Forum Replies Created
To continue this very grave discussion, Edinburgh's Old Calton Cemetry, has a monument depicting Lincoln. This was the first statue to an American President in any country outside of the USA. It is the only monument to the American Civil War outside the USA.http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/660/660,1213389420,73/stock-photo-memorial-in-old-calton-burial-ground-edinburgh-scotland-raised-in-remembrance-of-scottish-13716598.jpg It too like Glasgow has a Martyrs Monument remembering Thomas Muir and others organising for political rights.
Another link which analyses the feasability of fracking financially, describing it as an investment bubble, and that its practical possibilities are much less than what is imagined. I do like the description of fracking as "pump and dump"http://www.countercurrents.org/greer020313.htm
i thought that this link broadened the issue of the bias of scientific approach and the political bias is not restricted to the hard science but also a question for the social sciences. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/02/amazon-rainforest-tribe-yanomami-anthropologists"many anthropologists are ignoring the pursuit of pure research in favour of becoming activists for the civil rights of their subjects." Versus "Chagnon's work has been used throughout the years – and could still be used – by governments to deny the Yanomamö their land and cultural rights."March 2, 2013 at 9:13 am in reply to: ‘Ten wasted years? The anti-war movement since Iraq’ #92289
"Marches and demonstrations could never, in and of themselves, stop imperialist war. What was needed was a patient argument with the movement that capitalism itself engenders war"Needless to say this is exactly what the SPGB has always said, yet where is the credit due. If someone attends, I hope this is pointed out. We can offer chapter and verse of leaflets and articles that put this argument at the forefront.
Are you sure the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet candidate Ray Hall who received almost 4 times the TUSC vote wasn't another trot with a new transitional demand programme?
Further to above on what Adam calls the hired guns of science.On January 17, 2011, Dr. Don Huber outlined the dangers of approving Roundup Ready alfalfa in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack. Huber requested that approval be delayed until independent research could evaluate the risks. Huber is professor emeritus at Purdue University. He has been a plant pathologist and soil microbiologist for a half century. He has an international reputation as a leading authority. In the US military, he evaluated natural and manmade biological threats, such as germ warfare and disease outbreaks and retired with the rank of Colonel. For the USDA he coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens Committee. In other words, he is high up in his scientific profession. Vilsack ignored the letter and accommodated Monsanto’s desire for monopoly profits that come from the company’s drive to control the seed supply of US and world agriculture by approving Roundup Ready alfalfa.Monsanto disputes Huber’s claims and got support for its position from the agricultural extension services of Iowa State and Ohio State universities. The question raised is whether these are independently funded services or corporate supported, and there is always the element of professional rivalry, especially for funding, which comes mainly from agribusiness. Monsanto is sufficiently powerful to prevent any research other than that which it purchases with its funding.A submission to the Environmental Protection Agency by 26 university entomologists describes the constraints that agribusiness has put on the ability of independent scientists to conduct objective research. The submission, in which the scientists are afraid to reveal their names because of the threat of funding cutoffs, is included as an item in one of the bibliographical references below. Here is the statement: “The names of the scientists have been withheld from the public docket because virtually all of us require cooperation from industry at some level to conduct our research. Statement: Technology/stewardship agreements required for the purchase of genetically modified seed explicitly prohibit research. These agreements inhibit public scientists from pursuing their mandated role on behalf of the public good unless the research is approved by industry. As a result of restricted access, no truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions regarding the technology, its performance, its management implications, IRM, and its interactions with insect biology. Consequently, data flowing to an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel from the public sector is unduly limited.”http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/26/one-nation-under-monsanto/And further to fracking technology we have stated it has to be treated as an industry and not just as a technique. Part of the necessary process includes the use of crystalline silica sand. A fracked well could use anywhere from 2 million to 5 million pounds of sand. Western Wisconsin has at least 60 industrial sand mines. The airborne dust eminating from mining for frac sand can lead to silicosis for miners working on site and little is known about its effect on people who live near mine sites. "People here say this is an issue of property rights, that they can do what they want with their land," Ken Schmitt, a cattle farmer."Fighting this just seems so hopeless The companies just have so much money. They can just buy everybody. It seems like nothing can stop them." said an anoymous cranberry farmer.http://www.desmogblog.com/2012/11/20/la-times-covers-sand-land-ecological-hazards-frac-sand-mining-wisconsinAnd then of course there is the gas pipeline problems.http://www.desmogblog.com/who-monitoring-fracking-wells-and-pipelines-nobodyWhile coal and oil certainly pose their own health and climate disadvantages and the nuclear power stations have their own risks, it is important to recognise that fracked gas/oil is also a dirty fossil fuel . Why should we trust those companies with a proven track record of deceit to tell the truth on fracking. Given the uncertainties surrounding the impact of fracking surely it is only prudent at this point for socialists not to be seen aligning themselves too much with the proponents of it. That requires a non-neutral stance in our propaganda, indeed one of a scepticism. Better safe than sorry, to once again offer simple definition of the precautionary principle.
