31 Aug 2014

Green Party conference session on Rojava, Kurds and resistance to ISIS.




Appeal from the Kurds in Rojava for peace and justice.  Derek Wall, International Committee Dr Alan Semo, Kurdish politician from Syria, the UK representative PYD (Democratic Union Party) will speak to conference about the crisis in Iraq and Syria, and how we can provide solidarity with citizens terrorized by the so-called Islamic State in the region.

Green Party conference 2pm, sunday, 7th September.

You can find more details of our conference at Aston University, Birmingham here http://greenparty.org.uk/conference.html

Good introduction to Rojava and its democratic experiment http://roarmag.org/2014/07/rojava-autonomy-syrian-kurds/

30 Aug 2014

Urgent appeal to international community



 Iraqi Yazidi refugees walk through the Newroz camp in Hasaka province, north eastern Syria, on August 14, 2014, after fleeing advances by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq (AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Rubaye )

Urgent appeal to international community   

We are calling for all international organizations, human rights bodies, civil society organizations, United Nations bodies, the League of the Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, all humanitarian relief organizations, the international charity organizations, we are calling on all of them to stand with us, support us and live up to their humanitarian obligations and provide relief for the Yezidi people.  
The Yezidis are facing genocide, ethnic cleansing and forced displacement by the ISIS and we have been able so far to rescue nearly 100.000 people in very difficult conditions. A large number of them have lost their lives as a result of the hardships, many of them summarily executed, including women and children. Thousands have been forced into the Badush prison in Mosul, where also a large number of women are being held, some of them sold into slavery.   We would like to stress that at this moment 12.000 refugees are placed in the Newroz refugee camp, and many more are expected to come. All of them are in great need of humanitarian aid, essential necessities of life (food, medicine, clothing, etc. including tents).   We are confident that our call will be heard and that you will meet your moral obligations and support us in providing for the victims and those who have been forcibly displaced.     

Please send cheques and money to Heyva Sor 
 Heyva Sor, Address: Fairfax Hall 11 Portland Gardens / London N4 IHU 

 Registered Charity No: 10 93 741, Company No: 42 85 714  

 Bank Sort code: 20 46 60  Bank Account No: 40 91 23 87

This is from text supplied by Kurdistan Solidarity workers

29 Aug 2014

London Kurdish Film Festival 'Yazidis: Past, Present and Future'.

London Kurdish Film Festival Event:

YAZIDIS; PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE

 

Saturday 30th August, 1-6pm SOAS University, SOAS Main Building, Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H OXG, London.

 

For the last three weeks, the world has been watching the great tragedy, exodus and displacement of the Yazidi people unfold. Members of this ancient faith are now faced with annihilation as a result of brutal attacks of the Islamic State that is wreaking havoc on their ancient homeland. Hundreds of thousands of people, young, old, women and disabled have been displaced, kidnapped, killed. Many more, have died from hunger and thirst in these vicious attacks staged by IS. The scale of the tragedy that is still unfolding is still unknown and it seems like these tragedies in the Middle East will be on going for the unforeseeable future.

 

We, as the London Kurdish Film Festival, are organising a multifaceted daylong event to draw more attention to this humanitarian crisis:

 

EXHIBITION OF DRAWINGS

13:00 - An exhibition of drawings by the German Illustrator Olivier Kugler, which depict the social life of displaced refugees in Domiz Camp in Dohuk city, Kurdistan. The drawings have been published in Harper's, Le Monde Diplomatique, Internazionale and Port Magazine.

 

DOCUMENTARY SCREENING

14:00 - The screening of “Lalish Mihrani” by director Aso Haji, a documentary portraying the life of Yazidi people and the spiritual journey of their belief system. The director of this beautifully narrated documentary was given unprecedented access to the Yazidis’ shrines in Lalish, their Mecca, as well as their elderly and clergies. This film delves into this highly secretive and conservative community to develop a sympathetic and empathetic understanding of this often-misunderstood belief group.


*15 Minutes Break.

 

NEWS REPORT SCREENING

15:15 - A short screening of news coverage from Kurdistan and the region.

