Resources: Political strategy

36 results
Saturday, 1st November 2014, in London

1 November 2014

The People vs PFI conference will bring together those disturbed by the implications of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to brainstorm political and practical solutions; share stories of working for a PFI-run public service, or of living in or near one; and help build effective grassroots opposition to PFI across the UK.

Larry Lohmann

20 September 2014

Climate change and other environmental campaigns often try to mobilize people around the idea of avoiding apocalypse. This short piece for Occupied Times explores some of the weaknesses of this approach.

 

Sondeando el territorio
Larry Lohmann con Nicholas Hildyard y Sarah Sexton (traducido por Fernanda Olmedo y Martin Carbonell)

30 June 2014

Una creciente crisis climática y el aumento de la incertidumbre sobre el futuro de los combustibles fósiles hace que la pregunta, planteada con frecuencia,¿cuál es la alternativa a los sistemas actuales de la energía? no sea una sorpresa . Y no ha habido escasez de respuestas que compiten por espacio y atención. En la política energética actual, el principal conflicto no es entre los negocios habituales y "La Alternativa", sino entre las diferentes alternativas propuestas. ¿Cómo se deben evaluar estas alternativas, unas frente a las otras? (Spanish translation of The Corner House report Energy Alternatives: Surveying the Territory)

Larry Lohmann and Nicholas Hildyard

31 March 2014

This 124-page report aims to understand how energy and finance have been constructed and contested during stormy transformations in industry, livelihood and exploitation over the past two centuries. Its goal is to help effective movements seeking finance for a greener, more democratic, liveable energy future regard both energy and finance as political processes in motion and as continuing social struggles.

Surveying the Territory
Larry Lohmann with Nicholas Hildyard and Sarah Sexton

20 May 2013

What with a growing climate crisis and increasing uncertainty over the future of fossil fuels, it can be no surprise that the question “what's the alternative to current energy systems?” is in the air. And there has been no shortage of answers competing for space and attention. In energy policy today, the main conflict is not between business as usual and “The Alternative”, but among the different proposed alternatives themselves. How are these alternatives to be evaluated against each other?

Strategies for NGOs
Larry Lohmann

11 November 2012

The United Nations Environment Programme pretends to believe that the deepening global financial and economic crisis can be ignored in its plans for the "Green Economy". This presentation for a meeting held last June by the Heinrich Boll Foundation on the occasion of Rio + 20 lists some reasons why NGOs would be ill-advised to share this insouciant attitude, and proposes more realistic lines of strategy in the face of the current crisis.

 

Is "Internalizing Externalities" Really a Way Forward?
Larry Lohmann

2 October 2012

"Let's internalize the externalities" has become an important slogan of the new "green economy". Its logic is evident in the Kyoto Protocol, the UK's plans for an "ecosystem services economy", countless regulatory projects advised by environmental economists, and even in financial markets' efforts to commodify radical uncertainty. But is this a solution for the environmental and social problems thrown up by capital accumulation, or a perpetual motion machine that functions merely to create more problems and business opportunities?

Strategic Reflections on Climate Change and the "Green Economy"
Larry Lohmann

2 September 2012

This discussion paper sets out some lessons for political strategy suggested by the experience of climate change campaigning over the past 15 years. It outlines the dangers faced by advocacy NGOs of becoming "patzers" (blunderers) and clients of more sophisticated political actors. Comments on this work in progress, a shorter version of which was published in Development Dialogue No. 61 (September 2012), are welcome.

A Review and a Debate
Larry Lohmann

1 September 2012

This essay, published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Development and Change, reviews five recent books, four of them on climate change and one addressing what’s needed to spark the transition away from dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Included is a September 2012 reply by the authors of one of the books reviewed, Matthew Paterson and Peter Newell, and Larry Lohmann's rejoinder.

20 Iconoclastic Theses
Larry Lohmann

19 August 2012

The "rights of nature" debate is becoming increasingly important both in the Andean context and in the wider global political debate. This set of brief notes suggests ways of approaching the issue that may help connect it to the ongoing debate between commoners and neoclassical economists, as well as help avoid the exoticization of the Andean concept of pachamama.

Joel Wainwright, Geoff Mann, Joshua Barker, Patrick Bigger, Mazen Labban, Larry Lohmann, Ben Wisner, etc.