Just to complement what Adam was saying.Technology is often seen as either the salvation or the scourge of humankind. Some of us incline to be technophiles and others technosceptics and others a mix of both. It is neither possible nor desirable to abolish technology. What is required is to change the basis of society so that technology can be developed and applied in the interests of the majority.Neither fracking nor genetic modification are pre-requisites for socialism. Socialism will take, adapt and use technology as it finds it. What socialism must do,however, is change our relationship with our tools, so that we can take control of our own destinies.In science good ideas are often not taken seriously enough when they come from people of low status in the academic world; conversely, the ideas of high-status people are often taken too seriously. The scientific method suffers because science is organised hierarchically.Another problem with science in capitalism is that scientists have mortgages to pay, so they need to chase funding because they can't afford to work for free."Science uses commodities and is part of the process of commodity production. Science uses money. People earn their living by science, and as a consequence the dominant social and economic forces in society determine to a large extent what science does and how it does it." (The Doctrine of DNA by R.C. Lewontin.)
"I don't think Paddy was laying down Party policy."What I was questioning was this statement. "Pathfinders attempts to represent a socialist view of science, and a scientific view of socialism, in accordance with the Party’s view that we should try to form our ideas based on the best available evidence, not on our own preferences, or appeals to authority or peer groups" by Paddy. I see a certain ambiguity since it may exclude contrary opinions within the party and it is why I said "inferred" and not actully accused him of "laying down" a party-line.If something is destructive to society, such as war/pollution or detrimental to our ability to make the case for the socialism, such as repression, our message is foremost to "end it now", to stop it, as i said. We acknowledge it will not be a permanantly cure for the problem but recognise the priority of that immediate demand to spare suffering. I extend that to certain applications of technologies that are damaging to workers and/or nature. We are not morally pleading to the capitalist's better judgement but making a call to action by workers to stop it. Our sympathetic participation in peace or environmental campaigns is implicit when we expose the causes and explain the solution. It is semantics to say we do not get involved in campaigns. What we rightly do is stand aside from allying ourselves with political enemies with a different agenda.The fact that such calls may benefit certain section of capitalists, as you say the EU protectionist wing, is irrelevant since the primarily concern of ourselves is the condition of the worker and the struggles they engage in to better those. It would be stupidity for us to caution workers against health and safety on the grounds that employers declare it may increase the competitive advantage of economic capitalist rival in more lax regulated foreign country. With GM farmers – and I think we know my concern is not with agri-business conglomorates – are not benefiting materially and are indeed suffering from the introduction of GM. It is not whether it is safe or not as I repeatedly say but the socio-economic impact it has. Therefore I do think the socialist position is to take sides with our fellow workers endeavouring to limit the extent of its influence. Also as I said in a previous post, here or on WSM, we have to be honest and candidly say, as we do with trade unions, that it is ultimately a lost cause because capitalism has the power and the control to impose its will, so success means being only a delay or better compensation.Anyways, I find this "controversery" more worthy than certain others currently being aired on the discussion forum!! Hopefully, neither of us consider it a resignation issue!! To turn around Paddy's and your position, if we cannot guarantee fracking to be safe we will not use it in socialsm. I much prefer that emphasis and one we all agree upon.