 

PANEL DISCUSSION

15:30 - Panel: "Yazidis; Past, Present & Future". Who are the Yazidi People? What took place? Why have the Yazidi people been targeted? and the future of Yazidi people in the Middle East.

 

Moderator:

Mr. Guney Yildiz (Journalist - BBC World Service)

 

Panelists:

Professor Christine Allison (Kurdish Studies, Exeter University) will be talking about the Yazidis history, culture and belief system.

 

 

Mr. Yilmaz Gunay (Secretary of Federation of Yazidi Associations) will be talking about the Yazidis’ expectations and what awaits them.

 

Mr. Eyup Burc (IMC TV Co-ordinator) will be talking about what has happened recently, why Yazidis have been targeted and the position of Kurdish forces.

 

Mr. Aris Roussinos (Freelance Journalist - Vice News) will be talking about the current situation and the situation of the Yaziidi refugees.

 

 

*THIS IS A FREE EVENT

*NO BOOKING IS REQUIRED, HOWEVER SEATING IS LIMITED

 

For more information please contact:
Snah Fatah 07818508533

Memed Aksoy 07506702967
 

28 Aug 2014

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown

Philip Mirowski
Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown
Verso, London and New York, 2013. 384pp., £12.99 pb
ISBN 9781781683026
Reviewed by Derek Wall

Review

Mirowski has produced a profound and important book which deserves to be read, however his prose may be distracting for some readers. He also avoids discussion of my two favourite writers on political economy, Marx and Ostrom. I nearly gave up reading it on several occasions, mainly because of the frankly odd writing style. His book discusses why the financial crisis of 2008-9 has strengthened mainstream economics, rather than made it possible to challenge it.
Mirowski first outlines how a range of commentators proclaimed that the neo-classical economics that was so dominant in the early years of this century had been damaged, perhaps fatally, by the financial crisis. He explains carefully why it has instead survived, and is perhaps even stronger. In many parts of the world, the UK being a good example, initial caution about deregulation was soon replaced with an enthusiasm for extending neo-liberalism even further. In the UK, and to some extent in the European Union, greater austerity as a response to debt has seen the extension of market relations to new areas of society, rather than a challenge to deregulation. While it was widely agreed that global economic imbalances, growing inequality and financial deregulation contributed to the crisis, such agreement was forgotten swiftly and neo-liberal policies have been continued with greater enthusiasm.

More here
 

27 Aug 2014

Israel/Palestine and the Middle East – Finding solutions

Green Party conference fringe event Saturday 6th September, 14.30 Aston University, Birmingham.

Israel/Palestine and the Middle East – Finding solutions  International committee This fringe will look at the conflict in Gaza as part of a larger conflict in the Middle East.  Tony Clarke, a former Labour MP, and now one of the Green Party's International Speakers, will speak, along with Palestine activists. It will allow an opportunity for discussion action and policy for the Green Party to promote peace and justice in Gaza, Palestine and the wider region.

26 Aug 2014

Proper Job



I have been investigating beer, my wife and I have joined CAMRA and I bought a box of CAMRA's 2014 prize winners from Beer Hawk.

First out of the box was St Austell's Proper Job.  I have tended to ignore this Cornish brewery but really enjoyed this IPA.  Crisp and tasty, at 5.5 pleasingly strong. Too many beers seems inspired by episodes of British colonial history, Maxim the Sunderland beer of choice, is named after a gun. Proper Job seems to be inspired by an episode from the Indian Mutiny.

Best beer though that I have tasted in a while.

Beer Hawk details here

Wonder if it is in any pubs?

You can buy it direct from the brewery here

Well that's lots of free advertising from me, I am also planning to do some home brewing, so its not all in the cash nexus.
 

25 Aug 2014

Raise money for Hugo Blanco and indigenous struggle

In terms of people I have met, Elinor Ostrom and Hugo Blanco are my big influences. I have spent some time with Hugo and really has acted as a mentor to me. He is fantastic.

 There is a fundraising appeal for his magazine Lucha Indigena, which means Indigenous Struggle.

