Archive for the ‘Dark Mountain’ Category

Reclaim the Streets

May 16, 2020

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

The first businesses to reopen coffee shops, tables outside, social distancing maintained,  dwell time relatively short.

To achieve this, coffee shops need to be able to spread out into the streets, out into the squares, the norm in Athens, indeed the norm across Europe, when one coffee shop in Lincoln requested this they received an emphatic no from Lincolnshire County Council, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Kick starting the local economy, improving the ambience, worthless council jobsworths don’t give a damn.

Our High Streets were dying before the covid-19 pandemic. The loss of Big Business, corporate chains, from the High Street is no great loss, it was destroying the High Street. If we are to recover it will be through small local independent businesses.  That is why we must allow indie coffee shops, and only indie coffee shops not chains, next restaurants, to expand into the streets. Not pubs and bars as we do not want drunks on the streets.

Local businesses spreading into public space helps everyone, safeguarding staff and clientele through social distancing, improves the ambience of the locality, especially if No Smoking, and for many local businesses it will mean life or death, the difference whether they survive or not.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised people are going to be reluctant to use public transport  therefore we have to encourage walking and cycling if we do not wish traffic levels to rise. But if wishes to improve cycling and walking, must also make our city centres more attractive by encouraging local councils to facilitate indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread out into our streets.

Deliveries to the pedestrianised areas,  park on the periphery and deliver by handcart or trolley.

Sheffield, an unusual city in that prior to the covid-19 pandemic a city on the up, a marked contrast to most decaying cities. And why? Independent businesses everywhere.

BBC Radio 4 The Food Programme recently featured Sheffield, the focus on how indie food businesses were bringing life back to Sheffield. With the exception of Marmadukes I would not agree with their choice of examples, but the gist yes. I could list several examples, South Street Kitchen, Marmadukes, Steam YardSheffield Cheese Masters, Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate, ShuJu Taiwanese pop-up kitchen at Union St.

Mention also needs to be made of Now Then, an indie magazine that features local culture and indie businesses, interesting articles and art, well worth seeking out.

Through reclaiming the streets, we are operating at the interface between business, environment and society, a component part of Doughnut Economics, where the local economy is designed to be regenerative and distributive, with people and the environment at its heart.  We kick cars out of our town centres, we plant trees, we improve the ambience, we create a space where local businesses and communities can thrive, breathe clean air, or simply relax with a  good coffee, read a book, sit and watch the world go by.

One of my favourite places to sit and relax, Little Tree, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, not far from The Acropolis.

In Exarchia, an anarchist district of Athens, they set up road blocks, boxes with plants,  created traffic free zones. The city authorities also act, they are extending the pedestrianised areas around The Acropolis.

VE Day 75 coronavirus lockdown we must move forward

May 8, 2020

VE Day, UK was broke, Europe was broke. Had useless prat George Osborne been Chancellor, we would have had austerity for 75 years. Instead we invested, rebuilt UK, rebuilt Europe.

Following the euphoria and celebrations of VE Day, VJ Day was yet to come, a more low key event, life was tough, rationing did not end until 1954. And we should not forget the role played by the Commonwealth. Nevertheless what followed, creation of the Welfare State, NHS, free secondary schools, school leaving age raised to 15, nationalisation of key industries, coal, steel, railways.
The desire was to create a fainer more just society.

During WWII we knew who the enemy was, we had weapons to fight. With covid-19, we know who the enemy is, but the enemy is invisible, a silent killer, we have no weapons with which to fight.

Post-Pandemic we are heading for the worst collapse since the South Sea Bubble burst.

We therefore do the same, we rebuild, not by going backwards. After VE Day, we did not go back to the 1930s, we moved forward.

We therefore must do the same. We do not bailout out dirty industries, we do not bail out tax dodging conman like Richard Branson.

We bail out people, local indie businesses, not global corporations, we fund a Green New Deal.

Strategic sectors we bail out through acquisition of a controlling share. Minimum conditions: no use of offshore tax havens, zero carbon by 2035.

Denmark, Hungary, France and Canada will not bailout tax dodgers.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We hear birdsong, our streets are traffic free, cities centres pollution free. We have learnt we do not have to engage in pointless consumerism, visit ghastly shopping malls.

As we slowly relax lockdown, indie coffee shops first, we allow them to spread out into the street, improve the ambience of the street, the norm in Athens, they then can social distance, safeguarding staff and customers.

