It’s Called Efficiency!!!

       What have we become, or, what has capitalism made us? In capitalist terms, this maximises profit and is efficient food production.

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The Underhand Dealings To Privatise Our NHS.

     Imagine you are a sweaty hand shareholder with interests in companies that gain from the privatising of the NHS, and by design or good fortune, you find yourself in a position to direct the direction of the NHS towards privatisation, what would you do? Well knowing the greed orientated motives of such a shareholder, it is no doubt they would push for more privatisation of that NHS. Perhaps you would say that isn't fair, those people should not be influencing the direction of our NHS, but they are there, and they are influencing the direction of our NHS, they're called MPs.
      The number of MPs with interests in companies that stand to gain from slicing of sections of the health service to the private sector is considerable. Then there are those who have financial links with individuals involved in the private heath sector.
      Is it any wonder that we see approximately a further £1 billion per year of tax payers money finding its way into the private health sector, when it could be going into our NHS and patient care. The system stinks, is riddled with self interest by financially greedy individuals, by any standard it would be deemed unfair, but we tolerate it. The millionaire cabal are gleefully slicing and dicing our NHS to their own personal gain, while we pay their salaries, and suffer ever increasing strain on our health services. They stink, they are corrupt, they are greedy, they are selfish to the extreme, they are beyond any form of trust. The Westminster Houses of Hypocrisy and Corruption with its pampered, privileged, parasitic bunch of crooks and liars should be flushed down the toilet. 
     Below is just two from each of the main political parties taken from a list of 215 compiled by Social Investigation:
     With that amount of private health care interest directing our NHS, how do think it will be developed?
1. Lord Ashcroft: Conservative benches and funder - Until 2010, held investments in two private healthcare groups. From his website 'Other business interests include significant investments in healthcare.' In 2010 bought a 34% stake in The Priory for £44m.
2. Lord Ashton: Conservative - Shares in Marsh Inc insurance brokers and in Zurich Financial Services AG - In a review for the Department of Health of the NHS litigation Authority - written by Marsh Inc, it recommended involving opening up clinical negligence cover over to private insurers. Zurich Financial Insurers said they didn't have the expertise but the Marsh review envisaged opening up a dialogue which might eventually give them the information they needed. The DoH unsurprisingly accepted the large majority of Marsh's recommendations. Lord Ashton also has shares in a private dental company called Smilepod Hygiene Ltd.
1. Lord Alliance: Shares in Huntsworth plc - a company whose CEO is Conservative Lord Chadlington – which donated £15,500 to the party in August last year and has given money every year since 2008. Denied it at first but Electoral Commission found them out. The same company that had Baroness Cumberledge as one of their non-executive directors. Heavily involved in lobbying and PR.  Article on Lord Alliance here.
 2. Baroness Barker:  Director, Barker and Woodard Consulting Limited (strategic advice to charities, local authorities and companies engaged in charitable activities. Income received from the Member's work in this connection is paid to the company. Baroness Barker has 50 per cent holding in Barker and Woodard Consulting Limited.  On the websiteit says Baroness Barker and Kirsty Woodward established the company in 2008, (though her interest was registered on 26/04/12).
On a blog post on the NHS from their website it says - "As we all know, it’s incredibly difficult out there for most third sector organisations, especially for smaller locally based/funded ones, and however much many organisations in principle disagree with the changes to the NHS, most organisations are also seeing it as an opportunity to tap into health service funds.
1. Baroness Billingham: Made regular contributions to Cumberlege Eden & Partners a training company for training NHS personnel and is a political networking firm that works "extensively" with the pharmaceutical industry.

2. Lord Carter: The head of the increasingly influential Competition and Cooperation Panel, is a7n adviser to Warburg Pincus International Ltd, a private equity firm with significant investments in the healthcare industry. Chairman Patrick Carter, or Lord Carter of Coles to give him his full title, was the founder of Westminster Health Care, a leading private nursing home company. He is also the Chair of McKesson Information Solutions Ltd, which delivers IT to “virtually every NHS organisation”
Read the full list HERE:
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Workers Know Your History, Castlemilk Housing Struggle.