It is written and published by indigenous people for indigenous people, it covers all the big social and ecological struggles in Latin America but has workers struggles, Gaza solidarity etc.

Hugo led a peasant uprising in the 1960s in Peru, he was praised by Che, he was a leader of the Fourth International and is an ecosocialist.  To seriously combat climate change and other ecological threats we need to acknowledge the indigenous as a vanguard.

Please support this appeal, I am.   It is called a Minga the concept means a communal work.




http://pueblosencamino.org/index.php/asi-si/economias-alternativas-solidarias/1004-a-minga-for-lucha-indigena-and-hugo-blanco

A Minga for Lucha Indigena and Hugo Blanco

We have initiated a process, which we expect to share as a Minga. When we say Minga we refer to the ancestral Andean indigenous tradition where communities are convened to achieve a common goal.
 
To mention Hugo Blanco and “Lucha Indígena” (Indigenous Struggle) refers to peoples, territories, and communities of many communities. The paper “Lucha Indígena”, constitutes a global heritage of people’s in resistance and a fertile seed for the future. Increasing costs risk the disappearance of Lucha Indígena. It is indeed miraculous that it keeps coming out, having reached its 96th monthly issue.
A Minga for Lucha Indígena and Hugo Blanco 
 
See Portuguese, French and Swedish below
 
We went through a basic budget with Hugo. At a minimum, they require $1600 USD a month to rent space in Lima and to print booklets. We are therefore opening a “voluntary subscription” to guarantee its continuity.
 
Attached below, please find the letter that calls for a “Minga for Lucha Indígena”. Based on your possibilities, we invite you to join this effort and to invite others to do as much. Besides English and Spanish, the attached letter is being translated to French, German, Catalonian, Swedish, Italian and Portuguese. In fact, a group of activists and grassroots workers in Toronto, through small savings and a garage sale, gathered the initial 1000 CAD, with which Hugo informs us, they have already rented a place where they will sell agricultural products from Peruvian peasant organizations. At this new place, they are offering the printed journal as well as a booklet on Peru’s first Agrarian Reform in which Hugo was involved as a leader and inspiration.
 
For the people who want to join the “voluntary subscription” and or make donations, this is the required information:
 
For direct Bank to Bank transfers, the required information is: 
1.- Full Name and Address: Ángel Hugo Blanco Galdos - Unidad Vecinal del Rímac 50 F
2.- Account Number: 0200870643
3.- SWIFT CODE: BCONPEPLXXX (in some cases the last XXX are not required)
 
For those who prefer to wire money (Moneygram o Western Union): Once you do this, you need to send Hugo an email with: 
1.- Full name as used for the wire transfer. 
2.- Where the money is sent from 
3.- Amount sent and 
4.- MTCN or wire reference in numbers, with which Hugo can claim the donation. 
 
We ask you to inform us via email of your decision and amounts to be transferred in order to keep a clear and transparent record of moneys and donors. Please write to:
 
Hugo Blanco: hugucha1@gmail.com
Raúl Zibechi: raulzibechi@gmail.com
Emmanuel Rozental: em_rozental@yahoo.com

24 Aug 2014

Please re-elect me as Green Party International Coordinator




Please re-elect me as Green Party International Coordinator.

I have increased our influence within the European Green Party and globally. Appalled by the on going massacre in Gaza I will campaign for  a boycott of Israel until a just peace is achieved.  Shocked by the rise of ISIS, I want Green Party support for the Kurds of Rojava, who have been successfully combating fundamentalism. Rojava is a brave democratic experiment based on green principles including grassroots democracy and the empowerment of women.  There are many tasks as International Coordinator but solidarity with Rojava and is one of the most vital.

