It’s Simpol ! The Simultaneous Policy News • Summer 2010
● UK ELECTION SPECIAL REPORT by John Bunzl ● COP15 SIX MONTHS ON plus IMAGES FROM COPENHAGEN by Diana Trimble ● Patrice Greanville RANTS most excellently about the @&*$% BP Disaster AND MORE! ISPO • PO Box 26547 • London • SE3 7YT
It’s Simpol ! The Simultaneous Policy
Simpol promotes the Simultaneous Policy, which aims to deliver social justice around the world, resolve global problems like environmental destruction and regulate the economic power of international capital for the good of all. Simpol seeks solutions to problems that individual national governments cannot resolve by acting alone. This is because the problems transcend national boundaries, and because the global competitive system means that any government that acted alone to try and resolve such problems could effectively make its country uncompetitive. Simpol aims to achieve these objectives by encouraging ordinary people around the world to oblige their political representatives and governments to move toward coordinated international resolution of global issues for the good of all. This is because it is only by countries all agreeing to implement changes at the same time that problems no individual government dares tackle alone can be resolved in a satisfactory way. Simultaneous implementation of such policies would ensure that no country became uncompetitive as a result of pursuing policies that were right for the planet and which embodied people’s higher aspirations. All you need to do is sign up as a Simultaneous Policy Adopter which costs you nothing. By so doing you agree in principle to vote at elections for any candidate, within reason, who has signed a pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments. Alternatively, if you have a party preference, your Adoption signifies you will encourage your preferred party to make this pledge. This is the simple mechanism Adopters use to advance their cause. Simpol’s approach is peaceful, open, and democratic. If you Adopt you will have the opportunity to contribute to the formation of specific policies that answer global problems and join with others in using your vote in a new and effective way to drive the politicians of all parties to implement these policies.
How do you want the world to be? An occasional newsletter published by Simpol-UK (www.simpol.org.uk) for the INTERNATIONAL SIMULTANEOUS POLICY ORGANISATION (ISPO) email@example.com Edited by: Diana Trimble (firstname.lastname@example.org) Production: Diana Trimble & Mike Brady. Cover picture: Simpol disco ball by Mikey Foulerton Meeting up in Cyberspace www.myspace.com/simpoluk; http://simpol.blogspot.com; Second Life: SP Adopters' hang out, Tangun. Join the Simpol group on Facebook!
Contents Editorial/Newswatch Copenhagen Cop Out
John Bunzl's view on the proceedings
Simpol Announcements Integral Studies Magazine Article
Our 24 UK MPs who've signed the pledge! New book: Solving Climate Change
UK Election Special
Policy Section Annual Adopter Vote 2009 Rant of the Month! Patrice Greanville rips BP a new, uh, WELL..
Back Cover Photo collage from Copenhagen 2010
An Insider's Guide to Saving Humanity and the Planet
John M Bunzl Foreword by Diana Schumacher
The Simultaneous Policy The Simultaneous Policy (SP) campaign arises from the book by John Bunzl, published in 2001. Six years later, the campaign is a reality in a growing number of countries and already has support from elected politicians in Australian, the UK and the European Parliament.
From reviews of the first edition: "It’s ambitious and provocative. Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try." Noam Chomsky "The really big issues today now cross national frontiers and individual governments cannot cope with them in isolation." Sir Richard Body Former Conservative Member of Parliament, UK The Simultaneous Policy by John Bunzl is available from ISPO for £9.95 plus P&P or order from the website www.simpol.org.uk
ISPO • PO Box 26547 • London • SE3 7YT
Printed on 100% re-cycled paper
International Simultaneous Policy Organisation
Editorial / Newswatch
Editorial / Newswatch Copenhagen - Six Months On The less said about my trip to the COP15 the better. In a nutshell, it was a disaster, but beyond that my experience strangely mirrored the proceedings inside the Bella Centre; I felt like one of the "emerging economies": disenfranchised. Along with 5000 incorrectly accredited journalists, I was locked out in the snow; the accommodations put on by Climate Camp were horrible: freezing cold and marred by drunken French anarkeesssts trying to punch each other out; while the protests were scheduled ridiculously early and very far apart, so I missed all of those too. In the end, my experience became focused on survival as I started to undergo symptoms of mild hypothermia, so I ran away to Christiania, the legendary "free town" in the centre of Copenhagen, where I met new friends and found a warm place to sleep. Eurolines fraudulently screwed up my return journey (I still have an ongoing claim for compensation that has yet to be resolved), which forced me to fly back to the UK on a budget airline, after spending a couple of expensive days in a hotel near the train station, it being time to move on from my new friend. Copenhagen is extremely pricey and for some odd reason, like many Northern European countries, features an awful lot of cold and pickled foods; perversely, there wasn't a bowl of soup in sight, and so to compound my shame I ended up dining at McDonald's my last two nights, because it was hot and cheap. I felt disgusted by the irony and the fruitlessness of my journey and it seemed perfectly fitting that when I had to dump several kilos of possessions at the airport, in order to conform to baggage requirements, one of the things I left behind was an activism manual. Of course, as it turns out, I wasn't the only one who went to get a story and got a non-story instead, because despite all the hullabaloo - nothing much actually got accomplished. Well I'd gone into it knowing that, I guess, as the whole premise of Simpol strikes at the very heart of the current stalemate in international agreements. Without adopting the participatory citizen-led methods we advocate, and without looking at the connections between problems such as the banking collapse and environmental destruction and therefore not seeing the need for comprehensive policy packages that are to be implemented globally and simultaneously - how the bejesus are they going to come to anything meaningful?!
