Marxism 2018: Meetings with an Environmental Theme

The environment themed meetings at Marxism 2018.


Welcome to the penultimate post in my series about Marxism 2018 (to be followed in the not too distant future by a series that I will title “A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall” following my recent visit to Cornwall (more on that curious word grockle at the start of said series). I missed only one of the environmentally themed meetings at Marxism 2018 (it clashed with a meeting about mental health, which I attended instead), the one featuring John Bellamy Foster.


THis meeting was the subject of my first Marxism 2018 post. Here is the featured image:


Amy Leather started her talk with a potted history of the development of plastics. She then talked about plastics as a by-product of fossil fuel extraction, linking in to controversies over fracking. She also talked about how when disposable plastic first became a thing there were advertising campaigns to persuade people to dispose of the stuff. During the discussion James from north Derbyshire mentioned that the company who are seeking to engage in fracking in his part of the world and against whom he and others are fighting are primarily a plastic making company, and their interest in fracking is based on a desire to use by products of fracking to make more plastics.

Amy prepares to give her talkPlastics meeting just before startAmy at the ready.Amy and booksAmy makes final preparationsrecruiterBooksPlastics meetingSpeaker and ChairAmy speakingAmy speaking IIPlastic filled whaleA contribution from the floorthe filmer filmed


This was the first meeting of the Sunday. The Institute of Education has a somewhat curious system of floor numbering, whereby you enter the building from outside on level 4. This meeting was in a room on Level 8, and I chose not to use the lift (I have been known to opt for the stairs at both Russell Square – 175 – and Covent Garden – 200 – stations, so for a mere four floors it was barely even a question). 

I enjoyed the meeting – both speakers were excellent, and although the sun prevented the presentation from being seen to best effect (even with blinds drawn and the lights off in the key part of the room – the latter a suggestion on the part of yours truly) it was still well worth the climb up and down.

Seminar room 802-4 for Capitalism and Extinction meetingPosters IPosters IIBookmarksPosters IIIDump TrumpSlide showIan adjusts the slide showTitle slidePlatformPlatform IIPlatform IIIThe chair introduces the meetingSarah Ensor speaks firstSarah speakingTitle slide IIBiodiversity - Arctic WatersBiodiversity pictureBiodiversity pic IIBiodiversity pic IIIArctic CodCapitalism and the EnvironmentDecline in Marine populationsMarine population declineDecline in marine populationsDecline in Marine populations IICapitalism degrades natureSarahWhaling 1850sWhaling 20th CenturyIan RappelIan Rappel IIpost-revolutionary ecological renaissanceRevolutionary ecologyCapitalist ecology3rd Runway protestOne (wonderful) world to win


This meeting which featured Suzanne Jeffery and anti-fracking campaigner Tina Louise Rothery took place in Clarke Hall, on Level 3 of the Institute of Education in the post lunch session of the Sunday. It had been made even more topical by the fact that in the run up to the event the Tories had simultaneously refused to provide funding for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon (capable of supplying 10% of the country’s energy needs had it gone ahead) and forced through the 3rd runway at Heathrow.  Both speakers were excellent, and during the discussion Brid Smith TD talked about a bill she is trying to get through the Dail which would mean that no more fossil fuels will be extracted from Ireland (it has already passed its first reading). 

Dirty energy meetingJuxtapositionPostersPanelFrack Free Lancashire IISuzanne Jeffery speaking

Suzanne Jeffery
Suzanne Jeffery

Clarke HallClarke Hall IIClarke Hall IIILancashire

Tina Louise Rothery
Tina Louise Rothery


Brid Smith TD contirbutes to the discussion
Brid Smith talks about her fossil fuels bill that is curfrently going through the Dail

Summing up


A common theme running through these meeting was the necessity of supporting campaigns all over the world. I therefore conclude this post with a mention of the Save Trosa Nature campaign. You can find out more about this campaign by reading Anna’s posts about it. There is a petition currently running which you can sign here.

Saturday Scattergun


I have some pictures to share, and a few links, but no main subject matter, hence the title of this post.


This is a signpost to my London transport website, and simultaneously a mention of James and Sons’James and Sons’ next auction, since the post was built around lot 737 in said sale…


How does this poster connect to the Museum of London? To find out follow the link below.