International appeal for medical aid to Rojava please click and donate! http://www.medico.de/en/media/rojava-appeal.pdf

Political appeal here http://en.firatnews.com/news/news/appeal-to-support-rojava.htm

Links on Rojava

http://www.kurdishquestion.com/insight-research/analysis/socialism-gender-equality-and-social-ecology-in-the-mountains-of-kurdistan/81-socialism-gender-equality-and-social-ecology-in-the-mountains-of-kurdistan.html

Kurds mobilise to fight ‘Islamic State’ over vast front
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/rojava-syrias-unknown-war/ 

http://roarmag.org/2014/07/rojava-autonomy-syrian-kurds/

http://defence.pk/threads/pkk-pyd-unleashing-a-social-revolution-in-kurdistan.329565/






22 Aug 2014

Achieving Environmental Justice

I have had the pleasure of reading Karen Bell's book Achieving Environmental Justice and reviewing it for Environmental Politics, an academic journal.

However it always concerns me that writing for academic journals is problematic if they are behind pay walls....reviewers don't get paid but distribution is restricted. It is a model of publishing which has failed in my view.....so I thought I would flag up Karen's important book here to spread the word about this fascinating book.

Environmental Justice is an important concept, environmental problems are rooted in injustice and solved by greater inclusion.

The book is very well written for an academic work, so often they are a little obscure, and the case studies of UK, USA, Bolivia, Cuba, South Korea, etc are fascinating.

I think the Green Party could do more both here and internationally to bring in environmental justice as a concept for policy making and action.

Any how here are the author details and contents, like my book on Elinor Ostrom it is a far from cheap academic hardback, but do order it from the library,

Author Biography Karen Bell is a Research Associate at the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. Her research and teaching interests include the social impacts of environmental policy; participatory democracy; race, class and disability equality; and natural health care. She was formerly a community development worker for many years, working alongside disadvantaged communities to collectively address a range of social and environmental issues.

 Contents
Introduction: fighting for humanity
The concept and measurement of environmental justice
The causes of environmental injustice
'Killing yourself is no way to make a living': environmental justice in the United States
'The world has been deceived': environmental justice in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)
'Regulation means bad': environmental justice in the United Kingdom
'We have always been close to nature': environmental justice in Sweden
'The rich consume and the poor suffer the pollution': environmental justice in the People’s Republic of China
'Recuperating all that we have lost and forgotten': environmental justice in the Plurinational State of Bolivia
'Socialism creates a better opportunity': environmental justice in Cuba
Achieving environmental justice. -

See more at: http://www.policypress.co.uk/display.asp?ISB=9781447305941#sthash.cVpeS88z.dpuf

21 Aug 2014

Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy




Well you may have picked up that while there are two economists, to be precise, political economists, for me i.e Marx and Ostrom, there is one philosopher.

Yes I am finding Spinoza interesting in many ways.  He can be seen as a green philosopher, he advocated a democratic republic and sought to look at how religion could be used for social control and how religion based on superstition might be resisted.

His notion of the multitude and common good may have influenced Marx. 

I read Heidi Ravven's book on free will which drew heavily on Spinoza, liking her book very much I noticed she had co-edited Jewish Themes in Spinoza's Philosophy.  I have read it recently and would recommend it.

Heidi's essay looks at the laws of Moses as a foundation for a democratic, egalitarian state as in inspiration for Spinoza.

Warren Montag's essay hinting at a previously unknown affection on Spinoza's part for the kabbalah despite Spinoza's dismissive comment in the TTP, is another high point. 

Richard H. Popkin, in turn argues that Spinoza's excommunication may have been less traumatic than once thought.

All in all a very interesting book, as usual, a bit pricy but worth a library borrow.

Full contents:
1. Introduction
Heidi M. Ravven and Lenn E. Goodman
2. What Does Spinoza's Ethics Contribute to Jewish Philosophy?
Lenn E. Goodman
Part II. Metaphysics
3. Love of God in Spinoza
Lee C. Rice
4. Spinoza's Metaphysical Hebraism or Hebraic Metaphysics
Warren Zev Harvey
5. Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Problem of Creation
Kenneth Seeskin
6. “That Hebrew Word”: Spinoza and the Doctrine of the Shekhinah
Warren Montag
Part III. Theology and Epistemology
7. Maimonides, Spinoza, and the Book of Job
Edwin M. Curley
8. Spinoza's Rupture with Tradition—His Hints of a Jewish Modernity
Heidi M. Ravven
9. Why Spinoza Chose the Hebrews: The Exemplary Function of Prophecy in the Theological-Political Treatise
Michael A. Rosenthal

Part IV. The Historical Setting
10. Spinoza's Excommunication
Richard H. Popkin

20 Aug 2014

Palestine in the World's Heart


This is the editorial from the latest issue of 'Lucha Indigena', a Peruvian based newspaper, published by my good friend Hugo Blanco.....solidarity with Gaza is strong in Latin America.

