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Category: Consciousness

Climate Crisis

Climate Crisis

This is an extremely important contribution to the most extremely important and urgent conversation we need to have now.

The video is 40 minutes long. It is urgent that we listen what Dr. Peter Carter has to say, that we continue the conversation and make sure that it is continued in all forums we have access to. In addition to ensuring that this becomes the predominant conversation, we all neeed to push for systemic change, that is change at government and international levels. This is not a change that individuals, or companies or communities can make, there are things we can do at these levels but there need to be huge political changes, disengaging governments from dependency on and support of the fossil fuel industries and their obsession with environmentally destructive economic growth.

Climate change cannot be reversed and there will be disasterous consequences. As Peter Carter indicates there are disasterous consequences happening now. The question is can climate change be slowed and can we ameliorate the consequences. I don’t know the answer to that and I don’t believe anyone does. There is no question that we will suffer hugely. The question is will we survive. Will the planet survive. We don’t know if it is possible to survive given the unprecedented challenge, we do know without a shadow of a doubt that unless we make changes on an unprecedented scale life on this planet will not persist beyond the end of this century.

These are a few of the points made by Carter in the video:

  1. Yearly increase in atmospheric co2 is unprecedented in Earth history. That is geological history not human history.
  2. All indicators for climate change increasing.
  3. More heatwaves, forest fires, droughts are inevitable. All food producing regions will see decline in crop yields. This is absolute social chaos.
  4. Co2 is forever. co2 cannot be removed from the atmosphere. its dependent on formation of fossil carbon which takes millions of years. it will take 100k years for all the co2 we’ve produced to be removed from the atmosphere. So what has already been done cannot be undone.
  5. The survival of humanity is in question because of extent of greenhouse gas pollution. We have to act on an emergency immediate basis but there are huge powers working in government and the fossil fuel industry to prevent this.
  6. We are wiping out life in this planet at a terrible rate. The yearly rate of species extinction is more than 1000 times greater than the natural background rate.
  7. We can’t save the planet anymore. The planet is drastically different from the one older people grew up in.
  8. There is no sense out there of how huge this is.
  9. Catastrophic climate change is now unavoidable.
  10. We have lost half of the Great Barrier Reef.
  11. The Paris Agreement December 2015 was an agreement to do nothing. The climate justice groups had it right. Friends of the Earth International described the Agreement as a sham. It is a PR success. Nothing in the agreement was legally binding. The US under Obama said that it could not be binding as the Republicans could stop it being ratified. The entire world is being deceived.
  12. The planet is being fracked to death. It is global suicide.
  13. We need to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry. trillions of dollars a year subsidise fossile fuel industries. We are paying for our own death.
  14. There is no allowable amount of carbon we can still burn
The Coming Catastrophy

The Coming Catastrophy

Jimmy Dore’s short presentation provides a good introduction to the issue of the climate change catastrophy. As a human species and as individuals we need to change our ways. Here are some of my suggestions for political and personal action:

1. If you’re in the west consume less. Don’t manufacture or buy unnecessary stuff.
2. Share more. Make sure no one starves even if it means you eat less. Make sure everyone has a home even if it means your home is smaller.
3. Phase out meat and dairy farming. We all need to move to veganism. Is eating fish sustainable? I like eating fish but we have to ask the question.
4. Dont buy plastic toys, plastic bags or plastic water bottles.
5. Reduce the use of fossil fuels through sustainable green energy use and a drastic reduction in energy consumption.
6. Don’t even think about fracking. Stop it now.
7. Don’t be a frequent flier. You may be able to afford it but the planet cannot. Focus on making your local environment more appealing.
8. Don’t deforest. Reforest.
9. Rationalise production by taking essential industries into public ownership
10. Learn to repair stuff rather than replace it.
11. Don’t think going to nuclear power is going to help. Disasterous weather conditions and degraded supply infrastructures can lead to Fukashima type incidents.
12. Move globally, nationally and personally from a competition mindset to a cooperation mindset
13. Work for global disarmament and repurpose the military to disaster relief and environment protection forces.
14. Work for change in your own local communities but communicate and coordinate with other communities regionally and globally.
15. Meditate and pray. Things are going to get very rough and we’re going to need acceptance, faith and love to get us through
16. Don’t have more than two children.