This story is about a 4 year old boy who was hospitalised after being fed a ‘holistic cure’ for autism on the advice of someone describing themselves as a ‘naturopath’. The notion of any sort of ‘cure’ for autism is of course offensive nonsense. Equally, the idea that a ‘naturopath’ should be entitled to prescribe remedies for anything should probably be considered offensive nonsense. The combination of one person’s belief in the offensive nonsense of a ‘cure’ for autism and one person’s cynical willingness to exploit this gullibility created a situation that was very dangerous for an innocent child. The full piece can be viewed here.


Some of you will know that the Dishonourable Sajid Javid has recently made a decision to ignore the will of a community and give Cuadrilla the go ahead to frack there in defiance of clearly expressed local wishes. Mr Javid receives big money from fracking companies and as such should have had the decency to admit to a conflict of interest and say that this was a decision that he could not be involved in making, but of course Tory and decency do not go together, and so unsurprisingly he made a decision in favour of his rich mates and against the community and against the environment. I end this section by linking to a piece that details the environmental impact of fracking.


I am presenting this pictures in two tranches, starting with the general…

I bring this post to a finish with some pictures of the new £5 note, which before I got this one in change I had not seen in the flesh…

The two faces of the note in one picture
The Churchill side
The Queen side


Cricket, Aeroplanes and Music

A brief account of the state of play in the current test match, an account of the fly by and two concerts tthat were part of the 65th King’s Lynn Festival, some cool links and some impressive and imortant infographics.


As well as my subject matter as indicated above including photographs, I also have some links and infographics to share with you.


Yesterday was the third days play in the second test match between England and Australia at Lords. It was England’s least bad day of the match so far, but they were so far adrift going into it that they needed rather more than a decent day. Australia at 108-0 in their second innings lead by 362 and the obvious plan for them is to lash up as many runs as they can in the morning session and then leave England a mountain of Olympus Mons proportions to climb in the final five sessions of the game.


My outside space was an ideal position from which to view the advertised fly by happening as part of the King’s Lynn festival. It was on the aeroplane’s third pass that I was finally able to get some pictures (six in total)…

All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.
All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.

DSCN9442 DSCN9443 DSCN9444 DSCN9445 DSCN9446


Once the day’s action had finished in the cricket it was off to King’s Lynn Minster for the first of two concerts taking place yesterday evening. There was a blanket ban on photography at the event, so I have few pictures…

Some detail about the first concert.
Some detail about the first concert.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.

This concert was splendid. The Vivaldi and Manfredini pieces were particularly impressive, while the Vejvanovsky was a splendid introduction to a composer that few of us had previously heard of. The lead violinist, Bojan Cicic by name, proved to be a quite superb performer.

At the end of this concert we just had time to visit my aunt’s house before the start of the second concert, a violin and harpsichord duet playing works by Telemann (the most prolific of all composers), Buxtehude and J S Bach (who as young man walked 200 miles each way for the privelege of witnessing Buxtehude in action – no recordings in them thar days!).

This mini concert was every bit as good as the first one had been – no evening of two halves this time. I got some photographs of the Minster’s light show (one of several dotted around the town)…

DSCN9457 DSCN9458 DSCN9459 DSCN9460 DSCN9461 DSCN9465


My first two links both come courtesy of Vox Political:

1)The Lords earning their £400 per day.

2)Continuing to heap pressure on the government re death toll after fit for work tests.

My next three links concern a 38 Degrees petition on the subject of fracking:

1)The petition itself

2)The link to share on facebook

3)The link to share on twitter

My next link is by way of a shout out to my most recent follower on aspiblog, and takes to you to their site, luckyottershaven.

My last two links relate to electoral reform and segue nicely into the the infographics:

1)The original petition

2)The Thunderclap, to which you can still add your voice for about another eight hours.


Voting Reform

My next infographic is a reminder of what things were like before trade unions existed:


The third and final infographic I am sharing in this post is about housing today and comes by way of London mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell…



I hope that you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed creating it and that some of you will be inspired to share it!

Marxism 2015 8: Disability and Resistance After the Election

A very brief account of the meeting on disability and resistance at Marxism 2015, some links and a classic infographic courtesy of Jo Stevens, MP for Cardiff.


Welcome to the latest in my series of posts about Marxism 2015, the five-day political festival in central London organised by the Socialist Workers Party. For this post I will be dealing exclusively with the first meeting after lunch on Sunday. After the main body of the post I have some links to share.