So I decided to skip writing about Copenhagen, for the purposes of this Newsletter anyway (I am however thinking of writing a "disaster travel" screenplay based on the whole comedy of errors)wait until after the UK elections and check in with the progress of climate negotiations since then and what, if anything, has been learned by the failure of the COP 15. Way back in late December, just after the talks ended, Time - the mainstream US magazine - was already calling the conference an "unmitigated disaster" but insisted that "the real value of the Copenhagen summit may lie in what it teaches us about dealing with climate change". Worryingly, however, the article goes on to claim that the most workable methodology has been shown to be small groups of nations cutting deals together and then presenting a united front to get others to tow the line. This of course is exactly what the US-China-Brazil-India-South Africa alliance did at the 11th hour of the conference. Three months later, the environmental webzine Grist reported that although the conference was seen largely as a failure, there were 4 trends worth noting: 1) that increasing numbers of countries are signing up to the accord, even with the acknowledgement that it doesn't go far enough; 2) that countries representing 80% of emissions were already moving forward on reductions; 3) to expect greater efforts to curb deforestation by major economies compensating poorer ones for not exploiting this non-renewable resource; and finally 4) that committing to and raising such funds was an undisputed priority. (Hmmm. In other words: some small steps are being made but nations still haven't worked out how to come together to address this issue!) And just a few days ago, at the conclusion of the climate talks in Bonn (leading up to this year's conference in Mexico) leaders from African nations complained of "apathy" from the developed nations and seemed to be seeking more isolationist solutions to the catastrophic effects of Climate Change. At the same time, Christiana Figueres, the incoming Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, when asked about the time frame for a final, conclusive climate deal replied "certainly not in my lifetime". Well one thing we can be depressingly sure of: the climate may be changing, but the status quo aint.... - Ed.
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UK ELECTION SPECIAL! JOHN BUNZL GIVES HIS VIEWS ON THE 2010 CIRCUS! The UK’s general election which took place on May 6th was the most exciting one we’ve had in a long time. The introduction of TV debates and the splash LibDem leader, Nick Clegg, made certainly caused a stir. Many felt the advent of the “three-horse race” made the outcome more unpredictable and that frisson of uncertainty seemed, for the duration of the election at least, to restore people’s interest in politics. Certainly it made for a more interesting campaign. After 13 years in government, it was always going to be hard for the Labour Party to retain its position. And then, of course, there was “Biggotgate”: Gordon Brown’s unforgiveable gaff when he was inadvertently caught describing a longtime Labour voter who expressed mild concern about immigration as “biggoted”. So a mild swing towards the Conservatives—with the “wildcard” of the LibDems thrown in—made for a very uncertain outcome. Into this heady mix, Simpol-UK’s election campaign rolled into action during April. At the previous election in 2005, we’d managed to get 13 members of parliament (MPs) to sign the Pledge to implement Simpol’s evolving range of global problem-solving measures alongside other governments. Since then, and thanks to sustained campaigning between elections, we’d increased this to a high-point of 27 MPs. But thanks to the expenses fiasco which hit politicians from all parties, we lost a few who decided not to stand again for election this time around. So, at the start of this campaign, we had a somewhat reduced total of 21 pledged MPs. As usual we focused on marginal constituencies— constituencies which had been won by only a few votes in our “first past the post” electoral system—and we phoned or emailed UK Adopters asking them to write or email candidates in the constituency to ask them to sign the Simpol Pledge. UK National Coordinator, Barnaby Flynn, also took our Mobile Street Stall (see picture) to the streets of many constituencies holding stalls and gathering new Adopters. New Adopters are asked to sign a letter to their candidates (or MP) which Simpol-UK then sends
to candidates on their behalf. All of this helped to increase the pressure and incentive on the candidates of the main UK political parties to sign the Pledge.
