The Clapham Festival of Music and the Arts
william wilberforce award for community spirit and service
The Clapham Festival of Music & the Arts (Cla'am Fest) was created to organise annually in Clapham, a festival for music and the arts, promoting education and fostering community spirit and service in Lambeth. Because of the birth of the Abolitionist Movement in Clapham (Parliament ended the British slave trade in March 1807), Cla'am Fest is the ideal home of the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service.
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| welcome > William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service

william wilberforce award for community spirit and service

William Wilberforce  (1759-1833)
see below for details of the award

"I expressed my hope that the time would come when
I should be able to do something on behalf of the slaves."
William Wilberforce
The 1st recorded instance of his interest in the subject. He was not yet 21 years of age (1780).

"My country is the world.
My religion is to do good."
Tom Paine
Paine did not free a single slave (he refused to own and have slaves, unlike George Washington and Thomas Jefferson)
but he wrote essays and articles (written in 1774, published in March, 1775) in the Pennsylvania Journal, Pennsylvania Magazine,(sometimes called Gazette) or American Museum (as editor) and the Weekly Advertiser arguing every point for point justiying slavery with the sharpest criticism for the Christian justification of slavery. This led to the formation of America's very first anti-slavery society in April 1775 in Philadelphia. Tom was a member.
Read Paine's essay here.
He also wrote at this time against duelling, British policy in India, the use of titles and cruelty to animals.

"We have become a country of anger, of selfishness and of fear. It doesn't have to be like this. Let's together try and stop it."
Barry Mizen,
(father of 16 year old son Jimmy, murdered by a YOB for no reason. 27 March 2009, London, United Kingdom)

"We are what is wrong, and we must make it right."
Al Gore
(2007 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture)

In The Face Of Fear
1 in 7 people have anxiety disorders in the UK.
"Fear is the most powerful of emotions. Fear is recognised faster than conscious thought by the brain, and triggers the ‘fight or flight' response. Historically this enabled people to face immediate threats to their safety as hunter gatherers. But in modern life it causes people problems because abstract or unpredictable concerns such as terrorism or economic problems demand more considered responses. People still have the same strong physical and mental responses, yet cannot fight or flee from current threats. By failing to account for fear, we tend to remain unconscious of its impact, and it more easily rules us. We are becoming more fearful and anxious. We perceive our world as having become more frightening and frightened. Fear and the perception of fear have wide-ranging costs and are factors in so much personal and collective suffering.We need measures which require concerted effort. We need to foster greater understanding of the interaction between thought, emotion and behaviour – and specifically how fear can influence us to see and behave in ways that are unhelpful to our well-being, and that of others. Those working in influential opinion-leading areas of our society – government, media, business, education etc – have a particular responsibility to understand how fear works, and to help promote that understanding. That understanding would lead to a recalibration of how information on risk is presented and managed. Agencies in society that provide information about threats to safety could strive for a more mature presentation of information about the dangers we face. Those that are responsible for responding to threats could strive to develop structures that work with them in a life-enhancing rather than life-limiting way, based on a realistic and balanced assessment of the dangers and the need for protection from them. We must carefully examine how social, economic and other life circumstances influence fear, and work to create conditions that reduce it – by making informed decisions that affect our own lives and those around us, and by calling for and implementing policies that are conducive to reducing fear in our society now and in future generations. We must consolidate our learning about fear by working with it as it is experienced in our minds and bodies. For most of us, this means slowing down, noticing how and when we experience fear and then using our learning about it to practise responding more skilfully. We must help those who experience debilitating fear and anxiety. We must invest more wisely in healthcare resources so that everyone who needs support to understand and manage their fear has fast and appropriate access to it. The/our approach to working with fear, and mental health needs to be an integrated one – encompassing strategies at both an individual and social level. This requires each one of us to think – and feel – with care and attention, reflecting both on our own lives and how we relate to one another as a society. We must open up a debate about how fear affects us and our world and what we can do to respond to it effectively – a debate that recognises the significance of both mind and body, both cognition and emotion, in influencing our individual and collective experience and behaviour. "
In the Face of Fear

Fear by Krishnamurti

"One of the biggest problems we face today is a feeling of helplessness.
How can one person possibly make a difference in the face of overpopulation, poverty, overconsumption, deforestation and desertification, loss of biodiversity, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, decreasing water supplies, human violence - and all the rest. No wonder people feel helpless and hopeless. It is desperately important for us to understand that each one of us does make a difference. Every day, we make some impact on the environment and the living beings around us. And we have a choice as to what sort of impact we make. Although one person out of several billion doing his or her bit to save water, for example, would have no impact on the water crisis, a few million or billion doing the same
would result in the kind of change we must see."
Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and a United Nations' Messenger of Peace

"Why might not whole communities and public bodies be seized with fits of insanity, as well as individuals? Nothing but this principle, that they are liable to insanity, equally at least with private persons, can account for the major part of those transactions of which we read in history."
Bishop Joseph Butler (1692-1752)

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself -
nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, First inaugural address

Fear less, hope more;
eat less, chew more;
whine less, breathe more;
talk less, say more;
hate less, love more;
and all good things are yours.
Swedish Proverb

Nothing in life is to be feared.
It is only to be understood.
Marie Curie

" For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of 'brainwashing under freedom' to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling instruments."
Noam Chomsky

"With numbing regularity good people were seen to knuckle under the demands of authority and perform actions that were callous and severe. Men who are in everyday life responsible and decent were seduced by the trappings of authority, by the control of their perceptions, and by the uncritical acceptance of the experimenter's definition of the situation, into performing harsh acts. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority."
Stanley Milgram, 1965

Milgram was a psychologist who performed a series of experiments that proved conclusively that obedience to authority was so ingrained in the average US citizen they were prepared to cause lethal harm to others when instructed by authority figures to do so. All those who took part were first asked if they would be capable of killing or inflicting severe pain on their fellow human beings. 100% replied categorically 'no'.

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.
Cherokee Indian Proverb

"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.
that's the essense of inhumanity"
George Bernard Shaw

50% of all children born in London in 2008 are born into poverty.
London is the poorest area in the UK.
Mayor of London research committee, 2008

"It is no measure of health
to be well-adjusted to
a profoundly sick society."
J. Krishnamurti

"My own mind is my own church:
whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another
and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as possess.
Why do men continue to practice on themselves the absurdities they despise in others?"
Tom Paine

"None are more enslaved
than those who falsely
believe they are free."