Further to the above.Capitalism means that the investment flows to the more profitable proposition. By looking at market expectations reflected in prices of publicly traded securities, the time horizon until the appearance of new technologies related to replacement of nonrenewable resources will be 131 years.http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es100730q#showRefThe up-front energy investment in renewable energy infrastructures has not been visible. In the world of economics of a world in deep recession the substantial financial investment needed to carry out an energy replacement crash program will be very hard to scrape together. The existing energy company interests ALL have powerful lobbies to ensure they receive investment, both private and government. The "West Coast Clean Economy" report states "…distortions of the energy marketplace that have artificially lowered the true costs of fossil fuels serve as disincentives to the deployment of renewable and clean energy technologies." http://www.globeadvisors.ca/market-research/west-coast-clean-economy-study.aspx Based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it would take more than 70 years to replace the world's current electrical generating capacity with renewables including hydroelectric, wind, solar, tidal, wave, geothermal, biomass and waste at the rate of installation seen from 2005 through 2009.Even so, within the constraints of capitalism, in 2009 about 16% of global final energy consumption came from renewables. Germany using solar, wind and other alternatives generate 25 percent of its electricity today. Wind power 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark and 18% in Portugal.However if we look at study co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, we find we could accomplish converting the world to clean, renewable energy sources and forgoing fossil fuels relatively quickly."Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources," said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. "It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will."And the time-scale to accomplish this? By 2030, all new energy generation would come from wind, water and solar, and by 2050, all pre-existing energy production would be converted as well."We wanted to quantify what is necessary in order to replace all the current energy infrastructure – for all purposes – with a really clean and sustainable energy infrastructure within 20 to 40 years," said Jacobson. "It would require an effort comparable to the Apollo moon project or constructing the interstate highway system. But it is possible, without even having to go to new technologies," Jacobson said. "We really need to just decide collectively that this is the direction we want to head as a society." http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/january/jacobson-world-energy-012611.htmlA 2010 study estimated that Australia could transition to 100% renewables over a ten-year period. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_developmentFor a socialist society the main solution will be energy conservation and reduction (even accepting for an increase for 3rd World users)The American Defence Department used 93% of all US government fuel consumption in 2007. In 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, if it were a country, the DoD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark. If it were a country, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just ahead of Sweden. Nigeria, with a population of more than 140 million, consumes as much energy as the U.S. military. It uses enough energy in 12 months to run the entire US urban mass transit system for almost 14 years.I need not provide the figures for other wasteful elements of capitalism, just let your imagination run wild to the things socialism would switch off.
