Bir Tuhaf Avrupalı Kimliği İnşası ve Fransa’da Avrupa Parlamentosu Seçimleri – Mathieu Colloghan

Editörün notu: Mathieu ile Kızıl-Yeşil Alternatif toplantısının hazırlanması sürecinde tanıştık. Kendisi ayrıca La Bidule kolektifinin üyesi. Aşağıda, AP seçimlerinin hemen ardından yaptığımız röportajı bulacaksınız. Röportajın İngilizce orijinaline şuradan ulaşabilirsiniz.

“Berbat bir seçim sonucuyla, el birliğiyle bir Avrupalı kimliği inşa ediyoruz.”

 

Avrupa genelinde seçim sonuçları hakkında ne düşünüyorsun?

Avrupa Seçimleri sonuçları AB içindeki ulusal politikaların birbirine yakınsadığını gösteriyor. Önceki seçimlerde sonuçlar oldukça heterojendi: Avrupa’nın güneyinde komünist örgütler aktifti, kuzeyde ekoloji hareketi dikkati çekiyordu, şurada sosyal demokratlar kazanırken öte yanda liberallerin zaferinden bahsediliyordu. Bu yıl sonuçlar yakınsıyor:

  • Hristiyan Sosyal Demokrat Avrupa ana akım politikası diyebileceğimiz bir hegemonya (Hristiyan Demokratlar ve Sosyal Demokratlar Avrupa projesi konusunda birbirlerine çok yakınlar),
  • Yeşiller için kötü sonuçlar (genellikle en AB yanlısı oluşumlar onlardı),
  • en sağ hareketler ve AB karşıtları (ki ikisi her zaman aynı anlama gelmiyor) için iyi sonuçlar,
  • post-avrokomünistler açısından istikrar…

Ülke bazında bazı spesifik gelişmelerden bahsedilebilir (Yunanistan’da Syriza’nın başarısı, İspanya’da radikal ve alternatif solun başarısı (yaklaşık %20), Hollanda aşırı sağının ortalama başarısı vb.) ama bence asıl sonuç şu: Berbat bir seçim sonucuyla, el birliğiyle bir Avrupalı kimliği inşa ediyoruz.

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Fransa’da durum ne? Seçime katılımın düşüklüğü ve boş/geçersiz oylar hakkında çok yorum yapıldı. Partiler gerçekten oy sayılarını arttırdılar mı?

Fransa’da sonuçlar sol için kötü, François Hollande’ın partisi Parti Socialiste (PS) içinse çok kötü, üstelik PS’nin kötü sonuçlarının diğer sol gruplara bir faydası da olmadı: Yeşiller vekilliklerinin yarısını kaybettiler, Sol Cephe hiç ilerlemedi ve radikal sol da oylarının dörtte üçünü kaybetti.

Sandık başına gitmemenin öyle değişik sebepleri var ki buna anlamlı bir mesaj yüklemek oldukça güç: seçimlere karşı olmak, Avrupa karşıtlığı, oy verecek parti/aday bulamamak, seçim olduğunu unutmak… Seçim kampanyaları medyada öyle az yer buldu ki, seçimin tek tur olacağını dahi bilmeyen birçok insanla karşılaştım ben.Katılım oldukça düşüktü (%44). Fransa’daki önceki Avrupa Seçimleri’nden sadece biraz daha az katılım oldu, gerçi işin doğrusu Fransız seçmeni Avrupa Seçimi’nde oy kullanmıyor genellikle (Fransa’da katılım diğer AB ülkelerindeki oranlara yakındı.). Ancak ben olsam sandık başına gitmeyenlerle boş/geçersiz oyları ayrı tutarım.

“Fransa’da sonuçlar sol için kötü, François Hollande’ın partisi Parti Socialiste (PS) içinse çok kötü, üstelik PS’nin kötü sonuçlarının diğer sol gruplara bir faydası da olmadı.”

Öte yandan 548.554 tane boş oyun ve 248.950 geçersiz oyun, adayların ve seçim sisteminin gerçek bir eleştirisi olduğunu düşünüyorum. Sandık başına giden seçmenlerin yüzde 4’ü “Sizin önerinizle ilgilenmiyorum.” dedi. Bu ciddi bir sayı.

Aşırı sağın yükselişiyle ilgili kaygı büyüyor. Bu kaygıları paylaşıyor musun? Le Pen tam olarak ne yapmayı planlıyor?

Elbette paylaşıyorum. Fransa’Da aşırı sağ özellikle yüksek bir oy aldı. Asıl sorunlu nokta şu. Eskiden, Ulusal Cephe’nin etrafında bir “cumhuriyetçi halka” vardı. Ulusal Cephe (Front National – FN) yüzde 10 oy alınca bunun anlamı aşırı sağın etkisinin yüzde 10’a ulaştığıydı. Aynı dönemde mesela İngiltere’de İngiliz Ulusal Cephesi’nin veya BNP’nin oyları daha fazlaydı. Ama Sarkozy’nin bu “cumhuriyetçi halka”yı kırmasıyla işler değişti. lepenIrkçı ve otoriter söylem sağ örgütlere ve hatta PS’ye bulaştı. Başbakan Manuel Valls, beyaz insanların sayısıyla ilgili abuk subuk bir yorum yaptı bir toplantıda, Fransız Müslümanlar’ın İslam ve cumhuriyet arasında bir tercih yapmaları gerektiğini söyledi, Roman nüfusla ilgili nahoş şeyler söyledi… Hatta gerçek solda bile “yurtsever sol” yandaşları gün geçtikçe artıyor. Bu kavramı solda olsa olsa 1789 devriminde (ülkenin bir kısmı karşı-devrimci bir Avrupa koalisyonunun işgali altındaydı) ve 1942-45 Nazi işgali sırasında bulabilirsiniz. (Fransız solunun gerçek geleneksel pozisyonu enternasyonalizmdir. Fransız siyasetinin kolonyalist [sömürgeci] ve neo-kolonyalist geleneğini hatırlatmama gerek var mı?) Ulus toprakları üzerinde hiçbir dış tehdit yok bugün ama sağ ideolojinin tohumları solda bile kendine yer buluyor.