The Lucha Indigena 'Indigenous Struggle' website can be found here
 
 
Editorial

                                     PALESTINE IN THE WORLD'S HEART

 

Given the ongoing nature of the murderous assault, the casualty figures cited here -- deaths, the wounded, physical destruction and people rendered homeless -- lag far behind the daily mounting reality.

          As the furious attack on Gaza began, pain and anger spread through the hearts of those people throughout the world who keep a sense of human solidarity against the neoliberal system's culture of selfishness.  The latest news can only add to our distress.  Already more than 1100 have died, and the wounded amount to more than 6500.  According to the United Nations (UN), more than 80% of the victims are civilians.  The Israeli armed forces are dropping leaflets, asking "tens of thousands of residents" to leave their homes.

          Gaza's sole electrical plant has had to suspend operation, while the systems for delivering water and collecting waste are not functioning.  Throughout all this, there are enthusiastic marches in Israel with chants of "No more children in Gaza, so no school tomorrow, yeah, yeah, yeah!", "Gaza is a graveyard" and "Death to the Arabs."

          Nonetheless, as pain and anger have risen, people of good will are moving into action.  Let us begin with Israel, where the "refuseniks" are Israeli conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the army.  Some of them make a point of saying that they will not serve in the occupied territories of Palestine.  The movement originated in 1979 when Gadi Algazi refused during his military service to serve in the occupied territories.  In Gaza, Israel has killed UN staffers, as well as foreign doctors and other medical personnel.

          Let us also consider Latin America.  In Lima there was a demonstration on 25 July outside Israel's embassy, demanding that Peru withdraw its own embassy from that country.  There was also a demonstration in Cusco.  In the face of these events, on 29 July the government of Peru called its ambassador home for consultations.

          Ecuador had taken that same action on 17 July.

          In Argentina, a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy on 25 July demanded a break in diplomatic relations.

          On 1 July, 5000 Chileans marched to the Israeli embassy in Santiago, where they stuck photos of murdered children on the walls before marching to the embassy of the USA, a key enabler of the genocidal attack.  The previous day in Temuco there was a demonstrations by the Mapuche people in solidarity with Gaza.  The Bachelet government has suspended talks on a free-trade agreement with Israel, while the Foreign Ministry has announced plans to aid victims in Gaza.

          Uruguay has also condemned the attack.

          In Brazil the government called its ambassador to Israel home and voted for sending a commission of the UN Human Rights Council to investigate war crimes.

          Bolivia has asked the High Commission for Human Rights to open a case of "war crimes against humanity" before the International Court of Justice.  The president of Bolivia has characterized Israel as a "terrorist state".  Israeli citizens will henceforth require a visa to enter the country, in contrast to the previous policy.

          Venezuela had already broken relations with Israel in 2, due to a previous attack on Gaza.  In Caracas on 14 July there was a protest demonstration with parliamentarians in attendance.  The government denounced the hypocrisy of those who blame both sides for the genocide.

          In Mexico there were demonstrations in the capital and the native zone of Chiapas.

          Cuba, which has not had diplomatic relations with Israel for many years, also condemned the massacre.

          There were also protests in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

          The best news is that the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition -- with participation by citizens of Britain, France, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the USA, Canada and Australia -- is planning a new flotilla to break the blockade of Gaza in the near future, with participants from around the world.  It has announced the intention of returning from Gaza with Palestinian exports, a continuation of the Gaza's Arc project.

          The main vessel in the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, took the brunt of the armed Israeli assault, with nine Turkish citizens and one American murdered.  The Mavi Marmara will soon be ready to join the flotilla with hundreds of peace activists from around the world on board.

