Something bothering me about the likes of 'Plane Stupid'

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Plane Stupid
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Oct 26 2006 23:57

Ah, libcom.org. Good to see sectarianism is alive and well in anarchist forums.

Firstly, thanks to those who supported our action. Good to know that not everyone has given in to the ease of keyboard warriorship.

I'm not going to answer every point, but I do remember people talking about cheap flights being a panacea for the poor. Did you know that Stansted airport (a budget airport) has an average income / passenger of £47,000? That's right, that's what you get from minimum wage...

Did you also know that the bottom 25% economically never set foot on a plane? They might be able to afford the flight, but generally can't afford the holiday. After all, £5 / hr doesn't really let you pay rent and pay hotel bills.

Also, are you aware that 11% of people take 50% of flights? Or that the 100,000 households owning property abroad fly on average 7 times per year? Thought not.

Want to keep going? 160,000 of the poorest people in the world die every year so we can jump on a plane and have a stag do in Prague. Or the £17 billion tourism deficit the UK suffers because people want to head to Spain or the Bahamas for their holidays. That's local businesses, B&Bs, restaurants and other 'working class' people suffering from cheap flights.

Who do you think lives in the 750 homes which will be demolished so that Heathrow can expand to accomodate cheap flights? That's right, it's not the rich. It's going to be the largest forced migration of people since the Highland Clearances.

Quite frankly, if you can't grasp the class elements in the binge flying culture, then your analysis needs some work.

The aviation industry receives £9 billion / year in subsidy due to the absence of any tax on air fuel; VAT on tickets or transactions. That's quite a bit of cash, don'tcha think? Couldn't that be used to relieve the disproportionate affect of current taxation levels on the working classes?

I can continue this line of debate further if you wish.

R
Plane Stupid

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 00:03

As an after-thought, I was browsing your environment section, and found the following quote:

"The environmental crisis was generated by capitalism and the State, and can only be dealt with by challenging the power of these forces. We believe that only mass organising and mass grassroots action, as opposed to elections and lobbying, are effective methods of struggle."

I'll be appreciating your analysis of how our action did not achieve the very goals you claim to support.

(Yes, I recognise that the quote represents the view of some people. I, for instance, don't like the sound of 'mass organising'. Sounds like SWP to me...

'Mass organising and direct action' I can live with)

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georgestapleton
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Oct 27 2006 00:19
Plane Stupid wrote:
(Yes, I recognise that the quote represents the view of some people. I, for instance, don't like the sound of 'mass organising'. Sounds like SWP to me...

'Mass organising and direct action' I can live with)

wall

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madashell
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Oct 27 2006 00:25
Plane Stupid wrote:
Ah, libcom.org. Good to see sectarianism is alive and well in anarchist forums.

Not so good to see that tedious halfwits who confuse criticism with sectarianism whenever the former is applied to them are still alive and well though.

Quote:
I'm not going to answer every point, but I do remember people talking about cheap flights being a panacea for the poor.

Where? Let's see some quotes to that effect.

The fact remains that nobody has explained how Plane Stupid is going to achieve a fundamental change in the way that things are produced. Because that's what it would have to happen to stop global warming from occurring.

You think that capital is just going to stop using environmentally unfriendly methods of production just because a few lefties stop using planes or cycle to work?

Mike Harman
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Oct 27 2006 01:49
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are you being honest here? You think it is all just from the production, but not from the consumption? That is, we could have the same level of consumables and same modes of transport if the production was... what? A bit cleaner?

You can have durable goods from rationalised production, so they don't require replacing every year or two. Much less goods (and labour, materials, energy use), but the same use from them. That can only happen at the production level though.

Same with freight - there's loads of wastage in logistics - a few years ago some programme traced a pair of trousers 'round Europe, found out it was produced in over 12 countries due to varying labour costs and cheap transport. Again - you can have a pair of trousers that doesn't require assembly in twelve different countries, but at the point of consumption it's much the same.

Like pingtiao said, would be interesting to know how much carbon is generated by rush hour (or work in general) traffic compared to leisure flights.

JDMF - as to consumption habits after the revolution. If people weren't tied in to 25 days annual leave per year, stressed all the time, etc. etc. do you really think they'd be nipping over to Spain for the weekend? I think you'd see plenty of people travelling, but they'd be in much less of a rush, so a lot happier to use trains/ferries if they didn't have to squeeze their entire holiday into 72 hours or whatever.

