Sunday, 7 November 2010

Coalition of Resistance Against Cuts & Privatisation National Organising Conference - 10am-5pm, Saturday November 27th

Coalition of Resistance Against Cuts & Privatisation
National Organising Conference - 10am-5pm, Saturday November 27th

Camden Centre Bidborough St, London WC1H 9AU (opposite St Pancras station)

Register here:

Already several hundred people have registered for the conference. If you have and have not yet heard back from us please don't worry. We will be sending out tickets and a full programme of sessions in the next week. We have had to book further space for the conference and have obtained three large halls within 100 metres of the Camden Centre for workshops and forum sessions.

Apart from the opening and closing plenaries, sessions will include:
    •     Organising against the cuts locally
    •     Defending the Welfare State
    •     States of Inequalities
    •     Mobilising in the unions
    •     Analysis of the crisis
    •     Debate on our alternatives
    •     What should political representatives do?
    •     What future for education?
    •     Cultures of Resistance
    •     Youth and students
    •     Women and the crisis
Confirmed speakers include: Billy Bragg, Caroline Lucas MP, Tony Benn, John McDonnell, Paul Mackney, Bob Crow, Jeremy Dear, Dr Jacky Davis, Professor Colin Leys, Dot Gibson, Zita Holborne, Ozlem Onaran, Derek Wall, Lindsey German, Chris Baugh, Laurie Penny, John Hilary, Lowkey and many others.

There will be speakers from local anti-cuts groups from around the country. The National Secretary of the French railway unions will report on the recent strike wave there. And there will be a fraternal speakers from the People's Charter and other organisations.

The conference will discuss a plan of action and will elect a National steering committee.

Please register for the conference. You can either do this online using paypal or by printing off the form - - and sending it to our office with a cheque to the address below.

Conference Registration:
Unemployed / Student Rate £3.00
Standard Rate £5.00
Representative £10.00

The conference is costing many thousands of pounds to put on and we are keeping the registration fees as low as possible to allow maximum attendance.

We need volunteers to help cover the forthcoming student and Stop the War marches. Please contact Sam on 07872481769 if you can help.

There will be a small number of stalls for movement organisations at the conference and these will be £75 each. The stalls will have to be booked and paid for in advance.

Coalition of Resistance badges and t-shirts are now available and will on the website soon.

Please circulate this bulletin throughout the labour and trade union movement.

Andrew Burgin
07939 242229
Coalition of Resistance
Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Campaign Against Climate Change meeting about “climate scepticism” on 14 April 2010

The Campaign Against Climate Change meeting about “climate scepticism” on 14 April 2010 was contentious, not least because the very term “climate scepticism” (or more accurately perhaps “climate change scepticism”), was one of the many subjects of disagreement.

I liked the contentiousness, as one of the speakers (1) admitted, it is possible to be bored, or at least complacent when listening to yet another panel asserting that the majority of current scientific opinion is that human caused climate change is taking place.

He also suggested that simply relying on this scientific majority opinion had led the Green movement to blunder into the media furore that some now call “ climategate”, (although the use of that term too was disagreed about). “ Climategate” involved the leaking of emails about the work of climatologists at the University of East Anglia suggesting that some data they had about climate change may have been exaggerated. Their defenders assert that their findings were basically true but the apparent uncertainty was seized on by those who wished to deny that human caused climate change is happening. This matter received media coverage in November 2009 shortly before the climate change summit in Copenhagen.

As two of the panel speakers were from Green pressure groups and one was an environment correspondent of a quality paper (the Guardian), they were from bits of the Green movement that I seldom come into contact with. I was interested to hear them confirm, in slightly different ways, a report I had heard earlier that some such greens were in varying states of despair over the failure of Copenhagen. Most of my associates were not pleased that these talks had failed, a perhaps even a bit surprised that they failed as spectacularly and chaotically as they did; but I doubt if anyone really expected much real progress from them.

So when the panel speakers all basically advocated combating “ climate scepticism” with counter information campaigns and reaching out to sections of the population that the green movement allegedly did not usually reach, (trade unionists and Conservatives were the two examples given), I did not disagree but I came away doubting if that by itself would be enough.

There were differing nuances on this point of view, the journalist seemed the most sanguine, and some of the suggestions that people mainly agree with information that confirmed their existing opinions did seem to have pessimistic and possibly self-contradictory implications.

However I‘ll leave that one for one or other of the Green movements many philosophers to sort out merely noting that framing Green augments against “ climate scepticism” in such a way as to widen their appeal is a good tactic but may not an entire strategy.

