Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 08, 2010 12:23AM

Graham S,

Apologies for my scornful tone but the endeavour does strike me as unrealistic. Any widescale attempt at changing policies for towns and cities--so that all can transition--would require radical central government intervention and enforcement.

Having been a member of the UK Green party in the early nineties, I am aware of the paltry influence that such groups can bring to bear on central government policymaking. Almost 20 years on and we've just aquired the first Green MP.
Incidentally, I let my membership lapse when I realised that a large proportion of my fellow members were in favour of circling the wagons for that back-to-the-land idyll--for themselves and their fellow superior beings alone.

I can see why such groups are fertile ground for Steinerians and Anthroposophists, they are already self-selected as potential saviours of the earth.

And if the Anthro's are looking for political power then they have lucked into the status fears of the middle class as a lever to aquire such political power.

I share your unease at the malign cult influence making inroads into these groups but there was always a distinct strand of facistic thinking apparent in them to begin with.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2010 12:26AM by Stoic.

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Graham S ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:19AM

"Any widescale attempt at changing policies for towns and cities--so that all can transition--would require radical central government intervention and enforcement"

Yes I am inclined to agree- I think this recent post by Greer sums it up quite well (though I dont agree of course with his spiritualist stance!):


See also my favourite PO blogger Dmitri Orlov for a more sideways look at what we might be in store for and how to prepare:


see slide No.20 "Collapse or Transition?"

"I share your unease at the malign cult influence making inroads into these groups but there was always a distinct strand of facistic thinking apparent in them to begin with."

This might need more exploration- it is not just the Anthros for sure, there is lots of other new Age influences;
do you think that environmentalism per se tends towards the fascistic? Need it be inevitably elitist?
What about social ecology etc?
Greer essentially is advocating permaculture and appropriate technology on a small scale- is this the same thing without the meetings, ie is it still elitist?
If political action is so flawed, what is the alternative?

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 08, 2010 05:58AM


Steiner racism & state funding – Tories offer SWSF lessons on spin

Oswald Mosely anyone?

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 08, 2010 03:51PM

'Oswald Mosely anyone?'

We have been lucky so far that a sufficiently charismatic leader has yet to arise to marshall these 'Little Englander' fears into a cohesive political stance.

There is a comforting assumption amongst Brits that 'it couldn't happen here--we're nice people' but Mosely had a lot of monied support from the aristocracy and influential business leaders and the tide did not begin to turn until there were massed street battles between his supporters and the 'lower orders' of outraged working class and immigrants.

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Nick Nakorn ()
Date: July 08, 2010 09:18PM

An excellent point; it would not take much to persuade otherwise peaceful people to turn their frustrations into violent action. It is a common fiction that the British are 'not like the Germans' and that 'it couldn't happen here'. I firmly believe that no society is impervious to the mobilisation of fascistic forces and that is is the job of rational people everywhere to constantly oppose such forces wherever they might be found.

There's a suprising amount of Mosely footage on Youtube, such as:


and though I had seen most of it before in my youth (I was born only 20 years after the Cable Street riots so it was all contemporary history when I was growing up), it is always worth reminding ourselves of Brtains home grown fascist movement.

If one looks at the inroads that Biodynamics has made in Africa and South America, one might also question the colonial assumptions being propogated by the anthroposophical racial hierarchy in relation to modern apologists for fascism. The similarity between the Blood and Soil rhetoric of Mosely and Steiner is remarkable. Have a look at:


and you'll see what I mean. By the way, I see much of Big Ag as having similar attitudes and their global hegenomy concerning food supply is almost complete; Biodynamics is not an answer to colonialism but a supporter of it.

Best wishes


Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 08, 2010 09:24PM

Re the "Steiner racism & state funding – Tories offer SWSF lessons on spin",

while not decrying the dangers of state funded Steiner schools, this proposal of state funding is on offer to all currently independent schools- Muslim, RC, CofE, industry funded academies and parent-led schools that might be set up in the future- and has more to do with the Tories wishing to avoid the responsibilities of providing a state education than a dastardly plan to promote Steiner racism.

How they are going to ensure compliance with equality laws already on the statute books with such diverse ideologies running state funded schools has yet to be revealed. (and is probably yet to be considered in this age of political policies designed to make a good TV news soundbite)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2010 09:43PM by Stoic.

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 08, 2010 11:28PM

For some insights into early history of British fascism, get and read 'The New Meaning of Treason' by Rebecca West and read the chapters on William Joyce (aka Lord Haw Haw) (The first edition contains the information on Mosley and Joyce. The later editions of this excellent book, give coverage of the trials for later treason and security leak cases, up to the Profumo scandal of the early 1960s.

