FOR THE PEOPLE The standard work on radical land reform. Alternatives for agriculture and rural communities. 144 pages, over 30 illustrations. Â£1.2( i n ~ k p & from ~) Crescent Books, 8A Leighton Crescent, London NW5.
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No. 4 now m i l a b h 60p 104 paan Conmnu: SIMON PICKVANCE-"Life"in a biology lab: LUKE HODGKIN
-Politics end physical sciences; CHARLIE CLUTTERBUCK-Death in the plastics industry. Review: BOB YOUNG-'Labour and Monopoly Capital', by Harry Braverman; DAVE ELLIOTT-'Alternative Technology and the Politics of Technical Change' by David Dickson, COPIES OF DOUBLE ISSUE RSJ 213 STILL AVAILABLE BOP Confnts GARY ~ ~ R ~ ~ ~ ~ - ~ a k i w ~ o c Scie~tists i a l i t t sSHEILA o f YOUNG-The Politics of Abortion. ALFRED SOHN RETHEL-Science as Alienated Consciousness OAVIOOICKSON-Science andSociety, theBA ConTrick.PAT KINNERSLEYT b H * rdsof Work RwlÃ‘i BRIAN HURWITZ-'Ltberation and the A i m t o f ~Cienca%y Brixn Eastoa, MIKE HALES-'Knowledge and Human Interests' b y Jufgen Hatermas, CHRIS GREEN- Scicnct for the People by David Layton. JOHN MEPHAM-Thinkma About tha Future' H Cole et a1 fed5 1
SubMription: Â£1.7 findividml). Â£5.0 (institution) for 3 issues post paid. Individual copies: phase add 15p each for postage etc. Bulk ~ R k r s om-third : off, 10 copies or more. Dtfili, etc: Radical Schna Journal, 9 Poland Stroet, London W1.
16mm films look at alternatives,
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EDDIES; All the news that isn't really fit to print WHAT'S ON AND WHAT'S WHAT: Events and information LETTERS: Your chance to inform, correct, praise or abuse us. STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Godfrey Boyle looks at what tile magazine has done so far, anJ at possiole changes. INTERMINABLE DISCUSSION: Beneath these placid pages is concealed a continuous turmoil of views and ideas on the role of Undercurrents. Here i s a glimpse of this intellectual squalor. AGRICULTURE TO THE FORE! The forward to the land call is being echoed by farmworkers and other unlikely groups. Herbie Girardet reviews new developments in this field.. RISE, YE NOBLE DIGGERS: Their ideas ar of increasing relevance today: as Tony Montague found ou ^hen he interviewed Tony Benn. CHEMICAL CORNUCOPIA COLLAPSES: k there an organic farming alternative that could feed the worfd? Dave W t h looks into the causes, political and economic, of the so<aUÃˆ food shortage. - .~ 2 ,c-ch. THE WHOLE FOOD CHAIN CAMBUHIA CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? ~ambadfe-haschosen the route to self-sufficiency. Malcolm Caldwell corrects a few misunderstandings about its history and then considers the implications for Britain of more countries opting out of world trade. WHO CONTROLS TECHNOLOGY?David Dickson considers just whose ends technology serves. THE NEW CLIFF HARPER VISION: What the front ewer doesn't show. MASSES VS. MULTtNATIONALS. Mike Cooley writeson the continuing struggle. HUGH LOVES YA: In this interview Hugh Sharmafi lets us know how Conservation Tools and Technology are faring. SUNNY SPELLS FORECAST: Every energy cloud has a solar lining. Nevertheless plans for using solar energy in Britain have their official shortcomings. Robert Vale examines the limitations of one such plan. CAN'T GET NO JOBSATISFACTION: After all the talk about job enrichment, workers' cwperatives, and workers' control, in practice there hasbeen very little change; asflBt^EIliott explains. SOFT SOAP: Or ope way to establish an e&hc base for an alternative society. + PAPER FROM SCRAP: With a few friends, a little ingenuity, some capital and the equipment Chris Thomas describes here, you could turn all your old papers and magazinesinto new . paper., A BETTER FUTURE FOR BROADCASTING: he ~ h n a n Committee on Broadcasting i s due to report shortly. John Howkins gives some thought to what he would like to see in such a report.
OVER. Thanks to Cliff Harper for the front id back covers and the centre spread (pages 4 & 25) which is available as an A 3 size poster , Â¥ofor only 25p from Epic Productions, 6 Peckham Rd. London SE5. Free to prisoners. P E R S O N N E L : Undercurrents has two part-time employees, Sally Boyle and Joyce Evans, and a large number of unpaid part-timers, of whom the following helped to produce this issue: Barbara Kern. Chris Hutton-Squire, Dare Elliott, Dave Kanner, Dave Smith. Duncan Campbell, Godfrey Boyle, Martin Ince, Pat Coyne, Pete Glass, Peter Cockerton, Peter Sommer, Richard Elen, Tony Durham, and, most important of all, the Collective-at-large. Especial thanks are also due to Nigel and Hermione Gowland and all at Earth Exchange. Anyone interested in any aspect of the magazine is invited to attend our weekly meetings at Archway Road. These occur on Wednesdays and start at about 8pm. WRITTEN CONTRIBUTIONS t o the magazine are most welcome, preferable but not necessarily double-space typed on one side of the paper t o facilitate the minimal amount of editing we like to perform. Scripts should be sent to Archway Road. ORGANISATION. Undercurrents is not produced by a publishing elite: it is open to anyone who feels committed to the magazine and its aims. Key decisions are made by the collective at major meetings held every two months, immediately after publication day. At these meetings we discuss the latest issue, review what we are doing for the next edition, and appoint posts for the one after that. Principal functions - News Editor, Features Editors, Reviews Editor, and so on are *llocated at these meetings depending on who s available. All decisions on important issues of ditorial policy, production, etc. emer e durin he weekly and bi-monthly meetings, tetails o f vhich may be obtained from either of our ~ffices. 0PYRIGHT. Unless otherwise stated, everyhing in this magazine is joint copyright Q1976 Jndercwrents Limited. and the respective luth&rs. We will quite happily let people we eproduce anything from the magazine, nn miiit ask OUT nermission first. a
THE VIEWFROM THE BARGE: 'Ray Hulme considers under what conditions canals could be used again,* freight. I N THE MAKING: The regular p.age of alternative projects. REVIEWS
SUBSCRIPTION FORM AND SMALL ADS
Travel hints London's Fare Fight group, dedicated to just-about legal action against the price of travel on the Underground, has a t last been brought t o court. vew inconclusivelv. - ,bv LondonTranwort. Fare Fight came into existence tickets. ~h~ system is highly in the context of LT's 26% Fare mechanised and there is no conincrease last July. The technique trol on people entering or leaving adopted by Fare Fight was deferrthe stiition. ltecauie of the suced payment, whereby the Fighters cess of that campaign (ticket give ticket collectors a ticket for a sales dropped noticeably), fare of less than the LT going rate, Berlin's Underground company accompanied by a slip giving the employed many new plainmiscreant's name and address, clothes inspectors who raided along with the details of the jourthe cars inAtroupesof four, ney travelled and the price paid. handing out the fixed Â£fines. This is legal. Some unlucky people got What happens next? Well, all LT caught a few times, which led to have to do is to write to the Fighters the foundation of 'black rider and ask for the money. This they insurance*, a system whereby have been very slow to do, and the eight or ten people put five Fighters have responded with a vast marks (Â£1.20in a pot to pay weight of paperwork asking for all the fine of anyone who gets kinds of details of the payment caught. Any surplus goes to alterrequired, its legal basis, and so native projects or the third world, forth. according to the pool's preference It has taken until now for two of the Fighters. Alan Low and Piers Meanwhile, the winter edition of Corbyn, 70 be taken to court. Even the Paris Magazine Le Sauvage then they claim that sums asked reports the growth of a local for have alwavs been paid, eventualequivalent of Fare Fight. The ly, so that the ch.irge o f triiveuing fast outbreak of fare avoidance with intent T O avoid payment is was in Nantes in 1974 where the unsound. youth end of the Labour-type It tonk Low Partie Socialiste organised a broad. and Corbvn until two weeks before based protest in which a magisthe trial to get legal aid for a trate was nrosecuted for nonsolicitor despite which the LT side payment. refused to agree to an adjournment. But it was last year's steep They, indeed, showed up in court increases in fares on the Paris with a solicitor who had had a two Metro which caused the formation month look at the evidence. But of GRAP, Groupe de resistance not before they had phoned Fare Fight, thus acknowledging their existence, offering an adjournment if Fare Fieht would call off the d e i i ~ r e dslips campiiign. L1 arc apparently under an impression that I'are I k h l is ii centrally manaeed campaignrather than a mob of anarchists, and is susceptible to the issuing of orders. They were told that the proposed retreat was impossible and that Fare Fight didn't want it anyway. An adjournment was, in fact, granted with LT's agreement at the two minute hearing on January 19. More in May, but messages of support, spare funds, and requests for deferred payment slips should be sent to Fare Fight at 60a Turners Road, London E3; phone messages at 01-790 9965 in evenings. So far the Fare Fight struggle active aux transports publics payhasn't been extended widelv to ants, which is in favour of free thc BR .omiiiuier services, hut 3 public transport. This seems a little BR document, despatched anon). odd to the visiting Londoner, as it m o I J > l si'ts ~ out the dCIlon 10 be costs only about 20p for any taken had it done so at the time journey on the Metro, with massivt of the New Year fare rises. The season reductions, but still. forms were to be accepted and Before GRAP got started, sent to BR Board HQ, in MaryleRATP, the Paris public transport bone Road, where they would be authority, reported that it lost processed for collection of due Â£3 in 1973-4 to fare evaders. fares; and details of anyone using Then automatic barriers were more than five would go to the installed, to cut down this figure, British Transport Police. They, but they are easily jumped. Thereof course, are not in a position to fore it's not too hard to get on take any action at all, even if BR the Metro, where ticket checks Fare Fighting does break out. . are rare; and as the fare is uniform, there are no checks at the other THIRD PARTY INSURANCE end of the journey. In Berlin, the 'Schwarzfahrer' It's impossible to estimate (literally 'black travellers'), who the total of fare evasion by GRAP feel it is their fundamental right supporters, but it is certainly to ride the U-Bahn for nothing. much higher now than the RATP have developed yet another way figures of over Â 1m a year for to continue their cdnipaign for 1973 and 1974. And apart from free public transport. fare evasion, GRAP have had notAfter a record was released ed successes in overwhelming in 1969 calling for 'black riding' RATP with paperwork, like Fare as a protest against risesin fares, Fight, and in organising petitions tots of people started and letters of protest,
First it was o i l ...! to an increased risk of nuclear war. This is the most serious hazard associated with the industry". Unions, in alliance with environmental groups, played a major part in the debate there, even at one point blacking all handling of uranium. One wonders what the reaction of British trade unionists would be to a prpposed mine in Orkney. One other aspect of the proposal deserves attention; whichcompany would be responsible for the operation of the mine? Already, that famous pillai of international morality, Rio Tinto Zinc have been mentioned in connection with Orkney uraniuin. They arc not knou'nlor their concern for the environment, then human scale or their honesty. Should the SSEB and RTZ decide to go ahead, it is clear that they will meet a lot of informed and determined local opposition; the opposition will need all the help it can get against such massive interests. Factsheet on Orkney's uranium from FOE Orkney, c/o Quoyclerks Orphir. Enclose s.a.e. and all you can afford.
work in Orknev has indicated some
does not in itself ~~~~- mean thaithev : i r e definitely going to go ahead; the signs are ominous, and if a subst&tial thermal reactor pro~
;top Orkney being ripped up. The Board have obtained rights from landowners in Orkney to carry out an investigation. This would entail down a nnall number of bores and sampjing surface materials". This work has not vet befeun.
on the island are prepared to tay and meet the bulldozers. The local Friends of the Earth have distribuled a comprehensive factsheet which outlines the gruesome -~ffectsa uranium mine would have on the environment and how Â¥i would unset Orkney's employ- . ment patterns. There has been a spate of almost erical letters in the local paper, Orcadian, which has itself n a stand on the issue: "We eel these islands are doing plenty
oops! The cartoons that appeared on pp2
Â¥a health 'and on ~-~the landscape are ~
. still unknown,
1 23 and 38 of UC19 were from an
to be now thrust
The quest for uranium has not txactly proceeded smoothly in " other parts of the world, as Under"currents readers will be aware. The .:British Government contract in Namibia has a notorious and continuing history of deceit, secrecy and immorality. It serves to illustrate the levels to which t o fuel their reactors. ,:uranium minimg in Australia was '^that "The nud$ar power industry bunintentionally contributing
excellent pamphlet published by ft Haslemere Groun called 'Who Needs the Drug Companies' We had planned to pnnt 'lome short extracts as well.'to whet your appetite, but ran out of space. Much more reprehensible was the failure 10 acknowledge the source of Merrily Harpur's cartoons, for which we humbly apologise. 'Who Needs the Drug Companies' is available from Third World Publications, 138 Stratford Road, Birmingham B11 lAH, price SOP, and provides all the ammunition you need to snipe at the Multinational drug companies together with some workable suggestions for change.
which are currently threatened
and cushion the inherently un-
controllable effects originating in the world economy' ERG suggest that Combined Heating and Power (themes (CHP) me the answer - small conventional fossil fuel powered stations producing electricity but alio u ~ ing the heat that is usually rejected (o wastefuUy (repretenting 70% or more of the input energy) in normal power station operation, to provide steam for 'district heating' networks connected to local redentill or commercial
again within twelve week* of a bomb strike. Prothennonu* duction machinery will be
covered with plastic foam, metal chips, balsa wood and landbags to cunhfon it from the shock. However the company hu not yet found a way to protect the workers who wodd be needed to implement the protective mealums or to resume production aftci a nuclear war. a Boeinz wokeanan
, Bmch into the m y s t ~ o u delays s affecting the Beryl oilfield has facts, or lack of them. MOMOil No* Se claim that it fa rector of the ~orth%a, with 50 asonably~fed. The area shows a mix of Unlike most of its fellows in marine and terrestial rock ,e ereat North Sea oil race, types, and even the interfingeriw?istardy in the news; the ing of the two is proving imst item about the field for some possible, let alone more detailed [baths was in 'the Financial analysis. One Mobil man applied imei -..-- nn -- -November 25.1976, the tenn 'desperate' t o the id referred summarily'to. massive team of 29 geophys+s, levdovment delays'. OB u at geologists and petroleum engineers, resentbeingextracted and who are working on the project, amped aboard tankers for the and said that no decisions are mrney to the refinery, and being taken under their present ie Jikelv reason why Mobil hurry to install a conditions of bafflement, enlivenre in ennanent and v a y expensive ed only by the occasionalhunch. ipeline, we can reveal, isthat It seems as if such hunches win remain the staple for Beiyl's ley have, in fact, no idea ow much oil is in the ground would-be interpreters; well let you fcnqw as soon as they find t Bay! or how easy it wfll be ract. Otherwise a pipeout mote, and especially if they ould be a good investdecide to amend the figures for sna for a field of this apparreserves and output which they've nt size. already given to the Department The &bearing strata sat of Energy and which are now t depths of between 18.000 part of Government planning., nd 24,000 feet in the Viking raben. a comvlex ecological DISTRICTHEATING COULD k c & -pying much of he area around the British- I SAVE JOBS ionverian median line. The Gwen the current overcapacity in ,dl in a shale of - i-s n-dv the electricity generation industry, betaceous age, from which the work orovided by the Drax B t win probably prove impos* power stahon project win only ble toextract. but mo& i n provide temporary relief apd there variety of ~urassicrocks. will still be little for many of the tot of the &bearing strata, employees of Parsons, GEC and irobablv totalline several the other boiler and generator timdred feet, only some ten supply fm to do, says a recent eat have so f u been seen as report from the Eneigy Research :oresby Mobil gc@ogista Group (ERG) at the Open Bifle coring is expensive, wen University. by pil drilling standards, it is "Gien the evidence ofmarket he usual practice to core all saturation and the possibility of if a n on-bearins zone. a continued economic recesdon In particulaF, the bottom it win mobably be many yetis if the oil-bearing zone, the beforethere &an effective demand &water contact hasn't been for new power stations". mn. This means that the The same, problem faces the decile thickncsp of oil-bearing nuclear industry. A paper prepared ock isn't known, and the for shop stewards in the energy esults of extractins the oil are supply industry by a group of mpiedictable. m l e from ERG carries the Likewise,most of the oil&ysts further: xarinfrshale has not been 'If world markets do not grow Ã§eaand the ratio of shale due to a continued world recession a o t h q rock types is unknown. or the action of Anti-Nuclear nilsmeans that it is impossible lobbies, competition win be all a tell what rate of oil exteacthe fiercer, possiily (if not prob&m can be sustained or what ably) resulting in the contraction of mal offtake of oil can be the British Nuclear Industry and ixpected, even by the somewith it farther redundancies". Â¥feagenerous standards of The paper goes on: iccuracy usual to the industry. "Because of these uncertainties Worst of all, the geology rf the area, which is interpreted sy dating iehnÃˆ sections of
- - ~- ~ ~
oerfonnance. would provide a flow of steady orders for the industry. Jobs can be expected to be saved in all branches of the industry from design through to on-site construction work The sort of scheme ERG envisages would require the rewmm& stoning of many of the CEGB's d e r (50-250 MW (e) city based generators, refitted with new coal fned boilers, turbines and switchgear, and used to zovide heating for large heat l o a g such as hospitals, high rise flats and so bn. "The ordering of CH~*plants would keep site crews busy, would give turbine designers work and would wbanquently give turbine makers and boiler maken substantial orders. In addition CHP schemes of 50-250 MW size have a substantially larger export market than large 660 MW sets, especially in dweloping nations". Investment in CHP, coupled with a programme of improm ment and maintenance of existing large stations would aim (say the ERG group) make sense in t e r n of long term strategy. "Since the industry does have a large overcapacity it should exploit this now so as to have a very high performance system in 5-10 years when the &in may be kbstantially reduced".
TASS (the Technical, +hiniStralive & Supervisory Section of the AUEW, not the Soviet News Agency) continues to be in the vanguard of social concern, as a look at some of the motions submitted to the RepiesentatweCouncil show. Motion 67, from Wembley South Branch, calls for the skills of working people to be used in the ture of socially useful not necessarily for profit and urges members to co-operate with other staff and the shop floor in producing an alternativeproduct range. London City branch wantsthe goGiimnt to prepare a coinprcensive plan for the redeployment of resources tied uv in military cnnt~acts demands - ----- -- Corn& woe put forwaidby Sheffield and Antrim branches,while Soennymoor snecificafiv condemn.. .branch . . e d nuclear w&ona Cumberland ft District branch, believine that workers' co-opera&G .tie"the only way to industrial democracy, uixes the goto encourage their letting up throughout industly and commerce. At the same time, two other branches, in Covenfay, warn atainst comummise and collaboralion with66rkersparticipation' he met in industries not controlled by the workers - steering between Scylla and Charybdis never was easy. Liverpool North branch wants the to vromote research - - - eovenunent into wave, wind and solar energy before a commitment to nudeu ' Lucax Industries recently announc- fusion and Fast Breeder Reactor* is made. ed that they were developing a The Representative ~ O ~ n c i l four-wheel electric car for disabled meeting is from 18-22 April, so neoole as well as an electric$ o d d wheel chair. come on, all you white-collai enginA company spokesman coineers get down to your branch mented: and getyour repr&ntative to support these motions. If you're 'There is no connection betyeen the research we are doing on wheel not lucky enough to be a TASS chairs and the unions' demands for member,why not get your own union branch to start doing i more socially usefulproducts. We thingon%imibrliws? maintain that all Lucas products a* socially useful". YESTERDAY IN ~eanwhfleat the Burnley lant PARLIAMENT of Lucas Aerospact detailed A recent amendment to a& sions underby between local in the House of Commons on Ian managers and the shop stewards 12th unfed the govemntent to over the proposed development consider. tooether with cuts in of diesel-powered heat pump , defense expenditure systems for local authority housing redeployment of workers and resources from aims vroducAerospace workers at the Hawker , tion to socially useful purposes, along the lines of the suggestmu Siddeley plant in Brough, near made by the Lucas Aerospace Hull who are facing a redun Shoo Stewards Combine Corn~areadoptinga~-= mi& and the Vickem Shop Steward's Combine Committee". After a length debate the '. ,(,. v o t e w 7 7 for. ? ~ i g r t ~ t . ! ....* ,, , ' . .,;,.. .:. .: -. ,.
* LOSING HEAT IS LOSING MONEY
expended by Friends of the Earth group i l l o v e r t h e c o u n t r y i n a c t 3y doing . Â¥omethmabout e n m conietva
A great deal of enerey it be
~ o l i z e ismash nuclear demo hi West Germany the determined resistance of political, environmental and religious groups against the hectic nuclear ower development pro-
gramme of the overnment and the nuclear ingstry, seems to have some success. The governmentis now advocating that no new nuclear wei stations should be built until the waste d ' i s a l problem#have k n solved. This wmes after the massive wnfrontatio~in Novmbor 1976 at Brokdorf on the river Elbe where 30-50.000 people came together to protest against a proposed new nuclear power station and waste reprocessing plant. Several thousand police from all over West Germany tried to disperse the demonstrators in a well prepared operation by making liberal me of the latest anti-personnel weapons and techniques. Police water cannons were spraying water with special chemical additives, helicopters were used to discharge tear gas on groups of demonstrators, individual policemen were equipped with shields, helmets, gasmasks and 'chemical clubs*. In what was tanned as a peaceful demonstration well over 500 people were inJ& by the police. However, the authorities have clearly not succeeded in intimiting the anti-nuclear power move ment. Messages of sympathy and support were received from many groups and individuals not previously committed to the struggle against nuclear vower.
"he thirteenth post-war, congress of the Socialist International was iMUinGendaattheendof November 1976). And on the second day fflaf h e tapped his little gavel and illed upon the 400 odd people ambled in the mammoth hall I stand in a n t memory of sad socialists. Usually, at this oint in the proceedis, the 'Internationale' is sung. Its stirring words 'arife, Comrades come ratty', 'atise ye criminals of want', 'servile masses arise', 'the lgst fight let us face' -Jogs sleeping delegates out of one dream and puts them into
This year, at the 13th Congress, he entertainment was a trifle isconcerthg. A slight woman, iattina - - --Ionic. - - -. took the stand. She waited for the last cough to drop. the last flashbulb to stop round Harold Wilson and his new Silver Plate of Honour, and then let rin her adaptation
music from Brecht, Dylan
no JONMitchell. She spoke, sane,
creamed. It was about what the
locialist International should eally &gin 1976:
The bv FOE Durham from their pilot Job freatio - ...exnerience . ..r - - - - - ~ pained -~ Insulation project (see ~ C I S )which , has so far ~ a r r i e ~ oinsulation ut the work in 300 homes, has been distributed f? and wide, ins?' creation of some 45 similiu achemes mvolmng I40 w o r k c r s ~ l 4 0 0 homes. A lot of diplomatic skill must be called for in co-ordinating the efforts of the various charitable bodies, local authorities, u A n s and tradesmen whole help is neceuaiy. One example a the busy Cambikto FOE, whose logo (reproduced above) appears on Eastern Counties bus8 waitine rooms,.surfferiesand launderettes, advertising the help that is available. As the 'Save It' campaign runs out of steam (down from Â£million to Â£1. million) the energy and enthusiasm of such groups wuld mom than replace it. insulation and grants availablt 'Wrap up Wanner' - a guide to ch from FOE, Durham, Vane Tempest ~ 3 ~ u r h DH110G. a m (Sp + SA1 l l e Department has thereto A CAT HAS 18 HALF-LIVES asked us to notify readers tt any dead cats which might t The Department of Energy is most affected should be sent to then concerned at reporti of the finding at Millbank House South, Lond of a dead cat in the Transfvndd SW1. To avoid danger to.messei gets and other non-technical to whether or &titwas dangerstaff, they should be addressed oudy radioactivehave already to Dr Walter-Marshall, the Clue1 Scientist, and marked 'Private The position is complicated and Personal'. by the habits of the feline W> This notice applies from vopulation. with which readers f-x-J December 1 1976 for three haU may be f&. These render it<.';* lives of Plutonium. A further impossible to know if the radio-&s notice will be issued at the end active danger has now become 7 of this period. and will be general among cats. .LC t-.^? nrintedin Undercurrents.
example is that Judith Hart earlier during the Congress, pum ed an accusing finger at the gro: wnsumntive habits of the First World, Lying that it was inexci able when contrasted with the plight of the Third World. She could almost have been singing Ms. Jonic's words: "Hunger is human and humans are hungry' If she had believed the bulk of her speech, liberally sprinkle with words like 'ecology ,'dimi ishing resources', 'This good earth', surely there should be. n~ conflict raised in her by the sor But then there were those odd phrases she uwd: 'It is our duty to assist the development of thi Third World - think of the potential market they represent for our products*. The SI - not to be confused w .the IS -One would not have believe that the 500 people assembled in Geneva between November 2 and 28 had anv links with the founder of the Socialist lnternational none other than Ka: Maix himself, way back in 186' The SI is anumbreUa-organisat for Socialist and Labour Partiei throughout the world. In this way if can be held to account for the lives of 250,000,000 ~
are oledeed to end the 'exploiktionof men by men, peoples by peoples'. Yet M e n each delegate spoke it was obvi
that he or she (there weren't too
many women delegates around)
was not a representative of hununfty as a whoit, but a repreacntative of his or her own parly. This often leads to problems, can bewitnessedin the Bureau. Main decision8 for the Sl are M e n at Bureau, a body of elected representatives that is nipposed to meet regularly. Congress is limply the Big Show In which Bureau decisions are made public (without any of the infighting and back-stabbing that seems to our ish behind closed doors). Of all the members of Bureau, only the General Secretary holds no political ost with a party. The General Secretary for the past seven years has been Hans Janitxhek. At the 13th Congress he was given no option but to resign. Many reasons were given for'the Bureau's disenchantment . with him oerhatw one too many (such& the allegation that he used Sl money to buy flowers for his rirl friends). When such depths-are plumbed to find excusesfor someone's dismissal,it is wise to look elsewhere for more niausible reasons. Could it have been that Janitxhek was too active a General Secretary? That, instead of bring a harmless bureaucrat, he took initiatives that politically embarrassesparty repre sentatives?Was it because he draceed the SI to Baneladesh. Ch?,~ortu&l, lndia?"~hislatter suspicion was strengthened at his &Bureau meetine. While the Europeans rushed over to congratulate the in-coming General Secre tary, Bernt CarlsÃ‡o of the Swedish
Socialist Party, a flay group that represented 'oppressed nations' gathered round Janitachok to offer their condolences. He was given a box of 25 C v ban cigars for his seven years' savice in an organisation that believes in Hie 'end of exploitation'. But thenaneweramustbegin. The SI now has a new President, Wflly Brandt, who, bac& by &money, promises to-rebuild a strong International. The new organisation is to have 44 ViceRendents, one Assistanl'General Secretary and a Research Assistant. The bureaucratic machine has been set up (without necesnaily being an indication of any measure of eff"1ciency). Thenew General Secretary wasn't at the main Congress Hall to take up hisposition when it was made public. He appealed an hour later and stood sheepishly by the door till he was reminded that he now had a seat with the big guns on the platform. Teething troubles, perhaps. There is yet a lot to be undone. Ian Mikardo, in a furious speech to Bureau, criticised, for example, the c m n t tendency of a small powerful European clique to hold private meetings and later impose their resolutions on- the rest of the 58 member countries of the SI. Mikardo made it quite clear that Britain wanted no part of such a group which could spell the end of .the International (which is pledged to 'equality'). His words, unhappily, yere confined to the small room m which Bureau met None of the other 450 delegates, guests andviators assembled for the Big Show were touched.