Some Adopters, too, got in on the act and took up contact with their candidates. In the constituency of Torridge and West Devon in south-west England, Adopters John Russell and Wendy Mondy successfully persuaded Adam Symons, the LibDem candidate, to sign on. Sadly he wasn’t elected to parliament, but their action showed that just a few Adopters can make all the difference. This on-the-ground activity was supported by a sustained cyber-campaign conducted from our UK office and directed at candidates from all the main parties in all constituencies. Working from the office, Simpol Outreach Coordinator, Diana Trimble, painstakingly researched contact details for candidates, posted out letters from Adopters to candidates, and encouraged Adopters to take this once-in-5-year opportunity to make a difference. In the end, these combined efforts succeeded in getting no less than 200 candidates to sign the Simpol Pledge, the highest number we’ve ever achieved. 32 Labour candidates, 3 Conservative, 87 Liberal Democrat, 74 Green, and 4 other candidates signed on. In quite a few constituencies, more than one candidate signed the Pledge. So whichever of those candidates was elected, Simpol won support in parliament regardless. You can see the full list of pledged candidates, including those who became MPs, on Simpol-UK’s website www.simpol.org.uk.
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In view of the very high number of supportive candidates, we were at least hoping to recover our previous high-point of 27 pledged MPs. But in the event, not enough of the LibDem pledged candidates were elected to parliament. Also, because Conservative candidates traditionally tend not to be sympathetic to Simpol, the national swing towards the Tories was always going to make it difficult for us. So in the end, we ended up only modestly increasing our preelection total of 21 MPs to a total of 23 by the time all the election results were in.
STOP PRESS! Just before going to press, a signed Simpol Pledge was received from Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) MP, Elfyn Llwyd. That brings the total of UK pledged MPs to 24. His comment on signing the Simpol Pledge: “Cooperation across boundaries is the best form of approach to global problems. Good luck Simpol.”
Given Simpol is generally regarded (wrongly, in my opinion!) as politically left-wing, and given the nation swung in the election to the political right, I think we can be quite pleased with this result. Needless to say, we’re hoping to build on it through further sustained campaigning, policy fora, and other activities in the coming months. Compared to the 2005 campaign, it was evident that party candidates were much more aware of the need for co-ordinated international action to deal with global problems, and so more receptive to Simpol’s argument. For that, I suppose we have the 2008 global financial crisis to thank.
JOURNAL OF INTEGRAL THEORY AND PRACTICE PUBLISHES JOHN BUNZL IN LATEST ISSUE!
But as global problems worsen, as they surely will until such time as we have an adequate form of global governance, this growing global awareness can only help us. In fact, so positive were politicians that I couldn’t help feeling some frustration that a greater number of citizens have not yet signed on to the campaign. Because, given the success achieved in the UK in terms of pledged MPs by such a relatively small number of us, just think how many more MPs we could have converted to the cause if Simpol were as widely and actively supported as, say, Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace? In that sense, then, there is still much ground for ordinary citizens to catch up on. For politicians will not solve global problems unless we, citizens, take up the cudgels.
John Bunzl – Trustee, Simpol-UK ___________________________________
As anyone knows, who's familiar with the underlying concepts from which the Simpol idea emerged, American philospher Ken Wilber originated much of the terminology and intellectual framework utulized by John Bunzl. So it was with some sense of satisfaction that we saw the publication of 'Solving Climate Change: Achieving a Noospheric Agreement' in the Institute's quarterly journal, the aforementioned Journal of Integral Theory and Practice (March 2010, Volume 5). Wilber said of Simpol: “The central idea [of Simpol] is very powerful; that is, the notion of how to link votes in one country with votes in another - how to link political action in one country with action in another. International competition is built-in to the nation-state system at its current level of development and so the issue is not environmental concerns, but how to get humans to agree on environmental concerns. This is really fascinating and very hopeful. In my opinion this is the crucial issue for the 21st century.” The article can be seen by going to the www. simpol.org site and clicking on News, then Books, then Articles. Or you can type the following into your web browser for a Pdf: http://www.simpol.org/en/images/Articles/ Bunzl_Noospheric%20Agreement-Site.pdf And if you're feeling really flush, then you can even purchase it from the Integral Institute site:
So remember: your planet, your species, needs YOU! It really is up to each of us – no one else will do it for us!