“Le Pen’in stratejisinin, iktidarı almadan önce bir UMP-NF hükümetinde bakan olmak olduğunu düşünüyorum. Ama hem ‘tıpkı diğerleri gibi’ bir parti olduğunu (yani devlet kurumlarını yönetmeye yetkin olduğunu) ispat edip hem de sistem-karşıtı parti imajını korumak çok zor olacak.”

Aslında ilginç olan, toplumsal hareketlerin güçlü olduğu dönemlerde aşırı sağın tüm etkisini yitirmesi ve öte yandan seçim zamanı gelince – ana akım medya sağolsun – Ulusal Cephe’nin bir anda tek sistem karşıtı oluşum olarak görülmesi.

Bu seçim döneminin bilançosu budur: ırkçı ideolojinin yükselmesi.

NF’nin stratejisi şu anda sağın en büyük partisi olmak ve UMP (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire – Halkçı Hareketi Birliği, merkez-sağ parti) içindeki büyük kriz de bu projenin mümkün olduğunu gösteriyor. Ama ben buna pek inanmıyorum. NF ne kadar büyürse büyüsün Fransız halkının büyük çoğunluğu hala ona karşı kalacak. Asıl tehlike, böyle büyük bir aşırı sağ örgütün varlığının PS hükümetine liberal politikalarını sürdürürme ve seçimleri sadece tek bir argümanla kazanma fırsatı vermesi: aşırı sağ dalga önünde bir baraj oluşturmak.

UMP’de de NF ile ittifak cazibesini arttıran bir unsur. Le Pen’in stratejisinin, iktidarı almadan önce bir UMP-NF hükümetinde bakan olmak olduğunu düşünüyorum. Ama hem ‘tıpkı diğerleri gibi’ bir parti olduğunu (yani devlet kurumlarını yönetmeye yetkin olduğunu) ispat edip hem de sistem-karşıtı parti imajını korumak çok zor olacak.

Radkal solun sonuçları ve radikal sol için sonuçlar nasıl? Sence bugün yapılması gereken en önemli özeleştiri ne olabilir?

Eleştirel sol ve radikal sol için sonuçlar üzücü.

Önceki Avrupa seçimlerinde aşırı sol %6.08 (Lutte ouvrière ve NPA [Yeni Antikapitalist Parti]) ve Sol Cephe (FdG) %6.47 oy almıştı. Bunun dışında yeşillerin ve PS’nin solu da %12.56 oy toplamıştı.

Geçen Pazar günü ise FdG %6.34, LO %1 ve NPA %0.30 oy aldı. Toplamda %7.64 ediyor, üstelik çok farklı bir konjonktürde. Daha dikkatli bakınca görünen o ki LO’nun oyu değişmedi, NPA seçmeni FdG’ye oy verdi ve Komünist Parti seçmenlerinin bir kısmı ise oy vermedi. Soldan daha az sola doğru bir kayma olduğu görülüyor.

“… ve medya demokratik bilgi sağlama oyununa katılmadı. Bunun anlamı, yalnızca UMP, PS ve Yeşiller’in medyaya davet edildiği. Üstelik de Ulusal Cephe hakkında konuşmak için!”

Seçimlerde gerçekten demokratik sorunlar olduğunu söyleyebiliriz: Fransa’da Avrupa seçimlerinin yapılış biçimi seçimleri özellikle pahalı hale getiriyor. NPA ulusal resmi propaganda materyalini ödeyemedi (resmi deklarasyonun 120.000.000 kopyası ve beş bölgede toplam 120.000.000 adet seçim bildirgesi).

120’den fazla liste seçime katıldı (Paris bölgesinde 31 tane) ve medya demokratik bilgi sağlama oyununa katılmadı. Bunun anlamı, yalnızca UMP, PS ve Yeşiller’in medyaya davet edildiği. Üstelik de Ulusal Cephe hakkında konuşmak için! Bu şartlar altında var olmak oldukça zor. Bir örnek vereyim: Ana televizyon kanalı TF1’de FdG’nin seçim kampanyası hakkında bilgi vermeye ayrılan süre: 0 dakika, 0 saniye !

Ama sol örgütleri de dikkatlice incelemeliyiz.

