Tuesday, 27 October 2020

We stand with Polish women


Last week, Poland's top court ruling outlawed nearly all abortions.

Even before the latest news, Poland already had some of the EU's strictest abortion laws, allowing a termination only in cases of rape or incest, serious threat to the pregnant person's health or severe foetal defects. Now, the Constitutional Tribunal - dominated by allies of the government and following a far-right campaign - has removed the third exception, accounting for 98% of all legal terminations. The ruling could force women to give birth to children with no chance of survival, or risk their lives seeking unsafe illegal abortions.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Polish cities and towns are now out in the streets, protesting against the decision and demanding the right to choose. Solidarity actions led by Polish migrants are also taking place in the UK and across Europe.

On Saturday, we joined over a thousand people at a spontaneous protest in front of the Polish Embassy in London. Please follow Razem London for updates about future demos planned in the capital.

Meanwhile, protests are being planned in other cities:

Manchester 51 Portland Street, tomorrow 5pm. Facebook event here.
Aberdeen -  Marischal College, tomorrow, 5:30pm. Event here.
Brighton - West Pier, tomorrow, 7pm. Event here.
Edinburgh - Scottish Parliament, Thursday 5pm. Event here.
York - York Minster, Thursday 6pm. Event here.
Kirkcaldy - Adam Smith Theatre, Friday 6pm. Event here.
Belfast - City Hall, Saturday, 12 noon. Event here.
Bristol - Cheltenham Rd, Sunday, 3:30pm. Event here.
Birmingham - City Centre, Sunday, 4pm. Event here.

Fuel Poverty Action will be holding a conference: "Making Green Come True"


Fuel Poverty Action


Fuel Poverty Action will be holding a


conference: "Making Green Come True"

Autumn Date To Be Confirmed

which will address the gap between what is promised and what we get.

Even insulation can make things worse if done wrong


Please share invite and pre-register:


Monday, 26 October 2020

From the Ground Up: Global Gathering for Climate Justice

From the Ground Up: Global Gathering for Climate Justice is a space to come together, strategise, and build power for systemic change.

About this Event

From the Ground Up: Global Gathering for Climate Justice is a space for our movements to come together, strategise, and build power for systemic change.

This November, COP26 was due to take place in Glasgow. To mark this moment, the COP26 Coalition is hosting From the Ground Up - a global gathering providing the space to educate, strategise and co-ordinate, to build power and connect within our global justice movements. We will discuss the need for a Global Green New Deal and work towards a global plan of action to create the change we need from the ground up.

We will be hosting discussions on:

  • False Solutions to the Climate Crisis
  • Just Transition and the Role of Trade Unions
  • How Fossil Fuels get Financed
  • Feminism and the Climate Emergency
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Strategies for Resistance
  • Struggles for Land, Forests, and Oceans

As well as workshops exploring:

  • How not to burn out as an activist
  • How to resist mega-projects in your community
  • How to frame climate justice in campaigning
  • How to take action during a global pandemic

...and many more.

This Global Gathering is an opportunity for Scottish, UK, European and international climate justice movements to build momentum and capacity, and to connect to broader civil society to build power for system change.

It aims to provide a space to come together in these times of isolation, to connect and share the diversity of struggles and experiences that make our movements so powerful.

The event is free, everyone is welcome to attend. The gathering will be spread throughout the five days to enable activists from all time zones to take part. We will provide interpretation in Spanish and French (upon request), and closed captions for key panels.

For any questions, please get in touch at cop26coalitionuk@riseup.net

Saturday, 24 October 2020

An end to concessionary travel for older and disabled Londoners?

 The following motion was passed by a large majority at the   London Federation Of Green Parties AGM today.

London Green Party notes with alarm proposals that have been made by the government, demanding an end to concessionary travel for older and disabled Londoners, as well as children of school-age, as a condition for further subsidies for TfL operations due to the revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic. We strongly urge the Mayor of London, to resist these demands. It is vitally important that London shows a level of solidarity with those, already amongst the hardest hit by this year’s unprecedented events, who have made life-long contributions to London’s economy and many of whom now find themselves in impoverished circumstances, relying on their state pensions.
Pensioners, disabled people and older people rely on public transport to access services, to travel to health appointments, to care for grandchildren, providing a vital service to working parents, and, importantly, to offer their expertise and time by volunteering. Cutting concessionary travel passes and increasing fares overall would send an entirely wrong message to Londoners. Public transport is an essential lifeline - without access to it the health hazards associated with pollution and inactivity would increase. Free travel has been shown to have considerable health benefits for older people by encouraging them to remain physically active, with associated savings for the NHS https://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/the-health-benefits-of-bus-passes. We ask that you continue to call on central government to provide adequate funding to preserve London Transport services and fares as they are, and continue to show solidarity with some of the most vulnerable Londoners..

