UK Climate Campers have said this on Twitter (in their “bio” statement) -
“It’s time to show our ‘leaders’ how we’re going to take action to reduce emissions ourselves. Because it’s business as usual at Copenhagen.”
Last week, Nick Griffin — the head of the racist and fascist ‘British National’ Party — was given some air time on BBC’s “Question Period.” There were protests, and a lot of controversy.
Here is some selected coverage and commentary -
Brian Wheeler on the BBC web site -
“What did voters make of Griffin?”
(I’m not exactly recommending that article. I’m just pointing it out because I think it captures how the BBC airtime has tended to feed into the BNP.)
“Canadians increasingly live in a confusion of values. A 2008 survey by the Globe and Mail found that while 79 percent of respondents said the tar sands are good for Alberta and Canada, more than half of those respondents (55 percent) said that the sands were not good for the environment. The obvious contradiction can be justified only by minimizing or disconnecting oneself from the importance of [natural environments]. The problem is that global warming and the rapid dying out of species makes this level of self-deception increasingly dangerous.”
“The industry says that this seal of approval is all about helping today’s busy shoppers save time. No need to read those tedious lists of ingredients on the backs of food boxes, bottles, jars and cans, for the simple green checkmark is your one-glance reassurance that you’re making the smart nutritional choice.”
“You know, smart choices like Froot Loops, Fudgesicle bars and Frosted Flakes. Yes, all of these sugar-saturated concoctions and many more have received the industry’s good-for-you checkmark.”
“What we have here is yet another corporate PR scam. This supposedly independent nutritional certification program was created and is paid for by such purveyors of unhealthy sugars, fats, salt and chemical additives as Coca-Cola, ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and PepsiCo. Each of them pay fees of up to $100,000 a year to get to use the Smart Choices label, and the fees are based on the total sales of products that bear the label.
This means that the more food items certified by the Smart Choices program, the more money it collects, which gives it an incentive to apply the label liberally. Thus, we get such absurdities as this: ‘light’ mayonnaise, which contains less fat than regular, has been granted the better-for-you check mark; but so has regular mayonnaise!
This Diggers’ Song video was posted during the summer Climate Camp in England -
With that song, these Climate Campers have affiliated themselves with previous attempts to share and maintain “a common treasury for all” — which some simply would describe as a “commons.”
Like the Diggers, the Climate Campers rally around common environments — protected or claimed through civil disobedience, and other activism. At a very basic level, their goals and tactics are similar.
But the Climate Camps and the Diggers have approached these common environments from different angles. While the Climate Campers have been more inclined to approach fields as meeting places, and as launching-off points for nearby protests, the Diggers attempted to claim lands that could be farmed in common. They mainly were after agricultural lands which they might have used to sustain farming collectives. Food concerns have not been central at Climate Camps, but food issues are not completely off the ‘map’ at Climate Camps either — as this Climate Camp TV video about fruit smoothies indicates. Yet, as Climate Campers have focused on greenhouse gases, and on other fossil fuel pollution released into our common atmosphere, it seems that they haven’t devoted much attention to emissions from industrial agriculture, and other mainstream food systems. (Here is a post that addresses interconnections between food systems and greenhouse gas emissions — approached through generalized statistical estimates.)
I’m raising those points about distinct focuses and limitations to compare the two approaches to common environments.
Below, there is some more writing that adds to that piece. First, here are some remarks about the Waging Nonviolence post -
That post revolves around a monument which is dedicated to women in a campaign against nuclear cruise missiles at a military base in the UK (at the Greenham Common, in Berkshire). I’ve provided some background and context — while highlighting a history of wider campaigns.
The nuclear issues foregrounded in the title actually are just part of the post; feminism, anti-militarism, and ecology all are raised in there as well.
There also is a little writing about me. One of the editors suggested that I should write about my personal experiences at the monument site. I mainly wrote myself in there like that to convey what it is like to see the monument. Basically, I’ve communicated what it’s like to see it without a grasp of the inside references there. It’s more likely that the monument would resonate with people from the UK, but there must be a lot of people over there who don’t know anything about the Greenham Common networks and peace camp.
A New Urbanism video -
(… “Annie Novak and Ben Flanner have been farming the rooftop of a Brooklyn warehouse since May 2009 and the 6,000 square-foot farm has over 30 different varieties of vegetables.” …)
Since at least a few of those write-ups mention or promote commercial approaches to distributing local food, I briefly will say that -
We also can barter with food products; or we just give them away. And there are alternative economic models that our food products could be worked into.
(An alternative economic model is part of Inclusive Democracy proposals, for example.)
(There also was anarchist graffiti in the area. Here is an example.)
The clutter in front of the mural was blocking it even more when I first noticed it; I moved some of it out of the way before I took the photos. Later, I blurred out the waste pile on the ground to draw some attention away from it.
The pile of waste and those efforts to get it out of the way are symbolic, I think. As wtih a lot of social movements, this statement about worker solidarity had been obstructed and obscured. Clearly the message has been underappreciated. Waste even was left in front of it.
Surely most people wouldn’t associate labour organizing with street art. I appreciate the exceptional flair that this mural brings to those labour issues (even though I don’t actually like the swirls, the dots, or the blobs at the top of two the letters; but I’m just nit-picking now).
I also appreciate how that message is presented at street level (even if it is hidden away in an alley). For the sake of contrast, the Trades Union Congress in London is a very relevant case in point. As an organization based out of an office building there, that Congress often is distant from street settings and outsiders (despite its connection with the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, and despite a public statue displayed outside of the Trades Union Congress office building — to give a couple of counter-examples).