FdG’nin stratejisini anlamak neredeyse imkansız. Başkanlık seçimlerinde PS’ye muhalif bir kampanya yürüttüler. Bu strateji sonuç verdi ve JL Melanchon %11.1 oy aldı ve ulusal siyasete büyük bir etkide bulundu. Ama yerel seçimlerde, yani sadece bir ay önce, Komünist Parti (FdG içindeki en büyük parti) NPA’nın ittifak önerisini reddetti ve birçok şehirde PS ile ortak aday çıkardı (kimi yerlerde de merkez-sağ partiyi de içeren daha büyük koalisyonlar kurdu). Sonra Avrupa seçimlerinde Fdg yine UMP ve PS karşıtı bir kampanya yürüttü. Seçmenler bu politik hattı anlamıyor (ya da belki de gayet iyi anlıyorlar). Bu seçim çorbası, kötü sonuçlar ve strateji sorunu hep birlikte şuna işaret ediyor: FdG’nin önünde durgun sular olmayacak.

Üyelerinin neredeyse %90’ını ve ulusal tartışmalarda tüm politik etkisini yitiren NPA içinse mesele güçlü toplumsal hareketler ve siyasal ortakların yokluğunda hayatta kalmak. Merkez sol hükümete karşı sendikanın stratejisi hiçbir toplumsal hareketi cesaretlendirmemek. Sokak eylemleri son iki yıldır sağ ve çok-sağ hareketlerin tekeline girdi. Bu durumda, kendini sokak hareketine dayayan bir örgüt, toplumsal hareketliliğin olmadığı bir durumda ne yapabilir?

Durum çok karamsar görünüyor (ve haberlerin iyi olmadığı da doğru) ama “gerçek dünyada” işlerin o kadar da kötü olmadığını anlaman gerek: bol miktarda toplumsal inisiyatif ve yeni denemeler yapılıyor. Solda tartışmalar yeniden organize oluyor. İşin aslı, Fransa’da sol üç yıl önce 3 milyon insanın sokaklarda emeklilik reformuna karşı yürüdüğü zamana kıyasla çok daha sağlıklı bir durumda. Asıl sorun kamusal alanda (medya, seçimler, sendikalar, sol parti eğilimleri) solun gerçekliğinden farklı bir tablonun oluşu. Bu siyasi tarihimiz için yeni bir şey ve politik manzarada büyük dönüşümler yaşanacağını işaret ediyor. Karşımızdaki soru şu: Eğer bu fark çok uzun sürerse ve çok büyürse, bu dönüşüm yine de mümkün olacak mı?

Dignity March, Bristol to Cardiff

Dignity March, Bristol to Cardiff

Author: Dignity for Asylum Seekers

Group arrives in Chepstow on ‘March for Dignity’ from Bristol to Cardiff  to expose the injustices against asylum seekers 29/05/2014 – 2/06/2014

A group of thirty refugees and allies completed their second day of a 50 mile ‘March for Dignity’ [1]. They are campaigning for a just asylum system and an end to forced destitution, where people are not allowed to claim benefit or work, as well as dententions and deportations. They set off from St Pauls, Bristol, yesterday afternoon and walked to Shirehampton, and then today on to Chepstow where they spend the night at the Chepstow Methodist Church. Their journey will continue until Monday ending at the Home Office building, Newport Road, Cardiff.

The UK government signed an agreement in 1951[2] with the rest of Europe to protect asylum seekers who had to leave their country. They should honour this promise and give us our human rights. It is only tiny bit of their yearly budget to support asylum seekers for a few months until we get the right to stay, Then we can support ourselves and contribute to the economy of the country”
Mohammed, Kurdish Iraq.

A 10ft goat has walked the entire route so far, with the marchers calling out against scapegoating of asylum seekers by the government and media. Marchers have sang and danced, chanting  “No More Scapegoating” “Freedom Freedom” “Migration, Migration is not a crime.” Many people have clapped and beeped to show their support for the march along the way, .

It is important to be part of this march to send a message not just in Bristol, but around the world that asylum seekers are here to seek safety. There are lots of wrong messages said about us. We are scapegoated and blamed”
Timi, who has been waiting 10 years for a just response to his asylum claim.

They had many other costumes and signs including a rocket, to signify the UK arms trade which perpetuates conflicts around the world, causing many people to become refugees and a man wearing tea leaves to highlight the value placed on resources over human beings saying

If I was Sri Lanka Tea UKBA would welcome me, but if I am a human being UKBA wants to kick me out”

Tomorrow they walk on to Newport on the way to Cardiff. Enroute they will have a live link up with the ongoing 450km Freedom March from Strasbourg to Brussels which inspired this march.

Finally on Monday June 2nd they will march through Cardiff to the regional Home Office building on Newport Road, Cardiff, joined by many asylum seeker and refugee organisations, trade unions and other organisations from Cardiff and South Wales.

This march builds on the previous marches in 2012 and 2013 organised by Dignity for Asylum Seekers to challenge the government policies of destitution and detention.

