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INSIDE:Intermediate Technology China* DIY Duplicating* Alternative Socialism* Green Bans*Nuclear DebateaHydmponics Autonomous House* Ley Lines* A Glimpse Into The Future8tmm

Appropriate Technology and the Third World: What is to be done?

Apply now to start in September 1976 This three and threequarter year course offers you the opportunity to study the natural and social p2 sciences and their interdependence. You can enter 2; with A levels in m y two subjects. The course provides an understandingof the complex relationships between society and techrfology, enabling you not only to understand your own place in contemporary society, but to work responsibly with the benefits that technology can bring. :*,

Write or telephone for further details and an application form to: The Admissions Office, Middlesex Polytechnic (Ref. Cl14). 82-88 Church Street, Edmonton, London N 9 9PD. telephone 01-807 9001-2. f

SOCIETY for ANGLQ-CHINESE UNDERSTANDING exists to promote friendship and mutuat understandingftetweanthe people of Britain and China. Open t o at1 interested i n China. CHI NA NOW Illustrated magazine ten times a year. Comprehensivecoverage of Chinese society, analysisof events, impressions from residents and visitors. Book reviews. LIBRARY (A.C.E.I.) Open to all, weekly 10-6,

BSc. (Hons) Social and Physical Sciences Our concerns are well expressed by Theodore Roszak i n Where the Wasteland Ends: 'Science i s not, i n my view, merely another subject for.. discussion. It i s the subject. It i s the prime expression o f the West's cultural uniqueness, the secret o f our extraordinary dynamism, the keystone of technocratic p o l i t i c s , the curse and the g i f t we bring t o history. Where social thought on the dilemmas o f urban-industrial l i f e refuses to touch science c r i t i c a l l y i t betrays i t s essential conservatism and can only f i n i s h with shallow understanding". I f these concerns are yours and i f you are' interested i n interdisciplinary study i n a demanding context, then write f o r further details t o the Senior Faculty Assistant, Faculty o f Science and Technology, Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, El l i s o n Building. E l m n Place, Newcastle upon Ty* NE1 8ST.

1f Newcastleupob~yneI I



and booklets, /sts. SPEAKERS On sit aspects of China for outside organimtfons in aft areas. VISUAL A I DS Films, slides, pho to-displays, exhibition scrolls, postage stamp collection for hire at moderate charges. LISis; TOURS We arrange a number of study tours to China each year. Applications welcomed. PUBLIC MEETINGS and study cour^sarranged. for further details send SAE t o '. SACU, 152 CAMDEN HIGH STREET, LONDON NW1 ONE (tel 01-485 8236)



The standard work on radical land reform. Alternatives for agriculture and rural communities. 144 pages, over 30 illustrations. Ă‚ÂŁ1.2(incl. p&p) from Crescent Books, 8A Leighton Crescent, London NW5.

1 c'm'wi's

Number 18 October-November 1976

EDDIES.. News, Scandal and Gossip about Lockheed, Swindon Viewpoint, Lucas, F.O.E., Nuclear Weaponry, Squatting hints, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, etc. COMTEK 76. A pictorial record. 6 IRRELEVANT TECHNOLOGY. RichardDisney writes of the benefits, or 8 otherwise, of Intermediate Technology in developing countries. 10 A LETTER FROM MENDI. The impact of Western Technology on high . school children in Papua, Geoff Smith's impressions as a local teacher.


11 12

WHO DOES WHAT IN I.T. People and Organisations in the development set, a gazetteer. PUT POLITICS IN COMMAND. The control, Chinese style, of technology by politics described by Joseph Needham.


SECOND .CLASS CAPITALISM. Simon Watt asks: What good can Intermediate Technology do until the imbalance between city and country, rich and poor, has been redressed?


LET THEM EAT OATS. Even jimmy Carter read Small is Beautiful, Byron Kennard reports on the growing appropriate technology industry in California,




A graphic look at the development game, by Richard Disney and RichardBoone.


ALTERNATIVE ROADERS. Mike George airs his views on the Alternative Socialism Pamphlet.


HOW NQT TO HAVE A GREEN BAN. The concrete jungle marches on, despite an attemptedgreenban in Hammersmith.


GLASS STRUGGLE. Dave Ellioqt describes how the Lucas initiative is catching on. The story of the Swedish bottle workers struggle to produce socially useful products. . .


ATOMIC WHITEWASH. How British Nuclear Fuels obscure the central issues of the nuclear debate in the Cumbrian local papers. THE ANSWER LIES IN THGCHEMICALS. Experimental hydroponic gardening in Kentish Town and Putney./eff Wright reports.






PRINT IT YOURSELF. Easy access to print is a powerful political weapon. iohnathon Zeitlyn gives details of a readily built do-it-yourself duplicating machine.


BOTTLING SUN. Details of a self-built autonomous house in Sydney, New SoutMales.


30 YEARS ON. The winner of a recent competition shows us a glimpse of life in England in the year 2000. EDITORIAL. Why don't YOU write for Undercurrents. RUBBING OUT THE HABBIT. A massage technique for giving up smoking. , THE LINEAR DREAM. The ley-linesare just due to chance, says Bob Forrest. There are so many ancient sites around that some are bound to align. HOW TO MAKE A LEY DETECTOR. Qui ley-lines be objectively verified? RichardElen describes some hardware that could do the trick. , I N THE MAKING. The first of a series of supplements to the I n The Making catalogue. LETTERS. Your chance to get even.. a 41 REVIEWS. Criticism, or praise, of books on magic,political espionage, food waste, New Zealand communes, the radio-carbon revolution, Findhorn, housing polky, Silbury, workers' self-management, megaliths, alternative publishing, plus some others and Round-up. 47 SMALL ADS. 48 ' SUBSCRIPTION FORM and EVENTS: Ăƒ '


Undercurrents 11


idea's getting THERE ARE SIGNS that the Lucas Aerospace workers campaign to WOT]

TV without frills. -don's

next door to the hairdressers.

on 'socially useful products' is beginning to make an impact. Management at the company's Burnley plant have given their blessing to a heat pump development programme and have expressed their willingness to discuss other non-aerospace proposals with the workforce. This is in spite of the fact that the company's national management have rejected the Combine, Shop Stewards Committee's Corporate Plan, as reported in Undercurrent! 17.

community station lives in an ordinary snup -

Swindon inherits Viewpoint SWINDON VIEWPOINT, one of five experimental local TV stationsset up in 1973, has been handed over to the community. EMI, who funded the station for the first three years of its operation, have sold their interest to a local group for a nominal £1A management committee of seven was elected at a public meeting held at the beginning of September and they will take over on October 1st. This will be a welcome development to those critics who felt that the original involvement of commercial electronic interests was difficult t~ reconcile with a true community service (see Undercurrents 7).V i e ~ v o h t representatives are at great p i n s to point out that EM1 maintained a tow profile during their three year honeymoon and that the station had , developed independently according to the ideas of its staff and the people of Swindon. In early 1975 EM1 declined a government offer to allow limited advertising and would seem to have recouped little, if anything, of their £200.00 investment. Under new management the station will have to find£60,00each year to meet its running costs. Staff are confident that this can be done through grants, whiprounds and voluntary fund-raising activities. They will also try to raise some advertising revenue, although the regulations limit them to the use of captions outside of normal broadcasting hours. Viewpoint originates about five hours of programme material every . week, most of which is subsequently repeated. They say that the job would be impossible if it wasn't for the e n t h u s h n of the peopleof windo on who. constantly approach the staff with ideas for events to cover and features to make. ~ o m e t i h e people s ate just taught,to use video equipment and-then sent away to put together their own programdies. The station covers a wide range of local activities, with a strong emphasis on the ordinary: village fetes, folk-singing, beauty contests and the like. They also carried a report about Comtek recently. Viewpoint's main problem is that it is limited to the Radio Rentals cable TV network which is available in about half of the town, mostly on new housing estates. They have about 10,000 subscribers, but this figure has fallen from a peak of 15,600. Until recently Swindon was very badly served by TV transmitters and the cable network was a good deal at about 17p a week, but recently this situation has improved and many customers are turning to off-air reception. It would be a good moment for the govemment to sanction a broadcast experiment for local TV but they,seem hardly likelyto. If anything they are rather embarrassed that anyone except the two major networks should get their hands on such a powerful medium, and probably wouldn't shed too many tears if Viewpoint went the same way as the unsuccessfulexperiments in Bristol and Greenwich.




The Burnley initiative follows a well attended public meeting at the end ofJuly organised by local shop stewards. This was the first of a series of gatherings aimed at building up commitment and involvement at individual sites as a part of the CSSC's response to national management's rejection of their proposals. A large part of Lucas Burnley management attended the meeting 'in a private capacity' and it transpired that many of them were enthusiastic about the CorporatePlan. They regard it as long overdue both ' technically and in terms of their own job security. Burnley AUEW convenor Mike Cooney introduced Brian Salisbury, chairman of the Birmingham Combine Liaison Committee, who described how a cutdown version of the CorporatePlan had already saved jobs at the Marsden Green plant. Mike Cooley, a member of the national CSSC, outlined the plan add its detailed implications, and showed a film of the prototype hybrid roadltail vehicle, which is one of the products proposed in the plan. Dave Elliott described someof the possible alternative energy technologies that could be considered. Burnley used to produce heat pumps, which explains interest in reviving this product, especially since several local authorities are thinking of using them in new housing estate schemes. Stewards said that they regarded local managers as workers like themselves and hoped that ultimately they w6uld join them as trade unionists. Workforce representatives were keen to involve local managers in implementing the plan but they thought it was no use waiting for management, either nationally or bcally, to initiate the implementation themselves. It had been generated by the workforce through

the combine and would have to bi implemented and coordinated by the workforce both at local andnational level. More people would be committed to this struggle if redundancies were an immediate threat, but there were many who could see the logic of acting befor such a crisis arose. They had teamed from the Chrysler debacle

Chrysler The meeting heard that Chrysler workers themselves were adopting the same idea. A recent policy statement by the joint delegation Chrysler stewards and staff representatives said: "The widespread ecoloHca4 and environmental criticism of the private petrol driven car as a socially irresponsibleform of transport suggests t o us that we must explore the feasibility of nev kinds of products o f a socially useful kind to harness the skills of the existing workforce and the existing plant and machinery, and to divert it away from a commodii whose profitability and usefulness is rapidly declining. . . The lon~ waiting list for British buses and coaches, landrovers, diesel engines: agricultural tractors and heavy trucks shows the need that exists for this kind of vehicle."


Parsons, Cut-backs in CEGB-orders for electricity generating equipment have also led workers atC & A Pam in Newdstle to begin their own corporate plan, suggesting alternative products on which'they could work usefully rather than face redundancy. Electricity demand has fallen by 5% over the past year, much to the constemation of CEGB planners. ' Parsons workers hope to convert this problem into an opportunity qt explore other forms of electricity generation. 'Rocking Duck' harnessing of wave power seems to -

Undercurrents 18.




US workers campaign against armaments and waste .

around be a possible choice, given Parsoy' heavy engineering orientation. -

s&s Workers at Scraggs and Son, a firm of textile machinery manufacturers in Manchester, are currently faced' with a complete factory closure, and 220 redundancies, within 90 days, unless they can come up with some proposals for alternative products. The stewards have adopted the Lucas strategy and are currently putting together an alternative corporate plan. A wide range of ideas* being considered, both within the conventional textile industry and outside. .. althougb no'one has yet suggested going bade to silkworms! An in all it looks like the fight for the implementation of alternative technologies of various types could soon become part of the daily shop-floor struggle thoughout industry.



"A SOLAR. UNIT for every American home. N o i i reduction units for America's factories. People movers for our big cities. New ventilation systems for noxious workplaces: these are the places where US aerospace workers . are likely to find empUfment in the upcoming years." Echoing thebppes of the wotkeis at Lucas Aerospace in Britain, this US United Autoworkers statement, part of a resolution at a recent Aerospace conference, indicates that Lucas-style diversification is being considered. At the same time "Peace Conversion' activists in San Francisco have been showing that military oriented aerospace technology,being capital-intensive,creates few jobs,and that many more jobs would be produced by-civilian orientated production. Typical figures are 8,250jobs for each billion dollars spent on the Trident missile, cornpared with 102,250jobsfor the same investment in public servicejobs. the ones who'decide how much is objectively about the* things Obviously aerospace f i i can't to be spent."And yet in practice within the context of management/ switch overnight to these public employee relations. You like to service activities, but there are signs the UAW supports continued military production. tl&& that you're important that workers in the industry are The workers at ^Lockheed epough, that they're going to listen thinking more broadly about apparently realise that if they are to to you, but then you find that realistic types of diversification. they're not taking you seriously." go further than this rhetoric they A machinist at Lockheed in CaliWhether such attitudes will for& felt that Lockheed should will need grass roots action - they make "advanced medical equipment can't rely on the union bureaucracy, cohere into a force strong enough to change a company as tough as and communicationequipment. . As one said "The union could play Lockheed remains to be seen AS Their expertise could be aimed at the most important role but it will non-polluting energy resources like never do it because it isnot oriented one worker put it, "The people in power won't pay for mass transit. .solar power devices." to being a leader in the field of Thefn only pay money for As yet this enthusiasm has not progm~or revolution. The IAM violence and death. It's been that turned int action - partly because (machinists' union) staunchly starting way dace the begin*, the u m q are l not interegted believe* that the type of work the with killing (he Indians." despite the rhetozjc of their w r facaity &oe*isthe management's US commentators feel that such ship. For example the UAW Educaprerogative.." changes can only come about by tion Party has declared "Aa anation Interestingly, as at Lucas, even a radical shift of both ownership we do not spend so much money who in the US are senior e-m, and control - amounting virtually on the military because we need to, traditionally anti-union, are to nationalisation under workers' nor do we spend so much money beginning to see the light. As one because most of us want to. We put it, it was an "unfortunate spend so mcuh as waste because the thing. . .having to organise 01 people who gain from the waste are band together in order totalk


Not in front of the grown ups


THE CAMPAIGN FOR Nuclear Disarmament's Open Door programmeAll Against the Bomb has been censored by the BBC, as avid readersof the national press win be aware. Sequences from a 1974 Midweek programme showing Polaris crew members talkjng frankly (you could aliriost say disarmingly) about the mass destruction of civilian targets, were cut from All Against the Bomb by BBC top brass. They say that it was because the sequences were 'out of context*,although vigorous Ministry of Defence representations are thought to have had something to do With it. But there was an earlier instance of BBC interference "withthe programme which also throws doubt on the openness of the renowned community access dot. CND people originally wanted to include sequences from Peter Watkins' documentary The War Game, which is as frighteningly accurate about

the consequences of nuclear attack that it remains banned from the television screen after eleven years. . The programme is frequently shown in cinemas and private gatherings ' and is distributed by the British Film Institute by arrangement with. the BBC. When BBC officials heard about CND's intention to screen sequences from this forbidden film tfiey went into a flap and the matter was referred upwards until it eventually reached the commanding heights of the Corporation's Court of Governors. There the sequences were vetoed on the grounds that the BBC has not yet reached a decision on when or whether to broadcast The War Game.This is surprising since the state broadcasting service has never shown the slightest interest in screeningthis programme since their psigh3 decision to suppressit way back in 1965. -2

called City Farm 1and run by Interaction. The project has been running for four years and is principally to enable kids from the concretejungle to taste mme of the delights of country life, such as barnyard visits and horse riding. There's a lot of vegetable gardening going onthere, too. Interaction are pleased with the success of the scheme and are keen to see it spread, so they have get up the City Farm Land Bank to raise money for similar projects elsewhere. It will try to obtain wasteland in cities througl~~ut the United Kingdom for medium and long-term use. The land milbe held in trust at a nominal rent and returned to its owners when they it back. Load authoritiesand British Rail are expected to be the main ce of bad for this purpose. Further details available from Ed Bennafi, Interaction, 14 T m Road, London NW5 (01-2671422).





Undercurrents 1 \

energy probe FRIENDS OF THE EARTH have produced a 45-part questionnaire in an attempt to elicit information from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate. This is in response to a Parliamentary statement by Tony Benn back in July that he was invitimf any interested orgadsations Of individuals to submit questions to the NU. 1 n a recent statement FOEwelcome this initiative and express the hope that when the auestions and answers are oubushed contribute to greater publicawareness of some technical aspects they of nuclear power. But the NII will be hard pressed to meet FOE'Sexacting standards in responding to the questionnaire. The various British institutions and procedures for ensuring nuclear safety and security have accumulated in a random and ad hoc way and it is by no means clear what aspects of nuclear control the Nil regards itself as responsible for. In particular the NII has an ill-defined role in 'security' and the draconian measures which might be taken t o prevent 'diversion' of or 'interference' with, nuclear materials ahd installations. Responsibility for "security, including the corps of armed special constables, rests with the UKAEA and the C a B where appropriate, and it is doubtful if the Nil exercises a strong independent vigilance over their activities. The questionnaire covers the whole range of nuclear safety issues qnd the answers, when published, are sure to be revealing. What is the current amount of 'Material Unaccounted For' at nuclear installations? What is the life expectancy of the containers used to dump radioactive waste into the sea? Is there an exchange of experimental data between the UK and the US. France and the USSR? Are safety assumptions based on experimental evidence or on mathematical models and computer extrapolations? Other questions request details about a considerable catalogue of errors and accidents which the pro-nuclear lobby would doubtless prefer t o forget about,

Saving it Meanwhile Durham FOEhave received a boost to their house insulation campaign in the shape of government imitation. The Department of Energy has sent a circular to all local authorities suggesting insulation schemes within the job cteation programme, under which they will be able to buy materials at a 40%discount. There are further giants available for insulating the homes of the elderly and disabled, although in all other cases the money will have to be found from the hard-pressed rates. At a press conference Gordon Oakes, the Minister in charge of the scheme, paid tribute to FOEand other voluntary organisations for drawing attention to 'the enormous gap in insulation in the council

house sector." FOE say the scheme doesn't go as far as it ought, though, since it is really about loft-insulation and not about all the other types of heattoss which houses suffer from. . 'Unless homes are comprehensively insulated to prevent heat loss through draughts, walls and windows, etc. then loft insulation alone cannot be effective.' is how they see it.