But it needs worthless council jobsworths to engage their brains, act on behalf of local businesses, the local community. When a coffee shop in Lincoln asked of their local county council they were met with an emphatic no. That is how much they care about the local environment and helping local businesses back on their feet.

We need to develop Doughnut Economics for every city, every sector. Amsterdam working with Kate Raworth has developed Doughnut Economics Amsterdam. A rough draft has been drawn up for Cyprus, Doughnut Economics Cyprus, focusing on the tourist sector.

Portugal easyJet director living in an alternative reality

May 4, 2020

Airlines, airports and travel industry in general live in a different world to everyone else. They talk of back to business as usual, airports expanding.

Covid-19 has opened up another now. There is no return to normal as normal was not normal, mass tourism was killing the planet. People have become used to bird song, streets traffic free, cities pollution free. They are not going to give this up without a fight.

Aviation a major contributor to global warming, has spread covid-19 around the world, therefore within this context the comments by director general of Easyjet in Portugal José Lopes objecting to quarantine for arrivals into the country beggars belief.

The director general of Easyjet in Portugal José Lopes has said that the resumption of the company’s activity in Portugal is very dependent on the elimination of the quarantine imposed on passengers arriving in Madeira and therefore suggested “the elimination of these barriers to connectivity ”.

Portugal, together with Greece, one of the few countries in Europe to have acted promptly and contained coronavirus. José Lopes wishes to throw this all away.

José Lopes is not alone in expressing these sentiments, UK Airlines has come out with similar comments. Objecting to quarantine, claiming aviation vital to the UK economy.

What has been the economic cost of coronavirus pandemic, of wild fires in Australia, of floods in England?

Airlines, tour companies, and tourism industry, live in a different reality to the rest of us.

Not satisfied with trashing the planet then spread covid-19 around the world, they are now objecting to quarantine for arrivals into a country.

When other countries closed borders, closed airports, and where open were screening passengers, UK did not. Inbound flights from coronavirus hotspots from around the world, no screening, hop straight onto public transport. Very late in the day, consideration of quarantine, though in reality not quarantine, self-isolation.

At the weekend a friend travelled from Spain to Cyprus via Germany. On arrival at Larnaca she was taken into quarantine. She did not object, even though she has gone from lock down in Spain to quarantine in Cyprus, as she sees that it is necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Covid-19 may have arisen in China, airlines spread it around the world.

Airlines are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

There is no going back to normal as normal was not normal.

We cannot have a third runway at Heathrow, a second runway at Gatwick, airport expansion.

We have to live within the limits of the planet, one of those limits is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We have to reach zero carbon by 2035.

In the future we will have pandemics, we have to be prepared, stop them spreading rapidly around the world.

Aviation contributes little to the economy. We have seen how fragile our supply chains, how easily pandemics are spread around the world.

We have to relocate manufacturing within our own borders, grow our own food.

Doughnut Economics Cyprus

April 27, 2020

A couple of weeks ago the Cyprus finance minister opened himself up to ridicule when he claimed the Cyprus economy was going to shrink by about five percent.

The following week the figure had  been revised to ten per cent, which was at best wishful thinking.

With loss of the Cyprus tourist sector, and anyone who thinks Cyprus is going to see any tourists before the end of the season is living in la la land, the economic downturn is going to be far greater than ten per cent.

The world is heading into economic meltdown far worse than the Great Depression, international trade already down by 30%. IMF has warned the global recession is likely to be worse than the Great Depression, and has urged countries to spend, spend, then spend some more, which is an amazing about turn for the IMF.

To put the Cypriot figures in context, the UK economy is expected to shrink by anywhere between 13 per cent and 30 per cent depending on which model, the assumptions fed into the model. The Treasury has forecast April May June the economy may shrink by 30 per cent.

We can not go back to normal as normal was not normal, it was destroying the planet.

We have been able to hear birdsong, our streets traffic free, our cites pollution free, the skies free of planes. A world few of us will have seen in our lifetimes. In India they are able to see in the far distance the snow covered Himalayas, a sight last seen over thirty years ago,

We were told we could not cut carbon emissions within the timescale required for zero carbon 2035, it was impossible, impractical, and yet we have achieved massive reductions overnight.

Politics is not a race, two or more corrupt  political parties in a race as to decide who gets the opportunity to do the bidding of oligarchs.

Politics is who does what to whom.

We have seen capitalism put into suspended animation.  We are in a postcapitalist world, we have been since 2008. Who decides what the future will look look like once we are through the coronavirus pandemic?