"And we, the old ones, want to whisper into those innocent ears. 'Have you still got your space? Your soul, your own and necessary place where your own voices may speak to you, you alone, where you may dream. Oh, hold onto it, don't let it go.'... We are a jaded lot, we in our world – our threatened world. We are good for irony and even cynicism. Some words and ideas we hardly use, so worn out have they become. But we may want to restore some words that have lost their potency... That poor girl trudging through the dust, dreaming of an education for her children, do we think that we are better than she is – we, stuffed full of food, our cupboards full of clothes, stifling in our superfluities?...I think it is that girl and the women who were talking about books and an education when they had not eaten for three days, that may yet define us."
Doris Lessing (2007 Nobel Prize for Literature Lecture)

"Democracy is before the people, as Abraham Lincoln said, (Democracy) has a simple definition - the difficulty is making it a reality. We are making it a reality: government of the people, by the people and for the people. A society where people are included and are equal, where there is no exclusion, there is no poverty, where human values reign."
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela

“No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction.
Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle.
None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result.”
Ludwig von Mises, economist and social philosopher

"The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."
Milan Kundera

"Take the 'war on terror'. This is an entirely bogus idea that actually means a war of terror. Its aim is to convince people in the rich world that we all must live in an enduring state of fear: that Muslim fanatics are threatening our civilisation."
John Pilger
from an address given in March 2008 to graduating students at Rhodes University


the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service,
have the proud distinction of being the very first presence on the World Wide Web of representing William Wilberforce (2001).
It was only in the last minute run-up to the bi-centenerary (March, 1807- March, 2007) that "others" joined the band-wagon.
We feel and believe that the ideals that Wilberforce stood and fought for are more important than fame, notoreity, money or celebrity. It is revealing that no one else felt these ideals to be important enough to establish a presence on the internet until the bicentennial year. It took a variation of the above (fame, notoreity, money, celebrity) to motivate others to join in.
We congratulate them for their, albeit late, efforts.
We live in morally bankrupt times.
Stephen Bennett, Chair, Awards Committee

"We should take care, in inculcating patriotism into our boys and girls,
that is a patriotism above the narrow sentiment which usually stops at one's country, and thus inspires jealousy and enmity in dealing with others... Our patriotism should be of the wider, nobler kind which recognises justice and reasonableness in the claims of others and which lead our country into comradeship with...the other nations of the world. The first step to this end is to develop peace and goodwill within our borders, by training our youth of both sexes to its practice as their habit of life, so that the jealousies of town against town, class against class and sect against sect no longer exist; and then to extend this good feeling beyond our frontiers towards our neighbours."
Lord Baden-Powell

"It is necessary to the happiness of man
that he be mentally faithful to himself:
I believe in the equality of man:
I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice,
loving mercy and
endeavouring to make our fellow creatures happy."
Tom Paine


It is desired that The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service (WWACSS) should be given annually to a person or persons who demonstrate Community Spirit and Service. There are two distinctive but equally important awards: an award recognizing the adult community and a separate award bestowed upon a young person of school age. Nominations are always open and every one is invited to nominate a candidate for this unique award which exists to recognize the vital importance of community spirit to the future of our local community, the world community and of our survival as a species on this tiny planet of ours. Please make your suggestions and send your nominations to stephen@claamfest.org .

The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service (WWACSS) gives us a way to continue the fight against slavery by promoting good citizenship with fresh, new breath and energy. The Award Presentation is made by the Award Committee under the following proceedure of events:

1.    Presentation ceremony and symphonic concert (see here for more information on the programme) .
2.    Cash award. (This would be provided and presented by the high profile sponsor or sponsors).
3.    Award Certificate.
4.    Award trophy with commemorative plaque honouring the award winner suitable for display by the recipient.

The implications of the Clapham Festival of Music and the Arts (Cla'am Fest!) are profound. Created to promote education while fostering community spirit and service through the arts locally and internationally, I have initiated the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service. The birth of the Abolitionist movement began in Clapham. William Wilberforce, Henry Thornton and others began the anti-slavery movement. *see The William Wilberforce Award for Community Service and Spirit click here to download document and for further information contact us. Slavery was only one of two major projects of William Wilberforce. The other was an even bigger challenge.

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"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
George Orwell

Our grave concern for the continuing world crisis situation has motivated us to urgently try to communicate the solution further afield than on an isolated local basis. But we need more than knowledge. The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service needs a Patron. The WWACSS needs a Sponsor. The WWACSS needs a Philanthropist. The WWACSS needs a Venture Capitalist. The WWACSS is just a dream without funding. We have almost reached our funding goal. Join us and make it succeed. Together we can make a difference!

"Our job this day is to become part of the answer to the world's immense and protracted suffering
rather than continuing our ancient task of being part of the difficulty."
Hugh Prather - Author, minister

"...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us,
we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being,
and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all being."
Sogyal Rinpoche

"There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them.
But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams
than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for"
Paulo Coelho

You can download (see below) and read correspondence and communication with the following key supporters (potential): Ex Prime Minister, Tony Blair, his friend, the 89th richest person on the planet, Phillip Anschutz (owner of the Millenium Dome, which he failed to turn into the largest gambling casino in the UK and is now called O2) and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Keith Hill, who, coincidentally, also happens to be the MP for Clapham and Wandsworth.
However, do keep the following comment from Tom Paine in mind:
"The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind."
Thomas Paine

Tony Blair's resignation speech was given on May 10, 2007. In that address he named seven (7) important qualities, values that are perfectly married to Community Spirit and Service; values that are absolutely core and archetypal to the meaning and purpose of the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service. Another attempt to contact the PM about the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service might be worthwhile. The thought being that Tony Blair, whether Prime Minister or not, has the ear and introduction to every human being on the planet (not only the very super rich, the powerful and the most influential humans) who would be in the position to bring about the changes that the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service (and that he, himself, has stated that he so wishes to become reality). The 7 qualities Blair singled out and highlighted are, in chronological order, as follows:

  1. “Social compassion”
  2. “Spending money on the public realm”
  3. “People want the best for themselves and their families”
  4. “Good manners”
  5. “Respect for others”
  6. “Treating others with courtesy”
  7. “London is the world's financial center”

