Open letter to all Leaders: Time’s up

Originally posted on Annas Art – FärgaregårdsAnna:
If you wanna spread this letter, you are welcome to share it worldwide. Tag it with #timesup if you want. If you want to make a translation of the text to other languages and share it, do it. We all have to help out saving our…

Please read and share Anna’s wonderful open letter to leaders. Note that this is Anna’s work and that therefore I am closing comments, as those should go direct to the original.

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna


If you wanna spread this letter, you are welcome to share it worldwide. Tag it with #timesup if you want. If you want to make a translation of the text to other languages and share it, do it. We all have to help out saving our planet. This is one way among millions to help.

The image is free to share.

Anna

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It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism

An excellent piece by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. This piece was provoked by Rupert Read’s response to being invited by the BBC (to whom I refuse to give any of my money for reasons highlighted in this post and others) to debate with a climate change denier. As Read pointed out in his … Continue reading “It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism”

An excellent piece by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. This piece was provoked by Rupert Read’s response to being invited by the BBC (to whom I refuse to give any of my money for reasons highlighted in this post and others) to debate with a climate change denier. As Read pointed out in his refusal there is no serious debate on this issue – the evidence is overwhelming, and by insisting on giving climate change deniers air-time the BBC are doing great harm. Referring to his own area of expertise Murphy also points out the regularity with which folk from the Tax Payers Alliance and the Institute of Economic Affairs are given air-time, with no scrutiny of them or their organizations (at a barest minimum such organizations should be required to state publicly where their funding comes from, and the BBC should display this information whenever one of their representatives is speaking). Please read the original in full and post comments there.

Source: It’s time the BBC realised that the opposite of reasonable debate is not unreasoned extremism

Marxism 2018: The Closing Rally

Wrapping up my series on Marxism 2018 with an account of the Final Rally.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the final post in my series about Marxism 2018. As this series has for various reasons been somewhat spread out I start by providing links to all the previous posts in the series, in chronological order:

GETTING TO THE FINAL RALLY

As I mentioned in the overview of the weekend I left my last regular meeting a little early to head for Friends Meeting House. I deposited my bag there, and then had to wait to be let into the meeting room because it had been decided not to open the doors until 5:15PM, which given the size of that room was allwoing absurdly little time for people to be in and seated before the 5:30PM start. Knowing that I would be leaving early I positioned myself in a position to do so without generating any fuss.#

Posters, FMHPosters, FMH IIThe light, just after openingThe light IIThe light IIIThe PlatformStarting to fill upSister actJanet Alder, Christine Buchholz, Amy Leather and chair Naima OmarFull panelChristine, Tina and JanetFilling upFilling up IIThe Light IVTina, Christine, JanetFilling up IIIFilling up IVFilling up VTina, Christine, Janet, Amy, NaimaAlmost ready to startPanelalmost starting time

Panel II
The panel for the final rally – Tina McVeigh, Christine Buchholz, Janet Alder, Amy Leather and chair Naima Omar

Filling Up VIFilling up VII

THE RALLY ITSELF

A little later (but only a little) than originally intended chair Naima Omar got things started.

Naima opens the rally

The first speaker to be introduced was Dublin councillor Tina McVeigh, who talked inspiringly about the current Irish political scene, and reminded us of the recent triumph for progressive forces in that part of the world, the repeal of the 8th, about which her compatriots Mary and Siomha had spoken so movingly during the Opening Rally. 

Tina McVeigh speaks
Tina McVeigh making her speech

The team

 

The picture above shows The Team, the people who keep the event running smoothly, act as first point of contact for queries etc. This is a challenging and exhausting task (I did it six times myself, so I know whereof I write).

The second speaker was Christine Buchholz of Die Linke, a member of the German parliament, and virtually bilingual. She gave us a direct account of fighting against the rise of the far right in mainland Europe (Germany being one of the places where this is a particularly hot topic at the moment).

Naima introduces Christine
Naima Introduces Christine

Christine starts her speechChristine Buchholz

Third to speak was Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher, a former soldier, was killed while in police custody. This is bad enough, but what followed was if anything even worse – while consistently refusing to reveal the truth about what had happened to Christopher the police also used resources that should have been used to investigate the death to spy on Janet instead (similar to how Doreen Lawrence was spied on by those who were supposed to be investiagting her son’s murder). Janet told us about the campaign, which has now been running fior almost 20 years to get justice done – to this day Christopher’s killers remain unpunished. It was at the end of this speech that I left the event.

Janet Alder
Janet Alder

Standing ovation for Janet IIIStanding ovation for Janet IV

The two pictures above show the response to Janet’s speech.

HOMEWARD BOUND

There was a train nominally for Cambridge and King’s Lynn leaving just after 7PM, which I managed to be on. An announcement by the driver told us that they hoped to be able to split at Cambridge and travel onwards to King’s Lynn but that they may not be able to because there had been problems, so I prepared myself to change at Cambridge (I have a justifiably low opinion of Great Northern, so I given two possibilities I naturally assumed that the worse would eventuate). In the event my assessment was correct, and those of travelling beyond Cambridge did have to change trains, so I arrived back at almost exactly nine o’clock.

