Another dinner, life and world IS possible! (starting with £600)

Green Action has £600 to spend on nifty, thrifty, positive, creative, inspiring, rocket firing, amazing, blazing ways to promote autonomous, co-operative, sustainable living!  Especially with the recession n that – when people may put greener issues on the back burner – we can show that another dinner, life and world IS possible! (starting with £600..)

So come on up to Meeting Room 5 on Mon 2nd March @ 5.30pm

The first proposal we have is to spend £200 of it on a Poly tunnel for the allotment

There will be CAKE to entice you all..mmmm


Climate chaos cafe -25/02/09

This week’s Climate Chaos Cafe, on Wednesday 25th feb (this week) at 6.45pm at the Common Place.
This week, Chris Mackins of YANC (Yorkshire Against New Coal) wiil be giving an overview of coal, what YANC’s aims and objectives are/were, what kind of responses that we’ve had – and from this, what individuals/groups can consider to keep the pressure ion in the lead up to the Kingsnorth decision being taken.

Hope you can come along and take part in this vital discussion.
Excellent food is to be provided at a cheap price.

If you could print out some posters and put them up that would be brilliant.

Alternative Leeds university library

A Library within a library… 
an alternative Leeds University Library.

We have a library of our own

Here’s a big list of books that would fit nicely into the Green Action Library – but can be found instead in our own university library. I’ve tried to include stuff relevant to the Food co-op in particular  – enviromentalism, animal rights, food politics, co-operative organisation and the like, but there’s also lots of stuff on general leftist political issues, and loads of stuff on anarchy, ‘cause it’s great. I’ve also included details about other libraries around Leeds, and distributors of radical literature (at the end).

The stuff here is mostly books that we’ve either read, or at least skimmed through, making us happy to recommend it – but there’s also loads of books that sound great from their title so I stuck ‘em in the list – sorry if they’re a big pile of poo. Please edit, add etc. this list.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg… the uni library is superb for alternative thought in just about any field, so go educate yourself and use it. And if you find lots of good stuff on a particular topic, then add it to this list, or make one of your own.

Initial list by Reevesie.




Workers Co-ops.


… being organisations in which the workers control things themselves (usually with equal wages, participatory decision making, and people genuinely desiring to do their job). Good things to support if you don’t like crappy capitalist institutions…


The British Co-operative Movement; Jack Bailey; 1955
A big history of British co-operation from 19th century Rochdale ‘til the 1950s.


Co-operative Principles: Today and Tomorrow; Watkins; On the philosphy behind co-operative ventures.


The New Workers Co-ops; Coates;
Loads of Workers co-ops sprung up in Britain in the late 1970s. Read all about it.


The Workers Co-op Handbook: a comprehensive guide to setting up a workers co-op; Cockerton & Whyatt.


The Case for Workers Co-ops; Robert Oakeshoft;
Discusses the pros and cons of worker’s control, with loads of history and case studies.


Workers Co-ops: Jobs and dreams; Jenny Thornley; 1981
An in-depth analysis of the viability and desirability of workers co-ops.


The Media


… they wouldn’t mislead you, would they?


Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication politics in dubious times; Robert McChesney; 2000


Corporate Media and the threat to Democracy; McChesney; 1997


The global media: the new missionaries of corporate capitalism; Edward S. Herman and Robert W. McChesney; 1997;


Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media ; Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky;
Looks in detail at the role the media plays in democratic societies, asserting that its used to stifle debate, thought and meaningful public participation in political affairs (i.e. our lives).


Manufacturing consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (video); Bretton Hall (& Food co-op library!)


Manufacturing consent: Companion book to the video; EBL 9, EBL 13, BL Main 1


Between the lines: how to detect bias and propaganda in the news and everyday life; Eleanor MacLean; 1981;


Radical media: rebellious communication and social movements; Downing; 2001;
An analysis of the use of alternative media by social movements both now and in the past


Free to be human: intellectual self-defence in an age of illusions; David Edwards; 1995;
Inventing reality : the politics of the mass media; M. Parenti; 1993; BL West 2


Degraded capability: the media and the Kosovo crisis; edited by Philip Hammond and Edward S. Herman; 2000;


Baudrillard for beginners; Horrocks and Jevtic;
He says that the Gulf War didn’t happen. Read this and try and find out what he means.




… not so important. With the wonders of modern technology we could always build another earth and re-manufacture any extinct species.


Ecology and Society; Luke Martell; 1994;
A well-argued enquiry from an environmentally concerned guy on the principles behind environmentalism, and some of the specific issues at stake.


