|Issue 6 - June 1972|
Dear Muther Grumble,
I have not yet had time to fully read Muther Grumble, but I am most impressed with it. I would go as far as to say that it seems at first sight the best underground publication I have yet seen in terms of content and value for money. Lots of news of people doing things, practical ideas and exposes of the machine. Fantastic. My subscription is enclosed.
If I may offer a small piece of advice, I think you have worked wonders with what appears to be very limited print techniques, but the effect is still one of a sea of print on some pages, which I think people find very offputting (I know I do).
Sorry you are having a tough time, but that is inevitable once you stand out against the machine. The only answers are the certain knowledge that we are on the side which must win in the end, even if not in our lifetime (encourage, encourage!) and we just have to be very determined and draw our strength from one another. The nearer we get to success the nastier it is going to be because once the machine begins to suspect it is dying the death throws will get very violent indeed. In view of which my total commitment to non-violence might seem very odd. But I don't believe you can win with oppressive methods.
You have to show up the methods for what they are and get people to believe in alternatives. And it is happening. When you are 38 like me it will take more than a few minor tangles with the fuzz to beat you down - or you will have long since been sucked into the system never to re-emerge.
Stay with it.
The press realises that the public takes a long time to rouse. A 'Daily Worker' editorial comrade told me that it was necessary to keep the pot boiling on any campaign for 3 weeks before the members of the party took note and took action. This was before world war 2 when the CP really was active campaigning and one of the main centres of progress in Britain; when they were out on the streets organising demonstrations and strikes, leading the unions out of their lethargy and generally acting as spear head of the working class.
You have raised the most important questions of the day in Muther Grumble - survival and your explanation of exponential growth in such simple and telling language is just what is required. But it would appear to me that unless the pressure is kept up, it will remain just an article. May I make a suggestion. Would it be possible to work it into most of the other articles by relating it to the problem in question? I know this is not easy but I feel sure you could do it and do it well. Only in this way will you really impress it onto people. As Survival is a new concept, it is difficult to get it off the ground.
What is worse is that the conclusions are so frightening that most people want to forget it as quickly as possible. To make it even worse, it cuts across everybody's aspirations which are all based on expansion - employers, unions and private people alike. Even the CP is taking a hell of a lot of rousing but I think as a result of letters to the 'Morning Star' they are now publishing quite a bit about pollution and they even accepted and printed a long letter from me showing how survival politics will entail a rewriting of their almost sacred programme 'The Socialist Road for Britain'. They are actually showing a quicker adaptability than my own party (Labour). Labour is taking it up - a few here and there but it has not reached popular policy statements yet.
The Conservative MP for Boulton East is really taking it up and is organising a survey of pollution in his constituency together with a campaign against it. So it looks as though Survival politics is going to cut across party barriers and break down existing demarcations - but this is in its infancy. Incidentally I converted three Conservatives to Survival politics while taking the polling numbers in the local elections.
What I find so remarkable about Muther Grumble is its presentation. Educated people speak a different language with different concepts from the masses. When they start a progressive paper, it is written for and to the educated. So it does not cotton on to the masses. Muther Grumble has broken away from this approach and could therefore become a National Newspaper in time.
Just one criticism I would like if I may. That is, that it is like grapeshot. It takes a lot of swipes at a lot of things but there is no central target, no general line with a single clear object. If you could make environmental politics your central object, I think you would achieve a definite purpose. Actually environmental politics is far more revolutionary than socialism and communism and embraces many of the good points of both. It is the most revolutionary and the most urgent of all problems and has the advantage of being able to appeal to all parties and classes.
How about a summary of Ehrlich's 2 paperbacks (Pan Books) in future issues - 'How to be a Survivor: a plan to save spaceship earth' and 'The Population Bomb' - also Barry Commoner's 'Closing Circle' and W and P Paddock 'Famine 1975'?
I note you have appealed for information on many topics in 'Whole Earth Catalogue'. I will ask if an account of how to make your own artists materials is any use to Roger Booth.
Please find a donation to your newspaper. Sorry it is small: I am an OAP.
The Tourist Board tells us Redcar is one of the north's most beautiful resorts with 6 miles of beautiful golden beaches. OK, if you don't look at the dilapidated houses on the seafront, ICI city in the distance pouring out enough smoke to cover the sun and fumes to cover the traditional seaside smells of chips, vinegar, fish and lubricating oil from the 'fun' 'palaces'.
As for the beach if you can pick your way over the plastic bags, broken glass, dead fish and other washed-up debris too revolting to mention, and go down towards the Tees estuary you will eventually come to the most beautiful part of Redcar beach, the sand-dunes, these stretch for a couple of miles with a golf course on one side which puts a barrier between the dunes and the 'works', on the other side is the less polluted part of the 'golden' beach.
However the planners seem to have thought of a really good way to get rid of this remaining beauty spot, put a caravan site along there and use the excuse of providing a facility to attract tourists. So now we have the prospect of an over polluted sea on one side and rows of caravans on the other with a strip of broken glass and plastic down the middle!
Teesside Council are thinking of spending a helluva lot of bread on turning Redcar into a conference centre, why don't they use some of it to turn somewhere else into a site, e.g. part of Redcar called Warrenby which is being slowly pulled down and at the moment consists of rows of derelict houses and wasteground. This place is near the sea and the town centre, has marshland on one side and the golf course leading to the dunes and beach on the other. It is also out of the way enough not to be an eyesore.
Why don't they use their heads? Most people come here for the beach and sea, so soon they'll have a big caravan site, but no beach or holidaymakers.
Yours Beachcomber Pete
PS I have nothing against caravan dwellers, I live in one myself carefully situated in our back yard.
Barriers grow through misunderstanding.