Formerly Upon My Address Book

I’ve just completed one of those tasks which should be done from time to time, and that becomes much more so as one becomes older.

That has been going through my email address book and deleting those of old friends and comrades who are no longer with us.

I ‘ve also deleted the ones for people who are no longer working at various places for which I have their old email address.

Though just in case I did print out the list before undertaking the above task.

The sad thing is that it made me realise just how many of my friends have died over the last decade.

Linking up some of my recent campaigning work.

Much of my time now involves undertaking Joined-up-campaigning, and showing just how issues are linked one to another.

So with that in mind here are some links just what I have been doing and looking at of late.


“A historic moment”: first meeting for rail campaigners with nuclear industry

            Vegan PPE

One aspect of the DRS visit concerned wearing PPE [ Personal protective equipment ] – especially around the engine sheds, I had no problem with wearing head protection and a high viz waistcoat, but pointed out that as a vegan I do not and will not wear any footwear made if animal skins.

This is what I received in the correspondence I received on the issue: –

‘ We don’t have many visitors especially where we have to provide PPE, so this is the first time this has been raised.’

As things worked out I could make the visit wearing my normal Vegan footwear by keeping to a series of marked safe paths.

The follow up being that I was able to note over the following to them.

In January 2020, an employment tribunal confirmed that veganism comes within the scope of legal protection under the 2010 Equality Act.

                   Astute Class Nuclear Submarine Manual

One of my recent book purchases is a Haynes Manual upon the workings of the Astute Class Nuclear Submarines which are currently being build by BAE Systems.

The manual not only gives lots of illustrations about these deadly underwater craft which are currently being build, and an outline of the commissioning process.
Of special interest are the various photographs in the book, and a map of the Barrow Upon Furness dockyard where they are being built.

This is a very useful campaigning reference book.

Badges For Social Change

Badges For A Better World

For some while now I have been using the following expressions which sum up many of my political thoughts and ideas.

Now I am thinking it would be good to have some badges with these as slogans.

Beer Not Bombs !

Pull Down the Motorways !

Dole Not Coal !

Campaign Against the Cuban Dictatorship.

I’m a Pragmatic Anarcho Pacifist.

I’m a Law Abiding Anarchist.

2 Feet Good !  4 Wheels Bad !

Campaign Against the National Union of Weapons Manufacturers and Plutonium Workers

Build more Railways and Canals.

Support All Russian and Ukrainian Conscientious Objectors.

Becoming Vegan is an Ecological and Political Act.

Stop Noise Pollution – Silence All Musak in shops !

Pedestrians First !

Less Roads and More Footpaths.

Shrink the suburbs !

Plant More Forests

Create Fruit Orchards in the Inner Cities.

Nukiller Power?  – No Thanks ! 

Neil Collins

The death in January of Neil Collins has left a gap in my own and many other
peoples lives.

Knowing Neil and Who he knew.

Neil Collins was one of those individuals that though involved in many campaigning groups and organisations over the years, was not someone who wroteall that much.

He was very knowledgeable about many aspects of the early history of the Anarchist and the Peace movements. I learnt a lot about this history and homed much of my radical political thinking while having long chats with him.
Neil knew or had meet many of the people involved in Freedom Press and pacifist circles.

At one time he told me about meeting Lilian Wolfe who had been a suffragist, involved in Freedom, and street sold Peace News right up to her death at 96.

He also meet Fermin Rocker who was the son of Rudolf Rocker.

Time Together

I first meet Neil in 1969 as we were both involved in the Peace Pledge Union [PPU ]. At one stage shortly afterwards I shared a house with him, his wifeTania, and others in Leytonstone. We were also involved in the E10 & E11 PPU

I was also though Neil that I first learnt about aspects of a Vegetarianlifestyle, and what it was to be an anti Zionist jew.

It was in the company of Neil, Tania, and the late John Hyatt, that I decided to become Vegetarian some 53 years ago.

Peace Campaigner

It was only by chance that Neil became involved in the Peace Movement. It was during 1962 that he happened to be passing by American Embassy in GrosvenorSquare where a regular demonstration was taking place about nukiller bomb test. Having taken a leaflet he came back the next week, stated that we agreed with what was in it joined the protest and many subsequent ones

Following on from this he became actively involved in the London Committee of 100. For example in protests outside of the CBW [ Chemical and Biological Warfare ] establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire.

In the early 1960s he had been an accountant, but gave it up to train for social work. Though between the two he spent a while working upon the accounts of Housmans Bookshop. Thus he spent the rest of his life undertaking social Work in one form or another.

He was also on the board of Peace News for a while.

Other Campaigns and Other Activities.

Amongst other campaigning bodies Neil was also active in the following : –

– The Jewish Socialist Group.

– MERAG [ Middle East Research and Action Group ].

– Operation Namibia.

He was a part of the London support group on this project

– PARTIZANS [ People Against RTZ and Its’ Subsidiaries ].

He took part in some of the shareholders actions.

Social Campaigner

Perhaps the most impact upon society came from his interest in social issues and via his involvement in the local community.

His particular interests included both mental health and mixed race adoption issues.

He also co-run a local Woodcraft Folk group.

He was the first individual to win the London Compact Award because of his involvement in Voluntary Action Waltham Forest.

Neil Collins

September 8th 1941 – January 20th 2023

 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


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.


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.

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].


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.


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.


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.


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.


What were your experiences at the time?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.