A VALUES CONFBRENCE is to be
Memwliile backnt congrea ill Senegal had been accepted as a full member of the SI. The loom exploded with the sound of African drum*. A troupe of beautiM black dancers and
BrackneHNew Town. Berks. It is to bean %amination of values In personal relationship?, ramilies, work roles and life in general. Bracklell World De~elo~IIIent Movement let . al). avi@ you to j o i n k t h 30 people living and forking in Bracknefl and district to discuss Shequestion 'Why am I doing what I am doing @eway I am doing it?' Details from Ann fawood, Constables, Wmdsor Road, Ascot, Berks SL5 7LF.
set up an umbrellagroup for the Greater Birrninehain area. Pot detaiis of this and other activities.send an Wsp stamp to University, Birmingham B15 2TU. 6021 472 1841).
ICAT 77 ONDUSTRY, THE ' COMMUNITY AND APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY) is being held on April 1520, live days of events in Leeds and the North of Eneland as a follow-un to ICAT 76 in ~radfordlast ~ovember:1t will not be a purely PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF . Future Studies Centre event, as about 50 IRGANIC HUSBANDRY is the title of a f ~ e organisations have expressed an interest@ participating. On the 16th and 17th there will lay course, from April 3-7, to be hdd at the be a conference at Stratlunore.College, and ihropshire FaimJnstitute, Walford, Shrewsthere will also be public meetings in Leeds mry. It is organised by the Institute and the Town Hall on Avril 18-19. Discussions will bfl Association, and will cost Â£2inclusive focus on restructuring of education, and train)f tuition and board and lodging. ing at all levels, alternativeproducts from The programme will include a simple factories, local BOUDS. and relationshios cicnttfi introduction to soil structure and betweenfactory workers and environkntal>Iantnutrition, followed by the practical ists. Details fromthe Future Studies Centre. ippUcation of organic methods in apiculture 15 Kelso Road, Leeds LS2 9PR. md horticulture. The course will include a isit to MI SWDmavan's organic farm, and he commercial market garden at Weston RESURGENCE are having a CoUo'ark, the Earl of Bradford's estate, @sorun quium on Community and Planning to celebrate their 12th anniversary. It wilt be at their new m organic lines. country centre, Peatre Ifan Fann onApril t 6 A similar 5-day course on organic husbandy win be held from 11th July to 15th July & 17. Participants will include John Seymour, I977 in Surrey. For farther details$lease Geoffrey Ashe and Leopold Kohr. Dctafls and end a s-a.e. to the Soil Association, Walnut . tickets (Â£4from Reaugence, Pentre ifan, Felindre Farchog,Clymych, Dyfcd, Wales. . Phone: 023 976 917.
Party now languishes in prbon
wiiW trial and has been denied avttt from his lawyer since hit imprisonment in June. Yet when membership of the Indian Social-
1st Party was raised at Bureau, seven of the fifteen Bureau muticiam bounced through the members present abstained doors. Delegates were once more from the voting. It is to Hantroken,they climbed on to their Janitschek's credit that the seats for a better took. Indians have been admitted ThUR assembled had been into the SI. His successor, on given the opportunity of seeing , the other hand, has applied a at fbst handthe energy of the 'marxfat analysis' to the Indian people of Senegal,but they were ' situation (taking into account more comfortable with the words the reaent oil crisis) and flndt of the Senegal President, Leopold totaljustification for is. Senghor. They understood Gandhi's emergency which has 'balance of power', 'mineral resulted in total press censorship, y d t W , 'parallel development', the castration of courts, imprisoncultural integrity". . ment without trial,torture, And what of the dancers? compulsory sterililation, etc. Maybe they too believed the p u s the conflict between +&to&. It statesthat 'the crisis reality and rhetoric continued. m world capit&m clearly shows . They talked of disarmament Oat Socialism, the harbinger of (the Israeli delegations was hope and justice, is the only surrounded by an entourage of alternative'. What the dancers bodyguards reminiscent of the probably do not realise is that Mafia); they held a special session the problem cannot be so easily on sexism (a woman was flown defined as a 'crisis of capitalism'. in from New York to act as Most of the countries representhoatess for important delegates) ed at the Connftts we& still they preached tolerance (one committed togrowth economies delegate spent three days com(albeit with verbal acknowtedge p l a i h g that he didn't have a ment of impending - ecological I nat& card for Ids desk); they doom) .- called for equality (the evening The dancers probably did not buffet at the delegates' hotel blow Oat the rhetoric also cost Â£10.00) p l e solidarity in the struggle And after the third day some by. movements f a t i n g for went home, some went & to self-determination and social other Conferences, the Latin liberation'. The Indian Socialist American trio that played so Party is at present involved in after the Resident of -iovfullv just such a struggle against MIS ~ r g e n spoke h returning to Qndhi's ersonal dictatorship serenading diners at the hotel. , 1 India, t h e chairman of the
Birmingham University ecofreaks will be meeting towards the end of March to
heid onMarch 11-13at Easthampstead Park,
PLANNING IMPLICATIONSOt LOW IMPACT TECHNOLOGY is the title of a weekend course to be held at - the.Peak Nation# Park Study Centre on April 15-17 It is being held* codunction with the Darlington Amenity Research Trust and the residential course will probably cost about , Â£25They aim to discuss the conflicts between planners and AT enthusiasts, and also planning laws, and rural community developments. For more details of the course (there will also be an excursion to see items of interest in the local countnnnde) write to the Peak National Park Study centre, Losehill Hall, Castleton, Derbyshire S30 2WB. THE FESTIVAL OF MIND AND BODY opens at Olympia on Tuesday April 19th and runs until Sunday April 24th, from loam9pm daily (Sundays 6pm close). It is designed to be a Festival which will "transcend age, creed, nationality, religion, class and culture, thus bringing together a variety of people s ing the information and knowledge previou confined to thefew". The exhibition is intended to cover all aspects of the alternativeculture, from Alter native Technology (exhibitors include Comtek, from Bath), through esotericism, psychic phenomena, fringe science and religion, to the art&There will aim be an extensive programme of lecturesand audioand a number of related activities Bkewhere in London For further information contact t h e Organisers, The Festival of Mind and Body, 159 Gmge Street, London Wl; Tel: 01-723 7256.
THE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
p&n to hold a conference at Sheffield City
Polytechnicon April 2324, entitled The End of Economic Growth - What Next?' Topici win include population, energy,land . Me, food and employment. Details from 16R. Baker, 'qariingley', Cowley Lane, Holmcafusld, Sheffield S18 5SD.
SOCIALISM GROUP have called a national conference of AS gro s for the weekend of April 23/24 to the new Gay centre in Binninchan). F& details,see Peace News 7 send saeb BroraAS.64HarburyRd.Birmingham 12. TeL 021-440 1379. ~
PA & M.B. ROLLINS want to start a mall group to chat about ideas as in Undercurrents/ &sw@nce, say da Sunday eveningsin their locality. They Un at Flat 2, Rivu Houafc off Manor Road, Walton-on-Thamet, Surrey.
'kUlICAL TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL CHANGE is the title of an adult
ADVANCE WARNING! Them are pluu afoot to hold wries of lectuie/wmiau! osAlternative Technology at the ICA. They <riH be unused by Mike Norton of the ICA. and ~ & t > Magazine,and will probably take place in April-May-June?Watch this pace..
The LAND FOR THE PE6kLE meeting planned for the end of Ianin BathisbeingpostponeduntilMarchor Aptfl. A newsletter announdog details will be out soon Meanwhile a London-based group will be meeting fortnightly on Mondays at 8 Leighton Crescent NW5. Phone 485 3572 or 267 1184 for details, (but not too early in the
Michael Mtgulre, Fib Coordinator, Toward Tomorrow, 200 Hffl* House North, Unlveitity of Mamchuiettl.Amherst, 01003.
TOWARD TOMORROW FAIR'77 h a country fair, e x h i i t i i our future (!) to be field on June 24-26 at the Univemitj' of Massachufetts/AmherstCampus. It is a peoplecentred event, sounds like a large-scaleComtek an$ more.If you have any desire to travel to the$tates and visit it, write for more info to
education evening courÃ§which Ã‡tÃˆrt on January 17 at the City Lit Inrtitute,Coven Garden convened by Dave EUiott. It aims tu took at the rote of Alternative Technol&y as a Ãˆciachange agent'and there are e n s on roectfic ueas - energy, food, shelter, pbw gaunt discussionsof political strategy. You
The UndercurrenWeompvadiam Book Service is sptpended for the time being: pipective customers should write (Uiect to Compendium for their new 40 page A4 lee catalogue (45p by post but worth it) which containsa full list of their boob on AT and ' a selection of titles torn the& Building, Growing & Eating, Animal Husbandry, Crafts, Kids, Healing, Radical PwchMtry, W~men, Communes, Utopian Politic!, Gtomancy, Fiction etc, etc,-listt. h comes with un Wtpage s u p p h d on Tipi-nuand is Iaviuhly flhuteated. They dso have Music and sexual Polities caiaJogues(lOp stamp esdi) and hope to publish a futl catalogue for (he entire shop for next Ci@@maaCompendium Books, 234 Camden High St, London NW1. Td 01-485 8944.
may still be able to enrol: contact the City Lit, Stukely St, Dnuy Lane,WC2B 5U. Course code iÃˆS36 and it's on Mondays Tr ."r,.-". %-LO i n ..
EARTH MYSTERY paintings, a@@ and prints will be on show at the Acme Gaffleiy,43 Shelton St, London WC2 for three weeks from March 22.
What'sWhat - ECOLOGIE is Frenchcounterpart, it is published bimonthly by A.P.R.E.,
A~SW de Picsse Ecol
ue, who dso put out new-t AseWo. c-t Susie, No. 8, contains a report on the Nairobi conference on Trade & Development, articles &I the politics of the environment, a u h m o u s haows, health, Italy, Science for the People, elecentiafisatim. Roissv ahort. the tiohtion or the aqt^fus, etc. A good &buiexpensive at 7F (83p) or 40F for 6 isuet from Ecologic, 12 Rue du Putts, 45200 Montqis, Fiance. a
EARTH No. 8 (25p port free for 24oo from 11 Gcoree St.'BriBhton. ~uoex):~ifi on the and; Folksongin S & X ; the Machine BreÃˆkcrÃWorking A Living Collectively; olus News. Reviews. etc. A -food lead for -freaks. .
HOMES OR JAILS?is a new pamphlet by Christian Wolmai of Release the threatened Criminal Trespass Bfll, 09 rulers' 'final cplution' to the 'squatting q w tion'. The police are already genned up on the extra powers that the Bfll will give them and are quietly stepping up their campaign
MUSHROOM is a quarterly maga-
MOTORWAY MOlftHLY is a new* letter for anti-motorwa~freaks. out of the FOB stam.82.50 w i bring ~ you twelve monthly issues packed with &a of current road schemes, enquiries, protests etc., or fend astamp for a free sample copy. (Friends yf the Earth Q Poland St. London W11 Su-and enow
(No 5) has articles on home childbirth. food &-opt, saddle ~iiaktag,growing cat trees, squatting (on loos!), Single copy NZ $0.75, u b NZ 9220 surface ma3 fmmMushroom c/o Post Office,Waitati, Otago, N.Z,
'f/EWSTYLE: the review of contemmania Ha more spectaste. Described as the Private Eye of the art world it i s a melange of bitchy gossip (quite unintelligible to outsiders), criticism, paply & original writing. Strictly for the dilettante literati&. unlike& to appeal to the seriousminded folk who read Undefcwwhts1(N&j foi i lample copy from 7 Phflpot Lane,LondonEC30~. 25p from progressive new&@ts).
against squatters. 15p or 25p by post from. Release, c/o 1Elgin Ave, London W9. Releane also publish a quarterly newsletter; the current number contains a useful tummaty of the Iiterdtwe on cannabis by Don Artken, a report on the steady advaqe of dccrirniiuliMtion in the USA (nasaed in ekht stales with another twenty thinking about it) and an analysis of the latest Home Office statistics on drug addiction 30p + l0p post;.subscription Â£1.5 p.a.
zine of the New Zealand alternative. Funky nud eco-freak, The latest i m e to reach us
The latest SCIENCE for PEOPLE (No 34) edited by the Agricapital Group, looks at food and fanning; the power of theUS &rain companies; Chailie Clutterbuck on Agribufteen; pesticides, Mozambique; agricultural R & ft etc. A healthy contrast to Whole Earth w&Uu@troom. 30p from BSSRS, 9 Poland St,London
The ~ T ~ a m a dmovement at vast f k m strength to strength.&ioxr (iY.vd!w Pneumatics),by A.O. Groom, is a judicious fantasy along the fines of river, wave sod tidal energy, available for Â£1.5 from the author at Stunninster Newton, Dorset, VT10 AAH. f t is, ai they fay, lavishly illustrated - for the ' host nart with ilichtlv off-beat nneumatfc inventions \vhich hare never yetseen the light of day but which, perhaps,ought to All it needs is a wealthy and benevolent maritime nation to take a chance - doe* anybody know of one? The 'hydropneumatic cat*is particularly delightful, a boat that runs off wavepower - now, why didn'twe think of that before? A must for every mind-blown eagmeer's coffee tabte.
PENDERYN is a Welsh magazine not hitherto seen to London but now stocked by CoIlet's London Bookshop. In English (except for 3%pages) the current issue (no date) contains a report on the recent Aberystwyth~socialist/nationalistconference, an interview with Enuys Roberts, l e a k of Plaid Cymm onMertkyr Council, an interviewwith John Jenktos and articles on Kernow and WiBfam Price. 25p or 30p from IS Stsyd Windsor, Ucheldir, Abertawe. Recommended. .
On the dote? Guy ~fuinceyhatput together an UNEMPLOYMENT HANDBOOK for ha art of Devon, which has been publish-
community paper. It would make a good model for anvone wantine to ~ublishone in other areas. If he gets b e h e l p GUY intends to produce a national handbook, Shemck if 15p + 6Vip post from Kolne Cross Cottage, Ashburton, Devon.
VISIONS: A~~CH^AY ROAD UWWIDENING SCHEMEhavejust opened a small Vegan Caf6 in addition to their 'Alternative Bookshop!. Archway Raad, London, Nl
EARTH EXCHANGE. As wdl u having the Undercurrent! office this bt&klg houses natural food and craftlbook shoos. There are abo various other group & weaving & spinning, gardening, alternative medicine, etc. Run as a registered charity, SE is open from 12 a&7 pm (except Monday Thurriay).
A West London branch of SERA his'
been set up. At the inaugural meeting before Christmasit was decided to concentrateon
. the problems of Heathrow Airport:'noise,
redundancies & transport policy. For details 'ooleClose, Ruislip,;
24 Edith Road London W14. FAIRIES' LIB Lefor lent w Faifins' Lib VMS
. ..and AYURVEDIC
ANARCHISM FOR A.T.
Centre forth! Study of . &omi caunfe Â¥Bm e l o p - . UnlÃ§<nttyofBat
Information md &K"toonnewaomezs from main-
ready meterodox imacuusm, lied which they of course labelled &rieinal orthodox eta. At that time no doubt the Faropposite direction overmuch! A.C. Stock
6 Nofon Road south Norwood
London SE25 4JZ
ALTERNATIVE SUPPLIER NO SH*T HERE PLEASE
I have been trying for some time to
agreed But the line isn't Languages axe systems of mutually reeognised tymb0JE used to exchange infoxmation. Mathematics Is another language albeit st& than most ~ n science d itself systems the magic& it claims and metaphysical to replace is lust another method of divining and interpreting the world. It is the wa that reality shifts about our artificial oints of reference, and modifies their pattern, which conveys tha informatton we need. All stems are valid dependtogonthe ansyy bert UYS you seek. As Mr the eystem continues to be used because it works'!
Cottent ~ r na d cililie Corrandulla GO. Galway.
Eamon de Nais
21 Meridan Place &ton
MAKE YOUR OWN ORGONE BLANKET
HOMEMADE GASMASKS AĂƒ
an d e n t cvcllat in a citv envir-
often) 30 tKe eonrtruction of an air filter for a mask to absorb the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon fumes from the inhaled air, the lead however. is obviously a more difficult -1em.
. tear ciasea includingmodem with re we the wartime gas mask. filters ineffective.
57 The Avenue oild don. W18.
HEAD FOR THE HILLS
PLACED OPTIMISM I
'. 1 1
Due to the petroleum s h m , w hwa been forced t o u~ a varnished cardboard box for our8mmfilmloops.
this is o tesituation and we w i h be able to use plastic boxes in the very near future. ,
Then take your sandwich and aew the whole lot together with button thread so that it looks like a quttt Be careful of the wir wool it can c t like a -r!%ou use i t by laying it over part of ourbody. You do this until you eel you want to take it oft. Like eating a meal, you will 'know' when you have had enough Do not deep with it, or you will over-use' it but be sure to use i t regularly t& the best long-term e ects. Don't use it in front of a live TV! What are the effects? Immediate feelings vary from notbine at all in that part of to stronfi t m feelings of the body c relaxedness and adistinct 'warmth' inside you are typical. Yourare likely to feel the effects in our hands, your stomach should relax and gurgle noidly and ou might sweat quite strongly Over a long period o&one is supposed to boost ypw own energy so that you fight off 111ness and become very fit. If an one does follow this up I would be very interested to hear about how their blankets turned out.
168 Egerton Road ~an'chester16.
STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL 'es, Undercurrents has been d o i n g whatever it does ar f i v e years. Successfully? Well, m e r e l y t o survive 1 a f e a t w h i c h eludes m o s t small magazines establishd on v i r t u a l l y no money, as Undercurrents was, so t least by t h a t c r i t e r i o n w e have succeeded. The first issue, published i n January 1972, described itself s "a magazine o f alternative science and technology I n the lace o f five short years, awareness o f 'alternative technology' as grown at an explosive rate - so much so that 'AT', which ~eoriginally conceived as "technology for an alternative xiety", has been almost entirely caropted by those with no iterest in (or even an active resistance to) challenging the tatus quo. In Tomorrow's World's forgettable phrase, AT as become simply "other ways o f doing things". I think it's fair to say that Undercurrents has made a ignificant contribution towards the widespread appreciation f the potential o f alternative technologies. But so has OPEC. lore importantly, we have emphasised that the implementaion of AT, i f it is to be genuinely beneficial to humanity, squires nothing less than a radical restructuring of the conomic, political, social and metaphysical basis o f . iestern civilisation. (Though that doesn't mean that 'preiature'attempts to build,alternatives 'before the revolution' re a waste o f time. Far from it). And t o stress the importnce we attach t o this fundamental reconstruction, Underurrents tends to talk nowadays o f 'Radical Technology' ather than Alternative Technology - though the 'AT' pithet has a nice ring t o it and somehow won't go away. What o f the next five years then? What will the world nd Britain in particular be like? And how can te help to build up the strength o f the Movement o f h i c h we are a part. Prognostication is always a dangerous usiness - but here goes.
Tie N e x t Five Years I n Britain the North Sea oil bonanza will providejust oough wealth t o balance soaring costs o f the food and raw laterials we import. Britain's industry is not likely t o get iuch more competitive in the world markets, but with our evalued pound and our large oil subsidy it won't have t o be. /e probably won't have an 'economic miracle', but we won't ave a Friedman-style catastrophic economic collapse either. n short, it'll be Business As Usual for the executives o f ireat Britain Inc. This relatively undramatic economic prospect i s not likely to -lean, however, that things will be easy politically for those /ha are working towards a "fundamental shift i n the balance if power and wealth in our society". The executives of ireat Britain Inc. enjoy the power and privileges which go vith their seats in the Director's Dining Room o f the Nation: hey are willing to go t o considerable pains to neutralise or liminate those radicals who would make them eat in the taff canteen. And although the strong-arm tactics used to iuell discontent in nrevious eras are still available, the
Establishment o f today prefers a more 'civilised' approach. The recent BBC Horizon programme 'Half-way t o 1984' (though it merely confirmed what Undercurrents has been saying sinceTssue number 7) revealed t o a wider public the extent t o which the State and private companies already practice sophisticated surveillance t hniques aimed at spotting 'social deviation' before it appens and nipping it i n the bud. For instance, we have a Police National Compute System which can spew out details o f a car's ownership with seconds o f feeding in its number by radio and which soon will have criminal records similarly available. (In Ulster, the system is more sophisticated and gives a foretaste o f what may soon be possible on the mainland. Detailed personal records on half the population are on file and can be interrogated remotely t o confirm a suspect's story at checkpoints.) Masses o f information on millions o f people are already on file i n big data banks such as the Vehicle Licence Computer at Swansea, and the T V Licence Computer at Bristol; on the computers operated by the Banks and Credit Cards companies; and i n smaller data banks such as the DES's file on all students and Local Authorities' files on 'clients' o f their Social Services. Agitation by civil liberties campaigners seems unlikely t o prevent these data banks from being inter-connected, thus enabling an extremely detailed picture o f a person's character and activities t o be built up from the individually-insignificant scraps o f information. A glimpse o f the uses t o which such a master file might be put can beseen i n West Germany where the government has an extremely sophisticated computerised system for keeping track o f criminals and subversive~and operates a blacklist o f supposed 'leftists' which makes it very hard for any 'radical' t o get a job.
I n Britain the corporate state (in both its Governmental ana its commercial guises) has a virtual monopoly o f the broadcast media, which it manipulates subtly b u t effectively when it wants to. The BBC and ITV, for example, practice a policy o' not delving too deeply into the underlying causes o f the Ulster conflict - a policy t o which Jonathan Dimbleby and other media people voiced strident objections not long ago. Other methods o f social control available t o the government range from the 'Psyops' techniques which the Home Office has been teaching t o Civil Servants to the low-intensity operations which Brigadier Frank Kitson has been urging on the Army. And then there are always the 'dirty tricks' squad' and agents provocateurs operated by the Special Branch, Ml: and the Military. The Movement How should these factors influence the shape and strategy o f the Movement t o which we belong - the A T movement, the Radical Technology movement, the movement for an alternative society;for anarchy, for libertarian socialism, for parallel cultures, for alternative socialism, call it what you will?
The very undefinability and diffusenessof the Movement, Â¥ by some as a criticism of it, is probably one of its major vantages. Donald Schon, describing the 'Movement' of the 1's in America, catches the flavour: "It's an amoeba, with very unclear boundaries, with no clear structure, with a very powerful, informal, personal network that pulls the whole thing together. And not only does it-edve, it turns out to be damn near + invulnerable".'* =-Neither i s there a stable, centrally-established message. Instead, there's a shifting, and evolving doctrine -a family o f related doctrines. Its remarkable behaviour depends upon the infrastructure technology on the basiis of which it operates. It i s possible to know at Berkeley tomorrow what happened at Cornell yesterday. Third World factions in Algeria maintain connections with American blacks i n Cleveland and in Cuba. Television permits simultaneous international witnessing of events, and makes events 'major' because they are so witnessed. Jet transport permits an international traffic in leaders, spokesmen and participants. Anund rground press, with readership in the millions, services blacks, students and radicals of all shades and persuasions. Telephones permit connection and co-ordination of events across the nation. Records, tapes and transistor radios spread words and music through which all shades of opinion and feeling find expression." This kind of organisation clearly has a lot of advantages I the face o f increasingly-powerfulState surveillance and ~ppression.If they try to jail its'leaders,' the Movement ~c a mply shifts to new leaders. Like the classical guerrilla Â¥mythe Movement is invisible, yet everywhere. Modern states have got good at handling traditional, ierawhical 'revolutionary' movementswith identifiable. aders, card-carrying followers, fixed doctrines, and central ffices, But trying to come to grips with this new entity is like t o wrestle with a blob of jelly. '
Of course it can be argued that the Movement o f the 60's in America and Europe failed to sweep humanity "irresistibly across the threshold of human transformation" because, in Walter Szykitka's words, i t s "vision o f a new social order was imperfectly developed", and because "it fell short of stimulatingan amalgamation of causes that would have forced fundamental social change". The task of analysing in detail exactly where the 60's Movement went wrong and writing a comprehensive prescrip tion for a new Movement strategy to take us into the 80's is probably beyond anyone's capability - it's certainly beyond mine. But at least, two basic requirements seem to me to stand out as essential if the weaknesses of the 60's ar$g&&wcome in the 80's. --,-.-z-:-5 Firstly, the Movement's communications infrastructure must be improved. The passage from Donald Schon above considerably overstates the actual effectiveness of the media through which the Movement speaks to itself and to theoutside wortd, andof the networks through which it co-ordinates its activities. . This i s mainly because, especially in Europe, the Movement is still largely reliant on Establishment communication channels. Access to those channels (Open Door notwithstam ing) is not getting any easier. Demonstratiofis t o choose just one example, don't get the TV coverage they used to. And, thanks to inflation, the radical activist finds it increasingly difficult to find the money for train and air fares, for phone and print bills. Gone are the 60's pipe-dreams of a cornucop of cheap communications in which everyone would be linke by coaxial cable to everyone else irf one big Global Village. As Eric Lowbury put it in Radical Technology: "The Global Village is no such thing. It i s aGlobal Castle, in whic the Barons may chatover'their wine, while the serfs outside may overhear a few scraps of merriment". I think it%imperative that we develop new, liberated channels o f communication, and that westrength : - -,-which already exist., Secondly, add even more basi%ally;Ge"
selves with the mass line." Chris Hutton Squire expressed uncertainty as to what a break with the Left "would mean in
'Why don't you uuil a windmill?' we shout at each other. 'Explore inner ice!' 'Stop ignoring ne occult!' 'Tap the energy of ley-lines!' 'Live in a . mmune!' 'Distribute your income equally!' 'Be a socialist!' 'Don't be a sialist!' And so on. Reading reports of Undercurrents meetings, I get a ;ture of half a dozen people trying to give me directions. Some of them i telling me to turn left at the crossroads, some. :to turn right, (or) go straight ahead, (or) . to turn round and go back the way I've been. it the crazy thing is, none of them has found out where it is I want to go!" (David Gardiner) Yes Undercurrents, 'a bunch of smart know-it-all bastards' (Nigel iwland), has been having an internal debate about its role: 'an exciting play of mental gymnastics' (Herbie Girardet). Fbr the first time - and pefully the last time - we bring you the views behind the people behind ifaceless collective. But remember: 'Brer fox said nothing, and Tar by just smiled', (Enid Blyton); we didn't all join in. So this is a fairly representative sample of the collectives ever-changing views, hideously itorted by Dave Smith, who reports on the subjectivetruth Of thematter.
