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About

I come from Cape Town, South Africa, but I live in Glasgow, Scotland.

I work for a trade union, and write a lot about union issues. I have also been a journalist, a trainer, a barista and a lot of other things. This is a personal website not related to my job, and it mostly deals with politics, from a non-dogmatic Left wing perspective.

I believe that the world is in crisis: this crisis affects every facet of life on Earth, from climate change and peak oil to exploitation, racism and sexual violence, from cultural, spiritual and material poverty to the alienation we feel from our ourselves, each other and the planet.

I don’t believe there is a solution for this crisis within capitalism. I also don’t believe that the communism of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others is the solution: both are predicated on the Earth having infinite resources, and both are hierarchical and prevent people from fully realising themselves.

I don’t have a blue print for political change, but I do believe in working with like-minded people to bring about the best possible world. I am not sure if this will happen through revolution or transition, but we need democratic control of the world’s finite resources so that we can develop sustainable ways of meeting everyone’s need.

I am inspired by the development of Open Source software, the Creative Commons movement, and crowdsourcing in general. For me, this demonstrates what human cooperation can achieve. I think Windows is a perfect metaphor for Capitalism – unstable and unjust. To extend the IT metaphor, I believe we need to develop an Open Source political system that emphasises cooperation and collectivity.

When I am not feeling political, I am also interested in culture, particularly music, film, books and contemporary art, malt whisky and beer. You may find occasional posts on these subjects too.

Comments are welcome, but please try to actually engage with the issues. Obnoxious and offensive comments may be deleted. This is my website – if you want to be mean, get your own!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 12:57 pm

    You say:

    “I also don’t believe that the communism of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others is the solution: both are predicated on the Earth having infinite resources, and both are hierarchical and prevent people from fully realising themselves.”

    Do you mean just the communism of those long dead russians or communism in general?

    I think you are being unfair on the enviromental record of the Soviet Union. Right from the word go Lenin cared deeply about ecology. In fact, the Communist Party issued a decree “On Land” in 1918. It declared all forests, waters, and minerals to be the property of the state, a prerequisite to rational use.

    The creation of “zapovedniki”, or “nature preserves” ensured that on these areas there would be no shooting, clearing, harvesting, mowing, sowing or even the gathering of fruit. The argument was that nature must be left alone. That all species, flora and fauna would maintain the “natural equilibrium [that] is a crucial factor in the life of nature.”

    Huge parts of the country became free from commercial development and tourism. The “zapovedniki” were intended for nothing but ecological study. Scientists sought to understand natural biological processes better through these living laboratories

    Despite the backward economy of the country the Soviet Union attempted to create sustainable development. The concept of “kombinirovanaia produksia” (combined production) wad employed when the nation first industrialized. In later years “Bezotkhodnoyi tekhnologii” or waste-free technology was developed in order to reduce the impact of growth on nature.

    Similarly, while racist assumptions are produced about China, the country is attempting to reverse the enforced economic backwardness of colonial times in hand with the protection of the enviroment. This has proved to be increasingly successful.According to the World Bank, ‘China is one of a few countries in the world that have been rapidly increasing their forest cover. It is managing to reduce air and water pollution.’

    As well as sewage and rubbish treatment facilities and other pollution control, the country;s green belt has been expanded by forest planting programs. Not to mention the investment in renewable energy technologies, ensuring that China produces more wind turbines and solar panels each year than any other country.

    China has also taken massive steps towards population control, halting the unsustainable increase in the human population of this planet. Even the small things like the 2008 ban on free plastic bags demonstrate’s China’s green commitment.

    It is clear that the uncontrollable, insatiable hunger that drives capitalist development is the biggest threat to the enviroment. While communist nations have encountered many problems with developing their economies, they have demonstrated an ability to stride forward with green initiatives. I think we need a debate about what kind of economic and political system can prevent climate change. For what it is worth, I also think that capitalism holds no answers and that only a socialist system does.

    I think it is a mistake to write off communism entirely. The only thing that can prevent climate change is a centrally planned economy, only communists have consistently demonstrated a commitment to such policies.

  2. February 16, 2012 11:07 am

    Walton Pantland, I am looking to create a post-Industrialist mindset social and economic exchange network that seems generally consistent with your views as expressed in “Why I closed my Facebook account”. One of the models I am looking at to see how this new era platform can best be applied to the Net is the ancient practice of euergetism, as well as the ekistic principles of C.A. Doxiadis and what he sees will be the inevitable city of the future, the Ecumenopolis. I would be pleased to hear your feedback to some of the ideas I am working on (as seen via my blog), so I can make best response to your considered perspective.

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