You can read the letter to the Prime Minister if you click here to download the document .
On the 22nd of May, twelve days after our letter, the Prime Minister had someone called R. Smith, to respond/acknowledge/reply to our letter above. As you know, we merely asked for a very brief meeting with the Prime Minister to propose a very simple, yet very effective solution by recognizing the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service. One word from the Prime Minister would be enough to literally begin the change of society for the better in the ways all of us long for, have longed for our entire lives and the lives of many generations before us. The letter from the "Direct Communications Unit" at 10 Downing Street said: " The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your recent letter. I regret that the many calls on Mr Blair's time will make it impossible for him to see you personally. Yours sincerely R. Smith" We appreciate the ex- Prime Minister's "regret" very much. Perhaps you who have read this might suggest a way forward? please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Perhaps Tony Blair feels that community spirit and service is very important. His letter certainly reinforces the sincerity of his public statements, statements over the past decade which have culminated with his resignation speech mentioned above. The ex Prime Minister considers "social compassion", "spending money on the public realm" and the other points in his resignation speech to be of a high priority. We wonder what can be more important than Community Spirit and Service, the betterment of humankind, which was the cause of William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect. Since every good thing in life stems from community spirit and service, what could any Prime Minister, find to be of more importance? "Social Compassion", "Spending money on the public realm", "People want the best for themselves and their families", "Good manners", "Respect for others", "Treating others with courtesy", are important because of the fact of "London being the world's financial center".If you have any suggestions, advice and want to help, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Phillip Anschutz, the ex- Prime Minister's good friend, one of the richest people on the planet, who owns the Millenium Dome in London and who expected to win permission to turn the Dome into the largest gambling casino in the UK, was also the financial backer for the recent film-biography of William Wilberforce: Amazing Grace. We feel sure because of this, that Mr. Anschutz would be vitally interested in furthering Community Spirit and Service worldwide and therefore, because of his direct association with the subject of the film, might like to be associated with the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service. Our letter to him reads: "30 January 2007-Dear Mr. Anchutz...As a prime mover and financier in the creation and production of the film “Amazing Grace”, you may have a strong interest in the subject of William Wilberforce. You may be in harmony with Wilberforce. Additional to the issue of slavery, you may share with Wilberforce a social concern for community spirit and service... (the)... interest is one of community spirit and service. (we) need your help.The above award needs a patron and sponsor... Yours sincerely...."
You can read his reoply if you click here to download the letter . If you do have an idea or a thought, please contact us at your earliest convenience and let us know what it is.

Keith Hill is the MP for Clapham and Wandsworth. The correspondence with our local MP who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, is interesting, if very revealing. The Rt Honourable Keith Hill MP is also Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and as such is in very close direct communication with the PM. Mr. Hill expressed keen interest and support for the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service. click here to download the correspondence . Keith Hill said slavery "still exists today, even in Britain. Poverty and social exclusion make people vulnerable to these curses. It's time we eradicate slavery in all forms worldwide, once and for all." What better place to begin this eradication but in Clapham where Wilberforce lived and where the Abolitionist Movement began and also his unfinished campaign to change social morals? What better way is there to combat and eradicate social exclusion and human vulnerability and suffering than through community spiritedness and community service? There is no better way! What a fantastic, wonderful way to combat social exclusion and vulnerability it is to have everyone participate in the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service.
Perhaps you who have read this might suggest a way forward? please contact us at your earliest convenience.

"The inability of the colonists
to get power to issue
their own money
permanently out of
the hands of George III
and the international bankers
was the PRIME reason
for the revolutionary war."
Benjamin Franklin

"We are grateful to the Washington Post,
the New York Times, Time magazine
and other great publications
whose directors have attended our meetings
and respected
the promises of discretion
for almost forty years.
It would have been
impossible for us to develop
our plan for the world
if we had been subject to
the bright lights of publicity
during those years.
But, the world is now more sophisticated
and prepared to march towards
a world government.
The supranational sovereinty
of an intellectual elite
and world bankers
is surely preferable to the
National auto-determination
practiced in past centuries."
David Rockefeller in an address to
Trilateral Commission meeting, 1991
and/or at Bilderberger meeting in Baden-Baden, 1991

"The world is governed
by very different personages
from what is imagined by those
who are not behind the scenes."
Benjamin Disraeli, first Prime Minister of England, 1844


Current world events and recent developments have made the importance of community spirit/service even more urgent. Cla'am Fest is the only festival in the known world that deals directly with community spirit/service. All the rest are at best very indirectly related to the concept of “community” and have a low profile as such. Facts to the contrary notwithstanding, community spirit and service is never directly mentioned.

The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service fosters and promotes and inspires community spirit and service. This, by it's very nature, fights slavery, currently one of the biggest scourages on humanity and our world.

"...slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of laborers,
while the European plan...
is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages.
This can be done by controlling the money.
It will not do to allow the Greenback...as we cannot control that"
"The Hazard Circular", July, 1862
(an internal document circulated between private British and American banking interests
just after Abraham Lincoln created the independent debt-free "Greenback")

"The fractional reserve policy perpetrated by the Federal Reserve, which has spread in practise to the great majority of banks in the world is, in fact, a system of modern slavery. Think about it. Money is created out of debt. And what do people do when they are in debt? They submit to employment to pay it off. But if money can only be created out of loans, how can society ever be debt free? It can't. And that's the point. And it is the fear of losing assets coupled with the struggle to keep up with the perpetual debt in inflation inherent in the system compounded by the inescapable scarcity within the money supply itself created by the interest that can never be repaid that keeps the wage slave in line, running on the hamster wheel with millions of others, in effect powering an empire that truly benefits only the elite at the top of the pyramid. For, at the end of the day, who are you really working for? The Banks. Money is created in a bank, and invariably ends up in a bank. They are the true Masters, along with the corporations and governments they support. Physical slavery requires people to be housed and fed. Economic slavery requires people to feed and house themselves. It is one of the most ingenious scams for social manipulation ever created and at it's core, it is an invisible war against the population. Debt is the weapon used to conquer and enslave societies and "interest" is it's prime ammunition. And, as the majority walks around oblivious to this reality, the banks in collusion with governments and corporations continue to perfect and expand their techniques for economic warfare, spawning new bases such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund while also inventing a new type of soldier: the birth of the economic hit man."
- Zeitgeist (documentary film)

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt."
John Adams (1725-1826)

"Every American knows the adage:
'The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.'
They just seem to interpret 'vigilance' as 'voyeurism.'"
Stephen Bennett

" The blue collar class which is the backbone of any society, is so oppressed and crushed under debts here in the US (and everywhere else around the world also*), they see no hope, being hired for a lifetime in some industry, they have been told, they must fend for themselves and be rootless, moving from job to job across the country or if displaced, removing themselves entirely via crime or death. No longer being asked to be part of a specific community, they are told; they must be more flexible and move from region to region, a leaf in a thunderstorm in the gutter of life" . (*WWACSS addition)
Elaine Meinel Supkis, "Culture of Life News"
as seen here
Elaine Meinel Supkis (Bio)---Born at Yerkes Observatory, grew up on many observatory mountains and secret government testing grounds, burr under the saddle of the Real Rulers of America since childhood, family black sheep with three bags of wool, pulled down more than one politician in life, winner of the "Struck by Lightning Indoors" award for most hits in lifetime, three direct and seven glancing blows. Now living on a mountain with horses and cats and dogs and chickens and a husband. Yikes. click here to download document

"Money is a new form of slavery,
and distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that
it is impersonal,
there is no human relation
between master and slave."
Leo Tolstoy

A community festival involves all the community. A community festival excludes no one. Cla'am Fest is one excellent way to demonstrate and accomplish this goal. It is not the only way, nor does it have the all-powerful high world profile as say, the US President has, but it is a very great contributory solution to the problem. Community Spirit and Service could actually become contagious, spread far and wide and even become, dare I say it.....popular. Actions speak louder than words.

The War on Terrorism is anti-community Big Time! The only way to defeat these two evils, Terroism and the War on Terrorism, is by showing the world a better way. So far, no one, no individual, no leader, no world power is showing a better way. Instead, they are the problem. Why is that?

