This is a brilliantly 'ecosocialist' approach to reducing 'anti-social' behavior. We know if we 'grow our own' or support local agriculture we are significantly reducing our carbon footprint, as foods do not need to be transported long distances, we also can control directly the level to which our food is influenced by chemicals. In addition growing your own is a step toward creating cracks in capitalism as it is essentially a form of boycott; a move away from Monsanto and the like, and the corporate-media-political complex. And you know what, it feels good too, I have been growing my own for one year, and today ate Carrots, Courgettes, Runner Beans, Potato in a cheese sauce, the first meal I have had when my own produce dominated the plate, and I enjoyed it more than any meal I can remember, sure it was nice but knowing that food intimately from seed to plate enhanced the satisfaction, more than I could have imagined! But what has this got to do with anti-social behaviour? The concept is well-established; engaging community, cooperation and sharing around food production; (Community is something they used to have in the olden days for anyone my age or younger) But cutting anti-social behaviour? Anti-social behaviour is often associated with young people (I refer to the London riots, Nick Clegg teenage arson attempt; apparently not charged, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Bullingdon boys smashing windows on a friday night lash-up). But when I was 15 if you asked me to come down tut allotment and do some gardening I would probably have stubbed out my spliff in your eye and laughed at your ridiculous proposal. It would seem however that community agriculture has form, and staggeringly so, in a Manchester neighbourhood, anti-social behaviour has fallen by over 50% the reason according to police and community members is unanimous it is the local allotment. And you know what when I was 15 if you had told me that by getting involved in community agriculture I would be entering in to an anti-capitalist, grass-roots social movement and if you had taught me about the Zapastistas the landless farmers movements in Latin America, Hugo Blanco and the commons you would have got my attention, and I might even have shared my spliff with you instead.
In short in light of the riots the very real expression of the frustration, the hopelessness, the anger and the massive disengagement from community I would seriously urge the greens to explore this as a genuine policy response to recent events (maybe leave out the bits about spliffs and so on, I was only joking have never seen one before) It is realistic, practical and achievable. By no means a 'magic-bullet' to all of societies ills it is however not unreasonable to propose that with increased community engagement around food production that improved nutrition, increased school performance and over-all well-being could also be expected.
In contrast the Conservatives would prefer to continue creating these problems and then appearing really stern when it all kicks off kind of like smoking when you've got already got lung cancer and offering aspirin for treatment. The greatest obscenity offered by our government in this age of austerity when interest in allotments has seen a boom unprecedented since the post-war years is the move announced by Ed Pickles to end the >100yr old law that dictates local authorities should provide land for local people to grow their own. What will cash strapped councils be forced to do with this allotment land? Unless we fight it I imagine we will see a lot more Tesco-Express and the like in their place and we will be increasingly forced toward civil disobedience. If you are young person what else are you likely to do anyway? go to the youth club? in my hometown 27 youth clubs have closed in the last year, access to all those community leaders was lost, was it really a surprise that in the summer holidays things kicked off?
Here is the article
and video clip I have referred to:In 2009, the early days of Landshare, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visited a community allotment for local residents in Leigh, Greater Manchester, as part of a River Cottage programme. Two years on, the allotments are thriving, and local police are amazed to find that anti-social behaviour has fallen by over 50% in the area.
The community allotment is a joint venture between the Leigh Neighbourhood Policing Team and Wigan Council, and was spearheaded by two very determined ladies – Doreen and Marg. It was set up to encourage young people to take an interest in growing their own fruit and veg. Visiting the site, Hugh said:
“I am absolutely certain that it will make a real difference to the lives of dozens of kids. You can’t ask for more than that”.
He was right. Residents are able to take on individual allotment plots at the site, and the site is well used by young people. But local police are astounded by the massive drop in the amount of anti-social behaviour on the estate since the allotments were established, and believe that the allotments have had a significant impact on that fall in social problems.
Local police who helped set up the allotments have reported an incredible fall in the amount of anti-social behaviour in the last two years since, the allotments were established, and Police Community Support Officer Wendy Walters said, “In the past year there has been a staggering 51% reduction in Anti-Social behaviour on the estate”.
Locals agree that the allotments have had a positive effect on reducing anti-social behaviour. One of the local residents commented, “Over the past two years the estate has seen a great improvement in Anti-Social behaviour since the allotment started, I’m sure that this has had an effect giving children somewhere to go and something to do”.
Growing your own food is well known to have a positive effect on health
, and recent research by the Food for Life Partnership also found that growing and eating healthy food in schools also improved the behaviour and performance of school pupils
. The massive reduction in anti-social behaviour seen at Leigh Allotments is further evidence of the personal and social benefits of growing and eating healthy, fresh food with our families and local communities.
Thanks to Ian Cropton for the link.
