Friday, 26 March 2010


From SchNews

Long term animal rights campaigner Mel Broughton has had his conviction for 'conspiracy to commit arson' quashed.

However, he remains in prison and now faces a re-trial. This will make it the third time that Mel has stood trial for the same offences, which are alleged to be connected to the SPEAK campaign against Oxford University's animal laboratory.

It has become clear that Thames Valley Police are pursuing a political vendetta against Mel after they were caught on tape saying they would be 'waging a dirty war' against him - 'persecute him'. (see SchNEWS 590)

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

*St. Patrick's Day.

St Patrick's Day is celebrated all over the world so its fitting there is a "World Music" version of an old classic, Danny Boy. Here it is at

You could also check in on Stepan, the Irish Ukrainian's other recordings including the Green anthem "We all have one address - Planet Earth"

No celebrations for me. I'm off to a hustings in Walthamstow.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

*Irish embassy demo

In February Pat O'Donnell was sentenced to 7 months in jail for convictions of “breach of the peace” and of "obstructing a Garda". This was for his part in the local communities ongoing resistance to Shell's attempt to impose an experimental gas pipeline on them.

While fisherman Pat O’Donnell is out of Shell’s way in prison, 2010 is set to be another year of disruption for the community. Previous years have seen continued harassment and intimidation by Gardai and Shell security, as well as the unlawful arrest and targeted jailing of key campaigners. The community has been fighting this project for over a decade. They are asking for the gas to be refined at sea which is standard practice around the world. The project as it stands will endanger their health, livelihoods & local environment; all for the profit of Shell.

Across Ireland local Shell to Sea groups have been holding solidarity protests and other events for Pat. In London on the 16th March supporters in Britain will show their support for Pat & the Erris community by holding a demonstration outside the Irish embassy demanding Pat's immediate release.

Please join us if you can. There will be a card for Pat to sign & a letter to give to the embassy.

For more information see:

Please write to Pat in prison:
Pat O'Donnell
Castlerea Prison

Monday, 8 March 2010

Radical booksellers take on Amazon*

Fifty years ago, in the aftermath of World War Two, a group of pacifists opened Housmans radical bookshop at its current address at 5 Caledonian Road, in London’s Kings’ Cross. Ever since, Housmans has worked hard to continue its mission of promoting ideas of peace, human rights and a more equitable economy by which future wars, and all their inherent suffering, might be avoided.

At a time when independent bookshops are closing down left, right and centre, Housmans is having to fight to hold its corner. The biggest threat to independent bookshops has been the rise, and subsequent domination, of the online bookseller Amazon has achieved an unrivalled supremacy over the marketplace, but this near-monopoly wasn’t achieved without the usual unethical practices that are so common to the world’s biggest corporations.

What is wrong with using Amazon?_

In 2001 the Guardian first reported on the poor working conditions in Amazon's warehouses, and nothing much has changed since. In December 2008, a Sunday Times reporter went undercover to their Marston Gate warehouse near Milton Keynes and discovered that staff were required to work seven days a week and were punished for taking sick leave, even if they had a note from their doctor. According to Unite the Union, Amazon continues to see trade union representation as illegitimate.

But it’s not just Amazon workers who suffer at the hands of the multi-national corporation. Publishers are also squeezed for every penny, as Amazon forces them to supply them at rates so low that it leaves authors and publishers out of pocket – particularly damaging smaller publishing houses. Amazon’s dominance of the market means that publishers have little choice but to comply with their demands. Aside from the ethical considerations, this affects readers in reduced output from small presses, and diminished availability of radical titles.

_Providing an ethical alternative_

And so into this arena steps Housmans Bookshop. Housmans, in conjunction with Gardners Books, has just launched its own online bookshop to rival Amazon. Although still prioritising their stock of radical interest and progressive politics, the site is also able to provide around half a million general titles.

“Many of our most politically conscious colleagues use Amazon, and when asked why, it’s because they know of no alternative. But now, wherever they live, people will be able to support independent and progressive bookselling from the comfort of their own home. I think it’s essential that we are able to provide an alternative to help dent Amazon’s monopoly,” explains co-manager Nik Gorecki. “It’s up to sympathetic book buyers to do the right thing, and buy their books elsewhere.”

