Saturday, 27 May 2017

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From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Syria’s ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ (Part 2)
THE END of last month saw Nations without States (NwS) reproduce the first part of an article – http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-nations-without-states-%e2%80%93-syria%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%98hierarchy-of-suffering%e2%80%99-part-one – by Bob Fisk. The article itself had originally appeared in The Independent. Fisk is is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent.

The original article was published after two horrific attacks in Syria – one of which led US President Donald Trump to launch a missile attack on a military facility loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The other attack was carried out by opponents of President Assad, but there was no retribution by the US. With this in mind, Fisk appears to argue that there is a ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ in Syria.

This is the second part of Fisk’s original article. NwS has reproduced it in an effort to stimulate debate concerning the situation in Syria. It goes without saying that there are no official links between Robert Fisk, The Independent or Nations without States.

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If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children?

US President Donald Trump (left) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (right). Trump sudenly went from being the devil incarnate to a ‘good guy’ after launching a missile attack on a pro-Assad military facility.

There’s no doubting the flagrant, deliberate, vile cruelty of Saturday’s attack. The suicide bomber approached the refugee buses with a cartload of children’s cookies and potato chips – approaching, I might add, a population of fleeing Shia civilians who had been starving under siege by the anti-Assad rebels (some of whom, of course, were armed by us). Yet they didn’t count. Their “beautiful little babies” – I quote Trump on the earlier gas victims – didn’t stir us to anger. Because they were Shias? Because the culprits might have been too closely associated with us in the West? Or because – and here’s the point – they were the victims of the wrong kind of killer.


For what we want right now is to blame the “evil”, “animal”, “brutal”, etc, Bashar al-Assad who was first “suspected” to have carried out the 4 April gas attack (I quote The Wall Street Journal, no less) and then accused by the entire West of total and deliberate responsibility of the gas massacre. No-one should question the brutality of the regime. Nor its torture. Nor its history of massive oppression. Yet there are, in fact, some grave doubts about Bashar’s responsibility for the 4 April attack – which he has predictably denied – even among Arabs who loath his Baathist regime and all it stands for.

Even the leftist but hardly pro-Syrian Israeli writer Uri Avneri – briefly, in his life, a detective – has asked why Assad should commit such a crime d (1) when his army and its allies were winning the war in Syria, when such an attack would gravely embarrass the Russian government and military, and when it would change the softening western attitude towards him back towards open support for regime change.

And the regime’s claim that a Syrian air attack set off explosions in al-Nusra weapons store in Khan Shaykoun (2) (an idea which the Russians also adopted) would be easier to dismiss if the Americans had not used precisely the same excuse for the killing of well over a hundred Iraqi civilians in Mosul in March; they suggested that a US air strike on an Isis arms lorry may have killed the civilians.

But this has nothing to do with the weekend’s far more bloody assault on the refugee convoys heading for western Aleppo. They were part of a now-familiar pattern of mass hostage exchanges between the Syrian government and its opponents in which Sunni opponents of the regime in villages surrounded by the Syrian army or its allies have been trucked out to Idlib and other “rebel”-held areas under safe passage in return for the freedom of Shia villagers surrounded by al-Nusra, Isis and “our” rebels who have been allowed to leave their villages for the safety of government-held cities. Such were the victims of Saturday’s suicide bombing; they were Shia villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya, along with several government fighters, en route to what would be – for them – the safety of Aleppo.
Whether or not this constitutes a form of ethnic cleansing – another of Bashar’s sins, according to his enemies – is a moot point. Al-Nusra did not exactly urge the villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya to stay home since they wanted some of their own Sunni fighters back from their own encircled enclaves. Last month, the governor of Homs pleaded with Sunnis to leave the city on “rebel” convoys to Idlib to stay in their houses and remain in the city. But this is a civil war and such terrifying conflicts divide cities and towns for generations. Just look at Lebanon 27 years after its civil war ended.

But what ultimately proves our own participation in this immoral and unjust and frightful civil war is our reaction to those two massacres of the innocents. We cried over and lamented and even went to war for those “beautiful little babies” (3) whom we believed to be Sunni victims of the Assad government. But when Shia babies of equal humanity were blasted to pieces this weekend, Trump could not care less. And the mothering spirit of Ivanka and Federica simply dried up.

And we claim that Middle East violence has nothing to do with us.

(1) http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1492111523

(2)  http://www.independent.co.uk/topic/khan-sheikhoun

(3) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-basarl-al-assad-syria-military-strike-sarin-nerve-gas-a7671291.html

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From The Liberty Wall – Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? – Tyranny Of The Minority (Part 2)
TOWARDS the end of March we published Part 1 of Tyranny Of The Minority http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-free-speech-how-do-we-protect-it-tyranny-of-the-minority-part-1written by Mick Hume. Hume will be familiar to freedom lovers as the author of the thought-provoking book Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?