If we look to the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak  has made billions of pounds available, to furlough workers with the government providing 80% of salary, a week later for the self employed, grants, soft loans to small businesses, all to keep businesses in hibernation,  ready to be woken up.

In the covid-19 pandemic we are living in another now. What we have to do is create our own another now, an alternative reality, a vision of how we wish the world to be. We failed in 2008, we cannot fail again in 2020, we cannot return to what was the norm, as the norm was not normal.

EU failed to deliver on eurobonds, offered loans that put the southern vassal states in debt bondage with austerity to follow.

We have seen post-WWII relentless rise in GDP, or at least up to the 2008, but this rise is not normal, it has been at huge environmental cost, and the increase in GDP has not been fairly distributed, it has been shared with the rich.

If I ask a bank for $100,000 to safeguard an ancient forest, I will probably not get very far. If I ask for $1 million to cut down the forest sell the timber they will happily give me the money.

If I ask a bank for 100 million euros to destroy pristine coastline for a hotel development, bring in dredged sand to create a beach, destroy bamboo groves habitat of  a rare endangered snail, show I will have guaranteed contracts with a big tour company to bring in all-inclusive guests, I will of course not tell them no benefit to the local economy, the bank will hand me the money, or at least they would have pre-coronavirus pandemic.

Destruction of a forest, of a pristine coastline, is not without costs, soil erosion, floods, loss of a carbon sink, species loss, degradation of water supply, loss of inshore fishing and fish breading grounds, which then feeds into ocean acidification, warming climate, rising sea levels, forest degradation, loss of coastline, further loss of fisheries. These costs are dismissed as externalities (a polite way of saying someone else problem).

The standard economic model showing monetary flows between households and businesses, together with flows of capital and goods and services, sometimes expanded to include the role of banks and government, is too simplified, it takes no account of the economy is embedded within society, which in turn is embedded within Gaia.

Never confuse a model with reality, even worse distort reality to reflect the model.

Kate Raworth has drawn a model, that incorporates what went before, but also includes the commons, the flow of energy, flow of materials, and thus more accurately reflects reality.

We therefore have to devise a new economic system, one that sees the poor are not left behind, are not  reliant on food banks, homeless are not living on our streets, whilst at the same time we do not exceed our planetary limits and what we do produce is fair and  equitable.

One such system is doughnut economics. How do we apply it to Cyprus, to the island, to municipalities, to sectors?

Look to Amsterdam, where the city is working with Kate Raworth to devise doughnut economics for the city, a 21st century economic system.

One of the largest sectors in Cyprus is tourism, it cannot be a return to mass tourism which not only is destroying the planet is destroying Cyprus, it brings in the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive hotels with no benefit for the local economy.

Does Cyprus need an easyJet flight every day, sometimes two a day, would not two or three a week suffice, assuming easyJet is in business and will not run out of money by August?

A proposal for a doughnut economy for Cyprus, a broad brush to be expanded upon.

Doughnut economics was developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth as an antidote to conventional economics which does not reflect the real world and has not served us well.

What is the economy for? Until we can answer that question, how do we know what to measure, how do we measure success?

Economies need to be distributive, regenerative.

Visualise a doughnut. In the centre nothing, this is where resides abuse of human rights, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, food banks, it is where we should not be. The body of the doughnut is where we wish to be, a circular economy, everyone’s needs met, living within the limits of the planet. Beyond the doughnut, again where we should not be, global warming, species loss, habitat destruction, acidification of our oceans, pollution, rising sea levels.

Kate Raworth has developed a doughnut economics model for Amsterdam, working with the city. Something that should be studied, adapted to Cyprus, but no two places are the same.

For Cyprus we need a doughnut model for the island and for each and every municipality and sector, and the people involved in developing it.

The largest sector in Cyprus is tourism, but it is not in a healthy state, has not been for years, and looking at crude tourist numbers is about as helpful as focusing on GDP to measure economic well being.

One only had to wander through Protaras last year at the height of the tourist season to see all was not well.  During the day, mid-afternoon, empty sunbeds, watersports siting idle. At night, during the evening, bars and restaurants empty.

The last few years many local businesses have gone bust. They finished last season in very poor shape, and many more would not have survived another season.

Tourism has to benefit society with minimum impact on the environment.

Mass tourism is bad for the planet, bad for Cyprus, it is not sustainable.

There is an over-reliance on tour companies, on mass tourism, on all-inclusive hotels.

Cyprus has become the dustbin for the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive attracts the dregs, little if any money flows into the local economy.

Cyprus is not going to see tourists this year, therefore time to reflect, seize the opportunity for radical change and innovation.