~liticalLines -eft, Alternative, Anarchist, or Third ly? Woody set the ball rolling when he igested we follow a third way for: "The iphasis placed on material rewards by ablishment and Left opposition alike ly be about to boomerang against the ft";and we should "break with the ft". This wasquickly countered by: want to go for closer integration with i Left", (Martin Ince). But it was >portedby Richard Elen
- "It's about time we were prepared to stand up forour beliefs, and say that we do not wish to be associated with a Left that i s plainly a cure worse than the disease, or at least just the same." The general lack of agreement was getting nowhere. Dave Kanner "thought that organised labour (even if hierarchic o'r infiltrated by the establishment) represents the only way-for 'concerned and creative people' to associate them-
marxist". D.S. felt there was "a need for an Undercurrents that takes an alternative, independent and possibly anarchist line, or series of lines." More subtly D.G. wondered why "everybody wanted to say what the righ means are, but nobody seemed to think raise the question o f what the right ends are." "Why are we so hung up aboutsocialism?" queried H.G., who suggested that: "In order t o get any answers we must first have any questions." Was it because " b o a Left and Right share the same materialistic dogma, the same requirement for solution by confrontation, the same penchant for violence and the politics of hate"? (R.E.) Or because "in many socialist countries people are suffering chronically under the conflicts, often personal, between a handful of 'leaders' and their divergent philosophies (H.G.) Or even t h a t t h e ~ e f!'do t not ye< have the breadth of vision to move beyond a stage o f state capitalism." (P.S In a bid to cool the passions Godfrey Boyle suggested that: "There's much from that's admirable on the Left, Socialist Enyi~nmentResources Assock tion to the Institute for Workers' Control." Summing up, N:G.,-with his normal prescience, said Undercunwts "lacks a coherent, unified view." You hadn't noticed? O@wetl.R.E. felt that this "breadth o f vision and opinion has
Wercurrents 20 must create at least the beginnings o f an alternative economic infrastructure. Without an economic base, we can accomplish vit'tually nothing. With it, we can achieve a great deal. Among other things, an alternative economic network could provide powerful support for workers engaged in struggles to liberate existing industries. ' Such a network implies the establishment of many more co-operative, worker-and community-controlled enterprises like those listed in In the Making (see page 40). And itimplies federations o f co-operatives, linking producers, processors and consumers in a non-exploitative web, like those described in the Vermont Tomorrow artic
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A Vision Amid the struggle to create alternatives, to liberate existing institutions and to combat exploitation and repression, we need, I think, to keep alight the flame that illuminates our vision of how things might be. I'm irresistibly drawn to conclude with the final passage from ' N e w from Nowhere, in which William Morris's hero awakes in his dingy Hammersmith bedroom to find that the vision of a future world o f peace, rest and harmony in whicti, it seemed, he had spent so many happy months, has given way to cold, sordid reality. He recalls the last look of Ellen, one of his companions in the dream, which seemed to say: Go back again, now you have &en us, and youf' outward eyes have learned that ....there i s yet a timeof rest in store for the-world, when mastery has Go changed into fellowship - but not before. back and be happier for having seen us, for having added a little hope to your struggle. Go on living while you may, striving, with whatsoever pain and labour needs must be, . to build up little by little the new day of fellowship, and rest. and hmoiness".
canieloillll'."dldndlwJthatIt-lelmkt,ollor"lnMH.1rlxid.ofconÃˆawillth world tea cooleuriotitvuntouetwd bvlow tanefarrwordm wondT" haxwroctwl m k i d
limÃ‡lÃˆl<Ã‡w"h."u,.olh>imÃ‡nb>(naandofKM.e<l<ll UNDERCURRENTS Mif it h pouJbtoto Â¥woh r'laddw but Ã§wiwr actence, MMIW that te Â¥ofmllmtatlom>lllrilll1Ã§itninthl,wh~wnlnn*thehnteta~nilolhut
.. . . .
Godfrey Boyle Donald Schon The Listener, Decem Donald Schon Beyond the Stable State, Temple Smith, London 1971. Walter Szykitka. ed, Public Works, Links Books. 1975.
Five years on. Editorial in Undercurrents Number 1,published in January 1972.
my mind has always had a dual role. always been i t s strength." But he needn't Positive and Negative. Yin and Yang if have worried for H.G. could "see no you like. Information on positive, danger of us funny lot becoming carbon creative alternatives and how they might copies o f each other." Even as he sought be built starting from now. Workers' to "find out whether a synthesis between co-ops, A.T. communes, land forthe the various strands i s possible." So D.S. had no need t o fear that we would pro- _-:reople, self-help medicine, mind - duce "some bland consensus of opinidlf~;expansion, new visions of the world; and , .-So On. The focus should be On Though most of us would probably agree communitysca'ed~ rather than with H.G. when he says that 'on an econoindividual, altern'dti~technologies. mic level we are concerned with redistri"Undercurrents also has an bution of resources. within and portant negative, oppositional role in between nations'.
Content and Discontent Undercurrents?Yes and no. Let's see
articles on A.T., gardening, etc.; further development of fringe science and inner technology; historical pieces; articles on wider world; short polished essays on social topics". But perhaps M.l.'s view i s dissimilar to both these points of view, because he sees this as "essentially a programme o f the Left, or would be in the manner I would like to treat it. With
Then things began to warm D.K. wants "articles on fringe (to) be faintly practical." He"
- .- .
mind reading something new on leys, --: phenomena, etc. but I'm fed up with rehashing of the same few (contested; facts." He "doesn't care how many an can dance on the head o f a pin."
Short Cuts? this there was a lotof Throughout concern about editing. D.K. knew "it would be nice if contributors gave us concise, polished copy of the right length. As they don't, mostly, and there isn't time to return copy for rewriting, we must edit things.= which is-one ofour So "we should continue editing heavily we do now." (C.H.S.) This l e f t R.E. feeling uneasy: "Our editing function should be one o f assisting the author t o make herthis point more clearly, perhaps adjusting grammar, etc., but always in co-operation with the author." A lot of editing i s a dangerous thing. Particularly if there be any " conceptual that -implies that the editor knows more about the subject than the writer=. (R.E.) D.K. thought -people could register'their special interests1 knowledgeso that key phraseswouldnbe taken out of articles by ignorant editors." the debate goes on. If this account of an Un internal discussion has not frightened you away, H.G. would like "the Undercurrents co-operative . to involve readers much more closely in'the magazine than i s the Ã case now." A t last, something we were all in agreement about.
Undercurrents 2 consumers. The group stresses that there is no real world food shortage, but that food exporters, particularly the USA, are manipulating the world' trade in food for the sake of profits. An increase in food production is not seen as necessarily progressive, "We can now sense signs of heavy capitalist investment in agriculture. Food could be a convenient growth area in a low growth economy". Yes, a possible scenario, And it i s certainly very important to investigate the role of capital in food production and processing. Few, if any, socialist groups have so far found it necessary to analyse food production and distribution in sufficient detail. Also: "Labour as a 'factor' o f production i s appallingly excluded from almost all research, and from most considerations as t o how things get grown. For ex: Pesticide do notperse increase yields. They replace labour preventing disease incidence". Elsewhere a potential alliance of agricultural workers and smallholders in the struggle for con munity ownership o f land i s mentioned. 'Food, Farming, Finance' contains many penetrating observations about the present state of agriculture and the increasing multinationalisation o f food processing. In an article on agricultural research in the UK it is stated that "agriculture should not be managed like a sector of manufacturing industry: it is hard to get a high return on capital investment in farming and consequently it is difficult to find 'Investment canital: when i t i s run as an industry, long term problems such as declining soil fertility develop. We don't expect to use the factories of today to produce the goods of tomorrov but we will certainly be using.the same fields to produce our food". The article also states that an enormous amount of m'oney i s being spent on research into new varieties of grain, and particularly wheat, today's favourite cattle feed. But there are 90,000possible food plants globally and only a tiny proportion o f these is given attention in agricultural research. Whilst 'Food, Farming, Finance' represents an important and necessa point of departure in the analysis of agriculture under capitalism, very Iiine indication is given of how the necessary changes which are implied can come about. There i s clearly the need for alliances between groups;institutions and individuals who want to reassess land use, agricultural technology and the relations of production and distribution of food. Lucas aerospace workers demand the right to make socially useful products and t o change the repressive nature of work itself in the process. In other branches of industry similar initiatives have started, but not yet, it seems, in agriculture and food processing Here the equivalent to a socially useful product is healthy food. And the demand to produce food in a healthy and satisfactory way must be as urgent to farm workers who suffer from 'harvest lung' and from skin blisters,
"Before ~hristmas",one Gwent newspaper commented recently, "greengrocers were charging jewellers' prices for their vegetables". Food prices, last year, shot up by 22% and the food import bill amounted to a staggering 5,000 million pounds. Britain must become more self-reliant in food and yet, in the last couple of years food production has gone down. It is not by accident, then, that there are more and more research- and pressure groups, and even a semi-officialthink tank, concerned with agriculture and land use. Here's Herbert Girardet with some news and views. 'Priority for Agriculture!' Suddenly it
i s no longer a cry from the wilderness. Ecologists and planners, farm workers and agri-radicals, farmers and trade and even analysts, consumer groups. economists are saying it now. In the British context the balance of payments situation, rather than long term ecological considerations, i s the main reason for the revival of official interest i n agriculture and the land. The clearest indication o f this is the report 'Land for Agriculture', brought out by the newly formed 'Centre for Agricultural Strategy' which i s funded by the Nuffield F0undation.l Here's a sample: "All evidence indicates that a very high priority should be attached to food and timber production in the UK, and that everything possible should be done both to prevent the unnecessary loss of land from agriculture and forestry and to simulate the potential output per unit area from the land remaining in use for these purposes". The evidence collected in t h i s report to support t h i s view is indeed considerable. 1t concentrates on the competing demands made on land by urban development, r reation, mining, water resources, agriculture and forestry. As the demand for land for purposes other than food production will continue to grow, so will the food import bill. And yet: "Potential increws in (agricultural) output per unit area will probably be more dependent on human effort and attention than previously". Well, the people who compiled t h i s report must have been reading Undercurrents. In the year 2000 we'll all be gardeners and plant trees in the Welsh hills in the Christmas holidays. ("Unless the potential gap between timber import requirements and availabilities can be met by higher domestic production of timber, wood consumption per head may be rationed at less than half the present levels"). The report calls for the reestablishment of 'Rural Developmen Boards which should co-ordinate co flicting land use interests o areas. And read this: "Esta a number of publicly owne units with the view of both ing and monitoring the way farming and forestry can be . could lead to increasing awa the constraints at present inhibiting the
complementary development o f forestry and farming in hill areas". Suitable areas suggested are the Welsh hills and the Scottish highlands. The criteria for such experiments are mainly economic; ecological or political considerations are almost entirely absent from the report. Possible changes in the system of land ownership are not even considered in it. The National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers, in its recent report, 'Outlook for Agri~ulture'~, also calls for Rural Development Boards for the hill areas o f the UK. It also recognises the need for Britain to expand food and timber production which would, of, course, be in the interests of the Union members. It also stresses the need for improvements in the rural environment "A prosperous community in the countryside helps to creak a better balance between urban and rural life and if this were accompanied by planning and assistance for the siting of suitable light industries in rural areas the balance would be even better preserved". There is strong support for public ownerprivate ownership ship of land as has traditionally been a source of such inequality and social injustice. It should belong to the people. Whilst the Union does not believe in expropriation without compensation, reasonable limits must be set with due regard to factors of both time-scale and cash". This view has got the support of sections of the Labour Party and the Union hopes that the Caoital Transfer Tax and the proposed Wealth Tax will help to hake it a reality. In Scotland the Scottish Labour Party, and to a lesser degree the SNP, are advocating public landownership.
Agricapital Landownership, surprisingly, does not seem to come verv high on the list of priorities of the newlyformed Agricapital Group' in London, which has just brought out a special issue of 'Science for People', entitled 'Food, Farming, Finan~e'.~ This group i s concentrating i t s research on an exploration of "the effects o f Capitalism on Agriculture'. For the time being priority i s given to getting a better understanding of food production chains, with a focus on the exploitation of farm workers, food processing workers and
Uridercurrbn% 20 resulting from over-exposure t o pesticides, as to bakers who have to endure the daily boredom and strain o f the automated production of unhealthy white loaves.
Radical Agriculture? One reason why it is so difficult to bring about changes in food production and processing i s the multiplicity of entrenched interests which are at stake; Agro-chemical manufacturers, farmers, food canning and freezing companies, manufacturers o f agricultural equipment, meat processing firms, baking companies etc, etc. The workers in all these enterprises depend for their wages on the continuation of the production processes in which they are involved, even if they are highly 'artificial'. Food workers have a stake in high productivity per person, as all workers do. A shift to more sustainable methods of food production would endanger some of the agricultural support industries and would therefore effect employment in these sectors. It would thus be of dubious interest to the workers concerned. There is every indication, then, that changes in agricultural practices will be gradual. Whilst it is widely accepted now that there must be sustainable increases in production per acre, all evidence suggests that t h i s can now be achieved only by greater numbers of people working the land. This would, of course, mean an historical and unwecedented reversal of current trends within the agricultural labour force.. by the end o f 1976 the number of farm workers was still going down, to little over 300,000 in England and Wales, as it has done for a couple of centuries. Morepeople on the land is commonly viewed with suspicion, as a utopian phantasy, as a reversal of
progress. This suspicion is fully justified if the suggestion is that there should simply be more exploited workers on the land who'work for somebody else's profit. It is, then, a question from which political standpoint such a suggestion is made and what strategies are suggested to. bring such a development about A rather stereotype leftwing view wouldbe t o suggest that only "under socialism can agriculture find a more rational role". Socialism doesn't apmatically mean sounder ecological attitudes, or does it?But redistribution of wealth, including land. would certainly be a precondition , for more rational use of land. But notthe only one. Can the merits o f co-operative farms or new agriculturally based settlements. be demonstrated within a capitalist system? OR: Can there be 'liberated' islands in the ocean-of capitalism?The evidence on this i s conflicting, to say the least Rural communes haven't been an unqualified success story so far. This has been the result of lack cff capital and expertise as well as o f rather vague preconceptions about communal working and living. Most rural communes are small, a group of people all under one roof. There is a lack of diversity of age groups. Often there are culture clasties with the 'local population' and many communes haven't lasted long enough to overcome these. Failure fs all too often caused by an insufficient economic base. And the lack o f common aims and emotional incompatibility have undermined many communes. Most cottages and houses in rural areas are too small to make a sustainable communal way of life possible. The growing urge to start up new agricultural communities has so far been largely a frustrated in Britain, through lack of capital and because of the rigid attitudes
of the planning authorities to changes in the agricultural landscape. The main underlyingreason for this i s to thwart attempts of speculative development on farm land. And in order to make it easier to provide services in the countryside government and local authorities encourage development within and around existing rural centres. Because of the very small numbers of people required to run the present food production system - one worker for about 100 acres - the building of new accommodation on farms is severely restricted. Attempts at starting up communities on existing farms are therefore extreme'ly difficult to put into practice, as things stand at the moment. But as it seems to be quite generally recognised now that more people should, and want to, work the land, one can hope that changes in legislation, and in the attitudes of planning authorities, will be brought about This i s one of the aims of the Dartington Hall Trust in Devon Which has put in a planning application for two new hamlets on the edge of the village of Darti ton to Devon County Council, Whils3roviding badly needed accommodation for local people, the aim is to provide"a good social and community environment related to the surroundingcountryside". The land around the proposed clusters would be available for small scale farming by the people in the neighbourhood. The Trust has so far been refused pfanning permission by the local-Councilwhich was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, but there i s some hope that the Environment Minister may reverse this decision, All in all, changes in agriculture and in land use policy in a predominantly urban society are likely to come about slowly, linked closely to changes in the fortunes of a capitalist economy. The present crisis situation has led to analytical as well as to creative responses as Ihave tried to show in this article. Much work needs still to be done if we are to get coherent perspectives and strategies for change. A t present several agricultural colleges are threatened with closure as a result of public expenditure cuts and this pust be opposed, even if the kind ~Tagricu~ture taught there i s part o f the problem we are up against It i s time there was a public debate on agriculture and land use, the issues at stake involve all our lives and are too important to be decided upon by a tiny minority o f the population. There i s reason tb think that, at least, a start has been made. Herbert Gi 1. Land for Agriculture, Centre for Agricultural Strategy, University of Reading, Early Gate, Reading RG6 2AT; Ă‚ÂŁ1.30
2 Outlook for Agriculture, NUUAW, This is a plan, by Tom Hancock, of the proposed two hamlets which the Dartington Hall Trust wants to build in Devon. In the centre of the 'cluster' there-arecommunal buildings, incl. nursery schools, workshops. meeting hall, etc. These are surrounded by dwellings and kitchen There is a tree belt and thesurroundingfarm land would be cultivatedby the inhabitants of the hamlets, most of whom would be local people in need of better housing. Devon County Co"--;1 has refused..so far. to " ' jwelopment to ahead, but an a p w * if the Envir has been lodged a Minis
Headland House, 308 Gray's Inn Roai London WC1X 8DS; 35 pence. 3. Food, Farming, Finance, Science for the People, 9 Poland Street, London lence.
The population of Britain can be divided into two classes; those who are afraid that the things Tony Bonn talks about will come to pass; and those who are afraid they won't. Benn's recent pronouncements on topics as varied as Nationalisation, Marxism and Workers' Control have earned him the odium of the Right and the (occasional) grudging admiration of the Left. In this interview with Tony Montague of the Brighton Whole Earth Group, a less-familiar aspect of Comrade Benn emerges; his enthusiasm for the . story of the 17th Century Diggers.
How is it that you first cameto beinterested in the Levellers
and Diggers? Ifirst came across them in 1961. Hugh Gaitskell recommended that the Labour Party abandon its commitment to common ownership and suggested that we give up Clause Four and adopt a new, very general series o f objectives. We had a meeting of the National Executive and Walter Padley, who comes from Oxfordshire and is one of the most knowledgeable people in the Labour Party about its history, launched into a speecH about t h i s and reminded us that the principles o f common ownership were deeply rooted in the history of the Labour Party. He went back to the Levellers and Diggers in the 1640's and Ithink that's the first time I had ever heard of them. Ibecame deeply interested in them about two and a half years ago and haveTead a great deal about them since. The words that the Levellers and Diggers wrote and the strength of their message is still amazing for those who take the trouble to read and understand them. The Diggers believed in a full-scale socialist~commonwealth. The Levellers, although their pamphleteers were very radical, represented more liberal values of t$e kind that emergedin the French and American revolutions. The Diggers connected themselves most intimately with the land and believed it should be held in common. The Levellers' tradition is important toobecause it i s enshrined in many other social revolutions since. But the Diggers' revolution i s far more relevant in many ways today, because the Levellers' battle has in some ways been won, in the developed world. What the Diggers were saying and doing would seem to make sense literally today.
Do you think that the commune movement, or if you like, the recent movement towards greater self-reliance and common ownership and active involvement with the land is in some sense the inheritor of that form of Radicalism? I don't think you can ever suppress ideas like these. The extraordinary thing to me is wbat'a rich inheritance we have of the tradition that now expresses itself in the commune
.movement, for example, or indeed in the socialist thinking about egalitarianism and democracy. These go right back in our history. People who fought for the communes were dismissed as long haired hippies and idle people and so on. But it's a great comfort to find that this i s not a new battle. It's been fought over a long period. Those who argue for the communes or for socialist ideas have got a tradition as rich and as varied, and as deeply rooted in our national history as the tradition which has been symbolised by conquerors, kings and feudal landlords. Unfortunately, children are not reallv allowed to learn about it at school. because if they ~ e r e , ' ~ e o ~would l e see things very differently.
What relevance, do you think, does the cwperative, backto-the-land moveGn> have &day i n the wider perspective of socialism? Idon't think that you can ever put the clock back i n the sense that you can destroy or eliminate the technology that man's genius has brought forth from the earth. On the other hind, power i s a neutral thing. It's a question how you use it. And therefore the more power you have, the more attention has to be focussed on the control of it. That is, the real benefit of democratic control. A l o t of people who were scornful of the hippies and the commu movement when it first began are now beginning to see that the control becomes impossible beyond a certain sea Schumacher's book Small Is Beautiful was an indication o this by a serious manager and academic. The commune movement, the movement towards devolution, the movement towards industrial democracy, the movement for open government; all these things are movements that are at one if you like, with the idea that we've got to recreate acommunity out of the great hierarchical pyramid of power and management. And I agree with that. What does this mean in terms o f a back-to-the-landmovement, considering the possibility o f large numbers of peop going back to the land, whether full-time, or part-time, or whatever. Do you think that is just a pipe dream? There is a great desire to do it, isn't there? You can't separate mankind from the land. It's a very deep attachme even in England, which i s now primarily an urban society. There are lots of ways o f going back to the land. One i s th commune movement itself, another is a way I personally found very exciting to observe: the idea they have i n Chin that everybody should work on the land for a period in th year. If I were (Aid that in order to be a minister I had to spend a month on the land, it would be a great physical strain at my age, but at the same time I think it would be good for health, and make for a better understanding of the cycles of nature which city life tend to obscure. It would be difficult to feed a country of our 5'-- L-- '&-
are in a period of recession. When everyone asks what has gone wrong, people go back to their roots. A t the moment the Conservative Party has gone back to Adam Smith, and the ideas of early capitalism. The Labour Party has gone back to Clause Four and common ownership, and the Archbishop of Canterbury when he was appointed said we must all re-read the Ten Commandments. I think that we have come to the end of the road. When you get lost in the maze, you begin following the papertrail back t o where you came. And the need for us to understand and reassess our own history, and i t s traditions, seems to be very very urgent One of the reasons why I am excited about the Levellers and the Diggers i s because theirs is a very strong message, coming with great force over a long time. It gives me hope that people should know that tradition i s at least as much their inheritance as i s all the glamour and attention given to kings and bishops, prime ministers -and today to big executives or even pop stars. This other tradition i s more deeply rooted in the hearts and minds of people than all the grandeur and splendour of feudal ritual. I think it's of value, and I think it's a help, and I think more and more people want to know about it
land, but of course food prices will rise like oil prices, -herefore the economics of agriculture will certainly tilt back towards the cultivation of our land. I don't think any part of the globe will be able to afford to ignore i t s land. Any nation that weakens its link with the land perishes, of that I am absolutely sure.
Genard Winstaniey, The Law of Freedom and other Writings,Pelican Christopher Hi,The World Turned Upside Down, Pelican H.N. Braasford, The Levellers and the ~&ish Revolution, Cresset
Ifthe land is - t o use Winstanley's words - 'a COmIIlOn -32 treasury', how do you see this treasury being returned to the common people? First of all, we have an obligation not to damage it for future generations; that i s the most important issue. There is a big
something we s t i l l have to think about. And t o give people access to'it. Absolutelv. ~bsolutelv . rieht. - . absolutely. right. -
i s the future of the ideasof the Levellers and ~ i ~ ~ eDo r syou ? think that thisfeeling for them will develop, and their place in history will be restored t o them? Yes I do. We've had a long period of very rapid, headlong economic growth. To use the Bible phrase, we've had the seven fat years, we've now got the seven lean years and we v --A-
Film: Kevin Brownlow, 'Wistanley', distrib. by The Other Cinema, London.
CHEMICAL CORNUCOPIA s airiynt to talk about organically grown food, but what about reeding the rest of the world? I mean, there's already a terrible food -shortage, isn't there? And organic farming doesn't produce yields anywhere near as high as those of agribusiness methods, we all know that. But do we? Reading about the future of food production leads Dave Smith to wonder quite how efficient orthodox farming is, and what one should believe about food shortaaes. 1976 HAS been a record year for wheat1, and indeed, it seems for soyabeans, maize and most other crops2. Such an abundance o f food might be expected t o lower food prices and reduce malnutrition. But experience shows that this is only a marginal effect. Restrictions on land planted t o wheat will be re-introduced i n Canada, Australia and the USA; particularly in the USA where government grants are used t o keep arable land out o f productionlk3, and Public Law 480 will be used t o sell surplus grain t o needy countries. As Susan George details i n her book4, the United States grain companies and the US balance o f trade will be the principal benefactors. I n the EEC the butter and beef mountains * will probably grow. And some twelve per cent o f the world population will remain undernourished or starve t o deaths. Up t o twenty-five per cent will continue t o be malnourished6. How can this shameful paradox occur - a surplus o f food and millions starving? The partial answer can be found from Ă‚ÂĽ a study o f prices.
T o put it quite simply: there is enough, if not a surplus of food, for those who can afford it. Food prices continue to rise faster than incomes. Most o f us i n the U K can tighten our belts and make do; poor people i n poor countries die. 1976 may not have brought famines o f the headline catching magnitude o f that in the Sahel i n 1975. when an estimated 100.000 peo#b died, b u t famine is still endemic
o f so many people for several reasons. The high yields o f farmers in the developed countries have been gained as the result o f agricultural research and intensive use o f expensive machinery, fertilisers, insecticides, diesel oil etc. All the farmers' inputs use valuable raw materials; oil, metals and potash. Being o f limited amou,nt, scarcity continues to push up their price. As oil tripled i n price, so did oil-based fertilisers4. To keep this method o f farming viable farmers receive government support through guaranteed minimum prices for farm produce. We can applaud the giving o f incentives t o farmers t o increase their food production to feed the hungry. However, these incentives cost money, and i n Mexico this has helped t o devalue the Mexican peso three times in recent months, thus increasing the price to the Mexican o f already pricey food.
Hogging Fertiliser Efforts t o obtain the new high yields in the underdeveloped countries have received many setbacks. I n 1968-9 some
eighty per cent o f fertiliser was used i n the developed world^. The situation had not changed a great deal by 1974 when the Food and Agricultural Organisation estimated the corresponding figure was -eighty-five per cent9. I n the intervening period fertiliser manufacturers tailored production t o effective demand. There is now little surplus capacity and fertiliser companies have record profits. (Some idea o f just h o w difficult it is t o make fertiliser part o f a solution to world huneer i s t o be found in 10.) However, even if such major problems
ring me farming iiicifiods o f the develop ed countries t o the developing countries offers slight prospect o f alleviating malnutrition. Because when all the inputs have been purchased, the food grov i s too expensive t o sell locally and so i s sold on the world market. Using money from cash crops t o purchase food is normally detrimental t o the country concerned. Mali typifies this situation, cash-crop export revenues do not even cover the cost o f food imports. I n recent years o f famine, locally grown food has fallen from 60,000 tons in 1967 t o 15,000 in 1975, while land devoted t o cotton and eanuts has increased dramatically l? ,
Costly Revolution The problems o f monoculture and agribusiness methods in general are magnified by the Green Revolution. Selective breeding o f wheat in Mexico and rice i n the Philippines aimed t o produce crop strains that respond to large volumes o f water and dressings o f fertiliser by producing large yields. Delicate hybrids, they are more dependent on pesticides than even the corn in theUS; some 20% o f which was lost t o Southern Corn Blight in 197012. Miracle rice i n Indonesia has been seriously threatened by the grassy stunt virus13. Now insecticide resistant pests have sprung up. The cost o f developing new pesticides is exorbitant. An American ,estimate p u t it at $1 0,000,000 in 1974, up from $4,000,000 in 1967?4 These costs are passed on t o farmers and so t o consumers. In many countries economics dictates that insecticides such as DDT, that are banned i n many developed countries, have t o be used. The result o f all this expense, is an increase i n the number o f landless and unemployed; with a corresponding increase in farm size. (See 4, 1 2 and 3 for a detailed examination o f social, welfare and ecological aspects of the Green Revolution). Large farms do not necessarily produce the greatest yield par acre, though this is the view staunchly advanced in most development programmes. Recent studies i n Guatemala, for example, have shown yields ten and sixty per cent higher on small farmsl6. Which is not surprising when you realise that Ministry for Agriculture figures for 1970-72 show a similar effect in the UK16. The increase i n landless added to the increasing population amplifies the pressure on marginal farmland. I n India and Pakistan floods are exacerbated by deforestation inNepal where peasants farming the hillsides acceler- ' ate erosion. Similarly over-farming i n West Africa has led t o widespread erosion and soil degradation. ( A multitude o f similar examples are to be found i n 7).