A Man For all Seasons

A Man For all Seasons

“William Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

Sir Thomas More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

William Roper: “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

Sir Thomas More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

― Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

A Certain Perception

A Certain Perception

I wrote the following as a comment elsewhere and (as is my wont) I’m reposting here:

The IHRA ‘definition’ has it that:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non- Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The proposition here is that antisemitism is not equivalent to antipathy towards Jews (though it may be expressed as such) it is a ‘certain perception of Jews’ but that perception is not described and therefore has no gives no information and therefore cannot define anything.

Nevertheless this ‘definition’ has been adopted by the Labour party. Since it is empty of meaning examples were necessary to give it any utility. I understand that the NEC found four of the eleven IHRA examples problematic and made ammendments. The four examples are: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.”“Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.” “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” “Applying double standards by requiring of it [Israel] a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

To take just one of these examples: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” This is problematic because it could be taken to deny expression of a legitimate interpretation that the founding of the state of Israel, by priveliging one ethnic group over another and through its implementation was a racist endeavour. It could also be taken to deny expression of the thought that the current policies and practices of the state of Israel are racist. It might be argued that the wording does not deny these expressions as it concerns itself with the existence of the State of Israel not with its founding or its policies and practices but what expression does it then deny? Mere existence cannot be said to be an endeavour at all let alone a ‘racist endeavour’; existence is a precondition to any endeavour. Phrasing such as this can be taken to mean very little or very much. It is correct to say that the definition with its examples is not fit for purpose if that purpose is sanctioning antisemitic racism while protecting the right to speak freely against oppression and injustice wherever and by whomever it is perpetrated.

It is the right of any autonymous organisation or community to determine how, subject to national laws, it is governed internally. It is the duty of such organisations to apply due diligence to the adoption of guidelines. To abrogate that responsibility to outside bodies would be a dereliction of duty on the part of elected officers.

Always Be A Unicorn

Always Be A Unicorn

To be a unicorn is to acknowledge that you are magical and that the world is magical. And, since this is true, being yourself is being a unicorn.

Being magical doesn’t mean that the world is always safe or that things magically go your way, it’s just that you know that even in the darkest of times, a light abides, and everything turns out well, even if you die.

Unicorns represent purity and the unicorn’s magic is only present to the extent of your purity. This is not intended to be moralistic, I’m not suggesting that you have to be an unsullied virgin or anything like that but you definitely need to be in harmony with yourself. As the song says ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’, and magic is all about sensing, and weaving, harmonies and rhythms.

Be yourself. Be a unicorn.

Notes on June 2017

Notes on June 2017

I’ve not posted here for a while but I have posted a lot to Facebook. June has been an eventful month.

June 5th

In the early hours of the morning we heard a short series of loud bangs but thought little of it. Going downstairs a little while ago I noticed that the window pane above the front door was broken. I went outside. Most of the broken glass had fallen there rather than inside. A short stretch of the road including my house is cordonned off by a tape on one side and a police van on the other.

I spoke to a police officer who said that people were trying to get into a house a little way down from us and the method they used caused reverberations that had damaged glass on a few properties. He said he could get a company to board up the window but that we would have to pay for it. Although the officer did not say this directly I suspect that it was the police who used this method to break into the house he mentioned. The fact that he apologised for the damage reinforces my suspicion.

I tried to find out more about what had happened but the officer did not seem willing to give further details. He said that there was nothing to be worried about and it was not what I was thinking. Since I was not thinking about anything much at the time beyond what to do about the window there must have been a fault in his mind reading techniques.
This is a minor inconvienience and I hope a minor expense but I want to know if anything similiar has been happening elsewhere in Newham – especially given the police incident in Barking Road yesterday.

I posted the above to Facebook. Only later getting more of the story from the Newham Recorder website.