Rewind the tourist sector to thirty years ago when Cyprus was a quality destination, attracted quality tourists, when hoteliers took a pride in their hotels, restaurateurs in their restaurants.

Cyprus needs far fewer tourists, quality tourists. There should be no all-inclusive hotels, tour companies should be no more than 20% of hotel bookings (no single tour operator more than 10%), pay promptly at the end of the month (with penalty for late payment).

Encourage long stay, fourteen days and longer, discourage short stay, short breaks, seven days and shorter. Fewer flights for the same hotel occupancy.

The noisy bars bulldoze to the ground.  Restaurants in an attempt to compete with all-inclusive hotels are in a race to the bottom, a race to the bottom no one can win.

What passes as coffee shops is laughable, Cyprus is infamous for bad coffee, coffee shops serving drinkable coffee could count on one hand.

Replace noisy bars with traditional tavernas and coffee shops. It would be difficult to find good examples without visiting Plaka in Athens. Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Lazaris (though not for coffee) near St Lazarus Church in the back streets of Larnaca set high standards, take a pride in what they do, as does Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina, but these are the rare exceptions, not the norm, oasis amidst the dross. Once the norm in Cyprus, until a race to the bottom to attract custom from all-inclusive hotels, a race no one can win.

For restaurants slow food not fast food, local cuisine using fresh local seasonal produce.  Sea food restaurants overlooking the sea, fresh caught fish, for example Spartiatis overlooking Konnos Bay and Demetrion beside Liopetri River overlooking the sea.

Tourism is more than hotels, it is bars, coffee shops, restaurants, car hire, boat trips, water sports. All of which have suffered in recent years thanks to all-inclusive hotels.

There is a need to improve standards within the tourist sector, hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops. How to measure standards?

TripAdvisor is worthless, fake reviews and trolls. Google Maps marginally better. Proposal to tender a contract to assess standards  seriously flawed in a country where everyone knows everyone, someones cousin friend went to school with.

Create an open source open coop collaborate commons platform Booking Cyprus. Charge a small fee to generate a surplus to maintain and improve the platform and fund local community green projects.

There is a need to diversify within the tourist sector.

Diversify away from tourism based on a handful of coastal resorts.

Encourage rural tourism, bookings through FairBnB not AirBnB. AirBnB destroys local communitiesFairBnB works with and supports local communities.

Encourage cultural tourism.

An example would be a week of tango at Grecian Park, not organised by the hotel, they host a week organised by two dancers well known within the world of tango.

A green new deal, use it to kick start the economy. 

Look to what DiEM25 is proposing for Europe. EU needs to issue eurobonds, €500 billion a year to finance a Green New Deal for Europe.

Implement a tree planting programme. Start by planting trees at bus stops for the 101 / 102 bus service Paralimni Protaras Ayia Napa to provide much needed shade.

Pedestrianise the sea front at Larnaca and extend the pedestrianised area into the back streets around St Lazaris Church. Provide an electric shuttle bus service from, Larnaca Marina to Mackenzie Beach.

Cyprus is over-reliant on oil imports, which is crazy in a country with abundant sunshine. Install roof top solar, feed into local community owned and controlled local grids, paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned national grid, any ‘profit’ fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

The proposed Paphos Marina with facilities for cruise ships should be scrapped. Cruise ships are floating environmental disasters.  Floating all-inclusive hotels that bring no benefits to local economies.

The project in Paphos to create a marina for 1,000 boats plus cruise ships is an example of the insanity that is destroying Cyprus. It should be scrapped.

Cruise ships are nothing more than glorified floating all-inclusive hotels, that cause horrendous damage wherever they dock, with little benefit to the local economy.

The streets of Athens, especially areas like Plaka and Acropli, are clogged whenever a cruse ship docks, causing a problem for both locals and visitors, and they do not spend any money. The tour buses ferrying them around, traffic congestion, noise and pollution.

Venice is being destroyed by cruise ships.

Cruise shop are major greenhouse gas emitters, plus passenger fly to start and end of trip. Cruise ships dump their sewerage and garbage overboard, including plastic.

Will there even be cruise ships? As we have seen floating hell when covid-19 spreads through the ship and nowhere will permit a plague ship to dock.

These floating all-inclusive hotels are now all rapidly returning to port, discharging their passengers and being mothballed. The industry has not just been devastated, it has ceased to function altogether. For it, coronavirus has been the perfect storm. It has gone from being an industry worth $46 billion (£37 billion) a year, with 26 million passengers per annum, to an almost total standstill overnight. The only destination for cruise ships, the scrap yard.