The Green economy: environment, sustainable development and the politics of the future; Michael Jacobs; 1991;
An analysis of how our current economic system is not conducive to caring for the environment (to put it mildly), and suggestions for viable economic reforms to improve things.


Green Political Thought; Andrew Dobson; 1995;


Global warming: can civilization survive?; Paul Brown; 1996;
A beginners guide, talking about the science behind it, what has been done and what should be done.


Rainforest politics: ecological destruction in South-East Asia; Philip Hurst
A well-researched book of case-studies, looking at the factors behind rainforest destruction in the various countries where it’s taking place.


Climate change and American foreign policy; edited by Paul G. Harris; Eco-economy : building an economy for the earth ; Lester R. Brown
An online book (follow the link from the library site) detailing the environmental problems we face today, and suggesting steps to be taken to overcome them.


Emerging markets for emissions trading: opportunities from the Kyoto Protocol and the implications for business: complete proceedings from an international conference held in London, 11-12 May 1998;
How to turn climate change into a business opportunity. Frightening. Always useful to see what the bad guys are up to, though.




… in a world where everything is for sale and life is presented to us as a series of experiences to be consumed, it seems like people aren’t just alienated from work now, they’re alienated from almost everything. So these guys reckon anyway.


Society of the Spectacle; Guy Debord;
One of the two main Situ books. Great ideas, but kinda hard to penetrate.


The Revolution of Everyday life; Raoul Vaneigem;
The other one. Less hard going.


The Most Radical Gesture – the Situationist International in a postmodern age; Sadie Plant;
A lucid introduction. Yay!


The beginning of the end: France, May 1968; Quattrocchi and Nairn; 1998;
An account of the uprising in Paris in May ’68 that the Situationists played a part in.


The May movement: revolt and reform: May 1968 – the student rebellion and workers' strikes – the birth of a social movement; by Alain Touraine; 1971;
Another one – “Sous les paves, la Plage!”




… the library is amazing for this. If there’s anything at all you’re curious about, just get searchin’. Here’s a few suggestions…


The Politics of History; Howard Zinn; 1990;
By the champion of history told from the bottom up.


The Spanish Civil War: revolution and counterrevolution; Burnett Bolloten;
“Anarchy? Oh, that could never happen.” Err.. it did, in Spain, in the 1930s. It worked quite well too.


The CIA, a forgotten history: US global interventions since World War 2 ; William Blum;
By a guy who was in the CIA ‘til he could stand it no more. Read it and then shock any friends who think that the US is a nice benevolent superpower.


Demonstration elections: U.S.-staged elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador; E. Herman and F. Brodhead; 1984;


Israel and the Arabs; Maxine Rodinson; 1970;
A good intro to the history of Israel, if you’re as lost and confused on the topic as me.


Agents of repression: the FBI's secret wars against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement; Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall; 1988;
An insight into the lengths that a Western government will go to to suppress a political movement once it starts achieving some success. Very, very frightening.




… so many great books analysing to pieces the murky world of international politics, that he gets a whole section to himself.


American power and the new mandarins; Chomsky; 1969;
Noam on ‘Nam.
At War with Asia; Chomsky; 1970


The Backroom Boys; Chomsky; 1973


The Chomsky Reader; ed. James Peck


Chronicles of Dissent; interviews with Chomsky; 1992
A good intro to Chomsky’s ideas, that’s a good deal more lucid than his books.


The Culture of Terrorism; Chomsky; 1988;
How can the West justify massive arms spending in the post cold war era? Ah… terrorist rogue states you say, that’s a fine idea. Better arm up, or the Axis of Evil’s gonna getcha.


Democracy in a neoliberal order: doctrines and reality; Chomsky; 1997;
Do we live in a democracy? If democracy is ticking some crosses on some ballots every few years, then yeah, we do. If it’s about actually participating in matters that affect your life (which is what it used to mean), then maybe we don’t.


Deterring Democracy; Chomsky; 1991;
How governments go about deterring genuine democracy.


The fateful triangle: the United States, Israel and the Palestinians; Chomsky; 1983;
An excellent analysis of the Israel/Palestine issue – well, so I’m told.


Necessary illusions: thought control in democratic societies; Chomsky; 1989; EBL 12, BL West 2
How the powerful have consciously manipulated the “rabble masses” to stop ‘em misusing their voting power.


The new military humanism: lessons from Kosovo; Chomsky; 1999;
A Just War or just another war?