Filling it Support for this view comes from the National Cavity Insulation Association, who have issued a statement regretting the fact that ICI have put their cavity insulation subsidiary up for sale. The NCIA say that their industry is still in the doldrums following a period in 1975 when the government placed cavity insulation under the Building Regulations and virtually stifled the idea with red tape. Although this situation has been rectified and householders are now free to make their own decisions about cavity insulation, trade has yet to recover and is currently running at a paltry 25%ofits end 1974 level (20,000 homes a year, , instead of 80,000). The N C I A p n t the government to launch a massive publicity campaign to persuade householders of the desirability of cavity insulation. It would be very lucrative for them, of course.

THIS WEEK'S SQUATTING HINT: try a foreign embassy, particulariy one belonging t o a country that we don't have diplomatic relations with. There are a suiprisingly luge number of these around Rhodesia House has been gathering dust in the Strand now for nigh on eleven years, while just around the corner in Trafalgar Square the Ugandan High ConUnisa01 lies in wait for anyone with an East African bent. People harbouring designs on the Icelandic Embassy in the heart of trendy Chelsea will have to wait until the next cod war, however; it was reoccupied when Britain capitulated in the last one. " The picture shows the discreetly palatial Cambodian Embassy, which was recently liberated by a squatters*group after lying empty for quite some time. The inmates feel rather more secure than most squatters since the building is officially Cambodian territory and is therefore, by any standards, just the sort of no-go area that Sir Robert Mark says he doesn't like. We earnestly hope that when the Khmer Rouge eventually reach St John's Wood they aren't too appalled by scenes of bourgeois decadenc going on inside.'


A matter of good breeding

THE COUNTY SHOWS which take place around the country each summer might not seem the most fertile ground for AT enthusiasts. But if you were at the Surrey county show, or one of the others where the rare Breeds Survivial Trust mounted exhibitions, then you might have had cause for thought. Of the many breeds of sheep and cattle in the country onl'y a few are present in large numbers. Over 20 breeds have Switching it off &me extinct since the war. Trend-settingshoppers in KensingThe Rare Breeds SurvivalTrust Ă&#x201A;ÂĽtoHigh Street will have to look was set up in 1973 following cona little bit harder for the latest cern by some farmers, scientists thing if West London FOE have and conservationists about this loss their way. Since January 1975 it of valuable genetic resources. The has been illegal to use electricity in , Trust now has over 1500 members, daylight hours to light advertising about one-third of whom breed signs and shop window displays. something. It has no full-time staff; The law is widely flouted and the only one part-time secretary. DEn doesn't spend much effort The Trust is keeping an eye on enforcing it these days, especially between 50-60 breeds, ranging with the CEGB's gigantic surplus from those on the edge of capacity and a clear commitment extinction, (e.g. Glodcester cattle on their part to selling as much with only around 70 pure bred juice as they can. cows remaining), to Jacob sheep FOE intend to put a stop to all which are enjoying a revival and this, and have declared down town hardly count as rare any more. Kensington as the first 'Energy Indeed some animals may be in Conservation Area'. Persistent danger not because they are contransgressorshave been sent a letter fined to a small area and face reminding,them of their obligation extinction through disease: under the taw of the land, and if Among thbeneficiaries from the they fail t o respond all soits of Trust's activities are the seaweedhorrible things will happen tothem. eating North Ronaldsay sheep in

Orkney. When these unique sheep were threatened recently the T w bought the island of Linga Holm and established a separate breedin unit there. Apart from this kind o headline-grabbing operation the trust works closely with the Meat and Livestock Commission on bul performance testing, is carrying o1 a blood typing programme for ea< breed of British sheep, and is extending this progra-mme to include cattle. If you are setting up a'smallholding or AT community and wai some alternative breeds of sheep, cattle, pigs or poultry, or are just interested, you can find out more about the Trust's work by writing to them: The Secretary, Box 576, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Ltd., c/o The Ark, Winkleigh, Devon, EX19 8SQ.

Joys of nukes

ONE OF OUR Antipodean informants says that Walt Patterson's book Nuclear Power has rise1 to second place in nuclear consdoi Australia's best-selling books list. The Joys of Sex is still miles out front, though, so they'reobviously not giving the problem their undivided attention yet.

Undercurrents 18



Nuclear strike force for Spain? TOP SECRET AGREEMENTS on nuclear weapons development between the Spanish government and the United States is described in detail in documents recently .riven to Undercurrents. The documents were obtained by the Italian magazine l'~spr&o in the course of a wide kvesti@ion of the neo-nazi connections of Dominique De Roux, a French journalist workinn for a leadim French newspaper. - - The dossier, compiled by station at ' i s & , describeshow the construction of a nuclear fibre, in T a n - e n , financed by the United States Eximbank loans, is the first @agein a covert plan to supply nuclear weapons technology t o Spain. The loansand other finance to the Catalan Electric Power Company in excess of slOOillion,are said to have been masterminded by the 'ILN' office of the Pentagon. This office is reputedly concerned in covert overseas f i i c u l and other transactions of the Pentagon.


AMSARmodestly stands for 'Appareil M o d a l Skrdte d'Action Revoluti~naire'(secret worM apparatus for revolutionary action). But according to European political journalists this improbable organ-&ation actually does exist andhas wideextreme right and Nazi transnational connections. It is descended from organisations known as 'La Cagoule' and CASAR, and ultimately from wartime Nazi refugeesand &llaborators. The AMSAR report calls the projected US-Spanish cooperation 'Project F'. ft has three main sections: to provide the Madrid regime with the technological and industrial infrastructure for nuclear power, indirectly financed by the Department of Defense; to provide tee requisite technical inforrnation~ apparently channelled through London and thus avoiding federal ban* on the export of nuclear weapons technology. The third requirement is the rapid training of the first generation of technical military cadres destined to take charge of the future Spanish strategic deterrent force,' ' The report only indirectly hints at the reasons for the United States involvement in this 'Project F. In the event of the breakup or dismantling of NATO, and presumably the Balkanisation of the Scandinavian and East Mediterranean states, the US would rely on a doctrine of 'continental peripheral defense', resting on the possession of nuclear weapons by Britain, France, Spain, and West Germany. In support of this, the report alleges, the Madrid regime sought a 'series of ultra-secret bilateral agreements' with Britain. France i d Germany, to from a'subcontinental strateeic-barrier to face Soviet nuclear towards the west'. The first carriers for the strategic deterrent force may be Polaris type submarines, to be built at Spanish yards with British assistance, the report suggests. Later, silos would be constructed in the Pyrenees, presumably close to those already in use for the French 'Force de Fiappe' nuclear strike force. The AMSAR report states, however, that approaches t o other

governments by Madrid has not been uniformly successful. Although Britain apparently cooperated (in 1972), the German social democratic government was unwilling to enter into any such plans with the Franco r e h e , and &o referred to their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. But private German industrial organisations, some of whom have thhr own nuclear research facilities, apparently proved as ready to coopeiate with the Spanish as they , are now known to have done with the South Africans. The AMSAR report refers to the efforts of organisations We the Hoechst group, and also describes their intention to sabotage the political success of the SPD Social Democrat Party. Hereat feast, it coincides with new established facts. The Anti-Apartheid move- ment ih Europe have expocovert nuclear co-operation with ' the Republic of South Africa o& the last year. And a programme of sabotage of the German social democraticpartybyright wing in&s@ial groups, related'* these , developmentswas among the allegations made privately by , ~ W i l s o n f o l l o w i n ghisresigna-tion and his suggestions of interference in British political affairs by South Africans and others. The French government reportedly also refused t o play tall as a result of the strong American involvement in the project. However, the Minister for Industrial and Scientific Development, Francois-Xavfer Ortoli, is named as having provided assi~tance~in developing the Spanish microelectronics industry. The description of 'Project F' as given in the AMSAR documents, sounds plausible in each of its parts, although there is little , corroborating evidence that th6 Spanish are developing a nuclear deterrent force with US assistance. Nevertheless, it is pre&+y the Tea in which lack of corroboration may be expected. No fiim evidence of theIndian or Israeli bomb proaanune had emeieed before the first tests were made, or weapons detonated. The description of,

prospxtive purchase of submarine designs from Britain has no corroboration also, but this tentalive view may have changed when the British government changed in


.The report was prepared in 1974 and emerged some time later when it was bought by the Italian ^ magazine from a French fascist).

Eat chancers



COMMODITY TRADERS are used to being &pared with the denizens of Las Vegas by their radical critics, most of whom would be at a losst o explain exactly what' doeshappen on the London Metal ~xchangeand other places where commodities, and promises of commodities, change hands. So far as one can make out traders buy and sell anything from gold to soya, ,@her real or anticipated, in order (&&t rich. Gambling is a bizarre &step for getting scarce'resources from people who produce them to, oeovlewho need them. but just at themoment it's the only system we've got. And if the market isn't chancy enough for your tastes there's another way of living really dangerously, and that means taking out a bet with the IG Index. They are a modest outfit based in Tooting whose directors are totally obscure but include the Earl of Birrenhead, a gentleman who never came to your correspondent's notice during eighteen years of existence in that fail town. The IG index really is a gamble. Punters place a bet on ehether the price of gold,for example, & going to rise or fall in the future . . and theirwinnings are proportional to the accuracy of their guess. After many lawyer-yearsof effort the IG are sure that winnings,being derived from a wager, are free of capital gains tax which normally applies to commodity profits, and of income tax,t'oo. W you pay is asmalldiscount to =and betting


tax at an unproFitive 7%%. All beautifully legal. . The Index used to operate in gold atone, but is now runniag in barley, cocoa, coffee, copper, lead, rubber, silver, sugar, tin, wheat and zinc as well. The minimum stake is £we wouldn't mind betting that someone somewhere is getting more than their fair share as usual.

No comment The Mexican peso has sugmounted its most seriou* crisis in 22 years while rflà cuperating in a fashi* which indicates clearly that i t can maintain stability despite continuing heavy pressures. If overcoming adversity it the true test. of monetary stability, i t , might be said that the Mexican peso has proved its stability with fly-




The Undercurrents B lack-and-White supplement brings you holiday snaps from sunny Bath, where Comtek took the dignified Georgian terraces by storm, 14-21 of August. This year's event was more like a'country fair o f yore than an alternative technology festival. i n i t s third year i t ' s become a well-established gathering place for citizens of the alternative society, so if you didn't manage to get along. . . here's the next best thing:

A bamboo and parachute geodesic dome: just pull the rip-cord for instant.. . . well, almost instant . . . . shade.

Potter's wheel in action. Workers from the Snake Pottery in Dursley, Gloucestershire, created a fine range o f pots'n'things during *he week . . . which were fired on site '&is D-I-Y kiln made from old builcf:?t; bricks:

Bike-powered grindstone. Public Transport, from Hull, demonstrating the earliest alternative energy source o f them all.

A near-aerial telephoto shot o f the festival site. Classic Bath looks on.

This dandelion water-pump is destined for a children's playground in Exeter.


Lots of energy was gleefully dissipated on this inflatable whotsit. Experts calculate that a medium-sized industrial town could be powered for several milliseconds on the combined output.

In spite o f the drought enough water was available to demonstrate the effectiveness of this solar heated shower.

A delegation from the Siobodian Institute of Technology. On closer inspection :nev bore a remarkable resemblance to Phantom Captain, of Finchlev Road, NW3.

Bath Council received a torrent o f complaints from residents who thought that Andrew Wood\ statue was going to be a permanent feature.Actually i t was only there for the duration of the festival. What a pity! Strictly intended as a windmill, this device proved a useful outlet for kiddie-power.

No Comtek report would be c - ~ i p ' c t c without windmills. As usual they oresagel the onset o f calm weather.

Undercurrents 1

IRRELEVANT INTERMEDIATE TECHNOLOGY has become the new orthodoxy among those of our rulers who worry about the plight of the Third World. Richard Disney gives a sceptical economist's view of this fashionable panacea for the world's ills and questions the assumptions on which it is bawd. *


,In the 1950s and,196& there was agreement id the self-styled 'lnternational Community' (the fmeign departments of First World Governments, international agencies such as the UN and the World Bankl and the liberal that raoid economic growth in Third World countries (hereafter 3WCs) depended on a combination of capital inflows (private investment and foreign aid) and local indicative planning (mostly by expatriate advisers). The vocabulary of the time revolved round catchphrases such as 'modernisatiom: and 'take-off. That these policies might simply mimic western consumer society in 3WCs was either considered desirable or,not ' considered at dl. The advent o f Coca @la, Persil and Ford in the far-flung corners of the Third Wodd was greeted with muted enthusiasm by the proponents o f this economic strategy, so long as the overriding aim of economic growth was being attained. Unfortunately the collapse of the grandiose plans associated with the first two Development Decades of the United Nations led to widespread pessimism in the lnternational Community in the 1970s. Planning was revealed to be of little use in predicting growth in 3WCs or in indicating how resources could be transferred to more productive uses. Capital inflows had placed a substantial debt burden on these countries. Peasant farming was deliberately starved of capital and then destroyed by mechanisation and monoculture for export to pay off the foreign debts. The peasants flocked to t h e cities to look for work and found there was none to be had. The forced 8rowth stimulated by foreign capital was unable to create jobs ,at the rate they weremeeded. The consequence was rural famine in some countries and more or less muted 'unrest' in all of them.

IT WILL KEEP YOU QUIET Fear of the revolutionary changes this creeping impove~ishmentof the 3WC was likely to bring in its train has led the lnternational Fommunity to adopt a new strategy in the 1970s. The new buzzwords are 'job creation' and 'income inequality reduction1(no serious attempt has been made to reduce the widening gap between the Third and First Worlds). They see I T . as a powerful means of achieving these ends: as unemployment is reduced, so will th.e inequality of income; and the switch to (appropriate products' will eliminate


segms, merely gave the Third Worid tastes b$yond i t s means. I T is no longer a radical idea to the lnternationd Communit~.It is not only accepted but, in some quarters, promoted as a panacea. I T research has become big business with its own career But even if we accept the b+ic tenets of the new orthodoxy, doubts remain as to the relevance o f I T to the plight of the Third, World.


As the table W o Does M a t in /T shows, most of the time and money devoted to I T research has been spent in the First World; very little of it has been implemented. The preference 13the . International.Community for lofty ideals rather than gritty details has hindered local researcb in 3WC.s' as has the sloth


and indifference of the local bureaucrac~ ' Few actual design centres operate at the local level. These that do are the results of enthusiastic, i f often misguided, initiatives by local entrepreneurs 01' private aid agencies. An example is the Technology Consultancy Centre at Kumasi in Ghana. This d n s several smal labour-using factories (including, in the light of Ghana's past trading history, somewhat ironically, a glass bead fact00 with varying degrees of success. One such factory produces steel bolts by hand, using local steel and extremely primitive methods. Unfortunately the hand-manufacturedbolts do not conform to any specifications, and are generally used in the more dubious dwelling constructions. Furthermore, much of the steel i s worked into useless chips or shaving and. thrown into the bush. Material economy and design efficiency are sacrificed for labour, inmsity: Most attempts to set up worthwhile enterprises or centres in 3WCs themselve have come to nothing. The local bureaucrats are unwilling to allow effective ' local control. The advocates of I T are over-eager to sell the new strategy as another cure-alll a sovereign remedy for economic debility, probably to the same customers that bought their previous patent medicines. Beset by contradictions, they are generally ambivalent about how the new medicine should be taken: should local capitalists


'corrwt' technology. Thus in ferti!iser production, the Chinese have experimentexploi&rs? will winning their w e in ed with small-scale~~lias of conventionthe capitid of a'3WC really lead to the al cd-using nitrogenous fertiliser plants use of IT out in the bush? how does in many communes. Local experience th&prOject re'ate the aid has enabled the work force to gain to which are attached? whaq a experience i n work organi~ation~ in phrase, i s to be done? = understanding the processes involved ('learning by doing') in order to develop FCR A POLITICAL DISEASE new designs - for instance in the furnace section and the type of input materials. i have suggest6d that, despite the As a result, China is able to construct and large amountsof momy invested in the run modeml partly importedI large scale design of intermediate technologies in The Deveiopment at plants ('Small is Not Necessarily Beautithe Developed World, little 'benefit' has ful') with an adequate supply of trained reached the 3WCs. In fact, even i f interExcuse me, friend#, I must catch my j@t and activedesign personnel. I n Iddial mediate technologies were to be I'm off to join the Lhd@ment Set on the ,other handl there is dual fertiliser am m k e d , d I've had d l my hoe, implementedl it i s doubtful whether I bwe wavellefs Mecks amd pills for tfw ttv* industryI of large plants run by western things would be much improved. The trained Indian graduates and largely uncase for IT has rested on four implicit The Dedapm6nt Set is bri&t d noble, skilled labour, and a small-scale interor explicit assumptions which explain Our @oughtswe W and w r h i a n $OMmediate technology (the 'gobar-gas1cow Although n u nww w-th dm bemr d both why most research has remained Our thoughts m d w y s with the mdung plants) run badly at the village level impractical and why IT would be of by largely untrained personnel. little use. These are: Some design work is being done in the 1) 3WG are characterised by massive Third World: some (largely backwardurban unskilled unemployment and that looking) attempts are being made to elimination of this is the primary aim resurrect traditional skills and crafts. But of government policy m a t I T advisers favour importing Large2) Design of labour intensive technology scale labour-.intensive indiustry. Armto alleviate this should take place largely ments about the choice of technique ) in the Developed Worldl which has * are more or less irrelevant if the question superioeexpertise in such fields. . 'who designs it and for whom?' is not answered first.. Very little I T ever reaches 3) Labour-intensive technology should the peayts: m a t of what does ('gobaralso be simpler technology (i.e. intergas' plants and imprwed ploughs and mediate) since low labour productivity tools) goes to the rich farmers. Only now in 3WCs is caused by the low mental are detailed environmental/technicat and physical aptitude of the labour studies being done to develop a 'village force. technology' that takes account of , 4) The whdequestion is one of politics and culture as well. technology. k is one thing to do such studies; All of tliese aswmptions may be quite another to apply the lessons learnt questioned. Urban unemployment in a from them. Mistakes are still being madel 3WC is a domestic problem which only as these two stories from Ethiopia show. It p / e ~ m us s to be i o esoteric marginally concerns the International In Woilo p r ~ i n c peasants e who fled lfs so intellec~dlyatmospheric! Community. It i s not the urban worker, And though estabtishmna be u n m d ~ from the 1973 famine to r e f u g camps employed or nbt, who dies in a famine, & ~ rvocatn~lafies am ma& imfovad were given new digging forks for their but the peasant with insufficient land, small plots. Too late a was discwered m e n the talk gets t& and youem W ~ W crops or cattle. Because of the systemthat the new forks were less'efticient You can keev your @am8 &?8 e.nimum atic bias of the authorities in favour of To show &at you, w,'mf n m l l m t than the old kind for chipping downrich farmers and urban consumers he Smugly ask, 'Is it d l y nt?' wards on the steep and stony hillsides rarely has any surplus to sell and l i t t l e , they had to cultivate. Another IT group chance of a good. price in any case. So designed a new plough that was indeed he has no reserves when his crop fails. more efticient: trouble wasI not only The workers are unskilled because were most of the peasants too poor to the powers that be assume they are buy them but their oxen were too weak not worth training anyway (i.e. it i s to pull them (happily this problem was ,not profitable) or that the skills they solved by further research). possess (e.g potting or weaving) are What these stories, which could be of little value. Output per worker i s multiplied many times, show is that a much lower in 3WCs than in the dramatic strategy of rural technical Enwghofhsevwws-on w2.h d m d d o n l First World because of the difficulty is hopelessly ambitims. & r ~ i s ~ b ~ m d ~ & e h u m m c d t i ~development l in transferring the work organisation Just pray God ~ W W p m m isb m What is called for is a long term p r e associated with any technology: As me poor ye s h y d w s haw &thyw. gramme to shdy actual practice and in the earlv davs of the Industrial encouram the farmers themselves to ~ e v o l u t i oth& ~ ~ resist the introducwork w & ~ o i how to imprwe ~ it, backed~up tion of factory discipline, measured a *work of extension agents familiar appro;Ch conflk. with the day work and rigorous supervision. with the area to disseminate improvetry to produce a disciplined Should we This explains why few multi-national as are labour force like that in the First '#odd? companies are willing to employ libour. , ftichard D i m or should we work out a new apprah intensive methods unless they are c~ . to work in industry as the Chinese &re erced by the local government; to compete with the high productivity trying to do? lnChina,thequestionsofwork of the Firg World they would have to increase the intensi-tyand drudgery organisationl design and implementation of the work and risk prwoking strikes; of technology are decided at .the local . levell with the aim of .encouragingand much safer to pay high wages to a harnessinglwal technical i~itiatbe,' . small labour force on whom one can ' rather thw-relyingonexpqts fix the rely. * . . . / * --"

