Books to Love & Keep – Library Books to Pulp.

Having a love for books does not mean that I don’t pulp old
books from time to time.

This happens in all public libraries,
and I do it with some of my own outdated books too.

I recently commented upon just why this is something
that needs to be done.

Here is a summary of just why library books get pulped :

– There is a major difference between a lending or reference
library, and an archive.

– Libraries are not archives.

– Any outdated medical or legal book will provide dangerous
misinformation.

– Technologies change.

– New editions get published.

– Our thinking upon various issues,
such as works of art,
changes over the years.

– We constantly discover more and more about the world
about us.

&

– Libraries are places in which people find books to educate
themselves.

To sum this all up:

– People want to be able to access what is the best current
information upon any subject,
as opposed to looking a dangerously outdated data or ideas.

– Library stock should be the very best possible in order to
achieve these various ends.

Books are not sacred objects,
but a medium via which to spread information and ideas.

If only more libraries were to explain any or all of the above,
then we wouldn’t get such a bad press every time that a book is
withdrawn from stock.

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

A Walk In The Urban Wild Life Park.

There is something which I keep noticing:
a lot of areas of waste land within our city centres.

Areas that have been flattened after various buildings have
been pulled down, and which currently serve no socially
useful purpose.

These are places which are surrounded by fences, and that
are now starting to turn in to urban wildlife areas.

Such patches of waste land are very indicative of just what
has been happening to society over the last few years.

– How certain parts of the economy slowed down and came to a
complete standstill.

We now keep being told how the recession is on the turn,
yet I’ll not believe that the economy is starting to work again:

– Not until there are signs that all of these waste grounds are
being opened up and new buildings are being constructed.

Yet that is not the end of this story………

Continue reading A Walk In The Urban Wild Life Park.

The Last Rotten Borough.

I keep reading about just how important it is to vote,
or what some people call ‘exercising ones democratic rights’.

Why Bother ?

You may well ask ….

I’ve always thought that if one really believes in exercising
ones rights,
then one should do much more than vote for someone to
‘represent’ one every so many years.

The truth is that a real involvement in politics involves a lot
more than just voting.

I’m also very critical as to just what the various political
institutions are able to achieve.

I’ll skip yet another lecture upon parliamentary corruption,
state repression, state surveillance, or how the voice of
protest is constantly being ignored.

I’ll just give one example of how the voice of the people is
constantly being ignored:
the 2 million people who marched in London again the second
gulf war.

There is an old myth you may recall:
about how voting can change the system.

Yet you should always remember that when voting changes
the system, then the system may well be abolished,
and I am not just thinking about military coups.

This happened with the GLC ( Greater London Council ) when it
started to make some real social changes.

The GLC was abolished.

Yet the ‘last rotten borough’ has still to be challenged.

I refer to the ‘city Vote’ which exists with the City of London
corporation.

I was born within the City of London,
and so this is a question which is very close to my heart.

Only when the city vote has been abolished will I believe that
any voting will be worth while.

Only then will I start to believe that voting can make any
difference to the way in which we live.

It is the difference between being governed,
and that of taking part in a process of social change.

If the City of London Corporation represents democracy,
then the whole concept of democracy needs to be rethought.

There Was Once A Saying.

During the 1960s there used to be a saying:
‘We are the people our parents warned us against’.

Now we might just of turned this saying in to:-

We Are the People We Warned Our Parents Against.

Both of these sayings are warnings about both change for the
sake of change, and not having a fluidity of mind to change
things as they need to be changed.

The problem being that as a lot of people become older they
become more conservative.

Yet this is not so much a conservatism,
as a reaction to all of those new dangers that abound,
or it could just be a very human inability to adapt to the
changes in the world around one. Continue reading There Was Once A Saying.

An Inequitable Taxation.

Be it the window or Poll tax,
the question as to what is an equitable or a reasonable
taxation has always excited a lot of protest.

That is why the question of tax exceptions is one which should
concern us all.

We all think that we are over taxed,
but just how many of us think about how just the payment or
none payment of taxation may be.

At present within Britain all religious comminutes are except
from paying any council ( local authority ) tax.

While most of the churches or religious bodies are registered
as Charities,
and thus gain many tax advantages.

Yet Pacifist bodies, ecology action groups have to pay their
taxes in full.

Why should this be so?

Because under the present law Churches are deemed as being
charitable bodies,
while Pacifist and Eco action organisations are considered to
be ‘political’.

If a group of atheists were to establish a community or body to
combat the extremes of any religion, then they would not be
able to be registered as a charity,
or get all of the tax benefits which go with this.

That would be deemed to be a political activity.

Yet Religious bodies who campaign against good atheist values
do get these various tax benefits.

Now just tell me that this is not political?

This makes no sense at all,
as all religions involve themselves in politics,
even if they hide it with the expression:
‘ Spreading the word of god ‘.

Just to take two examples:
– They campaign against the rights of women to make their own
decisions upon contraception and abortion.
&
– Interfere upon just what may or may not be taught within our
schools.