The Patron-Elect of Claam Fest, the great musician and the supreme "violinist of the century" Yehudi Menuhin, who sadly unexpectedly passed away before he could become one of our Patrons, made this statement in his formulation of a World Parliament of Cultures:

"Nations hide behind walls and barbed wire. Cultures however expand without hindrance. Art, literature, music, dance and poetry live in and between people. Like the world oceans they constitute a common heritage of humanity and are not the possession of nations or religious hierarchies. A World Parliament of Cultures would be made up of men and women (definitely not professional politicians) who, because of their competence, their wisdom and their altruism, would be handed the tasks of producing conceptual solutions for certain problems. They would be people like Dag Hammarskjöld in whom vision became grounded. Maybe all of us should learn from these artists who know the way between vision and reality. They go this arduous way day after day; they know the hurdles and they are able to assess true progress when claiming victory over a problem they have been working on, when claiming victory over themselves. Politics today is still based upon certain drives.
Art however is based on intuition, which seems to me to be a higher power."

“My generation's apathy. I'm disgusted with it. I'm disgusted with my own apathy too,
for being spineless and not always standing up against racism, sexism
and all those other -isms the counterculture has been whinning about for years.”
Kurt Cobain
(American Musician and Singer ofthe grunge rock band Nirvana. 1967-1994).

It seems to me that Cobain's "disgust" would have been better served had he the courage to survive and change his generation's apathy (it's not only his but every generation everywhere) by the example of his own life and influence. He made the wrong choice (what greater "apathy" is there than suicide?) and rendered his feelings above worthless and less than useless. It's too late for him now.
Stephen Bennett

"Community life in Britain has weakened substantially over the past 30 years,
according to research commissioned by the BBC."
Mark Easton, BBC Home Editor, on 1 December 2008

Analysis of census data reveals how neighbourhoods in every part of the UK have become more socially fragmented. The study assesses the health of a community by looking at how rooted people are in their neighbourhood. Academics created "loneliness indices", to identify where people had a "feeling of not belonging".
Professor Daniel Dorling
University of Sheffield

"An extraordinary and troubling story is told by these maps "
Mark Easton

" These trends may be
linked to higher likelihoods of
fearfulness because we are less
likely to see and therefore understand each others' lives
Professor Daniel Dorling
University of Sheffield

More information about the above report by Professor Daniel Dorling and his team,
released on 1 December 2008 can be read here.

Why have a William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service?
(as if the answer isn't obvious by now)

"...the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions. Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: 'Mutually assured destruction.' -Al Gore (2007 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture)

Gore goes on "...Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent 'carbon summer.' As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, ' Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice.' Either, he notes, 'would suffice.' But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet. We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge. These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves. No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong. Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion? Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called 'Satyagraha'– or 'truth force.' In every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free. Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between 'me' and 'we,' creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility. There is an African proverb that says, 'If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' We need to go far, quickly. We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step 'ism.' That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously. This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun's energy for pennies or invent an engine that's carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world. When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, 'It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship.'.... We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.... These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish toredeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths: The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow. That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, 'Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk.' We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.

The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, 'One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door.' The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: 'What were you thinking; why didn't you act?' Or they will ask instead: 'How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?' We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource. So let us renew it, and say together: 'We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.' "

The above is excerpted from Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, delivered on Monday, 10 December 2007 in Oslo, Norway. What he is speaking about is, of course, Global Warming. But what he is, in fact, speaking about is Community Spirit and Service. This is why we quote him here. For Mr. Gore to succeed and for world humanity, our very species, to survive, we all need to acquire the moral courage to rise and become better human beings.

What is more community minded and spirited than the abolition of human slavery? Slavery still exists today. Other problems like poverty, starvation, health and crime are secondary to community spirit and service. Clapham, London, was the birthplace of the Abolitionist Movement, which was but one goal/achievement of the Clapham Circle. Community spirit and service was of equal importance to Wilberforce and his associates in the Clapham Circle/Sect. William Wilberforce began the movement in Clapham in historic venues that still exist today. Cla'am Fest Local Walking Tours will visit and highlight these historic places. We want to motivate, organise and locate plaques on buildings and places associated with the Clapham Sect and Wilberforce. A monument/statue prominently placed is sorely needed. Why? With the people focused on community spirit and on community service, all the problems of society and humanity are of profound concern and can be relieved if not eliminated. Community is the key; it is everything. The elimination of poverty, crime, guns, homelessness, malnutrition, war, corruption, suffering, disease, the gap between rich and poor, the worst effects of capitalism and tyranny and all the ills beset upon humankind come about and are achieved through good citizenship, community spirit and service. Sadly, power hegemony, corruption on a massive scale and military aggression have the upper hand in today's world. We need to turn the page. A sea-change is needed. Peace must break free from it's shackles and chains. The encouragement of the good and the discouragement of the bad is to be part of the solution not part of the problem. The WWACSS needs funding to make this happen.

Giving a high profile prestigious award in recognition for that spirited service can be a very strong beginning. Such an award encourages everyone to think once, twice and is a powerful inspiration. Individual personal and private thinking will thus be created and initiated. We are therefore motivated to find a way to demonstrate a personal contribution towards a solution. In this way may we become qualified candidates and therefore succeed to become eligible for consideration to receive the William Wilberforce Award for Community Service and Spirit (WWACSS). The ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for an award for good citizenship and community service. This may never be achieved. However - community spirit and service (ie: good citizenship) is its own reward. By having a high profile prize award, organized and inspired similarly to the Nobel Prize, we will create public awareness, add prestige to the Cla'am Fest community, which by design will highlight not only the local community but spreading outwards to include the greater global community. Community spirit and service is a universal virtue and belongs not just to a festival or a privileged few but to all of humanity. A parallel separate award will also be made for the young by recognising and praising a child/young person of school age.

One way to inspire the world is by recognizing and honoring those who contribute to the common good. By creating this award, we give a voice to the downtrodden, demonstrate reverance for life, and thus honour community.

But merely honouring community spirit and service is not enough, is not the goal. We, the people, need, want and require things to happen. We want change. The people want a better life. Each of us has a dream of utopia, even if we ignore it and just accept and live in the real world. Think for just a minute what your ideal life would be like. What would your environment be like if you could choose it? Would you like to have your children shooting and killing each other as is happening now? Do you want life on the streets to be cheap as it is now? Do you really enjoy the drug trafficking going on daily right under your eyes? Do you love the corruption of the local and national government? Do you enjoy being helpless? Do we not have any self respect at all? Are you proud of the way the community, the local environment looks in terms of beauty and pleasure? What would you do to change it? What one thing would you prioritize? There might be more than one. Do you like the condition of the streets? Do you really love the speed bumps that cost over £2000.00 each to construct? Do you love the public areas that are so run-down? Do you love the Council Tax? Do you love the army of traffic wardens? Do you love receiving demands for some minor driving offense that was quietly put up to trick you into violating it just so you can pay the government free money for doing nothing at all? Do you love the London Underground being the most expensive in the world and the worst service in the world? There must be something you don't like and might like to change, if only you could.