19 Aug 2014

The 'tragedy of the NHS'

 
 
THE NHS is being dismantled before our eyes. Since the 1990s it has been forced to mimic the market with competition between NHS providers.  
This has created a less efficient and more chaotic system of health provision. 
The last Labour government introduced private finance inititives, where private companies built hospitals but saddled the NHS with appalling debt in return. 
The Con-Dem government has massively accelerated the process of NHS destruction. 
Services are increasingly being auctioned off to private healthcare companies. Think tanks are floating the idea of charging for more and more NHS services.  
So when it is owned by private companies and we find ourselves charged for services, can we even call it a National Health Service?  
The process of destruction is aided by the media, political parties and academics. Most commentators suggest that if the Conservatives are re-elected in 2015 the NHS will totally disappear. However, even if they lose, the NHS looks far from secure.
Politicians increasingly accept a neoliberal approach which, they argue, means that only the market works. State intervention always, so the consensus goes, fails. 
What we have is a kind of “tragedy of the NHS.” I don’t mean the situation is “tragic” simply in the sense of bad. The planned extinction of the NHS will make the most vulnerable pay for expensive healthcare and increase inequality and human misery, while reducing life expectancy.  
I mean “tragic” in the original use of the word that can be traced back to ancient Greek tragedies — something that is inevitable (or at least seems so).  
I fear that in the future, in the same way we are familiar with the term “tragedy of the commons” the phrase “tragedy of the NHS” will also become common currency.
It will be said, in the future, perhaps, that in 1945 the great reforming socialist government of Labour’s Clement Attlee established a brave experiment to promote equality and social justice. 
Yet this great experiment, while well-intentioned, did not work. Free healthcare was abused, people took more and more from the system, which became progressively more expensive. Planning made it inefficient and without market-based incentives performance dropped.  
Increasing demand for healthcare, rising costs and chaos meant that by 2015 the NHS had to be shut down.  
The brave attempt to provide free healthcare for all was tragically doomed, it will be claimed. 
In fact “the tragedy of the NHS” is just like “the tragedy of the commons.”  
In 1968, the biologist Garrett Hardin argued in an article in the journal Science that common land was bound to be over exploited.  
If no single individual owned a resource, say a forest or pasture land, no-one had an incentive to conserve it. There was a “free rider” problem, as laid down in free-market economic theory, that if one person fished less or took their cattle off the common to preserve it, others would just fish more or put their livestock on to graze more intensively.  
The commons was “tragic,” ie doomed. Sharing, in Hardin’s eyes, always leads to disaster.
As in many free-market logics, a mathematical axiom is connected to a metaphor, to show that anything other than private property and self-interest will lead to disaster. Good intentions always lead, tragically, to the worst outcome for all.
However, when we look at the “tragedy of the commons” we find a quite different tale of woe. Professor Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win a prize in economics, won it for showing that the commons, far from being “tragic,” quite often worked well.  
She did research into hundreds of commons, forests, fisheries and pastures all around the world.  
She found that sometimes they did get degraded and fall apart but often local people got together, agreed rules to conserve them and found ways of enforcing them.  
Some of the commons she looked at, for example, the Torbel commons in Switzerland, had worked well for over 1,000 years.  
I am a bit of an Ostrom obsessive, so I will avoid going into detail about her interesting work, but you can easily find out more about her by looking on the net.
Historians like the great EP Thompson also found that far from the commons failing, they often thrived.  
In Britain, commons allowed users to raise animals, gather firewood and collect food, a kind of primitive welfare system. The commons were often taken from the people by force, using violence or the law, or a combination of both.  
Karl Marx wrote extensively about the enclosure of the commons, and he was perhaps at his most passionate and exact in chapter 27 of Das Kapital Volume One, which I would highly recommend reading.
The “tragedy of the NHS” is about the fact that we actually have a really good model of healthcare, which has served us well but is being dismembered because of ideology and greed. 
The vultures are circling and coming down to feed on our collective assets, absorbing resources from a government committed to the rich and powerful. The media is silent about the enclosure and destruction of our health commons, the NHS, but every day reports on its real or imagined failings.
We all have to fight in solidarity to defend the NHS, working with trade unions and those few MPs, like Caroline Lucas and John McDonnell, who are really committed to a publicly owned socialist healthcare system.  
We also need to be aware of how ideas like “the tragedy of the commons” are used by the rich and powerful to seize resources.  
Free-market economists like Friedrich von Hayek argued that a planned socialist society was impossible — without the market chaos would reign.  
The very existence of “socialised” medicine appals them. After all, if we can do free healthcare, why not free public transport or free housing? If the NHS works, why not banish the market from other areas of society?  
Yes, the NHS has failings and yes there are problems with public planning, but remember, far from being doomed to fail, the NHS can be made to work for all of us.  
We should, like Ostrom might suggest — and indeed, she has researched health commons — take a hard-nosed look at what works and what doesn’t work in the NHS.  However we need to note that critics of the NHS come not to heal it, but to kill it, because health for all, free to those in need, offends their ideological point of view.
 