“This year Housmans celebrates fifty years of trading from our Caledonian Road address, but in order for us to be here another fifty years we have to stand up for ourselves, and trust in ethically-minded book-buyers to support independents. The staff at Housmans has fought many battles over the years for causes we believe in, and this is one battle we can’t afford to lose. Please support the shop that supports your campaigns!”


For more information regarding this please contact Nik Gorecki on 07950 269 286 or alternatively by email:

Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
King's Cross
London N1 9DX
Tel: 020 7837 4473

Sunday, 7 March 2010


I have been involved with antiques for most of my life and am delighted to see that there is now an organisation in the antiques trade to promoted the concept that antiques are green. Below is an interview with the founder and contact details. It's free to join.
Early in 2009, I was talking with a few colleagues about the environmental benefits of antiques in the home. This was something that I had not previously discussed with customers in my shop but now I tried raising the subject.
After a few minutes conversation, a look of enlightenment appeared. First, the customer related antiques to recycling. Then, as the conversation progressed, it became evident that their purchase would result in minimal greenhouse gases, no rain forests would be depleted and no additional minerals would be extracted from the Earth. Customers felt comfortable about their purchase with the understanding that “antiques are green”. They could now justify their purchase and enjoy a feel good factor as well.
It seemed that it would benefit the whole Antiques Trade if the buying public were aware of this message before they came in to see us. With a suitable campaign, potential customers would know that antiques were green because they had read it in the press, seen and heard it on TV and found the same “Antiques are Green” logo wherever they went. As members of the antiques trade, we may all sell more and do our bit for the environment. By changing the perception of antiques to that of an attractive alternative to buying new goods, we might even attract new customers who previously would not have considered antiques.
In March, Antiques Trade Gazette published my letter on the subject and this led to some important contacts, including John Fiske who has himself been promoting Antiques are Green in the USA.
Following a presentation at the ATG Conference in May, an on-line vote to select a campaign logo took place in the Antiques Trade Gazette and BBC Homes and Antiques Magazine. The Trade and public voted on a selection of Antiques are Green logos and both groups chose the one that you now see on the website.
The campaign is being developed under the umbrella of a not-for-profit organisation. Its success will benefit both the antiques trade and the environment, in accordance with our formal aims and objectives.
Online Galleries have prepared this website and Dealers are invited to submit their stock.
Anyone interested or involved with the trade is invited to become a part of Antiques are Green and use this website to promote themselves, their product or their service. Please join the campaign now.
I would especially like to thank Mark Bridge and Sarah Percy Davis for their help with this project in its early stages.

Nigel Worboys

Friday, 5 March 2010

*If you thought the U.S. election was interesting, take a look at Brazil.

The Green Party of Brazil has a new voice, Senator Marina Silva. Female, black, born in the heart of the Amazon, and analphabetic until the age of 16, Marina is the heir of Chico Mendes in the struggle to preserve the forest.

Marina has left the Worker's Party after 30 years and joined the Green Party last August to pursue a more sustainable economic development strategy.

"Ms. Silva resigned as environmental minister in 2008, after expressing concerns that the government might give in to pressure from business interests to ease off emergency measures she put in place to counteract a jump in Amazon deforestation. She returned to the national Senate, where she continued to press her environmental agenda". THE NEW YORK TIMES

Marina is standing as a candidate for the presidency of Brazil in the 2010 elections. This has already un¬leashed a movement, called the 'Marina effect' by the media, which has led the government and opposition to rush to propose green public policies and intensified the struggle for leadership in sustainable development.
Of course, because she is a black woman and very charismatic, the comparisons with Barack Obama have not taken long to arise. The obvious joke is that, while Democrats in the US had to select between an African American and a woman, Brazilians can get both in Ms. Silva.

In a presidential election which was restricted to the current government and opposition, both would compete to lead the race backwards. In this context, Marina brings new and important questions to the presidential election process, giving voice to social and environmental movements who believe in a Brazil which is socially just, economically prosperous, culturally diverse and politically democratic.

The ‘Marina factor' is already reflected in the polling for the presidential race in Brazil. Even without the same space in the media as the Lula government and Governor Jose Serra, Marina is attracting 9.5% of the vote eight months before the election which will be held in October.

In the light of the new political landscape which the Green Party and Marina Silva are building in Brazil, we have to recognize that the green movement is becoming a strong new force, not only in Brazil but in Latin America generally.

Roberta Moreno
Green Party -Brazil