Monday, 10 October 2011

We The People - We all have an Occupation

The "Occupy" movement is certainly moving something and I just wanted to share some recent resources and links (with thanks to an old university friend, @jazzcatlesly)

OccupyBritain and 15th October
Details of various activist events around the UK, especially for the worldwide Occupations on 15th October

Why I agree and disagree with #Occupy Wall Street #ows
An interesting article from Brian Culkin: a senior consultant for the Open Mind Training Institute, consulting businesses and organizations around the world. He is also a yoga teacher and the owner of Jai Yoga, a small studio outside of Boston. Prior to his life as a Yogi and consultant he formerly played professional basketball in Europe and a had short career in finance.

globalrevolution on Livestream.
Global Revolution brings you live streaming video coverage from independent journalists on the ground at nonviolent protests around the world.

Howard Zinn: Civil Disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is Civil Obedience

Sunday, 9 October 2011

OccupyWallSt #ows Important Issues

The OccupyWallSt #ows movement continues to ruffle more than a few very big feathers in the US.  This is a movement which is following the principle of no leaders and no defined politics or solution but it is prompting responses from both sides of the political fence.  These responses seem to be falling into two distinct camps - pure antagonism and condemnation on one side (as exemplified by Peter King below), and attempts to co-opt the movement for political gain.

Those involved in the movement are well aware of both and have been savvy enough to avoid the trap of siding with anyone.

The aim of the movement is to expand the space of what is now being discussed as remedies and in the statement below, it is clear that "We The People" do not intend flying any one set of colours. It is this which should be applauded, celebrated and promoted through whatever means are at your disposal.

Welcome to the #OWS 99% Movement “We Will NOT Be Co-Opted” Working Group

This comes from David DeGraw's AmpedStatus Knowledge is Power site and was reproduced on Washington's Blog
This is not an official statement from the #OWS 99% Movement. As a decentralized leaderless movement, in our opinion, there is no one group, organization, website or individual who can speak for the movement as a whole. 
We, a working group of people currently occupying Liberty Park and many other locations throughout the US, are growing increasingly concerned about divide and conquer attempts being made to co-opt the movement. In the following message, we are issuing our first proposed statement. If you agree with the statement, please post it to your website and/or spread it throughout your social networks, both online and offline at occupations throughout the country. If you would like to read this statement at your local GA meetings and vote or edit it, feel free. If you disagree with the statement, please air your disagreements – this is what democracy looks like. 
We appreciate, respect and encourage endorsements from individuals and organizations. We invite them. However, just because an individual or organization endorses our movement, does not mean that they in any way have a leadership role in deciding the future direction of this movement. We will not be co-opted by hierarchical organizations. No matter how wonderful their cause may be. 
There are many people, organizations and media outlets within both the Democratic and Republican parties who are trying to label us as the Democrat’s version of the Tea Party. In this working groups opinion, not only is this incorrect, but in labeling us this way, you are, whether you realize it or not, undermining the very essence of this movement with your obsolete divide and conquer groupthink propaganda. Just as the mainstream media and both political parties aided and abetted the co-option of the Tea Party by the Republican Party, there is an attempt being made to do the same to us within the Democratic Party. 
We the People, We the 99%, are not the pawns of either wing of the two-party oligarchy.
We emphatically reject the attempted leadership of any political party, organization or individual. If there are elected officials or organizations who endorse our movement, we welcome them. 
However, they must do so knowing this: Your voice will be just as loud as any other voice. We are led by no one. You cannot co-opt We The People. 
Respect Us.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The World vs Wall Street

Stand with the Wall Street occupiers and demand real democracy - sign up at here

Thousands of Americans have non-violently occupied Wall St -- an epicentre of global financial power and corruption. They are the latest ray of light in a new movement for social justice that is spreading like wildfire from Madrid to Jerusalem to 146 other cities and counting, but they need our help to succeed.

As working families pay the bill for a financial crisis caused by corrupt elites, the protesters are calling for real democracy, social justice and anti-corruption. But they are under severe pressure from authorities, and some media are dismissing them as fringe groups. If millions of us from across the world stand with them, we'll boost their resolve and show the media and leaders that the protests are part of a massive mainstream movement for change. 