June 9th

Congratulations to the people of the UK. We have passed the collective intelligence test.

Congratulations to all the Labour Party members and supporters who have worked so hard for this result.

Congratulations to the awesome Jeremy Corbyn who contrary to all of the negatives that have been said about him has been a dream of a leader.

We may have lost on points, but when everyone expects you to be bleeding on the ground and you’re still standing and the ‘winner’ looks in a worst state than you are, that’s a victory in my book.

Let’s take a moment to clean up, have a modest celebration, and then start preparing for the rematch.

Never lose the momentum!

June 11th

A reflection –

It was the first time I had done this. Standing outside the polling station on Thursday handing out leaflets for the Labour party or any party. I had joined Labour in 2015 as a registered supporter specifically to vote for Jeremy and joined as a full member within 24 hours of him being elected. I joined the pro-Corbyn group, Momentum and attended ward meetings. Earlier this year I became secretary for my ward.

What attracted me to JC can be summarised in three words. Honesty, Humility and Humanity. I think that is what attracted most of us and what is still attracting new members.
I’ve heard some people say, since this whole thing began, that Jeremy is a nice guy, but he’s not a leader. I’ve heard them say that he has no charisma. Which is really weird because I can’t see how it can be said of someone who pulls the crowds and inspires the near adoration that Jeremy does, that they are not a leader and are not charismatic. I can only suppose that a lot of people just see leaders as having characteristics that are quite opposite to Jeremy’s. They believe that leaders must be, of necessity, mendacious, arrogant and cruel. This is surely why Theresa May’s boast that she would not hesitate to launch a nuclear strike that kills hundreds of thousands is treated as normal while Corbyn’s refusal to say that he would do this is presented as extraordinary by the press and even disqualifying for a leader.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s personal characteristics and socialist beliefs and his persistence in them, are just one part of the Corbyn phenomena. Something deeper is at play. The crowds that are drawn to Corbyn, his supporters on many Facebook groups, the people giving the thumbs up and smiling and crossing fingers as they leave the polling station. It is as though they are part of a conspiracy of hope, indeed a conspiracy of hope, faith and love. Corbyn has become a catalyst for a change, not just political change, but a change in consciousness.
Many people have commented that Jeremy has maintained a campaigning schedule that would overtax even a much younger man. While he is undoubtedly robust and fit for his age there is something else at play here that is actually quite obvious. He is feeding off the energy of his supporters even as he feeds them inspiration. Preaching to the converted? Of course he is. It is exactly what Corbyn needs to be doing right now and it’s what we need in order to cohere as the political community that we need to be. He may be preaching to the converted but the converted are coming together in larger numbers all the time and we are all converting others. We all have stories of family and friend we have brought onboard.

One day the movement will grow beyond Jeremy and I think beyond its current host, the Labour Party. That day is not today and I pray it is not in a near tomorrow. Whenever that day is we will not go back to a leadership that is mendacious, arrogant and cruel. Corbyn’s legacy and ours will be that we have redefined leadership as being essentially about honesty, humility and humanity, about being a servant rather than a master of the many.

That we did not win a majority of seats on Thursday is not, for me, a disappointment. We have won a significant moral victory. The path forward is full of obstacles but we have a sense of our own strength now, we know who we are, we know who our adversaries are and they know who we are. Things are clearer now.

June 15th

The BBC Website gives the facts about the Grenfell Tower tragedy

June 16th

Rapper Lowkey witnessed the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Akala says “The people who died and lost their homes, this happened to them because they are poor.”

It is impossible to deny that they died because they were poor, because our leaders did not care enough to care about their job of protecting all of us, serving all of us.

June 18th

Jonathan Pie talks about ‘cladding over poverty’.

