Economic Analysis Without Other Factors

I have just been reading, or rather trying to road, a book by Peter Kropotkin. It is Anarchist Communism.

The problem about it is fourfold.

1. That it is full of mid nineteenth century examples and analysis.

2. That while it is very useful in terms of describing the development and practice of capitalism up to that era, it does need to be updated.

3. That any perspective about economic developments does really need to factor in ecological issues.

&

4. That much of the analysis does remind me of what is to be found in the pamphlet Wage Labour and Capital by Karl Marx.

Away From A Socialist Perspective

One of the greatest problems with both a socialist and Anarcho Syndicalist economic analysis is that both are very good at pointing out the problems, but not so good in giving any ecologically sound solutions.

Rail and Power

One of the most simplistic arguments which I keep hearing from Socialists is that all the problems of both the railways and energy generators can all be solved by re-nationalising them.

That takes no account of how we need to create energy sources at the point of use. i.e. by the use of many more vertical wind turbines and solar panels in our city centres, together with buildings which are properly insulated.

While none of them refer to the need to create local manufacturing workshops which use recycled materials, or returning all goods movements back to both canals and railways.

Or how we can produce better solutions by the use of energy cooperatives.

While all of these solutions will help us to close down the Drax power plant and nukiller power plants.

Dole Not Coal !

There there is the issue of what are and are not socially useful jobs.

Which goes back to the concept that saving jobs is more important than saving the environment.

Historically supporting striking miners was a blow against improving our environment.

While a lot of current political campaigning is focused upon saving totally socially useless work, such as using cash rather than debit cards, or not using self checkouts within supermarkets.

Yet there are still lots of jobs which need many more people working on them.

Here are a few example : –

– More people to build and operate more trains and trams.

– Many more Traffic Wardens.

– More people to building and operate many more sustainable recycling centres.

– People to plant and maintain more urban fruit orchards.

– Creating more wetlands to prevent major floods.

– Building and maintaining vertical wind turbines and solar panels at the point of use. That is within the inner cities.

In the Fields

Now contrast the above with the Following

work of Peter Kropotkin.

Fields Factories and Workshops

Or

Industry combined with is agriculture

and Brain work with manual work.

The chapters on agriculture being of special interest.

Although first published in 1898, while not taken from a Vegan perspective, and pre-dating the effects of climate change, there is still a lot in it which is worth considering.

Colin Ward

Of those political thinkers which I like the best is Colin Ward, as he looked at issues from a practical perspective. The issues which he wrote about were very wide ranging indeed.

The first series of the Freedom Press periodical Anarchy which he edited is well worth reading, as is his book Anarchy in Action.

Social Needs & Financial Reforms

Here is the Highest Educational Problem

The figure I keep quoting is 1in 7 of the population in Brexitland are functionally illiterate.

Yet while millions of pounds are pouring in to the universities, next to no money is being spent to solve this problem.

It is possible to find books in public libraries to solve the adult literacy issue, but there is no one to do the teaching.

I’ve always thought that university students should do such teaching as part payment for their education loans.

Though given the concerns which exist about the literary skills of some students, such a scheme should be set up with a formal teaching course to go with it.

Here is the Financial Problem

There’s talk right now of raising council tax by 5%.

Yet that is double what any individual that is part of a couple would have to pay.

Thus single individuals would pay 100% more than any two people in the same place.

Even with the 25% single person reduction it is still a much higher amount than individuals in a shared property pay.

That is not social justice or making an equitable contribution to local services.

It is also an unfair fiscal load upon all single pensioners.

Meanwhile all students are exempt from paying council tax. Yet keep in mind many pensioners left school at either 15 or 16, and never got the chance to go to university.

Thus the council tax system needs to be abolished, and a modified version of a local poll tax introduced in order to lift the present inequitable system.

I don’t expect a lot of people who campaigned against the poll tax to like this idea, but we do need to abolish the totally inequitable and unjust council tax system.

The Disastrous History of Brexitland.

The Final Ongoing Chapter

The middle and last part of 2022 was a time of uncertainties, economic mess, and major political swings. Yet none of the major ecological, educational, or social issues where being addressed.

Much of this uncertainty was caused by an unstable Rabid Right Wing government which was economically illiterate. While those were in it had no understanding of science, and technologically.

Thus they had no concept of the major social, ecological, and economic damage which they were causing.

All they were concerned with was helping to make the rich much richer, and ways in which they might keep themselves in power.