Tyranny Of The Minority is based on his new book Revolting! Part 1 of this article looked at how – in the light of Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump – some members of the elite are wondering if ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues. Part 2 continues with this theme.

As we’ve previously noted, this article originally appeared in the Daily Mail in late February. However, we’ve taken the decision to reproduce it in four sections – as we feel that this is the best way to stimulate debate. Thus, if you have any comments please leave them on the Free Speech Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/ once you see this article appear.

It goes without saying that there are no official links between Mick Hume, the Daily Mail and Free Speech.

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Tyranny Of The Minority: How the most sinister trend of our age is a poisonous conviction taking root on the Left and among the elite that ordinary people are too stupid to be trusted with voting

Members of the elite are wondering if ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues like Brexit.

In the eyes of the Establishment, the only possible explanation was that those millions were simply too ignorant, uneducated, gullible, bigoted or emotional to understand what they were being told.

What is curious is that those from the liberal and Left wings — the ones who claim to be most in favour of change in the UK — were most upset.
But instead of trying to understand, the response of many was to dismiss the result as merely a ‘howl of rage’ by voters who must have taken leave of their senses — and to find ways to block it. The Guardian paper, alleged voice of liberal Britain, produced an official post-referendum T-shirt that declares: ‘Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.’
Its columnist Polly Toynbee, grande dame of British liberalism, demanded that 231 Labour MPs — 70 per cent of whose constituencies voted for Brexit — must ‘save us’ from the referendum result. In the name of ‘democracy’, of course.
Such responses let slip the mask and revealed the ugly fact that this country’s political elite believes that matters of government are far too complex and sophisticated to let the governed decide.
For the record, I voted Leave with passion, but my attack is not aimed at the 16.1 million who voted to Remain. They made a rational choice, just as the Leavers did. The difference is that most Remainers now accept the result, unlike elitists such as Tony Blair or Richard Branson — or their poster girl Gina Miller, the City financier who led the court challenge, declaring that the revolting voters’ verdict ‘made her physically ill’.
The reaction from those on the Left was the same when the American electorate handed Trump the keys to the White House.
He had been denounced as a disgrace to U.S. politics not only by the political establishment and the media but also by alpha intellectuals Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. How could Americans resist being dazzled by such a star-studded appeal, you might think?
Yet more than 62 million Americans did just that. They voted Trump in — to the consternation of every ‘liberal’ voice in the land. On campuses, students held protests and college authorities offered counselling and time off to ‘grieve’, as if they were victims of a tragic disaster.
Personally, I have no truck with the illiberal, free-speech-stomping, narrow-minded Trump. But what I don’t get is their astonishment and hysteria at what happened.
After the election, everybody suddenly started asking: ‘How could they vote for him?’
But it should not have been difficult to get a sense beforehand of the growing anger against the political elite among the voters Clinton branded ‘deplorables’.
It was just that nobody had ever bothered to ask those ‘deplorables’ what they thought. The underlying problem in the UK, the U.S. and other Western societies is that politics and public life have increasingly become the preserve of a self-regarding elite of officials, opinion formers, intellectuals and so-called experts. They treat ‘ordinary people’, the masses, as outside of politics and beyond the pale, their concerns marginalised and ignored.
The Brexit vote marked a revolt against the ‘enforced conformity’ preached by this elite. That it came as such a shock to them was a sign of how little contact they had with the real world. And still many of them don’t get it.
In the Left-wing New Statesman magazine, Professor Richard Dawkins, the leading evolutionary biologist and renowned humanist was unable to suppress his true feelings that the large slice of humanity who voted Leave were ‘stupid, ignorant people’. He protested that ‘it is unfair to thrust on to unqualified simpletons the responsibility to take historic decisions of great complexity and sophistication’.
Presumably such decisions would be better left to highly intellectual minds such as his own. Great atheist that he is, he appears to think the rest of us should have blind faith in people like him.
Meanwhile, the normally unflappable ‘leading man of the Left’, philosophy professor A.C. Grayling, wrote to every MP (apparently in the name of his students), demanding that they vote to ignore the result — which he said was driven by mere ‘demagoguery and sentiment’ — and remain in the European Union.
His extraordinary contention was that the majority of people are what he called ‘System One’ thinkers, who make decisions on impulse — and that what we need is to pay more heed to ‘System Two’ thinkers, who seek information, analyse it, and weigh arguments in order to come to decisions. People similar to him, presumably.
• For an excellent review of Trigger Warning click here: https://countercultureuk.com/2015/07/26/trigger-warning/
• To check out a review of Free Speech click here: http://nationalliberal.org/review-of-issue-1-of-free-speech
• Check out Free Speech: How Do We Protect It? Click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1607711629485795/
• Check out Revolting! Click here:  https://www.amazon.com/Revolting-Establishment-Undermining-Democracy-Theyre/dp/0008220824/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490209013&sr=1-1&keywords=mick+hume

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Green & Healthy Cities?