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S I M P O L' s 2 4 U K M P s
John Hemming Caroline Lucas Tom Brake Mark Williams Martin Horwood Duncan Hames Henry Smith Annette Brooke Elfyn Llwyd Grahame Morris Stephen Lloyd Mike Crockart Malcolm Bruce John McDonnell Lynne Featherstone Philip Hollobone John Leech Catherine McKinnell Mike Hancock Lorely Jane Burt Adrian Sanders John Penrose
LibDem Green LibDem LibDem LilbDem LibDem Conservative LibDem Plaid Cymru Labour LibDem LibDem LibDem Labour LibDem Conservative LibDem Labour LibDem LibDem LibDem Conservative
Pledged MPs / New Publication
Birmingham Yardley Brighton Pavilion Carshalton & Wallington Ceredigion Cheltenham Chippenham Crawley Dorset Mid and Poole North Dwyfor Meironnyd Easington Eastbourne Edinburgh West Gordon Hayes & Harlington Hornsey & Wood Green Kettering Manchester Withington Newcastle North Portsmouth South Solihull Torbay Weston-super-mare
New Simpol Briefing! Well at least my trip to Copenhagen wasn't a TOTAL waste! I got a great shot of this protestgnome outside the cathedral where Bishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop Rowan Williams were holding an event. John has now used it as the cover of his latest work, a study of how and why climate negotiations, in their present form, are doomed to failure. But don't worry, it's not a complete bummer - he also gives hope for new solutions! As usual, you can get a copy by sending me a quick email saying you'd like one! We'd appreciate a donation too (say a fiver?), and we can also handle that electronically. - Ed. email@example.com
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Policy Section p. 7 A – indicates you like this suggestion and it should be Simpol (the Simultaneous Policy) developed further. B – indicates you think this issue is important, but the approach is wrong. C – indicates you think this suggestion is not suitable for Simpol Adopters and the wider public were invited to inclusion in Simpol. vote on proposals put forward for dealing with global D – indicates you need further information to underproblems. They were also asked to indicate what they stand the suggestion better before you can give your believe to be the top three issues that should be adview. dressed by Simpol. The most popular policies will be given space in the newsletter and in public meetings. The ranking is based Voting began on 21 October 2009 and was originally on the ‘A’ vote, with the ‘C’ vote used as a tie breaker planned to run until 14 November. This was extended (the smaller ‘C’ vote being ranked higher). These are to 25 November to give people more time to vote and the policies in order of popularity, with greater details because the “It’s Simpol!” newsletter, with news on the below: vote was only available at the end of this period. People were asked to provide and name and email • Contraction and Convergence: 87% address as a check on multiple voting. Where people • World Transnational Corp. Regulatory Auth.: 83% voted more than once, the last vote submitted was • Nuclear Disarmament: 73% counted. • Beyond GDP: 72% • The Oil Depletion Protocol: 71% Ten issues were listed, based on suggestions put for• The Tobin Tax: 67% ward by Adopters in the first annual voting round in • International Clearing Union: 67% 2006. Voters were asked to indicate their top three • Int'l Farm Animal Welfare Standards: 67% priorities. They could suggest up to three issues of their • Remodelling Companies to Become Stakeholder-Govown as alternatives to those listed. The issues may be erned Organisations: 65% addressed directly or indirectly by one or more policy. • A Defensive Defence Policy: 64% The list of issues is a useful tool for the Policy Committee when it is considering topics for the newsletter and Contraction and Convergence: 87% public meetings. A: 87% B: 7% The ranking of the issues is as follows: C: 5% D: 1% Ranking Issue Weighted vote 2008 2007 Proposer: John Bunzl 1. Climate change 147 1 1 Summary: A policy requiring nations to equitably effect, 2. International financial markets and other finanover a defined period of time, a global CONTRACTION of cial issues 86 4 7 3. The power of transnational corporations greenhouse gas emissions to within sustainable levels, as well as an equitable CONVERGENCE of permitted 74 2 3 emissions levels between nations. While widely ac4. Governance (global and national) knowledged as an appropriate policy to tackle global 71 5 9 warming, C&C is likely to require the international 5. Environment 62 3 2 political framework offered by Simpol if it is ever to be 6. Human Rights 52 7 6 implemented. Contraction & Convergence is promoted 7. The system of international trade by the Global Commons Institute www.gci.org.uk. Full 35 6 5 information can be found on their website. 