Contact:  07902 848814 asylumisnotacrime@mail.com

Twitter hashtag #March4FreedomUK

asylumseekersinbristol.blogspot.com

*Some names have been changed.

http://asylumseekersinbristol.blogspot.co.uk/

Far-right election results

We see clearly the “special relationship” between fascism and democracy.
The two are co-dependent and complement each other well. As much as politicians
decry the “hate filled extremism” of fascism and however much they try to distance
themselves from right wing fundamentalism, they will always use it for their own
ends, either indirectly or directly. This is most obvious in situations of
political, social or economic crisis and conflict such as what we see in Greece and
the Ukraine. There we have seen open collusion between fascists and the authorities,
and murderous attacks on demonstrations, political opponents and immigrants, as the
fascists once again step up to their long established role as paramilitary enforcers
of the state.
Time and time again history has shown that their democracy is a carefully
manufactured illusion and a diversion. Capitalism and it’s governmental protectors
will always unleash the forces of reaction when under serious pressure. Governments
and capitalists everywhere, when it comes to it, will always choose fascism against
progressive or revolutionary social movements. Both use fear and violence to gain or
maintain power and control. The only difference is in the words employed: “security”
from the government alongside the “violence” of the fascists. Both rely on divisive
strategies to get what they want: “immigration policies” of the state alongside the
“racism” of the far right. Attacks on the working class is another shared and core
basic principle and preoccupation of fascism and government alike. With so much in
common the only real differences are ones of scale and success. Clearly the everyday
violence, racism and relentless attacks of governments everywhere are streets ahead
and so much more effective and far reaching than your average fascist party or
group.
Politicians and fascists alike do the bidding of the rich and stand in
the way of real change and the struggle for a better world. Both are the enemies of
freedom and it is time we started treating them as such.

Leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, protected by police and bodyguards as anti-fascists greet him at the European election count in Manchester. Griffin lost his seat in the North West, after dodging placards and apparently taking a punch upon arrival.

The elections of last week saw a surge in popularity for foreigner-bashing, Tory jackbootboys, UKIP, who gained 161 councillors in England and topped European election polls with 27% of the vote (with a voter turn out of 34%). The rest of Britain’s far-right, however, saw its vote collapse at the elections. The BNP, which has recently been seen as the most serious far-right political threat, saw losses in support across the country retaining only one council seat and coming out with no MEPs, two less than in 2009.

Below are the election results for councils in England & NI. More analysis on Anti-Fascist Network blog.

BNP

East Midlands

Amber Valley
Codnor & Waingroves – Alan Edwards 39 2.7%
Ripley – Ken Cooper 80 3.2%

Derby
Chaddesden – Paul Hilliard 136 4%
Derwent – Carol Tucker 81 3.4%

London

Barking and Dagenham
Eastbrook – Anthony McKay 222 3%
Eastbrook – Paul Sturdy 166 2.2%
Goresbrook – Bob Taylor 469 7.1%
Mayesbrook – Giuseppe De Santis 280 5%

Bexley
Barneshurst – Paul Hulme 89 1%
Belvedere – Brian Haslam 328 4%
Blackfen & Lamorbey – Chris Wait 287 3%
Blendon & Penhill – Erin Bradley 390 4%
Brampton – Maureen Slaughter 268 3%
Christchurch – Ben Scott 241 3%
Colyers – Peter Finch 383 5%
Cray Meadows – John Brooks 262 3%
Crayford – Stephen James 539 6%
Danson Park – Ronald Slaughter 295 4%
East Wickham – Michael Jones 381 4%
East Wickham – Nicola Finch 346 4%
East Wickham – Jaymie McCoy 216 2%
Erith – Robert Howard 323 4%
Falconwood & Welling – Jimmy Dobson 398 4%
Lesnes Abbey – Carl Bussey 284 3%
North End – Mark Horne 407 6%
Northumberland Heath – Paul Carver 444 5%
Sidcup – Lucy Ann Money 181 2%
St Mary’s – Mark Bryant 271 3%
St Michael’s – Laurence Picton 407 5%

Bromley
Cray Valley East – Deborah Kane 284 7.2%
Cray Valley West – Roger Tonks 139 3.3%
Mottingham & Chislehurst North – Philip Dalton 181 6.8%

Croydon
Fieldway – David Clarke 210 4.8%
Fieldway – John Clarke 212 4.8%
Heathfield – Michael Collard 285 2.5%
New Addington – Cliff Le May 168 3.1%
New Addington – Donna Treanor 80 1.4%

Ealing
Northolt Mandeville – David Smith 234 2.4%
Northolt West End – David Furness 362 3.4%

Enfield
Enfield Highway – Gary O’Connor 289 3%
Enfield Lock – Jason Keogh 296 3%
Palmers Green – Angelos Gavriel 158 4%
Ponders End – William Walton 223 2%
Southbury – Marie Nicholas 223 2%
Turkey Street – Steve Squire 278 3%

Greenwich
Coldharbour & New Eltham – Cliff Adams 401 3.8%
Eltham North – Roberta Woods 307 2.3%
Eltham South – Thelma Peete 248 2.5%
Eltham West – Paul Ramsey 314 4.8%
Middle Park & Sutcliffe – Nick Scanlon 313 3%

Havering
Gooshays – Ray Underwood 247 2.3%
Heaton – Kevin Layzell 556 6.1%
Hillingdon
Yiewsley – Vincent Evans 304 3.7%
South Ruislip – Gavin Cardy 223 2.5%

Kingston-upon-Thames
St James – David Child 100 1%

North West

Bolton
Tonge with The Haulgh – Dorothee Sayers 109 3.3%

Burnley
Gannow – John Rowe 149 4.8%
Rosegrove with Lowerhouse – Chris Vanns 297 21.9%

Manchester
Miles Platting & Newton Heath – Gareth Black 397 14.2%
Moston – Stephen Carden 153 4.2%

Pendle
Marsden – Brian Parker 339 29.8%
Vivary Bridge – John Rowe 154 11.4%

Salford
Cadishead – Brenda Leather 397 16.1%
Irwell Riverside – Gary Tumulty 73 3.4%
Langworthy – Kay Pollitt 86 3.4%
Pendlebury – Eddy O’Sullivan 122 4.4%
Winton – Wayne Tomlinson 323 12.3%