Rebecca West, who lived in Britain during this period wrote:

(British" Facism had sprung up because people, who, living in an established order, had no terror of disorder, had read too much in the newspapers about Mussolini and Hitler, and thought it would be exiting to create disorder on the same lines.' (page 48)

(Corboy notes: Perhaps, perhaps way to put it is, those who have lived, buffered by the peace and order provided by a democratic and open society, and have never seen at first hand, the horrors of riot and civil disorder talk cheerily or think calmly about teh possibility of castastrophe and imagine it to be quite survivable, if one just plans for it.)

The New Meaning of Treason is a valuable resource for students, though one must always read other contemporary sources too.

West, in the introduction, wrote:

'I was encouraged to make a an eminent lawyer who was concerned because the shortage of newsprint due to the war meant that these trials were either not reported, or were reported too briefly for the public to gain real information regarding a significant tendency. When I began my book (covering William Joyce) I was under the impression that I was dealing with a spent force only interesting as part of the past, but when I was halfway through it, Alan Nunn May followed William Joyce into the dock of the Old Bailey, and I became aware that the force still lived, and that its significance was even more grave than had been supposed.'

Introduction, page vii The New Meaning of Treason, Viking Press, New York, 1964)

West was concerned about a trend in which persons considered themselves no longer bound to loyalty towards their nation, but entitled to betray the welfare of their nation in service to an ideology (fascism, communism) whose claims transcended national
boundaries, was global and denied the inherant dignity of the ordinary human person.

Today, globalism is more of a force than ever before, linked with concerns for the planet.

Concern for the planet is valid. But it has to be linked with care and concern for the inherant dignity of the ordinary, untransformed human person, no matter what his or her gender, social class, or ethnicity.

The Fourth of July has just passed.

'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men were created equal.'

Nothing in here about some person's karma being better than others.

And for those in the Isle of Britain, here's another way of putting it, from a fellow who
was a son of the soil and a prince of poetry.


A Man's a Man for A' That

By Robert Burns, 1795

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an a' that!
Our toils obscure, an a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodding grey, an a' that?
Gie fools their skills, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
Their tinsel show, an a' that,
The honest man, tho e'er sae poor,
Is king o men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord,'
Wha struts, an stares, an a' that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
His ribband, star, an a' that,
The man o independent mind,
He looks an laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Their dignities, an a' that,
The pith o sense an pride o worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that),
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2010 11:36PM by corboy.

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 09, 2010 04:25AM

To whom it may concern:

dsm has been banned from this message board.

Rick Ross

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 09, 2010 10:35PM

Graham S,

A very interesting link to cluborlov, and I can't pretend to have any workable answers to the difficulties that we face.
I haven't taken much interest in the peak oil debate as I have long since shed a high energy lifestyle as a matter of personal choice rather than political conviction. I live a very frugal and low impact life but still depend on an intact infrastructure for clean water, electricity etc. and the maintenance of that infrastructure is still heavily oil dependent.

I don't see that my efforts will save the planet or even myself, and while I have good relations with my neighbours none of them are keen to emulate my lifestyle. I am sure that they privately consider me a bit cracked.

Its increasingly obvious to me that we are headed into very turbulent times and that planning for such an uncertain future is a bit pointless. A workable plan requires at least an intimation of the possible future circumstances that the plan is intended to help with and we are in uncharted waters there.
That said, human beings have thrived for centuries without the oil-dependant industrial advantages of the last few hundred years and we can learn to live differently once again.

This might need more exploration- it is not just the Anthros for sure, there is lots of other new Age influences;
do you think that environmentalism per se tends towards the fascistic? Need it be inevitably elitist?
What about social ecology etc?
Greer essentially is advocating permaculture and appropriate technology on a small scale- is this the same thing without the meetings, ie is it still elitist?
If political action is so flawed, what is the alternative?

I don't think that environmentalism tends inherently towards facistic thinking or is inevitably elitist but it does seem to have been somewhat hijacked in the UK by those who deem themselves to be uniquely placed to have all the answers for the rest of us. I am not even against elitism when that word is applied to someone who clearly has greater knowledge and expertise in any particular area.

I am far more concerned about those making political capital out of the coming uncertainties and difficult times--we can't avoid whatever is coming down the pike but we can take steps to ensure that our natural fears are not exploited by shady and secretive organisations with hidden agendas of their own.
Slide 19 was "Collapse or Transition?" --I think we will have a collapse before rethinking and simplifying our way of life as it is a rare human who willingly surrenders power, no matter how fleeting, ineffective or imagined is the power that he holds.
Slide 20 was on the Bureaucracy of Transition which amply demonstrates my experience and feelings on the flaws of political action.

I will have to read up on social ecology as that is a new one on me.

Re: Transition Town Movement
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: July 10, 2010 02:48AM

Interesting story on a guy working for IHS (Thyssen subsidiary) in China who was imprisoned for spying. IHS/Petroconsultants employed Peak Oilers Campbell and LaHarrere, and were the main early backers of the "Peak Oil" hypothesis.