If you want to look at causes of climate change, a good place to start would be reducing emissions from rush-hour traffic.

An idea I had ages ago would be a job-swap scheme. In London, a load of people travel across the city to jobs which are identical to ones closer to home - especially hospital/school jobs. So someone in Hounslow might travel to a college in Hackney, while someone in Hackney might travel to a job in Hammersmith to do the same thing. They could post their jobs/job descriptions up, and just swap them - saving maybe 2 hours per day in travel time and a grand a year on transport each. Carbon down, stress levels down, strain on public transport down, leisure time up.

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Oct 27 2006 07:32

catch, your suggestions sound a bit wishful thinking to me. First you single out rush hour, presumably thinking that come the revolution people suddenly dont have to commute to work by car.

same goes for the "durable consumables", presumably you think that the product development and innovation will appear in matter of hours after the workers have taken over.

Not to mention that the whole scenario is based on a hope of a total social revolution, a hope that i share, but think that if we have only less than a decade to turn things around with carbon emissions, there is a slight chance that we might not get libertarian communism in time.

One more point about the whole approach of comparing this to that carbon emission source: you are about as radical as labour government if you go down that road. reductions of 80-90% are needed to stop the accelerating climate change, which means all areas of human activity has to go through an overhaul. So rather than compare flights to "rush hour traffic", you need to come up with solutions to tackle both, remove short haul flights, or make them carbon neutral, and create alternatives to the private car in rush hour mode of transport. Not to mention host of other areas which need to be looked into (we have discussed sustainable dietary culture before for instance).

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 27 2006 07:35

i mean yeah how big a factor is agriculture, i know in calories in/out terms modern capitalist agriculture is one of the least efficient processes in history, dunno how much of that is fuels etc and C02 emissions though ...

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Oct 27 2006 07:48
Joseph K. wrote:
i mean yeah how big a factor is agriculture, i know in calories in/out terms modern capitalist agriculture is one of the least efficient processes in history, dunno how much of that is fuels etc and C02 emissions though ...

aye, the only reason why it manages to plough on is the oil based fertilisers which in turn of course release carbon stores to the atmosphere.

Another issues to look into are methane emissions from grazer animals and the replacement of carbon stores in forrest form to make space for farming and grazing.

www.worldwatch.org have published informative research on the subject and maybe can be relied a bit more than fully vegan publishing house wink Thats where i rip off most of my sustainability arguments and stuff.

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Oct 27 2006 07:51
Plane Stupid wrote:
Ah, libcom.org. Good to see sectarianism is alive and well in anarchist forums.

Firstly, thanks to those who supported our action. Good to know that not everyone has given in to the ease of keyboard warriorship.

welcome R to libcom mate. I have to say though that with the confrontational attitude you started, you will get what you give basically. So if i was you and interested in getting the arguments across and educate folks, I would take it a bit easier and generally just a bit more approachable and alright.

So if we would remove the attacks and confrontation from your text, it sounds like a good piece of relevant data.

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 08:44

Unfortunately I didn't start the confrontational attitude.

Jack wrote:
Most importantly, did anyone see the guy on Newsnight?

What an utter, utter cunt.

Of the two people being interviewed, the smug airline executive, or the direct activist, it's great to see people choosing to attack the activist. Never mind that one makes millions of pounds from exploiting workers and the environment, and the other doesn't.

A high percentage of flights are unnecessary business flights which could be replaced by train journeys or video conferencing. 45% of flights within Europe are distances of less than 500km. That's London to the Scottish border - a distance easily doable by train, ferry or bus, which is ten times less polluting.

How do our actions fit into a wider strategy? We target the polluters to cause them economic damage and to raise the public's awareness of the issues surrounding flying. We explain to people that all the cuts in their annual consumption and changes to their journey patterns (modal shift from car to public transport or bike) are negated by a single return flight.

We tell them that if they want to save the environment, then not flying is the single most important action they can take.