     History, our history, the struggle for justice and making a stand against the authoritarian institutional mentality of the state and its apparatus, is a tool kit that we can use again and again, in future struggles. We record our struggles and our children have a box of ideas to carry on that struggle, without recording our efforts, our children go naked into battle.
    That is the purpose behind the archive Spirit of Revolt, a record of the people's struggles in our own area, a wealth of ideas for future generations to take that struggle forward. Without recording our continuous struggles we become a people without a history.
      One successful struggle from the not too distant past is a rehousing issue in Castlemilk, a large housing scheme in the south of Glasgow. Taken from Strugglepedia:

Community Action – Housing ; Fire bombed close rehousing issue

Injustice/ normal channels closed / bureaucracy /desperation /solidarity with experienced anarchist strategies/ planning direct actions/ increasing the agitation/ to bring the bureaucrats to the site/ impact on people as activists

John Cooper, John Cooper Taped and scribed by A Rice 17.7.12

      May 1983 there was a group of tenants who had been burned out their tenement flats, about 4 or 5 families. There had been an empty flat on the bottom landing and someone had thrown a petrol bomb into it, - in Castlemilk – east end, and the tenants – it was lucky that no one was killed in it. The fire brigade had to be called and people had to be rescued, by the fire brigade, a lot of them suffered from smoke inhalation, there was nobody living in the bottom flat that was empty but it was petrol bombed and it nearly killed everyone else in the building.
     And they people were put in temporary accommodation only as long as it took the council to paint the close and fix up any of the burnt doors etc , and then they were told that was their houses ready and they would have to go back in. And even at that point you could still smell smoke in the whole building . But they were told that they would need to occupy the houses again because that was it and there wasn’t any other accommodation for them. And the people pointed out that not only was the place still smelled of burning but still smelling of smoke that they were terrified to return to that place again in case a similar incident happened. They pointed out that an awful lot of them had almost been killed in it.
      But the Housing Dept. was completely unsympathetic about it. And they said that that would be the only housing that they would be offered and they could take it or leave it sort of thing. So again they had went to their local Tenants Association who went up to the Housing Department with them and basically had had the wool pulled over their eyes by the housing authorities who told them there was nothing that they could do about the whole thing. And as it so happened on their way out of the Housing Dept. one of them met me and another couple of the guys that were involved in the other activities in Castlemilk and they told us about their situation and we immediately said did you go to your tenants group and they said that’s him there that’s the guy there from the Tenants Group and we quizzed him and he told us Oh the housing Association have told us that there’s nothing we can do about it and we will just have to accept it.
     And the people said to us ‘ is that right do we just have to accept that and can they force us to go back in there? ‘ And again I asked the question again ‘ Well how determined are you?’ And they said ‘well we are very determined’. And I said well you can be very determined but you might end up threatened with jail or stuff like that and the people said well, we don’t care that’s how bad we feel about the whole thing.
     So we had a wee meeting with them, a good discussion about the whole thing they were adamant that they weren’t going to return to that tenement building so we said lets try to work out a strategy of how to approach this, obviously the next stage was to go and lobby the housing dept. again and demand to see the housing manager etc. etc. but what other things can we come up with?
     Despite the fact that a lot of the people there were political activists we were honestly stumped about what to come up with – we came up with a few ideas like we will go to see the housing manager , push him etc. do this and do that, but here a wee woman one of the tenants that had been burned out her house who had never been involved in anything before stuck her hand up and timidly asked , ‘See how we are basically homeless it would be a good idea for us to get a tent and put it in the grounds of the housing department and we will just live there we will just live in the grounds of the Housing dept. right outside and we all looked at one another because it was basically one of the best ideas we had ever heard! And we thought Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant! That’s exactly what we will do.
    And we did that the next day – we went in to see the manager pointed out that the people were not going to be returning to their tenement flats, had he another offer for them and he said that he ‘was not going to use that as another excuse for queue jumping’ and for trying to get into a better part of Castlemilk or whatever, you know.
     And of course the people were really indignant about that, it had nothing to do with that they had nearly lost their lives. So after a lot of arguing with him and him just refusing to help in any way whatsoever, we went outside, we got the tent that we had brought, and we pitched the tent and a couple of these collapsible chairs people sat outside the tent on that and from then on we started making posters and notices. Fortunately the bit of ground I mention about is right outside the door of the housing on a big triangle of ground I think there was a small fence at that point that you could just step over so we had the tent pitched and we started to hand draw notices and put them up on trees explaining to people going by and everybody that was going by we were able to tell them what was going on we were able to speak to them.
      So within a couple of days we had a couple of tents and tons of hand drawn notices up. People by this time that were going up and down to the shops because the housing office is right next to the main shopping area in Castlemilk so a lot of people had to pass it anyway and go up the lane that ran from the side of the housing dept down to the shopping centre . They had become used to what was happening and some people started giving us donations of money and then food and that was growing so we made a point of that we got big buckets and advertised what was going on and so on. And one day a guy passed and said ‘see how they poor people are staying in they tents would it not be better if they had a caravan and we said that would be brilliant. He said ‘I’ve got a caravan that I can give yous’.
     Well that night when the housing department was closed they had all went to their beds we brought the caravan in and lifted it over the wee fence. So the next day when the housing department authorities came in there was a caravan in the grounds. And by this time we had started printing up posters with the housing managers face on them and other posters saying ‘ cmon gies a hoose’ which was a reference to the Boys from the Black Stuff (TV) by Yosser, his phrase was ‘Cmon gies a job’ so we changed that a wee bit and as I say we had pictures of the Housing Manager’s face his name was Mugnaioni, I think so we changed that to Buggsieoni and posing as a housing manager for Wanted Posters and we covered the area with the posters and the trees with the posters and shortly after we got the caravan we thought lets extend this lets go and get another caravan and we did that so there was basically a couple of fairly big caravans and tents and stuff like that in the housing department. And every day that that was going on we basically occupied the housing department about 30 to 40 people occupying the housing dept. petitioning to see the housing manager and ultimately they sent for the police and 3 days in a row all 30 people were arrested by the police. And the police said, ‘now you are all under arrest, now will you all walk from here to the police station which was 50 yards away or whatever and we all said no you will need to send cars and vans. So they got cars and vans from the surrounding areas to come and take us all to the police station to charge us and then let us go so we immediately went back to the housing department and occupied it again. We got great public support, we got tons and tons of money and food handed in by people. Some people that were passing ended up joining the campaign it was absolutely fantastic. We’ve got an article originally written by Jeanette McGinn for Workers City which covers the whole event. I think eventually I think it lasted six months or so. And to cut a very long story short the people that the housing manager had absolutely refused to rehouse would never rehouse they could only take that tenement block or not got rehoused in houses of their choice ultimately after 6 months of struggle and the housing manager explained to us that it could all have been resolved a lot quicker if we had not have interfered in the whole thing. Which by then we were used to hearing all that when we come into conflict with the authorities that the thing would have been dealt with quicker if we had not have been involved but in reality what that would have meant is that they would have had their way . So that was a very successful campaign
    To escalate the whole thing we were going to take one of the caravans and take it down to George Square and ram it in the door down there.
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Greece, Europe’s Brutal Fascist State.