Still the Rabid Right Wingers managed to stay in power, even when they kept changing their policies by the day.

As one well known commentator said at the time: –

‘ They make it all up as they go along.’

While another one stated that there was no point in reporting, or ever reading, any government policy announcements, as they all changed by the hour.

Then the Expected Unexpected happened, and the Dance of Death changed in to a continual internal battle and debate about just who might command Brexitland.

Thus the economic decline, social poverty, and environmental mess was ignored.

Only when the environmental damage had reached way beyond crisis point did the rabid right wing Brexitland government start to notice it, even though activists had been predicting these problems for many decades.

1902

My grandfather on my mother’s side was born in 1900. That is some 18 months before the end of the Boer War.

That is 120 years ago.

Yet how many people living now would of ever met anyone who was involved in that particular war?

In contrast we still note what happened during World War One, but very few young people would of meet anyone with memories of that conflict.

I was lucky enough to know a number of the extremely brave COs of WW1.

We think of what happened 120 years ago as history, but it is going to take that long to complete decommissioning some of the nukiller power plants.

That is way before any of the radioactive waste becomes safe to handle.

Thus if anyone asks you about decommissioning, just mention the year 1902, and tell them about this.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1902

Being Vegan – The wider Issues

Veganism and politics – a conversation

People become vegetarian or vegan for a number of reasons, but usually it is due to ethical reasons (e.g. treatment of animals), environmental reasons (e.g. burping cows) or health reasons – in many countries, dietary recommendations nowadays often include reducing meat consumption.

But sometimes there are other reasons. Below is a conversation between two vegans that highlights some of these. Read on.

The conversation is between Martyn [ML] and Lowana [LV].

LV:

I’m not sure when I became a pacifist, probably when I turned up at Greenpeace London meetings in 1977. I think I was more involved in environmental stuff before that. I became completely vegetarian in 1983 but I had only been eating meat and similar stuff very occasionally for a few months before that.

ML:

My involvement in politics and the first demonstration I was on was in November 1968. That was about the Vietnam war. Via that, I became involved in the Peace Pledge Union. That was the first time I ever met any vegetarians; the only vegan I knew at that stage seemed very strange to me. Then in 1973/74 I got to know Ronnie Lee who went on to start the Animal Liberation Front.

I became vegetarian on 26th January 1970.

I celebrated 50 years of pacifist activities in November 2018 and then the next year, on 26th January 2019, I turned vegan, so I’m now been vegan for almost three and a half years.

I became a vegetarian for a number of reasons, which include that you can produce more food with a vegetarian diet than a carnivore one. While from an anarchist perspective I’m not prepared to let somebody else kill animals for me if I’m not prepared to do it myself. But I’d actually read a book by Roger Moody on factory farming and that influenced my decision too.

LV:

I think I probably became vegetarian because I became involved with environmental groups and peace groups where it seemed most people were vegetarian (note that that isn’t the case in Iceland, where I live now) and I also had a boyfriend who was vegetarian. But my main reason for turning vegetarian was that I didn’t like the idea of killing animals so I could eat them and I didn’t want others to do that for me either.

Once I was at a meeting in Reykjavik and the others were saying that veganism is a lifestyle. I said “No it’s not, it’s political” (thinking of how all the vegetarians and vegans I knew in the UK were political) to which the others chorused “No, it’s a lifestyle”. Which points out the difference between here and the UK.

I think it was basically when I was in Cambridge that I turned vegetarian but in reality I was always more vegan than vegetarian because I didn’t drink milk and never ate yoghurt. I just didn’t really have the typical vegetarian diet compared to other people. I’m not sure when I became completely vegan as I was 95% vegan for so long.

ML:

My political friends were mostly vegetarian. Vegans just didn’t exist. In pacifist circles, being vegetarian was the norm.

When I became a vegetarian I got one piece of advice, which was from my friend Neil Collins, and that was instead of eating meat and two veg, I should think of meals as being three veg.

Unlike the present era, there was not much said about the health benefits of becoming vegetarian.

Yes, there were some health stores, but they were few and far between. And a lot of people thought they were just used by cranks. It was only in such stores that one could find foods such as dried bananas. They were also one of the few places where one could buy naturist periodicals [in the 1950s/1960s], which coloured the way some people regarded them.

Once, during a holiday in Chester during 1970, I went into a cafe and asked for a cheese roll which they didn’t have, and that is how I landed up explaining it was like a cheese burger but without the corpse.