Replace capitalism with ecosocialism is the answer! In the meantime I would like to raise awareness of this great campaign website: Combat Monsanto. Get informed and link with protest movements building across the globe: Below is the website intro with associated links: The documentary mentioned in the final sentence can be viewed here.Welcome to the new international version of combat-monsanto.org. Now it’s easy for you to view our articles in English, Spanish and French. Our work is going global and citizens of the world can now see the true face of Monsanto.
Within these pages you will find alternative information about Monsanto and the firm’s products: GMO and Roundup, and also bovine growth hormone and Agent Orange.
In the “Protest” section you will find reports from many concerned NGOs and details of their activities. “A world of protest” keeps you informed on protests against Monsanto worldwide.
Finally “The Monsanto System” reveals the firm’s shady methods, describing how itinfiltrates public bodies and how it puts scientists under pressure. It also provides a guide to decoding and understanding Monsanto’s propaganda aimed at the public.
Most of these articles precis the information revealed in the documentary “The World According to Monsanto”, an in-depth investigation by the journalist Marie Monique Robin. You can buy the “World According to Monsanto” book and DVD on this website.
At the recent U.N. general assembly addressing water and sanitation, Bolivian president Evo Morales once again has demonstrated why he is considered by many activists to be such an important voice on the international circuit.
More than two billion people across the world have no access to sanitation facilities and clean water. (Global population c.7billion) U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned representatives that the world would not achieve the Millenium Development Goals set for 2015, and that "It is not acceptable that poor slum-dwellers pay five or even 10 times as much for their water as wealthy residents of the same areas of the same cities,"
and added: "Let us be clear: a right to water and sanitation does not mean that water should be free."
Bolivians famously rebelled against water privatisation by US corporation Bectal in 2000 and Morales lacks no clarity on the subject: "Water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, it should be available to all the people,"
and challenging the notion that water management by private corporations will accelerate the process of development he said "Without water, there can be no food, no life,"
he said, "Competition of any sort cannot resolve the issue of poverty."
He also critisised 'developed' countries for failing to adopt a rights approach for mother earth and linked the struggle for environmental and social justice "If we don't respect the rights of Mother Earth, we cannot respect human rights,"
The U.S. delegate also supported the view that access to water is a universal human right, however avoided discussing the role of the private sector in the supply and distribution of drinking water. "The U.S. is committed to solving the world's water problems,"
Kate Fried of the Water and Food Watch supported Morales's views "Water is a human right. We believe that corporations cannot provide better service to consumers,"
and further that "Water service can be provided more effectively by public-public partnership."
Morales said simply "Water is life. Water is humanity. How could it be part of private business?"
See the brilliant film Even the Rain
to learn more of the Bolivian uprising against US water company Bectal.
It is hard to imagine how one corporation could ever have inflicted so much suffering upon humanity and nature. Agent Orange in Vietnam, Patented corn causing 1000's of Mexican farmers to abandon their homes and professions and move to city slums and through desperation getting caught up in Narco wars or crossing the border to be exploited further by US corporations. US farmers themselves are subject to Monsanto bullies and risk all if they do not accept Monsanto products, farmer suicide rates are staggering, de-figuring and disabling birth defects, needless desertification of previously fertile soils, Agent Orange has recently been reborn, clearing acres of Amazon rainforest and the company has even patented a type of melon. Monsanto like the other big corporations not only buys its American presidents through millions of dollars worth of funding in electoral campaigns but always has a steady feed of former employees in influential roles within the Whitehouse. What could ever go wrong for Monsanto? There is a panoply of reasons people need to rise up against capitalist oppresion and social and environmental injustices and if there was one corporation that could embody so much of what is wrong with our world it is them. In 1994 The North American Free Trade Agreement allowed the company to invade Mexico, cloaked in fake promises. In response the Zapatista Anti-capitalist, pro indigenous movement was born, this was an early and a historically significant crack in capitalism. Rage against Monsanto has been growing internationally ever since. See www.ecosocialistsunite.com for a full documentary. Now Anonymous is disrupting Monsanto. It is worth noting that Anonymous is a truly anarchistic in its (lack) of structure. Anonymous, I imagine, is a useful label used by any group of hackers. I'm certain there are workers employed by Monsanto that need protecting, but the corporation and what it stands for must be challenged and this is a notable attempt.
To show solidarity with farmers, real food organizations and free-thinking humans, activist group Anonymous recently issued Monsanto a list of demands in the following video:
MSNBC reports that the hacking collective bombarded the company’s international websites and succeeded in shutting them down for nearly three days.
Anonymous then published this video, showing just how easily they accomplished this sabotage:
Anonymous posted a statement
shortly after, detailing their assault:“Over the last 2 months we have pushed the exposure of hundreds of pages of articles detailing Monsanto’s corrupt, unethical, and downright evil business practices. We blasted their Web infrastructure to **** for two days straight, crippling all three of their mail servers as well as taking down their main Web sites worldwide."