Population Under Control Bleak - that is how the future looks for world food oroduction. But over-
'gotflem it first seems. The annual Ate o f population increase worldwide iefl between 1970 and '75 from 1.9% to 1.4%2. West Germany and Britain, amongst others, have zero population 'growth. Brutish methods of imposing population control have not led t o a decline in the birth rate in India. How.wr, successful land reform and higher incomes have caused the birth rate to +all from 41 to 26 in Taiwan, and 'from 45 to 30 per thousand in Korea4. Similarly, when thoughtfully -plied, new farming methods increase productivity and local incomes. In Kizilcahamam, in Turkey, the farmers were in a desperate plight. Forest had been stripped from the hills and goats were destroying-the remaining vegeta-tion. As a result cows were underfed a n d giving low yields. Rations for farmers were provided by the FAO's World Food Programme to encourage -them to stay in the area and help with reafforestation. Sheet) and cows were brought in to replace the goats. Slopes were terracedand higher yielding cattle introduced. The net income of the .farmers has increasedup to eight times. , The whole project, for 40,000 villagers, 'cost a mere 544,000 dollars8. Other
In the Sahel, for example, livestock health improvement programmes reduced mortality among cattle and so led to overgrazing.
inorganic fertilisers were not discovered
till 184Oand have only been widely used since WW11: The resulting rise in yields has been wrested from the ground partly. by. going - - against - nature. rather than working with it.
Pests like Herbicides
tional (agochemical users) is very important. But can organic farming produce high enough yields to feed a growing world population? A Classic study bv Lockeretz et a121 . in the American coinbelt, showed vields for conventionallv erown' maize and soyabeans 2f%"and 8% higher respectively in 1975, a year of excellent growing conditions. But in 1974, with poor weather, the figures for wheat were almost identical, while soya beans grown organically gave an 11% higher yield. Over the two years soya bean-yields average out equal for the two methods, while conventionally grown maize easily ou tperformed organically grown maize. The overall profitability of both methods was the same, on average, due i o the higher costs on the conventional farms. Labour costs were . about 12% higher on the organic farms. 2.3 times as much energy was used in growing the conventional crops.
No doubt the profitability of organic farming would be 'emphasised by farmer
ed world i s as insistent as ever, and
farming methods, with their large in-
ence i s mainly because the UK figures . are an average of various farm types, energy is consumed in the inefficient productim.of animal protein from feed. Phipps and Pain2= have shown, tentative
become unep~omicalt h i s century,
or at least 4,000 years without s of fertility19. By comparison
.^kie Pye Research centre, and at Universities. Organic farming is becomIng increasingly respectable and widespread as the problems of orthodox agriculture'grow. We may all be a lot + %healthier as a result. Ã£.,7-
tteferemaafS-38; Dr Malthus ConfoundedAgain, John
Cher~ington,Financial Times, December 11, 1976. World Commodity Outlook 1977: Food Feedstuffs and Beverages, The Ewnomist Intelligence Unit in Dally Telegraph, December 31,1976. . ,Radical Agriculture ed. Richard Merill, Hatper and Row, 1976. How the Other Half Dies, Susan Geoige, Penguin 1976. Scientific American, September 1976 UNAssessment in Susan George p.31
GWixf.: S t i ~ f f o a M t eSQv9 l
World Food Pmspects, Erik P. Eckholm, Norton, 1976. 8. Who VfW Eat? Michael AUaby, Tom Stacey, 1972. 9. Susan George, p.302. 10. Fertiliser, Helen Bryan, War on Want, May 1976. 'fc 11. Suan George, p.38 12. Sow'ng the Seeds o f Disaster, Robert A. Ginsky, Soils Association Quarterly Review, Vd 2, No. 3. 13. How the Brown Werew Did a Red Khmer on the Green Revolution, John Tinker, New Scientist, 7 August 1975. 14. Susan George,p.314. 15. AgronomyIo the Rescue, Dr Charles Posner, New Scientist, 2 October 1975. 16. Agribusiness. Charlie Clulterbuck in Radical Technology, Wildwood, 1976. 17. Turning the Jungle Into Ranchland, Sue Brandford, Financial Times, 16 * December 1976.
# , ,
U.N.C. Honduras. 19. The Living Soil and the Haughty Expertment, E.B. Balfour, Fabei and Faber, 1975. ' 0 . New Scientist. 16 September 1976. 1. Organic and Conventional Crop Prodoction in the Corn Belt: A Comparison of the Economic Performance and Energy Use for Selected Farms, Lbckeret etal, 2. Farmers Weekly, Aug 23 1974 and August 29,1975. 3. The Rain It's Plain, is Mainlyin the Grain, Colin Hines, Science for People No. 34, December 1976. Energy and Food Production, Gerald Leach, I.I.E.D., 27, Mortimer Street, London Wl, in Undercurrents 13. !5. The Energy to Grow Maize, Pain and Phipps, New Scientist, 15 May 1976. Many of these references may be in four local university or agricultural college -iiraiy.
* superior food quality and nut tional content through the avoidar of additives and preservatives. *-restoration o f an economic bi for rural country life. . The main components of a U F i . that already exist are food distribution co-ops, grower co-ops, community . gardens, canning centres and restaurants, and farmer's markets. The creation of local food distribution co-oos the land to feed them. Thus the process in the early 1970's sparked off most was compunded and the 10,000 farms /of these food related activities. . . of 1954 had dwindled to 3,700 by Â¥Y,; Consumers need producers as much 1976. , *-*':p'--&a=.- e latter need the former. So the However, all i s not lost, for agri- ..~t^=first step .in organising locally must be business is oil business, and, with the.-~3&~z~tÃˆfora core of buyers committed swift increase in.oi1 prices in the last co-operative idealsand to nutritious, few years, this is its main weakness. local food, ratherthan ,-heap food. Therefore, it is now feasible t o createA&Initially this can be done without alternative food system whose main local sources of food. strength is a decreased reliance on .Vermont now has thirteen regional petroleum and petroleum by-products food-distribution co-ops, each confor cultivation, fertilisation, harvesting. sisting of many neighbou,+,ood groups, processing. packing and transportation. which are small food-sharing co-ops in' New Life themselves. Each neighbourhood. To encourage this, Vermont Tomorgroup has a volunteer co-ordinator who insures the smooth running o f , row, a statewide citizen actiongroup, and Community College of Vermont, that group. The pick up, breakdown a community- based adult education and distribution of supplies i s done college, have written a pamphlet, by the members o f the neighbourhood Food and Agriwlture: A Citizen Guide group". Regional co-ops often have paid to Community Action, describing the employees. The co-ops alsoserve as development o f a 'Locally Integrated social groups and stimulate local food Food Economy', or LIFE. The advangrowing and processing activities. tages o f LIFE are: kducedenergy costs because o f Co-operate to survive the decreased distance between proFarmers, or growers, co-ops are s, formed on the understanding that, ducer and consumer. * reduced food costs because of unless growers can cut their costs a. . the elimination of excessive profits, pool resources and know-how through numerous middlemen, over-pr,%ssing co-operative effort, there is little but and fancy packaging. romantic hope for a revival o f small-
fit's look for a change not at what is to be done but at what has been one. In an effort to overcome the insularity for which these fair isles are infamous, we now look at a ldrge Canadian food distribution co-op and at a US attempt to control the whole food chain within a community. It's no little matter to reverse the trend towards bigger farms and over-processed food by taking every stage of food growing, processing and distribution into our own hands. Here's how these other arouns of oeonle. in different circumstances, have wrestled with some problems that'area~-toofamiliar in the back to the la@d and food co-op movements in theUK. ' had grown beyond the capacity o f VERMONT 1870; a state meeting its m demands for, and even exporting a rplus of, fruit, vegetables, meat and ain. Vermont, 1976: a state o f conmers who can barely afford to eat ocessed food imported from other ates; living next to farmers who can barely afford to produce the one product that accounts for 85% o f the state's agricultural economy: milk for citydwellers in New York. Yes, it's the familiar story o f the mechanisation o f agriculture forcing farm* to the point where they have to raise money to modernise or sell out to bigger farmers - or to gigantic corporations . who can find the capital needed to do so. In Vermont's case the bulk, kfri ted, milk-storage tank was the first o f many technological developments that set this process in motion within t h i s mainly dairy farming state. The process was accelerated by the enforced expenditure demanded to meet compulsory government farming regulations such as these requiring fanners t o build milkhouses with stainless steel tanks and sinks, and hot and cold running water and t o replace wooden barn floors with concrete ones. Greater capital costs necessitate greater volume: more cows, milking machines, another tractor, hay and grain for herds which ,
18. War on Want Project No. 119/06
lie farming. The numesteaders wh vive 'off the landl.have generally en those with substantial assets. o ;rare combination of outstanding ve and superior education. To facilitate local food growing, ntacts are drawn up between wnmer and producer groups. For ,tance. with veeetables. the food .op meets to assess the total demand reach variety. The growers en meet to decide who i s to plant tat; where and in what order. Sin key to control is processing, iwers can, and do, join together th consumers in developing local )rage. processing and preservation ite%.They should not let marketing f a l l into the hands of managers and food company agents, who, by fixin ices, can put grower co-ops out of siness in the same way as they ha ed the fate of many individual. rs. Farmers' markets are seasonal, p i te an outlet for growers' excess odace, and supply consumers with ;sh food. Market days can also be *>o ,f F- ,*--eial events. UnfortunZtbly, it i
Who makes decisions?<*,
,' Community eardens in cities and wns, transform unused and often productive land into productive rdens, and often lead on to other mmunal activities, such as food nning (see below). Most of the lay t of plots, preparing the soil, orde ;of seed and supplying necessary i l s i s done by the garden co-ordin ie gardeners do the rest A small fee :barged to cover costs, but no applicants for plots are turned away because of inability to pay, or lack o f gardening skill. By 1975 there were roughly a'hundred community gardens, totalling almost 152 acres. Food canning centres fill an importint position in the LIFE, by providing an efficient and inexpensive means of preserving local produce and helping to replace the food processing companies. The first centre opened i n 1975 with all the necessary equipment for preparing antfheat processing fruit, vegetables,. meat and fish. This includedcider presses, electric juicers and pulpers, ' bean slicers, pea hullers, grain grinders, and food dryers. In return for using the equipment a small fee i s charged. People who used the centre at first had very little idea of how to use it, but, with the help of assistants, soon learnt, and '
Control o f the whole orocbs from approximately quarterly meetings of representatives from the local co-ops. A t these council meetings major decisions, for example, on who to buy from, how to run the work weeks, and what attitude to take towards decei tralisation, are made. Day t o day W-창 decisions on running the central warereturned many times, often putting . house are taken by the paid collective by enough food for a year. Grower in conjunction with the work week co-ops could also use the canning centres, collective. However, there are no guidethree more ofwhich opened in 1976. lines on, and a great deal o f uncertainty ' I about which decisions the paid'collecFood Co-ops B.C. tive can make. For instance, who decide: A LIFE his begun to grow in Vermont. .on expensive capital expenditure that may arise suddenly? Naturally, the Already the idea has spread to other parts of America; notably British Columbia. paid collective have felt some resentmen at being told how to run the central There the initial stage of forming groups warehouse, and ow much they should consumers committed to co-operative be paid, by co- s who only send two ideals was passed some years ago. Now some sixty local food co-ops for consumers workers to the warehouse every t w r months to work for a week. run the Fed-up food distribution co-op What i s to stop Fed-up following 011 based in Vancouver. Its turnover of Over $600,000dwarfs that of Britis counterequivalent path t o that taken by the parts such as: Sum, Neals Yar , and even Co-operative Wholesale Society in this Community Supplies. * country, and becoming the same as any Other links inthe British Columbia other company, except for a few minor LIFE are still their infancy, but include, derails? Perhaps their own awareness o f the problem; perhaps because many bee-keeping, jam making, and farming. It'sa Herculean task trying t o run such a o f l h e local co-ops do not want to be large group on democratic lines, and it's dependent on one monolithic supplier. made more complicated because they are This part o f the article is the results scattered oven several hundred square of reading three Issues of The Catalist, miles of Canada. But here's how it is done: which i s Fed-up's newspaper produced ' Each member co-op of Fed-up i s ran by the newspaper committee, PO Box by members o f that local co-op. Each 4838,Vancouver, yearly subscription fortnight the local co-op submits its order $3.50. The Fed-up co-op has a whole sub-culture o f its ow according to a schedule organised by Fedhaye understood it. up. The orders are invoiced, prepared and despatched b y the paid members of Fedup, the paid collective, with the help of . Footnotes the work week collective o f the week. 1. Contact Richard Groveshall, 5 State Street The work week collective i s made up o f Montpelier, Vermont, 05602 for further two members from each of up to four information, and details of availability and local co-ops. The rota of co-ops submit-. price of copies of Vermont Tomorrow. ting volunteers for the work week, at the 2. For advice on how to start a food co-op central warehouse, i s arranged by.the see Food Co-op. Colin Hines, Friends of the Earth, 60p,reviewed in Undercurrents19. paid collective. There we five paid workTo find the address of your nearest food ers in the paid collective. co-op look in Alternahe England and Wales, To meet all the demands of the co-ops Nicholas Saunders, which has an extensive, the catalogue o f mainly food suppl,ks though dated list (updated in the AE if W. Supplement, Undercurrents 13). A mow lists several hundred items: five types o f recent listing for the London area appeared sugar, six of rice, seven o f syrup, and so in Time Out, issue no. 347, November 12on. The catalogue is often accompanied 18,1976. In the North of England Northern .by several pages explaining the nature Wholefoods (In The Making page this issue), of the suppliers and particular products, a and twentysupply teens of food fwe shops with w h o l e z s and generally removing the anonymity Neal's Yard (What's What, Undercurrents 19), that surrounds the food we eat. UnforCommunity Suppliesand Harmony supply tunately there is a shortage o f food food in bulk in the London area (see tele.producing co-ops. Similarly, the desire phone directory for addresses and phone numbs). to provide food at low cost to members
wkets in Vermont hada turnover
has resulted in a -..Jency to deal with major suppliers: though they make a conscious effort t o buy from local suppliers, this could deny the small .producer access to this ready-made market
CAMBODIA Can You Spare a Dime? !
"There are two very good reason'; for concentrating some attention on what has been going on in Cambodia, tiny and insignificant though the country may appear to be in a world overshadowed by ninedigit superpowers. The first is that there has been systematic distortion and invention about it in the Western news media, in itself sufficient cause for suspicion and an a priori indication of deep underlying significance. The second is that we may take the revolution there as a kind of parable an allegorical reminder of Man's portion as child of Mother Earth." Malcolm Caldwell, who has visited Asia frequently, has done a great deal of research into Cambodia's recent history and these are his conclusions. It will be recalled that Cambodia succeeded in remaining technically neutral in the Indochina war until 1970 (though subjected to 'secret' American bombing and forays for some time before that). g70, the White House threw Out the imate ruler, Prince Sihanouk, and installed a military puppet, General Lon Nol. The people o f Cambodia rose i n revolt, and within a comparatively short time had seized control o f the foodproducing rural areas from the U.S. appointed gauleiters. Although Cambodian yields had, as a result o f penal taxation and repression, fallen under French colonial rule, the country had remained capable o f exporting a healthy share o f the rice entering international trade. Independent under Sihanouk, Cambodia continued to provide about 5% o f the world's tradeable rice. With American intervention, catastrophe overwhelmed the land and people of Cambodia. Repeated pattern bombing o f unprecedented ferocity and concentration reduced much o f the countryside to deep-cratered mud and rubble. Hunr e d o f thousands o f peasants who had seen their fields churned into pitted slime and their villages into charnelhouses fled - some into the relative security o f the capital city Phnom Penh, others - in bitter anger - into the guerrilla areas. Ultimately, some three million people were trapped i n a beleaguered Phnom Penh under American control, while four millionfought in the ravaged countryside. Accustomed though we may have become t o such exercises in unctuous dissimulation, the subsequent chorus o f accusations o f brutality and callousness launched by the West (orchestrated from Washington) at the Khmer Rouge guerrillas deserves particular notice and analysis. Therefore we must retrace Our steps a little to set the scene realistically. Current accounts, understandably, tend t o dwell only On the day before yesterday, when American responsibility virtually ceased.
The Lon No1 regime America was far from being fortuitous-
ly, unwillingly, pulled into conflict i n cambodia. on the contrary, plotting to him by unseat sihanouk and replace L~~ ~~lstarted inthe mid-19603s,and constant attempts to 'de-stabilise' the country long pre-dated the eventual coup which triggered all-out war. The and tiemen in grey-suited collar Washington coolly planned the devastationof the country - the destruction of dams and irrigation works, the chemical poisoning o f crops, the pulverisation o f padi fields. B 52's cu swaths exact and regular enough t o satisfy any bureaucrat. I t must be stressed that this i capcity for 'food denial' de the US went hand in hand rivalled capacity to supply f can grain surpluses had Ion capable of cushioning against sporadic global Now, as a result o f the onslaught on the ca side, Washington faun some three million Ca into the few urban areas to able to hang on, They had growing their own food, for were denied t o them, but Arne only had grain and t o spare, b cally had rice (having become,
liberation o f Cambodia in April 1975.
more ammunition and weapons for the her devastation o f the Cambodian . ntryside and the further slaughter o f Cambodia's peasants in arms. Furthermore, the American government explicitly washed its hands of the problem of feeding all the people it had rendered homeless or otherwise caused to be trapped i n Phnom Penh. With a cynicism bordering on sadism, US spokesmen said that America could not detract NOI'S 'Khmer from the Republic' isovereigntyt - something of Lon Washington had set up and incapable o f unsupported existence. Voluntary organisations did what they could, bu it was pitifully little. Hunger demonstrations became commonplace. Deatl by starvation and by disease brought on by prolonged malnutrition soared alarmingly. The few hospitals and dispensaries were unhygienically over~ ~ ~ $ i ~ dwindling transport lifelines on the movement of death-dealing bullets, bombs, shells, rockets and the like. When Phnom Penh was finally liberated there were no food stocks. The last Americans t o leave abandoned t h city and its inhabitants t o their fate, sabotaging all the public services asa last vindictive gesture.
The rise of the Khmer Rouge I n the liberated areas, the picture
land would be expected t o feed nearly double the number. Contrary to the
the fields, and of severely rationing food for them. What o f the American
led vengeance, the truth i s that much
only a tenuous airlink served the city. virtually all cargo space was devoted t o
question o f Phnom Penh for many years. As a doctoral student i n Paris, he had
t~OReoded.nhi& thesis that more than an enlarged tertiary sector was at& SWo of the normal peace-time popula- , imposed upon each of the periphery tion of the city were purely parasitical countries, supported also from their paper-shufflers' and-coupon-clippers surplus, in order to supervise the battening upon the economic surplus .. process o f exploitation and to suppress woduced with the sweat of their brows local resistance. Now it could be argued that the by The exploited peasants. In 1967, tertiary sector inthe overdeveloped despairing o f constitutional redress, he joined the guerrillas. countries does contribute some thing to popular welfare (leaving aside such After 1970, as the liberated area rapidly expanded, Khieu Samphan and activities as entertainment, advertising, otherleading cadres began preparation and the like), most notably in adminisfor absorbing Phnom Penh. Current trating distribution of the forms of rice production was taxed to provide social support and advancement such wing reserve, adequate for the mai as direct benefits and educational ince of two-and-a-half to three opportunity. However, even this is not million people for the months that , a strong argument, since the working . would irrtervene between their freeing classes fortunate enough to live in and the first harvest in the preparation welfare states by and large pay enough of which their own labour could be in taxes to cover every benefit and , iessed. This in itself was a stupendous service provided (and often enough, evement. Reserves of rice were despite this, have to suffer indignities Self-Reliance stored throughout the country, maior in extracting their entitlement). But holdings sited near Phnom ~ e n h ready there is another consideration of , Cambodia is but the most dramatic to be dispensed to the starving survivors greater moment, and that is that clearcut manifestation yet of a of the long-besieged city as they- fanned relatively high working class living trend which, in a multitude of forms, out into the countryside Identity cards standards have historically been made possible by transfer of value (by various for the registration o f the elieved E printed well in advance. means) from the ndeveloped countries non-productive of the world. In rhe date of the final assault up o m Penh was fixed well ahead tertiary sector employees have, one way time: mid-April. This allowed or another, diverted a considerable portion of this for their own supp&t, ugh time to reallocate the pop whether as pop stare or bureaucrats, - .I before the crucial planting tim for the year's main harvest in the Fa with the bureaucracy in particular led), the features o f it which attract The-soldiers who entered Phnom Pen emerging as a group peculiarly well able re and more attention, discussion plus some skilled personnel freed when to preserve its gains, add to its numbers and analysis are those pertaining to the capital ws taker,, stayed i n the continuously, and in general oppose what has come to be k n o w a s the city to restore the essential services and any attempt to reverse this trend. There periphery - namely those areas which adapf the few factories to the seems very' little room for doubt that suffered the worst consequences o f the oduction of such necessities o f life the working classes of the overdevdopinternational extension o f capitalism as soap, batteries, and so on. Otherwise, ed countries would be considerably and reaped few of the benefits (and the people were adjured to make PreParabetter off if the tertiary sector were to no unalloyed benefits). For fully to --IS, to meet their own needs, for be really drastically pruned. derstand the fleetingness, artificiality ance, by planting cotton or cultiv But that is t o see things in an unreal d irrepeatability of the 'model' posed , mulberry trees (to feed silkworms isolation. First, let us return to the . y the core countries the overdevelopmey was abolished, as it had been in underdeveloped countries. The leaders ed countries, ifyou like - one must liberated areas, and all exchange was of the peasant guerrilla in Cambodia reckon the cost and consequence for barter. were quite correct to detect that the the countries which were involuntarily ~h The crisis was averted. ~ n b u riee teritary sector in unliberated (nee incorporated in the system and forced had been accumulated to support colonial) countries i s almost entirely to contribute so much. if not wholly - a net burden upon the albeit barely the population of Phnom - ; : Let us take but oneexample, though Penh until they reaped their own fir~t,:>>-"% happens to be one of peculiar importworkers and peasants of the country, crop. Foresi t and concern were rew%rd:-%ince taking much but giving nothing, waxing centrality to the argument. i ~ ed. Praise ra er than execration would ?;As a country like ~ ~ i t(ora France, fat helping alien capitalist corporations seem to have been called for, but that i s &*o,r to plunder the wealth and labour of the USA, or Japan) developed, she seriously to misunderstand the pSych0l- Ai$rimary sector shrank, yet was able to the countries nominally entrusted to them. They are, in fact, part o f the behind the demented reaction in the 5 .support steadily swelling secondary and servicing o f the transfer o f value about ,t to these developments. .tertiary sectors. It is important to note, which we talked above, and which In the first place, there undoubtedly. --'however, that thisprocess was only made apart from contributing to the enrich was great suffering in the process. Even "'possible by extending the primary sector ment o f the few - contributes to the pital cases had t o be moved, because on the globalscale. Much secondary comparative comfort and welfare of . l i e imminent danger of uncontrolldevelopment textile weaving, shipbuildthe many in the overdeveloped countries. able epidemics. There were neither ing, and so on which hadalready taken I n post-revolution Cambodia, the tertiary tcucks nor petrol to do the moving, place in the non-European world was sector was quite simply eliminated and despite the field hospitals which blocked and went under: Peasant Let us suppose that other countries had been improvised throughout the cultivation was pushed into hitherto once liberated from enmeshment in the country to cope with the victims o f US unopened land, and everywhere iritensinet o f international capitalism opt for barbarism, many undoubtedfy died in tied. Large segments o f the populations a development strategy as radical as that isit. Two considerations should, of the third world were pressed into of Cambodia. The channels by which .w.vever, be borne in mind. The whole cash crop cultivation or sent value has been transferred historically will emergency operation would never have down the rapidly growing number and been necessary had it not been decided dry up. Let us merely enumerate a couple variety of mines. Colonial surplus thus As each liberated country restricts export years before in Washington to 'deextracted on the labour and from the of its primary products (diverting them stabillse' the country. And many times resources of the periphery enabled t o domestic purposes), a further continmore people would have died of hunger secondary industry to be continuously uous rise in their general price level will and disease if left, as the Americans extended in the core countries* and a inevitable. Moreover, many o f the .had left them, bereft of food, medicine growing tertiary ('sewice') secbr to andpubl,ic services in'Phom Penh. burge~,,po. It shoyldknoted that, . .maptfactun+dgoods presently marketed, .'.'. 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in the unliberated third wortd will be- ^, some unsaleable there, intensifying competition between the overdeveloped sountries for each others' markets, and inevitably provoking a tradewar characterised by protective restrictionism. The terms of trade will shift, steadily lowering the real wages of the working class in the presently rich countries. To the unproductive in the tertiary sector will be added more and more unemployed (partly from loss of overseas sales, partly From automation, computerisation and r such examples of 'progress'). As seas s$es contract, the ability of developed countries like Britain to essential-imports such as food and :ertain industrial raw materials (and ~ltimatelyenergy) will contract more than proportionately. No orthodox remedy"currently being bandied about by leaders of the main political parties . [or by their bureaucratic advisers) -emotely matches up to t h i s challenge. "
As we are moving closer to 1984 the control of technol'ogy is becoming a central issue in the struggle between reactionary and progressive forces in society. The alternative technology-movement has a lot to offer and a lot to learn. as David Dickson points out
TECHNOLOGY? IN THIS ARTICLE I want to offer some thoughts on the relationship
ing doubts about the validity of the magic formulae that we were offered
Lessons for the West But there is one obvious course open to the overdeveloped countries. And that is to adapt to their own circumstances the strategy being hammered out in liberated third world countries, such as Cambodia: to re-seek economic indepenience. As a matter of fact, it is apparent that, if the majority o f liberated third world countries do pursue the attainment o f balanced economies, free o f unequal intanglements with the contracting capitalist world (and they certainly will) (vide China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos in addition to Cambodia), sooner ar later the presently rich countries will have no choice but to do the same. Western prosperity was founded upon sreation of a world-wide economic system dominated by, and operated for the benefit of, the original industrialising sountries; it is now being dismantled tgainst their stubborn resistance. The .esistance i s ultimately f tile. What is . required is intelligent ac mmodation to realities. With foresight we can achieve this. 3n t h i s occasion I will attempt no more than a listing of the most important ninimum components. The firstis food self-sufficiency, and the maximum ~ossibleself-sufficiency in all other sssential inputs contributing to produclion of indispensable human useralues (shelter, clothing, etc.). Some iverdeveloped countries are better placed in t h i s respect than others (e.g. Britain i s relatively better-off in terms i f natural endowment than Japan). h e second i s re-absorption of all those ~resentlyinvoluntarily unemployed Ă‚ÂĽ employed but objectively unproduc.ive, into the producing labour force n agriculture and in the manufacture i f indispensable human use-values. rhe third is decentralisation of policy tructures and decision making to the , owest sustainable levels for each >articularessential purpose and service. \nd the fourth must clearly be ;stablishment o f relations of friendship md solidarity with the liberated ;wntries of the third world Malcolm Caidwell
military and police forcesis increasingly designed primarily to reinforce social stability by dealing with civilian disturbances (see, for example, BSSRS's The New Technology of Repression, soon to. ' be published by Penguin). But it is also true in a more general sense. The technology which people use and depend upon in all the conventional aspects of their lives - for travelling, for working in a factory or an office, or even for entertainment i s being used as a way of confining them to certain accepted patterns of behaviour -'namely those that coincide with the political and economic norms of a capitalist society. And the more this becomes true, the , more it i s important to keepalive the alternative technology debate in order to demonstrate that there is no way of carrying out any form of social or socially-defined activity that is 'merely' technical, and consequently that technology i s a legitimate area.@ political concern and action.