 
Derek Wall is international co-ordinator for the Green Party of England and Wales.

18 Aug 2014

Global Greens 'Write to us about your climate actions and we’ll make sure Greens everywhere see your work'




Dear Global Greens,
Today’s a big day. Today is the day that the Global Greens are launching our first campaign - and we want to hear from you!
Global warming affects everyone. From government and the grassroots, Green parties everywhere are leading the campaign for urgent solutions to climate change.
So many of us have had big successes and learned big lessons - so it’s time to bring together all of our hard work, and make it even bigger.
That’s why the two of us - Keli from Taiwan and Josh from Australia - are here to help you and your Green Party show your action on climate change to a global audience.
Are you taking action on climate change? Protesting to stop dangerous coal, gas or nuclear projects? Planning a community solar project? Pushing for political change?
We want to hear about it. Write to us about your climate actions and we’ll make sure Greens everywhere see your work: ggclimatecampaign@gmail.com
Send us photos, videos, stories - the lot! And please write to us in your language - we will be conducting the campaign in many languages, not just English.
That’s the first part of this campaign: sharing your actions with Greens around the world, so we can inspire each other. Next, we’ll act together at big climate events this year.
The Green movement will be central at the worldwide People’s Mobilisation in September, the G20 meeting in November and the UN Climate Conference in Lima in December - just for starters. And we’ll be helping you be heard at these global events.
To get started, write to us today with your climate plans, and let us know what you want from the Global Greens’ climate campaign: ggclimatecampaign@gmail.com
This campaign is your campaign. Tell us how we can help you!
Green wishes,
Keli Yen & Josh Wyndham-Kidd, Global Greens Climate Organisers
P.S. If you have any questions at all about the campaign, please get in touch. We’re always here to answer them. You can write to us at ggclimatecampaign@gmail.com.

17 Aug 2014

Cameron's love affair with Islamic fundamentalism (arms sales and oil more important than human rights)