St Helens
Billinge & Seneley Green – Alan Brindle 64 1.2%
Thatto Heath – Paul Telford 51 2%
Town Centre – Peter Clayton 87 3.5%

Stockport
Bredbury & Woodley – Andy Webster 89 2%
Bredbury Green & Romiley – Tony Green 60 1%
Brinnington & Central – Brenda Waterhouse 93 3%
Heatons South – Sheila Spink 165 4%
Manor – Duncan Warner 67 2%
Reddish North – Paul Bennett 419 13%
Reddish South – Ged Williams 271 8%

Tameside
Ashton St Peter’s – Bill Kitchen 303 10.3%
Droylsden West – Ian Connor 106 3.4%

Wigan
Abram – Dennis Shambley 134 4.8%

South West

Exeter
Priory – Chris Stone 38 1.4%

West Midlands

Birmingham
Erdington – Frances Waldron 703 1.2%
Kingstanding – Frances Burke 92 2.1%
Shard End – Kevin McHugh 134 2.9%

Coventry
Bablake – Mark Badrick 74 1.7%
Binley & Willenhall – David Clarke 108 3%
Cheylesmore – Stephen Comer 327 7.7%
Henley – Rose Morris 109 3%
Holbrook – Christine Wilkins 292 8.1%
Longford – Frankie Bates 78 2%
Lower Stoke – Keith Oxford 70 1.76%
Radford – Arnold Clements 372 11.1%
Sherbourne – Mark Graham 73 2%
Upper Stoke – John Hurren 94 2.4%
Westwood – Darren Thomas 348 8.8%
Whoberley – Dawn Wagstaff 54 1.3%
Woodlands – Hunter Helmsley 69 1.6%

Dudley
Coseley East – Ken Griffiths 123 3.9%
Nuneaton & Bedworth
Arbury – Phillip Kimberley 48 2.9%
Barpool – Alwyn Deacon 71 4.4%
Bede – Yvonne Deacon 206 12.5%

Walsall
Birchills-Leamore – Bob Ball 140 4.8%
Wolverhampton
Bushbury North – Simon Patten 116 3.7%

Worcester
Battenhall – Jennifer Whitwam 16 0.8%
Bedwardine – Timothy Whitwam 37 1.5%
Cathedral – Andrew North 24 0.8%
Gorse Hill – Ashley Bradley 31 2.7%
Nunnery – Carl Mason 286 13%
Rainbow Hill – Alan Draper 36 2.8%
St John – Linda Bell 30 1%
Warndon – Julie Whitwam 32 2.9%

Northern Ireland

Mid & East Antrim
Coast Road – Robert Bell 101 1.8%
Coast Road – Steven Moore 73 1.3%

National Front (Ian Edward’s faction)

Basildon
Laindon Park – Anthony Harms 21 1%
Lee Chapel North – Thomas Beaney 80 2%

Hillingdon
Harefield – Ian Edward 198 4.8%

Southend
Victoria – Bernadette Jaggers 18 1.3%

Thurrock
Grays Thurrock – Thomas Davis 51 2.2%
Tilbury Riverside & Thurrock Park – Mick Griffin 59 4.5%

National Front (Kevin Bryan’s faction)

Croydon
Croham – Tony Martin

Lewisham
Downham – Tess Culnane

Sutton
Worcester Park – Richard Edmonds 185 1.8%

British Democratic Party

Bradford
Royds – Dr Jim Lewthwaite 152 4.5%
Tong – Liam Kernaghan 115 4.2%

Leeds
Middleton Park – Kevin Meeson 358 6.9%

Newcastle
Benwell & Scotswood – Ken Booth 136 4.8%
Elswick – Kenny Baldwin 414 18.5%
Fenham – Russ Rickerby 121 4.3%

Redbridge
Hainault – Julian Leppert 284 3%

Bexley Independents

Bexley
Blackfen & Lamorbey – Michael Barnbrook 884 10%

Other Independents

Bradford
Queensbury – Paul Cromie 1377 35.8%

AVONMOUTH: HOYTY TOYTY IN TURD SHOCKER

avonmouth protest

A brief soundbite from our on-the-spot interview at the Avonmouth protest today :

Protestor: It’s about George Ferguson not fulfilling his promises, its about the Deputy Mayor not fulfilling his promises, its about capitalism…..

Bristolian: That’s Gus Hoyt isn’t it?

Protestor: Gus Hoyt, yeah…

Bristolian: He’s a Green isn’t he, or something?

Protestor: Well he’s a turd mate really to be quite frank.

Quality!

ANGRY AVONMOUTH RESIDENTS TAKE TO THE STREETS OVER BIOMASS FLY INFESTATION

Avonmouth fly protest
No flies on this kid! Protest by angry Avonmouth locals – against Boomeco, the biomass company which caused a plague of flies to descent on the village, and the authorities who have failed to sort it out – reaches Crowley Way.

Local residents in Avonmouth today said ‘enough is enough’ after the FAILURE of Bristol City Council, millionaire mayor George Ferguson, the Environment Agency and the Bristol Port Company to sort out the appalling fly infestation in the portside village – and marched on the offices of the biomass profiteers responsible, Boomeco.

