Change now, or have change come to you…

The old economic certainties – markets generally rising, the dollar as a safe haven, houses a sure investment – are certainties no longer.

The environment is changing, faster than many scientists have feared.

And while children starve in Somalia and teenagers loot in London, the elite drink 900-euro bottles of champagne or send private jets to collect their shoes.

Change is coming, and quickly. The question is, should we work together to craft a new form of society, fairer and more sustainable? Or should we wait for others to impose their chosen system upon us?

Can one be an environmentalist and a capitalist?

I don’t think so. But by saying this, am I putting off potential allies in the fight against global warming? Probably.

In his book The God Species, Mark Lynas rightly argues that saving the planet from global warming is about reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. It has nothing to do with overconsumption, morality, ideology or capitalism.

But how will we reduce these emissions without reducing overconsumption? Technology will only take us a short distance. We could try reducing population, but that is a thorny issue indeed. And if we do manage to reduce our consumption, can we just ignore the billions in the Third World whose livelihoods we have taken away? I don’t think they will let us, so we need a non-capitalist solution to provide for these people.

The truth is that capitalism has got us into this mess and is preventing us from getting out of it. As Frank Joseph Smecker and Derrick Jensen put it, it is a system that turns death into profit. It is the problem, not the solution.

James Zogby: Politics and Nonsense on Egypt

US politicians left and right, from Congress to the President, are as dangerously ill-informed on Egypt as most of the US media. And their agendas are not about democracy but about Israel and electioneering.

It all started in the 1950s when the USA, keen to take over the role of imperialist-in-chief from the UK and France, blocked the Suez operation. It threatened to destroy the franc and the pound, supporting Nasser over its WWII allies. Arab nationalism was strengthened, the prospect of democracy weakened. One student of Nasser was Saddam Hussain. Mubarak was another.

More recently the US has made the mistake of supporting Mubarak for so many years, of equivocating when the uprising started, and now of suggesting the regime can stay in power until the September elections. This is not what the Egyptian people want, but it has emboldened Mubarak enough that he should release his thugs onto the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. The blood of the last few days spatters Mubarak, but it spatters the White House too.

Egypt, through the lens of the US media. Photo by Steve Rhodes on Flickr.

Morocco, the Monster – English

Those of us who criticise Israel for its occupation of Palestinian lands, for flouting international law through the use of settlers and for its defiance of the United Nations should remember to criticise Morocco for similar crimes committed against the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara. But this account, clouded by an unfortunate incident from the author’s youth, is surely way over the top.

Like Israel, Morocco has used walls to annex territory. Like Israel, Morocco receives military aid from the United States and other western powers. Map: Wikipedia.

Read and Rate New Writers Online. Short Works &First Pages.

The current route from writer to reader features so many obstacles (agent, publisher, distributor) that much good writing fails to get through. Something’s about to change, with print-on-demand and e-books at the forefront. WeBook simply makes the process that much more complicated by adding another obstacle between writer and agent, but perhaps someone else will take the idea of peer-reviewed samples and use it to revolutionise the industry – without asking writers to stump up the cash.

We Book: a stepping stone toward change in the publishing industry.

BPs Long History Of Destroying The World

When the Iranian leader of 1952-3 nationalised BP’s operations in that country, the British pulled strings to organise a coup. Let that be a warning to you, America!

Of course, the headline of this article should be “the USA’s long history of destroying the world”. Did the USA organise the coup in Iran because the British told them to? Why then did they not stop Nasser when he nationalised the Suez Canal? Why did they not help expel the Argentinians from the Falklands? Did the US intervene in Guatemala to protect BP? Or in Vietnam? Chile? Nicaragua? Grenada? Iraq?

The truth is that the USA acts in the interests of the corporations, lobbyists and plutocrats who run the government. The British may occasionally seek to persuade. The USA is quite powerful enough to refuse.