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 08:47

[Apologies, double post]

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 27 2006 08:51

i think the problem people here have is that people are already pretty aware of climate change, in fact over-aware since blair has been pushing the 'its inevitable' line since gleneagles.

while a reduction in flights would help cut emissions, as you point out it isn't mostly workers on cheap hols but business/corporate types who aren't really suseptible to lobbying so much as they are compelled to act in the interests of capital.

i dunno what options that leaves other than economic attacks from nvda to ELF on such corporations, SHAC style, or general class-based organising to increase our power vis capital. The former seems like doing something but is fundamentally vanguardist and potentially easy to neuter with the new laws in the absence of mass support, while the latter seems a pie-in-the-sky fantasy of the keyboard jockeys, its at least capable of real change, and since th SHAC option requires mass involvement/support to in order to succeed, not neccessarily any less realistic.

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Oct 27 2006 09:07
Plane Stupid wrote:
Of the two people being interviewed, the smug airline executive, or the direct activist, it's great to see people choosing to attack the activist. Never mind that one makes millions of pounds from exploiting workers and the environment, and the other doesn't.

sometimes solidarity is not in the flavour of the month on this board wink

Quote:
A high percentage of flights are unnecessary business flights which could be replaced by train journeys or video conferencing. 45% of flights within Europe are distances of less than 500km. That's London to the Scottish border - a distance easily doable by train, ferry or bus, which is ten times less polluting.

actually, a sidenot from my workplace: in my department we do fair bit of travel within and outside UK, but because of workers just saying no, less and less of the UK trips are done by air and have moved on rails. ok, small thing, but anyway i think its significant.

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We tell them that if they want to save the environment, then not flying is the single most important action they can take.

after not having a child of course wink

But why would you put daily public transport choices against flying? Why not argue for both? Surely planestupid is not suck a clear cut single issue group that you dont advocate carbon emission reductions in every possible place?

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 09:14
JDMF wrote:
In my department we do fair bit of travel within and outside UK, but because of workers just saying no, less and less of the UK trips are done by air and have moved on rails.

Glad to hear it!

JDMF wrote:
But why would you put daily public transport choices against flying? Why not argue for both? Surely planestupid is not suck [sic] a clear cut single issue group that you dont advocate carbon emission reductions in every possible place?

Absolutely. I'm just as concerned with the environmental impact from freight, manufacturing, intensive agriculture and farming, all factors of transport, etc, etc.

But aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research pointed out in its 2005 study that we could shut down all the factories, get rid of all our cars, turn off all the lights and still miss our reduction quotas if we keep flying.

[For this, they assume a constant annual growth rate of 50% of that experienced in 2004, and a CO2 PPM (parts per million) of 450. Given a PPM of 550, aviation would account for 50% of the UK's emissions.]

And these quotas are nowhere near the 80-90% Monbiot and others are calling for...

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 09:18
Jack wrote:
To be honest tho, you pretty much prove your entire weakness with this:

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I, for instance, don't like the sound of 'mass organising'. Sounds like SWP to me...

...

So come on then, please tell us what exactly the problem with large numbers of people being involved?

Absolutely nothing. That's why we're working with local communities (generally of working class people) whose lives are being blighted by the industry's aviation expansion plans. 750 homes in Heathrow to be bulldozed, etc.

My (tongue in cheek) comment was that I supported 'mass organisation and direct action' over 'mass organisation', which sounds to me like the STWC demos and rallies which lead nowhere. Organising without action is like a bookfair without a riot...

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Oct 27 2006 09:32
Jack wrote:
JDMF wrote:
after not having a child of course ;)

I see the wink but *please* tell me this is a joke... I'd fucking hope you didn't think not having kids was some kind of ecological benefit!

Aye part joke, but with a serious background. Please dont get too worked up about that though, its not like its immediately about eugenics and totalitarian population controls. There are some unavoidable facts to do with high levels of population such as resource and land area use, poverty and patriarchy.

I am not saying that not having children is a *strategy* but the news that many countries have reached a zero population growth is a positive one dont you think? of course the reasons for this is mostly because of improvements in womens position rather than a political choice of not having children!

Worth maybe its own thread some day if anyone is bothered?

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Oct 27 2006 09:37
Jack wrote:
Worth a thread probably, altho yea I'd be screaming that you were a Malthusian cunt probably! tongue

i'll put my cunt protection coat on, lets go!

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 09:40
Jack wrote:
Plane Stupid wrote:
My (tongue in cheek) comment was that I supported 'mass organisation and direct action' over 'mass organisation', which sounds to me like the STWC demos and rallies which lead nowhere. Organising without action is like a bookfair without a riot...