19 July 2012

A recent paper on possible political scenarios in a greenhouse world, "Climate Leviathan" by Joel Wainwright and Geoff Mann, is the subject of a debate organized by the journal Antipode, in which The Corner House participated. Further notes on, and responses to, the symposium are available at http://antipodefoundation.org/2012/07/19/symposium-on-geoff-mann-and-joe....

... in an Age of Financialization
Larry Lohmann

1 July 2012

Proposals for greening the economy necessarily involve the greening of finance as well. But how is a greener finance to be achieved? Activist strategies that fail to take stock of where finance is today in the wake of the 2007-08 breakdown -- and the struggles that are continuing to develop between neoliberalism and the commons -- are unlikely to succeed, and may actually do harm.
Larry Lohmann

1 March 2012

Building more effective climate movements is, in part, a continuous process of interpretation and reinterpretation. This chapter from a forthcoming academic volume argues that climate activists can benefit from putting the current fashion for carbon trading into the context of the other market environmentalisms with which it has evolved; from exploring the insights of actor-network theory about the genesis and limitations of commodity-ready environmental objects; and from seeing carbon trading and other current defences of fossil fuel use in the context of accumulation cycles.

Nicholas Hildyard

13 September 2011

"What news on the Rialto?" one of Shakespeare's businessman characters asks another in "The Merchant of Venice", referring to the bridge where Venice's merchants met to trade. If such a scene were played out today on Wall Street, the topic of conversation might well be how to make money out of saving the Rialto itself. But those who have always lost out as a result of the goings-on on the Rialto may want to talk about something other than how to "fix" a system that has always disadvantaged them.
Responses to Food Speculation
Nicholas Hildyard

20 September 2010

 Some 154 million people were reportedly driven further into poverty in Southern countries as a result of speculation-induced food price hikes in 2007-08. What are the best strategies for bringing about the structural change needed that progressive activists can lend their support to?

This workshop presentation, while endorsing regulatory measures including banning certain investment vehicles such as exchange-traded funds and vetting of derivative-based financial instruments, cautions against becoming focussed on regulation alone as an answer. Also crucial is the promotion of non-derivative, socially-based mechanisms to protect farmers and consumers from volatile food prices, as well as price interventions that do not pit Northern farmers against their Southern counterparts.

REDD with Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

30 September 2008

Many new schemes are afoot to allow the North to pay the South for conserving its forests in return for permission to continue using fossil fuels. But how would a market in pollution rights generated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) play out in reality?

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

Constructing a New Population Threat
Anne Hendrixson

2 December 2004

34. 'Youth-bulge' theory refers to the large proportion of the world's population under 27 years old who are supposedly prone to violence. Images of angry young men of colour as potential terrorists and veiled young women as victims of repressive regimes support the theory. The implied threat of explosive violence and explosive fertility provides a rationale for US military intervention and population control initiatives in other countries and justifies government surveillance of Muslims and Arabs within US borders.

Political Organising Behind TRIPS
Peter Drahos with John Braithwaite

30 September 2004

32. When TRIPS was signed in 1994, the United States, Europe and Japan dominated the world's software, pharmaceutical, chemical and entertainment industries. The rest of the world had little to gain by agreeing to these terms of trade for intellectual property. They did so because a failure of democratic processes nationally and internationally enabled a small group of men within the United States to capture the US trade-agenda-setting process, to draft intellectual property principles that became the blueprint for TRIPS and to crush resistance through US trade power.

New Tensions and Resolutions over Land
Larry Lohmann

31 January 2002

Multilateral agencies have been promoting the commoditization of land in the Mekong region. How is this project being advanced and resisted?

A Book Review
Larry Lohmann

15 December 2000

If the choice of whether and when to translate claims to water and land into other idioms shapes and is shaped by power relations, so too is the choice of how to translate them. The charges of “misunderstanding” and “misinterpretation” that ricochet around any conflict of interpretation are negotiating moves, not claims that can be settled once and for all by fixing on a meaning that floats free of the context of discussion and struggle.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 1998

Overconsumption is possible only by dividing different groups of people from each other. A different, more democratic pattern of political action will be required to lower consumption.