8. Conflict resolution 27 10 4 =9. Understanding between peoples World Transnational Corporation 26 8 10 =9. Disarmament 26 9 8 Regulatory Authority: 83% A: 83% The weighted vote = 3 * number making this top issue + B: 6% 2 * no. making this second placed issue + 1 * no. making C: 6% this third place issue. D: 6% Proposer: Mike Brady There were some additional issues proposed, given in Seconders: John Bunzl, Peter Challen, Bill Clarke, the appendix. Two people commented that the issues Graham Edwards, Doug Everingham, Gerard O’Donovan, are inter-related, which is undoubtedly true. However, Morgan Gallagher, Linda Gamlin, Brian Jenkins, Dawn this does not mean that Adopters necessarily believe Johnson, Chaitanya Kalevar, Brendan Maher, Caroline all of these issues should be addressed by the Simpol or Mitchinson Lawther, Ruth Moss, Jill Philips, Jilna Shah, that there is no need to add other issues. Shilpa Shah, Jonathan Ward, Brian Wills, Valerie Yule. Summary: This new body will be responsible for ensurPolicies are given below with the votes according to the ing that transnational corporations abide by existing following key:
Annual Vote 2009
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human rights, environmental, labour and other relevant agreements. It will accept reports of breaches from appropriate authorities or public petition and, if it finds there is a case to answer, will bring a prosecution before the International Criminal Court. The Court will be empowered to levy fines based on annual turnover on the corporation and to award governments the right to levy punitive tariffs on the home government of the corporation for seeking an unfair competitive advantage by failing to enforce the agreements. Corporations with a turnover and geographic coverage above set minimums will be required to register as ‘globally incorporated companies’ and submit annual independently-audited reports of their performance against standards already agreed to in the UN Global Compact for assessment.
Nuclear Disarmament: 73%
A: 73% B: 7% C: 10% D: 9% Proposer: Mark Horler Summary: Nuclear weapons pose a risk to all human life, to our civilisations and also to the biosphere upon which we depend (though we may not think it) for our survival. This is one of the most fundamental risks we face as a species – from catastrophic loss of life to the worst case scenario of extinction. We must deal with this now. I can only suggest that all visit the CND site: www.cnduk.org. Also I suggest reading ‘The fate of the earth’ by Jonathan Schell.
Beyond GDP: 72%
A: 72% B: 7% C: 13% D: 8% Proposer: Brian Wills Seconders: Diana Trimble, Brendan Maher, Graham Edwards, Doug Everingham, Peter Challen, Brian Jenkins, Hugh Steadman, Richard Lawson, Mark Braund. Summary: Complement Gross Domestic Product as a money-based index of national wealth with a basket of indicators that prioritise health, social and environmental criteria. In the knowledge that health, social and environmental statistics are as important as economic ones in the comparative measurement of each nation’s wealth, governments should agree to complement GDP with a basket of indicators that prioritise these additional criteria, presented in a document for implementation through the UN or another appropriate international organisation or treaty.
The Oil Depletion Protocol: 71%
A: 71% B: 6% C: 12% D: 12% Proposer: Tony Troughton-Smith Summary: The Oil Depletion Protocol, also called the Rimini (or Uppsala) Protocol, describes a plan for the equitable international management of oil supplies
during the impending period of escalating depletion, to mitigate the effects as fairly as possible between and within countries, prevent corporate and national profiteering and encourage an orderly transition to a period of global energy shortage. The Protocol requires and encourages increasing co-operation between countries, societies and private corporations, reminding all that we share a single, finite planet. A new initiative by the Post Carbon Institute provides the facility for organisations and individuals to adopt the ODP (much as Simpol supporters adopt the Simpol idea). ODP adopters pledge to reduce their energy usage by 25% over the next 10 years.
The Tobin Tax: 67%
A: 67% B: 6% C: 12% D: 15% Proposer: J A Murray McGrath Summary: The Tobin Tax, as I understand it, is a very small percentage (say, 0.5%) on all money market transactions. It would produce a huge income from activity which is totally non-productive. Check it out on: http:// www.ceedweb.org/iirp/ and http://www.tobintax.org. uk/.
International Clearing Union: 67%
A: 67% B: 8% C: 12% D: 13% Proposer: David Smith Summary: This proposal was made by John Maynard Keynes in 1942 and was featured in George Monbiot’s book: ‘Age of Consent’. The object is to provide a mechanism to ensure every nation maintains what Monbiot calls a ‘balance of trade’, but is more correctly called a balance of payments. Experience has shown that once a small to medium nation gets seriously into deficit it can never climb out. Also the mad scramble to try to run a surMore encourages destructive trade. Keynes’ key innovation was to give creditor nations an incentive to come back into balance as well as debtor nations. The US was determined to run a surMore after the second world war, and so Keynes’ proposal was rejected at Bretton Woods.