       An extract from an article by Yannis Christodoulou translated by Anna Papoutsi, which shows the festering fungus that is the Greek judiciary and its partner the brutal corrupt police. Both the bulwarks of an equally festering and corrupt state.
 This from X-Pressed:
      It appears that in Greece, with the extreme right government, supported by the mainstream media, an EU country with maximum security prisons and concentration camps for migrants, with forced labour in vegetable fields, with prisoners tortured, and police operations like “Xenios Zeus” [3], where the suppression of rights and liberties and the rampant police abuse have become the rule, the Greek judiciary has long chosen to side with the men in blue.

Read the full article HERE:
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Death Throes Of The Last Empire.

"------If we take a look back at our normality, we see that direct violence from the State and its institutions is not the most freedom-killing one, but rather carries with it a catalytic potential for revolt. No, the worst of all, and what could make the most freedom-committed of individuals rot away in a concrete landscape, is the bureaucratically administrated power: the Job centre, the Tax office, the Social insurance authority, the Social security administration, the Migration authority, the Prison institution, the Juvenile office, the Bailiffs and all of their capitalist collaborators (career coaching firms, asylum entrepreneurs, debt collectors, “children entrepreneurs”, etc.). Together with the morals enforced by society, telling us how to act and what our obligations are as slaves; religious and patriarchal structures in families and local communities… You should want to work, but no one wants to hire you. You get a job, but you’re not paid any money. You are promised asylum, but in the end you still have to go underground. You are supposed to be eager to learn, but your intelligence is defamed. It should come as no surprise that, because of all this, a hatred towards the existent is formulated, and conscious steps are taken to attack it. Rather it is worrying that so many keep submitting to these social relations.------"

     Does the above sound familiar? Continually running up against legislation, authority and other forces of conformity, that tell you how to run your life. Constraints at every turn to keep you in your appointed niche, a position of servility, necessary for the system to function, and you know it doesn't function in your favour.