Problems of knowledge and freedom; Chomsky; 1972;


Superpowers in collision: the cold war now; Chomsky, Steele, Gittings; 1982;


Turning the tide: U.S. intervention in Central America and the struggle for peace; Chomsky; 1985;


World orders, old and new; Chomsky; 1994;


Old Anarchy


… they’ve got all the classics in the library (including loads of great Kropotkin pamphlets in the Brotherton special collection).


Enquiry concerning political justice, and its influence on modern morals and happiness; William Godwin; 1796;
Rationalism. Authority and compulsion bad. Happiness and freedom good. Makes sense doesn’t it?


The ego and his own; Max Stirner; 1845;
Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me. In a 19th century, egoist exposition kinda way.


What is Property?; Proudhon; 1840; EBL 9, EBL 13, BL Main 2


Statism and Anarchy; Bakunin;


Selected Writings of Bakunin;


The Political Philosophy of Bakunin: Scientific Anarchism;


From out of the Dustbin :Bakunin’s Basic Writings; ed. McCutler


Mutual Aid: A factor of Evolution; Kropotkin; 1902
Faced with loads of social-Darwinists saying that “survival of the fittest” was the natural way to live, Kropotkin fought back, pointing out that species that thrived were usually those which co-operated with each other, and that, perhaps, that would be a good way for humans to live too.


The Conquest of Bread; Kropotkin; 1913


Classical anarchism : the political thought of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin ; George Crowder; 1991; EBL 9, EBL 12, BL West 2




… here’s a small selection. There’s a whole big anarchy section in the Brotherton too – Politics C-6.4 is where you wanna be.


The anarchist reader; edited by George Woodcock; 1977;
An excellent diverse introduction to anarchist thought, history and practise.


For anarchism: history, theory and practice; edited by David Goodway; 1989
Another good collection of essays.


The Ecology of Freedom: the emergence and dissolution of hierarchy; Bookchin; EBL 12, EBL 9, BL West 2, Brettton Hall
Not only is anarchism desirable, says Bookchin, it’s a necessary form of organisation for people to live sustainably with each other and their natural environment.


The Modern Crisis; Bookchin; 1986;
A collection of essays. Really lucid and well-argued.


Post Scarcity Anarchism; Bookchin; BL West 2,
Post scarcity meaning that the material conditions for a free society now exist. More essays!


Anarcho-syndicalism; Rudolf Rocker; 1938; BL West 2
On an anarchist means of workplace organisation. Happened in a big way in Spain and France early in the last century.


Anarchism: from theory to practice; Daniel Guérin; 1970,


The modern state: an anarchist analysis; J. Frank Harrison; 1983; BL West 2


Against power and death: the anarchist articles and pamphlets of Alex Comfort ; ed. David Goodway; 1994; EBL 9, EBL 13
He didn’t just write “The Joy of Sex”, y’know.


The political philosophy of poststructuralist anarchism; Todd May; 1994;


Philosophy, politics, autonomy; Cornelius Castoriadis; 1991; BL Main 2


The political forms of modern society : bureaucracy, democracy, totalitarianism; Claude Lefort; 1986;EBL 9, EBL 12, BL West 2


Anarchist voices: an oral history of anarchism in America; Paul Avrich; 1996; BL Main 2




… polluting? alienating? tool of the oppressors? wonderful? useful?


The Luddites (Three Pamplets 1812–1839);
A really cool book featuring some of the excellent principles behind the machine-smashing.


Appropriate technology: tools, choices and implications; Hazeltine, Bull; 1999;


How to save the World: a Fourth World guide to the Politics of Scale;


Living on the sun: harnessing renewable energy for an equitable society; Boyle; 1975;


Renewable energy: power for a sustainable future; ed. Geoffrey Boyle; 1996


A solar manifesto: the need for a total solar energy supply and how to achieve it ; Hermann Scheer; 1994;


The ecology of the automobile; Peter Freund and George Martin; 1993;


The energy alternative: changing the way the world works; Walter C. Patterson; 1900; EBL Counter




… try reading Do Or Die, or Year Zero, or Z magazine. If you’re using the Uni library though, these’ll have to do:


Anarchist Studies; BL West 2
An academic anarchist journal, four books worth from 1993 onwards.


The Vegan; EBL 10, EBL 8
Loads of copies of The Vegan magazine, from 1990 onwards.


Journal of Co-operative Studies; BL West 2




… really works!


Poll Tax Rebellion; Danny Burns; 1992;
How popular revolt stopped the poll tax being brought in.