International Farm Animal Welfare Standards: 67%
A: 67% B: 3% C: 26% D: 3% Proposer: Diana Trimble Seconders: Denis Robb (UK), Rory Short (South Africa), Brian Willis – (France), Syd Baumel (Canada), Hayley Warner (UK), Suzanne Trimble (USA), Barbara Panvel (UK), Spinoza Pitman (UK), Bill Clarke. Summary: With the help of Compassion in World Farming, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
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Animals, Simpol Adopters, small farmers and animal health professionals, strict guidelines for acceptable levels of care for each type of animal, covering environment (physical space, socialisation, access to outdoors), handling, treatment, methods of slaughter, hygiene, and waste disposal will be developed into a document for International ratification. These guidelines would be part of the Simpol policy package of interconnected economic, environmental, labour, health, and aid policies, to ensure that no nation need risk competitive disadvantage when making obvious ethical and healthy choices.
Remodeling Companies to Become Stakeholder-Governed Organisations: 65%
A: 65% B: 7% C: 15% D: 13% Proposers: Brian Wills and Patrick Andrews Summary: International legislation to replace archaic joint stock company law is now urgently required to “turn multinational corporations into nested networks of stakeholder-governed organisations accountable to local citizens” (Shann Turnbull).
A Defensive Defense Policy: 64%
A: 64% B: 7% C: 14% D: 15% Proposer: Barbara Panvel Summary: I propose that we work to encourage all nations to follow the example of the governments of Sweden, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland in adopting a defensive defence policy. Some groundwork has been done in the UK [follow the link for information on other countries]. Dr Steve Schofield was commissioned to write a research report on the implications for the UK of adopting such a policy. It was launched in a Commons committee room in December 2002 by former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle. In addition to those attending interest and support was expressed by forty-six people with a good track record, including nine MPs, one being Simpol’s Andrew George, and two former MPs, Alice Mahon and Tony Benn. Three people have agreed to show the excellent video/DVD “War no More” and open a dis-
cussion about defensive defence. Simpol-UK’s backing and promotion would be of great benefit to this cause which is in harmony with Simpol’s desire to adopt policies leading to a more peaceful world.
Policies dropping out of the process Policies receiving less than 50% approval drop out of the process, but in the next round of voting there will be a chance to save the policies with a ‘keep’ vote, before it is archived. However, in this round, all policies achieved above 50% of the vote. One policy that took part in the 2008 vote was withdrawn by the proposer and so did not take part in the 2009 vote: Weapons spending excluded from GDP calculations.
Policies failing a ‘last chance’ vote Adopters could vote to keep the following policies in the process, but none gained the 50% vote necessary. There was some rallying around the Monetary Reform, but this didn’t quite gain the 50% support required to remain in the process. However, it can be resubmitted in the same or revised form. Monetary reform: 47% vote to keep it in the process. ETI (Environmental Tax on Imports): 31% vote to keep it in the process.
Prepared by: Mike Brady, Organiser of the 2009 vote on behalf of the Simpol-UK Policy Committee To take part in the Policy Committee email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SUMMARY: SIMPOL POLICY VOTE 2010 TOP 3 ISSUES: 1. CLIMATE CHANGE; 2. INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL MARKETS & OTHER FINANCIAL ISSUES; 3. THE POWER OF TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS The Simultaneous Policy
Rant of the Month
What makes you REALLY MAD? What do you find baffling and strange about the way the world works today? What makes you want to hit the CAPS LOCK key, type in BOLDFACE and double up on the exclamation points?!! We invite all Adopters to send us their most unexpurgated opinions and we’ll select the best examples for publication as the….