Diatribe …hardly, Paddy. Concerns, certainly.When it come to scientific rebuttals I personally am reluctant to engage, not being a geologist, and as I explained in my GM posts i stick to the social problems where I feel I am on stronger ground. I'm guessing you aren't qualified from your own actual research and experiments yourself either so I might as well respond by relaying others opinions in the same way as yourself . "..we should try to form our ideas based on the best available evidence, not on our own preferences, or appeals to authority " I am afraid you and i have no other alternative but to appeal to other authority and our opinion is based on as you say the evidence presented by them similar to a jury when they take conflicting expert testimony in a court-case. (I won't address your fuel poverty argument, Paddy, except to say that the recent horsemeat scandal is being blamed more on workers wanting cheap prices for food because they can't afford quality so the obliging capitalist has to cut corners to oblige by increasingly adulterating the food with fillers.)This from Scientific AmericaThere is two types of fracking apparently – vertical and horizontal (or directional). Vertical has been used since the 40s, Horizontal is a relatively new technology. Unlike vertical it requires enormous volumes of water and chemicals. Huge ponds or tanks are also needed to store the chemically laden “flowback water” that comes back up the hole after wells have been fractured.The safety argument is that the shale layers can be a mile or more deep, separated from shallow aquifers by thousands of feet of rock—precisely why they have been so difficult to tap until now. Fracking may be powerful, but it’s not that powerful—not enough to blow open new fissures through that much rock, connecting horizontal well bores (called “laterals”) to groundwater near the surface. Anthony Ingraffea, an engineering professor at Cornell University and an expert on the controversial technique to drill natural gas however explains these analyses considered only single “fracks”—one water blast, in one lateral, one time. To maximize access to the gas, however, companies may drill a dozen or more vertical wells, closely spaced, at a single site. They may frack the lateral for each well in multiple segments and perhaps multiple times. “You’ve got three spatial dimensions and time” to consider, Ingraffea says. He doubts a single lateral frack can connect the shale layers to the surface. Still, he adds, “if you look at the problem as I just described it, I think the probabilities go up. How much? I don’t know.” (my emphasis and the reason some advocate caution)If fracking is taken to refer to the entire process of unconventional gas drilling from start to finish, it is already guilty of some serious infractions. The massive industrial endeavor demands a staggering two to four million gallons of water for a single lateral, as well as 15,000 to 60,000 gallons of chemicals; multiply those quantities by the number of wells drilled at one site. Transporting the liquids involves fleets of tanker trucks and large storage containers.Then the flowback water has to be managed; up to 75 percent of what is blasted down comes back up. It is laden not only with a cocktail of chemicals—used to help the fracking fluid flow, to protect the pipe and kill bacteria, and many other purposes—but often with radioactive materials and salts from the underground layers. This toxic water must be stored on-site and later transported to treatment plants or reused. Most companies use open-air pits dug into the ground. Many states require the bottoms of the pits to be lined with synthetic materials to prevent leakage. Some also require the pits to be a sufficient distance from surface water. The problem is that even when proper precautions are taken, pit linings can tear, and in heavy rains the pits can overflow. (As in nuclear energy an issue is the disposal of radioactive waste, not the actual fission). All these processes can cause accidents. “This is not a risk-free industry,” explains Terry Engelder, a hydraulic fracturing expert at Pennsylvania State University who has generally been a proponent of the process but has occasionally criticized companies involved.“There’s a real vulnerability in having chemicals at these kinds of volumes out there, but it’s more an industrial kind of threat, rather than a threat from fracking itself,” argues Val Washington, a former deputy commissioner of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.But Ingraffea sees it differently: “I just wish the industry would stop playing the game of ‘fracking doesn’t cause the contamination.’ You’ve got to drill to frack. It’s a matter of semantics and definition that they’re hiding behind.”Again the article explains how fracking can be declared safe by expertsFaulty cementing is the leading suspect in possible sources of contamination, and by industry’s definition it is not part of fracking. On the way down, any well has to pass through the near-surface layers that contain groundwater, and it could also pass through unknown pockets of gas. Drillers fill the gap between the gas pipe and the wall of the hole with concrete so that buoyant gas cannot rise up along the outside of the pipe and possibly seep into groundwater. A casing failure might also allow the chemical flowback water, propelled by the pressure released when the shale is cracked, to leak out. Cementing is the obvious “weak link,” according to Anthony Gorody, a hydrogeologist and consultant to gas