6 regarded as potential allies or as

RADICAL REMEDIES It is not technology that is the problem f a Third World industry but work organisation. labour-intensive technology per= is not radical; nor is it likely .to be profitable. The transfer of any technology from the First Worldl whether by a multi-national or by an -IT, requires the .tranda of the work organisation and disiple that go with it.. This is where the 'radical'




. 9





I~,,.,~~~~~~~I '

ed understanding of their cultural Social background. I am also hampen by my limited knowledge of the subj * and the lack of books suitable for t h e kids to use. Thev take six months to c o m e p d cost the earth. Many o f the books that I have got are so far remol from the kids' understanding of the world as to be useless. If anyone out there in the big beautiful world can recommend any books please let me know; it'll only cost you a stamp. I'IT trying to compile a l i s t of AT books t the kids like and the kids are putting together a book of the work we have done together. I would like to make contact with The best thingabout these projects other people working on the same lin i s that the kids have real problems to -If you can help or are just interested solve..Afier looking at such books as we would like to know more then please have to get some ideas, they go away write to me here at the High School. and build a working model from scrap Love, peacg] joy and harmony.. and material from the bush. Once t h e y ' v ~ got it worgng they refine and improve . Geoff Sn on the design and then make a full scale Mendi High School, model. Obviously this way-of working i s PO Box 72 beset with problems. As far as I can I let Mendi the kids solve them themselves to encourSouthern Highlands Province] age them to be self-reliant. Papua, New Guinea. The main problem for me is my limiti


MEND1 HIGH SCHOOL is in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. . Geoff Smith thought he was going out there to teach maths but matters turned out rather.differently .


The school was built 9 years agoJ which makes it old in this country. I came out to teach maths but as they , were short of manual arts teachers I did that instead. The technical background of the kids i s pre-wheel. Though this may sound idyllic, the government is determined that their country should become part of western civilisation, with all that that entails. Looking at the gap between what the kids knew and what the government wanted me to teach them and the.lack of tools and other resources, I decided it was impossible. I abandoned the idea of a formal course in metalwork an& instead designed one that brought together the 'best' of western technology and of AT. A t the same time I wanted to introduce the kids to self-education rather than teacher-centred education. Asevery teacher knows, there are problems with teacher-centred education: the kids find it difficult to think for themselves; they expect 'TeacherJ to tell them what to do. In a developing country like this one the last thing that is wanted i s people who cannot think for themselves. So the course allows the students to choose what they would like to dol within zframework which I label 'socially appropriate technology'. This label emphasises social and cultural differences in a way that 'radical; 'appropriateJetc do not. The kids choose a project which they think would w i t the village socially and technologically and improve the people's lives withoutreducing too far the control they have over their environment. So far we have tried to develop village-producible solar water heaters] washing machines, clothes driers,-methane digesters, toolsl housing] era/. Though some have failed, most of the projects have worked rather mir~ulouslyand the kids have been overjoyed. We are now starting, as a long term project] to build a village workshop. The only tool wailable in the village i s the axe. It i s very humbling for me tosee the skill wlth Which a 10 year 01d kid can wield one.




1. Advocacy The World Bank requires countries that get 'aidJfrom it tqadopt 'inequalityreducingJtechnologies (see A T i n lndia by Professor Reddy, Undercurmnts 14); The International Labour Office has sent missions to e.g. ColombiaJ Kenya, Sri Lm ka, advocating employment creation as a p-rimary strategy; the EEC signed a trade and aid convention with 46 3WCs in February 1975; part of the aid budget was allocated to small-scale industry. Cbrnments: the 'advocates' don't themselves design 1Tprojects; nor are -they usually ~ * / l i nto g relax the stringent conditions of financial viability they impose to encourage 1X

2. Dissemination of Technical Information The OECD has a '~echnicalEnquiry Service:' the UN Industrial Development Organisation runs a 'clearing houseJfor 'industrial information'; the governments of large 3WCs (lndia, Indonesia, Kenya, Egypt?) run 'technology centres'; First World multinationals, consultancies and manufacturers' associations will also help, at a price.

Comments: these organisations are mostly staffed by c p r bureaucrats and 'experts' h& First World busineses. hi?nce what they !npv about is how to make CocaCola; Penil, Ford cars, etc. men? is a p d o x here: i f &able labourintensive technologies already exist, why aren't they in use? Also these centres have no k i p capacity of their own and talk mainly to each other and to the 'advocates' ( h v e ) rather than to the rural poor;

3. Research and Development Manufacturingprocesses are being designed by some multinational companies (e.g. Daimler-knz 'simpleJassembly lines). Academic research i s done at various universities:. SussexJStrathclyde, Yale, etc. Comments: there is no certainty that capitalists wi71 develop employmentcreating t~?chnologies;in f x t many exp l i c i t ! ~avoid them to avoid problems of training, labour relations, etc. . The academic mean91lacks any immediate applicatim. I t is paid for out o f aid budgets and therefore diverts money from aqtual spending in 3WQ to the First World; typically, it is itself &pen-

dent on high technology: computers, jet transpoe luxury hotels, etc. It is best regarded aspart of the First Wori&s job creation programme for its unem plo yable intelligentsia!

4. Practical Application


Very little work is actually done on the design and modification of techniques to for 3WCs. The Intermediate Technology Development Group, which i s largely financed by the Ministry for Overseas DevelopmentJcollects and disseminates information as best i t can on a small budget. Comment: money is very tight for practical applications, relative to the amount spent on rhetoric. Only 2%of the mrld's technology R & D budget is actual1y spent in 3W&. M a t is done has once again to go through government channels; I TDG does provide support iri e e form of temporary personnel and blueprints for local projects, but this is not enough to ensure that they continue after the support is w'thdram in face of difficulties. Groups *at are set up in 3WQ an? usually sops for the aid givers rather than central parts o f the h a 1 government. Richard Disney

Undercurrents 18 sweetness and light without action cannot remove institutionalised injustice. Revolution without revelation,*without changes in attitude based in and on individual values, has shown itself in recent history to be a weary turn of the wheel. The revelationists therefore have a fundamental part to play in insisting that any changes must be built on a poetic rather than a mechanistic vision of life. People who embrace either of these perspectives perhaps differ in opinion only by a matter of degree of emphasis, but the reluctance of the revelationists to spell out clearly the political dimensions of possible solutions (i.e. redistribution of wealth arid power) tends to be offensive, to say the least, to those whoeither see or experience injustice. I f the perspectives of radical technologists are to be acceptable to people in the Third World, or for that matter to the poorer people and regions in Britain, the political . dimension has to be laid out for all to see right from the start. It is notenough to try to alleviate the evils of poverty, inequality and social deprivation by administrative and technical measures alone. It is also necessary to recognise, expose and control the individual actions and social forces that either cause these evils in the first place or prevent them from being reformed.

Arthur's revelational chip butties and the John Moores exhibition The first major difficulty facing radical technologists when they advocate different approaches to development, i s the almost universal misunderstandingof the relationship of people, equipment and methods in development. Many technologists and politicians indeveloping countries believe that anything other than the most sophisticated equipment is second rate, and should be dismissed as out of date. This i s in spite of the obvious facts that the majority of the population are unlikely in the immediate future to . have access to the capital intensive methods, because of zshortage o f cash to buy the equipment and the skills and spares to maintain it. The revelationists give other reasons for a reassessment of technology than the more economic ones, and argue that the choice of means of production to give the users confidence are as important as the ends. The satisfaction to be found in doing anything well has been described in different ages anrdplaces as the 'knack' and there i s as much of a knack in practical work as there is in doing art. is this awareness that doing anything with the 'knack' allows a profound sense of satisfaction, delight, and balance in life, that makes the revelationists stress that the meam of doing things are just as important as the ends. We have everything in the world to learn from the Chineseattitude to work, and their sanity in refusing to divide the world into mind and matter; that sees heaven in flowers and has an infinite respect for thebusiness of moving grains of sand. For these reasons, radical technologists in the West look to China with the greatest excitement. a The approach of intermediate techno-

logy is essentially an economic one, but they hear these ideas rejected violently by many claim that the intermediate type people from developing countries that techniques by their very nature are more they are supposed to assist; "Intermediate technologies are not used by you in the satisfying. In some respects-thisis true,. but most people could probably gain industrialised countries" they say "so equal satisfaction from, say, argon arc why should we use second class techwelding as they could from black niques here?" "We want the best - the smithing. Small scale production and most modern." small scale organisations are much more This rejection is completely underable to allow the satisfactions of decisions standable if the goods so produced are and control to be made at the work place. purchased at cheap rates by the industrialLarge scale, capital intensive methods ised countries who are then benefitting tend by their size to concentrate power from cheap labour, or if they have to and the technical satisfactions with compete on the international markets. It managers and trained technologists, * is difficult to understand, however, when leaving the ordinary workers bored and the jobs are concerned with public work alienated. However, it i s as mistaken to programmes, or for the production of think that changing the scale and type of goods that are consumed internally within technology by job enrichment prothe country. grammes, for instance, will :ve greater The following quick flashes illustrates " g I the work, satisfaction to the peopled& this sort of introduction:as it i s to expect development &,occur 1. The b@ one. What is development by simply adopting intermediate techanyway? niques. What is crucial is how the work Intermediate technologies are supposed is organisedand controlled. to assist development and we must begin These considerations will appear as by deciding what we actually mean by an idle luxury to many of the world's development. Development should be people who are struggling to survive, and taken to be anything that reduces it is likely that they will see any ' poverty, unemployment and inequality3; assistance that provides the basic the last point is the one that causes necessities of life, as a kind of freedom. unease dongst liberals and emphasises 'We must not forget that intermediate that the economic life of the political technology approaches are as much a part entity, the.nation as a whole, has to be of a vital strategy against the brute reality considered, not just the alleviation of the of hunger arid suffering, as they are about suffering of the poorest sections. This cultural angles of enlightment. means that societies have to be seen as Intermediate technology <. a whole, and the forces towards privilege that exist within societies have also to be and revolutionary redistribution tackled if development i s to happen. The second difficulty that Western Similarly, on a world basis, it is advocates of intermediate technology necessary to redress the imbalance experience is the criticism of not practisbetween rich and poor countries, ing what i s preached.^This is a difficulty especially where the rich countries are that the Chinese do not meet. subsidised by the poorer ones by buying It comes as a surprise to people in their primary produce at cheap rates. We Britain who honestly believe that the ,should be aware here that on a world scale and type o f technology is an scale, most people in Britain are amongst essential factor in devefo~me%t.when




Undercurrents 18






OUR MAN in the Washington corridors of power reports on the US Government's flirtation with Appropriate Technology. Americans, says Bvron Kennard, possess a genius for turning good ideas into bad jokes. What will they do to AT? The message.that 'small is beautiful' i s spreading like wildfire throughout America today but it is too soon to say what, if anything, this portends. Americans are notorious faddists, of course, so now one can scarcely pick up a newspaper or magazine without finding some reference to E.F. Schumacher's charming best-seller. A quote from it even turned up recently in the Sunday New York Times doublecrostic puzzle, a sure sign of having arrived. And Jerry Brown, California's enigmatic young Governor, ran a brief but dazzlingrace for the Democratic presidential nomination on a platform of Buddhist economics (well, practically) and the voters seemed to love it Had Brown entered earlier, many observers believe he might have won the nomination, for he did beat Jimmy Carter, the final winner, several times. Still I am reminded of the time, not so long ago, when we went through the delirious 'greening of America' phase convinced that our culture was about to be painlessly transformed through the superior wisdom and moral example of the young. But alas, the young are now too busy competing for graduate degrees 'and corporate jobs to lead us to the promised land. Perhaps, in their affluence, they will install solar devices on their expensive suburban homes, but surely we had something more than that in mind? Americans, after all, possess a genius for turning good ideas into bad jokes. This is why social innovation is such a dangerous occupation in this country: one might actually succeed at it! Then the bureaucratic/industrial.complex will get their clumsy, greedy hands on the concept and pervert it beyond recognition. This experience is akin to having some hideously mutilatedchild run after you screaming, 'Daddy, Daddy!' No wonder so many social innovators in America soon retreat to remote spots in Vermont or New Mexico, vowing never-again, no matter what, to lift a finger for the common good. Still, for better or for worse, American social institutions are beginning to flirt seriously with the concept of appropriate technology. The Congress, some Federal and State agencies, and a num- . ber of powerful voluntary organisations have begun to adopt the concept Those of us in the domestic AT movement are frankly ambivalent'abou t the involvement of government in (his field. But without the use of public authority and funds, , -. <



we see no way to extend the promise of AT to society as a whole. Our consensus view, it i?.fair to say, i s that the involvement of government should be kept to an absolute minimum.


SOFT BREAD FOR SOFT TECH Here is a brief summary of government action to date: i6The International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975 directs the Agency for Ipternational Development (AID) to esta lish an Intermediate Technology (IT figram in conjunction with private sector organisations. The aim, really, is to create version of Schumacher's ITDQ with government funds and backing. Congress appropriated $20 million over the next three years for the research, development and promotion of AT for use overseas. Al D appears about to set up a separate fund outside the agency to administer grants. Congress has made clear that it expects this money to flow to groups which are not traditional clients o f AtD, but of this we willknow more later. Congress has also appropriated $3 million to enablcthe Community Services Administration (the frail and ailing successor agency to Lyndon johnson's Office of Econopic Opportunity) to establish a National Centre for Appropriate Technology which would research and promote alternative energy sources for the poor and low-income persons. At the moment, this program seems to be stuckyand . no money has been expended except



for ulannine purooses. One hane-uo is that bureaucrats in the ~ederal' energy Agencies cannot, for the life of them, figure out why bureaucrats in the Federal anti-uovertv uroeram should be interested in energy tech- nologies. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. The Senate has instructed the new Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) to initiate a small-grants program for the. development of appropriate technologies in energy; $10 million has been . appropriated by the Senate for this purpose. No one grant may exceed $50,000 and no group may be given more than one grant in a two-year period. Those eligible to receive grants are individuals, small businesses and non-profit organisations. (These provisions are obviously intended to keep big institutions out of this 'particular trough). The House has passed a somewhat similar, but far weaker, measure and the differences between the two versions will have to be ironed out in conference. ERDA dislikes this program for they think they would be obliged to fund every harebrained scheme that comes along. (Which is not a bad idea, actually, so long as none of the hare-brained schemes cost very much). - The National Scienc6Foundation (NSF) has just commissioned a study to find out what all this talk of 'appropriate technology' i s about This i s a wise move since most people in the NSF would not know an appropri' ate technology if one reached up and bit them. The State of California has created an Office of Appropriate Technology and at least two other states are about to do the same. Politically, however, the most exciting AT news in the States is the commitment of Jimmy Carter, the Democratic Presidential nominee, to the idea. (At the time of this writing. Carter is leadingboth President Ford and Ronald Reagen by 2 to 1 in the polls). Carter has read Small is Beautiful and, in his first major foreign affairs address, at the UN on May 13, he endorsed the AT concept He said, 'a special effort should be made in the development of small-scale technology that can use renewable sources o f energy that are abundant in the developing world - . solar heating and cooling, wind energy, , and 'bioconversion' - an indirect form of solar energy that harnesses the sunlight captured by living plants. Using local labour and materials, developingcountries can be helped to produce usable fuel from human and animal wastes, other-. wise wasted wood, fast-growing plants, an&even ocean kelp and algae'. Carter, whose surprise capture of the Democratic nomination was greatly aided by citizen environmentalists, has shown himself to be remarkably open to new ideas. Should he win the Presidency, the politics of appropriate technology just might become of absorbing interest Byron Kennard-






Undercurrents 18

structure (which our friends convert-- , iently ignore) and all its expressions from consumerism to monetarism to neo-imperialism; it's about revolutionary theory, the liberation'of wage slaves, the smashing of the oppressive corporate State; it's about revolutionary organisation, strategy, tactics, alliances and so on; above all it's about making a true social democracy. I agree we desperately need to address sexism, racism and patriarchy, and we can't truly call ourselves socialists i f we're



incapable of transcending narrow acquisitive competitiveness. But these people have got it completely upside down: it's these liberatory ideas and practices that must be fed into socialism to enrich it. Whatever comes out may be hard to classify, but above all it must be socialism. As George Orwell . wrote: 'One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'socialism' and 'communism* draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex


In some ways theneed to stop the development of colleges and flats on St Paul's Field in Hammersmith was obvious. The borough has a deficit of 74 acres of Open Space, one of the worst in London; a 1964 LCC report recommended that the ten acre field should be used as a playing field; and local schools, local children and adults all used the field, which lies between two main roads i n one of the mostly densely populated wards in London. A 1974 decision to develop the field was poorly advertised ih one, not even local, paper for a couple of 'weeks in August 1971. That decision seems final, regardless of petitions (11,000 local people signed), a House of Lords Select Committee, and thousands of letters sent from the West Kensington Environment Campaign (in existencefor 18 months now). Almost as a last resort I tried to gain local union support for Green Ban action, and failed. What follows is not meant toplace blame on any particular person or group, but to point up some of the lessons that we should learn from this failure.


maniac, Quakpr, 'nature-cyre' quack, pacifist and feminist in England'. (The Road to Wigan Pier, Penguin, p.152). Sound familiar? Mike George Alternative Socialism by Keith Paton, 19p 'post free from the Birmingham Alternative socialism Group, 64 Road, ham 12. For other criticisms and comments, see Peace News (various issues).