One panel member was against using Climate change as an argument for organising anti-capitalist revolution suggesting that the threats posed by climate change were now too close for there to be time for such distractions. Similar grounds were given for not ruling out nuclear power generation, and there was no contradiction when it was suggested that the emerging middle classes of developing nations were not going to accept cutbacks in their improving standards of living.

The question as to how capitalist pressure for ever increasing economic growth was a definite indoor pachyderm and outside I wondered if persuasion was enough.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Town centres: Voids, antheaps, and covered markets

A week ago, a walk around central Birmingham could have confirmed my many metropolitan prejudices, especially as spent a long time not finding an open photocpying shop, but finding many many closed chinese resturants instead. A week later a triple night bus ride across central London showed that it seems to be changing into a 24 hr city as jolly revellers mingled with the morose and knackered leisure industry workers who had been servicing them.

But whilst London now has hosts of Rickshaws clogging its night arteries like pedalled cholestrol, Birmingham, which seemed to lack covered bicycles , does have several covered markets, which seemed to have the convenience of modern malls with none of their bland characterlessness.

Friday, 29 January 2010

“Thirlington Cubicles”

In the good old, bad old days, before flying away for foreign holidays became more immoral the more that you thought about it, I went to Bulgaria. This was in the very last days of Communism, at the time of the coup against Gorbachev in the USSR. Bulgaria was beautiful, or I saw the beautiful bits of it, but there was something a little boring about it and I couldn’t figure out what that was.

Then I realised whilst sitting in a roadside café that, the passing lorries had no logos on their sides. They were not emblazoned with any slogans, names or images. Bulgarian camions at this time were mostly pale grey in colour with a black registration number on the side in some sort of militaristic font.

I would rather be bored by Bulgarian logoless lorries than see capitalism continue along its destructive trajectory, but the all pervasive advertising plastered on nearly every available surface in contemporary Britain, brings me all sorts of absurd statements that I sometimes enjoy if I’m in the mood for it. I’ve even seen a sandwich delivery van than claimed, in its mission statement, to have an overarching existential purpose.

Today in Cricklewood I saw a large white lorry with the words “Thirlington Cubicles” written on it.

I realised immediately that I had been given a new name and a solution to some of the quandaries that might confront me when I sit at the Standing Orders Committee table at the next Green Party Conference. If someone approached with a problem or query and asks “Are you Peter Murry?”. I will respond “No. I am, Thirlington Cubicles, Peter Murry is that person of there in the red pullover who is grinding his/her teeth” This might buy me enough time to escape.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

THE Kneeling Man

When I turned the corner into the narrow Holborn back street which leads to the Dragon Hall, I saw a man kneeling on the pavement. He was silhouetted against the bright electric light coming through a plate glass door situated behind him. At first he knelt, then he went down onto all fours then he rose again.

I can be sure how many times he repeated this movement as I slowly approached, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. His movements did seemed voluntary and did not indicate pain, so I began to come to the conclusion that he was engaged into the ritualised grovelling to an imaginary being that people call prayer.

This assumption depressed me until I came near enough to see the screwdriver in his hand. He was engaged in fixing the lock that was situated in a metal strip on the bottom of the plate glass door. I was relieved to see that his actions were rational and not mindless self abasement following a dogmatically dictated formula.

I was not to encounter much other such rationality that night because I was about to attend a meeting of the London Federation Of Green Parties.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Two Camerons in Cricklewood

The citizens of Cricklewood are being confronted with a frightful sight, as they stand in large grey meltwater slushpuppies at the northbound bus stop on the Broadway.

The Conservative Party has seen fit to erect two vast, adjacent and almost identical billboards both depicting huge images of David Cameron’s head and shoulders, captioned with some implausible slogan about ‘cutting the deficit not the NHS’.

The two giant Camerons are only almost identical, since in each he is a different colour. On the left, (if you were facing east), he has a very pale green skin tone, like fish flesh just going off. However the right hand Cameron is a shiny orangish hue, like a Kilroy-Silk suntan.

Could this diversity in skin tone be deliberate?, After all Cricklewood is possibly one of the most ethnically heterogeneous places on the planet, whilst waiting at the bus and staring at the strange Camerons, you are likely to hear people speaking English, Polish, Tamil, Brazilian, Portuguese, Somali and Lingala at least. However I doubt if many know or care who the terrible twins on the billboard are.

Perhaps there is a subliminal political message, e.g.: ‘I’m slightly concerned about the environment sometimes, but also a bit liberal and democratic’.

As I stand staring incredulously at the dual apparitions, waiting for a bus, I find it warming to think that the Tories have wasted money putting up these silly posters, but chilling to think how much more such rubbish they will be able to afford before the general election.