companies who has been a defender of fracking. Other scientists emphatically agree. “If you do a poor job of installing the well casing, you potentially open a pathway for the stuff to flow out,” explains ecologist and water resource expert Robert B. Jackson of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Although many regulations govern well cementing and although industry has strived to improve its practices, the problem may not be fully fixable. “A significant percentage of cement jobs will fail,” Ingraffea says. “It will always be that way. It just goes with the territory.”Water resource expert Robert B. Jackson of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. analyzed samples from more than 60 private drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus Shale in northeastern Pennsylvania and the Utica Shale in upstate New York. Methane existed in 51 of the wells, but wells closer to drilling sites contained considerably more of it. Chemical analyses determined that much of the methane was of the deep, thermogenic kind rather than the biogenic kind of microbes nearer the surface.None of the samples contained fracking fluids, however, or salty brines consistent with deep shale layers. Jackson therefore thinks the likeliest cause of the contamination was faulty cementing and casing of wells. He notes another possibility: fracking may create at least some cracks that extend upward in rock beyond the horizontal shale layer itself. If so, those cracks could link up with other preexisting fissures or openings, allowing gas to travel far upward. Northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York are “riddled with old abandoned wells,” Jackson observes. “And decades ago people didn’t case wells, and they didn’t plug wells when they were finished. Imagine this Swiss cheese of boreholes going down thousands of feet—we don’t know where they are.”Yet if methane is getting into drinking water because of unconventional gas drilling, why aren’t the fracking chemicals? Here Jackson and Engelder can only hypothesize. When methane is first released from the rock, enough initial pressure exists to drive water and chemicals back up the hole. That flow subsides rather quickly, however. Thereafter, although gas has enough buoyancy to move vertically, the water does not.Still, if hydraulic fractures could connect with preexisting fissures or old wells, the chemicals could pose a groundwater risk. Fracking “out of zone” can happen. Kevin Fisher, an engineer who works for Pinnacle Technologies, a Halliburton Service firm, examined thousands of fractures in horizontal wells in the Barnett and Marcellus Shale formations, using microseismic monitoring equipment to measure their extent. Fisher found that the most extreme fractures in the Marcellus Shale were nearly 2,000 feet in vertical length. That still leaves a buffer, “a very good physical separation between hydraulic fracture tops and water aquifers,” according to Fisher.Other engineers read the same kind of evidence differently. In British Columbia, Canada, regulators catalogued 19 separate incidents of “fracture communication”—new wells that ended up connecting with other wells in ways that were not expected. In one case, the communication occurred between wells that were more than 2,000 feet apart. As the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission warned operators, “Fracture propagation via large scale hydraulic fracturing operations has proven difficult to predict.” The agency added that fracture lengths might extend farther than anticipated because of weaknesses in the overlying rock layers.Although it is very possible that gas companies have been guilty of carelessness in how they drill wells and dispose of waste, fracking technology itself may be exonerated.“We found no direct evidence that fracking itself has contaminated groundwater,” said Charles Groat of the University of Texas (UT), Austin, who led the study. The report, released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science doesn't give this form of natural gas extraction a clean bill of health. Rather, it suggests that problems aren't directly caused by fracking, a process in which water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into wells to break up deep layers of shale and release natural gas. Instead, the report concludes, contamination tends to happen closer to the surface when gas and drilling fluid escapes from poorly lined wells or storage ponds. The review acknowledges that gaps remain in our understanding of fracking, including whether the disposal of wastewater by pumping it into the ground causes small earthquakes. In addition, the cumulative and long-term impacts of this form of natural gas drilling remain unclear, especially in areas where some gas naturally escapes from below ground. “We feel hobbled by a lack of baseline information,[ http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/02/mixed-verdict-on-fracking.html ]None of this constitutes evidence that fracturing a horizontal shale layer has directly polluted an aquifer – no smoking gun – but EPA administrator Lisa Jackson added that “there are investigations ongoing.” – Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Geoffrey Thyne, a petroleum geologist at the University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, has another suggestion for sorting out the fracking puzzle: make companies put an easily identifiable chemical tracer into their proprietary fracking fluid mixture. If it turns up where it’s not supposed to, that would