     Over the centuries, we have had civilisations come and go, they rise and they fall, and another moves in, in another place. Today is different, this is the first world wide civilisation, it covers every corner of our planet. When this one collapses, and like every other before it, it will collapse, it will be a world wide explosion. We, the ordinary people should be aware of this imminent collapse and should be preparing the alternative ways of living, here and now. The alternative will be chaos of an unimaginably brutal complexity.
     We can change the world as the present system continues on its terminal decline, but it has to be the people with their new structures, new modes of interaction, the institutions of the old order are tainted and corrupt beyond use.

       The statement quoted above is an article in response to the recent riots in Stockholm. My reason for quoting it was to highlight the fact that the discontent of the people is spilling onto the streets in country after country, that discontent can no longer be confined to the party political meetings, or the committee meetings. Riots in Sweden, as in Greece, Italy, Mexico, America, France, UK, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, the Middle East, and Asia, point to the fact that it is becoming more difficult to keep the  system functioning, In which case it will become more authoritarian, more brutal, in its death throes, as it tries to hold onto power. For us to win, we should be preparing now, for that battle to the death. We, the ordinary people have an advantage, we, unlike the present system, have the desire, and know how, to live together.
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Glasgow Events Holiday Time

Hi all, This is just a quick note to say that all of us on the Autonomy Update crew are really busy until the new year, so barring any big breaking events this list will be on holiday until then. … Continue reading

Government Drugs Chaos: The MDA is ineffective, dangerous and a breach of human rights

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I suppose it's quite natural that some of the lines of "intellectual enquiry" I've been pursuing myself since graduating are ones that came up in my degree, and especially the last year, when most "in depth" work was done. One of those is something I covered this time last year, in my module on the Political Sociology of Crime and Disorder, where for my (self-chosen) essay "Drug Control, the Harm Principle and Limits to Legitimate State Intervention" I read some work by Rutgers University philosophy of law professor Douglas Husak about how we should really frame the drugs-war debate in terms of justice rather than in trading anecdotes about the characteristics of one type of substance or another and of the possible consequences of legalization which simply cannot be predicted.

Little highlights this more starkly than the Home Office research paper "Drugs: International Comparators" which set the scene for the parliamentary debate secured by Julian Huppert, Caroline Lucas and Bob Ainsworth in the Commons on 30th October. It was an interesting angle from which to raise the hot potato that is drugs policy in a place in which populism and not a little amnesia is more likely to win an argument than rational, evidence driven debate. In a way it was quite an innocuous report. It makes no radical recommendations: indeed none at all. It simply reviews the approaches to drugs policy in several different country and, as it is interpreted anyway, concludes that Britain's criminalize and punish type of regime does no better at reducing use or harm to the individual user or to society than some other less moralizing prohibitionist approaches.

But in doing so, and in parliament's acknowledgement of the report, it seems to me that it confirms that the present system of drugs laws in this country are in fact a breach of our international obligations on human rights. That the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 is no longer, if it  ever was, compatible with UK constitutional law, and should be struck down in its entirely until a better regime can be implemented. Other, existing laws can be used to address actual harm done as a consequence of the legal production, distribution and use and yes, nobody's denying, some abuse, of psychoactive substances, or to fulfill international treaty obligations in respect of cross-border trade until new treaties can be negotiated.

Article 29 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, amongst other things, that

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

...and similar provisions are tacked onto each of the individual rights in the European Convention on Human Rights which, of course, also has the force of British law.

As Husak argues, and human rights conventions seem to support, punishing people, and restricting their rights and freedoms, is one of the worst things a state can do to its citizens and there ought therefore be a very sound grounding in justice for doing so. If even the Home Office acknowledges that our criminalize and punish drugs "control" regime is no better at "meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society" than others less punitive it seems to me to fail this fundamental test enshrined in all the human rights declarations to which we are signatories.