RANT OF THE MONTH! by Patrice Greanville
Disclaimer: The views in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Simpol organisation. But they might, and often do. THERE ARE SIMPLY NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE MY FEELINGS OF ANGER AND FRUSTRATION IN CONNECTION WITH THE BP GULF COAST DISASTER!!! APPALLED might come close. OUTRAGED even closer. For this man-made calamity was long foretold, it was long announced, and any person of average education and intelligence could have acquired the facts about the situation and arrived at the obvious conclusions. AND DONE SOMETHING!!!!! But little was done, because lacking organizations to mobilize political action, lacking real representation, most Americans are essentially helpless in these situations; perennially blindsided by a system that automatically engenders such tragedies. SO NOW WE WITNESS AN EVENT THAT MARKS A TURNING POINT IN THE DEGREE OF LETHALITY TRIGGERED BY HUMAN ACTION ON THIS HELPLESS PLANET, THE ULTIMATE MOTHER AND HOME WE AND OTHER CREATURES WILL EVER HAVE!!!!!!! Please do NOT confuse my words with what some enemies of environmental protection deride as "treehugging" sentimentality!!! Those are the simple facts, and they're impeccably argued in Joel Kovel's mustread THE ENEMY OF NATURE, an indispensable tool for anyone seeking answers to the ecological crisis and the path toward ecosocialism. A CALLOUS NEGLECT OF CRIMINAL MAGNITUDE!!! BP's oil blowout in the Gulf Coast is a tragedy of TRULY INCALCULABLE DIMENSIONS!!!! In all likelihood a far more severe reminder than the Exxon Valdez of humanity's malignant connection with oil. The global corporate class—which has effectively blocked and coopted humanity's advance toward a more democratic and probably "ecofriendlier" world for many decades—had ample warning about the high probability of ecological cost resulting from its short-term profit policies. Mostly unreported or downplayed by the corporate media, which every day that passes lengthens its record of complicity in its masters' crimes (and I'm not even thinking here of Fox News, which is by design a criminal enterprise), the oil industry has seen thou
sands of accidents injurious to the environment just in the last quarter century!!!!! Many of these in the Gulf Coast (there have been offshore rigs in salt water since 1896, see footnote below), on platforms similar to BP's Deepwater Horizon, which now threatens to wipe out a huge and critical ecosystem in a single blow!!!!! HOW COULD ANYTHING SO DESPICABLE, AFFECTING AT LEAST FOUR STATES, THE HEALTH OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS, COUNTLESS ANIMALS, AND PRECIOUS SWAMPLANDS, HAPPEN SO EASILY????? The short answer that few want to hear is that with this incident the Gulf Coast was at last predictably sacrificed to CAPITALISM on the scaffolding of political chicanery it has erected over many decades to hide its PESTILENTIAL CONTROL OF ALL POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS IN AMERICA. IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As far as the Earth is concerned, a business firm operating in the merry Reaganesque/Thatcherite universe of unregulated capitalism is an INSIDIOUS CANCER engaged in obsessive expansion till its host collapses. And harbor no illusions: regulated capitalism can only delay the inevitable, for even under "best behaviour" a capitalist entity that indulges its central defining obsession to grow continually at all costs in a very finite and increasingly fragile planet is clearly on a collision course with nature. In this context, Sarah Palin's idiotic and jarring chant, "Drill, Baby, Drill" attains a new level of imbecility: criminal imbecility! BUT REVOLTING AS PALIN IS, SHE'S ONLY A SYMPTOM, A FRONT, FOR AN ANTISOCIAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE WHICH, GIVEN THE UNDENIABLE INTERCONNECTIONS, MUST INCLUDE THE MEDIA ESTABLISHMENT. The rhetoric may occasionally diverge, but the congruency of purpose speaks for itself. Only recently Barack Obama, using basically the same spurious arguments as Palin and her cohorts ("energy independence," "national security", "jobs that can't be outsourced") gave the green light to further offshore drilling in several areas of the US continental shelf, including extremely fragile areas in Northern Alaska. While many Americans saw this as an outrage, another instance in Obama's lengthening list of betrayals of the public interest (duly wrapped in excellent demagogy, of course), IT WAS TO BE EXPECTED.