Art and culture should be part of our doughnut.

Art and culture would seem an oxymoron when said in the same breath as Ayia Napa, and yet Ayia Napa has an excellent International Sculpture Park on a hillside overlooking the sea and hosts an excellent Medieval Festival.

How many visitors are aware of the open air theatre during the summer in the grounds of Larnaca Castle?

Cyprus has a democratic deficit which should be addressed. Not only open municipalities to the public, open to public participation, live stream all meetings.

A doughnut may appear to be a simple concept, but appearances can be deceptive. Its power lies in its simplicity.

A lower social bound bellow which we should not fall. An upper planetary bound which we should not exceed. It is also circular, symbolises not only money flowing around the economy, but also symbolises mutual cooperation, collaborative commons.

A simple example will suffice. On changing money in a car hire, we are recommended to take a boat trip. The boat trip recommends a restaurant. The restaurant recommends a vineyard from where they source their wine. To visit the vineyard, we return to the car hire to hire a car. We pass through a lovely little village, learn of a house available through fairbnb should we be tempted to return. At the vineyard, we learn they are renting out a beautiful studio apartment with incredible views of the sea. We find a coffee shop which we have been recommended, and as is the nature of coffee shops, interesting conversations ensue with the owner and barista and fellow coffee drinkers, we learn of many cultural events, an out of the way fish restaurant overlooking the sea and of a taverna  overlooking the sea. We learn Cyprus has much to offer, which we would never have learnt of from tour guides at an all-inclusive hotel. And the local economy has benefited. And maybe we will return one day to explore further.

Salient points of a doughnut economy:

  • GDP is not a useful measure. We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Obsession with GDP has destroyed the planet whilst at the same time creating obscene levels of  inequality. The top richest 1% have accrued more  wealth than the poorest 99%. Uncontrolled growth has a name, cancer.
  • Create, innovate, value human development. With rare exceptions there is a lack of innovation in Cyprus. One bar owner opens a bar with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Then more bars open with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Those that follow, do not bother to check the first bar always empty.
  • Understand the power of networks, how feedback systems operate.
  • An economic system must be distributive. All must share in the wealth created.
  • Transactions within an economy are not simply financial, nor are the players only government and private sector. The economy also has to include open coops, collaborate commons, each working in loose partnership with each other.
  • Economy has to be regenerative. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition to merely protect the natural world from harm.

The Cypriot economy is moribund if not in free fall, no tourists anytime soon.  The time should be put to productive use to implement a doughnut economy.

It is important public information, in Greek and English, to keep everyone informed, not only locals but also visitors. Then network and share with other municipalities, not only across Cyprus, across Europe.

Australia first country to commit Climate Suicide

January 5, 2020

Australia will go down in history as the first country to commit Climate Suicide, assuming there is anyone left to write the history books.

As Paul Mason succinctly notes, this is the fossil fuel elite’s Chernobyl.

Australia together with pariah states like Saudi Arabia has over the years done its best to sabotage climate talks, digs up coal, elected a corrupt fascist in the pocket of Big Coal as their prime minster, absorbs mind rotting fake news from Murdoch, and now is reaping the benefits.

As Australia burns, the prime minister in the pocket of Big Coal sabotaged COP25 climate talks in Madrid, then went on holiday.

This is the moron who once walked walked into Parliament with a lump of coal to pass around.

Last week fascist PM visited a burnt out town. The local residents told him to fuck off. This was their Ceaușescu moment, when Nicolae Ceaușescu stood before a crowd and was booed.

What we are seeing is an Apocalypse of Biblical proportions, and this is only the beginning.

A bookstore in the fire-ravaged village of Cobargo, New South Wales, has a new sign outside that reads:

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has been moved to Current Affairs

The carbon released by the bush fires into the atmosphere will accelerate towards the climate tipping point, the point of no return.

Smoke from the fires has engulfed New Zealand, turned the glaciers brown, accelerating the melting of the glaciers.

The extent of the fires is such it is generating its own weather system. The temperatures hot enough to cause the metal of cars to melt.

Already over twenty people have died in the fires, the count is mounting daily, more bodies will be found when people return to burnt out towns. But as nothing to the tens of thousands who will die as a result of breathing in the toxic smoke. And it beggars belief the imbecile mayor of Sydney went ahead with New Year fireworks to add to the toxic mix.

Mass destruction of wildlife. Wildlife not burnt alive, dying due to the high temperatures.