In the first halfof the 197'0'; there have been widespread debates about theconflicts between patterns of social development based on increasingly advanced technology, and the environmental impact of that development, such as ecological disturbance, the diminishing availability o f certain energy resources, and so on. These debates have coincided in political circles with grow
'production' rather than 'contion', for massive cutbacks in 'nonive' social services such as health cation - as if these were not an essential component of any society's productive mechanisms - and for reducing the number of arts and social science graduates to allow for an increase in those taking science and engineering subjects. One clue to t h i s paradox i s provided by the fact that technology does not merely play a direct control role in society. Even ways of speaking about technology -what might loose ly be called technology policy -play a comparable role at the ideological ^level. I n other words, if a particular system of social organisation and control i s maintained by a particular type of technological development, then the defence of the technology under that system becomes part of the defence of the system itself. To put i t another way, if technology i s not neutral, but i s a concrete manifestation of the dominant power relationships within a societ in our case the class relationships c capitalism - then to oppose the *. dominant patterns of technological growth i s equivalent to opposing those power relationships. This is a lesson that the alternative technology movement has, I suggest, both learnt through i t s failures, and taught through its successes. It is, I believe, the single most important contribution that the movement has to make to the political debates and struggles of the late 1970s, far more significant than the design of increasingly efficient solar panels or effective organic fertilisers (important as-these are).
Control over Education
managers. The prime requirement is not to be able to create technology, but to exploit it commercially;and this requires avery different type of skill. ASthe professor of marketing i t Manuniversity recently expressedit:
If we look at current Government policies, then one important area in which the link between technology and Power is becoming increasingly explicit i s in the field o f education. For it is the educational institutions which, reinforced by the mass media, mould human activity and consciousness into the dominant ways o f 'doing things' and 'thinking things' respectively. It is noaccident that the government has been able.to use the present economic situation to legitimate attempts t o impose, through the Department of Education and Science, increasingly centralised control over the content of the school curriculum, and hence to eliminate someof the more radical approaches to the educational process that have been developing in recent
tarian direction, using technological development as its main line o f advanc What appear on the surface as growing economic pressures with political consequences are, in fact, partly the manifestations o f the political contradictior they appear to exacerbate. Moves to further ruling class interests on both a national and international scale require forms o f economic policy directed towards the maximisation o f private profit, not primarily towards social need The result is the massive wastage of potentially productive labour and skill, and the diversion o f capital from production to speculation, with a capitalintensive profit-oriented technology that reinforces both o f these tendencie The intimate link between technology and political power means that as capitalism pursues its economic and political goals with increasing singlemindedness, so technological innovation becomes a focal point for the clash of class interests. A t work, for example, the Government has already dropped some of its plans for introducing safety legislation because o f complaints from employers tha it will be too expensive adequately toxrotect the lives of their employees. And technological innovation is being used in a number of indus' tries to combat the pressures of wage demands, by raising the threat of the dole queue. The introduction of new printing technology into Fleet Street i s a prime example here, since the sole reason for introducing computer typesetting i s not to produce better, more attractive or cheaper newspapers, but to replace highly-skilled craftsmen.
"The graduate in science or technology must be able t o analyse a profit' or loss account as well as design machine toots if he is to have general management potential. In otherwords curricula must add to the reservoir of entrepreneurial talent in society so that our economy will develop and grow"..
It should cause littlesurprise to learn that this remark was made during the 1976 chairman's lecture at the Stock Exchange.
Co-operative Relationships ,
years. This is not to argue that all such new approaches were necessarily desirable; but at least they allowed a space in which alternative ways of doing things and thinking about things could be explored. It is t h i s space which i s now being steadily eliminated by the demands for the reinstatement of 'basic skills' - i.e. the skills required to obey the behaviour codes of capitalist society - with the substitution of impersonal rules fot personal contact, formal literacy for emotional expression, numeracy forcreativity, and so on. Comparable changes are taking place at the level o f higher education. The era in which higher education was valued and offered to all as something worth having in its own right: however dubious t h i s claim - i s now coming to an end. Today industry is demanding not more social scientists or arts graduates, but more scientists and technologists. And the demand is not for auantity as such. nor even for a greater intellectual ability in science andtechnology graduates.1t is for those who possess the skills and potentialities to become techno1ogicall~-trained
Technetronic Totalitarianism Even at the explicitly political level, technology is playing an increasingly important role as an ageht of social control. It is surely no coincidence that one o f President Carter's first appointments should have been an expert in the relationship betweentotalitarianism and technology - Columbiasociologist Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski as national security adviser. In his study Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (New York, 1966),written with Carl Friedrich, Brzezinski came to the conclusion that four out o f six elements common to most dictatorships and autocracies -namely monopolistic control of communications, weapons, terror, and the economy - relied heavily on technology. Unlike Kissinger's essentially military interpretation of the balance o f power, Brzezinski prefers to see the equations written in technological terms, talking o f a 'global consciousness' resulting from the spread o f cqmmunications and transoort technolow in what he has called the 'technetronic aee". It is not difficult to see western capitalism moving steadily in this general totali-
Similar tendencies can be detected on environmental issues, where the recently-fashionableconcern for preserving environmental integrity is giving way once again to naked economic demand. Modern production technology provides a physical manifestation not only of the relationship between people engaged in productive work, but also o f the relationship between people and the natural environment. Under capitalism, both these relationships tend t o be exploitative: in other words, those in possession of economic wealth use that wealth to dominate and control its source, whether it i s the productive labour o f others, or the resources provided by the environment. The more precarious the position of those in power, the more determined will they be to maintain their position, and themore exploitative will be the . measures they take to do so. As this happens, the struggle to" establish a new set of relationships between people engaged in production, and between them and the environment - a relationship of co-operation rather than exploitation, of harmony rather than conflict - becomes both more urgent and more difficult. But it is to this struggle that the alternative technology movement has a responsibil ity tocontributt as much weight it can muster.
The dehumanisi6 effects of capitalist science and technology will assume new dimensions in the coming years which can only be overcome by a new unity between scientific, technological and manual workers. Mike Cooley, of w e Lucas Aerospace Shopstewards Combine, argues that the campaign for the right to work on socially useful products is a valid starting point but it can come to fruition only within an entirely different political framework.
THE ATTITUDE of both the public id the scientific community t o the con-
fundament nature of science and technology as practised inwestern quences of scientific and technological society. welopment has changed dramatically Thebasis of our so-called scientific method will increasingly be challenged roe the first edition of Undercurrents ipeared. I n 1972, to question the @ and will be perceived to be, amongst wtrality o f science with almost any .%.=.> other things, acontrol mechanism not ientist was akin t o questioning the merely of non-human nature but, through :istence of Santa Claus with a 3-year- g^gl the scientisation of culture, as a means of d. I n both cases, the notion was s i m p l y B enslaving humanity as a whole. The more )thinkable. scienceis used for what i s euphemistically Even in the case of thoughtful, termed 'the control of nature', the more -ientists there was at that time har a chink in the Bernalian analysis o f Century science. In this analysis s although it was integral to capital ultimately in contradiction with it. Capitalism continuously frustrated the ~otentialof science for human eood. Thus, the problems thrown up by the application of science and technology were viewed as capitalism's misuse o f i t s potential. The contradiction between science and capitalism was viewed as the incapacity of capitalism to invest adequately, to plan for science, and to provide a rational framework for its widespread application for the elimination of disease, poverty and toil. The forces of production - in particular, science and technology - were viewed as ideologically neutral, and it was considered that the development of these forces was inherently positive and progressive. It was held that the more these #reductive forces - technology, science, human skill, knowledge and abundant 'dead labour' (fixed capital) - developed under capitalism, the easier would the transition to socialism be.
-ice is not Neutral past five years have seen a growing challenge to this rather mechanistic interpretation of the Marxian thesis. There i s now a growing-realisationthat science has embodied within i t many of the ideological assumptions of the society that has given rise to it The questioning of the neutrality of science and the reaction to the application of science as at present practised, wiil assume significant political dimensions during the next five years. It will appear in many different forms throughout the fabric of society as a whole. This is already showing itself as an anti-science movement, a sort of 1970s technological version of the counter-culture of the 60s. It views science as evil, totalitarian and devoid of those attributes which would make it amenable to the 'human spirit'. This total rejection will gradually give way to much more mature auestionine - about the
will it be used by ruling elites to control individual human behaviour. The purely mathematical basis of what i s regarded as the Western Scientific Method will increasingly be challenged. The notion that if you cannot quantify something it doesn't exist will be increasingly untenable, and more and more sectors of the community will refuse to have thsir common-sense bludgeoned into silence by so-called 'scientific' explanations.
Computer Software - an Alien Force Decisions which, In the past, would have been accepted as scientific and hence rational (to oppose them would therefore have been irrational) will increasingly be seen to be ideology-ladenand serving specific class roles. This development will
by no means be limited to scientists and philosophers at universities. Increasingly, those at the point of production who are gradually integrated into the productive forces will find the contradictions of science and technology impacting themselves upon their individual lives. Their knowledge will be appropriated from them and objectivised into computer software, there to oppose them as an alien and opposite force, just as the skill of manual workers was appropriated from them at an earlier historical stage. Further, since scientists and technologists will represent a growing sector of the workforce (in some industries it i s already over 50%) it will inevitably follow that their work will be subjected to the fragmentation and scrutiny of scientific management - that is, Taylorism. Thus, the relative freedom which they had enjoyed in the past will increasmgly be denied them as they are subordinated to the means of scientific production. ,Gradually, they will be subordinated to the machines (computers) and processes which they themselves have devised, and like manual workers before them will experience severe mental, physical and ocular stress as they attemptto keep pace with the machines. In the field of scientific work in general, there will be a change in the organic composition of capital. By that one means that the processes wiil become capital-intensive, rather tharrlabour-intensive and will give rise to the same contradictions, including structural unemployment, that have already arisen in the fields of manual work. Those working for the massive multinational corporations will increasingly find that there is no place there for free thinkjng, that they are mere industrial fodder to be taken, as Arnold Weinstock of GEC once said, "and squeezed till the pips squeak". Indeed Weinstock, through his brutal rationalisation programmes in the late 60s, did much to make scientific workers realise that their natural allies were to be found amongst the work class at large.
The Old-Fashioned Sack Obviously, the status-consciousni scientific workers will continue to I exploited by the employers, but thi exploitation will become more and transparent. In announcing a large-scale redundancy recently, a West London engineering organisation declared its scientists and technologists "technologically displaced", its scientific and administrative workers "surplus t o requirements", and i t s manual workers
red"&%?, In fact, of course, they had it got the good old-fashionedSack. In pile o f different social, cultural and
~ h r y s l eand r elsewhere. e he campaign for . the right to work on socially useful products is significant in that it means pror '
rk. It simply is not on ddle-class intellectuals
it the best, the emergence of small-scale Iternative, ceoperative industries, can viewed as providin inembryonic form .modelfor the future. ~~tat the worst, hey may be merely diversionary, acting s a safety valve for those who otherwise ~ouldhave fought side-by-side against i e dominant force in our society - the irge, multinational corporations. There . .also the distinct danger that, in temoorarv sense. some of the lamer lultihational coriorations such as-IBM. nd IC1 may be able, through so-called' worker participation', to incorporate ts of the trade union movement into r management structure. Thus may be id a dangerous axis, consisting of porated trade unionists and the ~ultirtationalsacting against the public iterest at large. In these circumstances, i e fight against 'worker participation' nd an exposure of the assumptions on ~hichit is built will take on growing gnificance during the coming yea
structure, which i s still steeped for historical reasons in narrow economism and the notion that the more production there is, and t h e more investment in high-
Scientists and technologists will gradually he subordinated to the computers and the processes which they themselves have devised,
capital industry, the better. Of equal significance is the debate now taking place at the point of production about alternative means of producing socially-useful products. This in turn is 'oncorde and stimulating an important debate about typothermia Coexist real democracy at the point of proOf major significance will be the duction - a form of labour process in lg gap that will exist between that which which hand and brain would again be reichnology could provide for society and unid ^ in there would be real iat which it actually does provide. self-management. There is a growing Workers in advanced industries may questioning of the role o f management uring the day, be engaged in the proper se. Increasingly- it is recognised that it notion of equipment for a system as is not a skill or a profession or a craft, but implexand sophisticated as Concorde, a command relationship, a command e t in the evening may go home through are relationship which will increasingly where old age pensioners become unacceptable to dignified human of hypothermia from lack of somebeings. line as simole as a oaraffin heater. significant campaign point will thereWorkers Don't Profit )re be one which links the dual role of fium Pollution urnan beings - that of producers and The ecological crisis is likely to assume insumers - and ends the absurd situaon in which there appear to be t' n even greater political significance and it is tpes of people: those who work in important that it should not be seen as ictories, offices and schools; and thui.. a middle class preserve. It is always the ho livein houses. stream in which a worker does hisbit of The Lucas workers initiative has raised rough fishing that will be polluted: I a very direct way many of .these issues seldom if ever will ft be the salmon stream i d it i s extremely important that the in Scotland. It is always the working class ime kind of initiative i s now being taken community that will have a motorway 3 by workers atParsons, Scraggs, running through it, not the,stockbroker
belt in Surrey. It i s usually the working class playground that will have pollution belched out upon it from local factories. . Setdom will it be the middle-classgolf course. Workers do not stand to gain from the misuse of science and technology. They, make no profit from the pollution of the rivers, the seas and the air. It i s in their class interest to resist these things and it is vital that they should be involved. We will probably see a sharpening struggle on these issues and nobody should underestimate the viciousness with which t h ~ monopolieswill react. The example of ITT in Chile should be an object-lessor for all. As the polarisation in our society . 'becomes worse, these large monopolies will use technology in a repressive frame- . work, firstly in the behaviour field but then in a direct physical. sense if necessary..The only safegua~iagainst this will be the involvement, in a nonmanipulative fashion, of the mass of ordinary people. This will not be done by small elites, whether they be scientific or , political, lecturing the working classon . . what to do. It can only be done by those who are willing to integrate closely with the working bass in their struggles and to' learn from them.
it is frequently said'that the working class do not understand these issues an4 that it i s impossible to discuss it with them. This is the typical middle-class mistake o f confusing linguistic ability with intelligence. Industrial workers, b! hand and brain, are capable of produci~ all the real wealth we see about us.
Mobilising the Masses They are capable of designing and building power stations, trains, houses, and structures of all kinds. People who are that intelligent are also intelligent enough to understand these issues and if the academics and othershave difficult" in communicating with them, then it is their fault, not the fault of the workers involved. ' Somebpdy once said: "let your words be so direct and clear and simple that the ideas they represent1 flow as naturally in ordinary people's consciousness as the wind and the rain flows through the woods." The major task, during the coming five years, will not be a narrow, disconnected analysis of the problems of science and technology but the mobilisation of the Ă‚ÂĽmasof ordinary people to do something about them. ' 'L Mike cooiey
Company turns wind into money! lsthe Conserv Tools and Technolow a.~.~ r o a a ch stroke of oenius. sound business sense, or the ultimate soft-sell? Or is it the forerunner of an alternative society? In the following interview Dave Smith asks Hugh Sharman how CTT are faring in the precarious world of alternative technology selling.
months, I mean some years, planning an exit from the oil industry, and LIT gave me the possibility of seizing on some thing concrete. Didyou choose LITout of missionaryzeal, orsimilar motives? Yes, I'm afraid I probably did, and now I see that as basically a cardinal w o r . How many people are employed by CTT, and is the number increasing or decreasing? A t the moment there are about ten, including a number o f *time employees, and the number is pretty steady Â¥Whahas beerryour turnover siliee CTT began? Sales for the first month, October 1974, were Â£180in the next nine months, Â£40,00O;.an in the past twelve months, Â£180,000With the possibility of turning over Â£4-600,00 next year. This is very much a growth a r b De you sell mainly to individuals or to companies, and in what price range? We are selling right across the board: smallest sales considerably less than one pound, largest sales of fourteen or fifteen thousand pounds. Customers include schools, farmers, and professional men. Are the largest soles to Individuals? Yes, they all sell to fairly+vealthy individuals, whether they are fanners or country house owners. How many of the Elektm windgeneratorsdid you sell last year? A dozen. And how many of the WInco Wincharger? ~ n ' know t how many sold last year, but we have sold a total Aout a hundred and twenty. w many solar heaters for3wimming pools have you . .tailed? Five big systems in public schools, and fifteen smaller installations for individuals. Is there a market for the hydroelectricity generators? . We have only installed one hydro-power-turbine-heatpump tem in the last two years. I woodstoves selling well? have been selling two to three thousand pounds worth onth of the Tinlizzie and the Trolla. ss given some figures showing that the Tinlizzie cost about L J to make, was sold to you for Â£40and you then sold it for
throwing together a bunch of mechanical and electrical parts into a box..It really requires an awful amount of thought, and therefore money, to put together a k i t that will work when thi do-it-yourself purchaser buys it. Within the next two months we are going to have a cheap (Â£250do-it-yourself solar heatin kit: solar collector, pump, controller, preheat tanks, etc. Is there no chance of people learning about technology as thej put the kit together? Ifwe were an educational trust we could afford to do that Some of the smaller products at the end of your catalogue, such as the small 'flour grinders, and the newspaper log roller, seem gimmicky. Do you feel that they are practical? People want flour grinders and log rollers, so we give them flour grinders and log tollers. What sort of response have you had to the CTTcatalogue? Mainly good, for instance, we sold eighty at the D-I-Y exhibition one Saturday in October. Some people think a pound's too much for a book the size of the catalogue. But we decided We could notlose as much on the catalogue as we did last year when we sokd 20,000 copies o f the A5 catalogue at 35 pence a time, and'we lost 15 pence on every one we did. We have produced what I think i s the best handbook, albeit related to i s on the market; though we are edit-
Many people associate social change and alternative technology in theirminds and consequently think that CTTshould be working along alternative society lines. Is that a rnisconception? It would be a misconception to think that I have any social mission to accomplish inside CTT,apart from promoting renewable energy resources. We have the greatest difficulty trying to do that and keep our heads above water as it is. If w e are going to try to effect the revolution, through CTT, we'd disappear dug, dug, glug, i n five minutes flat. Do you think there is aside of alternative technology that will change society? If our techlvology works, then it will change society. But we :. have all our time cut ogt just making it work. Will A T e n f o r c e the social'status quo, by putting off the
f you were a Liberal. ght-wing anarchist. I do not believe iri'gov
The sun is rising on the solar heating industry. As we move towards the tritain'i bright young entrepreneurs are preparing for a solar panels that could surpass the doubfe glazing boo the central heating boom of the 60s. Yet according to the UK section of the International Solar Energy Society, futureof solar in Britain (only 10%of our needs by 2020) is about a h k w a r m as the water from some of their panels. Robert Vale probes the reasons for this strange pessimism.'
T H ~ SECTION K OF the Inte?ational Solar Energy Society have pro-. duced an estimate o f the contribution solar energy could make to UK energy demands. The 375 page report Solar Energy; a U.K. Assessment covers all aspects of solar energy, from meteorological data collection to advanced photochemical theory, and was completed by
iry high subscription to that august ody probably ensures that Under-
"the most acceptable way forward would be to use the roofs of buildings to collect and convert energy". (Gosh, what an amazing.idea, why didn't we think o f it?)
o spend our moneyon such economic; ound projects as.Concorde.
Big Spenders Following this look at energy resources the report shows what the USA, Japan and the EEC countries are doing in solar energy research. For instance the USA plans t o produce 24% of i t s total energy demand from solar and wind power by 2020 (or 58% of its current demand) but how will they find the other 76%? Japan intends to spend nearly Â£700 million upao 2000 AD on 'Project Sunshine', which in spite of the name covers things like coal gasification as well as solar energy. France, that well-known
There is a lot in the report on meteoi
at plate collector and i t s uses. It goes to decail on selective surfaces which it ated could improve collection in K from a single glazed panel by as as 65 kWh/m2/annuin, assun"n0 nf
lothing New Under The that this has caused a few red faces at the depletion rates, and cost rises of fuels relative to the cost of living. It calls int question the CEGB's figures on cost of nuclear generated electricity because it says these do not include the costs of military nuclear research programmes; social and environmental costs, which "might prove to be extremely high"; ~ s e sincurred by contractors in comleting some of their nuclear contracts; i d additional costs for delays and modifications to the Advanced GasCooled Reactors. There is quite an interesting section on costing of solar (and presumably other 'free' energy) equipment which points out the unrealistic nature of the Treasury's 10% discount rate on which all government estimations of cost effectiveness are based, and says that "long life and inflation of competing fuel prices combine to make a strong . argument'for early investment". Following some figures on availability of solar .Exactly the same situation was revealed energy in the UK - for example, at the International Wind Conference in assuming 10% conversion efficiency, Cambridge in September, when the UK which is not optimistic, 7.8% of UK land government speaker, having heard of area could have supplied the total 1973 grand schemes for wind energy farms in energy demand but they don't say Denmark and megawatt sized windmills whether it i s primary energy or energy tc ~ n d econstruction r in the USA, said that final consumers - the first section comes to the eminently practical conclusion that Britain did not think wind energy was
are discussed at length and serve to what one had always believed a do-it-yourself collector is far more cost
domestic hot water). The general conelusion is that flat plate collectors for domestic use will have to become cheaper before they will seriously competewith conventional water heating systems; but it is demonstrated that the figures given by the Building Research Establishment in their report on energy conservation in buildings, are already out of date after only a year, so there is hope!
insulation. I was amused by a call for the nationalised fuel industries to carry out . research into the use of solar energy in conjunction with other fuels. if we follow this approach we could end up with the solar equivalent of those office buildings where heat is extracted from the light + fittings but the building becomes so hoi most of the time, from excess lighting that it has t o be cooled. %J
widen and deepen the range of alte natives available. I t is a problem of political implementation.
CAN'T GE NO JOB SATISFACTION
he alternative technology movement has come a long way since those heady days when building windmills, solar collectors and eco-houses was our main preoccupation. Most o f us soon realised that t h e benefits o f all our small, beautiful eco-hardware w o u l d be enjoyed o n l y by a m i n o r i t y if the factories which produced the bits remained dangerous, polluting, alienating and exploitative. The battle f o r AT hardware has largely been won. The rising sales o f windmills, w o o d stoves, solar collectors and similar 'conservation tools' are ample evidence o f that. B u t the battle f o r alternative, 'liberatory' modes o f production, a long-running campaign waged b y radicals ever since exploitation began, is f a r f r o m over. Dave E l l i o t t takes a l o o k a t t w o recent battle-grounds - job enrichment, and workers' co-operatives. I N A CAPITALIST society, production intensive high-skilled assembly work, in technology reflects the values and small units operating to meet local needs. priorities of capitalism. It is usually The technological options are myriad. As designed not only to ensure the most Gray has written ('Economic Concentraeffective extraction of 'surplus value' tion' evidence presented to US Congress from the workforce, but also to guarantee Sub-committee on Anti-Trust and Monothe stability of this exploitation by poly 1955, Part 3): minimising the freedom of the worker. ' . . technology i s increasingly susceptThus technology is often designed ible of variation, adaption and differentiation; instead of binding man to fixed patterns of organisation, as the determinists allege, it i s potentially capable of expanding his freedom. . seem an extreme man can arrange a great many com' binations of technology and select from 'A'. Tipping in his book A n Introduction the available alternatives such combinaMechanicalAssembly (1969) argues tions of technology and select from the i t engineers should available alternatives such combinations . . . continue with the use of machiner as will ~roducethe kind of societv he nachinery to ensure that the human desires.'" ltaff do not slip back into their ways -< But while there are many technical before they had machines. This can options already available - for example, easily happen, and the best insurance small-scale computer-controlled machine against it i s to continue (pro tools, using easy-to-change patchboard designing to suit machinery. cortfrols - the real question is how t o So skills and independent act ensure that they are adopted, given the give way to ensure good man c o f the existing sociotrol. As R. Jenkins and E. De demands exactly the it: : in examining suitable projects for' itomatic assembly we have lately come t o the conclusion that operations requiring skill shourd be given the first riority. They are always bottlenecks of reduction, cost and quality." (Electrical and Electronics Manufactur-
1 1 1 1
im " 12.19681 , 50 much for'the idea o f automation lerating workers. Rather than being used to do away with unpleasant, boring work, and instead of freeing workers for more creative jobs, automation is often used to replace skill, and to create more low-skilled jobs - jobs which can be done by workers who are paid less, less likely to be organised and easily replaceable. Clearly, it would be possible to reverse this tendency and use automation as a tool for liberation. We could move to a form o f production based on smallscale automa^ 'inits producing the basic components led, say, with labour-
opposite, namely large-scale, hierarchical, alienating and exploitative technologies. Clearly this is not really a technical problem - although there is a need t o
Workers' Responses Trade unionists have consistently SVU; against the introduction of de-skilling technologies, and have often been portrayed as anti-progressive Luddites f' so doing. But until recently, there have been few alternatives to simply opposin, the introduction of machines. But the Lucas Aerospace workers have shown that there q.Â¥~Â¥:Â¥Â¥~:,fa~h. 34.^-"^-.7Â.P'"'".< f". *rfc ,.wS'W'-'-. - v. *-. that more positive approaches are possible. Apart from campaigningfor alternative products, they are also fighting for new production methods, and are particularly keen to develop hrganisational arrangements . . . in which the skill and ability of (our) manual and staff workers is continuously used in closely integrated pr duction teams, where all the experiem and common sense of the shop floor workers would be directly linked to t f scientific knowledge of the technical staff. This would be done on a much more equal f e s i s than is now the case, and would give rise to much greater jo satisfaction." Of course ideas like these - for 'projei teams' made up of all grades of workers are likely to come up against considerab resistance from skilled workers wishing I maintain the traditional skill and job demarcations. These have grown up as protective devices in the face of managements attempts to de-skill workers, and cannot lightly be discarded. However, some of these problems can be circumvented by adopting vastly improved 'employee development programmes' to break down - or rather, level up - some of the divisions between production workers, technical and clerical staff whic have been carefully nurtured by manage ment over the years. The Lucas Workers Corpprate Plan consequently calls for extensive re-training schemes for both blue and white collar workers. As well as demanding improved trainir and work organisation, the Plan diiusse the types of automation that could be introduced. Rather than devising machines that replace workers, the Cornbine are keen to explore systems which enhance the skills of the workforce, sad as 'Flecheric' machines - remotely conoiled devices which mimic the motions F workers operating at a safe distance from dangerous environments. Their a is to choose production technologies which expand the workers' role and increase their control over the work process, rather than reducing them to mere appendages to some meaningless process Obviously it i s difficult, and undesirable, to prescribe in the abstract the precise nature of the machines that could be developed. They will have-toemerge 'organically' out of the process of political struggle- a process which will shape the technology. Â¥
Regaining Control by Sharing 11 Management i s also interested in iploring alternatives - for manage
yell aware that existing patterns of work h i s a t i o n and technology may be 'less han optimal'. As the French Employers Federation ecently asked themselves: "Has no One ever weighted . the minutes or seconds gained by a fragmented work-system against the cost of retouching, botched work and strikes incidents, accidents, absenteeism and labour turnover, not to mention the consequences of a lack of job satisfaction?" Clearly management are mainly concerned with increasing productivity - and profits - but they have begun to ask fairly fundamental questions about the" logic of fragmented work. This is why we have heard so much about 'job enrich-, ment' over the last few years. Managers have begun to see that relentless job fragmentation and work pacing i s counter aroductive, and that they should seek to take a wider 'systems view' of their organisai'ons as a whole. This sort of thinking is partly a response to the probJemsof ibsenteeism, labour turnover and unrest. Managers are seeking to smooth out these ~nfortunateanomalies, and re-establish sontrol. To do this they are even willing, tactically, to relinquish some elements of ;ontrol over the work process itself regaining control by sharing it' as one management expert has put it.