The Simultaneous Policy
Rant of the Month
Meanwhile, little protest was seen or heard on the media, in part due to the abject subservience to power of the "free press", and, also as a result of the environmental movement's alarming co-optation and bureaucratization AT THE HANDS OF THE SAME CORPORATE CLASS!!!!! Thus, by the same unwritten process of exclusion by which true critics of the American "way of governing" have been silenced for generations, what voices were mustered to speak "for the movement" were those sure to represent the most mainstream and least confrontational viewpoints, and NOT the radical critics: precisely the ones the public desperately needs to hear!!!!! Being the most rabidly capitalistic, the Anglo-American business class and its political allies bears the most responsibility for this tragedy. Domestically, and for generations now, administration after administration has dragged its feet in terms of decisive environmental protection and restoration, when not actively behaving as a PIMP handing over the nation's natural assets to the business suits for what amounts in most cases to a pittance. (An unremarked aspect of mainstream political life in these United States is how cheap American politicians really are!! Firms with UNTOLD BILLIONS in their coffers can often buy Congressional and White House influence for a few thousand dollars, the services of a call girl or a trinket, or sums that are cigarette money around their boardrooms!!!!! When it comes to buying whores—and I mean no disrespect to real working girls who ply a risky and underappreciated trade— the American political system offers the world's best bargains!!!!!) So, unlike Katrina, an event clearly well outside our ability to control, the truly OUTRAGEOUS part of the Gulf Coast disaster is that, as mentioned earlier, it was caused by deliberate political choices, from Reagan and Bush's complete abandonment of the environment, to the tender mercies of the corporate class, to the limp-wrist protections advanced by the likes of Clinton. At the end of the day we need to admit to ourselves that the technology was or could have been there, if the nation had committed itself to a non-hydrocarbon regime. SURELY IF WE COULD PUT A MAN ON THE MOON, WE COULD MUSTER THE RESOURCES AND KNOW-HOW TO MAKE THE NECESSARY BREAKTHROUGHS IN ENERGY DESIGN, CONVERSION AND IMPLEMENTATION FOR A NEW ENERGY PROTOCOL, INCLUDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SPANKING NEW INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ALTERNATIVE FUELS DISTRIBUTION. (This alone would have energized the economy through the creation of millions of non-exportable jobs.) In addition, a vigorous government program to develop and adopt strong energy efficiency standards (the CAFE standards continue to be ludicrous in their timidity and overall ineffectiveness, logical when you allow industry to set up the goals) would have spared the biosphere enormous punishment in all areas of public and private use. All the above are pretty obvious proposals, requiring
little specialized expertise, only honesty and seriousness of purpose. But, as it so often happens when a government cannot implement the most natural solutions (remember the healthcare "reform" imbroglio) and must bend over backward to accommodate the TOXIC INTERESTS of a puny segment of the population, little was done, and the crisis is upon US!!!!!!!! The HIGHJACKING of the American government by the plutocracy and its myriad agents PREVENTS at this point ANY meaningful redress of grievances via the prescribed rules of democracy!!! THE FIX IS IN and no real solutions are to be contemplated in earnest (again the specter of the scandalously flawed healthcare "reform" and Cop-15 come to mind; see, for example "Confidential document reveals Obama's hardline climate talk strategy"). With A LOT of deliberate help from the Right, which has funded the greatest and smoothest propaganda campaign in the history of modern times, a battle of communications they have largely won (see SUICIDE BY REGRESSIVISM, for example) the US has finally become a formal democracy. AND, LIKE LAYERS OF A ROTTING MASK, THE TRUE FACE OF THE SYSTEM IS EMERGING. Katrina showed the racist underpinnings of the highest echelons of power. The recent mining disasters gave us further proof that corporations continue to PLAY with the workers' LIVES with virtual impunity. AND THE EXXON VALDEZ AND NOW THE BP OIL DISASTER REMINDS US OF THE CRIMINAL INDIFFERENCE IN WHICH THE ENVIRONMENT IS HELD BY THE SAME INTERESTS!!!!! Clearly action is required, but action is NOT going to come from the formal quarters, for they are NOT the cure, THEY'RE THE DISEASE!!!!! BORN IF NOTHING ELSE OF SHEER REVULSION, A CITIZENS' MOVEMENT HAS TO TAKE OFF IN THIS NATION, A MOVEMENT CAPABLE OF GENERATING INSTRUMENTS OF CLASS AND ENVIRONMENTAL SELFDEFENSE, LIKE A NEW PARTY, AND NEW ELECTORAL AND NON-ELECTORAL STRATEGIES!!!!!!! A MOVEMENT capable of seeing CLEARLY who is a friend and who is not, and fully capable of discerning who's the real enemy. This takes serious dedication to seeking mind-liberating information, and then figuring out viable courses of action. WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE YOUR EFFORT COUNT!!!!! Only deepening your knowledge of American political reality can facilitate fruitful work. In that spirit, I do hope these essays help to empower you. ___________________________________ Patrice Greanville is Editor in Chief and Founder of Cyrano's Journal, the first US radical media review. His writings have focused on economics, American culture, the US party system, and the consequences of corporate control over media, especially on US domestic and foreign policies. Ed. - I highly recommend both www.bestcyrano.org and www.greanvillepost.com
The Simultaneous Policy
Images from Copenhagen December 2010
To see more photos, including the incredible graffiti around the Climate Camp HQ: http://www.flickr.com/photos/66witches/ The Simultaneous Policy