JensGreenJam
Green Jenny Jones talks to Mike Schwarz, civil liberties lawyer about the right to protest

Green Jenny Jones talks to Mike Schwarz, civil liberties lawyer about the right to protest

May 15, 2019

Mike Schwarz has been a human rights lawyer at Bindmans for 25 years. He has represented numerous campaigners, including all three of Jenny's part time staff. He describes the ups and downs of the right to protest over those years.

The crucial lesson is that peaceful protest is vital to the health of our democracy. While individual court cases are important, they have to be seen as part of a process that influences how society and the police handle peaceful dissent.

He regards his most significant case as the Kings North six. These protestors admitted trying to shut down the coal powered station by occupying the smokestack and painting the word "Gordon" down the chimney but argued that they were legally justified because they were trying to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world. It was the first case in which preventing property damage caused by climate change had been used as part of a "lawful excuse" defence in court. A majority of the jury agreed with them.
The police have a duty to facilitate protest, but their desire to do this ebbs and flows. That desire reached a highpoint after the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests, as he was struck by an officer from behind when he was walking away with his hands in his pockets and was not part of the protests. However, it diminished quickly after the London riots of 2011.

Mike is worried that democratic expressions of dissent are being undermined by cuts to legal aid and judges increasingly ruling against the use of defences which justify actions taken for the greater good. Judges are closing off the legal options where people have caused minor damage to property, or got in the way of companies doing business, without addressing the problems/concerns that lead people to protest about illegal wars, or weapons of mass destruction, GM crops or climate change.

The Mitting Inquiry into undercover policing is an example of a judge taking a conservative view of secrecy and state power. The judge may be misogynistic and hold out-dated views about equality, but the Inquiry could still have positive outcomes because the campaigners themselves are very organised and have done the bulk of the investigating. This has been time consuming, but they have exposed a lot of the dirty dealings that spycops have been involved with.

Our society needs to give more respect to those without money or power, who have to use non-violent protest as their way of getting attention and gaining influence. We must give them an equivalence with those who can act in the dark, by having the personal access to lobby, or via large donations.

It is deeply disturbing to watch how the courts are bending over to accommodate companies with deep pockets that are seeking civil injunctions. These injunctions against 'persons unknown' can cost individual campaigners thousands of pounds, or even their house, but include activities such as 'slow walking'. Although these companies have deep pockets, they do not have right on their side. Courts need to get a grip and define the limits of the right to protest.

 

Jenny Jones talks to Sian Berry about London politics and green success

Jenny Jones talks to Sian Berry about London politics and green success

April 16, 2019

Sian Berry is a co-leader of the Green Party, a London Assembly Member and a local councillor in Camden. She talks to Jenny Jones about her success with getting the London Mayor to change his policies on housing and to lobby the government to change their policies. She is part of Generation Rent and has championed their issues, such as a rent cap.

Sian's successes build on the sixteen years of practical changes achieved by Jenny and Darren when they were Green Party members of the London Assembly. This track record of success enabled both Jenny and Sian to come third in the Mayoral elections. Sian got the higest number of second preference votes and they discuss the prospect of a Labour vs Green run off in 2020.

 

Green Jenny Jones talks to Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of GP about fast fashion

Green Jenny Jones talks to Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of GP about fast fashion

March 13, 2019

Good fashion is timeless. Fast fashion is destroying the planet and linked to poverty wages around the globe. Amelia explains why there is no such thing as cheap fashion as someone somewhere is always paying for it in poverty wages and a polluted environment. There are an estimated 168m children working in the fashion industry.

The podcast concludes with the usual rebuttal section to help listeners deal with the usual responses and issues that are raised when campaigners call for changes to be made. 

 

The Green Baroness interviews paralympian star and Conservative peer, Chris Holmes

The Green Baroness interviews paralympian star and Conservative peer, Chris Holmes

February 19, 2019

Chris Holmes talks about his life and organising the 2012 paralympics. The innovations that made 2012 a success and the hostility that had to be overcome. He talks about his life as a lawyer and improving accessibility in the workplace. How many of the lessons learned about dealing positively with disability can also be applied to other areas where people face social barriers and discrimination. As always with these podcasts, they end with a 'myth busting' session, where Jenny and her guest answer some of the common comments/criticisms.

The Green Baroness interviews Stafford Scott about gangs, myths, poverty and prejudice

The Green Baroness interviews Stafford Scott about gangs, myths, poverty and prejudice

January 13, 2019

Community campaigner Stafford Scott discusses the gangs matrix and why institutional racism within the police is leading to failure and costing lives on the streets. The gangs matrix is a database that fuels the violence it purports to be trying to stop. It needs a complete overhaul. Stop and search will inflame a bad situation. He explains why you need to invest in families and communities as the way out of gang violence. You can not police your way out of this situation.

The interview ends with the usual 'hard questions' that need rebutal. 

His article in the Guardian

is https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/12/metropolitan-police-gangs-matrix-racist-policing?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

Ending the war on drugs and what happens next, with ex-undercover officer Neil Woods

Ending the war on drugs and what happens next, with ex-undercover officer Neil Woods

November 21, 2018

'The Drugs War' with ex undercover officer NeilWoodsNeil has authored two fascinating books about his experiences as an undercover cop turned whistle blower. Neil joins me to give us his insights on the war against drugs and explain: how drugs money has caused escalating violence on the streets; why younger children are being used; how drugs money supports others forms of crime and leads to endemic corruption in our police force. 

Neil's person experiences of being one of Britain's most successful undercover officers deserves our respect and attention. Having a knife to your throat, or being stripped naked at gunpoint can take a personal toll on the brave officers who have tried to fight a war on drugs that can't be won.

Jenny Jones talks to Caroline Lucas MP about climate change

Jenny Jones talks to Caroline Lucas MP about climate change

October 24, 2018

Green Party Baroness Jenny Jones discusses climate change with Caroline Lucas MP. They talk: fracking; green energy; new nukes; food and the economy. Find out what position Caroline Lucas would choose if she was invited to join a red/green Government. 

Facial recognition and civil liberties. JJ talks to Silkie Carlo, Director Big Brother Watch
Molly Scott Cato MEP talks to JJ about a green approach to farming and food

Molly Scott Cato MEP talks to JJ about a green approach to farming and food

June 15, 2018

Going organic and transforming our countryside for the benefit of nature are at the heart of the green approach, but there is a lot more to discuss. Pesticides, GMOs, subsidy payments, animal protection and Brexit. 

Jenny talks about air pollution and solutions with Simon Birkett of Clean Air London

Jenny talks about air pollution and solutions with Simon Birkett of Clean Air London

May 25, 2018

Jen's Green Jam is a series of podcasts aimed at giving campaigners all the information and arguments they need to go out and change the world.