We shall carry a reply to Mike George's criticisms in Undercurrents 19.


3. The local trades council complained, when they were approached, that the campaign had not thoughtto

,ask for any help or advice. In the light of high local unemployment in the building trades, they had decided to suooort develo~ment. . the orooosed . 4. At the last minute we drew up a series of alternative sites for the colleges and flats, which were architecturally feasible and economicallv viable , propositions and sent th&e to local UCATT branches and the trades council, but to no avail as harrassment of workers on the site bv people ' from thecampaign had lost us what support we had. 5. Much of the information about alter-




to stop tit&-'


- .





money (plus Q miilia I ban inerest, buiFdins w reen open space? Congest an.already overcrowded borough still further, even to build for housing.and further education 16&.+eloping virgin gra&? 0 , lamre the exores wishes of 11.300 Londoners' sianatures on a mition? n n Knock down ~ e w publicly-owned , £60,00house just to imp& the ~ i n i s t e r the k Environment ~ntosf@g your pointd VIW? 0 Do all this while 10 streets lie derelict half a mile away - and while Londonhomesstandempty? Is this the best our Greaterloftdon Council (wonderfully democratic elected b@p6 of the people) can'do? NO!





n a


THIS IS WHAT THE G ~ C ARE . DOING TO ST. PAUL~FIELD,HAMMERSMITH We think 90%of Londonfeh;are b*iy


1. The West Kensjngton Environment Campaign contains many vigorous environmentalists; some of course .' didn't want the field developed for , fear of lowering the market value of their properties, but many others simply didn't agree that the GLC could make decisions counter to their policy of providing adequate Open Space in all boroughs. But; the impression that they gave to the public, to MPs and to Councillors,, was that they were simply against any development on the site. 2. In nearly 18 months' campaigning they did not approach local trade unions or trades councils until the 11th hour, when corrugated iron started to appear in and around the , field. /' .



for wmmunityrecmadon for you, and your children, and vow children's children to emov

AND SAVE £50,0001,00 for ~ondoners. 1 . A ~%












Undercurrents 18

THE COMMISSAR FOR NUCLEAR POWER has asked for a 'national debate' before he decides to save the jobs of thousands of heavy engineering workers by ordering some more reactors that we don't need and can't afford. Charles Wakstein took him at his word and wrote an article on safety for the Windscale local rag which-madethe nuclear heavies cross. However they funked his challenge to publish details of their safety policy. Is this just 'Nanny knows best' again or is it 'Not in front of the children?' What are they trying to hide? tent to.assert, rhetorically rather thanscientifically, that Windscale is the safest place on earth. Ifyod proceed from this assumption then clearly other people's views are just a waste of time. In a followup letter Wakstein called on the Windscale top brass to publish the calculations and the assumptions on which the plant's safety-policy had been based: 'I challenge BNFL to release their lists of the most serious accidentspossible at Windscale and the calculations that show that these will not deposit large enough amounts of radioactivity on the ground for evacuation to be necessary. Let them also release the calculations which show that unfavourable weather conditions could not

'Can We Trust The Nuclear Technioians?' (Undercurrents 76), was first published in the WhitehavenNews way back in December 1975, where it earned Wakstein the wrath of Windscale engineers who live nearby. Well . fair enough, you might say; there are obviously two opposed points of view - the citizen of independent mind has only to weigh them up. An anonymous reply signed mysteriously 'British Nuclear Fuels Ltd' purported to answer the original article, and there were three subsequent skirmishes, and this all adds up to 'debate'.


Accidents will happen a a

Wakstein argued that any industrial process i s inherently accident-prone, that mistakes always occur, that by definition they cannot be foreseen, and that when unforseeable accidents occur at a nuclear installation, then thousands of people might have cause to regret it. He backed this upwith a description of the two major incidents and the numerous minor incidents which have occurred at Windscale over the last 20 years, dwelling on the similarity between the major incidents and the apparent inability of engineers to learn from experience and to prevent mistakes recurring. A lot of his argument was based on a thorough study of the official reports following each accident, reports which, although in theory widely available (published by HMSO) are in practice inaccessible and . . incomprehensible. All very reasonable. The anonymous reply from BNFL, on the other hand, was a masterpiece of evasion. It dwelt on the fact that Wakstein had never actually been inside Windscale except to interview the Safety and Assessment Manager, strongly implying that anyone who has never set foot in the place has no right to an opinion on matters of safety. It also derided Wakstein's conclusions concerning the similarity of the two major incidents by stating that the official reports 'are readily available to anyone, and were widely publicised at the time', even .though he came to rather different conclusions from the reports. The most bizarre sentence of this unreal piece of prose reads: 'Although Dr Waksteinsuagests that there are similarities between these two incidents, the most important would seem to BNFL to be that no-one was killed in either of them'. So that's all right, then? The position of BNFL would seem to be that having assessed the risks to their own private satisfaction they wilt be con-

and that there were 100,000 curies of radioactivb material just in the one vessel where the 1973 fire started'.

British Nuclear Funkers


Reasonaole men committed to rational discussion could hardly funk a challenge like that. Funk it they did, so drawyour own conclusions. There was a subsequent reply from a Dr Derek Ockenden of BNFL describing Wakstein as a 'selfstyled expert from many miles away' (as 'if to imply that truth is inversely proportional to distance from Windscale), and argue ing that 'all life has a risk funmion to not only potential nuclear hazards'. . He supported that assertion by'a variant of the familiar polluter's charter that since people are dying of something or other everywhere you.look (in this case road accidents and cigarette smoking then we might as well take a chance in this case on nuclear power) since we've nothing to lose. A more intelligent response came from a Dr PO Wilson who


conceded that 'regrettable as it may seem, questions as complex as the safety of nuclear installations can be judged realistically only by specialists in the field', and it would 'take a rare skill to make them simultaneously comprehensible to non-specialists'. No bullshit or evasion there, thank goodness, just straight old-fashioned elitism. At least we know where we stand. In his final reply Wakstein tackled the problem of 'risk' and the problem of 'ordinary people'. 7 agree, in a sense, that what you do about risk is a matter of belief, but Dr Ockenden should know that 20 or 30 years is much too short a time to be able to tell whether Windscale or any nuclear site is any where near as safe as it is supposed to be. Even if Wndscale were a thousand times as dangerous as it is supposed to be, and a million curie release had odds of one in a thousand of occurring in any one year, it would still be 98%certain that we would not have seen any such release in 20 years. Dr Ockenden has not even confronted these arguments, let alone refuted them. I suspect that he would have 'come on' just as confident the day before the 1973 fire. . , .' 7 agree with Dr Wifson that the important question is about 'ordinary jSeople8 understanding more about

stand, and about our ab/li& as scientists and engineers to make things easy to understand. It isn't a question of having to make abstruse technical matters understandable; if engineering is approached in terms of design then anyone can understand the issues. Even schoolqhild h n are learning about technology that


And so the debate goes on. Maybe it's because I'm prejudiced (for certainly I am) but I can't help feeling that the antinuclear lobby i s making the more serious contribution at the moment, and that nuclear protagonists are happy to evade apd bluster because they know they have a hot-line to the government and they'll get their own way in the end. If Tony Benn wanted to hold a real debate he could try shifting the onus of proof onto . the other side for a while and see what arguments that would produce. It would be interesting to see what case the nuclear freaks would make: , Martyn partridge

The greenhouse with brick hydioponic troughs inside.

should contain a mixture of fine and coarse particles. I f using vermiculite, which is very spongy during cool, damp weather, it should be mixed with about 50% by volume of sand. Bricks, when broken up with a hammer so that the largest pieces are half-an-inchround, give , a very good aggregate with particles down to fine dust. If your site contains bricks your material is free, but it's a long job breaking up enough bricks. The aggregate is put into waterproof troughs, pots or other open topped containers. The containers should have holes with plugs for drainage, although we have found that this is not necessary in hot, dry weather. The advantage of using sites like ours is that you can find free containers and materials on site. We have used old paint-tins, sinks, tin baths, plastic wash bowls, and discarded oblong peanut tins 3 ft long, from the pub. The aggregate must be at least 9 inches deep to allow space for the roots to develop. Troughs should not be more than 4 f t wide so as to allow easy access to the plants. Since there were plenty of bricks on our site we simply laid the bricks without mortar three deep on levelled ground and laid over simple polythene sheet so as to cover the inside of the trough. We then filled the troughs with aggregate. I f you are using gravet always put it in first in an even layer along the bottom, finer material on top. You can then plant directly into the troughs. Top up the fine material as it will tend to be washed to the bottom leaving the roots exposed. The nutrient is chemicals, which are the chemicals the plant would normally extract from the soil, dissolved in water. There is a ready-mixed commercial nutrient called Phostrogen, or you can mix your own. We used Sholto Douglas's all-round formula. Dissolve one level teaspoon in eve& gallon of water. There are three main ways of applying the-nutrient (see ' diagram) - we applied ours with

a watering can. You keep the aggregate houses throughout the summer with fresh moist, about the same as a lightly-wrung vegetables. sponge. The hydroponics exceeded our expectThere are three main advantages to . ations. We found thatwhile the project was cheap in materials it was expensive in hydroponics. The first is that you can use labour. Our greatest trouble was not wit$ it anywhere with access to light. After plants or materials but with people. We piling the rubbish on the site in a heap held several meetings to get people against one of the walls, webuilt a"timber involved but found that while numbers of and polythene greenhouse on top. The people were prepared to come to our polythene and bricks used to support the meetings and talk they were not prepared main pillars were free. The main supports to do anything physical. Oddly enough and part of the structure was scrap we got most help from those who had no ' timber. All we paid was £ for some long-term interest, like FOE, who had 2" x 2" timber and 70p for sand and cement mixture to bind the bricks around another site elsewhere, and an ex-brickthe supports and to set the roof timbers into sockets out in the wall. The aggregate was broken bricks found on site and sand liberated from local building sites. We levelled out the rubbish and laid down troughs and filled containers. Thus we were able to, grow food on top of a pile of rubbish. The second advantage of hydroponics is greater and faster yield. We planted maize, tomatoes, mairrows, cucumbers, radishes, lettuces and cabbages. Radishes were ready in 4 weeks in hydroponics as compared with six weeks hearth. The tomatoes yielded 10-15,Ibs weight in hydroponics, as compared'iwith 5-7 Ibs in earth. The third advantage is no digging. While it is quite a laborious job setting up the troughs, once in place the aggregate stays. When theplants are finished they are Pumpkingrowing in an old paint-pot. removed and fresh ones planted. The same aggregate can be used for years. . layer turned actor, who built the brick Our Camden site was to test out: pillars for the greenhouse. (1) Whether such land could be brought This year we changed our name to the into food production. Hydroponics and Urban Agriculture (2) Whether the hydroponic techniques Research Foundation and licensed a site we had read about actually worked and in Putney from the GLC. This had once been four houses and their gardens. could be applied to areas where it was Having tested whether the techniques impossible to grow food by other actually worked we decided to test out means., the problems of larger-scale application. Although the potatoes and peas failed With only three people and a licence massively our little plot supplied three which didn't start until the beginning of Oz Grams April 'we quickly found we needed Ammonium Sulphate machinery. We hired a mechanical 10 284 cultivator for a day, which cost us £10 Potassium Sulphate 3% 100 We have been badly hit by drought. We Superphosphate 5 142 tried to get mains water on our site from Magnesium Sulphate 3 86 the Thames Water Authority. Last year Ferrous (Iron) Sulphate Enough to cover a match head. our site was next door to our house so we could transfer water by means of a hose- . . Chemical composition of Hydroponic Nutrient (SholtoDouglas) """, pipe. This year the site is 15 minutes walk -











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automatic machine; also it lends itself to a decentralised mode of production of the kind 'we favour. In the Soviet Empire, where all means of self-expression are suppressed or tightly controlled (even typewriters are licensed!), the samizdat movement relies on this sort of equipment as it is impossible to for the authorities to police it Ifyou have access tacheap offset



THERE IS no AT of printing as such: it is more a matter of how you use what already exists. Outside the trade, most people have only a vague idea of how a magazine like Undercurrents is produced and imagine it to be much more mysterious process than it really is. Jonathan Zeitlyn describes. some simple ways in which anyone can burst into print. The centralised bureaucratic state that surrounds us creates a ceaseless flow of b u h f from office to office. A new technology has been developed to make all these countless copies cheaply and easily. I t i s called reprographics: the technology of duplicators, photocopiers and offset litho (the method used to print Undercurrents). Quite unintended by our rulers, reprographics has changed our relationship to print; it has destroyed the craft mystique of printing and publishing. Anyone can d a it and I would like to suggest some ways of getting started. The simplest and cheapest, obviously, i s to use the boss's equipment and paper when no-one is looking; more ambitiously, you could start your own community press with cheap second-hand equipment. There are also a number of more traditional media you could consider.

Wall Newsuauers The merit of a wall newspaper i s that i t requires no intermediary between writers and readers at all. Anyone can stick what they like on the paper and it's very hard to stop them. I run a wall paper in a community centre. We've put it on a six foot square wall opposite the entrance in the foyer and is meant for all the people who use the centre or work in it It's my t o k to encourage people to write forit, take photos and organise the headline making and design. The paper changes every two weeks or so and is slowly being accepted and used.


Because it is the best-known fraditiona1 reprographic method, stencil duplicating i s often underrated or misused. Teamed up with an electronic scanner it becomes a very flexible machine. The scanner will make stencils from any original made up of cuttings, typewriting transfers, letraset, drawings etc. So the humble duplicator can make prints that are as weliAsigned and interesting to IQG&atsstease made toy ptooto-fih, , -*-




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Wall Newspapers have played an integral part in political struggle and debate in China.


litho printing at a community press or at work, you should consider using paper plates. They are much cheaper than conventional litho plates made from photosensitive metal (lop against 5%); You can type or draw on them using a special carbon ribbon or a special pen. They have a limited run and can only be used once, but for leaflets and posters they are the ideal example of an office material that can be used as a creative and subversive medium. Try it! Jonathan Zeitlyn

^ '

The screen is no more than a piece of coarse nylon or organdie stapled onto a wooden frame. Use ameta1 rod to force the ink through the nylon and the stencil underneath it onto the top sheet of the pile of paper. Raise the frame and remove the top

Don't Forget the Duplicator

8-3--,$*&& - r &-;;f $%.&

a number'of stencils for drawing: the nicest 6ne i s a blue gesvtner called 'gestescript'; it can only be used with a biro or stylus but is very good for drawings and diagrams. Gestetners also make what thev call a 'brush stencil': it is used with aspecial solvent which i s brushed on. While you can use all these stencils on any conventional duplicator, you can also make your own flat bed duplicator. Factory made machines usually ' arrange the stencil round a drurri; the ink is forced out of the drum through the stencil onto the paper which is fed into it automatically. The flat bed . machine, in-contrast, i s inked and fed by hand. I t i s cheap'and simple and flexible; it can be kept in a back room and used whenever needed there and then. Obviously i t would be tedious to do thousands of copies this way but ' it is very useful for short runs, which I think are the most interesting and important. I t can be more flexible and can produce better copies &an an

sheet. And so on. You can experiment with other inks as well as using normal du licating ink, but be careful that they don'tthy in the screen or on the stencil. To make sure that the stencil sticks flat on the screen, it's best to ink the screen well before you start.

- Undercurrents 18

find out more about alternative energy and technology. This attracted masses of media coverage and as a propaganda exercise was highly successful. Australians have been interested in Solar Energy for many years, and a lot of research was wnducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation during the 5O's:The CSIRO now publish a free booklet on the subject.* Apart from the autonomous house itself the fair featured a number of other ideas and designs, including solar cookers and ovens, a bank of Philips solar cells running a kinetic sculpture, and an invention using solar cells to hydrolyse water to produce hydrogen gas for fuel. There were also plans and a model of a Solar House designed by John Bellinger which is being aided by a $~54,000Federal grant. Lectures were given by a number of visitors, including Francis Sutton, who has a scheme to pump sewerage from Gosfbrd (50 miles north of Sydney) inland rather than out to sea, forming purifying lakes with potential for fishfanning and agriculture. Reports suggest that the Undercurrents book Radical Technology has been well received in Australia and that interest in alternative living and production systems is running high. A number of comrnunities have been established in the vast Outback and many of them sent representatives along to the Alternative5 Technology Fair. With so muchland, sun and enthusiasm we hope to have some notable successes to report before long. Information from Mark Baxter and Russell Grayson *Sofar Water Heaters, free from: ~ i v i s d nof Mechanical Engineering, CSIRO,Melbourne, Australia 3001.