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Michael Cooley, engineer and author, born 23 March 1934; died 4 September 2020


Mike Cooley obituary

Engineer, academic and activist who sought to transform the relationship between human skill and technology
Mike Cooley was instrumental in the formation of the Lucas Plan, that aimed to convert the aerospace company’s production from arms to socially useful products
 Mike Cooley was instrumental in the formation of the Lucas Plan in the 1970s, which aimed to convert the aerospace company’s production from arms to socially useful products

The innovative thinking and political campaigning of Mike Cooley, who has died aged 86, influenced generations of trade unionists and advocates of a sustainable, green and socially just economy.

It was while working as a highly skilled design engineer at Lucas Aerospace during the turbulent 1970s that Cooley, who was also a mililtant trade unionist, first made his mark. He believed that a radically different relationship between technology and human skill was needed for social transformation. At the heart of his philosophy was a conviction that the supposed conflict between these forms of labour should be transformed into a mutually reinforcing partnership.

At that time, when strike action in defence of jobs and pay was commonplace and workers on the Clyde occupied their shipyards, Lucas workers faced the loss of many hundreds of jobs. Cooley, who then chaired the local branch of the technical trade union Tass (the Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Section of the AUEW), and was a member of the Lucas group’s national shop stewards committee, was instrumental in the formation of the Lucas Plan – that aimed to convert Lucas production from arms to the manufacture of a wide range of socially useful products.

Appalled at the contradiction between society’s potential and unmet social need, Cooley later wrote, in his first book, Architect Or Bee? The Human Price of Technology (1980): “We have, for example, complex control systems which can guide a missile to another continent with extraordinary accuracy, yet the blind and the disabled have to stagger around our cities in very much the same way as they did in medieval times.”

Through consultations with community groups and health service users and workers, the Lucas shop stewards came up with proposals for a hybrid road/rail bus and a radically new kind of portable kidney machine. Following a visit to a centre for children with spina bifida, a vehicle was designed to help children with this condition to be independently mobile.

After realising that 30% of people who die of heart attacks die before they reach the intensive-care unit, union members at another Lucas plant developed a lightweight, portable life-support system that could be taken in an ambulance. Cooley subsequently wrote: “The workers involved were encouraged to think of themselves in their dual role, both as producers and consumers.”

Without the backing of government and with the decline of trade union power the campaign failed. But some of the socially useful prototypes were subsequently developed and produced by commercial companies in other countries.

Born in Tuam, County Galway, to Eddie Cooley, a garage owner, and Frances (nee Browne), Mike went to the local Christian Brothers school. Due to his love of design and engineering, he was allowed to study one day a week at the nearby technical college. He then worked as an apprentice welder and fitter for the Tuam Sugar company. He began learning German at that time as well, then studied engineering at Bremen Mechanical Engineering University in the mid-50s.

After a period working for a specialist manufacturing company in the Oerlikon district of Z├╝rich, Switzerland, Cooley moved to London in 1957 and gained a PhD in computer-aided design at the North East London Polytechnic (now the University of East London). That marked the start of a lifetime devoted to a better understanding of the role of the replacement – in Marxist terms – of living labour by dead labour.

He became a visiting professor at Umist (the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) and, in 1961, married Shirley Pullen, who proved a lifelong kindred spirit and was his first publisher, of Architect Or Bee.

Fired from Lucas for his activism, in the 1980s he was appointed director of technology at the newly created Greater London Enterprise Board, where I worked with him. There he helped worker co-operatives and other small enterprises to develop 33 new ways for workers to interface with computer technology, rather than their skilled work being replaced by machines.

Cooley drew inspiration from the historical precedent of the builders of the great medieval cathedrals who – he never tired of pointing out – were their own architects. In 1981 he received the Right Livelihood award for “designing and promoting the theory and practice of human-centred, socially useful production”.

He continued to lecture at universities across the world, and produced a series of books outlining his ideas for restoring decision-making power to workers in the production process. His output was compiled in the 2020 reader The Search for Alternatives: Liberating Human Imagination.