Community Spirit and Service is the answer. Community Spirit and Service is the key to solve all of these problems and more. The community allowed the South London Hospital for Women to close. Didn't the people want a local emergency hospital close to where they live? Instead, the biggest grocery company built a super store on the site and got even richer at the expense of the people and local business. Clapham Common could become a beautiful garden, prettier than Kew. It will never happen without community spirit and service. Muggings, rapes, and criminals will continue to stalk the common because of the lack of community spirit and service. Mobil phone gangs will continue to rob pedestrians as the police signs warn. Street beggars will continue to ply their trade on the high street. People will continue to drop litter as they walk along the streets. Few regard public areas as their own property and continue to treat it with contempt. It is all behaviour that is aligned to slavery.

Slavery still exists in the world. It has been said that the greatest enemy of government is it’s own people. In the past decades a whole new slavery program has been developed in the USA and elsewhere and is being marketed globally---wage slavery, tax slavery, debt slavery, and new laws which criminalize people and place them in privately owned prisons funded with tax dollars. It is the people who will rise up against a government which is enslaving them, hence, it is the government who will do all in it’s power to keep the people distracted and down.


The privatization of the prison industry (corporate owned prisons funded with tax dollars) creates an entirely new industry in the USA and elsewhere which is dependent upon filling prison cells to make a profit. This is accompanied by the equally disturbing trend towards the use of extremely cheap prison labour forces who make more profits for private industries such as Starbucks and Victoria's Secret among others. These trends prevent some of the outsourcing of jobs out of the country and into slave-labour markets in the USA and the UK and elsewhere so that corporations can make record-breaking profits. Of course, sustaining those profits will require a steady flow of prisoners, creating a self-sustaining system that, once built, is becoming a permanent part of the landscape. (McGowan, 1998). Prisoners are pre-theoretical revolutionaries, rebels, and potential warriors for revolution against the oppressive New World Order (NWO). The constitutional imperative that a few "better" people rule in the interest of economic development today requires the establishment of prisons to house those who may rise against the government. Thus, we are witnessing today para-military operations to check the so-called threats to democracy (which is really just plain old fascism of the Christian democratic variety). Today, the new FBI building in Washington, D.C., devotes 35,000 linear feet to domestic intelligence files. In the case of the FBI, one could argue that it is a front for political surveillance and repression. (Fresia, 1998). The U.S., which had 5% of the world population, had a quarter of the world's prisoners in the year 2000. (Justice Policy Institute, 1999). In USA prisons today, 84% of offenses nationwide are non-violent. Only 3% of all crime results in physical injury. Homicide arrests constituted 0.2% of all arrests in America (National Criminal Justice Commission, Feb, 1996). In actuality, violent crime has been decreasing in the USA yet incarceration has become one of the fastest growing businesses generating large profits. Every day in prisons and jails across the USA and elsewhere in the world the human rights of prisoners are violated. In many facilities, violence is endemic. In some cases, guards purposefully fail to stop inmates assaulting each other. In other cases the guards are themselves the abuser, subjecting their victims to beatings and sexual abuse. Prisons and jails use mechanical, chemical and electro-shock methods of restraint that are cruel, degrading and sometimes life-threatening. The victims of abuse include pregnant women and the mentally ill. (Amnesty International, 1998)

Some of the USA's largest and most profitable corporations have quietly begun to use prison labour forces, at wages up to 80% below the national minimum wage. Among those reportedly contracting to employ prisoners, either directly or through subsidiaries include: AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Chevron, Costco, Dell Computers, Eddie Bauer, IBM, Business Machines, Micro-Soft, Starbucks, Texas instruments, TWA, US West, Nordstroms and Victoria's Secret. (Moore) In addition to the companies that directly manage America's prisons, many other firms are getting a piece of the private prison action: American Express, General Electric, Goldman Sachs & Co., Merrill Lynch, and Smith Barney have all made huge sums by underwriting prison construction with the sale of tax-exempt bonds. This is now a thriving 2.3 billion dollar industry. (Counterpunch, America's Private Gulage, Jan. 1997)

The UK government's failure to rein in human trafficking is described by the United Nations as the modern equivalent of slavery. Britain is in the top 30 countries around the world that are destinations for adults and children being trafficked to work for "slave-masters" in prostitution, domestic labour and petty crime. The chief of the UN office on drugs and crime, Antonio Maria Costa, has said: "The fact that slavery, in the form of human trafficking, still exists in the 21st century shames us all." The USA Department of State has noted that Britain has a "problem of children trafficked into domestic servitude, particularly from West Africa." Lax control over immigration, combined with a reluctance among the authorities to pry into "culturally sensitive" areas, have been blamed as factors driving the rapid growth. Home Office figures show the number of trafficked women has increased dramatically since Labour came to power. In 1998 between 142 and 1,420 trafficked women were working as prostitutes. For 2003, the latest figure available, officials put the number at 4,000: police and charities believe the true figure could now be far higher. Detective Superintendent David Eyles, operational head of the Metropolitan police's clubs and vice unit, said: "There has been a sea change. Five years ago, you would have found that 85% of women in brothels were British and the rest were foreign. Now it's the opposite." (Sunday Times, December 31, 2006). "The number of British men paying for sex has doubled in a decade. But the punters don't know that these women may have been raped and beaten as they are forcibly moved from country to country." Aimie Littler (Sunday Times, 25 March, 2007). The United Nations estimates that in the 21st century 12m people are trapped in slavery. "According to the government, 4,000 women and children were trafficked into prostitution in the UK in 2003." (Sunday Times, 25 March, 2007).

As Easter rapidly approaches, remember and think on this: 12,000 children have been trafficked into the Ivory Coast just to harvest cocoa beans for our chocolate. "Half of the chocolate in British Easter eggs comes from cocoa plantations that use slave labour." (Sunday Times, 25 March, 2007).


The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service (WWACSS) gives us a way to continue the fight against slavery by promoting good citizenship with new fresh breath and energy. The proposals we have made include the following events and projects:

1.    Presentation ceremony and symphonic concert (see here for more information on the programme) .
2.    Cash award. (This would be provided and presented by the high profile sponsor or sponsors). Are you who is reading this right now a sponsor? We don't have any funding, but we need it now. Help us!
3.    Memorial plaques to be placed and integrated on the buildings in the locality of Clapham where the abolitionist meetings took place, including St. Paul's Church; a new plaque and re-dedication to accompany the existing one on the south side of the outside wall of Holy Trinity Church which bears the poignant 1944 WWII scarring, and other locations of the Clapham Circle and Clapham Sect including residences and locations of Granville Sharp, Charles Grant, Henry Thornton, John Thornton, Zachary Macaulay (who already has a commemorative plaque but not for his work as an abolitionist. see cla'am fest gallery for a photo of the plaque), William Smith MP, James Stephen, Reverend Henry Venn (Curate of Clapham) and his son Rector John Venn, Thomas Gisbourne, Charles Grant, Sir William Smith, John Shore (Lord Teignmouth), Hannah More and others as well as William Wilberforce himself.
4.    A monumentental sculpture and statue dedicated to community spirit and service by commemorating the memory and honour of Wilberforce, Clapham Circle, Clapham Sect, and the Abolitionists. This should be publicly and prominently displayed for everyone to see. There is an ideal location for such a monument.