be a smoking gun. Thyne says introducing a tracer would be “relatively easy,” although he adds that “in general, industry does not view this suggestion favorably.” The EPA says it is “considering” the use of tracers. The agency also says that much of the information it has received about the chemicals used in fracking has been claimed as “confidential business information” by the companies involved, and therefore the EPA has not made it available to the public. (as far as i know since the article was written, tracers are still not being used)Implicating or absolving fracking, no matter how it is defined, will require more data. That’s where the EPA study comes in. The agency is examining a variety of ways in which drilling could contaminate water supplies—from unlined and leaky storage pits, to faulty well cementing, to the possible communication of deep fractures with the surface. The EPA will examine five alleged cases of groundwater contamination to determine the cause, including two in Pennsylvania. The agency will also monitor future drilling activities from start to finish at two additional sites. It will also use computer modeling to simulate what is going on deep underground, where no one can watch. Ingraffea’s advice is to develop a powerful model that can iterate a scenario of multiple wells, multiple fracks, and gas and liquid movements within a cubic mile of rock—over several weeks of drilling. “You’re going to need really big supercomputers,” he says, to determine the possibility of contamination. “You show me that, and I’ll tell you where I stand between ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ and ‘it’s happening every day.’ ” At a minimum, Ingraffea says, such models would reveal “circumstances in which gas migration is more possible, more plausible, than other situations.” That kind of model may be difficult to find. The current standard used in academia to simulate underground reservoirs—and the one that the EPA plans to use—is called Tough 2, but Ingraffea says it is not “commercial-grade.” Big corporations use their own models, and in his view “the best and the brightest in terms of people, software, instrumentation and data are all in the hands of the operators and the service companies.” Ingraffea worries that Tough 2 “would have a tough time handling all the faults and joints and fracture propagation” in detail fine enough to determine whether a discrete new pathway for unwanted flow would emerge.http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-truth-about-frackingMy opinion is if that article (2 years old) is a reflection of the current scientific standing then i believe it is supporting those of us who say lets exercise the precautionary principle and wait for all the evidence to come in. Put fracking on to the back-burner (to pun). Is it a matter of improved regulation? There is room for more research into new methods of monitoring. Surface contamination problems can probably be better controlled. When there are 2 opposing sides negotiating the data or the interpretation of the data, it becomes impossible to draw a conclusion. To return to the jury metaphor, who is more trustworthy: the environmentalists or the energy providers? Which witness has a credibility issue based on past experience? Who is going to be more objective, Greens or those who financially benefit that includes not only energy producers but also landowners who lease surface or mineral rights, the water companies and local and national governments. The best evidence conclusion for socialists, imho, is that there are still unknowns and questions to be answered.No one questions your sincerity, Paddy, when you say "It is my honest opinion that the evidence against fracking is still scanty and contradictory, and that fracking does not, at least not yet, justify the wholesale opposition it has provoked." In one sense i agree, when it comes to a scale of priority in protests, fracking isn't number one concern for me. But i think you too readily dismiss the doubts about it that do exist by alleging that it is scanty. We look at fracking as an industry not as an isolated technique of drilling. Would you endorse oil-wells in the Arctic because drilling iself won't cause any environmental damage and ignore the risks of pipeline and oil tankers accidents?You do a disservice to other comrades when you infer that Pathfinders article on fracking is party-policy.As socialists we have to raise the question for the whole rationale of why we require and need the extraordinary amounts of energy that is being used and expected to be used in the future. We have to question foremost the priorities of capitalism in satisfying that demand and the solutions they offer. I don't think the fracking Pathfinder article succeeded in doing that by presenting fracking as an option for a future socialist society. It may well be but so are many other choices.We enter a socialist society not with a blank page but with what exists now in capitalism. We have coal mines, we have nuclear power stations and we frack oil/gas. Those will be phased out, imho, as the renewables come on-stream replacing them and the waste of the capitalist economy diminishes. I do not see them multiplying. How quickly they will disappear, i just don't know. But who really can tell…the decision won't be yours or mine but democratically decided by socialists with a very different mind-set. Its all hypothetical in the end and idle speculation. Pollution by profit-greedy capitalism on the other hand is a real phenonomen we face today.