There are some lessons to learn from As 6iH Daniel has written these experiments. One i s that marginal "when workers gain a greater say in changes (such as 'job enlargement') which decisions, when they gain more power tie two boring jobs together into it creates an appetite for even more, a supposedly-meaningful 'new' job are rather than gratitude'for what they unlikely to lead to any real satisfaction. have achieved." ('Changing Hierarchies The usual result is simply increased proat Work', The Listener, 7 Sept. 1972). duction and quality - particularly i f the worker's job is 'enriched' by making the Socialist Job Enrichment worker responsible for inspection and The point of all this is not that 'partiquality control. So workers tend to see cipation' or job enrichment as concepts 'job enrichment' as simply a form of proare'totally bereft of value, but' simply to ductivity deal and have demanded extra point out that, so far, most schemes have pay - or have opposed it. been designed by management experts in Job enrichment has also been used as the interests of 'productivity'. I n a way a socialist society, of course, there will be "to make workers compliant. an even greater need for careful attention deferential, seduce them away from to job design - as part of the wider retrade unionism and from the pursuit of ' structuring of social relations. Will the their interests where these are in concurrent theories of job satisfaction and flict with the interests of management." motivation be of any use? Most are based ('Changing Hierarchies at Work' The on assumptions about human nature that Listener, September 1972) . reflect a desire to keep things very much As Herzberg has put it, the fundamental as they are. Nevertheless, there is a huge aim is to offer volume of data on the 'ergomohics' and "more latitude. . . to individuals to 'socio-dynamics' of man-machine develop their own ways of achieving the - 'socio-technic' theory and all relations ends that are presented to them by. :wZe the , a centralized authority (The M o t l v a - - ~ ~ ~ -rest. Some of the conclusions for example that work groups function well tion to Work - Wiley 1959). if they can 'see' and influence the whole But job enrichment, participation work process<(a phenomena known as through autonomous work groups and all 'closure') - would seem pretty obvious to the other management devices may raise anyone with any experience of alienated more problems for managers than they work or to anyone who has read Marx. solve.
In Undercurrents 12 an article on h m u n i t y Technology, written by Karl "tess, outlined theattempt by a group of VT activists, in a poor area of Washington, JO develop fish farming, solar energy and ocal craft skills. Since then Hess has left .o experiment with self-sufficiency on I farm. There followed a shift in philoophy - for, it was argutjd, solar electors were not direct y relevant to he local ghetto population, whose iroblems were those of the poor working dass anywhere: unemployment, health, ducation, food and shelter. And, as Jeff Voodside put it: "'Community Technoogy wasn't able to support itself. Before 'ou can do any community development, fou must have an economic base.* So the remaining group decided totry o set up such an economically viable, ilterhative, industrial base. Consequently he fish tanks have been dismantled, and he solar devices pushed aside to make ray for a small-scale factory, launched v i t h $1500 start-up money loaned by riends, making soap. Why soap? Well, it's airly easy to produce in small batches, nd the process can be made ecologically ound by using natural ingredients. The Community Soap Factory pro-, luces two types o f bio-degradable liquid nap - a bafic just Wain Soap and peppermint variety. Ingredients: uconut oil. olive oil andpotassium ydroxide, are bought fa bulk and reacted e t h e r at 9 0 C in a 90 Ion vat. After 4 'hours cooling the real tant soap is aid jn-various size
Plastic -bottles were chosen because they are safer to use in bathrooms and less expensive than glass. The group hopes, eventually, to move away from non biodegradable bottles by supplying shops in bulk and asking people to bring and fill their own containers. They also want to develop other products such as bar soap packed in recyclable paper a shampoo, laundry soap anh an all purpose cleaner. They sell through a network of food co-ops and to a lesser extent 'commercial' health food shops, mostly in the immediate area, but also in cities like Boston. Even though they don't advertise, orders are now coming in from as far off as British Columbia and Los Angeles. They hire trucks t o distribute, but are not keen on expanding sales beyond a certain size, since they want to keep small and avoid excessive transport costs. One possibility would be t o break up into two or more units if the market should grow. This seems likely as they areundercutting the other main liquid soap manufacturer, Dr. Bronners, by up to 50%. $1 A t present there are three more or less full time workers, plus occasional visits from local kids who are offeeg*wme pay. The core group has survived on government food stamps and freelance work, but hopes that the factory will soon be able to prmide asmall salary.
local support, and the group are also involved in other community-oriented projects - including screen printing and urban allotments. 'City gardening', as the. latter activity i s called, seems fairly uncommon in the U.S. Their Workshop has quite a range o f equipment - lathes, ,, drills and hand tools - all looking very much like they ought to be the foundation for the sort of Community Workshop that Cliff Harper depicted in Radical Technology. They hope to provide people with "quality, bio-degradable soap products" at the lowestpossible price, thus lessening "our overall dependance on large scale and largely unresponsive, corporate capitalist business". If they make a profit, over and above what they need Ă˘â€š survik, they'll plough it back into other nonprofit businesses in t h e neighbourhood, and develop a wider range of self-hetp projects with the local people. The idea o f 'worker control' is central to their thinking, "for worker control means that each individual has an equal voice i n setting policy for their workplace." Also, "the scale of the enterprise is very important. because direct democracy is most effective in small groups o f people. We plan to remain small . ." They hopwthat "many more smallscale, anti-profit, community-oriented, worker collectives will develop around thecountry, particularly fn the areas of manufacturing and the production of basic goods", since, in this way, "we can beein to aet the means of ~roduction hider d k r a t i c c o n t r o l and demon$tel-natives t o the existing .
>me of the bourgeois 'job designers' for experiment. But there are few economy can be ignored. We need rather em to have spent the last couple of examples o f co-ops experimenting with t o find ways to challenge and change it. icades rediscovering what Marx wrote radically new products or methods o f To some extent small co-ops can act as id what any skilled worker could tell work. Although common ownership can demonstrations o f 'what could be', but it reduce some of the divisions with the iem, and turning it into complex jargon seems unlikely that, given the market confirm, and although decision-makingmay I impress management and earn themstraints, they can develop work patterns be somewhat more participative, most Ives consultancy fees. and technology that will have any mean Although job enrichment has passed co-ops seem very tightly constrained by ing for the bulk of workers at present. om being a new, perhaps threatening, Their emphasis on craft work and fairly the market; They usually operate (like ea to being the 'conventional wisdom', Scott-Bader) in the 'gaps' left in the primitive technology may (or may not) is important to realise that the extent market by the big monopolies, and this be appropriate for the future, but meani. ' its actual application i s fairly small. fact tendkto determine the product, the v e r y little to contemporary workers in the nature of the production technology and lere have been very few experiments in mainstream of industry. .itain - and even the pioneering efforts even the structure of management.Srme Another approach isto accept govern1 Philips have been discontinued. The smaller co-ops have been more inventive, ment money and set up experiments to ea appealed to some managers during but they are usually forcedto 'play the some extent 'outside' the market systerr >omperiods when they were looking for market' as entrepreneurs - there is little Obviously there are dangers with this new way to motivate workers and dishope of 'producing for need'. True, approach but some workers co-operative act them from wage demands: but co-ops can consciously avoid involvement have started t h i s way - or else through iring a recession, the threat of unwith socially undesirable work (such as funds from philanthropic organisations armaments). And some profits can be nployment provides a much simpler way and there is hooe that eovernment funds discipline the labour force. Moreover, ost of the schemes have been limited to iatl changes in task-allocation, with gligibte modifications to the technogY There have been exceptions - for ample the much-quoted experimental alvo plant at Kaldor in Sweden, a vast w factory based on small group sembly. The conveyor belt i s replaced a series of motorised trolleys whose ce i s controlled by the workers, within rtain limits. A part-assembled car moves I the trolley into an assembly bay and ;omputer synchronises the allocation of rts to a team of assemblers. When cometed, the job moves to the next bay. ie workers have some degree o f control/ 'er their pace of work and the system ems to combine the advantages of synronised flow with local autonomy. But e degree of autonomy is fixed, as i s the erall aim of the process - to make cars r profit. As one Swedish trade union okesmart put it: "Changes in favour of tk employees are only acceptable as far as the company will stay competitive, and it seems that the mandate one has to introduce The occupation of the factory in 1974 to establish workers control. new methods i s only good as long as Meriden Motorcycles illustrates some of the difficultiesof state financed profit can be ensured." Whether such experiment will be taken co-Operatives. They were recently in the news again because they needed -,I more widely seems doubtful. Volvo a government loan to buy the marketing rights of the Triumph-Bonneville operates at the relatively small-batch, ' motorcycle which they make, and to end the agreement whereby they luxury end o f thecar market. The big a r e merely sub-contractors effectively controlled by Triumph. mass-producers - like Ford and General for co-ops will eventually be available on M~~~~~ - are unlikely to take upthe idea. allocated to social projects and welfare services - but then the big monopolies a wider scale. There are also a number of Moreover, as one ICI worker put it: can do this on an even larger scale as part 'community workshops' funded by local 'youhaveto havea good wage before of their 'smial responsibility' facade. authorities Which could form the lift off can worry about job satisfaction.u Furthermore the big profitable firms also point for local community enterprises. Clearly then, job enrichment experiseem more able to afford to experiment These may be a good place to try to ents in existing industry are fraught with (albeit limited) work restructuring explore new products that meet local many problems, but.open up a whole projects. needs and new methods of production. new area for collective bargaining. ProCO-OPS on the fringe of the economy, Whether it would be possible to set up gress will be slow and will have to be fully fledged workers co-ops/community fought for It isvery much a ltransitionall less concerned with economic viability and more with internal and external enterprises on this basis remains to be struggle - like the Lucas Campaign relations, can perhaps be more seen but the potential is there. Certainly linked to the ongoing power battle on the creative - but they are nearly always there i s encouraging evidence from shop floor and to the fight to introduce unstable and America, where more than 100 both nor Many survive the elements of industrial democracy into only by exploiting the goodwill o f the profit and profit Community Developcorporate planning. ment Corporations are supported (to the participants (and customers) through Workers Co-operatives voluntary work or low wages. Of course, tune of $120m) by the government. As Barry Stein has written in such Comjn the society we are trying to create this Utopian alternativists often pin their munity Enterprises would no doubt be the preferred orienthopes on workers' co-operatives in the ation to work. But for the moment it i; "one can take advantage o f the basic hope that, given the freedom from difficult - and perhaps even divisive - to * materials and products produced by manaeriai control supposedly extsting in pretend that the 'larger society' and its large firms as commodities, which are these firms, there should be more room
more nearly cost-effective than differ-^, entiated final products..These in turn, a can be modified or finished in whatever way is appropriate to the local market; bulk industrial chemicals can be mixed and packaged for household and/or agricultural needs; steel strip can be cut, painted, and assembled into venetian blinds; or bolts of fabric can be cut, dyed and sewn for a multitude of purposes. This is not a matter of cottage industries; significant enterprises can be The importance of paper to the functioning of our society is often over-1erated in these and similar areas, looked; but imagine the consequences of a adden severe disruption in its ploying anywhere up to a hundred supply. As a material we cannot easily do without, it is necessary, thereui so, taking full advantage of modern fore, to consider the production and use of paper in any analysis or technology and industrial organisation, discussion of social, economic, political and technological change. Paper and producing for the community's was made by hand until recently, and a monotonous task it was too. needs." (Size, Efficiency and ComWhile it is still possible to make it by hand, it is a labour of love. However, nity Enterprise, B. Stein, 1974) , there are now several ways in which paper could be made on a slightly approach opens up the possibility of larger scale by small co-operatives with inexpensive machinery doing direct local self-help action - locate much of the boring work In the following article Chris Thomas examines a specific need - say for cheap insulation, energy generation or, transport - and the reasons for such an approach, and looks at the available equipment. then devise a simple product to meet it, MUCH ATTENTION has been given to sites near the forests they feed on. The and an appropriate method of production. the environmentalimpact of paper proother four million or so tonnes were Ideas mooted in connection with the duction, expressing considerable an produced in Britain by 180 Paper and Community Workshops in Milton Keynes, over the effects o f i t s continuing ex Board Mills. In 1963 almost the same for example, include electric vehicles slon. The ecological consequences o quantity was produced by 267 mills. (even bicycles), wood stoves and solar destroying large areas of natural forests Since 1965 employment in the Paper collectors. Cheap furniture production and replacing them with commercial Industry has dropped by one third. and renovation workshops is another forest monocultures; the pollution creaThe industryhas followed a policy of possibility. The potential i s considerable ted by pulp and paper production; rationalisation: centering production given the brge number of unemployed paper's high energy consumption (over on larger and more capital intensive people who could bring their skills and o n e tonne of coal equivalent for every nits. A new paper making machine may their ideas of what i s needed into play. tonne of paper); and water demand' ost Â£5-Â£million, ensuring further Another possible lift off point i s (around 20,000 gallons required for. oncentration o f control over production. recycling, renovation and repair - a classic every tonne of paper); allcreate cause n 1970,60% o f the paper produced in 'craft' industry, well suited to skillfor concern. Britain wa's by the five largest companies. intensive local operations in small workTo minimise environmental degrada- / shops. Most consumer 'durables' - radios, The Economies of Small Scale tion, the most obvious move would be irons, TVs and o f course cars - given the t6 cut out wasteful and unnecessary This trend may, however, already prevalence of 'planned obsolence', require uses of paper. For that paperwhich i s be beginning to change, as far as the frequent maintenance, refurbishing and needed, a greater emphasis on recycling size of production units go. Rumour repair. Materials-recyclingcould s!so form waste papers would help. Recycling has it that thinking in some sectors the basis of a small community enterprise. reduces the consumption of trees for a of the paper industry is already moving Given ever-increasing fuel costs, local given demand for paper and cuts down towards considerably smaller producworkshops and services will become more tion units than those with about 300 the energy consumption (by around viable economically. A t first, these profifty per cent) and pollution created nnes per day (tpd) capacity, which jects will inevitably, likecorkers co-ops by its manufacture. The developmen have been favoured in recent years. formed from existing (collapsing) firms, of 'alternative' or 'low-impact' techno1 Diseconomies o f scale have manifested be somewhat marginal in terms o f the gies for producing paper will need to emselves in a number of ways: from ~1-^ numbers employed and will certainly keep these points in mind. Emphasis n engineering point of view, increasing initially require outside cash support. But should therefore lie on the desirability fficiency is not being realised; the the potential for a considerable degree of of the product, maximising the recycli exibility of large plants creates community self-sufficiency is there. Total of waste paper, and maintaining an inefficiencies in trying to match proself-sufficiency, even if possible, would equilibrium between the growth and duction to sales in a fluctuating market; probably be undesirable. Some regional consumption of forests, or other fibre increasing transport costs have reduced specialisation is inevitable and in any case sources available. the economic radius o f distribution some trading would help avoid excessive Equally important is the mode of and have increased raw material costs. isolation. It isa matter of balance: no production and i t s control. In Britain A larger number of smaller producarea should survive totally by export, just under half of our paper is imported tion units would provide greater without paying attention t o production from integrated pulp and paper mills operating efficiency and flexibility; for local needs; but neither should the opportunity for the intelligent utilisation ofunevenly distributed material, energy or human resources be ignored. Hopefully, all these various experiments and struggles both inside conventional industry and on the fringe will interact. But it's a vast project. There is no one way forward and no one 'alternative mode of production'. For further discussion of Community Enterprise projects see the excellent Size, Efficiency and Community Enterprise by Barry Stein (Center for Community Economic Development, Cambridge, Massachusetts, , , 1974).
us suiting the market better, particu*ly where waste paper use is concern,I as this is a widely dispersed source raw material. Krafft in Germany ve recently developed a paper making achine operating in the 20170 tpd nge. Installations'so far have been r recvcline waste in oroduction of ckaingpaper, however i t i s not limittb these products.
iaming from the Third
Qther 'smaller' paper-making achinery has been developed ~propriatetechnology for Third ~untries.A plant which produce d is operating in India; The Interrnedte Technology DevelopmentGroup we designeda Pulp packaging unit at can produce egg boxes, seed trays, en insulating ceiling tiles, on an outit level of less than 1 tpd; and ITDG. ;re also working with Allan W. Berry d (a paper-makingmachinery manucturer) on a project to produce a :xible paper-makingplant capable of oducing low-grade writing and printR papers, as well as packaging grades am waste paper.,This latter plant was visaged to have a working capacity 5-12 tpd. Unfortunately Allan Berry.have now gone out of business. But what about the economics? pita1 investment for these small ants varies from about Â£30,00 awards. Runningcosts are hard to 'me by, but certainly the German ants are designed to be competitive 'Western' markets. Development xhniquq (associated with ITDG) we performed an economic analysis Itheir Pulp Packaging Unit in the K and found that it could produce g boxes cheaper than Hartman bres Ltd. themaior producer churning out around l%million per day. Rather than transporting(vaste paper ,and egg boxes from East Anglia r the whole country, small produc>nunits sited near egg producers, id collecting local supplies of waste a raw material make considerable nse. The type of production of paper scribed above may not fulfill the iteria of a radical technology as yet, it if offers the potential. The unit :e is manageable, employing between and 60, or more; and changes in the ganisation of work, and further tention to the environmental impact production and the products proiced, could realise it. Whether the timum size of production necessites this level of technology, or tether i t would be more desirable produce paperon a local workshop sis is a question to be explored.
eavy Going by Hand Paper could be produced at a workop level in"anumber of ways. On e srnallest-scalepaper can be made I an individual using a simple ethod (see insert). Hand-making paper has recently received a vival of interest as a craft, hobby, educational 'toy*. The method is note but time c&sudne. There,
a group of fifteen year olds. The prototype looks very Heath kobinson, being built mainly from scrap components. Pulp is fed from the vat (currently a bucket), to the head-box . where it is continuously stirred to ensure an even consistency. From here it overflows onto a wire carried by series of rollers adapted from a conveyc system, as is thecloth belt. The rollers are driven by an old washing machine engine geared down using parts from a bicycle. Water drips from the wire into a tub below to be recycled for further pulping. When on the cloth belt the wet paper is passed between pairs of rollers to expel more water and to smooth the surface. The paper i s still wetwhen it emerges and is reeled up so that at present it has to be unreeled, when removed from the machine, and hung from rafters to 'loft-dry'. Antony Hopkinson calculates that his machine should produce writing and drawing paper for 1,000 pupils in 3-4 hours per week. A poor return on labour involved incommercial terms perhaps, but a viable proposition for a community Workshop?
w m f-+ e^S "
are a number of improvisations that could impeve the pulping stage, such as using an old washing michine; a dough-mixer, or the innards of an old spindryer. But even having to form every sheet by hand with the mould and deckle would make pro' ducing acommunity newsheet, for example, anther laborious taik.fcgy*Commercial mills do still vroducinx hand-made sheets of
This ITDG machinecan be used sw niake egg tray. seedling pots, soft fruit packaging, disposable medical utensils, ate. from waste paper
Mechanising the sheet forming process comes next Historically paper-makingprogressed, after .seventeen hundred years of making Daoer by hand, to mechanical with the development of the Fourdinnier paper machine. Modem 'monsters' many times the size of the original, and operating many times faster, still bear the name Fwrdinnier and work to the same principles. The pulp in solution (about 99 per cent water) instead of being scouped up by the mould add deckle to form a sheet of paper, is poured onto a continuous wire. Water drains from the wire leaving a mess of fibres which is picked up by a continuous felt or cloth belt pressing against the wire, and transferred, through a rotary press, to a series of rollers, some of them heated, known as the drying chamber. When it emerges from the machine the paper is reeled up. A technology simple in principle, although much refined to improve efficiency and quality in modern paper-making machinery, it should be amenable to the development of a small, simple, low-cost process.
Another example of a self-built paper machine comes from France, and turns locally collected waste paper into a packaging paper used by local farmers as linings for their fruit boxes. Once a hand-made paper mill, it was converted by the mill-owner and now operates commercially with an output of only 0.8 tonnes/week. The paper machine is coupled to a Hollander beater (to provide the pulp) and ' produces a roll of paper about 75 cm wide from waste newspaper and magazines. The rolls are cut into blocks of sheets whilst still wet, and the sheets are then hoisted by a lift into the attic to be air dryed. Power is provided by a water wheel, both for the mechanical work and for electricity.generation. All these experiments in producing paper on a small scale, whether on an individual, workshop, or factory basis, raise as many questions as they answer. However, they do indicate that a certain flexibility already exists in paper making technology, giving the opportunity to develop alternative modes of paper production. Chris Thorn REFERENCES
A Practical Method Antony Hopkinson thought so too, and set about trying it; he has built a prototype model, making a contjnuous sheetabout twenty cm wide. The system isn't perfected. particularly the drying process. HOW&, the is demonstrated. He is now buildine a slightly larger model to produce a roll 60 cm wide, enough-tomake a reasonably large sheet of drawing paper at* local school, as a classproject for '
A French Method
There is a considerable amount of information available on how to make paper, specifically on simple hand-made methods: Making Paper, G i i & Co Ssp, Practical Science Projects. Make Your Own Paper, Dryad Press, 178 Kensington High St, W8,45p. Paper: Rolling Your 0d,Derek Burns in %dicalTechnO1ogyl Wadwood 1.5.Z3.
e - ~ a d ~ < a ~Michael e r , *by,
scientist, z5 sept IY 16. Also general paper-making and paper science textbooksoffer considerable information , on materials, pulping techniques, '&l&ra and p e n @
ill the fare offered by the TV and radio networks of the 1980s be Ă‚ÂĽOf The Same, or Something Completely Different? A lot depends . ;he soon-to-be-published recommendations of Lord Annan and his worthy colleagues. But the bureaucratic Annan approach to compunications policy, says John Howkins, is totally unsuited to a world where "communications '~nologiesare flooding policy-makerswith options which they do not erstand; amongst which they must choose; and which will have prond effects on society". VERY SOON the Annan Committee on the Future o f Broadcasting will.publish its long-awaited report. The publication will mark the beginning o f the last lap of a tortuous and frustrating relay race that began back in 1970 and will not end until 1979. The sport i n question is nothing less than the use o f the power of communications - and specifically, the power o f mass broadcasting - a sport which started in the 1920s, is now worldwide, and will continue forever. The last event on the same scale as the Annan Committee was the Pilkington Committee o f 1960 which-broadlysupported Sir Hugh Greene's vision o f the BBC, gently criticised ITV, and proposed the spare third channel should go to the 3BC. Towards the end o f the sixties, however, a whole new range o f issues and questions began t o dog the hitherto widely-admired principles and standards o f professional, centralist, consensual broadcasting. The change was not restricted t o the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the principles and ideals on which societies had established their different broadcasting institutions and practices began t o suffer a deep malaise. There were two obvious symptoms. The first was money. Inflation was increasing the organisations' costs at the same time as advertising expenditure was being reduced. And the fact that virtually every household i n the industrial countries now had a T V set meant that licence revenue had reached a peak. The other major symptom was the perennial one o f the uneasy relationship between broadcasters and politicians, which sometimes came t o dominate the entire discussions. But there were many other issues, harder t o tease out, but no less significant. I n the UK, the controversy over the power o f broadcasting centred around the Labour Party and the demand o f the technicians trade union ACTT for "access, accountability and participation"; around the politically sensitive idea o f balance in programmes; and around ITV's ambitions t o get the fourth channel, which would enable it t o compete more effectively with the BBC's two channels. Both major political parties, however, were ignorant and chary o f professional broadcasting - a persuasive recipe for inaction. It was not until 1970 ten -
the allocation o f the fourth television channel and, less immediately, o f the two more T V channels that will become available in the 1980s 1 the need t o accommodate more access and a greater number of independent outside productions 1 the question o f competition and collaboration between the BBC and ITV 1 the question o f the overall public control and accountability of broad. casting organisations, and the parallel question o f an independent body to deal with research and complaints and, as a corollary, 1 the desirability o f a permanent body to replace lumbering bodies like the Pilkington and Annan Committees. On this last point hang? the significance of the entire processof analysing and making policy about broadcasting power.
years after Pilkington, a period which was felt to be somehow appropriate, but was in fact arbitrary - that the Labour Government set up a Committee o f Inquiry into the Future o f Broadcasting and asked Lord Annan, Provost o f University College, London, t o chair it. Almost immediately Labour lost power and the incoming Tories, who were even less eager to intervene into broadcasting than Labour, aborted the proposal. Annan, however, was re-instated after the Is Annan Irrelevant? next swing at the national polls and since Spring 1974 his Committee o f a few o f The Annan Committee i s not irrelevant the Great and the Good (Whitehall's list because it is an integral and potent part o f underemployed public eminences) and of the Government's current policya few o f the Ordinary and Grey have been making process. But it i s misguided, and tackling the question o f the future'of the policy-process that gives it potency i s broadcasting - or, more exactly, the ., also misguided. future uses o f the power of broadcasting. The Government's appointment of the BY February 1976 (according t o one of Committee i s not quite like fiddling while the three members who knew something Rome burns but it iscertainly the about broadcasting) the Committee had intellectual equivalent o f placing a viotin reached the point where everyone had under the chin after the Visigoths have lit accumulated a basic knowledge o f the the first match. subject and knew the political rules of the The appointment isbasedon a number game. Earlier, the Committee had made of assumptions: not a few gaffes and broadcasters had that broadcasting is a self-contained made suitable noises in reply. One activity member had astonished the staff of which can be analysed, understood, a commercial sound radio station by and judged on a twenty-year timescale asking t o see the newsroom's video link by a group of part-time, and to ITN. , politically conflicting individuals most The report i s now finished (Lord Annan of whom have had no experience and read the proofs in early December) and no interest i n broadcasting, let alone will soon be published. in the intricate maze o f broadcasting Its findings are likely t o revolve around politics six issues: 1 who will report t o a Government that has no Minister o f Communications the bureaucratic organisation and the and no expert or advisory communicafinancing by licence fee o f the BBC Cameraman from Milton Keynes 'Channel 40' Community Cable TV service, run by the Co-Ax (Community Access - aet it?!arouo. lines uo a shot. 7.
advanced both technically and editorialthe new highways o f electronic com- + tion Institution, panel or council. ly. Yet a whole series o f simple question munication. They are as different from. "hex assumptions might make sense in have not been asked. let alone answered. the old radio wave or single telephone rorld where mass communications was Are the broadcasting authorities and ilf-conuined, self-referential activity line as a new six-lane motorway is from a the Post Office the most appropriate ctually notthecase, and theoretically winding farm track. And like the modern road network, the modem telecommuni: agencies to develop these services? (No). lost certainly impossible), where the cations network can carry a 40-feet Should these bodies continue to develop alic were generally content with the juggernaut lorry as easily as a pedestrian" any such services without a full public tter being discussed, and where the - in fact, p o r e easily, because the one discussion? (No). Should small-scale, e of social, technological, legal and does nofendanger ttie other. A &Iex locally-determined 'alternative' groups rat innovation was somewhat slower message can be transmitted alongside beenabled to contribute? Yes - but 11 that of a sleepwalking tortoise. oreven in the intervals of a TV picture. they have not been invited .With teie'he facts are otherwise. AnotheTtrend, eguall~important, is text, it i s a clear case of trying to bolt /e must recognise that communication that television (video) equipment is the door (choose social options) after constituent ofprocess basicsocial everywhere getting cheaper, more reliable the horse has gone (after the engineers th individual and social -and that and more multi-purpose. Yet another is have already foreclosed all the technical hout communication no process i s the development of hybrid techniques, options). Another example i s the isible. The concepts of mass society BBC, IBA and the For instance recent establishment of small-scale 1 mass commu~icationare inextricably Post Office (and the Japanese and ~ r e n c h radio stations to service small populaced. telecommunication authorities) have tions. Such stations were technically the medley of modern communicadeveloped neat methods of using spare possible long before the establishment n three key trends have become capacity in the TV signal to print out of large, national ones. Yet the small karent: words, rather like sub-titles, on a TV radio stations are now described as 6mmunications technologies are screen. The BBC's Ceefax and IBA's 'experimental' as if they were some flooding policy-makers with options 'oracle' teletext systems are in o p e r a t e rather dangerous expedition into unwhich they do not understand; now. The special decoding device costs charted waters. I n fact, the label amongst which they must choose; and around Â£400with the mass production reflects the fear of central government which will have profound effects on of microprocessor units, it is likely to more than the novelty (or any scientific society (in the straight-spoken words cost around Â£30Within ten years, every purpose) of.thestations themselves. of a research programme o f the home will have one. The Post Office . For all o f the new technologies we Massachusetts Institute of Technodevice, 'Viewdata', is even better value. lack an authentic basis for public policy, low). It will have about 100,000 pages of an agreed calculus o f public need. There is no generally accepted theory information, and it will be interactive. of communication. This vacuum has To reach that goal, a new approach is You will be able to use a telephone obvious practial implications. There is necessary. It must take account o f comhandst t~dial a page - in effect, to no accepted framework or context munications' central and continuing ask a question - and the Post Office's within which policymakers (whether position as a basic constituent o f society computer will automatically display the the Annan Committee; or the US and o f society's political power. It must page - the answer - on your television Justice Department, which i s currently be both expert and public. set The first market trial of Viewdata is investigating ABC, CBS and NBC; or / Two recent British events point the scheduled for 1979. the Indian Government, which is way. The first i s the series of articles tha These technical facts of life are currently assessing the results of its appeared in The Times in 1975 by Peter important. But they are secondary. The massive experiment in instmctional Jay (Presenter o f LWT's 'Weekend important issue, in the face of such a television by satellite) can analyse, World',.Economics Editor of The Times Pandora's box of wizardgadgetry, is measure, understand and decide and not unimportantly, son-in-law o f it is, but not what, but how. Not what policies on today's numerous comJames Callaghan) and John Birt, Execuwhat itmeans. Not the form, but the nunications issues. I n the UK, for tive Producer of LWT's current affairs content. For instance, the development ixample, there i s no frdtnework within programmes. Birt and Jay coined of Ceefax, Oracle and Viewdata is well which the Government, the broadCommunications technology is bombarding decision-makers with options which they do not under:asters, the Post Office and the Trade stand and among which thev must choose. Jnions can cope with the technical ~ossibilitiesand social implications of ilectronic mail. And there are many )ther such hybrid technologies with "ar-reachingbut still unknown social, ndustrial and economic effects. Several new concepts have recently mpinged on the discussion of broad:astine. They are either taken from ather fields or are completely new, and they include such concepts as 'the information environment', 'infomation overload' and the 'information ' aoor'; the idea of information as Iresource in society; and the role of nmmunication policies as a tool of ,ocial development. (Not surprisingly, ecent demands for a 'new interiational economic order' soon pawned a parallel demand for a new nternational order of information. ie technological possibilities are mberless. Engineers can now transmit / signals at much higher frequencies an before and the old familiar long d medium waves can carry much more formation. Microwaves, optic fibres d waveguides, satellites, co-axial cables d multipoint distribution systems are
network of inland waterways has received a good deal of interest and publicity in recent years. Although most o f this . interest has been concerned with the restoration o f derelict canals and the boom in boating holidays, a small but dedicated body of opinion has repeatedly called for the reintroduction of canal freight carrying. Transferring freight from road to canal has definite environmental and other advantages, but it's not quite is easy as it looks. One of the appeals of the old narrowcanals is their small scale and this is also their biggest disadvantage. Most canals are built to take boats with a maximum beam of seven feet and draught of three feet. The traditional working narrow boats
worked in pairs and could carry about fifty tons between them. This is a very small load for the comparatively slow speed of water transport - the narrow canals being nothing if not slow. You will hear stories of the old boats doing London-Birmingh~in three days but this was made possible by a wellmaintained cut and long, hard working hours. There seems no getting away from the fact that narrow canal carrying means a small gonnage being moved at slow speed with a lot o f hard work. I should point out here that in addition to the narrow canals, there are wide navigations running inland from major ports (the Manchester Ship Canal, for example); These are s t i l l very important freight routes and will hopefully remain so.