Just look at the website for the
Charity Commission for England and Wales
and you will see just how many religious bodies are registered
as charities.

This includes such controversial bodies as the
Universal Church Kingdom of God.
A church whose activities has aroused a lot of concerns over
the last few years.

On the other hand we have the case of many pacifists who are
taken to court for refusing to pay any war taxes.

This is despite the fact that Pacifists have a legal right to
exercise a conscientious objection to conscription.

Clearly there is an urgent need to change this system,
and give one the right to exercise a conscientious objection to
all war taxes.

Though the long term aim should really be to abolish all
military organisations.

Equally importantly: –
The whole question as to the charitable status of all religious
bodies should be examined,

They should be made to take pay their share of the tax burden,
as it is inequitable that we should all be forced to subsidise
them this way.

What’s the Colour of Your Shirt?

The recent political struggles between the Yellow & Red Shirt
movements in Thailand reminds me of an earlier era.

During the 1930s we had the Communist Reds, Nazi Brown
shirts, and Fascist Black shirts.

In 1931 Paul Poirt came up with the idea of a Green Shirt to
sybloblise peace. The use of this colour was based upon the
fact that olive branches are green.
This idea was backed by the New York based New History
Society which sold these shirts, as did the War Resisters
International.

In 1934 the music hall Lupino Lane recorded a satitical song entitled Shirts. This was a very partriotic song which stated that Britains would never wear shirts.

During the 1970s the Green Movement came in to being.

It was during this era that I used to be in correspondence with
Petra Kelly.

Petra was a founder of the Green Party in Germany.
We both had a concern about the various dangers posed by the
Nukiller Power Industry

Since that time anything which is ecologically sound has
become known as green.

With growing concerns upon the use of fossil fuels as a
major cause of global warming ,
we are now starting to get many politicians,
and the Nukiller Power industry,
referring to Nukes as being:
‘A Green alternative to fossil fuels’.

Well the major objections to the use of nukiller power have
not changed that much since the 1970s.

Just stating that one has changed ones colour does not
change the facts.

Nukiller power is major environmental polluter,
and nothing is ever going to change that fact.

There is an old expression about being broke, or loosing the
shirt off ones back.

Any development of Nukiller power will really be going for
broke,
and we will all then be without a shirt to put on.

What’s So Special About the Automotive Industry?

I keep hearing about how various western Governments wish
to pour money in to the Automotive industry.

They claim that this is in order to kick start the economy,
reduce the number of people on the dole,
and help in the manufacture of (sic) ‘Green Transport’.

I never noticed the same rush to help the bicycle
manufacturing industry when that went down the sink.

Surely if the object of the exercise to help build the economy, create jobs, and built an ecologically sound transport system, then it is not going to happen by throwing yet more money at the automotive industry.

It would be more productive if the money were to be used to
help build more trains, bicycles, trams, and light railways.

It shouldn’t take much imagination thinking in order to
understand this point,
but we are talking about politicians here.

Enough said …..

Why I Am Vegie.

I turned vegetarian on the 26th of January 1970.

One of the reasons why I became vegetarian was because it is
an extension of my Pacifist, Humanitarian, and Atheist
philosophy.

I also became vegetarian because it means that one can grow
more food, and thus help to combat world starvation.

Even after the growth of the vegetarian movement, and after
all these years, I still find people asking just why I am Vegie,
or have very little idea upon just what a Vegie diet entails.

Once a year I go visit my doctor for a health check.
One of the queries I get a ‘well done’ for doing at these visits
results from my being Vegie.

Being vegetarian reduces the chance of developing many
medical conditions , such as stomach problems, high colostral
levels, etc.

There is also another reason for being vegetarian: –

It helps in the struggle to stop climate change.

Why?

Because it takes less energy and petrochemical resources to
grow the crops which comprise a vegetarian diet.

This just goes to show that there is no such thing as one simple
reason as to why I became Vegie.

There is an old saying:
‘You are what you eat’.

In this time of climate change worries there should be a new
saying: –

Your planet will change with what you eat.

Just think about it.

Saving the Whale – Part 1.

A little of my own history.

It was in June of either 1972 or 1973* that I stood on a small
picket line outside of the annual meeting venue of the
International Whaling Commission ( IWC ).

Most of the picket line seemed to be staff members of Friends
of the Earth.

The Japanese delegation turned up for the afternoon session
while I was standing in line. They just glared at the
demonstration, and went straight in to the building.

The well known British Naturalist Peter Scot turned up,
and greeted every one who was on the picket line.

I had first become aware of the plight of whales from having
seen an advertisement by the Moby Dick Society,
which had been placed in War Resisters League magazine Win .

In subsequence years I followed and publicised the
anti-whaling activities of the Sea Shepherd.

This weekend I was told that the are moves in Iceland to
curtail its whaling industry.

I should have more information upon this within the next two
weeks,
and will share it with you all.

* This is just another fine example of my memory at work.