But we did have the Diwana Bhel Poori Indian restaurant in Drummond Street which had recently opened and is still going. It is in the same street as a vegetarian restaurant that Gandhi used while he lived in the city, but that restaurant is long gone.

I read many years ago the autobiography of Gandhi: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. In it he writes about the different diets he had had at various times. He eventually became a fruitarian. Gandhi actually became interested in vegetarian issues while living in London.

At the time I became Vegie there was the Vegetarian Society and the Vegan society, which had been started in mid 1944 by Eva Batt.

Though I had no direct contact with either of them until the mid 1970s.

ML:

What were your experiences at the time?

LV:

I didn’t find it difficult. I met some people and I got given a vegetarian cookbook by a flatmate in Richmond. I also borrowed vegetarian cookery books at the library.

ML:

One of the most well-known cookbooks while I was young was produced by Cranks.

Cranks vegetarian restaurant used to be in Leicester Square, but I never visited it.

There were a couple of vegetarian cookbooks which I purchased at the time, but there were very few which one could buy during that period.

There is also a fascinating book called The Vegetable Passion which gives a history of vegetarianism, including Adolf Hitler, and is quite interesting to read as well.

LV:

I bought the Food for Thought Cookbook that came out in 1987 – Food for Thought was a vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden which I went to sometimes – and have since veganized one of the recipes I used to use when I was vegetarian. It is often easy to veganize recipes. There’s also Healthy Eating for the New Age by Joyce D’Silva; published in 1980, it was one of the first vegan cookbooks and has a number of recipes that I still use.

ML:

I think also I became vegetarian as I was reading a wide variety of periodicals which I haven’t seen in years, such as the magazine Commune which I last saw in the early seventies.

There was also WIN magazine which was produced by the War Resisters League in New York.

Thus I read a lot about resistance to the Vietnam war, and many other ideas which were what we would now refer to as alternative.

When I became Vegetarian my mother just didn’t know how to cope with it. Ronnie Lee had something of the same experience with his mother when he became Vegan.

LV:

In Iceland there has been an upsurge in veganism, especially the vegan cafes and restaurants that have opened within the last 3-4 years. Reykjavik also boasts the largest vegan shop in the world, though the population of the whole of Iceland is a mere 376,000.

And I gather that in Sweden – which has a lot of vegans – more and more dairy farmers are now growing oats and selling them for human consumption (to the Swedish company Oatly, for example) rather them feeding the oats to the livestock they were raising.

ML:

For me, becoming vegetarian and then Vegan is an aspect of my nonviolent philosophy, and that is very much to the fore.

While for many people it is to do with animal rights, health issues, and taking very practical action to deal with climate change.

One singular advantage of a vegan diet is that it means that more food can be grown, which means less pressure upon the land and thus far less deforestation, thus preventing the factors which are major causes of war.

This goes hand in hand with cutting food aid and should help with creating more food self-sufficiency, while the development of urban orchards, city centre greenhouses and more allotments will negate the need for food banks.

I remember the Freedom from Hunger campaign which existed during the 1960s, and the impact that seeing photographs of pot-bellied starving children in the middle of the Biafra war had on people. Thus it was totally logical for me to become vegetarian as a way to counter global starvation.

End of conversation …

Martyn and Lowana are both long-term activists. Martyn is principally anarcho-pacifist and an anti-nuclear power campaigner while Lowana is mainly an environmentalist and pacifist who is also concerned about feminist issues.

Recent Observation, Notes, Stats, & Observations

Numbers

Many of my political and social observations come from a lot of background reading, and looking at statistics.

Farming

There are a couple of things which farmers have been complaining a lot about of late. They are the rising prices of fuel and nitrates.

While a lot of them are also moaning about the prices they are getting for what they are selling to the supermarkets.

All of which leaves me thinking that we might soon be finding organic crops becoming much cheaper to grow than that which is produced by intensive chemical spraying.

Statistical Pointers To Better Understanding.

Of course some problems which prevent our better understanding of the world come from other factors.

Take for example the main form of colour blindness which is Red / Green.

While 1 in 12 men suffer from colour blindness, only 1 in 200 women do so.

Then there are the 1 in 7 of the adult population which are to a greater of lesser extent functionally illiterate.

So a lot more thought needs to be given as to how to improve public signs and how they are written.

Not understanding the numbers

It is also no use complaining about falling standards of scientific understanding, while the lever of adult numeracy is so very high.