What about widening the narrow canals? The idea has been around for a long time, and in fact the Grand Union was widened to fourteen feet during the thirties - a case of too little, too late. T ~ I trouble with canals has always been shortage of water. Every time a boat uses a lock, One lockfull o f water i s drained from the section of canal above the lock. Eventually the summit level will dry out, especially as it is probably at too high a level to be fed by streams. I n order to avoid this, water has to be pumped back up to the summit. There's a thought! Has anyone considered using the rush of water when a lock is emptied to power the pumping of water back uphill? [Let's hear from'vou!-Edsl ~nthusiastsoften point to the wide commercial waterways off the Continent, as an example of what can be achieved in water transport. Fair enough, but it seems to me that if you want an extensive canal system, then having a relatively flat country like Holland to start with is a decided advantage. Also, we must not confuse true canals that cut across the contours of the land, with canalised rivers having a permanenthead of water. Of course, lA> to now I have been using the logic of capitalism to evaluate canal as transport routes. Many people have been arguing for some time that it's absurd for transport systems to compete with each other. They should complement each other. We could take this one step further and think about other ways to evaluate
i phrase, "the bias against undertanding", which they suggested summed i p television's characteristic o f preferring mtertainment to elucidation. Never had h e broadcasters been so publicly and yet ,o seriously attacked - and by two favourite sons', too. The BirtIJay thesis was that television's presentation o f news ind current affairs was ttk) dependent on he traditions of the cinema newsreel and tad provincial journalism. It was a pro'ocative argument and created an instant ause celebre. Quite different is the second event: the tarting of Channel 40 at Milton Keynes. I n this local cable network a group of 'idea activists and community workers ire transmitting local news and informition. The spirit of Channel 40 i s summed ip in one viewer's appraising comment: 'That's not television, it's Channel 40." rhe organisers' objective i s not to provide Milton Keynes with yet another television hannel but rather to provide it with its .irst electronic information service. Not only did both events take dace outside the Annan debate, but they .ook place outside virtually all the UK'S nstitutionalised processes of broadcasting ~olicy-making and change. The fact that two of the most ntsresting and most controversial issues o appear recently did so outside the ~ormalarena is not an argument against laving an institutional process for decid- . ng public communications policy. lather, it is a criticism o f the particular et of processes that are now current i n
the UK. For instance, there is an obvious need for an agency to allocate UK cable net- * works on some other principle than that of 'first-come, first-served'. Yet t h e Home Office, the current regulatory body, has chosen (or stumbled upon?) principles which have been rightly criticised as being almost worthless. Rod Allen, editor of Broadcast magazine summed them up with typical acuity when he said that the only qualification needed was an honest and sincere desire to make money. When they realised there was no money to be made, the companies withdrew. Clearly, the UK has to find, urgently, a new way of coping with innovation, anew way o f changing i t s communication channels and contents, both as a means and as an end. We must replace the inefficient and partial system of ad-hoc committees every ten years with a continual and more-or-less coherent discussion,'both governmental and public. We must provide a firm basis for a national communications policy. (Possible components are a Broadcasting Council, a Parliamentary Standing Committee, and an independent research institution). We must not inhibit personal initiative (as BirtIJay) or initiatives from other fields (as the Co-Ax Project). Rather, it must encourage initiatives by giving society the space. time and money to carry them out.
And wemust take into account events and trends in other countries. The new processes cannot be found by altering the arrangements at the centre or, indeed, by any alteration that is formalistic, directive and non-participatory. In the words of Dr Boren, America's arch anti-bureaucrat, "bureaucrats never alter the ship's direction, they merely fiddle with the tompass". What we need, however, i s a substantial alteration of direction towards a pluralistic situation in which small-scale, self-help and self-determined groups can speak to the centre and to each other with a real sense of equality, with authenticity, and with the knowledge that action, if appropriate, may follow. Some matters must be done on a central and even an intergovernmental basis (for instance, the allocation of radio frequencies). But questions of programme policy (and I don't mean only programme content) should be worked out on a collaborative basis and with reference to the people concerned. We need more information, not less. We need more sources of information. And they must be independent, free and accountable to different constituencies, instead of the present fake costituency called the nation or the general public. There must be no pretense about consensus. Consensus may be a conclusion, at certain times and in certain places. It should not be taken as an assumption. John Howkins
VIEW FROM THE BARGE
its are trickling back into people's consciousness, as more and more ample spend their holidays on narrow boats or even make them their ipmes. But could canals once again be used for transport, and, if so, under what conditions? Ray Hulm explains.
THIS COUNTRY'Stwo thousand mile
.-". --. . -..---sthods of transport - or anything else that matter. Once speed and returns. capital are no longer the prime conlerations it becomes a case of 'all power the imagination'. We might favour , Â¥articulameans of transport for vironmental reasons or simply because found it to be morepleasing. Which me to the major use ofthe canals
0 s 6 WHO STILL OPEN THEI TO FIND O U T WHRT IS .To BE Dm6 ARE S T I ~ k ~ ~ THEIR GHW-OSI N A
eisure Industry wake of the enthusiasts who preited much of the system from being ' andoned, came the leisure industry. cent years have seen a boom in canal lidays and it has been suggested that s volume of traffic i s greater now than any time in the past. Fortunately, the id of congestion that has blighted the irfolk Broads probably won't happen thout the water supply running out uring this year's drought, the Waterways Board were forced to ise large parts of the system. We can ume that, given a general shortage in ,ure, canals will come well down ority l i s t for water distribution. e interesting than the economics igistics of the leisure industry are Â¥reasonwhy people find this kind of liday so appealing. The small scale, the i d operated lock and the slow pace o f i whole thing are all in stark contrast the world that people have to live and irk in for most of the year. Originally ital means of distribution during the mansion of the industrial revolution, ials now serve to patch up some of. pital's other products - boredom, ess and alienation. There i s also the ~ ~ a n g i bfeeling le of being in control of the situation that boating seems to share Â ¥ ' ttrucking and train driving. iut this is something I feel pretty unsure about. The whole trip lends itself very easily to male-dominated, egotripping, rugged individualism and the reproduction of all the shit we are trying to get away from. On the other hand, . much the same can be said for self1
sufficient farming and other life styles/ production methods of interest to radical technologists. The human relationships that emerge frbm'a particular method of production or transportation are, to me at least, far more important that theactual techniques and hardware involved. What I'm trying to say in all this i s that canals will provide an alternative means of transport only when we overcome the practical problems of water supply, *cut down the total amount of freight by distributing things because they are needed rather than lugging tons o f stuff all over the country because there i s a profit in it, reach a stage where we begin to destroy the division between work and leisure and start making decisions, about transport and other things, using a completely different logic.
Floating Population As well as being freight routes and linear leisure parks, canals are for some. people a place to live. There are several small communities of boat dwellers
dotted about the system. Houseboats have their good points - mobility "or one. Many people don't move their boat a great deal in practice, but the option i s always there. Some kind of engine i s an obvious advantage, but it is possible to walk along the towpath pulling your boÃ behind! Unfortuhately, horses are no longer really practical due to the poor state of the tow-path. One important point is that boats, and old wooden ones especially, need a lot o maintenance. It's a constant battle to keep the water outside. Nothing i s more depressing than a persistent deck leak over your bed (take my word for it). All this work can be a pleasant potter about with paintbrush and screwdriver, or one great big hassle, depending on how you feel about it. A big drawback is the high price of boats in the first place - though this is not always the case. A friend of mine picked up a twenty foot pontoon hull fa Â£2 a couple of years ago and with a lot of hard work and ingenuity has turned it into a really fine home
Movin' On There i s no doubt in my mind that thi! is one of the best ways to use the narrow canals but unfortunately the British Waterways Board don't agree. The legal position is that you can't live on your boat, and stay in one place for more thai two weeks, without an official residentia mooring. As it i s the policy of the BWB 1 cut down on the number of residential boats, they no longer issue new resident! permits. The alternative i s to do what most people do: fjnd a nice spot, tie up, and hope for the best. The BWB are empowered to tow your boat away after the permitted two weeks but in practice what happens is that an official comes round to hassle, followed later by a mar< illustrious official, followed by a 'notice to remove' being stuck on the boat. All this usually takes at least six months. By this time people have probably been thinking about moving on anyway and have tended in the past to drift off at thi voint But recently. where towvath squatters have go~~ympatheti~publicity from the press and refused to move their boats, the bureaucrats have let the matte "rop - for the time being at least. . Ray Hull
AROUND 100 PEOPLE, many from co-operative projects, met at Laurieston Hall for a 1 0 d a v conference on 'work collectives' in early December. The first pan was soecifically on 'workers co-ops'. isc cuss ion ranged from legal frameworks for co-ops, and how to make decisions, to use of the government's Job Creation Programme and possible cooperation between co-ops. There is a full write-up of the first part of the conference. It is available for 50p from Laurieston Hall, Laurieston, N Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Also ITM4 will contain a personal view by one of the many people who went.
Northern Wholefoods Cooperative THE NORTHERN WHOLEFOODS CO-OPERATIVE (NWFC) was started in August 1975. It is an association of wholefood shops in the north of England. It has written-and researched leaflets on wholefoods which are beine distributed to and through member shops. It is encouraging and supporting new shoos in the North and is orep a r k a report on wholefood shops and co-ops for publication in January, as-well as generally promoting co-operation between its members. When it started, contact between member shoos had been limited to a few dealson group buying. Now meetings are held every six weeks, member shops holding them in rotation. Topics covered at the last one included discussion of pricing and wages. the supportina of an accountant, a solicitor and a researcher for the benefit of members, the inclusion of non-shop food co-ops in the NWFC and the structure of the NWFC itself - in particular whether it should join ICOM. Although onlv nine of the shops involved in the NWFC were formally organised as co-ops when it started. all members atsnow reauired to show an intention of organising themselves as co-ops (under ICOM model rules). This is because the NWFC sees the way work is organised in the shops as being as important as the sort of food they sell. Northern Wholefoods Co-op c/o Suma, 11-13Wharf Street, Leeds 2.
Alternative Building Society THIS WOULD: "attract investment from o e o ~ l ecommitted to social change iri areas which might include co-operative housing, co-operative work situations. and alternative education. It would be run in such a way as to secure investment and would Day interest as a form of partial compensation for inflation. The society would lead to people needing mortgages o n property m order t o set up experiments in :wperation, mutual'aid etc. they would have to show that their project fitted the defined i m s of the society and that they were unlikely t o get funds elsewhere. They would also have t o ;how that their repayments were ikely to Be paid in some way and 3ay for a building society valuer
DAS ALTERNATIVE ADRESSBUCH seems to be the German equivalent of ITM, though perhaps concentrating less on 'productive' co-operative projects. The 1976 issue has addresses and brief descriptions (in German) of a couple of hundred projects in West Germany and Berlin, together with a smattering from elsewhere in Europe. It costs DM 6.48 from: *Arbeitskreis Alternatives Adressbueh, Dannstadter Landstrasse 180, D-6000Frankfurt 70, W. Germany
This I n the Making feature is the last before we publish our next full directory o f co-operative projects. This directory ITM4 is due to appear (and we're just about on schedule too!) in early February Project and other entries have been flowing in, so this page contains just a few snippets of ones that will be in ITM4. We've also got lots of articles - on industrial action for socially useful products, workers' control in China, co-ops using the Job Creation Programme, rural desolation and everything else you wanted to know. There are reviews of books and pamphlets, together with a section on information sources. We've also increased our subscription rates to take account of rising costs and the increased quality of production of the directory (see below). As before, we'll send you directories and supplements at cost price until your pound runs out. Donation subscriptions last for the same time as ordinary subscriptions - the extra going to help pay overheads and develop ITM. T o keep the Undercurrents feature going at full steam, we need entries and ideas all the time, so keep on writing to us at
to value their property." Proposals for such a building society are now being discussed. Approximately Ă‚ÂŁ7 is available to cover postage charges, small legal fees etc. involved in getting a scheme underway. Anyone interested should contact: David Coffin, c/o 202 Branch Road, Burnley, Lancs
Auction A BIG GEORGIAN HOUSE (listed building) with two cottages, outbuildings and 100 acres in a very beautiful part of central Wales, is being put up for auction soon. The property development company who own it have gone bust and a number of people from the wmmunity at Gleneirw Mansion, Cardigan, are trying to get together a group who would be interested in buyins'it to form a collective1 commune, working the land organically. Gleneirw came together through advertisements. They have an age. range of 2% to about 60 and some really diversepoints of view/priorities. It is probable that
a few of the Gleneirw people will want to take part in this venture (they are bursting at the seams!). They can provide some of the cash, but not all by any means. Gleneirw has a model constitution, worked out by one of their members who is a lawyer, and this could be used when setting up the new place. Bob Sloane, Gleneirw Mansion, Blaenporth, Cardigan
INTO the feasibility of a 'trucking collective' has started. Following discussion at the Laurieston Hall. ~~-~~. Conference (also featured on this page) people are investigating the "estimated demand and pattern of transport reouirements of alternative &-operatives, and the cost and likely speed of the operation". They would love to heal from anyone with a spare 5-ton truck - "or even a narrow boat." If you're interested in using or helping run the trucking collective
Bob Oppenheimer, 66 Hornsc* Rise, London N19 (01-272 0759)
Village Co-operative PEOPLE ARE WANTED to develop a rural village cooperative on the Welsh borders. A group of cottages and some land are available. Anyone interested should be concerned to relate personal growth to a wider political perspective of alternative feminist and socialist ideas. Longterm aims would be t o develop local community ties, build more houses, he relatively selfsupporting with a mixed workshop agricultural economy. Capital is not essential, willingnes to work hard is. Contact: Box No MH,In The Making
Unity Records Co-operative A RECORDS CO-OP has been set up by a group of people with skills and experience in a number of different fields of music, and u recording technology and manage ment. What brings this founding group together is "the conviction that the ca~italistrecord industry does not serve the real needs of-' the people: it swamps the young with oredominantlv backward ideas(ranging from sadism to sentimentality), and it singles out certain talents for star treatment while the mass of talent amongst the rest of the population has a hard time getting a hearing." The co-op intend to counteract this by producing records that popularize progressive ideas: first a record about the lessons of the General Strike of 1926 which draws together traditional working class music forms such as brass bands, industrial ballads, etc - in a contemporary rock-based musical idiom; and second, a record by the rock group Peoples' Liberation Music of traditional anti-fascist and antiracist songs as well as new songs on a number of topical and general issues. They also intend to produce records o n a Community label, to serve the needs of the recent proliferation of musical activity at wmmunity level: steel bands, brass bands, singing groups, ethnic minority groups, fringe theatre music groups, school bands and They hope to acquire their ~ choirs. ~ ~ own pressing plant and hence produce records in runs of 100 to 500 copies. This means that they will b e able to offer these local music groups the technical equipment and know-how required to effectively get their music onto tape and then onto disc.The groups will be able t o buy their records at cost price and use them to publicize their activity, and raise funds for their projects. 0 Unity Records Co-op, 47 Abdale Road, London W 2
The Shetland Way of Oil, edited by 134 pages. Â£2.40
It's a story which had to be told for a number of reasons, the best o f which is as a recapitulation o f the errors and su<fcessesto-date as the Islands brace themselves for the 'permanent' presence of oil as a factor in everyday life, as distinct from the more occasional, dlbeit disruptive, impacts which oil operations have so far had. Fortunately, Thuleprint have done the ipb definitively. The editor of T@ Shetland Way of Oil, John Button, i s local Friends of the Earth co-ordinator as well as a Shetland writer and publisher, and the menage he has * assembledcovers the issues very thor~ughly.The best chapter is.the one on the three-way complex o f relations which arose between the oil companies, the Shetlanders, and the Zetland County Council, and out of which the Shetlanders came out surprisingly well. The story, in Daphne Davbs's 'Public
but are mostly a model of-evenhandedness,.which was probably a relief to the Companies. The fish chapter is of very high quality, which is just as well as fishing is s t i l l the main Shetfand industry and the one which is subject to the most potentially destructive direct and indirect forces from oil developments. Likewise, the chapter on developments at Milford Haven, whose oilport is perhaps the nearest thing the UK already has to the terminal going up at Sullom Voe, i s useful, but the one on Norway, with
,,-hines. However, the promising development o f heat pumps was curtailed when the cheap Middle East oil started flowing, even though he recorded l$sIong-await+ JIlast'Wprd o n heat then that they were both economic pui&Y-is available from Prism Press. , hp.S,ymer has wadetheir study his and fuel saving. Some bitterness about eJs.woi-k; he @igned and bust a large not being heeded i s evident. He opens li* pumpsystem fer Norwich Corporawith areprint o f a lecture to the . I ion in 194516 and ha6 b m f ~ - h ? & k ~ a i Institution of Electrical Engineers on heat pumps and ft-itain's precarious nmie with two orthree expet~ments}- ' ._ lies since the early fifties; most of fuel position given in IW. , i. Â¥-perfmenTal-resi/tts-com from these The technical discussion begins with Domestic Heat Pumps, by J obo Sumner. Prism Press 117 pages Â£2.95
4 ' .*. a=-4
shellfish to the Shetland 'labour force' by way o f the politics and the technology; and all produced so as to be a useful took for anyone who might have to meet the multinationals head on; or anyone concerned with the wild places of Europe as high technolog goes to new and different locations; or just the voyeur who wants to,read how a young and ambitious civil servant wiped the floor with the oil companies and was put on the board of Benn's Notional Oil Corporation for hi$ pains. Martin Ince Marvellous. a simplified explanation of basic princip using tome analogies and 'helpful' concepts which I personally find confusing and rather difficult. The ideal Carnot Cycle (as it is called in Thermodynamic! is not complex and I think it should be tackled by a clear exposition. Analogies etc can then be drawn in to elucidate the theory further. It is important to note that this i s almost a textbook and as such i s fairly technical. However then, are no complex mathematics, just a bit ' of multiplication and division. It is in the physical concepts that the subtleties arise. The best chapter tells how t o amroach the design of a domestic
If you live over a Cheshire salt mine id have no piped gas, so that anything better than electrical resistance heat-. Ã§ or if y6u havea Roman villa with ridel-floor air ducts, you need a heat camp. If you can build one yourself B the cheap like JohnSumner, go ahead id-wperiment! You will find ha book
sffigeration textbook (since fridges . m the suite machines as heat pumps.)>nd a servicing thahual. John Sumner @es details of techniques of improvi be Performance Energy Ratio (P.E.RT a.efficiency. Suitable standard comiressors and heat exchangers can be . obtained but then even if your silver ddering is flawless you will still need o have the system filled with a ^reon refrigerant professionally. He reviews the'state of the'art' it the end, which is none too hopeful. I'm won't find much o f f the peg, but t i s possible to have one made to speciication from standard parts for Â£20 mr B.H.P. This won't leave you much :hange from Â£1,000 Also a number bfimported machines from the U.S. ire available but they have too low a '.E.R to save much' fuel. This brings us to the crux of the natter, are heat pump&'Hkely to be of my use in saving fuel and money? ohn Sumner of course says yes but i s i s appraisal critical enough? He eckons on a minimum figure of 3 or the P.E.R. (the ratio of heat given it to the motive work put in), nough for the fuel saving to coverthe tigher capital costs and more to make t a good saving. He takes the efficiency if electrical power production and disribution as 33% which multiplied by .P.E.R of 3 gives about 100%overall uel efficiency. He claims that gas oilers are around 65% efficient and dl 50%. While no doubt this is typical if domestic boilers, surely it could eincreased with better design. Also [though the newer power stations nay be 33% efficient or more, Peter in Fuel's Paradise (Penguin) *man votes a year round average efficiency if 25% (delivered) and Robin Clarke wtters 20%. This leaves us level peging. Another factor not considered i the effect of a million heat pumps n the loading f a c t o r ~the f power tations: will they amplffy the diurnal nd seasonal fluctuations of demand? low realistic too i s a P.E.R. of 3? a 1 -a t lie this is fine but would ' long buried e almost impossible to achieve with iy an air coil. Heat distribution should at a lowish and not I high temperature central heating tdiators. Study of a standard US air-toir heat pump (Alternative Sources o f new 22, yielded a PE.R. 'of 14-2.0 here is nothing gained here over &.-I I . . . : . . l C L > L IUC1 UUIIIIlI^t A more hopeful development that describes is to have a high efficiency etroleum engine to drive the comressori using all the waste heat from it P.E.R. of 4 is possible. This i s much
Busy speculum This is not a review, but a shameless plug, for the Women's Health Handbook, A Self Help Guide, Â £ for 1 f 5 pages from leftie bookshoos or 16 Mehdev Terrace. Leeds LS7 ~ N ItLwas written bv 111s; Bmoker; Ann Geraghty, Rose ~ t a [ a n d .Nancy . MacKeith; MacKeith compiled the book.