Undercurrents 18 -

with the problems of city life as it existed. The Government at the time was pressed to a110 w some development in rural areas in many parts of the country in order to prevent the further development and growth of the conurbations at the expense of the countryside: The prettiest villages tended to be protected by influential local people who had migrated from the towns and had pushed house prices up in the country. It was a real problem - rura! workers could not afford the market price for property in their own village. And the development of factory farming and decline of rural industry had meant fewer employment opportunities ant/ less reason to stay in the country. 1suppose the energy crisis of the midseventies began to get people thinking commuting costs were higher than ever and public transport was very bad. There were pressures for some experiments in alternative ways of living and eventually planning law was relaxed to permit this on a limited scale. Several associations like ours developed and pooled resources in an experiment in communal living and self-sufficiency. As it became apparent that smallholdings were so much more productive, the Government began (p encourage the formation of more

associations. And when the advantages were realised they spread quite rapidly. A national co-ordinatingbody was set up to make land available for extensions to existing villages and to establish some new ones. In the towns space gradually became available as people moved out for more gardens and allotments. But let me show you the village centre. The workshops are over there by the school. It's far more economic for us to make and repair things ourselves and the workshops were built when the school was expanding and trying to create more links with the community. They are part of the school but are open to e>flS/ybody most of the time. Meeting rooms and a library are also * associated with the school, and the health centre is down the road. The workshops have been quite a success people make all kinds of things. Quaestor: But how are goods moved about the country? There doesn't seem to be much road traffic. Prosper: The rail network is now e x m sive and fully utilised, but a lot of goods are transported by water, either around the coast or via the canal system which has been restored and much improved Locally we use bicycles and the village



owns several electric cars for longer trips. But of course many people have horses. Quaestor: Well this has all been very interesting, but don't you find life rather restricted and dull? Prosper: On the contrary, people lead a much more varied life than they did most have several jobs either on a parttime or short-stay basis. We choose what we want to do of course, but it's generally expected that everyone does their share of uninteresting Wrk. Life is a lot richer but the pressures less, particularly in the country. You have more time to do the things you really want, unless of course you still work 5 days a week in a super wage centre - that's very dull.

This imaginary conversation was written by Julie Harrington, Toby Bridge and Antony Plumridge of University College, London, for the competition 'Garden Cities and the Future' sponsored by Letchworth Garden City Corporation, in . which it was awarded First Prize in the Student Section. All the entries to the competition will be on show from October 4 to 16 at University College. Details of this exhibition and supporting events are in What's On.


One of the functions of Undercurrents is to provide an outlet outside London and from abroad. Please keep stories short and for the opinions and experience of people who do not normally to the point. Editorial meetings. We meet nearly every Wednesday write for publication. At present about one-third of the feature evening at 8pm prompt in our London office to discuss both articles are written by members of the collective; the rest are editorial and business matters. These meetings are open to all specifically commissioned, reprinted from other journals or who can stand them;we are particularly glad to see visitors to from books, or sent to us unsolicited. We would like to receive this country passing through London. Note that the office is more unsolicited articles, not just to make our lives easier but , not regularly manned at other times; the best way to contact also because they are often the freshest and most interesting. us at short notice is to phone Chris Hu ton Squire on . So here are a few guidelines to encourage prospective writers 01-261 6774 or Martyn Partridge on 1-267 1184. to get busy in the long dark evenings. * Subject Matter. Undercurrents i s primarily a magazine of FINANCIAL REPbRT ON UNDERCURRENTS 16 science and technology. Articles on other subjects will be con- Magazine revenue for June and July £166 sidered if they relate to the political aims of the collective, Magazine Costs charged to No. 16 1689 which writers must judge for themselves. We would like to (see Undercurrents 17, p.8, for breakdown) print more practical articles but theyare much harder to come by thaK theoretical and polemical pieces. ' 49ss: (28) Money. Undercurrents does not pay for contributions. ' ' Surplus from Book Service: 12 Format. Articles should i f possible be typed, double or (@M%of revenue) treble spaced with generous margins (for editing and marking Surplus from sales of Radical Technology: 168 , up) on one side only. (@50%ofrevenue) Length. The normal maximum length is three pages (3500 Total surplus for June and July: 152 words plus pictures). Longer articles will reluctantly be conLoss carried forward from February-May: (539) sidered for publicationon their merits, either in whole or in (details of earlier losses are not yet to hand) part. Writers are reminded that as they are not being paid by \ Net loss for February-July: (£357 the word there is no merit in using five words to do the wort of two. Space is always very tight, This is the first time the company has covered i t s costs in Style. Articles should be written in plain English. Our its history. We have used the surplus to pay the outstanding skilled sub-editors are adept at making silk purses out of sow's contrib,utors to Radical Technology;we would like to thank ears, but we'd rather it wasn't necessary. them for their forbearance during our chronic financial Always keep a back copy of anything you send to us; our' difficulties. We still have substantial external debts, mainly to decentralised editorial and production system makes us very Compendium Books for the Book Service and to Wildwood vulnerable to human fallibility and the vagaries of Her House for copies of Radical Technology sold. Majesty's Mails. DISTRIBUTION Pictures. Photos should be black and white prints, not transparencies. As our method of printing loses much of the We are well aware that undercurrents is hard to find, and contrast photos should be distinct and simple. Line drawings we're just as fed up as you are about it. One way you can help should be in black ink on plain white or tracing paper. us is by telling us of sympathetic bookshops or newsagents Cartoons are always welcome; we can redraw them if necessary. that might stock it if they were asked. We will send them a few Reviews are always welcome; also suggestions of titles for copies as a free trial offer, to see how they go. review and offers to write in future issues. I f we reauest a book You may also like to try selling the magazine yourself; we for review the reviewer gets it as a perk; the trouble i s that offer a discount o f 40% on bulk orders (5 copies minimum) if many publishers are very stingy about review copies. you pay in advance and 30% if you pay i n arrears. Sale or News, scandal ai~dgossip are also needed, particularly from return i n both cases. '






Undercurrents 18

THE LINEAR DREAM DO LEYS EXIST? An unnecessary question one might think, considering the current flood of words on the subject. In fact, though, the existence of leys is, to say the least, 'not proven'. Robert Forrest, one of the neuG breed of tough-minded mathematical leyhunters, has been running his slide rule over sop-? of the classic leys. He is not impressed by what he's found. Leys are alignments of ancient sites. To prove that they 'exist' the leyhunter must show that there are more alignments between the set of sites he i s considering than would occur by chance. Each case must be compdred with itsown chance score, as the number of chancealignments to be expected depends on the number of sites, the width allowed and the size and shape of the area considered. There is no agreement among leyhunters as to what counts as a ley point Some only include bona fide ancient sites and standing stones but others accept crossroads, milestones, treeclumps, moats and placenames that have 'leigh' or 'dod' or 'cole' in them. Most only count churches that were built on pagan sites but if a modern church is found to lie on a ley some leyhunters will talk of 'subconscious siting' and include it. Nor is there agreement about the width to be.allowed. Clearly, for the purpose of statistical comparison, it cannot be less than the width of the largest site considered. Some sites, such as camps and moats, are several hundred yards across, so that they are much more likely to align by chance than the single standing stones of Land's End described in Undercurrents 17. The cases that follow are selected from fifteen that I have studied. ,

Mysterious Britain On page 192 of their book Mysft?rious Britain (Paladin) Janetand Colin Bord describe four levs, of orders 9, 8, 7 and 5, in the Bedford area. A survey of the relevant map (sheet 147 of the 1" edi-


STATISTICAL L E Y H U N T I N G If the sites are scattered at random over the map, then the number of alignments with three, four, five, etc. sites on them will (approximately) follow a Poisson Distribution with parameter k, where k is the expected number of sites on Iine drawn bettyeen any two sites. Definitions n x L A k P(r) W N(rl

total number of sites , width of ley ave* length of ley (see below) area of map Ley parameter probability that a ley is of order r total number of leys number of leys of order r


NOTE ON L. THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF A LEY The length used in these studies is an estimate of the averagelength'of a line joining

two random points, extended to the edges of the map. This length is prepoctional to the width of the map in a ratio Wfiich depends on its shape. The simplest caseis a uare sheet like the 1:50,000 O.S. maps. L s h e n about 1.08 times the width of the map. Obviously the more rectangular a sheet is a map is the more necessary it is to make a good estimate of L by simulation.

tion) yielded 600 sites (468 churches, 97 moats and 35 earthworks). Taking a width of 35 yards the ley parameter k (see the box Statistical Theory for the formula for k ) is 0.52. This means that every other line drawn between two sites will have at least one other site on it by chance! The expected scores are: 0.1 9-pointers, 1 8-pointer, 15 7-pointers and 1144 5-pointers. The 9-pointer includes two large sites: Drays Ditches and a moat. Both are skirted. Also, Chicksands Priory is. in none too good alignment with the other sites. If we limit the width to 35 yards this ley i s probably only a 6 or 7pointer. The 8-pointer is rather better: it is a good 7-pointer and the doubtful e M t h point (Arlesey Church) may just lie within the limit. The 7-pointer contains two large points (Drays Ditches and Waulud's Bank). Lastly the 5pointer is a good alignment but it also includes a large site and two hills (not counted in my analysis). The 5-pointer is a good line but it also includes a large site (a moat). The kindest thing one can say about these 'leys' is that they are less significant than the Bords think they are.

View over Atlantis On page xxi o f John Michell's View Over Atlantis (Abacus) there is a map of alignments between moats in East Anglia, two allegedly of order 6. The map (an extract from sheet 155) contains 38 sites; their mean width is about 80 yards, giving k a value of 0.27. The expected number of 6-pointers is only 0.08 and the odds against two 6pointers occurring by chance are 300 to 1, so prima facie this i s good evidence of leys. Looking at the map, however, we see that though line A is a good alignment, line B includes a large site (Hessett Moat) and to this level of accuracy can only be counted a 'possible'. If it is only a 5-pointer then this map i s not 'significant' in the statistical sense as we would expect to find one 6-pointer by chance in twelve such . maps. Sheet 155 contains a total of 126 moats; if we take a width of 70 yards the number of 6-pointers expected . is 0.4 and the odds against finding t y o . fall to 20 to 1.





The Old Straight Track Alfred Watkins describes a 7-point (A) and an 8-point ley (B) in South Radnor (The Old Straight Track, Garnstone, pp 7-10). The relevant map i s the bottom half of sheet 148; on i t I counted 115 churches, 50 tumuli and 13 moats, making a total of 178. Allowing a width of 35 yards gives us a k of 0.23. The number of 7 and %pointers expected are 0.04 and 0.001 respectively. Once again we appear to have good evidence for leys but inspection of the map reveals the following details: line A includes two hill peaks (Wylfie and Glascwm Hill), both of which should be classed as 'large sites', and only skirts the moat (labelled 'the Camp' in the diagram); at best, therefore, i t i s a 5-pointer; line B includes another camp, which again i s a large site, and only skirts 'the Camp'; worse, it misses one of the mounds at Hundred House by 50 yards which is more than the 35 yards we have assumed; so i t is no more than a 6-pointer. By chance we would expect 16 15pointers and 0.9 6-pointers so these two lines are not significant.

The UFO Connection Among the phenomena which imaginative leyhunters have linked to their lines are ghosts, UFOs, crimes of violence, and car accidents. The 'chance' explanation of these links is that in many areas there are enough ley lines about tomakeit likely thatmoreor less any phenomenon we study will occur on or close to a ley line.

Some tvfiictilexamplc~of leys i n mi iircn ofEngland notfumedfor i t s prehistoric sites

To test this hypothesis I did two experiments. First, I scattered 50 random points on a sheet of paper and drew in all the 'leys' between them I could find. Then I plotted a further 20 random 'UFO sightings' and counted the number that fell on or close to a 'ley'. I repeated this experiment three times; the average score was 50%. Second, I scattered 50 random points on a sheet of graph paper and joined up all the pairs, continuing the line to the edges of the paper. About 1100 distinct lines are obtained, splicing the paper into minute regions. Only a few of these regions are large enough


, ., . .* Undercurrents 18

for a random 'phenomenon' to avoid being attached to a line. It is true that most of the lines are of order 2 or 3 and do not count as leys. But a map containing 330 ley points would yield about 1100 leys (i.e. lines of order 4 or more), taking a width of 35 yards. So it would look quite like my piece of graph paper i f they were all drawn in. Of course the UFO leyhunter looks at things rather differently; he i s more likely to plot his sightings first and then look for a ley for them to fall on. So I did another experiment: I took the 1" map of the Chilterns and ringed


Undercurrents 18


all the sites on it (560 in all). Then Iused random numbers to fix six 'UFOs' on the map; each was represented by a ' circle 0.1 " in diameter, corresponding to an uncertainty in the sighting in 200 yards. Taking this as the ley width I found that all six 'UFOs' could tie placed on at least three leys!

Hie Bournemouth Pumas One of the chief proponents of the

WO link i s Phil Grant of Bournemouth,


who uses the six maps of his area in conjunction. He does not seem to have realised the arithmeticat consequences of this. If we assume 500 sites per map and a width of 35 yards as before, we can expect no less than 352,000 leys, including 20 of order 10 or more. How many of these leys has he checked out, Iwonder? Calculation also shows that any UFO sighting on this composite map'will be at the junction of 126 200 yard wide leys! + Grant has claimed ( n e Ley Hunter, No 50) that 90% of ghosts and UFOs in this region occur on leys; that all the local 'puma' sighting5 occur on leys; and that 'schools, cemeteries and publicbuildings of all kinds (including, crazy as it may sound, post offices) fall on leys too often for pure coincidence'. . I, for one, am not surprised.

Other Case Studies

of alignments that they consider to be good evidence I will be interested to hear from them.

Space does not permit me to detail all the studies Ihave done. They include: 1. -four others from ~ i c h e l l 'View i Over Atlantis: the Dorchester area (p.40); the Gare Hill leys (p.145); the Norfolk castle and moats on p. xvi; and the moat alignments on p.xx. 2. the South Durham leys described by Paul Screeton in his standard work on leyhunting Quicksilver Heritage (~.43)(Turnstone). 3. Salisbury Plain and Warminister. 4. The leys and circles in Geometrical Airangeimsnt of Ancient Sites by Major T.C- Tyler (out of print). 5. The right-angled triangles described by F.W. Holiday in his book The , Dragon and the Di'sc. 6. The equilateral triangles described by Sir Norman Lockyer in his book Stonehen* and Other British Stone Monuments Astronomically Considered (Chapter XL). I will be pleased to provide details of these studies to serious students writing to me c/o Undercurrents.' It should be clear from this, I hope even to the most dedicated-leyhunter, that I have taken as wide and fair a sample of the published literature as Icould. If anyone knows of other sets

Proven - NotThere are two ways in which the ley hypothesis might be proved. The leyhunter must either find a profusion . o f medium order leys or a smaller number of high order ones. None of the cases described here have come near to doing either. Nor have the others Ihave looked a t It must be remembered that one 'significant' result is not enough, if it i s obtained by inspecting and rejecting a larger number of maps. Just as a gambler does not refute the laws of statistics by winning against the odds from time to time, so a leyhunter must do more than find a ley significant at the 5%level on one out of twenty maps he studies. What we need are several '1000 to 1 against' maps if we want the scientific world to take notice. Have such maps been found? If so, their discoverers are keeping very quiet about them. My own view, on the basis of the studies presented here, and the ten others I have done, is that the ley hypothesis is false. Leys are no more than a chance effect Robert Forrest


HOW TO MAKE. A LEY DETECTOR ' I'.* MANY LEYHUNTERS are less interested in proving that leys 'exist: than in the 'earth current' that they think runs along them. Richard Elen outlines the evidence for what he calls the 'ley energy hypothesis' and describes two instrumentsthat can be used to detect it . . if it exists! 7



A question that has puzzled a number of prehistorians interested in megalithic alignments is: 'Why go to so much trouble?' The research o f such workers as Thorn, Michell, the Undercurrents Alternative Science Research Unit, and others, has tended to indicate that a great deal of mathematical and engineering expertise went into the construetion of stone circles, the location of standing stones, and the manufacture of Stone-Age earthworks. Thorn has shown1 that stone circles were constructed with a high degree of precision to make possible the calculation of important dates in the solar and lunar calendars. They were laid out in a standard unit, the Megalithic Yard (2.72 ft); Pythagoras' Theorem was used a thousand years before it was put HI writ-

ing by Euclid. The work involved was ,tremendous; for example it has been estimated that the construction of Silbury Hill would have taken over eighteen million man-hours.5tones in structures like Stonehenge, were frequently transported hundreds of miles to their final locations. Why, when local stone was available?Why was it necessary to predict eclipses to such accuracy, using the Moon's 'wobble', which'was not rediscovered until the sixteenth century? Why align great stones in near-straight lines across the countryside? Why take , trouble in some cases to ensure that some sites did not align?2 The system of megalithic structures is far too complex to be explained merely as a number of solar/lunar observatories. Ifcommunication was good


enough to distribute flint tools over a distance of several hundred miles from the same 'factory', and to transport stones for Stonehenge from the Prescelly Mountains, why build so many observatories? lyly hypothesis i s that megalithic man used a form of energy which fl,ows between the sites for healing, communication, signalling and the revitalisation of both land and people. This energy can be felt by sensitive people, traced by dowsers and registered on scientific instruments. eventually it may be possible to use 'Ley Energy' for its original purposes and even convert it into electricity.

-What is ley energy? Ley-Hunters and dowsers have often

records the results of several survevs o

ed not be so sensitive as "^aylor and alanovski recorded changes o f up to

that the use of two crystals will double the effect The output of the oscillator should be about one or two volts. It should be possible to vary it To increase the sensitivity of the device, the oscillator should have variable frequency SQ that it can be 'peaked' to read a maximum on the meter when it i s beingcalibrated. This will ensure that the transducers are working at their maximum efficiency. Use a voltage comparator and a centre-zero meter with variable range and a high input impedance to compare the output from the oscillator and from the transducer. The device will need to be calibrated in a 'normal' environment to equalise the two voltages and get a zero reading on the meter. This device i s simple to use: having , checked that the meter i s at zero, move the probes towards the line or stone under study. If necessary ask a dowser or sensitive to choose a site . where they subjectively feel there i s energy. If repeated trials yield no result we shall have to conclude that the 'Goddard effect' is purely subjective and no more than a variant of the normal dowsing response. It seems more likely, however, that it has an objective component as well, We can only try it and see. Richard Elen

1. Pro& KO& 2 . Calibration Presets


3.0,pmt ion -laiction &itch 4.0ilitration Selector. 5. OmratiodOl1i b m t ion Indicators. C.Jstlttcry Chrck Jtsi t c h PWfJ(?ter.




1 Megalithic Lunar Observatories and Megalithic sites in Britain by Professor A. Thom (Oxford University Press). 2. A Computer Stud of the Megalithic Alignments of Land's by Chris Hutton Squire and Pat Gadsby (Undercurrents 17). 3 dowsing by Tom Graves (Turnstone Books). 4 Pattern of the Past b y Guy Underwood (Abacus).