This year could be our century's 1968, but to succeed it must be a movement of all citizens, from every walk of life. Click to join the call for real democracy -- a giant live counter of every one of us who signs the petition will be erected in the centre of the occupation in New York,, and live webcasted on this web page. Sign up now 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

What has The Channel or The Atlantic got to do with the NHS?

Besides, The Channel and The Atlantic, this post reveals what Barons and Baronesses have got to do with the NHS...

Here is my letter to Baroness Morgan regarding the House of Lords vote (11th October 2011) on huge, dangerous changes to the NHS - this is part of the 38 Degrees campaign to save the NHS. See the end of this post for more information.
Dear Baroness Morgan 
I trust that you will reflect carefully on the proposed changes to the NHS which could mean people's lives coming second to private company profits and their shareholders. 
I believe that Britain is a society emerging out of the best traditions of European values of diversity, tolerance and consideration of others. We should be looking across the Channel and North Sea for our inspiration for solving problems of the 21st century rather than looking across the Atlantic.  Having experienced life on the continent, I am convinced that our health, both physical and mental, responds best to co-operation and consideration rather than competition and coercion. 
Please ensure that any changes to the NHS allow Britain to continue valuing the quality of life of all its citizens over the quantity of shares of a few.
So please read the email below which prompted this aristocratic interaction and then check out 38Degrees' new “contact a lord” tool, to write your own message now:

And, if you are able to contribute to 38Degrees campaign, please do so at this link

Email from 38Degrees

Most of us don’t contact Lords or Baronesses all that often. But this time, we need them to listen. Next week the House of Lords starts voting on huge, dangerous changes to the NHS. [1]

It’s up to us to persuade the Lords to properly look at the NHS plans - and to vote to protect our health service. And thanks to the rapid donations of 38 Degrees members, we have a brand new tool which makes it easy to get in touch with them.

Just today, 400 Public Health experts wrote to the Lords warning that the plans "will do irreparable harm to the NHS, to individual patients and to society as a whole." [2] The more people Lords hear from the better - let's send our own personal messages now.

Check out our new “contact a lord” tool, and write your message now:

Contacting a Lord or Baroness is a bit like contacting your MP. We don’t elect Lords, but it’s still their job to look carefully at new laws and rein in the more extreme whims of the government of the day. They have the power to propose big changes to the NHS plans, or even to throw them out altogether. [3]

Sincere, polite messages from informed members of the public are crucial to persuading the House of Lords to block the threats to our health service.

Working together, we can remind the Lords that we never voted to open up vast swathes of the NHS to private companies. It wasn't in any election manifesto to scrap the government’s duty to provide health services. [4] We didn't vote for our health service to become more like America's - let's persuade the Lords they shouldn’t vote for this either!

It will only take five minutes or so to contact a Lord. Click here to get started:

By all working together, we've already held up the government's dangerous plans for our NHS and forced them to make some positive changes. But there's still so much more to do. Imagine the impact we can have if we send thousands of messages to the House of Lords from 38 Degrees members up and down the country.

Please take five minutes to send your message to a Lord or Baroness now:

Thanks for being involved,

Johnny, Cian, Becky, Marie, David, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

P.S. These kind of web tools usually take months to build. This one has been built in a hurry because the Lords start voting next week. So please be one of the first to try it and let us know if you have any feedback once you have:


[1]The 'Second Reading' in the House of Lords is expected to be next Tuesday 11th October.

[2] The letter warns that Lansley's plan "ushers in a significantly heightened degree of commercialisation and marketisation that will fragment patient care; aggravate risks to individual patient safety; erode medical ethics and trust within the health system; widen health inequalities; waste much money on attempts to regulate and manage competition; and undermine the ability of the health system to respond effectively and efficiently to communicable disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies."

[3] E.g. In 2008 the Lords forced the government to abandon plans to allow police to hold some suspects without charge for 42 days after massive public outcry and opposition to the plans:

[4] For more on this see 38 Degrees' legal advice on the implications of the changes: