Australia's participation in the imperialist war of occupa…

Derek Wall and Adrian Ramsay - Deputy Leadership Hustings Round 2 - CAMBRIDGE

Derek Wall and Adrian Ramsay - Deputy Leadership Hustings Round 2 - CAMBRIDGE


DATE: September 2nd, 2010

TIME: 1930 - 2130 - hustings commencing at 1945, ending 2115/20. All to be seated, hopefully, by 1940.

FORMAT: 10 minutes introductory speeches each, then one hour of questions, with 3 minutes MAXIMUM to respond, then 5 minutes closing statements each.

CHAIR: TBC - but probably Fiona Radic (neutral chair).

There will be a donation bucket, to cover some (or hopefully all) of the cost incurred by Cambridge Green Party in the hiring of this room. Any additional monies will be retained by Cambridge Green Party for Party purposes.

Any questions you would like to submit if you cannot make it, please email It is not guaranteed that all (or any) will be used.

The event is open to all Green Party members.


Adam Pogonowski

Message from Australian Greens

The Greens are the breakthrough story of this election.

I want to make sure you're the first to understand how significant these results are—and that we couldn’t have achieved them without your support.

Yesterday, the Greens won the balance of power in the Senate, as well as our first lower house seat at a general election in Melbourne. We've achieved so much together this election that it's hard to quantify, but here are some numbers that tell part of the story:

We won a Senate seat in every State, including our first ever Greens Senators in Queensland and Victoria. This gives us the power to shape the agenda of the new Government and achieve real outcomes on issues like climate change, a fair go for asylum seekers, same sex marriage, and improving public schools and hospitals;
Our first ever lower house Greens Member of Parliament has been elected in a general election - congratulations to Adam Bandt who won the seat of Melbourne with a massive 13% swing to the Greens on …

The Deputy Leadership hustings London 20/8/2010



The Deputy Leadership hustings were held in London tonight.

The turnout was very good, and the questions very interesting, ranging from AV to party strategy, disability issues within the Party to political philosophies, and lots of talk on economic issues....and the occasional mention of Latin America and Elinor Ostrom from Derek!

Owen Clayton and Adam Pognowski, both of Green Left renown, also sent questions in to the hustings which were put to both candidates. And Zain Sardar, another fine and upstanding member of Green Left chaired extremely well throughout the evening. So well done to him!

(NB Green Left does not take a postion to support either candidate in this election PM)

Videos here

WikiLeaks: The Global 4th Estate


WikiLeaks: The Global 4th Estate
Recently, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks was thrust onto the world stage with two separate releases of US government classified documents. The first was a cockpit video from a 2007 Apache gunship attack in Baghdad and the second was the largest ever military document leak in world history relating to the US-Afghanistan war. WikiLeaks called the sensational 2007 video Collateral Murder. It opened with a quote from Orwell’s 1984 and depicted from the point of view of the Americans in an Apache helicopter the gunning down of Iraqi civilians and Reuters reporters in a Baghdad street. As the controversy over the video boiled over, questions were raised about government secrecy, the importance of transparency, as well as legal and moral accountability. When the more controversial Afghan War Diaries were released, the US security establish…


'Forget Foucault' indeed, there is some droll material here.

Aidesep call rainforest protest mobilisation

There is a slogan that goes 'Another World is Possible'. Well I reckon the border between the world we have, based on injustice and ecological destruction, and a world that works, just and sustainable, exists somewhere in the Amazon of Peru and Ecuador, where the indigenous show signs of winning victory and making the necessary also the possible.

Its easy to forget the struggles in Peru and Ecuador are crucial for our climate and much else besides, I must must must regularly post stuff on this, very easy to get caught up in ones politics and forget that this is absolutely crucial stuff.

Aidesep the inter ethnic association of Peruvian Amazon are calling massive demonstrations for 12th October in protests by the Congress to discuss a 'law of the forests' that would recognise their rights and against attempts by the government to split the indigenous.

This is the google translate from Aidesep's webside, viva Aidesep and look out for Hugo Blanco when he tours Britain so…

Caroline Lucas congratulates first Green Party MP in Australia

Just had this from Green Party HQ, good news.
Australia elects its first Green MP...

...and the UK’s first Green MP broadcasts congratulations to Melbourne celebration party

Today Australia became the second Commonwealth country this year to elect its first Green Party MP – and in a show of solidarity from the other side of the planet, the Australian Greens invited Britain’s first Green MP to broadcast a live message to their celebration party in Melbourne.