Any politician who accepts dirty money from coal is a climate criminal and should be in prison.

Under the fascist Prime Minister, a crack down on unions, civic organisations and journalists. Legislation pending in Tasmania, and expected to be copied across Australia, environmental protesters now face up to 21 years in jail for demonstrating. This is what we are seeing from the Fascist regimes in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, India, Bolivia and Brazil.

When the fires are finally put out, Australians need to rise up, remove their prime minister from office, topple the government,  and take direct action, whatever it takes, to shut down the coal industry. And to boycott the poisonous toxic crap from Murdoch and his ilk.

Rosa Luxemburg Platz

December 26, 2019

A Plaza named after the German-Polish revolutionary Marxist philosopher and writer Rosa Luxemburg.

Freiheit ist immer nur Freiheit des anders Denkenden  — Rosa Luxemburg

A strange sculpture in the square, no idea what it is. 

In the ground long strips, with words of Rosa Luxemburg or tributes to her. 

A little way off from the square, a statue of Rosa Luxemburg around the back of a radical publisher. 

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party - however numerous they may be - is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently. Not because of the fanaticism of “justice”, but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when “freedom” becomes a privilege.

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) was awarded a PhD at a time when few women went to university, reputed to speak eleven languages. She was opposed to the First World War for which she spent time in prison. She was murdered by German soldiers, her body thrown into the canal. 

Her thoughts on democracy are apropos today as they were when she wrote them, when we see how the recent General Election has been perverted by a corrupt media and facebook.

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously – at bottom, then, a clique affair – a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins (the postponement of the Soviet Congress from three-month periods to six-month periods!) Yes, we can go even further: such conditions must inevitably cause a brutalization of public life: attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, etc.

Her last known words written on the evening of her murder were about her belief in the masses and what she saw as the inevitability of a triumphant revolution.

The contradiction between the powerful, decisive, aggressive offensive of the Berlin masses on the one hand and the indecisive, half-hearted vacillation of the Berlin leadership on the other is the mark of this latest episode. The leadership failed. But a new leadership can and must be created by the masses and from the masses. The masses are the crucial factor. They are the rock on which the ultimate victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were up to the challenge, and out of this “defeat” they have forged a link in the chain of historic defeats, which is the pride and strength of international socialism. That is why future victories will spring from this defeat.

Order prevails in Berlin! You foolish lackeys! Your “order” is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will “rise up again, clashing its weapons,” and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be!

Paul Mason draws on the writing of Rosa Luxemburg in Postcapitalism.

Extinction Rebellion Lincoln

April 18, 2019

Mail on Sunday saw a ludicrous feature on Extinction Rebellion, they were deluded, they wished to take us back to a fossil free dark age.

No, they recognise we face a Climate Emergency, that a fossil free future is our only future.

London, key points were taken. It was not until the third day BBC started to report.

Police have been deployed to arrest peaceful protesters. Would they not be better deployed to deal with knife crime?

Arresting people is pointless, and on dodgy legal grounds. For every person arrested, two more take their place.

Nothing learnt from Civil Rights protests in US. Arresting people, more take to the streets.

In Algeria and Sudan, the people have taken to the streets, faced down oppression, kicked two brutal dictators out of office.

In Lincoln, on Day 4, a small gathering under a tree in the High Street.

Were they there days before, I do not know.

One ignorant man shouted abuse, hit out at the disruption in London.

That disruption is as nothing when London floods due to rising sea levels.

Extinction Rebellion have taken direct action as a last resort, for far too long our corrupt politicians have been in the pocket of big business, giving the go ahead to fracking, to Heathrow expansion, subsidies to oil industry, go ahead for open cast mining.

Direct action is the only action that has ever changed anything.

It will cost far more not to address climate change to sit back and do nothing.

Protesters in Lincoln were calling on Lincoln City Council to declare a Climate Emergency, as many councils already have, to halt the Western Growth Corridor.

Activists need to seize control of the local Town Hall, to end the one-party state in the pocket of the local coop and big business, follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, open to public participation, network across Europe with other citizen-controlled Town Halls.

Lincoln and Lincolnshire have an appalling bus service. Try getting a bus to anywhere after 1900 in the evening.

The pedestrianised High Street is not. Lorries drive through any time of the day. No enforcement action, local council and police turn a blind eye.

There is a ban between 1000 and 1600, but no one takes a blind bit of notice.

There should be a ban 24/7, emergency vehicles only. Lorries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley. The norm in Europe

Maybe they will, but the protesters should have sat down on High Bridge and blocked the High Street.