THE CORE VALUES of National Liberalism include Liberty, Democracy, Independence and Ecology. In respect of the latter, we believe that it’s the duty of man to live in harmony with nature – and not destroy it.

National Liberals believe that we need to live a more sustainable way of life – being less greedy, being less wasteful, using less natural resources and knowing where our food comes from. We feel that this will lead to a more rewarding, healthy, considerate and possibly ‘simpler’ life.

We also passionately believe in the concept that Small is Beautiful! With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that we are not great fans of massive cities and towns. Indeed, we would like to see a wholescale – but totally sustainable – move back to the land.

However, even with our focus on ruralism, cities are a fact of life. The question is how do we make them greener and healthier places in which to live? We believe that the answer may be provided by a project – based in Detroit – run by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, which seems to successfully combine environmentalism and localism.

The article below originally appeared on the web-site of the Food Revolution Network – https://foodrevolution.org/blog/food-politics/first-sustainable-urban-agrihood/ – to whom we extend acknowledgements. It goes without saying that there are no official links between the Food Revolution Network, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative and the National Liberal Party.

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The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood in the U.S. Could Serve As A Model for Urban Development

Could fresh, healthy, affordable food be the future of urban neighborhood development?

In Detroit, Michigan, “the first sustainable urban agrihood” in the U.S. centers around an edible garden, with easily accessible, affordable produce offered to neighborhood residents and the community.

Each year, this urban farm provides fresh, free produce to 2,000 households within two square miles of the farm. They also supply food to local markets, restaurants, and food pantries.

The concept of agrihoods isn’t new —the Urban Land Institute estimated that about 200 agrihoods had been or were under construction across the U.S. — but this agrihood is unique because it’s the first truly urban agrihood. It plans to operate in a sustainable way and is more accessible than most other agrihoods.

Agrihoods, also called agritopias or community-supported development, are an exciting concept because they create a remarkable improvement to the dominant food system.

They help tackle food insecurity and other community problems. They make it easy for people in low-income communities to get fresh, healthy food. And they give people a connection with the food they eat, the earth, and each other.

All About The First Sustainable Urban Agrihood

The first sustainable urban agrihood, which recently debuted in Detroit, is the project of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative — an all-volunteer nonprofit, which seeks to empower urban communities using sustainable agriculture.

The three-acre development has vacant land, along with occupied and abandoned homes centered around a two-acre urban garden, with more than 300 organic vegetable varieties, like lettuce, kale, and carrots, as well as a 200-tree fruit orchard, with apples, pears, plums, and cherries, a children’s sensory garden, and more.

The nonprofit is also working on other projects that go beyond farming, including:


  • Turning a long-vacant building into a community resource center, which will offer educational programs, event and meeting space for the neighborhood, a nonprofit incubator, and two commercial kitchens
  • Developing a healthy food café, and
  • Restoring a home into student intern housing and an off-grid shipping container.

Other projects to make the place more sustainable include:
  • Installing solar panels,
  • Converting a basement into a water harvesting cistern that will automatically irrigate the garden
  • A public composting toilet, and
  • A retention pond made from the foundation of a blighted home to supply the farm with water.

Could Sustainable Agrihoods Work In Other Urban Areas?

In the U.S., food travels 25% farther than it traveled about 20 years ago. With all this travel, freshness suffers and so does the environment. But more and more people are seeking out locally grown food, so communities that solve this problem in a sustainable way could make a big difference.

With its agrihood in Detroit, the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is rethinking how urban spaces are developed and redefining what life in an urban environment looks like.

And perhaps other communities will look to this agrihood as a model to increase healthy, local food and to solve community problems, like hunger and access to fresh food – all while giving people a greater sense of community and happiness, creating more sustainability for cities, and improving our food system.
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National Liberal Party – The National Liberal Party & The General Election

Theresa May announces snap general election

ON 18th APRIL, Prime Minister Theresa May declared that she would be holding a snap general election. The date of the election was set for the 8th June. This news seemed to stun the whole of the political establishment. Indeed, the first many in the Tory Party had any inkling that an election was in the offering was when she announced it live in front of 10 Downing Street!

Since then, Theresa May has relentlessly built and promoted her campaign around the general theme of needing strong and stable leadership during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. She has repeatedly said that every vote cast for her and the Tories would strengthen her hand whilst dealing with the EU.

Many folks question if May really believes what she says concerning Brexit – or is all the talk of ‘strong and stable leadership’ simply the best propaganda line to take?