“It is a bold decision and one that affords Mrs May the opportunity to become as dominant a figure on the political stage as Margaret Thatcher was 30 years ago… she is right to call an election.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 18 April

“It was always a gamble to call a snap election and Theresa May’s decision to do so was particularly surprising in view of her innate caution… Rarely has a prime minister made such a calamitous misjudgement.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 10 June

This is a delicious article. So is this.

https://medium.com/@josholdham/the-media-were-wrong-dce593caeaff

They underestimated Corbyn and they also underestimated the British people. I did not. A confession. I bet £20 that Labour would win. I lost. I also bet £20 on no overall majority. I won £300. Not advocating gambling though.

June 21st

Negotiations on the country’s exit from the European Union have now started in Brussels, but Theresa May’s government does not seem to have the first clue about its objectives and how to reach them, according to several European columnists.

Source

This article basically says that we’re in a mess with Brexit and have no idea what we’re doing. Britain was doing okay under the amiable lightweight Cameron until he threw it away with the referendum; now we have a speaking robot and Boris Johnson. We have no plan and should be grateful that the EU negotiators are looking out for us more than we are looking out for ourselves.
My own feeling is that when faced with a seemingly binary either-or choice, a neither-and choice often appears, as in ‘I choose to stand paralysed between these unacceptable choices’ or ‘I will take both please’. Although we may seem paralysed at the moment, this is not an option. It is however an option, as in any relationship, to say something along the lines of ‘while we cannot stay together with things as they are, it is possible to change things in ways that are mutually beneficial but that we never explored because we didn’t seriously think it would come to this’. Negotiations are then framed as being about redefining the relationship rather than about leaving or staying. Effectively negotiations have to be about this anyway but framing it in a way that is cooperative rather than competitive means that we are more likely to get a result that we want rather than one that nobody wants. Oh, and something else, before going into any negotiation, cooperative or competitive, it’s a really good idea to know what we want. We don’t. We should tell the EU we need time to ‘get our head together’ and then have a second snap election in autumn where parties keep their current manifestos but prepare a ‘Renegotiating Europe’ manifesto. Then, and only then, will any party have a clear mandate for a clear vision.

June 23rd

NATO to be sued by Serbia for the use of depleted uranium during the illegal bombing of that country in 1999.

I don’t know anything about Horstel or his other policies but it is rare to hear a western politician speak the truth about Syria as this man does.

June 24th

Paul Mason speaks to Progress. Seems about time someone was clear that some things are simply incompatible with the values a decent Labour Party should have, supporting illegal wars is definitely one of those things.

“If it’s important to you to have a pro-Remain party that is in favour of illegal war, in favour of privatisation, form your own party and get on with it!”

Kate Tempest at Glastonbury telling concert goers the social truth in her own uniquely passionate way.

“Stop stability. Meanwhile suicide is increasing, more rough sleepers, ugly words in public places, fear and doubt and all the racists have come out to show their faces. Under May there is a gulf that separates us and it seems to get a little wider every day.

“Now watch her pray on every tragedy. Divide, divide and frenzy up the nastiness….

“If this is strength then we are all f***d.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s reception at Glastonbury is simply amazing. Corbyn is unique as a politician. He can be seen as the manifestation of a collective will to create a better world.

Jo Cox

Jo Cox

I was shocked and am really saddened by Jo Cox’s death. A few weeks ago I and others were angry at her public remarks about Jeremy, but now I feel regret, not for the disagreement but because the potential for her continuing to work with us has been taken away forever. However dysfunctional it is at times, the Labour Party seems more like a family than a corporation. When a family member dies we regret arguments we may have had and harsh words said and it no longer matters who was right or wrong, we remember the great things about them, and for a while at least we remember that we are a family.

I don’t know much about Jo but I know that despite her differences with Jeremy she was one of the handful of MP’s who nominated him in order to ‘widen the debate’ and without that choice we would not have this remarkable leader. I will always be grateful to her for that.

Jo clearly had a commitment to open debate and an ability to listen to opinions differing from her own while wanting to state her own robustly. If there is any lesson to be learnt from her death it must be that we need to be tolerant of views that diverge from our own, we need to make people feel safe in expressing those views knowing that while there may be robust challenge it will always be in the form of ideas and arguments rather than invective and violence.