A platform full of excellent speakers, some great stories and a packed out meeting room make for good vibes. The room used, Nunn Hall, had been reconfigured to suit this particular meeting, with an area cleared for wheelchair users, and a team of people set up to provide DSL.

The platform before the meeting
The platform before the meeting
DSL provision in place.
DSL provision in place.
All set for the meeting.
All set for the meeting.

It is in the context of this meeting, and the stories of protest contained therein that I choose to make my first mention of October 4th in Manchester, when we will be protesting outside the Tory conference and this protest should be built as big as possible.


I am finishing this brief post with a few links, one of them accompanied by an infographic.

My first link is a facebook page about the horror that is TTIP.

My second and third links are both related to environmental issues:

1)From avaaz this call to protect our oceans from the rapacity of big mining companies.

2)From rawstory more about the consequences of fracking (see also my previous blog post).

Ending this post with a bang, this link and infographic courtesy of Jo Stevens, Labour MP for Cardiff.

It is not often that I use a picture that is not my own as a feature image, but this time I am.
It is not often that I use a picture that is not my own as a feature image, but this time I am.

Marxism 2015 7: Sunday Morning

An account of the first part of Sunday at Marxism 2015 and a fistful of important links.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my experiences at Marxism 2015, the five day political festival in central London organised by the Socialist Workers Party. Check out the previous posts in the series. As well as the post itself I have some important links to share – and on the subject of sharing I hope you will be inspired to share this post!


The journey in had two variations on previous days – firstly my host was able to give me a lift to Walthamstow Central, saving some money on the Oyster Card, and secondly I decided to change to the Piccadilly line at Finsbury Park because Russell Square is actually the closest station to the Institute of Education. My dislike of lifts reduced the theoretical benefits of saving distance because the only other method of access to street level is via the stairs, of which there are 175.

These balloon pictures are from the southbound Piccadilly line platform at Finsbury Park.


The Piccadilly line is currently constituted.
The Piccadilly line is currently constituted.
A new style of schematic diagram now on display at many stations.
A new style of schematic diagram now on display at many stations.


Here is my program of meetings for the day…


You might not expect a theoretical meeting first thing on a Sunday morning to be lively, but it was. However I will settle for sharing a few photographs…

Speaker Sue Caldwell and chair (and SWP student organiser) Lewis Nielsen before the first meeting of the day.
Speaker Sue Caldwell and chair (and SWP student organiser) Lewis Nielsen before the first meeting of the day.


Sue during her opening speech.
Sue during her opening speech.
A contributor from the floor during the discussion
A contributor from the floor during the discussion
A close up shot of picture on his t-shirt
A close up shot of picture on his t-shirt
When they contributed from the floor...
When they contributed from the floor…
...I was able to get a picture of the front showing which union it was.
…I was able to get a picture of the front showing which union it was.
This was the back of someone' shirt
This was the back of someone’ shirt

From this meeting I ascended two floors to Nunn Hall for my next meeting, Amy Leather (organiser of the whole event) on fracking. Here are some lowlights associated with fracking…

  • Uses vast quantities of water – millions of gallons per site
  • 2 – 2,500 lorry trips per well required
  • Tap water near fracking sites so polluted that folk can set fire to it
  • and 15 million Americans live within one mile of a fracking site – and it would be worse in this country because we are more densely populated.
  • We are still talking FOSSIL FUELS – every part of the process increases emissions
  • Process leaks methane – which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than methane

Instead of supporting this means of generating power we should be looking more deeply in renewables (for which Cameron and his cronies have cut funding while they are pushing fracking like billy-ho).

I will end this section with a few more photos…

Amy and chair Dave Gilchrist before the meeting.
Amy and chair Dave Gilchrist before the meeting.
Amy during her opening speech.
Amy during her opening speech.



Each of these petitions comes with two links, the petition itself and a related article. First up, a petition calling on SeaWorld to release Tillikum the orca:

1)The petition

2)An open letter to Harry Styles of One Direction, who recently urged his fans not to go to SeaWorld.

The second petition I am sharing with this post is the one calling on Theresa May to establish a legal exclusionary zone around abortion clinics:

1)The Petition

2)A related article in the Guardian


My penultimate link is to a story on Take Part Daily about how roads could be made from plastic waste.

Last up, a story from Vox Political about the Speaker of the House making some very revealing remarks about the way in which Iain Duncan Smith conducts himself.