The group now says it will turn its attention to the expansion of the Canadian tar sands project in Alberta
Monsanto has been awarded a European patent on conventionally bred melons (EP 1 962 578). This type of Melon had been bred for increased resistance to certain plant viruses. Indian melons which display greater disease resistance were simply crossed with other varieties in order to transfer this characteristic. The process and outcome is now a legal invention.
In December 2010,The European Patent Office (EPO) decided that conventional breeding could not be patented (G2/07 and G1/08). To evade the issue, Monsanto obtained a patent on the entire plant, seeds, and fruit. Since Monsanto now owns the patent on the plant itself, it now controls the conventional breeding process of the plant. The disease the melon is resistant to has been spreading across North America, Europe and North Africa for several years. Monsanto can now decide on the future of the plant and the livelihoods of those who grow it. Insert your anti-capitalist, pro-commons expletives here.
Christoph Then, a spokesperson for No Patents on Seeds comments: “This patent is an abuse of patent law because it is not a real invention. It contravenes European law excluding patents on conventional breeding. Further, it is a case of bio-piracy, since the original and most relevant plants come from India...Patents like this are blocking access to the genetic resources necessary for further breeding, and basic resources needed for daily life are subordinated to monopolisation and financial speculation.”
The coalition No Patents on Seeds! are calling for a revision of European Patent Law to exclude breeding material, plants and animals and food derived thereof from patentability:
Agent orange takes its name from the toxic colored orange stripes that covered the barrels in which it was stored. Monsanto's corporate distinction was assured thanks to it's most potent addition, which contains one of the most poisonous known chemicals ever created, Tetrachlorodibenzop (TCDD).
During the invasion of Vietnam, United States forces sprayed 50,000,000 litres of Agent Orange. The goal was to defoliate forested land and destroy rural areas, depriving the vietnamese fighters and people of food and cover, thus forcing them into urban areas under US occupation.
For those that survived contact with Agent Orange
many suffer reproductive problems, birth defects and cancers. (see images below) In Vietnam 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children have been born with disabling and de-figuring genetic defects. Figures for the loss of other species are less well documented. The chemical's effect on the environment has been profound and enduring. To this day an estimated one million
Vietnamese, more than one per cent of the population, suffer disabilities that are directly associated. Last month, over three decades after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, the US has finally begun to fund a decontamination operation.
Meanwhile, in the Brazilian Amazon agent orange has been reborn. Last week approximately four tons
of the highly toxic herbal pesticides were found hidden in the forest awaiting dispersion. If these were released it is estimated that some 7,500 acres of rainforest would have been destroyed, killing all the wildlife that resides there and contaminating groundwater. This discovery may have saved an enormous loss of life but it was not enough to stop ranchers who had already begun spraying in other areas.
Officials were made aware when routinely viewing anomalies on satellite images. An aerial survey confirmed that some 440 acres of rainforest had been sprayed with many thousands of trees left ash colored and dyeing. (top left image below). One can only imagine that the loss of life to other species in the planets most richly biodiverse area is very significant. Jefferson Lobato, a representative from the Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA reports that Agent Orange was likely dispersed by aircraft by a yet unidentified rancher and:"They [deforesters] have changed their strategy because, in a short time, more areas of forest can be destroyed with herbicides. Thus, they don't need to mobilize tree-cutting teams and can therefore bypass the supervision of IBAMA,"
The fight to save the Amazon has never been so critical. The powerful image that heads this website, the lungs of the earth is a graphic reminder of the role these forests play in the survival of our and other species. These lungs have become cancerous, the tumour is not benign. Recent research suggests that the release of carbon from forest areas could become so significant that the regions as a whole act less as a carbon sink and more of a carbon emitter. This is both directly and indirectly related to deforestation and another example of a feedback mechanism; warming is causing increasingly severe droughts, killing more trees, these are not only incapable of absorbing CO2 but they release it in to the atmosphere as they decay. Click here for full report.
In addition many brave activists that protect these territories have been murdered
in the past few weeks. We can only hope that today's announcement
that in the future these great defenders of environmental justice will receive greater protection is realized. We owe it to them, to ourselves and to future generations to organize and mobilize in whichever ways we can. http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_amazon/?fp
Please add any useful resources, campaigns, organizations etc in to the comment section below.