You are repeating your argument, Adam, that you made on the GM thread. That there is no alternative but to adopt fracking because of shortages in energy sources. I think it can be challenged. Just how much waste of energy exists through it being expended by the military and in capitalist competition and unnecessary production. That would be an immediate reduction in use once we sorted out the problems of poverty. In the mall's of Mumbai shop-window dummies get 24 hour access to electricity, something that most residents don't achieve. When I visited, each day the power went off for 2 hours and the apartment was on the 8th floor!!ALB wrote:"There would still be a demand for energy. Where would it come from?"
Tidal power, wave power, solar power (already, there is technically accessible solar power to cover global energy needs 3.8 times) , hydroelectric power (15 percent of that potential is currently technically accessible), geotherm power, biogas (40 percent of current usage can be accessed through today's technology), as well as wind-power (half of the current consumption can be covered with today's accessible wind power technologies). Of course, all sites require environmetal impact studies.The amount of renewable energy that is accessible through the use of current technologies adds up to 5.9 times current needs (2007), according to Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council. http://proxy.aka.gr/index.php?q=uggc%3A%2F%2Fjjj.anabgrpu-abj.pbz%2Fpbyhzaf%2F.%2F%3Fnegvpyr%3D315I am sure I can search out other figures demonstrating that alternative renewals can be phased in relatively speedily to replace fossil fuels and nuclear.The attraction of nuclear power is, of course, is its strategic value in making countries that use it energy independent something that will not be a concern for world socialism. I think it was Bill who pointed out that a practical proposal for a Mediterranean solar power grid based in North Africa was thwarted just for this reason.As for coal, Dave Douglass being an ex-miner keeps rattling on about how clean it can be in Weekly Worker, perhaps he has a point. It is still a side-issue imho like nuclear power is.But it is not only production of energy but its conservation and recycling that will increase. It is also about a certain amount of community control in energy production. Certainly we can have centralisation of power plants but we can also look forward to dispersed sources. Nobody wants all their eggs in one basket.Quote:"We should also of course criticise and expose the opposing lobbies that plead for capitalist entreprises to be allowed the freedom to do what they want in the pursuit of profit."
That statement does imply that we do take sides, in regards to Mexican or Indian small-holder farming for example where the multi-nationals are endeavouring to exploit their economic power in government and in the market to the poor's disadvantage. It is not a return to the corn law debate and free-market v protectionism. It is the vulnerable defending themselves and their communities against international land grab and industrial farming.I am reminded of the SPC article the Slave of the Farm. "Are the Socialists then opposed to the coming of a machine? Are they new Luddites? Machine breakers? Reactionaries? Indeed, No! We welcome all human inventions to displace labor. Our quarrel is a matter of ownership. Shall the machine master us, or shall we be its master? Shall the owners of this machinery, a small class of parasites, continue to hold these things so vital to our existence? "He who owns the means whereby I live, owns me." And, of course, as we shall see later, the farm slave's "ownership" over means of production is a colossal, if somewhat grim joke. To hear the tattered homesteader talk of "my farm" and "my machine" is a thing over which the gods must need laugh…We see, then, that the farmer is surrounded by enemies which he, himself, recognizes. He is acutely aware that because the masters own the railways, mills, elevators, factories, shipping, etc., they hold a gun to his head and cry: "stand and deliver!" But what he has not seen is that, because they own all these things, they own all the produce of the soil, nay, own the very farm and its machinery…The giant machines must be made servants of mankind and no longer remain life-robbing agents for a few slothful and callous idlers."That is our challenge. Not to remain neutral but to take sides in the arguments. To expose Monsanto and the fracking companies as an integral part of capitalism.Quote:"precautionary principle" would lead to complete inaction, not even having a bath or a shower in case you slipped and banged your head on the tiles causing death or brain damage. Nobody would drive a car or get on a plane. Nobody would cycle to work (in fact that is so dangerous that they probably shouldn't)."