St Pancras
St Pancras Station from the far side of the Euston Road
Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral

Marxism 2018: Meetings with an Environmental Theme

The environment themed meetings at Marxism 2018.

INTRODUCTION

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.

MEETING 1: MARTIN EMPSON ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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

WHY DOES CAPITALISM LOVE PLASTIC?

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

SARAH ENSOR AND IAN RAPPEL ON CAPITALISM AND EXTINCTION

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

DIRTY ENERGY AND CAPITALISM: WHAT’S THE REAL STORY

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

TLR ITLR IITLR IIITLR IVTLR VTLR VITLR VIIIAnti-fracking noticeTLR IXTLR XTLR XITLR XIITLR XIIIFrack Free LancashireTLR finishes her speech

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

Summing up

AN EXAMPLE OF A CAMPAIGN

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.

Marxism 2018: An Overview of the Weekend

The antepenultimate post in my series on Marxism 2018.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this, the antepenultimate post in my series about Marxism 2018 (to be followed by a post about the environmentally themed meetings I attended and a post about the Final Rally), in which I cover Saturday and Sunday.

SATURDAY

Having arranged to stay in a hall of residence near the event I was able to walk in, and had time to take a few photos along the way:

Warren Street Station and the BT Tower

Warren Street Station
London’s Pride march was taking place this same Saturday, hence the crowd outside Warren Street Station.

The BT Tower

I started my day with Sarah Bates’ meeting “How did women win the vote?”. She started by pointing out that it was only wealthy British women who actually won the vote 100 years ago – their poorer compatriots had to wait, like a few of the men, a further 10 years. Then she went on to talk about the struggles that led up to women’s suffrage being granted in this country in those two stages. A lively discussion followed.

Before the meetingSarah BatesThe chair calls the meeting to order.Almost ready to startChair introduces speakerSarah making her speechSarah, close upThe MeetingA contribution from the floorSarah summing up

I then went up one floor, from the Malet Suite where that meeting had happened to room 3C/D for WhatMakes Humans Different from Animals? The Marxist View of Human Consciousness, with John Parrington. This one was based around a powerpoint presentation:

Parrington on Human ConsciousnessParrington on Human Consciousness IIPostersPosters IIThrough the window 1Through the window IIPacked housemeeting titleThe chair introduces the meetingJohn Parrington speakingLooking towards the speakerTitle slideComparisonHuman CivilizationHPEnv CatEvolution of Human UniquenessH.U RHU LA Marxist Theory of the MindP1170067Vygotsky close up 1Vygotsky close up 2VoloshinovA modern Marxist view of the mindNerve and BrainGenome and EpigenomeWaves and signalsEmotions and ChemistryConscious and UnconsciousNormality and illnessResistance and rebellionFuture of ConsciousnessParrington

A contribution to the discussion
Jenny, who was filming the meeting (most of the meetings at this event should now be viewable on youtube) also made a contribution to the meeting.
Psychologist Beth contributes to the discussion
Psychologist Beth was well received when she made her contribution.

After lunch I headed for Nunn Hall and the meeting on Disability, Oppression and Resistance, featuring an excellent panel of speakers from DPAC. This meeting was particularly fiery, as you might expect. Mention was made of the petition that DPAC have started to get Esther McVey sacked for lying to parliament.

Nunn Hall 1Nunn Hall 2Education painting, Nunn HallThe panelEllen Clifford from DPACFilling up IIEllen starts the meetingPaula Peters makes a contributionMeeting underwayMark DunkRebeccaThe panel IIThe story of the murder of a disabled asylum seekerconcluding the opening speechesPaula PetersThe picture on Paula's t-shirtPaula Peters IIRMT

Paula Peters IIIEllen Clifford

After this meeting I headed for Politics of the Mind: Marxism and Mental Distress, a book launch meeting. There were two other meetings in that session that would have been of interest but for the clash, John Bellamy Foster on Marxian theory and eco-revolution, and a debate being Charlie Kimber and an as yet unnamed Labour MP, What Would a Labour Givernment Look Like?. The meeting I opted for was a very interesting one, with many people sharing their stories during the discussion section.

Room 3CD for the Politics of the Mind - Marxism and Mentakl Distress book launch meetingThe platformThe bookPostersThe chair calls the meeting to orderIain Ferguson speaking

I concluded my day by going to Alex Callinicos’ meeting on Marx the Revolutionary.

The Venue before the start of Marx the RevolutionaryPreparing for Marx the RevolutionaryPlatformSpeaker and chairBannerJust before the meetingSarah intorduces the meetingAlex Callinicos speakingDuring the meetingCallinicos continuesThe VenueThe Venue IISarah opens the discussion section

SUNDAY

Since I was returning to King’s Lynn that night I was leaving my accommodation on the Sunday morning, and got away earlier than I needed to. My first meeting was at The Institute of Education, but before that I needed to deposit my larger bag at Student Central. I walked via Euston Square this time, using its two street level entrances as a convenient way to cross the Euston Road. 