In Delinquent Genius – The Strange Affair of Man and His Technology (2018), Cooley disputed the “inevitability” of ever greater de-skilling of human labour, writing: “I disagree. The script for this finale can still be rewritten. And I do mean ‘man’ and not ‘humanity’, for it is a relationship from which women have been largely excluded and this to disastrous effect

The president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, wrote in a foreword to the book: “Mike Cooley may well be the most intelligent Irishman, the most morally engaged scientist and technologist Ireland has sent abroad.”

Cooley is survived by Shirley and a son, Graham. Another son, Stephen, died in 2009.

• Michael Cooley, engineer and author, born 23 March 1934; died 4 September 2020


Saturday, 17 October 2020

Is The World Really Overpopulated? | George Monbiot


 Is The World Really Overpopulated? | George Monbiot
87.5K subscribers

A story of the denial of our common humanity Full 16min interview with George Monbiot: https://www.patreon.com/posts/full-16...
Join the Future of Journalism: https://www.patreon.com/DoubleDownNews

Monday, 5 October 2020

Green Left recommendations for GPEW Conference October 2020

 Green Left recommendations for GPEW Conference October 2020

Defending Democracy in the Green Party
Defending a Just Transition for Workers
Never has there been a time when the Green Party needed to campaign more to fight Climate Change and to ensure a Just Transition to a green economy and society.
Whilst the on-line format, with a cap on participation, means that the Conference is unlikely to be wholly representative, it has got off to a promising start. Nonetheless, any attempt to settle definitively some of the big questions at this extraordinary event will be unlikely to reflect the settled will of all members or to enjoy enduring legitimacy. We all need to bear this in mind.
Green Left makes specific recommendations on some important motions:
D1 Winning workers to climate change.
We are pleased that this motion - recognising the critical importance of a Just Transition and of keeping the Trade Union Liaison Officer post - topped the poll in the priority ballot.
Please do attend the discussion at Workshop 2 on Monday 5th October at 6.30-6.55pm and support the motion in the main Plenary sessions.
E3 Atonement and Reparative justice for the transatlantic traffic in enslaved Africans.
An excellent motion.
Please do attend the discussion at the Workshop 3 on Wednesday 7th October at 6.40-7.05pm and support the motion in the main Plenary sessions.
OPPOSE D4 Request that the Code of Conduct oversight group append “Antisemitism: A Guidance” to the Code of Conduct
D16 IHRA, Palestine and Free Speech
Alongside a good number of Green members who are Jewish, Green Left opposes motion D4 on the use of the now discredited IHRA “Definition of Antisemitism” in our code of conduct. Academics, human rights campaigners and leading Greens all share our serious concerns about the problematic and misused IHRA definition.
We are supporting motion D16 instead.
Both Green Left and the wider GPEW are anti-racist and anti-discrimination. Green Left supports action against individuals and groups who behave in racist or discriminatory ways and emphasises that such action must be taken properly and with due care.
Les Levidow - a long standing Green Party member and member of the Steering Group, Jewish Network for Palestine (JNP) and other Jewish pro-Palestine groups since the 1980s - explains here how motion D4, if passed, could be used to take spurious action against people like himself who disagree with the action of the Government of Israel in its activities against Palestinians. There are better alternatives to aid our practice in the GPEW.
Please do attend the discussion at workshop 2 on Thursday 8th October at 6.30-8.00 pm and support motion D16 in the main Plenary sessions.
D9 Extraordinary Party Conference - Amendment 1
Amendment 1 asks for the serious issue of Limited Liability to be our priority, safeguarding members, staff and party from the risk of financial penalty. Bundling this with more contested constitutional reform proposals is inappropriate at this stage.
Green Left are also Supporting Amendment 2 – the right of members to vote on the outcome of the proposed special conference.
Please do attend the discussion at Workshop 3 on Thursday 8thOctober at 6.30-7pm support the amendments in the main Plenary sessions.
E10 Nuclear Power.
This would bring important policy up-to-date.
Please do attend the discussion at Workshop 1 on Thursday 8th October at 7.45-8pm and support the motion in the main Plenary sessions.
Section D – Late Motion on Accessibility
Green Left members also submitted a late motion addressing the over-complicated processes required to submit motions etc.
Please support this motion in the main Plenary sessions.
If you would like to find out more or join Green Left please contact us at ukgreenleft@gmail.com