This is, of course, even before considering more detailed breaches of rights, perhaps based on religious belief or arguments about a right to manage one's own medical care and wellbeing, or whether the prohibitionist regime actually makes for worse "morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society", not to mention harm, which I think all pro-reform organisations would suggest.

Whether the aims of public policy - to reduce and eliminate the non medically supervised use of a rather arbitrary set of substances - are themselves capable of meeting those just requirements is for a subsequent debate, let alone how to achieve them if so in a way that is consistent with respect for the rights and freedoms not just of users of whatever choice of substance, but for the rights and freedoms of those who are affected by others' use because of the consequences of the prohibition type approach, often currently the victims of drug related crime.

As an approach to the debate on drugs law reform, it seems to me that, as Husak says, it shifts the onus of the argument onto those who defend the prohibition based regime to explain how this approach is just, and away from fundamentally unanswerable questions about and predictions of the consequences of reform. It avoids conflicting campaigning for one substance over another, for instance, or about different methods of achieving reform. The rights issue trumps them all. Husak suggests that perhaps the best argument for decriminalizing drugs is that no good argument exists for criminalizing them.

So you might think this revelation might lead to a change of strategy. Not a bit of it. On the very same day, another report recommended extending the war on drugs to declare everything illegal unless it was explicitly listed as legal: something I'd suggest overturns centuries of English law convention. "Conservatives" eh? You got to love them dontcha?

Unofficially Qualified.

       We all struggle for "freedom" or our own idea of what that "freedom" is likely to be. The usual mantra is get "qualified" seek "higher education" and reap the rewards. I personally have always given the established education system a wide berth, that doesn't mean I haven't read a lot, on a wide range of subjects, but it has always been the subject matter that I wish to pursue, at the rate I wish to travel and to the depth I wish to take it. I long since accepted that the more I engage with the established system of "learning", the less likely I am to be free. Establishment figures putting the stamp of approval on my achievements would seem to saying that I have fitted into the mould in the way that I think. I have done the accepted things,I am now one of them. Hardly sounds like the bugle call to freedom

This from ClubOrlov:

What this means in practice, for me at least, is that as soon as it starts looking like I am heading in the direction of acquiring a specific job title or job description, or getting involved in something that might require registration, certification or licensing, then I need to backtrack or head in a different direction for a bit, until everybody loses interest. In doing so I sometimes forgo some opportunities for an increased income, but that is the price of freedom. 
Read the full article HERE:

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Jock’s Jottings?

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So, for a while now I have been posting quite infrequently. I've been tending to use things like Facebook and Twitter for quick rants at events and discussions. And since my degree, during which most of my blog posts were researched, more or less polished pieces of academic work, I've somehow been trying to emulate that standard. Jolly good practice some of you may say. But actually, without the academic deadlines, many things that could have made half decent op-ed type blog posts have withered, half written and never satisfying my high bar to posting.

But I do want somewhere to collect my thoughts, discoveries and notes and have the odd rant, and I never really got into any of the link sharing sites or whatever. So from now on, partly in a bid to prevent my now terminally bored two readers from leaving completely by posting more frequently, and partly for my own use later if I want to work up any of these posts into something bigger, more formal or better researched, I might just post up here various jottings alongside the less frequest "op-ed" or "essay" type pieces I want to write.

Sometimes they may be notes for something I do want to work up later, sometimes half formed arguments or comments on some story I've picked up or something I've been reading, sometimes just ejaculations of frustration at something going on in the world or my life! And all with an aim of keeping me writing, of feeling that I've done something and not just left things unfinished. Either way, if they entertain or inform anyone else, all to the good, but they're really just my way of keeping things together and trying to encourage me to keep writing.

Amongst the subjects I've been getting exercised about, or getting into studying in more depth, and which will probably feature more often are land and rights, particularly looking at how a sort of a Land Value Tax equivalent might occur in a stateless society; drugs focusing on rights based arguments for legalization instead of the usual harm and consequences angle that hampers debate currently; thinking more about financing education following on from my dissertation and because an exciting project has come up that I will probably mention nearer the time; and getting my Oxfordshire Community Land Trust project to develop six affordable homes in Oxford up and built.

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TTIP = Corporatism.

          We all know, or we should by now, that TTIP is corporate domination being sorted out behind closed doors, by the private club of corporate parasites and corrupt politicians. It will lead to the privatis…

Continue reading at annarky's blog. …