"Good causes stuck to Wilberforce like pins to a magnet."

The Clapham Sect did not just pay attention to the abolition of slavery. They were truly community spirited and gave their lives to community service. They founded and worked tirelessly on multiple projects which promised to transform both morals and society. They worked to ban bear baiting and bull fighting. They fought to suspend the lottery, and they laboured to improve prisons. Their support for factory acts in order to better improve working conditions was never-ending. Sierra Leone was founded at their instigation in order to provide a home for refugee slaves. Zachary Macaulay became the first governor of Sierra Leone. Macaulay drove himself beyond exhaustion for the good of the colony. It was through the efforts of these individuals as the Clapham Sect which funded Hannah More's schools. Children of their times, they also played a big part in the formation of church, Bible, tract and mission societies. Against the opposition of the East India company, these valiant individuals fought to allow missionaries in India. Parliament eventually agreed. It was thanks to the Clapham Sect that chaplains were provided to East India company employees. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) led the twenty-year fight to end the British slave trade. He finally succeeded in March 1807 and continued to fight for abolition until, days before his death in 1833, he saw the institution of slavery abolished throughout the British colonies. Wilberforce had an even greater challenge: "the reformation of manners [society]." To this end, he advocated for child labour laws; he campaigned for education of the blind and deaf. Wilberforce founded organizations as diverse as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and the National Gallery (of Art).

"It has been for some time a generally received opinion, that a military man is not to inquire whether a war be just or unjust;
he is to execute his orders. All princes who are disposed to become tyrants must probably approve of this opinion,
and be willing to establish it; but is it not a dangerous one, since, on that principle, if the tyrant commands his army to attack and destroy, not only an unoffending neighbor nation, but even his own subjects, the army is bound to obey?
A negro slave, in our colonies, being commanded by his master to rob or murder a neighbor, or do any other immoral act,
may refuse, and the magistrate will protect him in his refusal.
The slavery then of a soldier is worse than that of a negro!"
Benjamin Franklin
to Benjamin Vaughan, 14 March 1785 (B 11:18-9)

Probably not, but whether or not anyone agrees or not that a climate problem even exists,
the only chance we have as a species whatever happens is through Community Spirit and Service.
Today (12 October 2007) Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won and share equally the Nobel Peace Prize see the announcement here. Global Warming and Climate Change is at it's very heart a peace issue. We currently go to war for oil. How long will it be before we go to war for water?
See Nobel Peace Prize here.

(see the following for the arguments:)

  • Full House -- Stephen Jay Gould
  • When Elephants Weep -- Jeff Masson
  • Freeman Dyson's Brain -- Wired Magazine
  • The Story of B -- Daniel Quinn
  • A Language Older Than Words -- Derrick Jensen
  • The World We Want -- Mark Kingwell
  • The Spell of the Sensuous -- David Abram
  • The Truth About Stories -- Thomas King
  • Humans in the Wilderness -- Glenn Parton
  • Against the Grain -- Richard Manning
  • The Commonwealth of Life - Peter Brown
  • A Short History of Progress -- Ronald Wright
  • Straw Dogs -- John Gray

This is also Community Spirit & Service

This is not an economic problem. Many people will find this description offensive - morality has become a taboo subject in an age of moral relativism - but there is no other way to understand the problem or to solve it than to look at it in those terms. However, morality in this context can be viewed without reference to any religious beliefs. Excessive consumption is not a scientific issue, not a technological issue, not a financial problem. There is no scientific solution to a moral problem - trying to find one is called a “category error” and is a serious and fundamental error in thought.

Science and technology have already given us answers - We can make cars with vastly lower fuel consumption, much cheaper than conventional cars - but you can’t buy one, because there is more profit in conventional high-consumption cars. Science has shown us alternative energy sources - but we didn’t pursue them. Science has given us energy conservation technologies - but they didn’t make anyone any money. The list is not short. Science cannot save us - that is something we have to do for ourselves - it is a decision and a choice. It is a moral choice. This is Community Spirit and Service.

There is no scientific solution to irresponsible behaviour. There is no scientific solution to people’s refusal to accept the need to act responsibly, to respect other people, and to avoid causing harm to others. There is no scientific solution to people’s refusal to recognise their role in their own problems and the problems they cause for others. This is Community Spirit and Service.

Science and technology are tools. These tools in the hands of the irresponsible or evil, enpower them to do harm and injure all of us. Whether the resulting choices are good or bad they are moral choices. This is Community Spirit and Service.

Economic solutions to moral problems have already been tried. Clearly, they have failed miserably. The moral problem of extreme poverty side by side with extreme wealth in the US, the world’s most wealthy nation, was to be solved through economic growth, not directly caring for the poor. This is not Community Spirit or Service. Without redistribution of wealth, it was supposed that the poor would become better off. Without a solution to the moral problem, economic growth only benefited the rich more than the poor. Since the 1970s, the poor in the USA have become much poorer despite economic growth making the nation more wealthy. That's the rich becoming more wealthy, by the way. This economic growth has actually contributed to rising poverty in other nations. How? By exploiting their resources and their labour - slave labour. The moral issue is the right of a minority to act irresponsibly towards others, or to harm others, in this case through their excessive consumption. The economic “solution” did not solve the moral problem. It actually made the problem much larger and profoundly deeper. This all has to do with Community Spirit and Service - and the lack of it.

This does not just apply to energy resources. It is evident in our consumption and exploitation of all resources: The destruction of the rainforests in South America, Asia and elsewhere, for logging and ranching. This results in the “displacing” of indigenous peoples. We sometimes call this murder or genocide. The destroying of wildlife causes the extinction of species.

- Fishing-out the oceans, both by over-fishing and by stupid, destructive abuses such as mono-filament nets.
- Mining of gold and diamonds, which always seems to involve the displacement and exploitation of indigenous peoples (oops murder and genocide again!). This causes huge environmental destruction. However, this is also true of many minerals.

Destructive and irresponsible behaviour is a moral problem. This has to do with Community Spirit and Service. This is a generalised problem that is not limited or confined to the examples above. This problem applies to most minerals and commodities. It is a Western problem which is not confined to the USA. The USA is merely the largest consumer and the worst offender. It is a world Community Spirit and Service problem. In pursuing this, the US, and other powers, overturn foreign governments replacing them with regimes more cooperative to their demands. Democracies are replaced by dictatorships because “strong-men” are needed to suppress popular opposition to the exploitation of their nations. The number of Western-backed coups is a matter of factual, undeniable record. For just one example: the CIA-backed coup that brought the Shah to power in Iran overturned the democratic government of Mossadegh. This ushered in decades of torture and oppression. It is no wonder why the Iranians are so hostile to the US today. This is all to do with Community Spirit and Service.