In a four-day meeting in Patate, Ecuador in 2008 the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature was formed. People from countries around the world attended, including South Africa, the United States, Australia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. The Alliance called for all organizations and people of the Earth to join in a Minka Pachamama , a global project to bring forth the universal adoption and implementation of the Rights of Nature. (Minka is Kichwa and means a collective community work for the betterment of all. Pachamama is Kichwas for Mother Earth)
Ecuador added legal rights for nature in to the national constitution in 2008 (Bolivia has recently done the same). The new constitution incluides the prohibition of the cultivation of transgenic crops and seeds and the patenting of "collective knowledge" associated with national biodiversity, the recognition of water as a human right, and makes nature in general a rights-bearing entity. It was the first country in the world to do so.The Provincial Court in Loja, Ecuador has now recognised and acted on this new constitutional right marking the first successful case enforcing the Rights of Nature.
The case was brought in response to excessive dumping of large quantities of rock and excavation material in the Vilcabamba River from a project to widen a nearby road. This road project had been underway for three years without studies on its environmental impact. The associated dumping violated the Rights of Nature by altering the river’s flow, increasing the risk of disastrous floods and dangerously fast currents, and negatively affecting the riverside populations who utilize the river’s resources. The Provincial Court of Loja ruled in favor of the river and its indigenous communities, detailed in Protective Action 11121-2011-0010.
In the photo at right, the blue line indicates the path of the river prior to dumping, while the red line indicates the path after dumping.
This message of acknowledgement from Pachamama Alliance website
: The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA), and Fundación Pachamama extend enormous congratulations to those who were instrumental in this first favorable ruling, including lawyer Carlos Eduardo Bravo González, who legally advised the plaintiffs and brought the case before the Court.
Most of all, we praise and applaud the work of the plaintiffs in the case, Richard Frederick Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle. By investing their time and resources, they effectively defended the Vilcabamba river and successfully established a precedent for the enforcement of Rights of Nature.
We urge citizens and organizations in Ecuador and around the world to follow this good example of the defense of the Pacha Mama.
Berlusconi is losing his grip on power. He has suffered his second major electoral put down in quick succession. Last month his government was badly defeated in local elections across the country, notably losing his home town Milan to the left (for the first time in 2 decades) In addition his party lost (amongst others) Naples,Turin, Trieste and Cagliari.
The referenda which closed earlier today proposed the following: (1) A future nuclear energy programme (Italy abandoned nuclear after a referenda in 1987 in response to Chernobyl) (2) The privatisation of water resources and (3) The legitimate impediment legislation. A ridiculous law that exempts top government officials from appearing in court for criminal trials. If the latter were allowed to go ahead Berlusconi would essentially have been granted immunity from prosecution. Just to recap, he is facing four charges one of which is for paying for sex with an under-age teen and then using his influence to cover it up. One of his defence strategies has been to avoid turning up in court.
All three were overwhelmingly overturned. None with less than 94 percent. Berlusconi's government urged people not to vote in the referenda, but 57% of the population had other ideas. (50% +1 are required for the referenda to become valid) This was not just a vote against Nuclear (one of Berlusconi's key targets, for renewal by 2014) and of privatisation of the water supply but rather a vote against the government and regard the proposed law that was designed to give the prime minister immunity; it was a vote against him personally.
Below is one of the many anti-Berlusconi video's, this one produced for a rally 'No Berlusconi Day' organised through Facebook and Twitter. It Includes a clip of one of his more memorable 'ego trips'
Venezuelan agrarian land reforms continue. Publicly owned land has already been given to hundreds and thousands of farmers. Based on a 2001 land law that allows the government to expropriate land if judged either idle or unproductive, the Venezuelan government is now seizing privately owned farms in the country's agricultural heartland. The government says the land will be used more efficiently, and workers' conditions improved. The goal is to transform farms from profit-making enterprises benefiting a few people to co-operatives that support a much broader group of Venezuelans. The picture on the left was taken in 2005. The writing on the wall 'Englishmen out' was a movement to displace an English owned farm that was reportedly inefficient, with inadequate working conditions and did not create produce that was of any great benefit to Venezuela.
Food corporations have tried and failed to prevent Tracey Worcester's documentary from getting aired. $16 Billion American giant Smithfields foods have succeeded in smoothing some of the films sharper edges but they have not prevented the film from hitting home a powerful message and becoming a political force. Last Month Tracey Worcester was invited to show her film to MEPs in Brussels in which she attempted to recruit members support for the following 6 asks.
- Recognise that the profitability of factory farming depends on externalising its true costs onto the broader community
- Ensure the Common Agricultural Policy post 2013 moves European agriculture away from industrial livestock production to sustainable, humane and autonomous forms of animal husbandry
- Ensure better enforcement and strengthening of the existing EU Directive on the welfare of pigs
- Introduce mandatory methods of production labelling
- Introduce a ban on routine prophylactic use of antibiotics
- Ensure national and EU public bodies only locally or nationally produced high welfare pork.
The Full Documentary (below) is available free of charge from the Pig Business Website.
For more information about the film and for non-english subtitles and voice over click here