Doing it for ourselves at the grassroots where it matters

Readings

This is where we want to share readings we’ve found to be interesting, thought provoking and even provocative. Please note that inclusion in this section does not always mean a full endorsement. Sometimes a reading will be included because we think a reasoned debate on the issues it raises is needed.

RECLAIMED PLASTIC WASTE FUEL – SHOULD WE REALLY BE GOING ELECTRIC? – Kumafaro | FISHINABOX News | August 29, 2021
Putting Diesel back on the map ?
That is the unpopular choice these days right? We should be moving away from fossil fuels, but where has this thinking even come from? Especially after corporate interests in fossil fuels and the global media marketing machine has been slamming electric cars as a joke for over 100 years, oppressing the support in developing a market for electric vehicles, hindering progress all the way down the line whilst promoting their own corporate interests in “dirty” fuels from oil and gas, until the skies and earth are so clogged and smogged that the general public finally have taken notice and a deal had to be brokered between all financial parties.

Agroecology & the threat of gene editing – Safeguarding Agroecology Project | July, 2021
Until very recently, genetic engineering had largely fallen off the food and farming agenda. For a long time, before the government’s 2021 public consultation on deregulating gene editing technologies, it was rare for it to be included in discussions or actions aimed at raising awareness of food systems and food sovereignty in the UK.

Bill Gates’ plans to remake food systems will harm the climate Stacy Malkan | U.S. Right To Know | February 25, 2021
Hundreds of civil society groups are protesting the Gates Foundation’s agricultural strategies and its influence over the upcoming UN World Food Summit. Insiders say this leadership is threatening to derail meaningful efforts to transform the food system, at a crucial moment when much of sub-Saharan Africa is reeling from multiple shocks and a growing hunger crisis due to pandemic and climate change conditions.

The Ancient Roots of Trespass Tom Banbury | Tribune | January 28, 2021
A number of different meanings have accumulated around the idea of ‘trespass’. In a religious sense, we see it rendered alternately as ‘sin’ and ‘debt’. In law, any action contrary to the civil code is technically trespassing. But in its most basic sense, all it means is ‘to walk across’, from the Latin trans and passus: think ‘to pass through’. It shares this etymology with the related term ‘transgress’, which started out equally innocently as ‘to move across’. Compare ‘progress’ or ‘ingress’.

A History of Landlords: Rent & the Feudal Origins of a Non-Working Class – John Laurits | September 26, 2018
Long before the blossoming of modern technology and the dawn of the industrial era, humanity occupied only a fraction of the lands it does today. Between the hubs of ancient commerce, an immense wilderness existed that (legally speaking) was the property of no one and even land that had already been settled was likely to be managed communally.

Has the perception of allotments changed in the last few weeks? – Martyn Daniels | Lost in the Plot | May 23, 2020
There are many different perspectives of allotments, allotment folk and the value they provided to the community. Views will vary greatly, and some from outside may be far adrift from reality. The views of the value allotments give their plot holders will also differ by demographic and ethnic mix. But whatever the view held we must respect perception often trumps all.

Anarchist farm: a revolutionary feast – Freedom | April 17, 2020
Food – or the potential lack of it – has played on a lot of people’s minds lately. The government’s mixed-messages, misinformation and pointless power-play with regard to the coronavirus pandemic led to fear-induced panic-buying which highlighted the weakness of ‘just in time’ supply chains; which are, of course, designed to maximise profit rather than meet people’s essential needs. This was followed by an upsurge in the numbers of people buying seeds as they realised that now might be a good time to start to ‘grow your own’

Mutual Aid Groups: Five reflections for ‘Activists’ going local for the first time – Freedom | April 14, 2020
Inspired by Anna Kleist’s hot takes on an initial few weeks of local mutual aid organising in the UK, I was inspired to throw in a few (slightly longer!) additional reflections, building on some of the points in Anna’s list, and bringing a few more to the surface. They come from some early experiences of mutual aid organising in recent weeks, as well as several years of community-based organising and several years before that involved in less-local forms of campaigning and activism.

A Lot To Learn – Dave Goulson wonders whether allotments can save the Earth – Resurgence & Ecologist | January – February 2020
Is it impossible to grow food and support Nature at the same time? If we pursue intensive, industrial farming, we will ultimately wipe ourselves out, for our very survival depends upon a healthy environment. Some organic farms look pretty much like conventional farms: they are still trying to grow large monocultures of crops.

Don’t despair, organise!: an introduction to Cooperation Kentish Town – Shiri Shalmy (on behalf of Cooperation Kentish Town) | Freedom | January 3, 2020
By 21 December, a week after a disastrous election for the left and a few days into the subsequent soul searching, everyone was suddenly talking about how what’s needed now is community building. That afternoon, on a small council estate in Kentish Town, a group of activists were already doing that.

Gathering in groups as society falls apart – Vicki Robin (guest post) – Professor Jem Bendell | November 8, 2019
“Everyone wants community. Unfortunately, it involves other people.” I used that line in lectures on frugal living when talking of the loneliness of consumerism and the benefits of sharing resources. We idealize the good old days of people helping people out. But can we live them, given who we have become?

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