What, brilliant?

Uneventful?

Again, tongue in cheek...

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Oct 27 2006 09:41
Plane Stupid wrote:
My (tongue in cheek) comment was that I supported 'mass organisation and direct action' over 'mass organisation', which sounds to me like the STWC demos and rallies which lead nowhere. Organising without action is like a bookfair without a riot...

I'd hardly describe a pointless stunt that just happens to involve pissing off an airline as "direct action".

Plane Stupid wrote:
But aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change.

Roughly what percentage of that would you say comes from commercial flight?

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Oct 27 2006 09:45
madashell wrote:
I'm not offering any alternatives whatsoever, because I don't believe there are any, frankly. We can respond to the problems caused by climate change as they develop, but I've yet to see anybody explain how the likes of Plane Stupid are going to stop climate change or eliminate its causes.

i've yetr to see anybody expolain how the like of the class truggle anarchist movement are going to kick off a ecologically sound revolution in the next 50 years either mate.

we still give a shot tho.

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Oct 27 2006 09:48
odd wrote:
the thing is ,is that the rich have been do this kind of thing,i.e.travel,for years, now that its affordable for the rest of us its a big enviromental issue.i have no problem with activists doing something about it,but why do they go for the easy option,like sitting on a runway,why not spend some time and thought,and harass the MDs,or owners of the airlines,and bring distruption to the haves and not to the havenots.

short haul flights mate, not the chosen form of transport of the havenots. I don't know anyone who flies from manchester to glasgow.

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Oct 27 2006 09:49
Tacks wrote:
madashell wrote:
I'm not offering any alternatives whatsoever, because I don't believe there are any, frankly. We can respond to the problems caused by climate change as they develop, but I've yet to see anybody explain how the likes of Plane Stupid are going to stop climate change or eliminate its causes.

i've yetr to see anybody expolain how the like of the class truggle anarchist movement are going to kick off a ecologically sound revolution in the next 50 years either mate.

we still give a shot tho.

the point i tried to make earlier is that any change we initiate is going to need mass involvement in some form or other. the only other way i could see climate change averted is if capitalists got together and begged for an eco-fascist state to force them to be ecological and force the cost onto the working class. so mass action it is, fucking hard work but there you go.

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Oct 27 2006 09:53
Quote:
But aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research pointed out in its 2005 study that we could shut down all the factories, get rid of all our cars, turn off all the lights and still miss our reduction quotas if we keep flying.

[For this, they assume a constant annual growth rate of 50% of that experienced in 2004, and a CO2 PPM (parts per million) of 450. Given a PPM of 550, aviation would account for 50% of the UK's emissions.]

And these quotas are nowhere near the 80-90% Monbiot and others are calling for...

Welsome to the boards R.
hmm. These figures don't sit well with me- perhaps you can help me.

1. Can you tell me the CO2 output of the factories and cars?
2. Can you tell me the CO2 output of the flights?

Are you saying that aviation accounts for ~50% of UK CO2 outputs? That is a factor of 10 higher than I would have thought...

Plane Stupid
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Oct 27 2006 09:56
madashell wrote:
I'd hardly describe a pointless stunt that just happens to involve pissing off an airline as "direct action".

The point was awareness raising, economic damage on the industry and movement building (getting people active on aviation and climate change). But fundamentally, it was about demonstrating the sort of actions which will continue if the industry continues to push for expansion, regardless of the cost to communities and the environment.

Since the action we've been contacted by local residents groups across the country asking us to give talks and action training. 50 people turned up to the Heathrow NVDA workshop. The industry put out a press release yesterday complaining that it had been unfairly targetted (boo hoo!).

Sounds to me like the action is achieving its goals.

madashell wrote:
Roughly what percentage of that would you say comes from commercial flight?

I don't have that data, although I can look for it.

However, almost half of all flights within Europe are less than 500km. Regardless of whether that's carrying people or freight (and often its combined), those are flights which could be replaced by train or bus journeys. And those would be a great deal cheaper if the £9 billion subsidy were removed and the money used to fund public transport.

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Oct 27 2006 10:04
madashell wrote:
Plane Stupid wrote:
Ah, libcom.org. Good to see sectarianism is alive and well in anarchist forums.