Chinese court sentences US geologist to 8 years
By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer Charles Hutzler, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 5, 1:26 pm ET

BEIJING – An American geologist held by Chinese state security agents who stubbed lit cigarettes on his arms was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for gathering data on China's oil industry — a case that highlights the government's use of vague secrets laws to restrict business information.

In pronouncing Xue Feng guilty of spying and collecting state secrets, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said his actions "endangered our country's national security."

Its verdict said Xue received documents on geological conditions of onshore oil wells and a database that gave the coordinates of more than 30,000 oil and gas wells belonging to China National Petroleum Corporation and listed subsidiary PetroChina Ltd. That information, it said, was sold to IHS Energy, the U.S. consultancy Xue worked for and now known as IHS Inc.

The sentence of eight years is close to the recommended legal limit of 10 years for all but extremely serious violations. Though Xue, now 45 and known as a meticulous, driven researcher, showed no emotion when the court announced the verdict, it stunned his lawyer and his sister, his only family member allowed in the courtroom.

"I can't describe how I feel. It's definitely unacceptable," Xue's wife, Nan Kang, said by telephone, sobbing, from their home in a Houston, Texas, suburb where she lives with their two children.

U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman attended the hearing to display Washington's interest in the case. He left without commenting and the U.S. Embassy issued a statement calling for Xue's immediate release and deportation to the United States.

Xue's sentence punctuates a case that has dragged on for more than two-and-a-half years and is likely to alarm foreign businesses unsure when normal business activities elsewhere might conflict with China's vague state security laws.

Chinese officials have wide authority to classify information as state secrets. Draft regulations released by the government in April said business secrets of major state companies qualify as state secrets.

"This is a very harsh sentence," said John Kamm, an American human rights campaigner whom the State Department turned to for help last year to lobby for Xue's release. "It's a huge disappointment and will send very real shivers up the spines of businesses that do business in China."

Agents from China's internal security agency detained Xue in November 2007. During the early days of his detention they stubbed lit cigarettes into his arms and hit him on the head with an ashtray. His case first became public when The Associated Press reported on it last November.

Like IHS, many multinationals have come to rely on people like Xue to run their China operations. Another China-born foreign national, Australian Stern Hu who worked for the global mining firm Rio Tinto, was sentenced in March to 10 years for bribery and infringing trade secrets that dealt with iron ore sales to Chinese companies.

Born in China, Xue earned a doctorate at the University of Chicago and became a U.S. citizen, returning to his native country to work. By all accounts, including witness statements cited in the court verdict, Xue poured his energies into his work for IHS, trying to gather information on China's oil industry, contacting former school mates from his university days in China.

Two of the three other defendants sentenced along with Xue on Monday were school mates. Chen Mengjin and Li Dongxu, who worked for research institutes affiliated with PetroChina were each given two-and-a-half-year sentences and fined 50,000 yuan ($7,500). The other defendant, Li Yongbo, a manager at Beijing Licheng Zhongyou Oil Technology Development Co., was sentenced to eight years and fined 200,000 yuan ($30,000). Xue was also fined 200,000 yuan.

Li and Xue arranged the sale of the database — which was originally prepared by a Chinese company for sale to PetroChina's parent company and contained details on the coordinates and volume of reserves for the 30,000 wells — to IHS for $228,500, the court's sentencing document said.

A spokesman for IHS, which is based in Englewood, Colorado, said the company is disappointed by the news yet declined to comment on China's broad interpretation of state secrets. In the past, the spokesman, Ed Mattix, has said that Chinese authorities never notified IHS that it was involved in any wrongdoing.

During Xue's closed-door trial, which ran over three dates last July and in December, the court document said he defended himself, arguing that the information he gathered "is data that the oil sector in countries around the world make public."

David Rowley, Xue's thesis adviser at University of Chicago and a geologist, said that the location and seismic and other data of oil wells is commonly available and could not compromise Chinese security since the government controls access.

"What frightens me most about this is that Xue Feng is, in my experience, a straight-up individual who worked hard, who didn't push limits, or try to pull a fast one by, but was simply honest and entirely well meaning," Rowley said in an e-mail. "That's IHS's business — acquiring and redistributing data (bases) so he was simply doing his job."

In rejecting Xue and his lawyer's arguments that no crime had been committed, the court cited the National Administration for the Protection of State Secrets as saying that the information Xue received on China National Petroleum Corp. was classified as either secret or confidential.

The court document indirectly acknowledged the difficulties Xue and IHS would have collecting data in such a restrictive environment.

"IHS Co. has information exchange agreements with many oil companies, but exchanging information with Chinese oil companies is very difficult. Because China controls energy information relatively strictly, IHS Co.'s information and data on China are not very complete," the sentencing statement cited one witness as telling the court.

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