You are just being silly now, Adam. It is just another way of saying look before you leap, test the waters, exercise caution, don't take unnecessary risks or gambles. It means supplying non-slip tiles and having temperature controls installed so you don't get scalded before giving everybody a shower-room. It means advocating cycle-lanes.Quote:"It is the slogan of conservatives who want to justify the status quo."
I interpret it to mean, don't meddle until you know what you are doing. Certain technologies should be put on hold.We are not being anti-technology or anti-science. What we are saying is capitalism is irresponsible and cannot be trusted to make potential life and death decisions in the interests of people.It is not the scientist in control of the pharmaceutical industries but the marketing department and they don't share the same ethos on safety.It is not through ignorance that the Koch brothers are financing climate change denial. They have hosts of experts informing them of the true state of affairs. They choose to deny the consequences of their industry and are prepared to sacrifice future generations for the sake of their present profits.
Another "party" fractures.http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-pirate-party-sinks-amid-chaos-and-bickering-a-884533.htmlIt even raises the same question as we have had over moderation!! But more importantly once again it is the decison making apparatus that is at issue."The party hasn't agreed on a binding online voting procedure," he says, "which means that the atmosphere among the party's membership often comes across to us a muddle of different moods. It's not possible to get a clear sense of the majorities at work." Many see the voting software Liquid Feedback, which the Pirate Party uses to gain an impression of its members' opinions, as a sign of great progress. But decisions reached using the software still aren't binding. Time and again, a majority of the party's members express support online for a particular idea, only to scrap it at the party's next real-world meeting. This confusion means that often the Pirates don't have anything to say on a variety of important issues."
"Some members argue against, for instance, GM crops and nuclear energy on principle."I'm not sure i fully understand this comment. Some of us oppose certain technological "advances" for very practical reasons, ie that they have a detrimental and deleterious effect on the well-being and welfare of workers therefore i do consider it a class issue. This is not a NIMBY issue or sectional. We oppose war on a class position for it serves the interests of our master class and the price paid is in the suffering of our fellow workers, we do not fret about the possible unemployment of soldiers and armament workers as JH rightly points out. We take a position in defence of our class. Environmental destruction and the war against Nature is as bloody as any military war with workers livelihoods and communities threatened. To say that the possibility of renewals (and conservation) can replace fossil fuels was a ridiculous proposition was itself a ridiculous claim to make.As this blog post on the Luddites points out, their position was not simplistic anti-machine (as ours is not anti-technology) but about the manner it was put to in an attack upon the conditions of the workers for the sake of profit.http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2013/01/blood-for-blood-says-general-lud.htmlThe editorial reply should have acknowledged that we do not possess a party-line on every issue and the article expressed just one view of some members.Until workers can decide without the evidence from science being distorted we must abide by the physicians "first do no harm" and exercise the precautionary principle. That is not sitting on the fence and being neutral but siding with the anti-fracking, anti-GM and anti-nuclear power in as much as we say Stop It! But as we do when we support trade unionists, our answer is the same … you will never win under capitalism and we have to explain why that is.
I suggest that the booking is done as early as possible. You may miss out if space is limited as is often the case.Surely there is no reason to wait for a campaigns committee approval and that a London branch can do this (and if necessary request re-compense from the EC).Over the years I have noticed a tendancy of London branches to conduct activity through the conduit of HO instead of acting more independently, or in direct co-operation with other London branches. Perhaps it is the small-town provincial socialist in me and i don't understand the size of the problem London faces. Just what is the purpose of individual London branches if they don't do anything as a branch?I'm surprised, Adam, that the publishers of your own book have not endeavoured to arrange a sales-pitch for it at this book-fair…perhaps it is something to do with the book wanting to abolish money (and the similarity of message to Abbie Hoffman's "Steal This Book")
We should find out the cost of the film screening.Even the play is a possibility.We should request quotes. i can think of worse ways o spending our money