which might indicate the development sickness. When this is applied tvrnost parts of ffie body, this theory goes without savine. We see our faces everv
In September the Second ~ational Women and Health Conference brought together a movement which has been growing steadily over the last three years. Why are so many women exploring women's health, often th women's health groups? In this country only 1 doctors are women. OveraH, ho there are more women health than there are men but most of them are employed further down the ladder in such jobs as nursing, physiotherapy and so on. Women also use thehealth service more than men, Wego to the doctors more, there we more of uiin geriatric hospitals, and we take up the majority of psyehiatricbeds. (Wp go to prison instead.) Women not only perform most of the caring jobs within the health service, we /' also, as mothers and houseworkers,are expected to give health care for free to the men and children around us. We stayat home when they are ill.We must remind people of this when they talk about 'community based*health care, it means that women will be doing more of it. W-need health care not only when we are sick but when we are well. To have children safely and to make use of contraceptives (and abortion when we do not want them) are technical services requiring expertise but perhaps not seven yey, training and certainly not accompanied by nioral judgements. uoctors, by insisting on a monopoly of tools of health care and by mystifying their use, have created a situation where bey have power over an increasingrange of ow everyday experiences from birth to death. We are constantly being told not to listen to old wives tales (that is other women's real experience) and instead to take middle-aged male professionals word as gospel. I n our health we have taken the first steps towards regaining control of ourown bodies by setfexamination with a plastic speculum to look at the cervix, the n d 6 f the uterus. One of the intentions is to farniliarise women with those parts of our bodies with which we have been denied familiarity. Underlying this is a responsibility for keeping our bodies healthy, a responsibility which we can choose to undertake for ourselves rather than abdicate to ' 8 (twtor. This involve$coming con-
sciousofthewellbody,sothatwe become sensitive to changes in our bodies
morning In thefnirror and touch them many times in the day. So we soon becomeaware of a swelling developing into a spot, or a change in colour or temperature. And yet when this applie< to the genitals man$' people react negatively, seeing ifcas sexual pefversiof To some people a woman knowingher cervix and her vagina is too powerful a tool for her to cope with. Using a speculum, she" might diagnose herself and not go to the doctor and the infection get worse; she might waste thf doctor's time by wanting to discuss wh. she has seen. And anyway, what's the point when she can go to the doctor an he'll look fat her and tell her if there's anything she needs to know? -= Our answer to these attitudes is that a doctor does not see you often enough to know what is normal for you. He cannot be sensitive to the subtle chaw that would enable him to ~ractisepre .ventative medicine by detecting early signs of infections, disease and pregnant With a few exceptions the medical profession is often evasive and condescending . and doctors do not tell us what we want to know. , We published in ~ u l ~ o'W u omen' r s Health Handbook' written and produced by women from health groups all over the country. We have sold out and are reprinting already partly because there has beemgreat interest shown by older women in our chapters on the menopause,. Hysterectomy and cancer - subjects thÃ are often left out of booksaimed at younger fertile women. We need ta tinueputting out such information carry on all our campaigns as long as ex. d t e s and our lives are conttoU&by
(.TO Factsand Figures. 379 pages. Free mi NATO Information Service, ussels-1110, Belgium. The Soviet War fchine. 247 pages. ologicd Conseque do-China War, SIP blished by MIT Pr ;A. Sw Kr 76.50. ["he easy one first. NA lures is a fat, hard-bound book full of srything you want to know about K O and aren't willing to pay to find t. I t covers the political and military Ies as well as such crannies as the mmittee on the Challenges of Modern ciety, and also says a bit about the u a w Pact side o f the fence. Presumably k section will be enlarged in the next ition, in the light o f the present hange visits between British and Soviet leers, planned to facilitate understandbetween "men with similar prosional tasks". It seems very divisive for . oks to be published emphasising only e side of this most constructive of nbiotic relationships at t time when .operation is the theme of East-West ' ations. itill, this book is theone f o r any secret <TO freaks among our, readership. The lin trouble with it. as might be pected, is that it'sbad for your head if u keep it around without a clear idea of iat us6 you want with i simply as h e of generalised inte igence. But sn the same goes for most of the litary press. t is certainly true of the fat, glossy, surdly cheap and very opinionated vist War Machine, given an uncritical tiew saying how pretty the pictures ire i , , . - ~ escientist w by their normally i e Soviet correspondent Sarah White. book was written by a collection of heavies from establishments the Royal United Services Institute, mdtiarst's Swiet Studies Centre, and ",,hersity ~~f~~~~ studies ofa. Of course, Sar,, was right, the are splendidand, with e diagrams, tables ĂƒË†- like, givethe s t generally available view of the uipment avail Ie to the Russians. ware descriptions, there As well as chwters Of heawwei*t dys' of wiet military histow, tactics, *a. d intentions. These are o f record- . tenuousness.since ,945, the wiet army has been involved in no wations except border skirmishes with e Chinese and a few police actions
emergency to Irish troubles via Yemen, Oman a i ~ dall stations to Rekjavik. Therefore it's nearly impossible to assess what the Red forces actually would do if they took on the task of rolling back capitalism. The tactical diagrams are lacking i n any visible content - all they show is that the Reds would encircle the enemy - or not - wipe out as many of them as they could with nuclear - or maybe conional - weapons, and then walk over ,
Wars do not start because of the availability o f weapons, but because of political forces, and it's no use blaming the USSR for these conflicts unless one can be allowed t o blame the USA f o r t h much more enthusiastic arms trade. The authors of The Soviet War Machir have no doubt that militarism is the mai plank of Soviet political action abroadalthough they fail to say that this has been the case since before Marx was'a la or that military tradition is not a trait unique to the USSR. The authors' shared belief that most o the things that the Russians do are o f sinister intent has many amusing consequences. For instance, one author insists that the second Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR-2, as it will presumably become known) i s being built solely because the first one goes dangerously near the Chinese frontier (or "along the
the survivors. This is the output of a very serious (for the Military), expensive (for us) and intensive (in terms of qualified manpower used) programme to divine Soviet tactical intentions. It has involved reading every available piece o f Soviet writing on the matterand analysing them a11 to the h i t of their content. As far as can be told, it has yielded nothing except the news that the Russiansare.not ignorant of elementary tactical principles. And the strategy is no betterfounded, it seems. There is no doubt in the authors' minds that the Soviets would like to walk all over Europe, and quotes are adduced as evidence for this. Of course, it's true
Presidents o f the USA (I'm writing this in October) the USSR did grab all of Eastern Europe at the end of World War Two when everyone else was too knackered t o me. on he ober hand, the Finps and Austrians still carry on as ever they did, andthe USSR was certainly right to take to see off after being broken by her in the First World War and
Chinese boarder" as he it). Not, silly suggestion, to help open UI the largest virgin area of natural resourci in the' Northern Hemisphere. (Justfor fun, the same paragraph claims that "th European USSR i s an enormous plain which stretches unbroken from the Ural Mountains to the English Channel". Lik wise, the Red Army's practices of traini their troops, holding political education for them, taking steps to check their loyalty, gathering intelligence} developi~ weapons, and making itself felt political are all regarded as evidence of the most awful menace overhanging the West and its dominions. The fact that every army from the IRA t o the US Marines does tf . warria same is of no interest to the cold ~ in l air, l The Soviet War Machine is a thoroughly nasty book. Pretty picturf (many of them quite dazzling) and systematic diagrams of everything the -Reds have (of no possible use to this book's readers, most of whom must be simple voyeurs of military doings), vie with bland, vague, and very singlemid evidence t o the effect that the Reds a@ out to get us. It has the same general status as the Ardrey book reviewed nearby, which sets out and eventuaNy succeeds t o the author's satisfaction, i n +mi%that ki i n g people is natural. lead it, if ydo rhist, and be h o t ~ ~ t e ~ t
Undercurrents 21 don't29 weren't warned, and don'& . , readit at$-withdtit biting dear potitteally why you're doing so; otherwise ifs just going t o be bad for you! A t the risk of soundinglike aSunday . School teacher, it is tempting to cite Ecological Consequences o f the Second War as a casebook where RadicalAgriculture. ed. Richard Mewill. It means~heapness~at any price. It the Soviet War Machinementality can Harper & Row. 459 pages. Â£5.20 means hurrying t o nowhere. It means land you. The 'S~ecndIndoChina War' the profligate waste of humanity and "Isa sh'me that this hastaken (thefirst was the one against the French, o f nature. Real efficiency is something such a 10% time (five years) to producedummy) was, however, a very unusual entirely differ en^ it isneik cheap went in military history. A war was Because, if it had appeared earlier, radical (in of skill and nor fast, fought long after everyone from Jack the in the Real efficiency is long term efficiency". namfrof agriculture would have gone Anderson to the CIA knew it couldn't be Those who like their solutions must) furtker by now than it has. won, and was fought largely by the , political may find the Organic Force of chapters seem particularly prophetÂ¥applicatio of more and more technology. of Jerome Goldstein a trifle mive. Even fc. The details may b e changed, for Major bombing raids.were sent o u ~ t o organic farming can be capialised o n example DDT is only used for restricted bomb the jungle (by computer navi tion However they could not wish for a purposes in the US today, but the as cloud cover was usually complete arguments for an organic 'forward t o from six miles up because o f unreliable the land'illovement are more pertinent reports that the enemy had been seen in than ever. the area s h e time previously; as the If you want to back up your case for memy were hiding in the jungle, it was an organic farming alternative with a removed b y plough and defoliant; configure, a table, or aq example, you will cussion bombs were used to make hetiprofiably find it iwthis book. Unforcopter landing placedn jungles where . tunately the source book nature o f none was before; and so on. ~ n ,of' d . - * of the twenty collected essays course, all t o no avail; the war was already PUB One off. T k is not so surprising lost because Imperialism was politically when you notice that the publisher antenable, and only for that reason. , of tfw! hardback edItion&New 'fork The catalogue o f things done in the vain attempt toreverse thisstateof affairs is- University Press. Nevertheless it's worth . &.ffU the effort to read itt>becau* long and pesome. Anyone who doubts tocombine bad intentions iB6ide there many M g h t s into the more penetrating analysis of hew large, working o f the world. For instance, ' anddestructive technology to yield vertically-integrated food companies """Y of the individual authors are effect that land, animal and plant have no control university agricultural research . a* that &is not just the economic 'hope against ought to read the full for their own ends than: Hard Times, mr of large food compani e s that evidence set down here. The most coin/ Hg^ Tomatoes: The failure of the ,I@ hinders the devel * nt of a co-operaplex and fragile parts of the fungle ~ m n^ t US government grants live and ecologically sound alternative; chiefly the mangrove swamps - are also, are used to improve the appearance and sq do, though, more subtly,many it seems, those least able to stand the mechanical handling of crops at the Commonly accepted v~~~~ and k-Jeas. effects of large quantities of explosives. 'expense o f nutritional value and the Principal amongst these i s the contoxins and other insults, but it is apparent h'ealth o f the consumer. For instance, cept o f efficiency. As Wendell Berry that i t will take an unknown period of "There is strong evidence that DES, timefor even the resilient jungle to resume normality i n some o f the more heavily fought-over areas, "tt h a been estimated on the basis of logs coming into local sawmills that over Tour-fifths o f the one wondering what research i s being trees in War Zone D *ere struck by flying done in Britain. What's wrong with metal." And, if you think the folly affected only plant, animal and earth, "There exists a macabre report that tigers ...were thriving on the widely available dead and wounded soldiers." This is much the best book - well written, well researched and complete with ten pages of referencesfrom every source from the New York Times to the . how they work; recommends non Proceedings o f the North Centra/ Weed Control Conference on the ecological aspects of Vietnam, being much better . than the admirable Communist Party booklet on the same matter. It's difficult to convey its power in a short review, th'e more so as it is derived from scholarship as much as from political conviction. But read it is you want a sane and knowledgeable look at military things, as the majority o f what's written about the military is either dangerously lunatic, like -Jim.Sov/er War Mahine, or just not good enough, like most of what the left produces. Incidentally, the book's cost (Sw Kr 76.50) is about Â£0.50 in real money, so pester the library for i t like CH.33 now!-Ed] k$* ,. + - ,- -- - -*?lee Dave Smith '
Undercurrents 20 vegetarian. John SeymoCir ma animals seem almost natural. I even start eating meat again. no heartless carnivore either. "Istop Deft shooting wild geese", he confesses, "when 1 discovered that they mate for life".
an afterthought, the Section on SelfSufficiency in Energy, only nine pages, was altogether too skimpy for a book " which claims to be 'complete'. On the other hafid, t was quite refreshed not to
The Complete Sack o f Self%ufflciency. John Seymou Faber and Faber. Â£5.50 Thecomplete boo^ of self-sufficiency? badshoice o f title. That's one of the few derogatory things I have to say aboutthis book. How can any o f us be completely-self-sufficient?The beginning, too,disappointed me. "Many'people':, says John Seymour in the Introduction, "move from thecities back to the land precisely because they find city life, surrounded by people, too lonely". But most of the people in the cities cannot afford tosimply "move" . backto the land. I'd like to have read a lot more in The Complete Book o f Wf-Sufficiency about how self-sufficiency can be made possible for the majority of us whohaven't a hope of raising the money for even a few acres at present price. John Seymour seems to be in favour of land reform, judging by his columns in Resu~ence,But in his boo there isn't a single mention of it anywhere. In general, however, The Complete Book o f Self-Sufficiency i s very good. , Two hundred and. fifty six big pages packed with facts and information. It is a superb piece of two-colour design work, though perhaps artistic license was used a bit too freely: in none of the pictures is it muddy or dirty and from the enthusiastic way Seymour wri - a very
- - Brad Advice *:
TkehnoiogicalSelf-Sbffidency Robin Clarice. Faber. 302 pages Â£2.9 ' sef/-Suffiehcy is n o t a as producer so for ffie & i t - y d atternative technote gist In it,Robin Oarke showsus '! that-in this over-eafised, e x p p sive world it is enti&y$?sible and .. indeed imperative for as<l to learn sbaw. basic skills, and so t o make do withi* d to live better as a result". In sixteen chapters we learn about " e complete range o f skills required by AT enthusiast - from making so@ ilding techniques, from aquaculture thane'conversions, Robin Clarke was one o f the founders o f the BRAD commune in Wales and it was in the conversion o f their farm and near delelict cottage that he discovered his own abilities- "Concrete mixing, drain laying, carpentry, joinery, roofing, plumbing, wiring, guttering, renderinfe' farming and even vehicle maintenance soon became part of the- daily life. ~~d we did them well." ~h~authoritative, chatty styleof this nicely presented book makes it good and
Change the Street, Anthony Fyson. 64 pages. Oxford University Press. 75p. the same annual crop on a piecgof land two years running?" Not true: runner beans will grow in the same place quite happily:Asparagus: JohnSeymour says it is nutritious, but accordingto Lawrence Hills (in his book Grow Y6W Own Fruit and Vegetables, Faber, Â£2.75 asparagus is a bit of luxury and d q 3 not provide much in the way of vitamins considering the amount of work needed to grow it. And as for tomatoes if you pull off-the leaves "to let the sun @t them" then you encourage greenback" disease. Squeezed in near the end, alswst
s Sholto ~ d g l aandothers'reclaim African deserts by planting trees - but what about English deserts? Change the Street i s Anthony Fyson's solution to the advancing decay in our c i t i ~ T h i clearly s written bo6k explains the different ways in which our streets have been eroded, and whole areas have become urban <leserts. He has chosen a wide selection o f photographs a ~ newspaper d cuttings -idustrating sad scenes and tales o f the developers' invasion, with occasional . Ike if +by
inspiring reading and if Robin Clarke had just retired from a life o f craftsmanship Iwould probably give it a high recommendation. But he hasn't and I question
z z ~ ~$'~~~n$~~~~~d g
commune, to write a book like this. For exmp,e, in the chapter on fwd he that '' if you buy Orwic mea flour,YW bread actually work out a great deal more expensive," and way to bake bread tfiabought b ad is'to grind your Own flour. In thecflapter on transport he S+ "Actu** anynewbike isnow ridiculously expensive, Isuppose because demand has fallen t o such low levels. ^Y^ they'lfget cheaper again. Me* go a machine+ Ipersonally can't abide drop handlebars, and Y ~ an enthusiast ' ~ I~doubt that you will. So go for a nice gentlemanly upright handlebar, and check that the frame i s sound. If you don't want additional expense, turn the thing upside down, revolve the wheels and watch for irregularities. If the wheels are dished, ~ ~ ' have.to 1 1 Set replacements, so allow . for that i n the price. The rest o f the machine doesn't matter too much." Statements such as these make me wonder what other ill-consideredadvice ,this book contains. I'm afraid Robin Clarke has disappointed me. He has padded out what should b a factual book with opinions he is. no
digging the urban soil together. Ifvoi 't feel that you can join a local -mity group, don't despair; your in vidual energy can affect your surroun ings and can be just as vital to the macrosphere as group energy. Fyson J not mention this - a serious omission Change the Street shows the vast ex of the continuous attack by developel and councils alike on our building sto However, as a result we now have the opportunity to bring the hydroponic farm to this country, by transforming city deserts, and t o postpone the mw a smallholding retreat for another feÃ ÃˆW5
. + -
veyors, insurance companies, building societies, and banks. One suspects that a purchaser more often complains of a defect in the house which the surveyor had not identified. or of being compelled to take upan insurance policy as a condition of being offered a mortgage, than of a defect in title. There is scope here for a more comprehensive DIY manual for house transfers covering all aspects. The style and the approach of this book call to mind Nader rather than Prwdhon. Even so, readers may find plenty here to bolster their assumption that property is still theft. What they may miss is any questioning of the forms of individual ownership. There is work to be done in devising new ground rules for holding property communally but anyone interested in these problems will not find succour here. Peter MacMahon
Convey It Yourself The Conveyancing Fraud Michael Joseph, 27 Occupation Lane, .London SET 8.239 pages. Â£1,80post free. Michael Joseph is an outsider. After 18 years as a solicitor, he likens the legal profession to an elephant with a voracious and harmful appetite for divorces, motor accidents and conveyances. He accuses lasers and the law of contributing little more than delay, inefficiency and expense - all heavily disguised by incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo. The main target of this book, however, is conveyancing the legal work involved in transferring ownershi of a house. The indictment is threefold. irst, most Conveyancingis done by unsupervised, unqualified clerks the legal skills required being negligible. Secondly, the steps actually taken amount to no more than ritual dance in which important matters re left quite to chance. Solicitors neither ~Spectthe property nor visit the local ouncil offices the two most fruitful xirces of information for an intending urchaser. Finally, the purpose of this tual dance is to conceal the solicitor's
with over one-half of all households
bung owner-occupied. A spot survey of this magazine's editorial collective would no doubt demonstrate this. So this is a book that (my save you money at the same time as it displaces sham professionalism. It should be good enough on its own, but if in difficulty reference may be made to its nearest rival, Edward Moeran's Practical Conwyancing, or to your local legal advice centre. 'Michael Joseph i s naturally preoccupied with the activities of lawyers but there are others who win their living out of the property transfer market perhaps even more redundant1y the estate agents, mortgage brokers, sur-
Let Them Get Stoned TTpe Unfinished Animal Theodore Roszak. 264 pages. Faber and Faber. Â£2.9 This book is "a survey critique of the current reliious revival in Western society.. :with an exploration of its mean ng asa stage in our evolution-. ary growth A large claim, much too large for a set o f breathless and badl\~ written essays, cobbled together unedited as far as one can tell into a book lacking shape or structure. Not so much a Baedeker as a collection of traveller's tales from the 'Aquarian Frontier', . Roszak's label for the many andvariws manifestationsof the American 'consciousness circuit': Jesus Freaks, TM, Gurdjieff, Silv&Mind Control, Psychic Surgery, Orgooomyi Oon Juan, S o rhythms, E*, Urt Gettw, Neural Cybernetics, SF, good old fashioned honest dope, etc (hislistrun? to 140 headings). @e considen that these fads should be regarded as signs of a genuine spiritual quest which will transform human consciqsness, and that this quest is the emergent theme of our times; survival and social resolution are not enough. Maybe not, but they'll do for starters, if your brother it is an insult to asks you for tell him toget stoned. Every pow and then Roszak remembers this and pithily puts down ,the pretensions of the Warian frontier.
fifeÃ§^ssf\^'^ .te of remuneration, which is estimated a cool Â£8 per hour. Fault is found not just with lawyers ~talso with the law and the book outies a proposal for reform of the Land egistry. More immediatelyintmsting the author's advice to boycott the ticitor and either to use a cut-price inveyancingoutfit or (preferably) to . > it yourself. There follows 100 pages reasonably detailed instructionson iw to do it yourself. Conveyancing, :maintains, need be no more comicated than obtaining a passport. That ay be poetic licence but there is krtainly enough here to help all but e most visionary to do their own Ie and purchase: All you really need a clear enough head to fill in forms . id sufficient organisation to follow e instructions. And time -my expernce-isthat doing your own conveyancg always takes much more time than e seasoned conveyancer may credit Why should all .this interest readers 'Undercurrents?For one thing, we jire Iproperty-owningdemocrats now *
the psychic and physiological spin-off of the divi~Ã§etenceThey Iwm to char their sin* to mi@tetheir migraine to flirt with the joys-of the kundalini. Perhaps, besides achieving an enviable muscle tone, they even happen upon occasional intimations of samadhi. But all these achievements become barbarous triflesif we forget that yoga, like all spiritual culture, is a life discipline and a moral wisdom. While Pathanjali does not scold and bully us at length like thi preacher in the pulpit, nevertheless the severe simplicity of his one aptforism
s to Yoga and that first is famitiar breathii exercises neither nor the athletic postures that Western students start with but Yams, defined as-moralduty, "absolute rejection of violence, theft, covetousness, lying, incontinence"; the second step is 'Niyuma: purity, cheerfulnes~,simplicity, study and reverence.) Roszak writes: "%relytoomany Western practitionep of yoga are w i n g trivial games with
makes his meaningclear to all but the wilfully ignorant On the way to samadhi, there are eight steps, and the first of these is moral conduct And again I wonder: i f we take the instruction at its full value, who amo us in a lifetime of striving, will ever mount and surpass that first step." In sum, this is oneman's honest account of the confusionof his travels in the 'realms of gold' that seasoned Aquarians may find useful but which will only confuse and irritate the neophyte, whoshould stick to Colin Wilson. A t least Wilson has learnt how to write. *
Roses ;The Political Economy of Science;
a swashbuckling critique of elitist science
- which earned him a half dozen or so sour letters in the columns of the New . Scientist, which recently printed an
edited version of this chapter. And of course there is Joseph Needham's excellent essay on Chinese science, part of which we reproduced in Undercurrents
'common desire' o f the movement that i s "to work towards a new society where a new science and technology can serve the interests of all the people". Wha disagreements might emerge woutd probably be about the practical means of attaining these goals, and the extent to which theorisingcan contribute to what i n the end must be a matter of grassroots organisation and struggle. Obviously action must be guided by theory, but theory must also be tested and grow out of practice.-The two must be i n dialectical interaction. Whether thesebooks will aid this process remains to be seen. Dave Elliott
The Radlcalisat/onof Science; edited by Hilary Rose and Steven Rose Macmillan. 218 & 205 p w s . Each Â£1hb & Â£3-9p h 18'All in it is a valuable collection, The radical science movement has, say .representing the state of political conthipfidttors in the (common) introduction - sciousness prevalent in the radical science to these books, for too long relied on "a movement today. You may not agree with -cheerful and energetic eclecticismi'. There if all - and you may ask for more action is, they argue, an urgent need "to move -and less words. But Ithink we would all beyond the early, pragmatic phase" and subscribe to what the Roses state i s the for the development o f theory to guide the various campaigns and struggles engagable to mother, baby and attendant staff. ed in by activists. I hope that this book will stimulate The Roses argue that it is vital to women to look for a positive experience produce an analysis of the ideological in labour and childbirth. I have reservarole of science to complement the more tions about the author's style and hope j" familiar analysis of the role of science and that t h i s will not scare off the mass of L technology in the material world. In ordinary women whocould so well ; Marxist terms, they suggest we need to Naturebirth, Dame Brook. 292 pages. benefit from what she has to say. ' Penguin. 90p. consider science's 'superstructural' Liz Harrie functions as well as its application as part 6 of the infrastructure or 'base' of society. In her introduction Danae Brook Science, they point out."spans both base -recounts her own three very different and superstructure; it has both a producexpereinces of childbirth from which she ; tive and an ideological role", and, rather - became convinced of the basic rights of than infrastructuredetermining the women t o produce their children happily content of the ideological superstructure, and free from fear. She examines the as some mechanistic versions of Marxism* present male dominated medical scene, suggest, the two interact. Ã including recent research by Dr. Leboyer Marxists have tended to focus their and others', and evaluates the argument^ analysis mainly on infrastructural relations for and against hospital deliveries. - because these are more concrete than The second part o f the book consuperstructural relations. As the Roses centrates on self-help during pregnancy say "ideology is o f its nature mystifying, and delivery. Personal care, diet, relaxaWhere the sharpness of the contradictions tion and breathing, including a detailed . * within the capitalist mode of production - description o f the method taught by the continually force themselves into the National Childbirth Trust, choice of consciousness of the worker, the Very doctors, hazards o f pregnancy, drugs and role o f ideology i s to obscure these conbreastfeedingare all discussed. This leads tradictions and diminish the level of o n t o a description of the progress o f consciousness". Which makes it all the normal labour and how the application o f more vital to face the difficult task of relaxation and breathing techniques providing analysis of superstructural learned during pregnancy can be invalurelations. Nowhere i s the difference between the two realms of analysis made more visible than i n the chapteron the contradictions of science and technology in the production sector by Mike Cooley, which, being -grounded in the material relations on the book was compiled, are gathered here. rbe Way out. Margaret Smith and David. shop floor, conveys a sense of sharp The book contains articles on PhilosoPress. 242pp~ reality inevitably missing i n most of the Cross'eyphies, Scenes, Self.Evolution, Education, .$A 6.95: Distributed inE~~~~~by 1fis other contributions. Spirituality, verlag,~ ~ ~ h6, 6393 ~ Wehrt a ~ ~ ~Health, t Politics, ~ ~ Communi~ Nevertheless, there i s plenty of meat cations and Institutions, Living Styles, hein 2, West Germany. here, assuming you have the, perseverance Living Structures and Resources. to struggle through some fairly turgid Australia has wide open spaces and a Politics and large Radical Movements writing. The Roses' 1972 account of the hot climate, but most of i t s fertile land are given light treatment, the accent recent history of BSSRS et a1 (with a i s concentrated on the Eastern and being on small self-running groups and postscript bringing it up to 1976) reports Southern seaboards. As you go away self-development. Much space i s given some ideological developments (and from the Great Dividing Range and the to the Nimbin festival, a week-long gossip) which p a y be of interest-to coast, it becomes drier, ending in scrub coming-together of alternative living those who have npt followed the internal and desert. Most people live in the that became a landmark or jumping-off discussions within BSSRS. The bulk of industrial cities where the alternative point in many people's lives. the rest o f the essays deal with issues society was born and nurtured by dope One word of warning: the group I related to the life sciences. For example, and the Anti-Vietnam movement. Later, was involved with, Link-Up, a communif you missed it when (t came round your in disgust at cities, fumes, dope and ity help and information centre, crashed way last time, trrf celebrated (or notorother hippies, some moved to the through internal self-contradiction, ious) 'Lyysenko Affair' gets a replay. I-iowcountry to grow organic vegetables on which makes the article we wrote rather ever there are also articles on physics and ten-acre plots. Others stayed in the city embarrassing reading. Perhaps other ideas ecology - the latter being Enzensberger's and founded social-action groups, free were also too idealistic? A follow up on excellent 'Critique of Political Ecology' schools, health centres and so on. how varied ideas and communities have first published (in English) in New Left The stories, critiquesand visions o f ^progressed, and the mistakes made, .Review il*& baeki- Andre Gorz presents vatjpus~~ogle,,as of 1974 when this would be interesting. . Chris@xs
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ititl t h i n k o f t h e f u t u r e in terms o f mega-machines and 6 ' F a r p e o p l e V, aM^powerful bureaucracies, Radical Technology w i l l be an eye-opener. It proves what many futurists, ecologists and philosophers have been saying: There is an alternative. Radical Technology offers a fresh way t o t h i n k about tomorrow. Nothing c o u l d he m o r e useful." Alvin Toffler
Practical Methane The Practical Building o f Methane Power Plants by L. John Fry i s generally
acknowledged to be the best book on small-scale methane generation yet written.
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, Â£3.25 Pantheon Books, New York, $5.95), 304pp, A 4 illustrated, index. Available direct from Undercurrents Books, 11 Shadwell, Uiey, Dursley, Gloucestershire, GL11 5BW, England, for Â£3.5 including postage by surface mail. Order your copy now! Radical Technology is a large-format, extensively illustrated collection of original articles concerning the reorganisation o f technology along more humane, rational and ecologically sound lines. The many facets of such a reorganisation ar4
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CONTENTS 1. How it all started 2. Building a vertical drum digester 3. Top loader digester 4. First full-scale digester 5. Solution t o 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 11. Digester operation 12. Economics of digestion 13. Gas and gas usage 14. Sludge and sludge use IS.Safety precautions 16. Quesths and answers 17. Digesters today and tomorrow 18. Glossary of terms, bibliography The Practical Building of Methane Pow Plants is available from Undercurrents Books at the special price of Â£3.3
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Unden-mients7 Communicationsl m e Telephone Tapping & Mail Opening/Phone Phreaks/TV Spy Cameras/ Peopids Radio Primer/Other London UndergroundIHam RadioICable TeBW
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Undercurrents 15 'Who Needs Nukes?' Issue Insulation vs. Nuclear Power/Towards a Non-nuclear Future/AT & Job Creation/Production for Need/Biodynamic Gardening/Radical Technology/Invertor Design Undercurrents 16 Special Habitat Issue Garden ViUaeesIWood Food GuideIDIY New TownsISelf-sufficient Solar ~errac;s/~ifespan/~y-passing the Planners/Citizens3Band Undercurrents 17 Inner Technology Issue Computer Ley Hunt/Dowse-It-Yourself/Kulian PhotographyIChristopher Wren's BeehiveISaving Your Own Seedmomen & AT/ Terrestrial Zodiacs Undercurrents 18 Intermediate Technology Issue IT & the Third World/Chinese Science/IT & Second Class Capital/ Supennacker Cartoon/Leyhunting: the Lineal DreamIHow to Make a Ley Detector
UNDERCURRENTS 4 : The fabled mag in a bag A limited number of these collector's items are available on a first come, first served basis at the ripoff price of 50p each. Apart from the naked lady on the cover, Undercurrents 4 contained articles on: the Street Farm; Concorde; Alternative Scotland; DIY Chemical Manufacture; the Chile Community; and 'Hidden' Switzerland. There's also an interview with Murray Bookchin and thoughts on Velikovsky Note that Undercurrents 4 is not part o f our half price back number specftj offer.