Whilst the jury is still out on that question, we feel that one of her goals may be to severely weaken the Labour Party. She knows that that Labour is still deeply divided over Brexit and will stop at nothing to reinforce the idea that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is weak. She also knows that the vultures of the Blairite wing of the Labour Party are circling. If Labour don’t do well at the election, Corbyn can expect a swift motion of ‘no confidence.’ Some believe that this might lead to a split within the Labour Party – with a possible ‘social democratic’ party emerging.
We are also aware of the view that in calling the election, Theresa May could stop the ongoing Tory expenses scandal in its tracks. Again, the jury is out on that one.

So where does all this leave the National Liberal Party?

The ruling National Council of the National Liberal Party has spent some time carefully discussing the situation and have come to the conclusion that – as a party – we shall not participate in the forthcoming general election.

The main reason is that we believe that all small parties will be ignored and defeated. Indeed, it’s been a long-held National Liberal belief that it’s nearly impossible for small parties to get anywhere under the First Past The Post (‘FPTP’) electoral system that will be in operation in early June.

However, all is not lost! The National Liberal Party is in the advance stages of helping to form the Centre Alliance – CA – which will feature a number of centre ‘left’, centre ‘right’ parties and ourselves.

(For the record, we class ourselves – the National Liberal Party – as neither a party of the ‘left’ nor the ‘right.’ We feel that our views go way beyond ‘left’ and ‘right’, but in the spirit of co-operation and solidarity are willing to link up with parties, groups and individuals who share our general political outlook on life).

Therefore, as the old saying goes, we will be keeping our ‘powder dry’ as a party for the campaign itself. However, we would encourage NLP members and supporters to gain experience in elections by getting involved in the campaigns of independent candidates who will probably be campaigning on single ‘bread and butter’ issues such as education, the NHS and so on.

The ‘Centrist Alliance’ will be launched after the general election itself and will try to position itself as a serious alternative to (likely) Conservative rule. Watch this space!
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Distributism: An idea whose time has come? (Part 2)

IN EARLY MARCH we published the first of a two part article – http://nationalliberal.org/distributism-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-part-1which both looked at Distributism and provided a brief history of the wider Distributist movement in Britain.

Written by Glasgow-based Andrew Hunter, this second and concluding article charts British Distributism from the foundation of the Distributist League in 1926 through to its adoption by the Nationalist movement.

In the near future we hope to feature another ‘stand alone’ article which will look at Distributism through the eyes of the National Liberal Party – NLP – which was founded after the publication of the seminal work A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism in 2005

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Distributism: An idea whose time has come? (Part 2)

GK Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc (top left and right respectively) were the founders of British Distributism. Arthur Joseph Penty (bottom left) was influential in promoting Guild socialism via his 1906 book, Restoration of the Gild System. After WWI he became interested in – and helped develop – the Distributist ideas of Belloc and Chesterton. In 1937 Penty’s 24 page essay Distributism: A Manifesto was published.

Distributism is effectively a holistic socioeconomic system. It a nutshell, however, it provides a way of opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace (capitalism) and the tyranny of the state (communism/socialism) by promoting a society of owners. Both capitalism and communism/socialism are seen as ‘evil twins’. Capitalism allows the concentration of ownership in the hands of a few. Both Communism and Socialism tries to deny any form of private ownership. Distributism aims to create a community of free men and women.

In 1926 the Distributist League was formed, the aims of which Richard Howard sums up in his paper on Distributism as: “In Britain in the 1920s and 30s, the distributists sought the restoration of family and individual liberty by a revival of smallholder agriculture and small business and an end to grasping landlords, by attacking monopolies and trusts and denouncing what they saw as anonymous and usurious control of finance.


“Opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, which distributists argued leads to a concentration of ownership in the hands of a few and to state-socialism in which private ownership is denied altogether, distributism was conceived as a genuine Third Way, opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace and the tyranny of the state, by means of a society of owners”. (The Third Way – A Secular Party paper by Richard Howard).

In 1937 the League published Arthur Penty’s Distrubitism: A Manifesto. Sadly, the League went into decline in the late 1930s after the death of GK Chesterton in 1936 and Penty in 1937, a matter of weeks after his manifesto was published, and the organisation came to an end in 1940.

The ideas of Distributism did not fade away entirely after the passing of its founders. One quarter in which it continued to influence thinking was in the Liberal e.g. Elliot Dodds and nationalist movements. For example, nationalists/patriots have long been drawn to Distributism because they see it as fulfilling the goals of Social Justice through the ending of wage slavery and the exploitation of workers and National Freedom by the breaking-up of huge private corporations that are only interested in profit even when the pursuit of those profits is detrimental to the national interest. Such corporations are owned by a handful of people but their power is such that they can bend governments to their will.

In these days of financial turmoil and the mask having slipped from the face of unbridled global capitalism, is Distributism now an idea whose time has come?
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United We Stand (2) English, Scottish & Ulster Youth Say BreXit Now!

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