Good Health, A Healthy Brain, and Good Connections.

They say that the only way to keep a healthy brain as one gets older is by lots of exercise. Well I do that by walking between 4 and 7 Kms each day.

They say one should also keep a healthy brain by constantly challenging it with new tasks & learning lots of new things. Well I’ve got that well and truly sorted.

They also say that one should get out and have a good social life. That gets much more tricky if a lot of ones closest or oldest friends are scattered around the world. That’s why I like trying to chat on line or by phone. It’s also because a lot of the campaigning work I do is via email, and that’s just not the same.

Plus a few good chats help to counter what might otherwise be a complete feeling of isolation.

[ This is also important in terms of supporting friends who live many miles away & who find it difficult to get out because of their medical condition. ]

These are all aspects of life which I’ve discovered work well for me since my retirement. They also counter the fact that one does not see or communicate with the same people each day at work.

All of which means that I always make such to visit the library & do my shopping on a daily basis. That also means that I’m always able to eat very fresh food.

There is also that aspect of ones life which people forget while young, and that is just how many of the friends one knew may be dead. While other people one may of lost contact with many years ago.

The other aspect of keeping ones brain active is my visiting new places, or revisiting places one has not been to in a long time. That’s known as learning or relearning how to get around various locations, especially as places one once known well do tend to change over the years.

I offer these thoughts as a way of showing just how my mind works.

Bagging Up The Plastic Rubbish.

The plastic problem – Up and until now.

There has been a lot of very worrying news stories of late about plastics in the oceans,

and the problems caused by plastic particulates.

Yet the only solutions to this which ever seem to be mentioned are recycling plastic bottles,

phasing out the use of plastic cups or cutlery, or getting groups of volunteers to go clean up their local beaches.

There has also been a lot of protests about the use of plastic packaging.

This goes hand in glove with trying to persuade the supermarkets to stop selling fruit and vegetables in plastic bags, netting, or containers, by selling them as loose items.

That matches in with the campaign to stop a lot of food waste from occurring.

On the plus side I have noted that some cafes and bars have switched from plastic to biodegradable straws.

The plastic problem – What else we can do.

If we are going to solve problem of all the plastic in the sea, then we need to do much more about this as a society.

One solution will be to switch from plastic to biodegradable rubbish bags. That will mean pushing for them to be made available in all the supermarkets at an affordable price. It would also help if these were to become available via each of the rubbish collecting local authorities.

Cleaning up the plastic pollution is going to take a while to do, but we can do something by trying to cut down the amount of plastics which currently land up inside of plastic rubbish sacks.

Being Time Rich & Working Ahead To Stay Time Rich

Being and staying Time Rich.

Here is an observation which should be remembered about what happens to everyone who is retired.

First of all one has more time as a result of not going to work.

Yet if one is interested in what’s going on in the world, and engaged in making social change, the the following will hold true: –

‘ I just don’t know how there was time for me to go to work.’

I know this to be so, as it was a case of my switching from a page per week to a day per page diary.

Though here comes a tip to anyone who’s about to retire –

Go food shopping every day as you will be eating really fresh food, and can use the sale bargains on items you use all the time.

You will also get out of the house that way, and get the walking exercise which everyone needs to do.

The Wrong Answer.

The other advantage of retirement is that one can work on projects / plan / work on events way in advance.

Being time rich also means I am able to read a lot of newspapers, and reports which relate to the campaigning work I’m engaged upon.

So when I ask a specific question about some issue or other, then it’s because it really does need to be addressed.

That said, one will constantly hear the following from those who are still at work:- ‘ I’m too busy to do [ or answer ] that right now. ‘

That’s known as the Wrong Answer, as it slows down the work of those of us who are time rich.

This is especially so if it’s a case of asking for the same thing time and time and time again.

It also means that those who keep saying ‘ I’m too busy’ will never get the potential help they need, or ever see the various projects which they are involved in move forward at a faster speed.

Thinking Ahead – Planning Ahead.

The things one learns you get older, is that there are always last moment problems, or changes which need to be made at the very last moment.

Many of these come about because of changing circumstances, last moment emergencies, etc.

Yet a lot of them are the result of not being able to do any medium to long term planning, or thinking about alternative options way in advance of events.

Right now I’m look at and working up events some 3 months to 5 years in to the future.

For example: – What we can all do about marking 60 years since the Windscale fire this October.

So just keep all of this in mind, as it could well work to your advantage.

Thinking About Self Education

I have never wanted to be an ‘expert’ or specialist in any shape or form.