The other Davos: the globalization of resistance to the world economic system; ed. Francois Houtart and Francois Polet; 2001;


Globalization and social movements; ed. Pierre Hamel; 2001;


Peasants against globalization: rural social movements in Costa Rica; 2000; EBL8
A book detailing the highly informed anti-globalisation struggle of Costa Rican peasants, from the 1980s onwards.


Naming the enemy: anti-corporate movements confront globalization ; Amory Starr; 2000; EBL 9, EBL 12, BL West 2


Civil disobedience: theory and practice ; by Christian Bay, Charles C. Walker; 1975; BL West 2.


Waves of protest: social movements since the sixties ; edited by Jo Freeman and Victoria Johnson; 1999; BL West 2


Earth First! and the anti-roads movement : radical environmentalism and comparative social movements; Derek Wall; 1999; EBL 9, EBL 12, BL West 2
A good account of what Earth First! is about, with plenty of input from the activists themselves.


Branded World


… what does the deodorant you use say about you? Are you sporty? Sexy? Exciting and edgy?


No logo: taking aim at the brand bullies; Naomi Klein; 2000; EBL 9, EBL 12, EBL Counter, Bretton Hall
In the management section! Expect to see even better techniques to channel anti-brand discontent into big bucks soon…


Brand warriors: corporate leaders share their winning strategies; ed. Fiona Gilmore; 1997; EBL 9, BL West 2
Oh my. A quote from the 1st chapter…”Business is war – the objective is competitor destruction through superior industrial economics. Brand warfare is different: the brand warrior identifies the key conquest as the customer, not the rival.” What a beautiful world we live in.


What makes winning brands different?: the hidden method behind the world's most successful brands; Buchholz and Wördemann; 2000; BL West 2
I’m sure these books make just as devastating a case against corporations as No Logo. Ugh.




… I’m sure a really great way of getting ideas on how to live has got to be by looking at the decisions that other people, particularly like-minded people, have had to make, and trying to learn from what they did. So bios should be great. Haven’t actually got ‘round to reading any of these yet, though…


Memoirs of a Revolutionist; Kropotkin; Bretton Hall


Peter Kropotkin: from prince to rebel ; by George Woodcock and Ivan Avakumovic; 1990; BL Main 2


Heroes; John Pilger; 2001; EBL 12, EBL 9


Oscar Wilde: the double image; by George Woodcock; 1989; BL Main 4


An American anarchist: the life of Voltairine de Cleyre ; Paul Avrich; 1978; BL Main 2


Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: a biography; George Woodcock; 1969; BL West 2


Living my life; Emma Goldman; 1972; EBL 12, BL West 2


Memoirs of a revolutionary, 1901-1941; Victor Serge; 1963; EBL 9, 12, BL Main 2
Pick an interesting historical event from the above period, and Victor Serge was probably there. He was just about the only one of Stalin’s political prisoners to escape execution too.


Five years: thoughts during a useless time; Paul Goodman; 1969;BL Main 4


If this is a Man and The truce; Primo Levi; 1987; EBL 9, 13
An account by a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. I’m told that despite the horrific content, the way that Primo Levi manages to emerge from this as a forgiving, compassionate man is profoundly inspiring.


Animal Liberation


Peter Singer; 1991; EBL 9, EBL 10, EBL 12
A patiently argued book that aims to undermine “Speciesism” and convince people to respect the interests of animals. Kinda hard to justify eating meat once you’ve read this.


All Animals Are Equal; Peter Singer; EBL Counter
An essay on abstinence from animal food as a moral duty ; by Joseph Ritson; 1804; BL Special Collection
One of many books in the library from the time when British veggies were a rarity and were seen by most as crazed weirdos!


The dietician’s guide to vegetarian diets: issues and applications ; Mark Messina, Virginia Messina; EBL 10
‘Cause everyone should know where they’re getting their vitamin B12 from.


Diet and health: scientific perspectives ; Walter J. Veith; EBL 9, EBL 10, EBL 12
Rights, killing, and suffering: moral vegetarianism and applied ethics; Raymond Frey; EBL 9, EBL 13, BL Main 2


The unheeded cry: animal consciousness, animal pain and scientific change; B Rollin; EBL 10; 1989


What is Vivisection?; British Union for Abolition of Vivisection; Bretton Hall; 1987


Animal Machines: The new factory farming industry; Harrison; EBL 12, 9; 1964


In Defence of Animals; ed. Singer; BL Main 2, Bretton Hall; 1985


The Price of Meat; D Penman; EBL 10; 1996
A British-centric book on the horrors of contemporary factory farming, animal modification (by breeding / genetic modification), plus some philosophical discussion and suggested action (go vegan!)