Just take a look at the following reports-

Almost half of the UK lacks basic financial literacy

and

One-in-three adults in England and Northern Ireland cannot work out the correct change from a shopping trip, according to new research from UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and University of Cambridge.

No Receipt – No Record – No Ability to keep an eye on financial issues

Of course it does not help individuals to budget their spending, if they throw away or never pick up their receipts for their purchases, ( a trend which seems to be increasing ). This means they can not see their pattern of spending over the year.

Then comes the question of inflation, low wages, low salary increases, and pensions which are so low that many older individuals are living in dire poverty.

Thus aside from the number of food banks increasing, we also have a situation in which many individuals are asking whether they should turn on their heating during winter, or eat that day.

The same can be said of politicians and planners who are incapable of looking at any long term effects of current public spending or the effects it will have.

Eat or Freeze

While the Rabid Right Wing Tory Government of Brexitland has just no idea of what this means, as many of them are millionaires.

Is it any wonder that many of us think that living in Brexitland equates to living within a shambolic and dystopian version of a Neo-fascist Kafkaland.

More Notes From Dystopian Brexitland.

The longer we live with the shambolic dystopian reality of Brexitland, the more the reality of ruined lives feels like normal.Not that it is normal in any way, as the rabid right wing Tory government stumbles from crisis to crisis, as they dream of making a misplaced view of the past the new reality.

While the scandal of partygate continues, with members of parliament now worried about one of the government party MPs watching porno in the legislature.

While the minster for the Nineteenth Century remains unable to understand any form of contemporary realty.

While none of the multimillionaire government ministers are able to comprehend the effects of any financial cuts upon the most vunerable members of society.

While we still have many people campaigning for better university education, but blind to the reality of 1 in 7 of the adult population who are to a greater or lesser extent functionly illiterate.

But here is the best part of the situation…All those bright ideas which are being put forward as solutions to the current economic crisis, are the very ones which will cause much more pollution, result in a greater health crisis, and mean a lot more money being spent in order to clean it all up.

But let’s not worry about that they say.

Let’s just agonize about what is on television, and the activities of that most dysfunctional of families – The Royals.

Could it be that breathing in the highly polluted air has effected so many people that they are too ill to worry about it all?

Cynical and sarcastic I might be about the current and ongoing crisis, but that just hides the underlying worry which I have about it all.

Something has got to change very soon.

Future Finance For Future [Radioactive] Waste

The issue of Nukiller Waste is one which the industry does not want to face up to, or finance.

As it stands the tax payer will be for paying for dealing with this waste many many years in to the future. That is before any more is added to it.

Aside from the need to sort out the mess at Drigg and Sellafield / Windscale, we have an issue of rising tides which will affect all the coastal plants.

Thus we do need to focus out campaigning attention upon these issues.

While showing just how much CO2 the nukiller industry produces.

Thus this is what we urgently need: –

Immediate Campaigning Finance For To Stop All Future Radioactive Waste.

Recent Thinking

Recent Observations

Much of my time is spent reading various reports, news items, and analytical pieces, which in turn I may share or comment upon with others.

In between all of that I will produce various short analytical observations which are just too short to turn in to articles, but which you might find of interest.

Here are a few of the most recent ones.

The St Francis Cafe

Now how is this for a fine example of why many religionists just don’t think logically.

There is a Christian bookshop just around the corner from where I live. Outside of it is a oversized A board, which in passing I should mention is both an obstruction and unlicensed. Upon it there is a list of what a cafe in the shop sells. This includes dead pig corpses, which are otherwise known as bacon.

What I don’t understand is how they can do such a thing if they have read or heard about St Francis.

If they had done so then it would be known as the St Francis cafe, and only have vegan food for sale.

Then this on Budget Day

Today’s budget has cut taxes on climate damaging petrol and diesel which fuel extreme energy personal vehicles.

What should of been done is make boots and shoes VAT ( sale tax ) zero rated. That would of encouraged more people to walk more and thus save our environment. has cut taxes on climate damaging petrol and diesel which fuel extreme energy personal vehicles.

The Current and Future wars

Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot is reading about the weapon systems now being used in the Ukraine, and which in turn will have a major effect upon the arms trade.

The main points being that there will be a lot more small drone weapons in use, with more missile launchers used, while tanks have become much more vulnerable to attacks.

Some NATO countries such as the Netherlands have already started to move away from the use of tanks.

Longer term I think there will be a lot more 3D printers in use nearer to the fighting.

All of which we do need to keep in mind for future arms trade campaigning.