Posts Tagged ‘european parliament’

The Forbidden Colony

Al Jazeera (2017)

Film Review

This Al Jazeera documentary examines the undemocratic nature of the European Union and it’s role in allowing banks and multinational corporations to colonize Europe. It begins by focusing on the EU Parliament, which meets in secret and bans public observation of its proceedings. Elected members of the EU Parliament lack the authority to initiate legislation. They can only rubber stamp laws proposed by the non-elected European Commission.

Croatian philosopher Srecko Horbat examines the right and left wing movements that have arisen in reaction in response to the massive economic dislocation (job loss, low wages, high housing costs) people have experienced following the creation of the EU.

The far right tends to campaign against the massive influx of migrants, which they blame for their declining standard of living. The left, in contrast, is more focused on rebuilding European democracy from the ground up.

For me, the most interesting part of the film was its examination of various European experiments in direct democracy. Examples include

  • The grassroots movements in Hamburg and 170 other German cities and towns that have bought back electric power companies from private companies to hasten their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
  • Ada Colau, the radical mayor of Barcelona,* who is working to transform squats into cooperatives and forcing banks to make vacant buildings available for social housing.
  • Greece’s parallel economy, which operatives massive “no middlemen” food markets in reaction to price gouging by corporate supermarket chains.

*The capitol of Catalonia, which is organizing a popular referendum to declare independence from Spain – see Showdown in Spain

roundup

In response to growing local concern about a World Health Organization (WHO) warning that glyphosate (aka Roundup) probably causes cancer, the city of Bristol has begun using strong vinegar to kill weeds in streets and parks.

The Bristol City Council decision to substitute vinegar for Roundup is part of a year long trial.

Earlier this month the European Parliament voted to  ban  most uses of glyphosate – particularly “in or close to” public parks, playgrounds and gardens.”

Horticultural vinegar, which contains more acetic acid than regular malt vinegar, can be used as an inexpensive weed treatment. Vinegar-based herbicides will harm any plant they comes into contact with so is best used on patios and driveways rather than lawns. It will only damage the top of the plant, leaving the roots intact.

The trial has been met with mixed reactions in Bristol.   Some residents hate the stench. Others point to European communities who have successfully used vinegar for years. Pesticide Safe Bristol Alliance says it’s ‘bizarre’ the council has opted for vinegar when safer, modern technologies are available.

A Metro online poll is running 55% to 45% in favor of the vinegar trial.

On May 10, the New Plymouth Green Party will present a petition to New Plymouth District Council to end the district’s use of Roundup in our city parks and streets.

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