All I’ve ever wanted to be is a good All Rounder.

Thus I have focused all of my self education activities.to that end.

That includes what I might read, or viewed in the many museums and art galleries which I visited over the years.

Such visits are also my idea of fun.

In my younger days I was lucky enough to pay ahort visis to such places at the British Museum, National Gallery, and National Portrait Gallery during my lunch breaks.
Plus spend my time browsing within both radical bookshops, and all the ones along the Charing Cross Road.

Spending much of my life working within libraries has also contributed towards my self education.

I also enjoy public talks on the few occasions when they occur.

Understand all of that and you will get a good idea about how my thinking goes.

Now that I’m retired I would of liked to spend some of my time in undertaking an adult education course. Though that has become much more difficult to do as many of these day courses have been cut, while I’m spending a lot of my time engaged in Campaigning activities.

Museums, Art Galleries, and Libraries are essential if we wish to create a very knowledgeable society.

Every cut to them is something which harms us all.

This needs to be said time & time & time again.

If I Was A Poet

If I was a poet, then this is what I would write: –

I did try to tell you, to warn you, to tell you, but you were shopping at the time.

I did try to tell you, to warn you, to tell you, but you were partying at the time.

Now I keep trying to tell you,

to warn you, to tell you,

but fear it might be too late.

 

Books to Keep – Books to Ditch.

One of the reasons why I have not been writing that much of late is because I’ve been doing a major spring cleaning, buying new furniture and replacing a lot of my bookshelves.

As with all such projects it takes a while to get it all completed.

Three questions.

I’ve also been going through all of my books, resorting, and weeding out the ones which I can no longer use.

In order to simplify this process I asked myself three questions, and If I got the following answers, then out they went.

Are they related to my key interest? No.

Will I ever get around to reading them again? No.

Can I get hold of them should I ever want them again? Yes.

Some of them I’m giving to fellow activists who can use then.

Some I’m giving to a specialist library.

While the rest of them I’m donating to my local radical bookshop as a way of supporting the work it does.

If I was still living in London they would of gone to Housmans bookshop.

Sorted.

Having almost completed this whole process I’m now better able to find all of the references which are needed for my campaigning work, and for anything else which I might use in my writings over the coming years.

I’ve been putting all of my books together by subject and Authors, & my CDs by type, composer, band, or singer.

The same kind of thing has been done with my DVDs.

Though in some cases I’ve put both books by specific Authors together with the DVD films of their works.

e.g. Those of J.R.R. Tolkien, H.G.Wells and Jules Verne.

A Great Advantage.

So now to take advantage of it all – – – – – – –

Activism & Information Work.

Activist and Information worker.

The best library & Information worker share many of the same skills as good political activist.

For in order to do a little you have to know a lot.

Activism & Information work.

I never wanted to become a specialist or expert on any subject.

All I ever wanted to do was be a good all rounder,

and have a good working knowledge about just what does on in the work.

It took me a while to do it, but now I know and can chat about almost everything except for Celebs, current pop stars, various aspects of sport and what was or will be shown on television.

That’s the joy of all that !

Study and conclusions.

So I read a lot about various issues, which are political, economic, scientific, sociological, geological, and always highly technical in nature.

You just can’t work on these issues without doing so. Continue reading Activism & Information Work.

Remodelling The Campaigning Model

I shall continue to be an impossible person so long as those who are now possible remain possible.”Mikhail Bakunin

The Current Situation

One of the things I keep repeating is something which seems very obvious to may activists.

We have reached the tipping end of Climate Change, and there is very little we can do except to try to mitigate the most extreme aspects of that change.

The Pacific is dying.

&

We have a major long term problems with nukiller power & nukiller waste.

Yet the number of activists who are campaigning to stop these problems is extremely small.


Countering the campaigning myth.

One of the continual myths that abounds is that we can change things by organising big national demonstrations, lots of nonviolent direct action, and building a mass movement.

I’ve heard the same thing said many a time, and then watched people fall away with burnout, while stating that they need to ‘take a rest for a while’.

Thus campaigning goes in waves of activities, while the latest political crisis diverts a lot of individuals attention from these issues.

Yet the dangers posed by global warning, nukiller power, and radioactive waste grow by the hour.

Having regular rests might be good for the individual activists, but it’s not good for the those activists who keep going hour by day by month by year by decade on end. [ That comes with a financial and emotional cost which I’ll not go in to right now.]

For the long term activists it’s not just a question of keeping up with the issue, as the nukiller industry is multifaceted, but constantly working to share that knowledge.