Caroline Lucas, the new Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, congratulated Adam Bandt (1), the new Green Party MP for Melbourne, who like Caroline won the progressive vote to take a seat from a Labour party. Caroline today spoke of her delight in the Australian Greens’ success:

“It’s excellent news for Australia, because the Greens are the party nowadays offering the socially progressive policies as well as the best environmental policies.

“And it’s excellent news for the world, because with a stronger Green influence we can expect Aus…


Jerry is definately a man after my own heart and a good friend, grassroots trade union militant, working class hero and an ecosocialist, he has back me as Green Party Deputy-Leader and I am backing him for Unite General Secretary.

If you are in Unite or have friends in Unite, please support Jerry Hicks and spread the word.

What I Stand For
This election comes at a defining moment for working people in this country. It is the most important Trade union election for generations. We had the credit crunch, the recession and now the crisis of public debt. The Tory-Liberal ,Con-Dem coalition government, wants to dump the costs of bailing out their beloved “free market” on working people, those least able to pay and the most vulnerable.

Instead of increasing taxes on the very rich to pay off the debt, the Con-Dems are using the debt as an excuse for a massive attack on the welfare state and public services, risking a double-dip recession, and ditching any real move to tackle Climate Change.


Caroline Lucas Hugo Blanco joint meeting Brighton 14th October

Thursday 14 October 7pm Friends Meeting House Brighton:

Hugo Blanco event organised by GL & SR. Caroline Lucas is attending.

Wonderful first Green Party MP and indigenous leader from Peru on how we fight for the future.

Climate campers target the bankers

Thursday 19 August 2010 by Will Stone

The RBS group has been targeted over its investment in the oil industry

More than 200 climate activists are laying siege to the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh in protest against the bank's oil investments.

A hundred campaigners from Camp for Climate Action broke through protective fencing to swoop on the grounds of the bank's headquarters in Gogarburn at 9.15pm on Wednesday - a day earlier than planned - to dodge authorities keen to stop the protest camp setting up.

Campaigners, who were joined by 100 more on Thursday, targeted the Royal Bank of Scotland over its investment in the oil industry, which is financing environmentally damaging projects such as the Canadian tar sands and Enbridge pipeline.

The location of the site was announced through mass text messaging that campers subscribed to as part of the planned swoop.

They said the camp had been set up at the site in preparation for a day of action against RBS next Monday, …

Second Wave of Global Protest in Support of indigenous Mapuche Hunger Strikers

6 Lodge Street
Bristol BS1 5LR, England

Tel/Fax: + 44-117-9279391
Mobile: 078 139 79712

Second Wave of Global Protest in Support of indigenous Mapuche Hunger Strikers

Press Release – August 19th 2010.

A second wave of global protest was in initiated by the families of Mapuche political prisoners and hunger strikers on Weds 18th of August. The worldwide protest took place in the following countries, Chile, Argentina, England, France and Norway amongst numerous others.

In London a demonstration of solidarity with Mapuche hunger strikers took place in front of the Chilean embassy and was a well attended and peaceful event. Amongst its supporters were UK based NGO, Mapuche International Link, the Association of Chilean ex- political prisoners in the UK, Colombian Solidarity Campaign, Latin American Coordination, Memoria Historica, and many independent pro-Mapuche sympathisers.
In Temuco, Chile, peaceful …

Climate camp takes RBS HQ, urgent help needed!

Just had this! If in Edinburgh go immediately, if not spread the word

At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as
fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn
Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd.

Everything you wanted to know about Elinor Ostrom but were too afraid to ask

Well not quite but hopefully some food for thought.

Interview with Elinor in Yes Magazine

Whose Common Future, an Ecologist special issue on commons and ecological crisis

Elinor's paper for the World Bank on climate change

Elinor's big autobiographical article;searchHistoryKey=%24%7BsearchHistoryKey%7D&cookieSet=1

Her Nobel Prize lecture here

Her most important book is of course Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Ostrom, Elinor, Cambridge University Press, 1990

'What you call love,' says Draper, 'was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.'

This was an interesting project, I was approached by the Sustainable Development Commission to write a 'thinkpiece' on a post-capitalist economy, the first draft was returned with the suggestion that it wasn't radical enough, Professor Tim Jackson who is great borrowed the first bit of my title for his book....but not the second.