After assembling at Avonmouth Park, around SIXTY ANGRY LOCALS have been on a walkabout around the town, periodically blocking roads to get their message across, as they head towards the offices of the controversial waste recycling company Boomeco.

The invasion of flies has been traced back to POOR PRACTICES AT BOOMECO, which bundles up and trades in rubbish – quaintly rebranded ‘biomass’ or ‘refuse derived fuel’ – which is then burnt to create electricity. Further fly infestations are expected if a planned new biomass power plant is built at Avonmouth docks.

Here’s a press release from the protesters:

Residents of Avonmouth are in the process of marching on the offices of the Bristol Port Company due to their their ongoing failure to deal with a recent fly infestation caused by biomass exporters Boomeco at their facility in Avonmouth.

Local elected representatives have failed to address and alleviate this problem and now Bristol Port Company want to lease a section of land to the Day Group for the storage of incinerator bottom ash less than 500 metres from residences in Avonmouth.

The campaign is led by recent independent candidate and seasoned campaigner Stephen Norman after numerous emails to the Mayor, the Port Company and Mr Oliver Latter of Boomeco have been ignored.

Residents have become frustrated at the lack action to stop such industry being attracted by the Port Company like the proposed building of a Biomass plant at the dock.

Mr Norman says the campaign will go ‘on tour’ at chosen strategic venues causing peaceful disruption until common sense prevails.

A leaflet from the Avonmouth Dust Forum also asks local residents affected by the plague of disease-spreading flies to contact as many authorities as possible in order to get this DANGEROUS HEALTH HAZARD sorted.

» Avonmouth Dust Forum flyer (May 2014)

More news as we get it…

Hungry for Land – Small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland

 GRAIN/La Via Campesina media release

P1000967Governments and international agencies frequently boast that small farmers control the largest share of the world’s agricultural land. When the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation inaugurated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, he sang the praises of family farmers but didn’t once mention the need for land reform. Instead, he announced that family farms already manage most of the world’s farmland – a whopping 70%, according to his team.

But a new review of the data carried out by GRAIN reveals that the opposite is true. Small farms, which produce most of the world’s food, are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland – or less than one fifth if you leave out China and India.

“We are fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of the rich and powerful,” said Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN. “The overwhelming majority of farming families today have less than two hectares to cultivate and that share is shrinking. If we do nothing to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself.”

Marina Dos Santos of the Coordination of the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST), and of La Via Campesina, states: “Today, the peasantry is criminalised, taken to court and even made to disappear when it comes to the struggle for land. Currently, there are an alarming numbers of deaths that go unpunished. States have created legal concepts such as terrorism and sabotage to intimidate our struggle. Every day we are exposed to the systematic expulsion from our land. This affects not only peasants fighting to stay on the land, but also many other small farmers and indigenous peoples who are the target of greedy foreign interests. We want the land in order to live and to produce, as these are our basic rights against land grabbing corporations who seek only speculation and profit.”

“People need to understand that if the current processes of land concentration continues, then no matter how hard-working, efficient and productive they are, small farmers will simply not be able to carry on,” said GRAIN’s Camila Montecinos. “The concentration of fertile agricultural land in fewer and fewer hands is directly related to the increasing number of people going hungry every day.”

GRAIN’s report also provides new data that show that small farmers still provide most of the world’s food, and that they are often much more productive than large corporate farms. If all of Kenya’s farms matched the output of its small farms, the nation’s agricultural productivity would double. In Central America, it would nearly triple. Women are the major food producers, but their role remains unrecorded and marginalised.

The international agencies keep on reminding us that we need to produce more food to feed the growing population. But how much more food could be produced almost immediately if small farmers had access to more land and could work in a supportive policy environment, rather than under the siege conditions they are facing today?

“The vast majority of farms in Zimbabwe belong to small holders and their average farmsize has increased as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme. Small farmers in the country now produce over 90% of diverse agricultural food crops, while they only provided 60-70% of the national food before land redistribution. More women own land in their own right, which is key to food sovereignty everywhere”, said Elizabeth Mpofu, General coordinator of La Via Campesina.

We need to urgently put land back in the hands of small farmers and make the struggle for genuine and comprehensive agrarian reform central to the fight for better food systems. Something peasant organisations and landless people’s movements have long been fighting for.

Contacts:

Mr Henk Hobbelink, Spain (EN, ES, NL): +34933011381, henk@grain.org

Ms Camila Montecinos, Chile (EN, ES): +56222224437, camila@grain.org

Ms Elizabeth Mpofu, Zimbabwe (EN): + +2634576221, nkbnyoni@yahoo.co.uk

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GRAIN’s new report, Hungry for land: small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland provides an indepth review of the data on farm structures and food production worldwide and comes to the following 6 central conclusions:

  1. The vast majority of farms in the world today are small and getting smaller
    Due to a myriad of forces, average farm sizes have shrunk dramatically over the past decades, particularly in Asia and Africa.
  2. Small farms are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland
    Despite what the UN and others report, small farms occupy less than 25% of the world’s farmland today – just 17%, if we exclude India and China.
  3. We’re fast losing farms and farmers in many places, while big farms are getting bigger
    One major reason why small farms are disappearing is the rapid growth of monoculture plantations. In the last 50 years, 140 million hectares – well more than all the farmland in China – have been taken over for soybean, oil palm, rapeseed and sugar cane alone.
  4. Small farmers continue to be the major food producers in the world
    By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families – not commodities or export crops. GRAIN compiled staggering statistics that show how, even with so little land, small farms produce the bulk of many countries’ food supply.
  5. Small farms are technically more productive than big farms
    Industrial farms have enormous power, clout and resources, but small farms almost everywhere outperform big farms in terms of productivity. If all of Kenya’s farms matched the output of its small farms, the nation’s agricultural productivity would double. In Central America, it would nearly triple. If Russia’s big farms were as productive as its small ones, output would increase by a factor of six.
  6. The majority of small farmers are women, yet their contributions are unrecognised and marginalised
    Women’s immense contribution to farming and food production is not captured in official statistics and they are discriminated against when it comes to controlling land in most countries.