Of course we do not have a right to do this to other people. We do not have a right to do this to our planet and to our shared inheritance, which does not belong just to ourselves. This is a moral issue. It is Community Spirit and Service.

It would be much easier to solve a technical or economic problem than a moral problem. It is very hard to accept that one could oneself be at fault. It is very slow and painful to examine, and possibly completely revise, our outlook on life. It all has to do with Community Spirit and Service.

The significance of morality is very confusing for our generation. We were brought up to see morality as something somehow irrelevant. We have been taught to think of all our problems as amenable to solution by science and technology. These are materialistic solutions. We were taught that problems such as poverty and disease are overcome by scientific rationalism. Morality is often seen as subjective judgement and therefore a retrogressive and backward mode of thought. We were taught that wars and persecution were the product of religion, and that abandonment of religion has paved the way for a more peaceful and rational society. This ignores Stalin’s gulag and tens of thousands of H-bombs, and it ignores the huge numbers of people to die in the wars of our supposedly peaceful age. We have ignored Community Spirit and Service.

As a result, our generation has received very little training in recognising moral and philosophical issues. We are not very good at recognising the issues or how to respond to them. We are often confused about the boundaries between religion and morality. Many people think that morality is redundant in an age of moral relativity. We think there is no point in having a view on morals because ‘all points of view are valid and who is to decide what is right and wrong‘. This is also an issue of Community Spirit and Service.

There are clear, definite, independent criteria by which one can rationally decide what is good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral. This whole area has been explored and clarified by many since Aristotle including the philosopher Alisdair McIntyre.(“After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory”; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981, 2nd edn. 1984). This is Community Spirit and Service.

What is the root of our nations’ refusal to accept any moral restraint on consumption? This is a problem not just of the USA, but of all nations subscribing to “Western“ values. It stems from a mistaken set of values and ideas which underpin contemporary western society. It is a question of Community Spirit and Service. Happiness - even our very survival - depends upon ever increasing material consumption. Reducing our consumption would cause misery and suffering. It is a category error to believe that happiness, which is a spiritual quantity, can be addressed via material means. This is Community Spirit and Service. It is wrong to think that if we do not have what we want or believe we “need”, we have a right to take it from others. If others will not give us or sell us what we want (at a price we judge fair), we have a right to take it by force. We think we have the right to destroy things of value to others to take what we want. Other people are less important than us. Our views are right, their views are wrong. If we have a dispute with someone, they are wrong. We do not need to worry about our effect on others, or do anything to modify or reduce our impact on them. We have a right to attack other peoples - they do not have a right to attack us, or even defend themselves. We do not need to make an effort to see other peoples’ points of view. This is a problem of Community Spirit and Service.

It is obvious that at some point this would produce a huge clash with objective reality. However, the Straussian Neo-Cons have provided a ready answer: There is no such thing as objective reality. We can make our own reality. (One is tempted to ask those who hold this last belief to try jumping off a tall building and then try constructing a new reality without gravity. Unfortunately, they have taken our whole society, collectively, on exactly such an experiment. They have told us that since we have jumped off the top of the building, we can already feel that the weight of gravity has stopped pressing on our feet. The scientists who have noticed the rapid approach of the ground have had their research funding cut and their findings suppressed.) This is a problem of Community Spirit and Service.

It is worth reiterating that the above does not just hold true for the United States of America. After-all, the Clapham Festival of Music and the Arts and the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service are in Clapham, London, England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, Europe. No, all of this holds true for Britain and most Western states in the whole world. It particularly applies to Third World nations aspiring to “Western” values while persecuting indigenous and minority populations living within their borders as part of their pursuit of the Western development model. It is difficult to find a Third World nation not guilty of these crimes. This is a problem of Community Spirit and Service.

This description of the values of our society would shock most people, because this is not how we imagine we would normally treat other people inside our own society. But this is indeed how we treat other people. The truth is there for those who can bear it. For most of us, that truth is just too painful to accept. This is a problem of Community Spirit and Service.

Perhaps this apparent contradiction can be clarified and resolved by examining exactly who it is who benefits from this, because these attitudes and this approach to life does not seem to benefit everyone. Where is Community Spirit and Service?

Perhaps it is worth looking at some of the “values” we have promoted in the name of “exporting freedom and democracy”, by means of financial blackmail or, in the case of Kosovo and Iraq, by force of arms: Privatisation: The idea that collective public assets should be appropriated by private individuals. This is presented as an economic “reform” but this is actually a moral decision. Moral decisions are presented and disguised as economic policy. Where is Community Spirit and Service?

The assets privatised typically include the means of life, disposed of to private hands for private profit. For example, the privatisation of water in Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Bolivia, one of the poorest nations on earth, leading to riots about excessive charges, raised to unaffordable levels. It even includes giving ownership of life itself, patenting genes and DNA, imparting rights over the organisms patented. This has led to mass demonstrations and riots in India, about the patenting of medicinal plants. This is a problem of Community Spirit and Service.

Another "value" we have promoted in the name of "exporting freedom and democracy" is: Reducing state regulation. It is the idea that it is not right for the state to constrain people in making money, or to protect society from their excesses. It is the idea that making money benefits everyone and that we do not have to worry about the losers, because they too are winners, by the “trickle down” effect. But where is Community Spirit and Service?

The values above are, of course, all part of Globalisation, part of which has included dismantling the mechanisms for social and environmental protection, some of which have been undermined by commercial power, some of which have been banned outright by international trade agreements. We can see that Globalisation is all part of the moral problem of promoting growth in consumption, and of denial of responsibility or control over the effects. Globalisation, as an agenda, is identifiable and traceable. Globalisation is an elite agenda promoted by organisations such as the Trilateral Commission. This organisation was created by the hyper-rich - like founder-member David Rockefeller. The Trilateral Commission has picked every US President since its inception in 1973 and most European and Japanese leaders also. This is the wholesale destruction of Community Spirit and Service.

The issue here is not picking a scapegoat to blame - even a group so rich, powerful and well able to defend itself. The issue is identifying a value system. This is government of the rich for the rich, denying all social or moral responsibility. It is kleptocracy, plutocracy, hegemony and kakistocracy in the extreme! However, it is no use just blaming the rich, because that would not address the real problem. It is a Community Spirit and Service problem. A lot of people have voted for this style of government and its policies, not just once but repeatedly. This is not like the German people voting for Hitler, once, in desperation and fear at chaos and uncertainty. Our people voted for this repeatedly, in comfort and security. People have become so corrupted that they aspire to the worst of values. We live in a society that worships wealth and does not judge and does not care how it was obtained. Even the losers under this system aspire to be wealthy. Even the losers worship wealth. But where is Community Spirit and Service?