Nr. 2:




Block Dtag.

E f f e c t Enerw Detector.

' ' t. A and B are stones in their original positions. At 1, indications of energy fields around stone*, and effect of stonem Fig. 3. ne~moveda^B<BçlMç.fclttowitlimhl.arKM,~aliçb^"i^ollB^~~lt<^mme~~itd~the~e( energy hypothesisdoes not necessarily uire dead straight lines). At 2, the stone is further away, but still 'talks' to its original see. At s u f f i t dis( ~ d(3). * w o n t i thu, the stone tffl poltubly bt e m h u t os,..tette connection bl~t~~, fhçre a ~TOJ themmay stillbeall!>~ldfieldatt h e ~ l I l ' M ) n l l l d l > l l & l d m a y l > t . ~ cbyl ~thepre8enmolalll^lter,asaI ~~l riM w y m?tte a stmq a the stone. In cases 1,2, and 3, note how the moved stone is stilllinked with the stones in the alignment, thus distorting its Watkins-degcn dead stodghtness.




bation, or unable to get or keep jobs. it's running two moneyd i n g schemes - tailoring and brass-rubbing - which provide work experience for trainees whilst f i i c i n g materials, expenses and eventuaJly wage% l%e group is also eapting some workshops, which m v o h joinery, metalwork, glazing, d e c o r a w and painting. Traineesget S 1 on top of social security, plus bus fares - an amangemat made through the Youth Employment Semce. The centre has only two full-time wluntary workers. They need more to help them before more trainees can be taken on and the scheme built up. e m CO-OPERATIVE (+ Linwln B m s Rubbing Centre) 33 Burton Road, Lincoln.

whoism? -1nTheM2k w a s o ~ y started in 1 8 3 (see UC2) by Robin Fielder, Mavis Kirkham, DaveHayesandtherestofthe Radtech collective in SheffiId.

They havenowhandedthejobof publication over to a amall group of b@hiy-motivated peopk W e n in the deptha of Milton Keynes, Bus vw own new city. Several of us work at the Ope6University in the general areas of AT and d-management, o t h m do a variety of other jobs. We're based at ACORN, a cooperative shop in Wolverton (see below). If you've kot any ideas o r time to help get in touch.- we need you!

what is ITM? ITM is what people actually & w h d in self-managed pmductive projects and AT make of it. We're planning the next full directory (number 4,1977) now, hoping to get it out by December or so. It will have articles and project entries, like the ones on this page. If you want to write an articie for ITM, please do. We're especially interested in M c k s on projects that have succeeded (or failed); on what self-management might mean in practice andhow t o get *,t and on practical points for people setting up projects t h e m s e h . h j e c t entries wilI probably cover the following categories: u*, Rural; Industrbt Food amps A% and other projects. Alao covered is industrid action which is Wed in some way to dcnmds for self-manaeement and shodloor control-over the -of b&sses. We rply on you for informations so phsc send anythhg you think may interest us to IThi at the address Nbw-


SUBSCRIBE TO ITM! Subscribers receive the current issue of the ITM directory, plus Supplements (2 or 3 times a year), which will patallel and expand on the Undercurrents feature, Current rates are: Minimum subscription £0.8 Donation subscription £-50 (if you can afford it) Institution rate £-50 These rates (which may increase soon: subscribe now!) cover directories and supplements until your money runs out. Single copies of the last directory (called lTM3+) are available at 35p. All mail to: ITM, c/o ACORN, 84 Church Street, Wolverton, Milton Keynes, Bucks.

Publicatim a d SpeciaM publpers. It aims to provide "an effiuent bookshop and newsagent distriiution and q r e s n h t i o n service" as an independeatnon-pmfit organha-

WELCOME TO Undercurrents' new feature! In The Making, as well as being a dgular section in Undercurrents from now on, is an annual (or thereabouts) 'Directory of Proposed Projects in Self-Management and Radical Technology:. In The Making (ITM) is concerned mainly with product&n.- and specifically, with finding solutions to the prot&ems involved in manufacturing socially-useful products& a-non-exploitive, co-operative manner. The ITM Page in Undercurrents aims to put newlyformed co-operative projects in touch with readers who may be interested in joining them, ~d vice versa. But there isn't mom in Undercurrents to list more than a few projects at a time. For more information (plus Articles, News, and an AT Research section) you'll want to subscribe to the main annual I T M Directory itself (details below). Meanwhile, to whet your appetite ,

. ... .


tion run "according to basic principles of amper&n, nonexploitation coa&wsw The distribution srvice is imt starthgup,+ iabackedbi s iike tlmmz4rlit.y radical ~ c t i Spwe o n Ri rb. If you run a publication that m a t want to use the servim, a shop that W t want to use it or can help with fmce, contact eTubliationsDistriimtion a+puative*,435 Caledonian Road, London N7.


&@=a CLEMCOTE LTD i6 being started

by ten st~ctwralengineering workers in Cumbria. All were employed by a local contracting fm who used their labour and creamed off the surplus profits to other parts of the c o t ~ ~ ~ t r y . Helped by Jack Miller, the county's Industrial Officer whose job is to promote co-operative enterprises, they've been setting up Clemwte Ltd (which stands for the CLEator Moor Common Ownership TEn), riding markets and getting f i i c e . They'll soon be registered as a co-operative fium under the model rules of the Industrial Common Ownership Movement1(ICOM). Finance is the major problem now - when we last heard from them another £2,00 was needed to bring the loans already obtained up to the £12,50 target, which will be matched  for E with further government bans. Clemcote plans to provide work for 14 local people at f i i , building up to 20 o v e ~2 years. If you've got any special expertis3 t o offer, contact v h

1. A copy of the ICOM model mlea is available for 20p from ICOM,8 SWX Street, London



ARNNA, aCambrhlge w l ~ & foods shop, has recently bean taken o m by a workers cooperatbe. Their 11aims in"supplying basic wholesome foods to our community with a minimum of advertishg or pmfitmakiug, buying from nonexploitative concerns and abolishing all distinctions between 'managers' and 'workers'!' The last-aim is 'By no means easy" to achieve and areas of responsibility are being rotated slowly to try to tackle the problem. Aduna nbw employs 9 local people at 75p an hour. They're not looking for new members at the moment but if you know about runnhg w p s or want to learn to run a wholefood shop, s t m contact with: l ARJUNA, 1 Z W Road* Camwe,Camba. . ACE (~lternativeCo-operative Enterprises) is a group in Milton Keynes interested in setting up co-operative projects. The fiust of these is ACORN in Wolverton. It's a shop selling wholefoods, locally produced craft and other goods, as well as a pamphkt and periodicals.hirary, and a centre for local goups. It's also the new home of ITM. ACE isn't able to pay anyone to work in the shop yet, but ewntualIy probably will when it's off the ground. l ACE, 84 Church Street, Wolvexton, Budis.


! k h d lwvm skill centre who are '.mal&justed', on pro-

Horticulture Gardener (with BSc economics and family) would like to contact other professional gardeners and land-based workers to discus. establishing a small co-operat~ve horticultural projpt (eg market garden or nursery) with radical objectives, preferably in Scottish highland region. The aim would be to provide cheap healthy food f a those needing it, rather than self-sufficiency. Contact: eBox~,'lntheMaking'.

Electro~ Flans are being drawn up for an electronics manufacturing common ownership enterprise with disabled emphyees in the majority. The d e v b s made would be mainly electronic aids for the disabled. An initialgroup h s already started to produce aids for the deaf. Now-relying on S o d Smites for fbnce, they say they're fast becoming f i i y viable. Thew-o w o u l d b b ~ i n o r near meysre 100- for ham?ka ped both able4mdk-d people with electromc d-f manufacturing skills or m a t experience, as well as unskiUed handicapped peo.ple wi&g to train in electromcs. Contact: , l PETER STRONG, HigWeIda Centre, 26 Aknbank Road, Heath,Cardiff.

d. +




THE INTERCO43P international language school has been set up by a p u p of London teachers aiming to provide reasonably priced English hguage classes for foreigners. It became fully operational in January 1976, teaching fee-paying pupils who come for 1 to 6 months. 'Interco-op' has 7 membess, all teachers, who do t#e office a r k , cleaning, accounts and advextising as well as teaching. Over the summer period, the school had mound 100 students. The co-op members hope to provide an 'altemtiv@' to the exploitation they feel exists in the hgmge school business both of teachers and students. A future goal is to obtain a govemment grant to teach h&rallt workers in London's West End free of chaxge. rntfsawp lntendod school Ltd., 31 James St,

Undercurrents 18

I think Pete Glasa is unnecenarily The Sphynx and the Megal~ths.

flip in his review of J o b 1+myvs,

peopl; of the Third WoU, for a move ,todecentmibed industry based on the re-cycling of mate* and subject t o demo: cratic worker and community control; for democratic control over the meam of communtcation and information supply and over all societies inatitut~om. When such organisations d t e behind the demtmd for egalitarian, collective demomatic control over all a&ects of our lives when the realise that such den&& &be opposed pe$.+ps violently -by the e x a m g powerholders, and organhe themselves then SERA. and But I'm afrnid & t it will be a'lo time et. %on7 Jm-n Yice Chairman socialist Environment and Resources Association 312 DevomhLm Road London SE23 3TH


(Undercurrents 16). I -e that one should be pretfi hard-no& -&out this kind of book and sniff carefully for Von Danikhms since there are so many books f d l of rubbish about. However there are a lot of u n e x p d e d problems about Stoneheme and speculation is a good way of skrtinf4 to tw to Gdsome-anaweis. Edward De Born savs that our


oSe flaw in a theological s y a m

as sufficient to demobh it

com letely, one flaw, however ma$ was they needed. John I v h y dom not Dmmse



RANDOM MAGIC almost certainl p o d d - t h e best mathemat?cal culture of the t i p e ia a good one. However it stdl seems eaual&difficult t& either vrove or- ---D ~ either W E~YP~&UI presence or influence of Stonelrenge. d-g the eorge Matthews 2 Forth Street &inburgh EHl3LD


I hesitated to add my twopence worth to the debate on 'inner until I r e d e d Fp&%g&km LY* Watson9s Bu rnature He wnted of the InL of Lbrador: s'When meat is short they consult an oracle to determine in which direation they should hunt. They hold the shoulder blade of a caribou over hot coals, and the cra& and spots caused by the heat are interpreted like a map. The directions indicated by this oracle are random, but the system contbues to be used because it works. if they did not w e the


Why do I find tired old political labels on every other page of your otherwise excellent paper? How can you expect t o traaacend the old order tf you.ke8p lapsing mto the old left-t mt? Is A.T. becoming just another 'socialist' bandwaggon, 0: oan it he that people of such heqhtened awareness still feel uneasy about concepts without labels? If a oup of people cares e n o a t 0 et together to try and live in rIwt%.mwith the earth and each other then surely a political system, (if'neceasary), must emerge as a simple practical toolrather than b l a z i i ahead as an ideolo cal and perhaps unbalanced %roe? If such a group can in time prove that a new world is a practical possibility then surely the status quo wohd aim ly die of natural causes? may all sound hopelesdy naive, but surely a clean slate is what a new souety needs? Ms.E. van Chldtahoorn The Stocks Britwell Salome

forays are r a n d o w , the rwuk pattern is broken up and they make better use of the 9d." What has this t o do m t h the . present debate except t o rove that some magic w.orb . reading of the history of sc~ence suggests that scientific research does somethin very dmil+r t o this. When the%nown b m c principles have been pretty well explored to the h i t t h v e co.mes a surge of mterest in spmtualmn magic, telepathy, and other thin& outside the rational framework of 'science. I believe this is oCir equivalent of the bone oracle -a way


dean water. better sanitation. better h o d and more food. Doctors- vo& acuDuncture and &hui&& b e 6nly of d benefit when com ared to these brute ph dcal antfmicmbiological fact&^$ shouldreco W c n a h k of thia the =%&ps the A.T. movemtnt should encourage appredatlon' pickets ~ u t s i d esewerage works and pitheads to increase awarenem of their im rtance. This would be as use% as encowaging displays of hardware. Simon 10 Gerlan Road Gerlan Bethesda Gwmdd

I would like to uote from Undercurrents 17 wdch I have just received t60ur commitment is el t o the dissemination of =did ormation**.AS far as A.T. is concerned you just aren't



Alternative T e w o l o g y is concaned with the mlation of sources of energy to p m d e the greatest good to the greatest number at Ieaat cost t o the e I l V h & a t . T N ~ ?Good. Then l a us by all meam look at p o d l e sources of bower -the uun windmula generators etc. fine so jar. You can even consider KjrHan Photography and Telekinesis, if ou must but DOWk y Aes t e r r e ' ~ mdiaw, a d U.F.O. tin@ No, no and again no us analyse the m t of t h last m u p of subjects t o be in a magazine devoted to A.T. F W , I am confronted by amap of Leicd* whic? p y * to ahow ~ ~ O D I I Y$event ~ C ~ ~of i m p o h & e-igainst aranormal events e a s t or u.f.0. sigh-% What ik e importance of thu exercise? To show the interface the Ancients knew between energv and matter. I would


SERA NQT SECTARIAN had accused me of. I &d not dmdss the whole ultraleft political scene. I realise that many people-. the International Socb$ts%e Inter: national Mardroup Mil~tant, etc..are t h h k h g s e r i o d y about envqonmental and technolorncal hues. I criticbe those close .minded, dogmatic sectatiana who w o r e such developments as the &um t&e Green Bans who dismh the issues rerotmist b or ew3atever. d e s eny that such people exist in the ultraleft o oz that y are a n Z e Z n s the p r o 4 v e movements? But let s mot w a b b l e over &ow extensive thb mentality is. Let H.J. Milea p e me wrong, and - n wi% the 1.23. and So 118 Worker t o r a m the technological and environmental i!?mles-

wliy there are more U.F.O. ~ E Z t o Y st st e ~% ~ Em ~ ahWthanfmmavaUev.andso

bqpx& XJTatg -



winWr I tramped for several hundred miles thm

find seemed to me mom intere@ting; prehistoric ri eways, drove mads Iron aforbandold ind&w% -most of them little known even t o local archaeolo s. There was hardly a straight e e among them, but there were many curves of great beauty and it seemed t o me, of ecological dr geomantic sign if^of them followed the cance. M contoursythe hi&. On-most of the &teeone felt an -&able sense of Ene Y. ~ a c t i d y % eonly atralght lines were those of Roman roads or of mads constxucted during thk Enclosure movement: these lacked energy ~ a r e . 1say that to the d6wtee of Inner ~ecimofogythe Shrop ahtre Hillsmustbeo&eof the great unexplored are- of the world? Robe& Hart Highwood Hill RusllburY Church Stretton Salop


and environmental impact of technology ?uestions about yhat is'urodmcedwhomand& how. ih<se or -iuaj 6-&K-To- r* sections of the trade d o n , cooperative, socialist and rnp s i y e movements, an$ to have hese m e s intemated hato the -

Riverford Fazm Totnes Devon

COAL AND HEALTH Fzpm the energy point of view

t h s meam that wiud and mlar energy are considered separately from 6 a l . As coal will remain the


more on a hill. One black hill in LancashLreonce verisetothe belief in the oc& powers of witches la the area around Pendle.

stand any investkation? I m u e a t that theie is non6 Anyway w%o but the author of ;he artid6 decided what were "unusual goo~hvdcd events"? Next, let us &terrestrial zodiacs First of all a short 1-n in histoiy. T h e An&entss. tho= wonderful wuanderera of memofies and immrtant dimcowries. arbitrarily drew desimm

I bemve that mlicies based on

Development Movement from F.O.E. t o I.S. from the A.T. movement to the Trade Unlon

correspond which they don't to the shapes 6mduced in the sk$ by Ptolomey and the Ancieah. The

a clever mysMc. I am. NOW,witb dowsing and-leylines. we come to the exutina btt.


of resources and of ene Maybe one dreams hop%&y I mentioned some-' A.T. &be where in the articles on these subjects. There isn't a w h t . Sure, there is a statistical analysis of ley-lines but that's not constructiv; for A T Still we will have a look at ihkse subjects. NOW dowsing is quite an old mystical art but I have yet to see a piece of &search upon it done by anyone without a vested interest and with the experimental ability. I haven't o t either qualification. r u t !eeG eview of books on owsmg In Undercurwnts 17,Ed.I So I'll say here merely that I pret d i d that in the present shortage of water more people will start dowsing for water. Those that find it will believe dowsmg to be . . scientific "unjustdia ly c n t ~ c u e d by d a oid professors*9and Proved. Those y h o do& find water WIU remam unchanged m their slightly pro-dowsing views. The rest of us will just thirst. Thus the.dowsers will trumpet ahout then new adherents and the further proof of the hlidity of their sport. To my mind one thing above all others tha4is commo; t o dowsing i n d ley-lines is the mystical aspect. That is only certain people are able {o dowse well, they have a spe,cific ability. Similarly only certam people are capable gf feelin a slight tingling sensation along t%e course of a ley-line. It is the knowledge of the initiated. All others must just have Faith. Have Faith and a leyline tingle shall be delivered unto YOU. Speaking in tongues is a similar example that certain churches put forward proof of God's existence. If we assume that the number of ley-lines found in any givenarea is greater than can be expected from the 'laws' of probability and thus assume that leylines ex& we anive at the problem gf what use can they possibly be. We must now accept the possibility that this tingling sensation is, indeed, the outward and msible sign of some mysterious hitherto unknown or possibly kn'own, ener y sourc; Thus we must now as%how fruitful research has been with respect to this energy and how may this supposed enirgy be used or implemented in A.T. in the future. his-is the major question I see for the editors of Undercurrenfs 17 to answer. None of the subjects which are considered Inner Technolozies has very much t o do with proven sources of energy let alone with an" sort of technofoev. S . o why are these subjects being-. dealt with in a relativelv senous social and technological ;?a a zine? W h a t is really requxe8 ior these subjects is for someone t o deliver hard blows t o their easily earned reputations in the same manner as Martin &adener does in Fads and Fallacies in The Name of Sc~enceDover Press to see exactly w6at parts of tAem stand up t o analysis. But surely, this is, not the work of Undercurrents, i it? h last word o n ley-lines why not try my new invention' leycircles. 19vejust discovered one that runs t h o u & a lot of mehistoric stones at some place called Stonehenee. I think it

