Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bristol: Most Green & Most Violent

In today’s Observer there are a couple of articles that mention Bristol. In one it is noted as the best place to be Green. Which is pretty cool, I was, however disappointed with the 'usual suspects' looks at why our city is so Eco: The article mentions the Soil Association, Sustrans, Recycling Consortium, At-Bristol and Future West. The last two raised my eyebrow; At-Bristol is a tourist attraction sponsored by a multinational that can boast the longest running boycott campaign; Nestle. While the other is an arms company, BAE, currently up to its neck is slush fund allegations. That is neither green nor ethical. And Future West? Apparently they have gone belly up. It is also annoying that such articles always take a top-down approach in trying to imply that it is the organisations that are changing the city. I do not think it is that simple. You also need to factor in the pressure that the many activists and radical political groups in the city put into pushing society towards a greener future.

The next mention was in about to alcohol related violence. This mention is not quite so flattering: Of the ten of the areas with the highest levels of violent offences per 1,000 population: Central Bristol was first with 54 incidents. Nice. I would recommend reading the blistering attack on the Government and the alcohol lobby by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark; "...we are not cosmopolitan as we throw back another breezer. We are under the influence of a rapacious drinks industry and a greedy, spineless government."

Plus: A couple of other things that I find interesting from the papers;

There was an interview with Sir Martin Sorrell, head of WPP, one of the biggest ad firms in the world. He gives in unvarnished capitalist view of something very interesting: communism. He is one of a number of high-powered commentators who offer breathless praise for China's marriage of communism and capitalism; "It's the fastest growing, most interesting, least bureaucratic place around. I'm talking about China and its system of state-directed capitalism. People in the US and UK don't really understand that China is the equivalent to four or five USAs, a place where, for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, they are investing $45bn in infrastructure." He goes on quoting figures and info about market share - never once does he mention the brutal, repressive and undemocratic government there. It seems that many in the elite capitalist class have come clean and are breaking with the PR spin that capitalism needs democracy. Here we see the reality - a state that does not have to even pretend to respond to the people (he calls it 'least bureaucratic') and so can allow the unfettered pursuit of money without boundaries imposed by the environmental concerns or morality. Hurrah!

Also of interest was an article in which the ideas of evolutionary biology are being employed by the Pentagon to help build a system to predict war and terrorism. The irony that evolution, while being forced from schools in the US, can find a home in the same empire's military is not lost on me.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Dark Tower of Empire
At the same time Bush was elected, hunters have shot dead the last female brown bear native to the Pyrenees. When those two events occurred to me they seemed ominous. Then this dark feeling came true as I read; "Today, we need senators and congressmen to conclude every speech they give with the exhortation: Fallujah delenda est. Fallujah must be destroyed. I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean for the entire population of the city, every man, woman and child, given 24 hours to leave and be dispersed in resettlement camps, moved in with relatives in another village, wherever, and the town turned into a ghost town. Then the entire city carpet-bombed by B-52s into rubble, the rubble ground into powdered rubble by Abrams tanks, and the powdered rubble sown with salt as the Romans did with Carthage. Fallujah must be physically obliterated from the face of this earth."

Fucking scary. Firstly to think they have the right (I guess as an Empire they must think they do..) to dictate which city stands and falls. Secondly, that they would commit a war crime (as collective punishment is) and kill hundreds and destroy the homes of thousands to avenge the deaths of four American mercenaries - welcome to the reality of Bush and Empire.

To resist this is now more than a moral duty. It is survival. The Pyrenees Brown Bear did not, sadly, make it. I hope we can.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

So I guess there are lots of people who are thinking: Oh. My. God. He fucking won. Four more years. I guess I am one too. While I don’t think that voting changes anything, it still would have been better for the world had Bush lost. But he didn’t and we need to focus on that. Running parallel to his victory march has been the stunning BBC2 documentary, The Power of Nightmares, in which filmmaker Adam Curtis eviscerates the current 'War on Terror' (TM) bullshit. He notes that as politicians found there were unable to deliver a better world, they have instead fallen back on fear as a tool of power. Seeing the pathetic infighting between the local Neo-Labour/Lib Dem/Con councillors over the power to be puppet ruler of the city made me wonder if one of them might use fear and a tool too? I am waiting for the 'Bristol a target of al Qaeda says city councillor' headline. The collapse of mainstream political life locally and the threat of radical fundamentalists (from the US mainly) makes me think that people need to realise that it is time to get off the fence and start acting. Seeing the Daily Mail, our local rags's Big Brother, crowing for Bush and his crusader agenda shows us that, having conquered the US, the same ideology is now on the march here. There can be no compromise with these people and this ideology; for they offer none. Take Britain hanging on to the coat-tails of the US into Iraq and so we were told, influencing its policy – have we got anything e.g. Kyoto Protocol, justice for Palestine, even a sizable share in the loot from Iraq etc. – no. They took and gave nothing back. "There can be no real peace when living with someone who has already declared war, no peace but capitulation. And even that, as we see around us, doesn’t lead to further peace but to further degradation and exploitation..." (from 'A Language Older than Words' by Derrick Jensen)

Well the G8, with Bush in tow, is coming next year and now is the time to start thinking about a response to these people. They say it is a war for freedom. I agree; they are trying to erode what little freedom we have. They say it is about fighting for democracy. I agree; and democracy needs to be fought for at the grass roots at home first.

Your indifference will not save you. Fighting for what you believe in, could - so get off the fence and act:

- BRISTOL G8 DISSENT BENEFIT At the Plough on Thursday 4th november. Live bands and DJs palying a right old mix of rebel tunes! Starts 8pm.

- IRAQ PEACE BENEFIT Southville, Bristol. An eclectic evening of music to raise funds for the people of Iraq. Supported by Stop the War. Featuring 'The Mysterious Wheels' with Andrew Ranken from The Pogues. Plus two other live acts and Disco hits hour plus raffle. Saturday 13th November. 7pm. Holy Cross & Southville Social Club. Dean Lane. Southville. BS3.

- INDYMEDIA FILM NIGHT [UN ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN DAY] 25th November. A day of events aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of violence against women. Worldwide, at least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. In the UK alone, on average, two women per week are killed by a male partner or former partner. Nearly half of
all female murder victims are killed by a partner or ex-partner. Join us in solidarity to say 'Enough is enough!' 6.30pm - Candlelight vigil from The M32 Junction 3 Roundabout (aka the Time Tunnel) to the Cube Cinema - chosen because it is the site of violence against women including rape and a death recently - sadly there are many sites in Bristol we could have chosen for the vigil to begin from. Come and light a candle for those who can't due to fear, injury of death. 7.30pm - Cube Cinema Events Begin. Short Films + speakers: Women from Nicaragua speak on their lives and concerns. The films being shown tonight will be a selection of uplifting and inspring shorts chosen by VJ Anakissed ( dancehall) to finish the night off in style!!

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