Libertarian Education


… the theory being that people should be allowed to educate themselves freely according to their motivations, and forced education is as unnecessary as force-feeding.


Compulsory miseducation; Paul Goodman; 1971; BL West 3
Some of the philosophy behind libertarian education.


A primer of libertarian education; Joel Spring; 1975; Bretton Hall


No master high or low: libertarian education and schooling in Britain, 1890-1990; John Shotton


Free school : the White Lion experience ; Nigel Wright; 1989; BL West 3
There was a significant free school movement in Britain in the early 80s. This book gives an insight into how it all worked out.




… is it a good idea? Can cities be environmentally sound? Who decides how they develop? Wouldn’t life be dull if we didn’t live in ‘em?


The city in history : its origins, its transformations, and its prospects ; Lewis Mumford; 1991; EBL 12
The Situationist City; Simon Sadler; Bretton Hall


Housing: an anarchist approach; Colin Ward; 1976; BL West 2


Garden cities of to-morrow; by Ebenezer Howard; 1946; BL Main 4


The City and radical social change ; edited by Dimitrios Roussopoulos; 1982; BL West 2


Non-plan: Essays on freedom and change in modern architecture and urbanism; ed. Hughes & Sadler; BL Main 4


Green cities: ecologically sound approaches to urban space ; edited by David Gordon; 1990; EBL 8




Other Local Libraries


Leeds City Library, The Headrow.
…is huge and has a lot of good books, on all manner of stuff. Free internet access too. Use it or lose it.


Continuing Education Library, Springfield Mount
… small and friendly (with no fines!). Good sections on History, Philosophy, Cultural Studies…
Commonweal Collection, Bradford.


Huge independent library (kind of affiliated with the Peace Studies dept. at Bradford Uni), with books on peace and green movements, non violent direct action, and more… Open to all.


The 1 in 12 Library, Bradford
Big anarchist library within the 1in12 Club in Bradford. Loads and loads of books on working-class struggle, revolutionary history, green issues, feminism… About £7 to join for a year.


Borders, Briggate.
Lots of good radical magazines in here – Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Direct Action, Class War, Ethical Consumer and loads more hard-to-find ones. Grab a comfy chair and have a read.


Radical Book Distribution


AK Press.
Edinburgh-based radical book distributors – they’ll deliver you everything from political polemics and vegan cookbooks to feminist porn and beat poetry. Visit, or get hold of one of their catalogues (AK DISTRIBUTION, PO BOX 12766, EDINBURGH, EH8 9YE).
Leeds-based book distro, focussing on green anarchist issues. Go to, or write to them c/o Cornerstone Resource Centre, 16 Sholebroke Avenue, Leeds, LS7 3HB.
Active Distribution
London-based distro, run by political punkers, selling dirt-cheap books on anarchy, politics and the like (plus loads of t-shirts, badges, records, fanzines and the like). Write to ACTIVE DISTRIBUTION, BM ACTIVE, LONDON, WC1N 3XX.
The trade association that most of the radical British magazines belong to. Visit their website ( to find out about cheap subscriptions, and also what’s out there.

Project proposal

Dear [interested academics],


I am a student of the university of Leeds, and I am writing to ask you if you would consider running a masters or a bachelors project that involves the Green Action co-op.


I work at the GA co-op in the union. We are volunteer and student run. We buy in bulk from Lembas, and receive a small discount which covers things like spillages and mis-labelling. The co-op has existed for 12 years (or so). We have a turnover of around £600 a week. We offer students, and other people, a place to buy fair trade organic whole food at an affordable price. If this was run as a commercial shop then we could not offer the food at an affordable price and I do not think the GA co-op would survive. People can order vegetable boxes with locally produced organic food and collect them from the co-op. We are keen to try to help other universities set-up similar co-ops.


We would like someone to look at how this model of co-op works, why students are prepared to give up their time to manage a shop, perform some study on how the co-op is managed (stock, takings etc.), and how the co-op effects the community of students that run it. We feel that the co-op is a valuable resource and that you might find it could make up part of a project giving open access to the workings of such a structure.


Structures such as the GA co-op can be important in other situations. I was at a friend’s in Axminster who lived in a village (200 people or so). They have a volunteer run shop as a commercial shop would not be viable. This means that they can buy milk and necessities instead of driving 10 miles to the nearest town. It also serves as the village hub. This illustrates that this structure is not unique to university students.


Please contact me if any of this interests you or you know someone who may be interested in it.