Euston Square stationDisplay bioards, Euston Square

My first meeting of the day was Capitalism and Extinction, featuring Sarah Ensor and Ian Rappel. This is one I shall be covering in my next post, so for the moment here is a single picture:

Decline in Marine populations

After this meeting I headed for Brian Richardson’s meeting on “Who gets to be remembered: should all the statues fall?”. The thrust of this was that while statues do not necessarily have to fall it is appropriate to demand that the bad side of people like Cecil Rhodes (vicious racism and imperialism) be acknowledged. 

Platform for the who gets to be remembered meetingPlatformchair Despina introduces the meetingAudienceAudience IIRoomDespinaBrian Richardson speakingThe Rhodes statue

Mary from Norwich makes a contribution tio the discussion
Mary from Norwich contributing to the discussion.

Mary speaking

A brief note on meals: food was available at the event for £5 per meal, and also there were district picnics, where the food was cheaper. I therefore attended the Norwich picnics, donating £2 per time.

The lunch area

My third meeting of the Sunday was “Dirty energy and capitalism: what’s the real story?”, featuring Suzanne Jeffery and Tina Louise Rothery, which I shall be covering in my next post. 

TLR XII

For my final meeting before the Closing Rally I opted for “Corbyn, antisemitism and justice for Palestine”, featuring Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi (founder of Jewish Voice for Labour), Salma Karmi-Ayoub (British-Palestinian lawyer) and Rob Ferguson. This meeting was chaired by Anna Gluckstein (I do not usually mention chair’s surnames or origins, but she is Jewish, and her father Ygal, also known as Tony Cliff, was a founding member of the Socialist Workers Party, organisers of the Marxism Festival). 

I left this meeting slightly before the end in order to reach the final rally venue early because I was hoping to catch three of the four speakers at that before departing in time to at least be home by 9PM.

Upper Hall before meeting on antisemitismNaomi Wimborne Idrissi, Salma Karmi-Ayoub and chair Anna Gluckstein before the meetingBefore the meetinghalf a rose windowAnna and Naomi preparing themselvesAnna and NaomiPostersRob Ferguson arrivesNaomi Wimborne-IdrissiAnna opens the meetingNaomi continuingThe upper hall during Naomi's speechNaomi finishes her speechPalestinian biorn lawyer Salma speaksSalmaSalma Karmi-AyoubUpper hall during Salma's speechUpper hall during Salma's speech IIRob's speechA contribution to the discussion

 

Marxism 2018: The Opening Rally

An account of the Opening Rally at Marxism 2018, which took place on Thursday night.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series about Marxism 2018. My previous post covered the second and third meetings of the first day, and this post takes up the story with coverage of the opening rally.

THE OPENING RALLY

This event took place in Friends Meeting House on Euston Road. We heard from a McStriker about their ongoing battle, a victim of the Windrush scandal, a muslim woman talking about islamaphobia, two women, Siomha and Mary,  giving a shared talk about the #Repealthe8th campaign in Ireland, one of the Wigan, Warrington and Leigh strikers about their determination to remain as NHS workers and not be contracted out (a battle that we now know has been successful), Moyra from Justice for Grenfell, and finally wrapping up the evening Weyman Bennett, co-convenor of Stand Up to Racism. Here are my pictures from the evening:

Arriving at The LightThe LightAfter Party AdGet ConnectedStarting to fill upOther sideThe PlatformSB

Team Member
One of the Team – the group who ensure the smooth running of the event and deal with any queries.

The forward viewAnkhThe Platform IIFilling up IIFilling up IIIAbout to startThe chair opens the rallyMcStriker speaksMcStriker IIOne of the Windrush generation tells her personal story

Siomha and Mary speak about #Repealthe8th
Siomha and Mary gave a very moving account of the campaign to #Repealthe8th

Siomha and Mary speakingSiomha at the mic

Ovation for Siomha and Mary
The next three images show how Siomha and Mary’s efforts were received by the audience.

Ovation for Siomha and Mary IIOvation for Siomha and Mary IIIA Muslim speakerA WWL worker speaks about their strike and their determination to keep working for the NHSClose up of the t-shirt

Moyra from the Justice for Grenfell campaign speaks powerfully
Moyra was savage about the official response to the Grenfell tragedy, particularly their increasingly desperate efforts to pin blame anywheren other than where it belongs – the latest dirty trick they have pulled out being to point fingers at the firefighters – the very people who went into the burning building to attempt to save lives.

Moyra close-up

Weyman brings the curtain down on the evening
Weyman’s fiery speech was a splendid finish to evening.

Platform shot

McVey Out – Petition By DPAC

A petition launched by DPAC to get rid of Esther McVey. This is really DPAC’s post, so to comment please visit their original.

INTRODUCTION

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have launched a petition calling for the sacking of Esther McVey for lying to Parliament. More details about their reasons can be seen in the post they put up to launch the petition.

THE PETITION

Below is a screenshot of the petition which I have formatted as a link so that you can sign and share this important petition

McVile Out