The report is accompanied by illustrative maps and a fully-referenced dataset. Available for download at: http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929

More on the farmers’ struggle for land: “Land is life! La Via Campesina and the Struggle for Land” at: http://viacampesina.org/downloads/pdf/en/EN-notebook5.pdf

Nothing But A Thing

People create things.  I’m not talking about the things a manufacturing company creates, but the things people create between each other.  There isn’t a thing….and then we create a thing.

I have a friend that seems to notice the clothes I wear…I think about what I wear to the point of is it clean and do I basically look appropriate.  I mean to be honest there is a little thought that goes into it…but I really do not take it to the point of vanity or over doing it … in my opinion.

But my friend noticed one day that my work shirts had pockets on them…when I bought them I didn’t really pay attention, but then when I put them on there they were so what.  But this friend noticed.  Then he told me he worries about me because he thought my work clothes were all I had…that I wore them all the time…this he thought til I should up one day at work on my day off.

He seemed to have been putting a whole lot more thought into what I was wearing than I was.  Then it happened…I needed some new shirts and I was picking up my usual and the thought flashed through my mind of what would this person say about these shirts.  They had made a thing where there wasn’t a thing.  I had never really more than superficially worried about what I was buying…now here I was…stalled for a moment…wondering what someone would think about my clothes.  Why?

And that is what I’m getting at…no real point here I guess….is that we do this to each other.  We worry over other people about something they hardly give a thought to…then one day our worry transfers to them.  I’ll forever have this new thing about my clothes…I’m using a simple example, but it could also be someone worrying over our education or how we spend money….or anything.  I feel we have to become resilient to letting others’ worries become our own.

Don’t worry….pray without ceasing…be thankful in everything.

M48

European Elections in France: Building a Strange European Identity – Mathieu Colloghan

Editorial note: Mathieu is a political activist in the international Red and Green Alternative network and also takes part in La Bidule. Below is a short interview we made with him right after the Elections to the European Parliament.

“…we are building a European identity by achieving, in common, the worst electoral results”

How do you see the results in Europe, in general?

The results of the European Elections show a real convergence of the national political situation inside the EU. During previous elections, the results were very heterogeneous: communist organizations very present in the south of Europe, ecological movement in the north, social-democrat success here, neo-liberal victory there… This year, the result are converging:

  • hegemony of what we could call the Christian Social Democrat European mainstream (the Christian Democrat and the Social Democrat organizations who are very close on there European project);
  • bad results for greens (who were usually the most pro-EU forces);
  • good results for the far-right movement and for the Euro-skeptics (which are not always the same);
  • stability for the post-eurocommmunist…

We could go further on national specifics (the very good result of Syriza in Greece, or the good results of the radical and alternative left in Spain (some 20%), the middling results of the Dutch far right …) but I believe the main result is: we are building a European identity by achieving, in common, the worst electoral results.

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How is the situation in France? There were comments on the increase abstention and blank/spoiled ballot papers; did parties actually increase their number of votes?

The results in France are bad for the left; and very bad for the Parti Socialiste (PS) of François Hollande with an historically small vote but without any benefit for the other left groups: The Greens lost half of their MEPs, the Left Front didn’t progress and the extreme-left lost 3/4 of their votes.

The reasons for abstention are so different that it’s quite difficult to put a significant message on it: being against elections, against Europe, not finding good candidate, forgetting the election … The media cover of the campaign have been so weak that I’ve met several people who even didn’t knew that the election was only one round.Abstentions were still high (56%). It’s just a bit less than on the other European elections in France, but the fact is that French electors don’t vote in European elections (the French abstention rate is close to the result in the other EU countries). But I won’t put together abstention and blank/spoiled vote.

“The results in France are bad for the left; and very bad for the Parti Socialiste (PS) of François Hollande with an historical small result but without any benefit for the other left.”

On the other hand, I believe that the 548.554 blank ballot papers and the 248.950 spoiled papers (for 19.753.140 votes cast) says a lot about a real criticism of the candidates and  the electoral system. Four percent of voters who went on the voting booth said “I don’t agree with your proposal”. This is a lot.

There is a growing concern about the rise of extreme right. Do you share these concerns? What exactly does Le Pen plan to do?