Thus the best campaigners need have to a wide ranging knowledge of different subjects, be multi-skilled, and possess the ability to keep summing up that knowledge in different ways.

Just doing that while organising very small actions is the very most which most long term activists can hope to achieve.

This is particularly so as there are just not the numbers to sustain anything else.

Thus the line about ‘direct action is the only way’ becomes more of a chant than the reality.

Just keep in mind that:-

– Long term campaigning means we have to transcend both class and culture.

– Long term campaigning means constant self-education.

– Long term campaigning means just that.

– Long term campaigning means constantly campaigning for years on end without a break.

Constantly campaigning is the name of the game.


Just How do we do it?

The reality for most campaigning groups is that everything comes down to a few activists.

So:-

– How do we get away from only ever being able to organise regular pickets or leafleting sessions which just consist of 2,3, or 4 people ?

– How do we get away from meetings or public meetings at which we are only a small group of committed individuals ?

– How do we keep campaigning for years on end with little or no support?

&

Most importantly of all.

– How do we motivate people in to action ?

There are no easy answers to these questions.


A few workable options.

My thinking is that there is just not the money, people, or the resources around to think about any major national events.

Yet we can do the following:-

– Make sure to get to any pickets of demonstrations by other groups which are going on within the area or region one is living in.

– Hold more co-ordinated demonstrations or pickets on set dates.

e.g. During the next DRS open day will be held at their Carlisle depot on July 18th.

– Have more nukiller waste train leafleting sessions which are held at those times when regular commuters go through the effected stations.

That in turn could be used as a pre-requisite to setting up more local anti-nukiller groups.

– Encourage activists from other local groups to come visit & find out more about our own nukiller plants.

This is something which will both widen our knowledge base, and help to build support for each other.

For example: –

It would be very useful for more activists to go see all of those plants which will be effected by rising sea levels, such as Sizewell, Dungeness, & Heysham.

Or

Capenhurst & all those places through which Uranium Hex is transported.

&

– Getting away from thinking about supporting those these groups which have paid fund-raisers.

The real need is to pay for the leaflets which are handed out by activists, and getting people to these protests on a regular basis.

That means making a few small regular donations to cover paper, ink, and train fares.

All of this might not seem like such,

but it is a very basis need if we are ever going to sustain any long term anti-nukiller campaigning.


Re-penning the campaigning manuals.

As a last observation.

Many of these issues are just not covered in most campaigning manuals.

The presumption being that each campaign has an easily defined time scale.

Yet this does not apply to nukiller power, as we need to look at the many year which they will be around, and the long term impact they will make.

Even if we stop new build and close down all the nukiller plants in one go, then there will still be the decommissioning and radioactive waste issue which will need to be addressed.

There is real need for campaigning manuals to examine just how we might support long term campaigning, and thus how best to work in mixed aged groups.

The Political Kipper Season

The Political Kipper Season has now arrived for the British Press.

Yes it’s Election time.

So don’t expect to read much more than what various politicians are trading as insults, one to the other, for the next four weeks.

Yet what’s the point in voting when
We Have No Say in Many of the Decisions Which Effect Our Lives?

So here are six reasons why I don’t vote, have never voted, and will never vote in any government or local government election: –

The unelected House of Lords.

– The City of London Corperation, or last rotten borough.

This is where any company which operates in the city can get to vote, and vote again.

– The unelected and overpriced monarchy.

– The Greater London Council which was aboblished in 1986.

To misquote the old saying:-
When voting changed the system, then the System was Aboblished.

– The various unaccountable multinations,
such as the banks, and mining companies.

&

– How we now have no say as to just where nukiller waste will be dumped.

To quote Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: –

‘To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right, nor the knowledge, nor the virtue.

… To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured.

That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.’

Energy Co-Operatives For Street Lighting.

I’ve mentioned the idea of powering street lighting by the use of solar and vertical wind turbines before now. There are many different designs to choose from.

What I didn’t mention is just how this might be achieved.

How it might be done.

What I’d also like to encourage are energy workers co-operatives which could operate in our city centres.

The idea being that they would install and run street lighting on behalf of all the local authorities.

This would save us all a lot in terms of local council taxes, provide much needed jobs, and generate wealth via the feed in tariff.

Best of all there would be no power loss over the electricity grid.

Aside from a little imagination all that would be needed is a little start up money, which could be set aside from the amount of money which local authorities currently spend on street lighting, and the political will to do.

It would be really good to know if anyone is interested in developing this idea.