HIDDEN SEXISM There is hidden sexism in Undercurrents, and it dismays me, here's why: The use of man t o refer t o people is a very old cultural convention and. therefore. is almost invariablv uied in even the most radical of publications except Peace News. But surel; being radica~involves ch+gin.g our very own various heads, 1.e. mvolves consciousness raising? To me that m e a q , more than anything eke, realismg that we are all people and that acceptance of any role playing definitions of ourselves is anything but radical - acceptance of labels %.definitions of complex Dersonalities IS hardly revolut~on-


So., .*en we agree that the traditional roles of male and

femaIe should be dissolved we must effect changes in ourihinking which aid that dissolution. I believe that women's liberation is profoundly radical and of necessity leads t o pe6p1e9sliberation. It seems t o me that using man and he etc.. as inclusive terms for women and men reinforces a way of thinking which radicals shou!d be abandonmg., My suggesting IS that you e&t out men and replace the Undercunents world of print with Deo~le*

technology so if it makes the idea any m6re appealing I'm sug esting a loqical alterAative tecl!noloev which Undercurrents can contsbute t o is communication -us% the tools, i.e. words, differently in order t o be more responsive t o the needs of peopIe. Isn't that what radical technology is all about? Paul F. Downton 205 Arabella Street ~ o & h Cardiff

LEYING IT ON THE LINE Ca ratulations o n your several a1t3es in recent issues on Inner Technology or Earth Mysteries. Could I point out though that mv article in ~ n d & r c u r r e n l1s7 wis written a few years ago for The Ley Hunter but the visual material is from'current work that Andrew York and I are doing in Leicestershire. The map is only one of a number of correlative maps and studies. From our data, Scholar's Bridge to be the most haunted spot m Leicestershire not Britam I a k surprised ihat Chris Hutton Squire's article on the


ley has occasioned so much comment: it bears n o relevance to the reality or otherwise of leys. nor does it affect the overall credibility of Alfred Watkins' work. Instead of the five point, plus three confirmation point. claimed by Watkins Chris says there are only two ihree point alignments T~dcombeLinkenholt&*hclere and Tidcombe-LinkenholtSydmonton) with the claimed ley-point of Faccombe church missing the ley by "at least l m m * When seeing the map edition that Watkins used however Chris found that whtkins' e n k r was 0.5mm. So Chris matched Watkins' carelessness. but in a different way, by not o w n a l l y checkin his source m a t e d . This meant t t a t Faccombe church now formed a 3 point ley with idcombe and Lmkenholt. As hese latter places were supposed t o align variously with Burghclere and Sydmonton. line varying through Linkenholt church symbol. I can not visualise how Faccombe church fails t o fall o n one of the levs. But then- I am


made a mistake. or that he fudged his evidence. I am at a loss t o think of further alternatives! Chri. then states his own view that~;;the-fici-thai this-ley is bogus throws doubt on all the other Ieys Watkins claims t o have found." This rampant suhjectivity colours the reader's impression of Watkins. Consideri n s all the l e ~ that s Watkins dekribed I would not have thovght that Chris' view is even statst~callysound! I hope Chris realises that even he can write in a careless and misleadin fashion. But I do not condone $atkins9 carelessness in claiming an erroneous ley-point. Indeed there are other items in his work {hat I find doubtful -but I can say this and still seriously consider his ley hypothem because there are other instance; where his claims are borne out. As the article in Undercurrents 16 does not affect ley validity either way, 1.assume its purpose is t o undennme Watkins' credibility. It attempts thii only in bemg selective. The

opposite impression could have been given by an article demonstrating a Watkins' ley that does check out. That leaves us back at square cine -which unfortunately is where we all are at at the moment regarding the status and significdce of leys. This leads t o a few other points which I list below. One Watkins gasped the ley concep<late in ~ fe s u b c o n s c ~ o u dcrystallising notions that had been "in the EIW'for about a cent? previously. ,In h e remainmg years he did s t e r h g pioneer work. and it should be r e c o e n ~ e das such. All

covered, and profound new material relating t o m e e t h i c groundplan geo-metry and lon distance astro-alignments has %een roduced. The currently unfolding view of prehgoric man as intelligent and semtive, throws a more favourable hght o n Watkins' trail-blazing ideas. It is in this sense that Watkms IS respected. Chris cheapens himself by his sneer in Undercurrents 1 7 about Watkins being a guru with feet of clay. Two the lines a t Nazca are frobadly the only indisputable eatures that posses characteristics bearing any relationship tm the ley concept. The width of these lines varies greatly, some so wide that their researcher the mathematician Maria ~ e i G h ecalls them "geometric surfaqes". 50 the ley-width problem IS a r e d one. Three, fieldwork is essential when studying leys. It IS insufficient to m ~ a tfew ley points marked o n the map -the ley has to he walked. All manner of confirmation points can thus be discovered that are not marked o n the map. Even where a line misses a potential ley-point o n the map it is a good idea t o check the 'fail koint' on the ground. An old named oak or markstone agahst a WAU eic can often revitahe the hag& validity of a map-ley. 1ncidenta5y. I have spent about e. ht full days in all doing fieldwog on one ten mile ley so Chris and Pat are unreahtic in being l'disappointed'', (Undercumnts 17), at not receiving other eroups of data

are studying more obscure landscapes. Four if leys marked o u t the course bf a form of telluric energy and were not originally tracks & Watkins thought (an unlikely notion) then the; can perhaps be view;d as the mean alignments of 'soft edged' and gently meandering energy courses. Five, if the ley system is a reahty, then ~ t fwst s ve,rsion was laid down m remote antiqwty. It is therefore unrealistic t o expect the original ley points very often t o be still extant one after another, along lgng lengths of leys. Alignments laid down by eye in the actual landscape in the remote past cannot always be meanmgfully subjected t o contemporary statistical analysis. We fo et their age. The old trees, w z gaps markstones etc that have replkced the orig'hal Garkers will not always b e . f o ~ don any scale of map will have t o put ~f%%=boots on too: maps are an abstraction of an actual landscape and statistical map work is'a further abstraction It is useful but mu& be mewed i&a qualified way. Where well documented data has been processed as at Lands End, the results loo$ interesting. as Chris and Pat have indicated. So let us keep ~t all m perspective. We value and admire Chris' serious work on leys but perhaps it is best t o c?nsid&r his Undercurrents 1 6 article, which gets no one anywhere as an aberration belomi& - - t o the 'silly season'. P a d Devereux Editor The Ley Hunter P.O. Box 152 h n d o n NlO 1EP

WXBREAKER The most revolutionary act I can think of is to stop watching television. Completely. Get rid of the box -don't just turn it off, give it away, throw it away, smash it (great satisfaction here - I smashed three TVs in a wbbish dump) but above all stop watching it! Do I hear some comphints? (Ah yes, YOU say, much mbbish these days but we only watch certain select programmes). I say YOU are folling yourself like the alcoholic who says he only has one drink a day. I say it is harder t o give up watching TV than it is to stop smoking. It is harder because there is so much reinforcement for the tell-a-vision. Don't, I was brought UP with a cathode tube for a dummy - it is as muc$a part of my life as anyone's. BUT I am only now beginning t o realise that time spent watching TV is time wasted and time alienated, not t o mention the more paranoid aspects of the hypnotic qualities (why are serials so successful?) I can say a lot more about this hut I'd rather answer feedback, t h e n I can be specific. So how about it Cyclops. are YOU gonna z let a few more loose? P a d Blakey The Smithy Alkington Whitchurch Salop SY13 3NG

POWER TO THE PEDAL I agree with the p o e t s raised by

J.L. Woodward in W IS letter

(Undercurrents 16). but feel that they are largely irrelevant t o the article in Undercurrents 14. The whole emphasis of my article was concerned y i t h thk construction of an exercise machine and c o t a power unit. Whether such a machine "smacks of gimmickry". or not, is a matter of personal choice, but I assure our readers that the exerciser continues t o be that approused. We must re* priate technology in Papua New Guinea is not necessarily the same as alternative technology m other parts of the world! Dr. Frank Thompson A7 Dale Road Marple Cheshire



Undercurrents 18

Silbury Moon The Silbury Treasure, Michael Dames. 192pp. Thames and Hudson. Ă&#x201A;ÂŁ5.50 Silbury Hill i s a chalk mound 130 feet high surrounded by a ditch, close to the A4 in Wiltshire. It was built one hatvest time by our New Stone Age farmer ancestors about the year 2660 BC. They turfed it over as soon as i t wqs built, protecting it so well that it has withstood nearly 5,000 winters, though 20 feet of s i l t have accumulated in the ditch. It seems. likely that long after that ncarby latterday megalithic monutnent, the M4, has crumbled to dust. Silbutv Hill will still be there to puzzle ou'r descendants.

To support this claim Dames marshals evidence from the other symbols of the Great Goaess cult, from British folklore, from ,the shape and size of the natural landscape of the area, from other 'harvest hills' such as Gib Hit1 near Arbor Low and from the name Silbury itself, which he traces back to the Old English sele: 'happiness; favourable or proper time; hence "first fruits" (the phrase 'Silly (i.e. harvest) 'Season' comes from the same root). Silbury was not just a symbol: it was the setting for an annual ritual zentring on the Harvest Moon, the o m h a t comes to fullness nearest to Lmmas (August 81, the halfway mark between Solstice and Equinox. The hill and moat, says Dames, were designed as the set for an annual performance of natural theatre in which they appeared to give birth to a reflection of the full Harvest Moon and to suckle her. These rites lingered on, kept up by children, until Queen Victoria's time. For a hundred years now the Hill has been abandoned to the professional grave robbers. It's time to change all that: why don't the freaks, instead of sitting outside the State's barbed wire at Stonehenge while the mock-Druids celebrate the Summer Solstice inside, call a Silly Season Festival on Silbury at Lammastide next year? This is a @ought-provokingbook, witty and well-illustrated. By settjpg the work of the megalithic engineerqand astronomers in i t s cultural context Qames makes them breathe in a way that Thom's one-dimensionalcalculating machines never do. He strikes a happy balance between tfie sceptical but narrow 'straight' approach and the breadth of vision of the +

For a puzzle i t i s . We know who built and when but not what they built it for. Straight archaeologists, brought up to believe that, then as now, someone must have been in charge, assumed, on no evidence at all, that it musrbe the burial mound of a local potentate, even th~ugh there were no chiefs in Palaeolithic society. They have devoted much effort to digging for the tomb and treasure of the i i t h l c a l 'King Sil'. The last dig, in 1968, was made into a TV spectacular, with seven varieties of scientist in supporting roles. Nothing was found. Nor can it have been a military earthwork. Like kings, war did not come to Britain until the Bronze Age. So why build an artificial chalk hill in the midst of natural chalk hills? Michael Dames, archaeologist and artist , is in no doubt: Silbury i s an image of the Great Goddess, the chief divinity of Stone Age Man, the universal mother and svmbol o f fertility. She i s depicted as a pre.gnant . woman near Ker timeand lying on her side; her womb is the hill and her thighs and neck and head are the water in the surroundingditch.'



s comwsed of radmal ~ l r o cchalk walls

fringe. 'Mr. J. Michell' is credited with offering much useful criticism but there i s no mention ~f leys or cosmic fusion. Nevertheless it is his romantic worldview that pervades this book. It may have something to say to us as we try to reconcile the marxist metaphysic of 'progress' with life on a plundered planet so I'll let John have the last word: "Some would say that we have no further business with an ancient civilisation long forgotten. However, the megalithic order supported and diverted over many centuries a large, settled population, whose members, whatever else they may have suffered, can hardly have died of boredom, and lived content in their native land, secure through the wisdom of their priests and enriched by the science of their magi. In their approach to the problems of civilised life, in their . cosmology and philosophy, are certain virtues, not conspicuous among those in the present order, which may yet again be respected in whatever system is destined to succeed it" (The Old Stones o f Land's End, p. 133). Lammas Day, 1976 Chris Hutton-Squire



. . % z

&*+&<a*%& -.,a

-.- --




. - . -* * - .


Undercurrents 18

Ohu Knowhow A Hard Won Freedom. Alternative communities in New Zealand. Tim Jonesllan Baker. '

This extremely pleasant book isk a chatty' informal record of Tim Jones' tour of communes (the word i s used reluctantlyl faute de mieux) on both Islands. About ten rural and urban communes are detailed' plus so'me overgrown flatshares that don't quite fit under that headin but give the same impression. The act that ten communes could exist in N.Z. was an eye-opener for me; that one of them was founded in 1933 was a jaw-dropper. I was also surprised at the acceptance of the groups by the more strait-laced citizens. One site, Reef Point' could only be reached by a five-mile walk around rocks and beaches and yet was visited by 300 people during Easter 1971. "Several thousand lived here for short or long periods during the four years of + its existence.')! One feels 5orry for the guy who started 'Moonsilver Forest' - a thousand acres of uncleared forest - and found himself so hassledb y casual visitors and would-becommune-ists that he asked the author not to reveal the location. There are similar reports of interest and involvement from other places, where there was a readier acceptance of newcomers. A t 'Wilderw~od'~ one of the founders was asked how she coped with the everchanging population. !'Easy," she replied' "we wave goodbye to those leaving, and say hello to those arriving." . The book has some inside information on the origins of the Ohu scheme' now suspended while the new government 'reconsiders' it. The idea behind Ohu was not to get cheap labour for larrd reclamation or to isolate dissidents, but "to give an opportunity to New Zpalanders to experience the earth' the country and each other in a new fraternal unity." -



Mr. Rats' Minister of Lands in the Labour government. I can't think of any government in the world that would encourage i t s citizens to take more responsibility for themselves. Tim jones' text is perfectly complemented by Ian Baker's photography. After an initial pang of disappointment that some o f the magnificent landscapes weren't in colour I was really impressed by their pictorial qualities. The selection is excellentl too. Not just formal poses and tayout shots (although there are some) but offbeat 'snapshots' of the sort of day-to-day trivia that the residents overlook, but which give an immediate insight into the way the community feels. It's nice to get hold of a book that reassures you that there i s intelligent life on this planet. As you endure your commuter transport to or from another day of utterly pointless work you can read this and think ''one day . ," Dave Kanner

Megalithic Mystery Tours I

Earth Magic, Francis Hitching. lg6pp. Casseli. £4.50 Br@antia, Guy Ragland Phillips. 224pp. Routledge and Kegan Paul. £4.25

.. .





~wo'morebooks cashing in on the current vogue for megalithic mysteries. They both contain material of interest. Earth m g i c is an amiable and journalistic* but reliable account o? what is known and believed by both 'straight' and 'fringe' ' prehistorians. Radiocarbon dating, primitive farming' megalithic astronomy, the spiritual and quantitative aspects of Ieyhunting' dowsing, and mazes and zodiacs are described and then brought together into a common framework of 'what might have been'' a culture centred on an 'earthforce' which i s now forgotten. Hitching i s quite right to see that such a framework is needed and brave enough to try to provide it. Unfortunately his enthusiasm has led him to accept other people's stories without checking thein himselfi for instance he completely misinterprets the statisticalformula for


Undercurrents 18


assessing the significance of alignments. This is simpldlaziness: a couple of phone calls would have put him in touch with someone numerate enough to explain it to him insimple terms. Another fairytale that he recounts as fact is the story thats it was John Dee, astrologer to Elizabeth I, who first mapped the Glastonbury Zodiac. (See Undercurrents 17). Hitching, needless to say, merely repeats the story, which would be remarkable if true, without even giving the reference to Richard Deacon's book on Dee. But buried among these mare's nexts are some genuine nuggets of discovery. In particular there is the first published account of Professor JohnTaylor's collaboration with dowser Bill Lewis.

Apparently it was Hitching who brought them together and started what seems likely to be a most fruitful line of work. Their findings are discussed by Richard Elen elsewhere in this issue.

Megaliths, Myths and Men, Peter Lancaster Brown. 324pp. Blandford. £4.75


a mythical celtic king, running from Inverhope in Caithness down to the Solent. I'm not sure just how seriously he takes this line. Probably not very. "Leys", one can imaginehis publisher crying, "give them leys: that's what the public . want." And so leys'are what they've got. And why not? As Patrick Moore remarked, "It all adds to the gaiety of nations!"




Guy ~ a ~ l a Phillips' nd 'mysteriography' is a much less pretentious work, aimed primarily at Yorkshire chauvinists (like myself) with a taste for the strange and uncanny. However, it does have a chapter on leyhunting which is of interest, even ough he also gets all muddled up about e statistics. Why is i t that so.few leypie can count? Perhaps it's the conual buzz in the back o f their heads that tracts them! However, he redeems himlisting two striking sets of alignthat he has found, centred on two Blakey Topping in the Yorkshire and Clifton Green, near York. Pat y and I intend to check these out our computer as soon as we can. suits will be published in the Ley-, ter. He also describes a long distance ,which he -calls the betinus Line, after ,





We all need a rest from timerto time from the Reality Principle and rabbiting on about 'radical social change'. Perhaps there i s also time to stop taking leyhunting seriously as an empirical study of d it how many points make a line a ~ see for what it really is, a recreationin the most literal sense, a happy blend of mysticism and cross-country rambling that can help alienated Western man to rediscover his true place in the universe.,

Chris Hutton Squire



.Peter Lancaster Brown has written many books, mostly on astronomy. This one i s the best and establishes him as probably the best popular astronomy writer in the UK. He has worked hard, read everyone from John Michell to Peter Newham, and covered the field superbly from Marshack's neolithic moon recordings (which he deals with much better than Hawkins in BeyondStonehenge) through Stonehenge and other megalithic remains, to an outstanding treatment of ley lines and the rest of the fringes of the subject. One should be very glad that Lancaster Brown has written this book; his main competitor in popular astronomy writing, who i s familiar especially to insomniac BBC 1 viewers, i s a very right wing tory whose previous exploits into the mystics have been disgustingly shrill and , intolerant. But Lancaster Brown knows that every generation gets the Stonehenge - and, in general, the ancients - that it . wants, and sees clearly the connection .between declining respect for (and selfidentification with) straight science, and the boom in alternative views of what the ancients were up to. His gentle treatment of ley lines, made all the more convincing by accounts of hisyouthful ley-hunting trips and the feeling that he does believe in some leys - is a masterpiece, as i s his coverage of John Michell's work and hisanalysis of ancient measures. The latter is particularly interesting as he feels that , Thorn's megalithic yard is only one ancient metric; that their production seems to have been a veritable nineteenth century cottage industry, with Etruscan . feet, Pyramid inches and the like making the Systeme Internationale seem straightforward by comparison. But I digress; I'm sure that Lancaster Brown's gentle and worthwile fun-poking at ley hunters will do no harm. and we'll receive the benefits of their researches whatever anyone says to try to discourage them. And the rest of the book i s excellent; by concentrating on historical aspects of our knowledge of ancient science, Lancaster Brown both takes us through various theories of ancient astronomy (his coverage of views of the use of Stonehenge is a classic) and relates them to their times in a way which explains far more than just a catalogue of papers and their conclusions. One reservation. On page 158 the holes discovered during the building of the ¥visitorscar park at Stonehenge, and in which post remnants were found, are said to have contained "posts to align on the distant horizon", a rather different matter/f?r noobvious reason. I had made more notes of points I though dubious, but on rechecking them found that they had just been over my head, a rather different matter. But to comeacross one perhaps nonexistent- logical error in a book on a field where several per page are nearer the norm, is excellent going. The other valuable point about the book for Undercurrents readers is that it explains ~rchaeologicalthought on


43 -.

ancient astronomy very clearly and with' the understandkg it deserves.