Ban wood burning stoves from the city.

It beggars belief we still build new build with no solar panels on the roof.

We need local area power distribution networks, owned and controlled by the local community, into which feed renewables paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price. Surplus generation fed to other local networks via a publicly owned National Grid. Any ‘profit’ either fed back into the system or used to fund local community projects. Electric cars provide a nighttime base load.

Avoid any corporate chain coffee shops, enjoy specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. In Lincoln that would be Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Reusable coffee cups glass Keep Cup or bamboo ecoffeecup address symptoms.

The planning application for a drive-thru Costa must be opposed. No one who loves coffee would be seen dead in Costa. More traffic. At a time when we should be reducing our dependency on the car, an application for yet another drive-thru. Local Coop once again acting for corporate chains whilst at the same time destroying Sincil Street. Those who love coffee relax in Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Brighton has Hisbe. Lincoln needs a zero waste store.

An animal diet, apart from being nutritionally dense thus better for our health, is environmental sound, grass fed animals are part of the natural cycle, improving the soil acts as a carbon sink.

We need to re-wild.

We have to drastically reduce our emissions of carbon. The longer we delay, the deeper the cuts.

Children are going on strike on Fridays. They question why their future is being destroyed.

We need a Green New Deal.

Read This Changes Everything.

Hacks at failing local rags The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo failed to cover the protest.

Demolition in Sincil Street

February 2, 2019

The demolition of a building in Sincil Street started Monday, by mid-week building almost demolished, Friday piles of rubble.

More regurgitation of corporate press releases by scribblers at Lincolnite masquerading as news reporting.

This is not regeneration, and no matter how often regurgitate Lincoln City Council and Co-op propaganda, it is still not regeneration.

Sincil Street has been trashed, local businesses destroyed, the Central Market a disgrace, and for what, to make way for more corporate High Street chains, the same crap chains that can find in any ghastly shopping centre.

Contrary to the Lincolnite scribblers I saw no bulldozers, nor were any bulldozers visible in their pictures.

What I did see, was heavy equipment being used to demolish a multi-story building alongside a street with passers-by, a hoarding to prevent unauthorised site access and yet no other protection.

This may be acceptable on a remote factory site, it is not acceptable in a town centre.

There should have been scaffolding covered with netting to protect passers-by from flying debri.

The jobsworth who signed this off, who put people at risk, at the very least negligent if not criminally negligent.

Fools on the Hill

January 26, 2019

A stall calling for a Second Referendum on Castle Hill.

Fools with a table urging people to support a Second Referendum, only they lack the integrity and honesty to call it a Second Referendum and call it a People’s Vote.

Already at rock bottom, the trust in politicians would sink even lower, lead to riots in the streets, hand to Fascists on a plate.

No surprise, entirely clueless the EU and having a hard time gaining any support and deservedly so.

The EU a cartel for Big Business, a democracy free zone, was created by the US, by the New Dealers post WWII.

Towards the end of WWII, what sent the fear of God into the New Dealers was not WWIII, it was a return to the Great Depression.

Europe lay in ruins, the currencies worthless.

US had a choice, Monet and his cronies or Communists. Monet was seen as lesser of two evils.

Monet had contempt for democracy. Contempt that is writ into the EU.

Europe was designed to transfer wealth from southern Europe to Germany. There is no mechanism for recycling the surplus.

Neo-liberalism and austerity is writ in stone of EU Treaties.

It has been obvious for the last couple of years that the EU is about to implode, sooner rather than later.

Rise of fascism across Europe, Fascist governments in Poland and Hungary, political prisoners in Spain, Greece destroyed and turned into a debt colony as a warning to other vassal states.

EU is playing one country off against another, Germany against Greece, Ireland against UK. EU dictating to Italy, cannot fix crumbling infrastructure.

When the end comes, it is likely to turn very very nasty.

Therefore we must plan now to replace with something better, cooperation not empire. A network of cooperating democratic soverign states.

At local level, follow example of Spain and Madrid, ordinary citizens seize control of local Town Halls, open to public participation, network across Europe.

At local level, create a network of commons, open coops, autonomous markets, local currencies, use FairCoin too. Again, network across Europe.

An article in fake-Left Guardian intellectuals not happy with direction of EU is usual pro-EU drivel. They still do not get it why there is a rise across Europe of fascism, that it is a direct response to EU and dictatorship by elites. There is nothing democratic about EU, a cartel for Big Business, a democracy free-zone. It is about saving EU not dismantling EU and creating a better Europe.

