Sunday, 6 March 2011

Green Party London Assembly list

I have put myself forward for the selection process for the Green Party list for the London Assembly elections in 2012. There are 15 candidates for the 11 places on the list.

I have a campaign blog with my candidate statement, why I am standing on a worker's wage, and the London Young Greens pledge which I have signed:

You can also find me on Facebook:

Thanks also to Derek Wall for his endorsement:

No Place For Malthus in the Green Party

I recently posted this to the Green Party Trade Union Group email list in response to some who were advocating population control measures:

After seeing some of the offensive materials on the Optimum Population Trust stall at Blackpool Conference I just don’t see how their bitter philosophy has any place in a party which stands for social and ecological justice. This email list is for discussion of Trade Union issues and workers rights. Trade Unions are organizations which should represent the collective interests of workers. Right now, the working class and the poorest and most vulnerable in this country face the fight of their lives to defend their jobs, livelihoods and the welfare state against ideological onslaught from the capitalist class. Capitalism by its very nature creates social inequality. It exists through the exploitation of a majority who work and produce value, the surplus of which is accumulated by a minority. In times of crisis, the ruling minority pull in the drawbridge to protect their self interests, to protect their accumulated wealth, ergo to protect their power. This is the situation we face now, in collective action to fight against the cuts.

Essentially, the system is unsustainable. As Marx pointed out the social relationships necessary to the continuation of capitalism, the existence of a minority class expoiting a majority working class, is an internal contradiction which will necessitate its downfall. Only by replacing capitalism with an economic and productive model where production is democratically controlled by the workers themselves, for the benefit of the needs of all and not the few can we begin to plan collectively to solve the problems of inequality and poverty.

Equally this applies to the ecological question, Marx describing the metabolic rift between humans and nature created by capitalist production. The ecocoide and mass species loss we are witnessing are a product of the expansive and exploitative nature of capitalism, its need for profit overriding all else. It seems to me that the arguments put forward by the Malthusianists and those advocating population controls equate to the pulling in of the drawbridge which we see in times of capitalist crisis. With the pulling in of the drawbridge there is also the pouring of boiling oil over those who attempt to break the siege, if you allow me to stretch the metaphor. We see violent suppression of protest and opposition as the ruling class desperately protects its influence and power. Imposition of population controls is the boiling oil deployed by the Malthusianists.

The generation who are inheriting the world are already on the receiving end of the boiling oil (double metaphor). Education becoming a right only of the privileged few who can afford it. Ecosystems on the brink of collapse. War and conflict for resources because of the greed of the wealthy minority. Faced with the prospect of no access to education or the prospect of any meaningful employment, many working class kids are lured into the military to become cannon fodder for the imperialist interests of capitalism.

Are these the only choices we offer the generations to follow? Furthermore, the malthusianists would then dare to suggest that the only solution is to cap population, that in some way the next generation are an unwanted burden, further alienating those who inherit the future. If the malthusianists have the courage of their beliefs maybe they can try telling the students who rose up in protest that the problem was not the system, but the students themselves. It seems to me that this is the logic of their arguments. Rosa Luxemburg said we face a stark choice, socialism or barbarism. We are witnessing the barbarism of the capitalist class as people and planet become expendable against the need to protect and expand accumulated wealth. As the economic and ecological crises deepen, as the production of oil which has fuelled capitalist expansion peaks, the violence of the minority against the majority and the environment increases. So we now face a stark choice, ecosocialism or barbarism.

The problems of inequality of distribution and protecting the future sustainablity of the ecosystem will only be solved by collective action, by democratic decisions being taken about production, for need and not profit. We follow the example of the Lucas Aerospace workers in the 70s, who collectively drew up a plan to use their skills to convert production in their factory from weapons to socially and environmentally useful products.
We build trade unions which are capable of representing the collective needs of their representatives, not the bureacrats who serve themselves and a labour party which puts the needs of the capitalist system ahead of those who are exploited by it. Through collective action and solidarity we can build a movement with the capacity to remove the chains of capitalist exploitation and build a society providing for the needs of all and for the generations who follow. In the words of the early green socialist, William Morris: Educate, Agitate, Organise.

I do not see where the barbarism and elitist philosophy of Malthus fits in to the equation of building a trade union movement capable of meeting the demands of our future. I am yet to see any argument on this Trade Union Group email list which would convince me otherwise.
For peace, ecology and socialism, Andy GPTU Co-Chair

Thanks also to Derek Wall and Ian Angus for posting this article on their sites, you can find them here:

Friday, 12 November 2010

Which side are you on? Remember.

Firstly, a message of support and solidarity to the activists who vividly brought the violence of the ruling class to the attention of the nation on Wednesday. Students, lecturers and others demonstrated in unity for free education and against tuition fees and the scrapping of the EMA. Over 50,000 took to the streets which is fantastic however the media might have barely even sniffed at it had the courageous occupation of Tory HQ not taken place.