I think people are mystified by my economics, they may still be after reading this, Karl Marx and Elinor Ostrom taught me so much and what's great is that Marx was well Marx and Elinor in contrast came from the school of Hayek and Buchanan before embracing the commons. Incidentally Marx focussed on power, produced dense philosophy and made stunning use of contradiction (his favourite book as a young man was Tristram Shandy), while Elinor is totally modest and uses quite careful case study work and certainly avoids big claims, although her work shows that there is an alternative to both the market and the state which is a pretty radical point w…

Vote Jerry Hicks!

Unite the Union Britain’s largest and most influential Trade Union gears up for the election of its General Secretary. This election comes at a time when the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition is about to announce its plans for massive cuts to be set out in their Autumn Budget in October. All eyes will be on where any possible fight back may emanate. Given the size and make up of Unite, which represents over 1.5 million members in all sectors of the economy, this makes the election for the union’s General Secretary the most significant union election for decades.

Jerry Hicks, with over a quarter of the nominating period to go has already secured more than the required nominations to be able to declare that he will be a candidate in the coming election. Gaining support from every region and sector of the union.

He argues that there is no need for any cuts to public services, pay and pensions but that the collection of the £100bn worth of tax evasion by the very wealthy and big b…

Pete Shields 'at its best Green politics is about a radical transformation of society'

The Morning Star/Tribune debate continues on socialism and the Green Party, see what you think of Pete's thoughts.

Pete Shield has left a new comment on your post "Carl 'GPEW is close - very close - to becoming a g...":

I just don’t think you get Green politics at all, its not another route to full employment and the empowerment of the working class a la Labour delusions in the 60s and 70s.You can’t bend green politics into your old Labour’s not rather successful political project, but you can start to take a good deep look at aspects of the green movement and see what a thoughtful socialist can learn form it, as can the green movement from the Labour movement.

At its best Green politics is about a radical transformation of society to move from a materialist value system to a sustainable one, sustainable for the planet of course but also for the people on that planet. High wages only become important when you need to buy in the basic needs for survival and if othe…

Indigenous candidate to run for Peruvian President

This is just from google translate, cos its late, I haven't time to go through it

Basically Aidesep who are the indigenous organisation in the Peruvian Amazon, effective and strong at defending the rainforests, are going to run their leader Alberto Pizango as a Presidential candidate in next years Peruvian elections....this is partly in response to Government attempts to set up false indigenous groups who they can use to divide and conqueror the Amazon.

original is here

This looks like his website here for the Presidential bid I should send him James Youd who has been working very effectively my campaign here for Green party deputy leader.

Alberto Pizango: "the government's intentionis to divide us
the people will respond by participating in the elections of 2011 "

AIDESEP, August 11, 2010. At a press conference with the international news media, Alberto Pizango Chota, president of AIDESEP, regretted that the government tried to divide the indigenous movement by creati…

Carl 'GPEW is close - very close - to becoming a genuine and radical party of the Left

This is from Carl in response to my recent Morning Star article

Hi Derek

I guess I am with Keith on this one. Reaction to the article I wrote has been somewhat defensive. For example:

"At its best, the Green Party is part of a tradition of English radicalism that includes Tom Paine and William Morris. It is attempting to address many of the important questions..."

Not exactly an attack, as you would characterise it. And from the unedited version:

"One of the crucial questions for the Green Party concerns the extent to which they can become a party of the 'working Left' - with reference to the kind of family 'eco'-nomics so powerfully depicted by John Steinbeck in the 1930s."

In the article I am actually trying to point out to the readers of Tribune that the GPEW is close - very close - to becoming a genuine and radical party of the Left. I think that people in the Labour Party need to think about what this might mean and what is the best way to help. But…

Latin America facing the global ecological crisis

Latin America facing the global ecological crisis*

Ignacio Sabbatella – University of Buenos Aires

In this article, we will try to outline briefly some of the challenges facing Latin America in relation to the environment. To this end, we will begin by analysing the structural factors underlying the global ecological crisis. We will continue by exposing what we have called environmental inequalities, the forms they assume and the conflicts they may provoke. Finally, we will refer to the conduct of Latin American governments, and the political strategies they employ together with those they might implement.

1) Capital vs. nature appropriation

Humankind is facing an escalating ecological crisis of great magnitude. Its manifestations can be grouped in two major and interrelated problems. On the one hand, we can mention the environmental damage, which includes air, water and soil pollution. The so-called climate change has b…