I came across the same Guardian parroted nonsense with this tiny gathering of fools trying to force a second EU Referendum because they cannot accept that UK voted to Leave.

We are Leaving.

Where though I would agree, two years wasted whilst politicians play their infantile games, and extending the cut-off date for Brexit will not help.

We should have had open public meetings to decide where UK post-Brexit, to draw up a consensus.

The Bad Deal dumped on Theresa May by EU was not acceptable and no amount of tinkering is going to change that.

Parliament has to take control, agree a Consensus which is taken to the EU. If EU will not accept, then Leave with No Deal.

If Consensus not possible, then draw up a range of options that are put to a Referendum.

Minimum

  • delete Irish Clause
  • same trade as today
  • membership of EIII, ESA, Erasmas, Europol
  • open skies to British aviation

We will not tolerate dictats from the Irish. If need be, a border.

EU vassal states need to take control, or are they going to sit idly by whist EU destroys their economies?

 

Curry’s demonstrate why buy on-line from Amazon

January 10, 2019

Last week freezer of a fridge freezer failed.

Food rescued and stored in the garden, which at least kept viable for a couple of days.

To repair, quoted a price of £175, or £50 if no repair,  therefore decided to buy a new fridge freezer.

Last Friday paid a visit to Curry’s, a large shed on an inner city bypass, a large superstore of household appliances.

Settled on a Grundig fridge freezer, in the Curry’s Sale, £200 down from £300.

Price of many ridiculously high, for what is little more than an insulated box with a coolant system.

Grundig fridge freezer displayed on the door available in white or brushed metal.

When asked for white, an extra £20 was demanded. This was illegal, something Trading Standards should investigate, as there was nothing displayed to say white was extra. The model on display was brushed metal, a dull gun metal grey.

A moot point white, as not in stock, earliest the following Friday, with delivery some time after that.

The performance of the fridge freezer not prominently displayed. Displayed at the bottom of the lower door. Ideal for a dog to read. What were customers expected to do, get down on their hands and knees to read?

Grundig Fridge Freezer ordered. Free delivery not available until Wednesday of the following week, could arrive any time during the day.

Paid an extra £20 for removal and disposal of the old fridge freezer.

Wednesday morning, ie yesterday, delivery arrived at eight in the morning. A call fifteen minutes earlier to warn of imminent arrival.

Delivery said they could not take the old fridge freezer, a service paid for, as no room on their van, but would return within the next hour to collect.

Old fridge freeze dumped on the back lawn. Why, when hard standing where it could have been placed?

This caused a problem, as lawn maintenance service arrived in the afternoon, and had to work around the dumped fridge freezer.

Day turned to evening, no collection of fridge freezer.

Curry’s not only failed to take away the old fridge freezer for which they were paid £20, they also dumped the packaging for the new fridge freezer in the garden.

On checking today to ensure Curry’s had actually delivered the correct model as ordered, to my surprise, or maybe I should not be surprised,  I discovered the delivery was actually intended for someone else.

Curry’s were called this morning. They refused to accept any responsibility. Said the earliest they could collect would be some time next week.   They are in clear breach of contract. They were told, payment would be cancelled, and they could collect the delivered fridge freezer.

Curry’s then backed down said the earliest would be Friday, ie tomorrow, two days after the fridge freezer was delivered and old one should have been collected.

At minimum will expect refund of £20 paid for collection, as Curry’s in breach of contract.

Note: Curry’s turned up 9-30 Friday morning, 48 hours after old fridge freezer should have been collected. Two guys and a van. They had not a clue what it was they were to collect. Yet another example of Curry’s poor service.

Fridge freezer turned on after leaving to rest for five hours.

Had not reached temperature after one hour, had after two hours.

A slight adjustment of thermostat, and now with food returned from garden to fridge, has stabilised at correct temperature.

Freezer is still empty.

A bad design feature, no digital readout of fridge or freezer temperature. These days would expect as a standard feature.

Another bad design feature, bottom of fridge curves upwards towards the door. This makes very difficult pulling out the drawer for vegetables and salad and for gaining access to contents.

To compare with Amazon. A book ordered Saturday evening was delivered Sunday morning.

High Street chains are collapsing. Latest casualty HMV, which is no great loss.

High Street chains are failing because of their poor service. They compete with online by cutting service.  Thus enter a death spiral.

Latest results show failing retailers M&S and Waitrose did not do well over Christmas. This comes as no surprise when their service is so bad. Premium prices, fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves,  and yet cannot man the tills at checkouts.


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