Reflections for Activists
Larry Lohmann

31 August 1998

9. “Third World development” seldom achieves its stated objectives and is repeatedly discovered to be based on false assumptions. Although discredited, however, it has survived and flourished. This briefing asks to what extent development’s critics have inadvertently increased both its longevity and its capacity to produce falsehoods and failure. Forging an effective critical activism requires reexamining the dynamic between development projects and their opponents, helpers and beneficiaries.

Nicholas Hildyard

6 June 1998

This talk is a reflection on the operations of power in decision-making. It raises questions about environmental degradation in the European Union: whose environment is being protected through European Monetary Union and the Single European Market -- and whose environment is being degraded, rubbished and trashed by it?

Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1998

This talk looks at the politics of everyday life and its effects on the science lab; how the funding of science affects the view of the world that science portrays; and how the daily social and economic pressures of everyday life affect the direction and outcomes of scientific research.

How Opinion Polls and Cost-Benefit Analysis Synthesize New “Publics”
Larry Lohmann

31 May 1998

7. Opinion polls and cost-benefit analysis, like public relations, attempt to construct new, simplified “publics” which are friendly to bureaucracies, politicians and corporations. The success of these attempts is limited by popular resistance at many levels.

Uncovering Corporate PR Strategies
Judith Richter

31 March 1998

6. Corporations use public relations techniques to limit campaigns against the socially-irresponsible or environmentally-destructive practices of transnational companies. Taking the infant food industry as a case study, this briefing discusses the risks of ‘dialogue’ with company or industry organizations.

Larry Lohmann

31 March 1998

All development projects follow a three-act dramatic plotline, as development agencies try to impose plans, meet local opposition, and improvise freely in an attempt to overcome resistance.

The Politics of Participation
Nicholas Hildyard, Pandurang Hegde, Paul Wolverkamp and Somersekhave Reddy

3 March 1998

 4.Popular movements seeking radical structural change have long called for the right to participate in the planning and implementation of development projects. Many development agencies now aim to make their programmes more “participatory”. But “participation” can be little more than a means of engineering consent to programmes that have already been decided upon. Analysis of the UK-funded Western Ghats Forestry Project in India suggests that not participating in such programmes may in some cases be a better way for popular movements to achieve structural change.

Contention and Resistance in Intercultural Space
Larry Lohmann

1 September 1995

Different actors -- transnational corporations, political and technocratic elites, their opponents and others -- contend with and influence what is loosely called “globalization” in different ways. Constructive and engaged understanding of the power struggles between them all and their resources, motivations, dynamics, strategies, effectiveness, and capacities for alliances requires coming to grips with the ways in which they interpret and present their own struggles.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 July 1995

Many activists have an image of power as something which the state and industry “have” and others “lack” They often believe that only by entering the “real world” and getting some of this “power” can social movements have any real hope of achieving change. Yet there are diverse kinds of influence operating in today’s world; we could learn much about "power" from working more closely with those who historically have proved most effective in protecting the environment and who are most capable of becoming lasting allies.

The Politics of an Image
Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1995

A presentation looking at the forces which have degraded the earth and which now propose to manage its recovery through processes such as “sustainable development”.

Nicholas Hildyard, Larry Lohmann, Sarah Sexton and Simon Fairlie

31 May 1995

The commons is neither private nor public: neither business firm nor state utility, neither jealously guarded private plot nor national or city park. Industrial development has been possible only through dismantling the commons and harnessing the fragments to build up new economic and social patterns responsive to the interests of a dominant minority from which the great mass of humanity (particularly women) are excluded. Such enclosure has never gone unchallenged, however: resistance takes place in countless everyday ways in both the South and the North.

Interest Groups, Centralization and the Creative Politics of “Environment” in Thailand
Larry Lohmann

1 July 1993

Effective political struggle in intercultural space means creatively weaving in and out of all the cultures present.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 March 1993

“My enemy’s enemies may not be my friends . . . but they may be useful”. When groups campaigning for change make alliances with other groups without reference to specific struggles or grassroots groups involved, when they find common ground only by setting aside critical issues, and when none of the groups have to live with the consequences of their actions, such alliances can marginalize those for whom political struggle is not just another campaign but a defence of livelihood.

Larry Lohmann

2 January 1993

Relationships of power determine which truths can be spoken and when. Power is not a black box but a set of social meshes that we Western environmentalists must work within and against. This review of four books offers useful new tools for achieving a different political and self-awareness.