Not so good to see that tedious halfwits who confuse criticism with sectarianism whenever the former is applied to them are still alive and well though.

oh fuck off they clearly ere not a halfwit - the criticisms have been genuine but plenty of them have been tired shit, and you know it. I'd rather that PS had not kicked off with such a tired respose themself, but i can understand.

Quote:
Quote:
I'm not going to answer every point, but I do remember people talking about cheap flights being a panacea for the poor.

Where? Let's see some quotes to that effect.

The fact remains that nobody has explained how Plane Stupid is going to achieve a fundamental change in the way that things are produced. Because that's what it would have to happen to stop global warming from occurring.

You think that capital is just going to stop using environmentally unfriendly methods of production just because a few lefties stop using planes or cycle to work?

Loads oif people have said calling for a reduction in flying is anti working class cos its only now that people can afford them - its fucking implicit. Its fucking explicit all over other forums too anyway.

as for a few 'lefties' cycling to work, oh come the FUCK on - lets see some fucking quotes to THAT effect? Who said that?

butbn hey, you caught an 'activist' by the toe - lets get stuck in.

Quote:
The fact remains that nobody has explained how Plane Stupid is going to achieve a fundamental change in the way that things are produced.

who HAS?!

Poor show plane stupid, you have not explained how we are going to smash the state and capital in a non hierarchical manner and have crumpets for tea. Boo.

I do not really support activism like this in general, but its is not actually counterproductive unless it detracts from community work and workplace organising - this does not.

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Oct 27 2006 10:05
Tacks wrote:
i've yetr to see anybody expolain how the like of the class truggle anarchist movement are going to kick off a ecologically sound revolution in the next 50 years either mate.

I'd say that to an extent, communism is inherently going to involve a reduction in CO2 output. People aren't rushing around so much, so there's less need for everybody to drive to work every day, never mind all at the same time every weekday morning, it'd be easier to influence workers councils to switch to more ecologically sound methods of production than stockholders, etc.

Not that that would necessarily be enough, but it's a start. Why would the revolution itself need to be ecologically sound anyway? The point is that it's virtually impossible to stop climate change under capitalism.

Whenever a revolutionary situation has arose it has never been anarchists or lefties who've "kicked it off"

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Oct 27 2006 10:07
madashell wrote:
The fact remains that nobody has explained how Plane Stupid is going to achieve a fundamental change in the way that things are produced.

that would be our job.

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Oct 27 2006 10:08
JDMF wrote:
madashell wrote:
The fact remains that nobody has explained how Plane Stupid is going to achieve a fundamental change in the way that things are produced.

that would be our job.

EXACTLY!!

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Oct 27 2006 10:11
madashell wrote:
Whenever a revolutionary situation has arose it has never been anarchists or lefties who've "kicked it off"

not true at all - as trade unionists and radical workers, the left has almnopst always been involved in some way. I don't know whay ppl insist on repeating this.

madashell wrote:
Tacks wrote:
i've yet to see anybody explain how the likes of the class truggle anarchist movement are going to kick off a ecologically sound revolution in the next 50 years either mate.

I'd say that to an extent, communism is inherently going to involve a reduction in CO2 output. People aren't rushing around so much, so there's less need for everybody to drive to work every day, never mind all at the same time every weekday morning, it'd be easier to influence workers councils to switch to more ecologically sound methods of production than stockholders, etc.

ha ha - my point exactly! Communism will be great, we agree on that, thats why we're in the same communist organisation mate. The point is how do we get there.

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Oct 27 2006 10:11
madashell wrote:
I'd say that to an extent, communism is inherently going to involve a reduction in CO2 output. People aren't rushing around so much, so there's less need for everybody to drive to work every day, never mind all at the same time every weekday morning, it'd be easier to influence workers councils to switch to more ecologically sound methods of production than stockholders, etc.

Not that that would necessarily be enough, but it's a start. Why would the revolution itself need to be ecologically sound anyway? The point is that it's virtually impossible to stop climate change under capitalism.

All very well pontificating about a revolution, but it would bea little more useful if we could stick to discussing whether it is posisble in the here and now to use collective activity to either
a/ prevent climate change (I don't think so- I think that only a shift to communism- as in production for human need- can do that, and we don't have time)
or
b/ prevent capital from imposing solutions for mitigating climate change that impact negatively on the working class.