Of course I do. The far-right results are especially high in France. The most problematic thing is that over the years, there was an ideological “Republican cordon” around the National Front. When the National Front (FN) got 10%, it meant that extreme right influence advanced 10%. In the same period, the far right influence in UK – for example- was much bigger than British National Front or BNP electoral result. Things have changed in France with Sarkozy wlepenho broke this “Republican cordon”. Racist and authoritarian speech has tainted the right-wing organizations and – even – the socialist party. Our Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, made unpleasant speeches about the number of white people during a meeting, about the choice that French muslim should make between Islam and Republic, about the Roma population … Even on the real left, there are more and more supporters of a “patriotic left”, a concept that you could find in the French left during the 1789 revolution (when the anti-revolutionary European coalition invaded part of the country), and during the Nazi occupation in 1942-45. (The real tradition in the French left is internationalism. Should I remind the colonialist and neo-colonialist tradition of the French policy?) There is no danger for the national territory today, but the impregnation of the right wing ideology gains influence even on the left.

“I believe that the M. Le Pen’s strategy is to become minister in a UMP-NF government like a last step before getting the power. But it’s gonna be very difficult for them to prove being a party ‘like any other’ “

In fact, it’s quite interesting to see that during periods of strong social movement, the far right lost any influence; while during this election campaign – thanks to mainstream media ! – the National Front was seen as the only anti-system organisation.

It’s the balance sheet of this campaign: a strong development of an racist ideology.

The NF strategy is now becoming the first party on the right, and the big crisis which is beginning in the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement, the moderate-right party) could be seen as a proof of viability of this project. But I don’t believe it. Even if NF make great progress, it is still opposed by a huge majority of French people.  The real danger is that such a big far right organization will give an opportunity for the PS government to keep his liberal policy and to win an election with only one argument: make a  dam against the far-right wave.

On the UMP, the temptation for an alliance with the NF is growing too. I believe that the M. Le Pen’s strategy is to become minister in a UMP-NF government like a last step before getting the power. But it’s gonna be very difficult for them to prove being a party ‘like any other’ (that is able to manage institutions of state) and, at the same time, showing they are still an anti-system party.

How are the results of radical left? And how are the results for radical left? What do you think is the most important self-criticism that should be done at this moment?

The results for the critical left and radical left are saddening: During the previous European elections, the extreme left got 6,08% (Lutte ouvrière and NPA), and the Left Front (FdG) 6,48%. And another 12,56% on the left of greens and PS.

Last Sunday, the FdG got 6,34%, LO 1% and NPA 0,30%. It means 7,64% in all, but in a very different situation. Looking more carefully, it seems the results of the LO didn’t change. The voters of NPA seem to have voted FdG, and a part of the Communist Party voters did not vote. It looks like a move of the vote from left to less left.

“… and the media doesn’t play the game of providing democratic information. It means that only UMP, PS and Greens were invited on the media. And invited to talk about the National Front !”

We can say that there was a real democratic problem in the way the election took place:  the way the European elections are run in France makes this election especially expensive. NPA was not able to pay for the production of the national official propaganda (120.000.000 of exemplary for the official declaration and 120.000.000 of ballots  election addresses splitted into 5 different zones).

There were more than 120 lists (31 in the Parisian zone) and the media doesn’t play the game of providing democratic information. It means that only UMP, PS and Greens were invited on the media. And invited to talk about the National Front ! Very difficult to exist in this situation. To give an example, on TF1, the main TV channel, the info about the campaign gave info about the FdG: 0 minutes, 0  seconds !

But we should also have a look at the left organizations.

The strategy of FdG is quite impossible to understand now. During the presidential election, they were strongly against PS. This strategy, due to the candidate, JL Melanchon, had paid (11,1% of votes and a big influence on the national debate). But during the local election, just one month ago, the Communist Party (the largest party of FdG) refused the proposal of alliance of the NPA and decided to get common candidates with PS in a majority of cities (and sometimes in a larger coalition, including the center-right party). And then, for the European campaign, FdG campaigned against the UMP and PS. Electors don’t understand this political line (or, maybe, understand it all too well). This electoral soup, the bad electoral result, the question of strategy all suggest: the future of the FdG won’t be a peaceful stream.

For NPA who lost almost 90% of its members and all the political influence they got on national debate, the challenge is to survive without a strong social movement and without partners. The trade union strategy facing a center left government is not to encourage any social movement. The streets mobilization have been monopolized by the right and far-right movement for two years. So, what can an organisation based on movements do when there’s no movement by its side ?!

This seems very pessimistic (and it’s not good news, it’s true) but you have to understand that the situation “in the real world” is not so bad: there’s a lot of social initiative, experimentation etc … The debate on left space is reorganizing. In fact, the left in France is in significantly better health today than it was three years ago when 3 millions of people were demonstrating against pension reform. The main problem is that the public space (media, elections, trade union and left party orientations) sees a scene separate from the reality of the left. This is a new thing in our political history and presages big changes on the political landscape. But the question is: If this gap is too long and too big, will this mutation still be possible?

 

29th May 2014

Autonomads -Conditions of the Working Class
Ray Hearne -I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Landverraad -Korova
The Wakes -Empire of Skulls
Ruts DC with Mad Professor -Militant
Bug -Take The Money and Run
John Player Specials -Identification
No Babies -X Plus X
Terminal Cheesecake -Pony Girl Pt 1
Revenge of the Psychotronic Man -An Aggressive Lecture
Black Light Mutants -Bedroom Tax
Good Throb -Bag
The Pheromoans -Let’s Celebrate
Kapelle Vorwarts -Linker Marsch
One Eyed God -Wanderlust
Fats Waller -This Joint Is Jumping

[mixcloud]http://www.mixcloud.com/Underthepavement/under-the-pavement-29th-may-2014/[/mixcloud]