Nearly 30 million people now live in a fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. All churches and other non-Muslim places of worship are banned.  
The death penalty extends to adultery, homosexuality, sorcery, attempts to convert to religions other than Islam and a range of other offenses.  
Consumption of alcohol is punished by flogging. Atheists are defined simply as terrorists and dare not proclaim their truth. There is an absolute ruler and democracy is frowned upon. Women must be veiled and it is illegal for them to drive.  
Dissent is severely punished. The regime spends billions every year promoting its brand of Islam.  
You might think all of this would worry David Cameron and Nick Clegg, but far from attracting protest or even calls for “intervention,” this state, Saudi Arabia, is one of Britain’s closest allies, targeted for trade deals and supplied with the very best British weapons.
The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Britain, which has been maintained by successive governments, is perhaps the most ignored and murky element of British foreign policy.  
During the recent Birmingham “Trojan Horse” affair, where Michael Gove claimed that Islamic fundamentalists were targeting schools, I was struck by the absurdity of this.  
Local parents rejected Gove’s contention and argued fiercely that he was using Islam as an excuse to foist his own views on unwilling West Midlanders.  
Islam, like most other religions, has elements that are fundamentalist and regressive and others that celebrate diversity and peace.  
Michael Gove doesn’t seem very concerned about Christian fundamentalists who establish schools in Britain — in fact he seems quite relaxed about it.  
However, could we imagine, for example, the British government condemning the Westboro Baptist Church, which disrupts funerals on a regular basis, for trying to take over a school in Guildford?  
It also struck me as strange to read BBC reports saying that Saudi Arabia was hemmed in by Islamic fundamentalists in Yemen and by Isis in Syria and Iraq. While the brutality of Isis greatly exceeds that of Saudi Arabia, their religious outlook is based on similar assumptions of conservative Sunni sectarianism.  
The absurdities of government policy from Blair to Cameron and beyond are stark, obvious and almost totally ignored.  
Islamic fundamentalism is criticised but a powerful fundamentalist state that nurtures the most repressive of doctrines is supported by British governments.
In 2012, according to the BBC, David Cameron travelled to Riyadh to “establish a personal relationship between the PM and the Saudi king.” 
Cameron ignored the brutal suppression by Saudi authorities of Arab Spring protests in the country and also in neighbouring Bahrain, and used the visit to promote arms sales.  
When challenged on establishing a personal relationship with a despotic ruler in a country where adultery and homosexuality are defined as capital crimes, he replied: “People who think we shouldn’t be friends with — or our Prime Minister shouldn’t be visiting — a country that is such an important ally and such an important force in the world would be advocating a head-in-the-sand policy, and that is not in our national interest.”
Muslims in Britain can be subject to all sorts of scolding and thinly masked racism meted out by British politicians, while the same politicians cosy up with the House of Saud, simply because we don’t have enough oil and the Saudis pay billions for our weapons.  
We know that 90 per cent of media articles portray Islam in a negative light, yet globally and historically Islam has promoted peace, science and co-existence.  
When medieval Europe was dominated by superstition and hatred, Muslim Spain was an oasis of scientific learning, protection of different faiths and cultural flourishing.  
The majority of the world’s Muslims reject the narrow and regressive Saudi interpretation of their religion.  
However, fundamentalism advances because money pours out of Saudi Arabia to promote the most reactionary of creeds. The real Trojan horse buys its timber from Britain and its way is smoothed by our political establishment.
Challenges to Britain’s relationship have been thwarted time after time. In 2006 BAE Systems negotiated the sale of Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia in the so-called Al-Yamamah deal which was worth billions of pounds and allegedly involved large-scale bribery.  
Taken to court in the US, BAE organised a plea bargain but was fined $400 million.  
In Britain, investigations into corruption were halted after the intervention of then prime minister Tony Blair. Blair noted: “Any proposal that the investigation be resolved by parties pleading guilty to certain charges would be unlikely to reduce the offence caused to the Saudi royal family, even if the deal were accepted, and the process would still drag out for a considerable period.”
The negative influence of Saudi Arabia on neighbouring countries in the Middle East would require another article as would the violence meted out to migrant workers. 
There are a number of conclusions and points for action.  
Of course, in an economy dependent on the consumption of oil and the production of weapons, all governments will tend to ignore the despotic nature of Saudi Arabia, so we need to promote renewables and diversify.  
Workers should not pay for the crimes of politicians but it’s possible to convert arms production to useful manufacturing. 
We need to celebrate and give solidarity to the heroic individuals who campaign for human rights in Saudi Arabia, such as the women who protest by driving and those imprisoned for calling for national elections.
We need to inform ourselves about the nature of the repression in Saudi Arabia, Cameron’s quest for a “personal relationship” with King Abdullah and the murky interface between the country and powerful British business interests.  
Above all, whenever Gove or other Cabinet members challenge Muslims, we should challenge them on their government’s support for a state that promotes so much repression and sectarianism in the name of Islam. 

Derek Wall is international co-ordinator of the Green Party

Ecosocialist International, Cumbe of Veroes, Bolivarian Republic of Venezeuela

THE FIRST ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL WEAVING OURSELVES TO MOTHER EARTH OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 3, 2017 CUMBE OF VEROES, BOLIVARIAN R...