The media/ politico/ chatterati battlefield following the 'Siege Of Millbank' rages with an intensity not quite as fierce as the justified anger of those students who took to the streets and vented their frustrations on Wednesday. The largely right-wing press has unsurprisingly attempted to focus on the 'violent' protest rather than the issue of why the students and lecturers were demonstrating.

The usual rag-bag of right-wing commentators were wheeled out on Question Time, including Caroline Flint who described them as a load of 'trots, anarchists and idiots'. If QT included pundits of such description on their panel occasionally it would be an improvement. Let's not forget which party perpetuated tuition fees during their last turn in office, so no prizes for guessing which side Flint is on in truth.

Many do indeed have short memories. Including the Lib Dems who have forgotten their election 'promises' and anger is rightfully being expressed in their direction. Many who voted for them fell let down, even betrayed. However many who have seen Lib Dems in action during elections will have experienced some of the tricks they will pull to get elected. Opportunists, wrapping themselves in a cloak of 'protecting civil liberties' whilst wholeheartedly embracing free market neoliberalism, no-one should be surprised at their arrangement with the same old Tories. I was amongst those who warned prior to the election that the Liberals would prop up a Tory Govt This analysis which was also doing the rounds before the election is well worth a read:

In a subtle twist of fate the LibDems are now apparently a cloak for the Tories as they perpetuate their crimes against the working class and society as a whole. However they wear the cloak well with hand in matching gloves. LibDems squirming and protesting their innocence and that 'it's not our policy but...' will have no sympathy from me or the millions of others whose lives and futures are being dismantled and wrecked for the sake of profit and defending the interests of the capitalist class. They may vacillate wildly during election time in order to secure their seat, but it won't wash now.

So from broken empty promises to broken glass. Young scallywags, smashing windows: Short memories again? Of course that was just a roisterous jape and I am sure that mummy and daddy would have paid for the damage with a clip around the ear and an 'away with you young scamps' from the local constabulary. The question is who will pay for the damaged windows at Tory central? More to the point, who were the Tories paying rent to for the windows and indeed the building? Well, as it turns out it seems that non-dom tax-evaders are once more the beneficiary of their generosity:

Nobody has condoned the hurling of a fire extinguisher, not least the protesters as many accounts have testified, including: However this has been used as a smokescreen for the class violence being perpetuated by the ConDems. Let us not forget the reason why the demonstration was taking place. The anger of those young people is justified, how much more do they have to do to be listened to? Learning lessons of past failures we have to take direct action beyond marching from A to B in a police cordon before getting the bus home. Educate-Agitate-Organise-Occupy! (The exception is occupation of other countries of course before any Labour apologists for the war try to discredit the Stop The War movement)

Let us not forget also the history of police violence against peaceful protesters and innocent people in their custody. It will not come as a shock should the 'violent protesters' from Wednesday be brought to 'justice' one hell of a lot quicker than the cop who murdered Ian Tomlinson for example. Oh wait, it's been 19 months and they haven't brought him to justice.

How soon will it be until the police use the events of Wednesday to justify a plea for stopping cuts to the force and for more funds? The ConDem cuts have barely begun and already public anger is being expressed on the streets. How long will it take for the government and their business buddies to panic and throw more riot police out onto the streets to protect their interests? After all the police were established to protect rich communities and their wealth during the 19th century, as capitalist accumulation established widening class and social inequality and division. As we return to 19th century Toryism it surely won't be long before Cameron and Osbourne succumb and write the cheque for more police funds, to keep the rest of us facing job losses and the end of the welfare state in our place. Maybe Vodafone will help pay the Bill.

If the police were to march in protest against cuts (which is unlikely as they are forbidden from joining unions), who would be marching with them in solidarity?

We remember the G20 protests. We remember the polltax riots. We remember the miners' strike. As I was singing to the police who were forcefully pushing me and other anti-fascist protesters off the road and into a fence, thus allowing the fascist EDL to march on Parliament back in the Spring, "Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on?"

It pains me then as a Green Party member to see the response from Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones to Wednesday's events. Her original quote was taken down from the Green Party website, but has been replaced by this, which believe it or not can count as an improvement:

The Green Party thus appears to be putting the message across that better policing is needed to suppress popular anger, dissent and protest, rather than positively supporting the action. Those of us in Green Left and many in the wider Green Party have been incensed by this, no less the Young Greens many of whom were at Millbank. Sam Coates from Cardiff had an article published on the Young Greens website which should have taken pride of place on the national website, a true reflection of what those represented on the demonstration felt:

Well done also to him for this in the Guardian:

Which side are you on?