Undercurrents 18


with a real political analysis, and attempts to overcome the very isolated nature of many o f these ventures. They relegate the humanistic drive toward the formation of self-managed co-ops to an ideology which reflects "a tendency towards communitarian reform on the thin basis of lingering capitalism.". Whether self-managed production co-ops are basically ideological in nature is open to argument though, for, as we've seen, some co-ops have been formed simply in defence of employment, others have self-consciously pursued autonomous self-sufficiency, and maybe a few have really intended to be anticapitalist, the reasons for forming co-ops are wide-ranging.

enterprise use low-paid co-operative workers to provide some infrastructureof services and market 'gap fillers'. Maybe this is stating the case a bit too strong1y, but counter-revolution today imp1ies an unprecedentedparticipation by the wage slavesof capital in the very maintenance of their slavery. The ideological use of 'participation' and 'selfmanagement' by social democrats reflects a possible development of self-management as a political and administrative form of control of capitalism's internal antagonisms. True, it may be more

rewarding to work in a productive co-op than in Ford, but this form of 'enlightened' reformism is a dangerous creature, especially when it's applied during a capitalist equilibrating crisis - we may cut out some dehumanising work, but equally we could simply be giving capital a breathing space by self-exploitation, taking the function off it, as it were, until it next needs us. Even if you're not interested in watchmaking, this i s a cheap and timely reminder of just how wrong good intentions can be. Mike George

We are enmeshed in a system which wastes food. Nothing we'do as individuals will change that system more than infinitesimally. Some of us, the puritans, keep fish-heads, cauliflower-stalks and potato-water for soup. The rest delight in eating only the 'best part', and jettison bread crusts, leek greens and broad-bean pods, all of which are technically 'edible'. Miss Biggs didn't teach me to save food. (All she taught me was to distrust authority.) I learned to be a kitchen Wastage in the UK foodsystem, Robin puritan myself, in later years. I read Roy. Earth Resources Research Ltd.; Robin Roy's report with the expected 40 JamesStreet, London W1. 75p. shock and shame. I am sure he's another . puritan;.he runs a food co-op (see UCl5) I was once kept in school after lunch, in Milton Keynes. Yet neither of us can sitting in front of a plate of soggy apricots produce a coherent reason for conser ing which I refused to eat. "Can't you taste food, unless it be an 'economic' one. The the sunshine in them?'' Miss Biggs said. UK food system leaks food like a hippo I might as well have tried to taste sunwith diarrhoea; but capitalist cupidity has shine in 3 plate of cold sick. But at least ensured that the capitalist system doesn't she didn't bullshit me about starving leak money. Economically, there is no millions. Those apricots were either for me or for the pigs, and there were none * need for reform, apart, of course, from such obvious lame ducks as the EEC's for the starving millions either way. Common Agricultural Policy. No, reason doesn't cry out against waste. The reaction comes from the gut, a thinking organ too long neglected. Tony Durham

Dustbin Dinners

Whether ideological and reformist, or not, communalism 'in itself' is not a sufficient condition for bringing about the change in the nature of work that socialism purports to aim for. The authors quote Bordiga: "Socialism resides entirely in the revolutionary negation of the capitalist ENTERPRISE, not in . granting the enterprise to the factory workers." Self-management, either through workers' control of expropriated capitalist enterprise, or through selfmanaged 'enterprise' co-ops (which attempt to make and sell commodities in conventional capitalist markets) may well simply throw the responsibility for amelioratingcapitalist crises ohto the workers. Self-management of enterprises. within a capitalist economy is a way of having the workforce control capitalist contradictions. By taking on those areas of capitalist enterprise that capital itself has disrnissed'as providing too little surplus value, workers/communards take up arms in a new capitalist civil war. There could well be a 'neo-colonization of the interior', big capital taking the plums, allowing self-exploitedworkers to grub around in the less profitable sectors to provide marginal (for capital that is) but perhaps necessary goods and services. Just as big capital now uses low-paid Argentinian or Chilean labour in multinationalenterprise, so may national ,


Heavy Aptech

"Do you have a cookbook on how to cookwithout food?"

Appropriate Technology: Problems and Promises (OECD, 344pp., Ă&#x201A;ÂŁ5.60 i s a collection of papers by Third World practitioners, originally written for a conference in 1974, prefaced by a long essay on the theory of appropriate technology by Nicolas jequier of OECD. A worthy book, but dull, with no pictures or jokes, ifcwill only appeal to the dedicated, but the growing band of opportunists jostling for places orf the well-heeled American appropriate technology band waggon ought to read it as well, even though it will cost them $12.50.


Undercurrents 18

Too Sweet by Half The Home of Man, Barbara Ward. 294pp. Penguin. £1.00 This book was commissioned by the 'Canadian Government for the Vancouver Habitat conference; it was paid for by the World Bank. Barbara Ward C.B.E. is doyenne of IIED, like JonTinker's Earthwatch a member of the 'UNEP group of companies'. As a former Governor of Sadler's Wells and the Old Vic and ex-president-ofthe Conservation Society, she is well qualified to write about the problems of the world's home-

less. Those that pay the piper call the tune. This is a book about the human conditifln in 1976 in which capitalism and socialism are not mentioned in the index, the Third World is still labelled the 'developing countries' and Formosa is called China (Taiwan); actually they got that one wrong: Canada needs China as a market for its wheat What a pity nobody told Ms. Ward. In short this is the s o r t of wet liberal book that would appeal to the fat cats in the Ottawa bureaucracy. Nice guys all, they want to love and be loved. They might even find it strong meat. 'dangerously radical'. Undercurrents readers will find it thin gruel and too saccharine sweet by half. Chris Hutton-Squire

the views on privacy of a certain labor organisation - the organisation i s a CIA front. They waffle about domestic FBI activities to disrupt political groups, suggesting this may have been done . from. time to time. (by) the more zealous agents" but there isn't any evidence, they say. A vast amount of information on' the FBI'S COINTELPRO disruptions of political groups for fifteen years has been gathered over the last few years, and was recently published in the US magazine Counterspy. Their journalistic or political edge doesn't bring forth anything more cutting than an indication that Richard Nixon may not have been a nice person. The supposedly useful section on bugs goes no further than a listing of one manufacturer's odds and ends, while their technical understandingis on the level of 'wonders' whether a computer's data gets distorted during power shortages (it doesn't). '~hprehensive*is one description that doesnT&fitW Place ToHide, although it will certainly be comforting and fulfilling reading formcTritical paranoiacs. And tyrants who would like to dismiss civil rights campaigners and oppression resisters as ill-informed liberals. Duncan Campbell


". .

No Place To Hide, Alan LeMond and Ron Fry. St James Press. £3.95 No Place To Hide purports to be

a "comprehensive and often unnerving

story of the ways in which millions o f Americans arespied upon every day." Given the importance of civil liberty, it is a great pity that the book's 300-odd pages contain little more than a rambling, woolly, and unexciting mishmash of horror stories and supposition about the activities of US domestic intelligence gathering agencies. There is no new information which the 'researchers' have unearthed, and at times they display a phenomenal ignorance of other information available. They approvingly quote


Stools The Do-It- Yourself-Guide to Alternative Publishing. Edited and Published-by the Alternative Press Syndicate, $4.95.


Dedicated to "tyrants, dictators, bookburners and enemies of freedom everywhere* without whom their book would not be necessary, the Alternative Press Syndicate have produced a Do-It-Yourself Guide to Alternative Publishing and notso-alternative publishing. It smacks of the compromising position the daily and weekly alternative newspapers in the U.S. find themselves in, since nowhere is there a critical discussion

Guide SCANUS, 3 Endsleigh Street, e on don WC1.


selection is biased towards relevant and useable material such as Pat Kinnersley's 'The Hazards of Work and How to Fight Them' described: "Basic text on how to spot, analyse and combat health hazards; includes directory of toxic substances. Good layout and index." Could any label say more in less?The reviews are just as succinct about re-cycling, gardening or the military/industrial complex. These are short lists devised to point towards action. SCANUS provide most of the listed books and pamphlets as a special book-stall service for students. Dave Smith

There you are. You've just discovered Undercurrents. Or you're a teacher concerned with environment wanting to involve kids in projects. You don't live in the Leeds area and you haven't formalised your project so you've notcontacted the Futures Centre, 15 Kelso Road, Leeds 2, though they would be witting to help. For these or pther reasons you're after some background information on environment, ecology, alternative technology, science for people. You can't spare the money for back issues of Undercurrents to catch up?. Don't despair, the Community Action/ Environment Unit of the National Union of Students (SCANUS) will for 3p, plus stamped addressed envelope send you a publications guide 'Science, Industry, Technology and Environment,'. Each , entry is normally accompanied by a two Jine review. These are often pithy, pointed, no-nonsense descriptions of almost poetic brevity. For example on Kropotkin's 'Factories, Fields and Workshops Tomorrow':"Classic vision of what the alternative could be *,' The '

of advertising. Instead a section opens "The only way to get advertising is to go out and sell it", which is shortly followed by tips on the raising of capital through the issue of stock and gems like if you aim to make a profit and don't pay your workers expect a revolution! It also appears to be a novel idea that it is possible to organise a publishing enterprise collectively. After the How-todo-it section, which

describes what most people have had to learn the hard way, is a fairly wellinformed piece on the insand outs of off-set litho equipment for those who want to print as well as publish themselves. The only other useful information is a listing of the U.S. alternative news services and someone explaining the relevance of investigative journalism. Pete Glass



Gardenopolis ¥



. The Complete Urban Farmer, David Wickers. 174pp. J ulian £3.50 - Friedman. .

Tomatoes are 20p a pound at my local greengrocers this week, which is quite ? a lot when you think how easy they are to grow. You just plant them in May, water them from time to time, and collect about 15lb from every plant between f August and October. You don't even have f to water them all that much, so there's no need to worry about Mr Howell's strictures: the less you water them the more concentrated the taste, or so I'm told. The point about all this is that it's dead easy - the main reason why people don't grow more of their own food is that they're lacking the inspiration. You don't

even need a garden - as David Wicker demonstrates, a balcony will do, or a windowbox, or just a few plant pots lying around the living room. The techniques are easy enough to acduire - this is one o f the many currently available books in which you'll find them adequately described. What to grow, when toplant them, how tonurture them, even how to cook them. It's just a matter of inspiration: leaping out o f your favourite armchair, turning off the telly, spending less time daydreaming, getting it together. Maybe you're just on the point of taking up the gardening habit, dithering at the water's edge (so to speak), almost ready to take the plunge. I f so, this is the book that will finally provoke you intoaction: it's

TRAINING I N ORGANIC METHODS Plans are being considered for parttimelfull time courses in organic methods for both agriculture and horticulture at a College of Agricultu re. I norder to assess public demand for such courses, starting possibly in late 1977, serious prospective students are invited to send a stamped addressed envelope for further details to: The Soil Association, Walnut Tree Manor, Haughley, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 3RS.

a turn-on for growingthings, it's full of pretty pictures to convince you how nice it all is, and lots of information to make it all possible. The Complete Urban Farmer is redolent of long summer evenings, the hum of mosquitoes, the smell of fresh-mown hay, the unmistakeable taste of fresh food and . . not least. the thrill of eating the produce of your own effort. It's an experience even the city dweller can have. Nathan Pa~eter

SMALL ADS . . . . SMALL ADS . . . . WALL ADS . . . . SMALL ADS -!. . .




SLIGHTLY SHOP-SOILED male, 31. with Heath Robinson Com-

winepeer. Some experience in . 0 anisation/p J1^. Broailhiyrt"?£'Sreenside Kendal, Cum ria, LA9 6DT. IS THERE a small cornmupity anywhere near the sea which would welcome an active Father ,with some working knowl z o f land and livestock? If so, please write to Jim Shallcross 4 Mountview ad.. London ~4 4SL.



ISLE OF SKYE Large old stone house 50 yards from sea loch Walled garden (over m o b for vegetables. .Scn:% some renovation. Suitable crafts, community living eta. (or BkB). Urgent sale required. Offers around £ 900 Phone Louth % ( ~ i n e3453, s) evenings.

2p per word up to 150 words


SELF-SUFFICIENCY can become ' more than a catch-phrase with Countr side & Small Stock ~ o u r n a the c established monthly azine for all who produce e own food. Send 50p for ecimen co y to J. Gundrey. Alston, ~umbria. NATTA FILES FOR SALE A limited number of complete sets of the apers presented at the recent N A ~ T Ameeting reported in Undercurrepts 16, a& available from Dave Elhott 39 Holland Park, London ~ l i . E a c hcontains 12 papers - a Proximately 80 pages in all. please send 50p t o cover reprintina and postage.



Cle t e a c h e u e i i e koGeGtion a n d 6 a winner ofthe American Institute of Architects award. Price £4.5 incl. p&p from: SEMFIELD; 17 Ellers Road. Doncaster.


HELP WANTED for Hedgehog Equ ment Yes we try to satisfy needs of hoinners and

whereabouts, we would very much appreciate it if they were to contact - Kim and Jackie Eley 16 Rutten Lane Yamton, 6x011. or tel. ~ i d ~ n g t 6647. ok

ETCETERA BADGES. 'Food is for SharingBSize 1% ins. Dark brown on hght beige. We've got 5000 so want to sell them rett quickly! 1OP each. 8p each (for 20+) or 7p for' resale in alternative bobkshops/ food sho s etc Orders to Lyn ~oberts.%'0~.'6 Paasey Road. Birmingham 13. GET LOST this summer with 'Head for the H i l l s ' .£2 weekly. 21 Pembroke Ave.. Hove, Sussex. (+ stamp).

HENRY GEORGE, in 'Pro ess . and Poverty claimed that ifthe State collected the annual economic rentiTlandinlieu of all other taxes the effect would be to abolish unemployment and poverty forever. Can anyone direct me to a thoroughgo' criticism of this doctrine? Where. can I find the best 9 c . d o n of it and also the best criticism of 'Pro less andPovertyfii.a whole? ~eit% Thomas 11 Myrtle Road, Bristol BS2 8 d ~ .

PLEASE would anyone who knows a blacksmith who would be prepared to take on an apprentice in one year's time contact me. Adam hallc cross' 20A ueens Avenue, London N10 3NR.




of Undercurrents to be





1 0


i i i



"For people who still think of the future in terms of mega-machines and all-powerful bureaucracies, Radical Technology will be an eye-opener. I t proves what many futurists, ecologist hilosophers have been saying: offers a fresh way to think There is an alternative. Radical Techn about tomorrow. Nothing could be

Practical Methane The Practical Building o f Methane Power Plants by

L John Fry is now generally acknowledged to be the Radical Technology is now available from all good bookshops. It's published i n the UK by Wildwood House, price £3.25 in the USA by Pantheon Books, price $5.95; in Australia by Penguin Australia. Copies are also available direct from Undercurrents Books ( 1 1 Shadwell, Uley, Gloucestershire, GL11 5BW, England) at £3.5 including postage by surface mail. Order your copy now!

I w-

Radical Technology: Food and Shelter, Tools and Materials, Energy and Communications, Autonomy and Community. Edited by Godfrey Boyle and Peter Harper, and the editors of Undercurrents. Wildwood House, London, £3.25 Pantheon Books, New York, $5.95; 1976, 304pp. A4 illustrated, index. Hardback ISBN 0 7045 0218 6; paperback ISBN '0 7045 0159 7. Radical Technology i s a large-format, extensively illustrated collection o f

original articles concerning the reorganisatipn of technology along more humane, rational and ecologicall y sound lines. The many facets of such a reorganisation are reflected in the wide variety of contributions to the book. They cover both the 'hardware' - the machines and technical methods themselves - and the 'software' - the social and political structures, the way people relate to each other and to their environment, and how they feel about i t all. The articles in the book range from detailed 'recipes' through general account3 of alternative technical methods, to critiques of current practices, and general proposals for reorganisations. Each author has been encouraged to follow her or his own personal approach, sometimes descriptive, sometimes analytic, sometimes technical, sometimes political. The contributors are all authorities in their fields.

best book on small-scale methane generation yet written. To give readers an idea o f the scope of the book's coverage, here i s list of chapter headings:

1. How it all started 2. Building a vertical drum digester 3. Top loader digester 4. First Full-scale digester 5. Working solution to scum accumulation 6. Gas Holders used on my farm 7. Digester types and scum removal 8. Biology of digestion 9. Raw materials 10. Digester design 1.I. Digester operation 12. Economics of digestion 13. Gas and Gas usage 14. Gludge and sludge use 15. Safety Precautions 16. Questions and answers 17. Digesters today and tomorrow. 18. Glossa. y o f term~~bibliography and references, and postscript. hromnowon,ThePractical Buitding o f Methane Power Plants will be available from Undercurrents at £3.3 including postage. (sedond class/surface mail). Cheques or postal orders should be sent to: Undercurrents Books, 11 Shadwell, Uley, Dursley, Gloucestershire, England. '



Undercurrents back-issues are selling outfast nos. 1 to 6 have alreadypised into history and are no longer available, but Zto 17 can still be had for 50p each (including postage) from 11Shadwell, Uley, Dursley, Gloucs. See the subscriptions form on page 48 for further details.

UC18 October-November 1976  
UC18 October-November 1976  

The magazine of radical science and alternative technology