We come now to a crucial moral issue - that evil looks attractive. Those who indulge in evil do so because it will get them what they want and it will get them ahead. Do you think wicked people look horrible? Think again. Real evil looks good. Real evil is incredibly persuasive. With evil, the virtuous lose out. Evil is attractive. Evil would not be a problem if it was not attractive. The problem with evil is that it is often beneficial to the individual. However, if everyone takes part in it, everybody loses. We live in an age when people are not properly educated about real moral issues. Our societies currently hold that individual pursuit of wealth is good and takes too little account of where this harms others. When you have society where people cannot see that evil is wrong, evil abounds. This is all to do with Community Spirit and Service.

There is no difference between the morality of the US government and the morality of a drug dealer, violently carving out his turf in Queens or Watts or Brixton or Afganistan, Columbia or anywhere else on the planet. This is why violence abounds in society and why its people live in fear and paranoia. Are we so steeped in evil that there is no way back? The answer, the way back is through genuine Community Spirit and Service.

Yes, but only through the creation and development of Community Spirit and Service.

Nelson Mandela said (at the Make Poverty History campaign in London, 2005): “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. While poverty exists there is no true freedom. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Make poverty history. Then we can all stand with our heads held high.”

Although what Nelson Mandela said is very true and very good - what he misses Big Time is the Big Picture. Both Poverty, slavery as well as all the other terrible things are merely items in a rather long list of evils and ills that beset humankind. What is needed is a change of heart, a sea change even. The actions of human beings surely need changing. Of this everyone is in agreement. Community is the key. Only Community Spirit and Service can bring this about - A reverance for Life. From and out of this, all else follows.

Although more then 1 billion people still live below the extreme poverty line of $1 a day, and 20,000 die from poverty each day, 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world), 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services, 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day) - (poverty is the state for the majority of the world's people and nations) - although all of this is factually true, this is not the greatest problem in the world. Although more then 3 billion people, more then half of humanity, live in poverty, with less then $2 per day, nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names, and the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world's countries) is less than the wealth of the world's three richest people combined - there is a far greater problem in the world than this. Although over 1 billion people have no access to health care - this is not the biggest issue. Their plight will not be overcome easily. Out of the population of the developing countries 66% have no toilets, nor even latrines. In the developing world alone, 866 million people are illiterate. 2 billion have no link to an electricity network. Some 80% of the world's population have no access to basic forms of telecommunications. There are more telephone lines in Manhattan than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and half the living human race have never used the telephone. Two-thirds of the world's population of those living in absolute poverty are under the age of 15 years old and 70% are women and girls. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen. These things, all of them, are part of a much bigger evil, a much greater problem. A World Bank study estimated that it would take 70 years to double the daily income of every African living on one dollar a day. It will take more than three generations to enable every African to earn the paltry sum of two dollars a day.

It has been said that some of the causes of poverty are unserviceable debt, under-investment in science and technology, unjust trade rules, the onslaught of diseases, ethnic conflicts, corruption, high level of unemployment, and the lack of infrastructure and education. Let's take just one, science and technology, and look more closely at it. One thing about the present century is undeniably certain: the power conferred on 'humanity' by new technologies has been and will continue to be used to commit atrocious crimes against humanity. Cloned human beings, and soldiers will be bred in whom normal human emotions are stunted or totally absent. Genetic engineering will enable centuries-old diseases to be eradicated but at the same time, it will be the technology of choice in future genocides. Those who ignore the destructive potential of new technologies can only do so because they ignore history. Pogroms are as old as Christendom; but without railways, the telegraph and poison gas there could have been no Holocaust. There have always been tyrannies, but without modern means of transport and communication, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Bush (oops!) could not have built their gulags. Humanity's worst crimes were made possible only by modern technology.

Climate change may be a natural normal mechanism through which the planet eases its human burden. The human plague (disseminated primatemaia-a plague of people) of 800 billion, will be reduced to one billion at most within just 100 years. New patterns of disease now arising might trim the human population. War could have a major impact as new weapons of mass destruction are being created - notably biological and (soon) genetic weapons, which are much more fearsome than before. It is not the number of countries that makes this technology ungovernable. It is the technology itself. It does not require enormous amounts of money, plant or equipment to design new viruses for use in genocidal weapons. Governments have created this situation. Governments have ceded much control over new technology to the marketplace. Governments have colluded in their own powerlessness. Governments can be helpful, but it is the people, us, who make real change in the world. It is the responsibility of the new philanthropreneurs and philanthrocapitalists, the rich who realise that money does not bring happiness, who are in the unique position of bringing about real change by providing the financial contribution and thereby enabling events and projects like the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service to succeed.

The gap between the world's rich and poor has never been wider. It is relentlessly getting wider every minute of every day, day in and day out, without end. The USA actually intentionally made the rich richer since Bush came to power. The poor never matter to anyone anyway. No news there. No surprise there. Democracy? The Austrailians get fined if they don't vote. When the Americans don't vote they get Bush. Malnutrition, AIDS, conflict and illiteracy are a daily reality for millions of humans. It isn't chance or bad luck that keeps people trapped in bitter, unrelenting poverty. It is man-made factors - intentional factors. It is factors like a glaringly unjust global trade system, a debt burden so great that it suffocates any chance of recovery and insufficient and ineffective aid. These factors are determined by human decisions. They are done intentionally on purpose. The rules of international trade favour the powerful countries and their businesses. These rules allow rich countries to pay their farmers and companies subsidies to export food. This destroys the livelihoods of poor farmers. Poverty eradication, human rights and environmental protection always loses out to ‘eliminating trade barriers’. We need trade justice not free trade. The EU must put an end to its damaging agricultural export subsidies. That would mean ensuring that poor countries will be able to feed their people by protecting their own farmers and staple crops. Then governments must effectively regulate water companies by keeping water out of world trade rules. It must ensure trade rules do not undermine core labour standards. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) must be stopped from forcing poor countries to open their markets to trade with rich countries, which has caused such disaster. The EU must drop its demand that former European colonies open their markets and give even more rights to big companies. Companies must be regulated to make them accountable for their social and environmental impact both here and abroad. Countries must be able to regulate foreign investment in a way that best suits their own needs.

Back in 2001 the governments of the eight wealthiest nations on the planet said that they were going to do something about it. It was seen as a breakthrough. Those eight wealthiest nations promised to halve world poverty by 2015. Six years later, in 2007, the world continues to fail dismally to reach those targets. It still is in denial, failing and ignorant as we arrive at the half way point towards the 2015 commitments. No prizes for guessing the result in 2015!

Does education count? Is education important? All the myths about AIDS (Sex with a virgin cures AIDS; AIDS is caused by evil spirits; AIDS is a homosexual plague) are very popular in developing countries (except for the last one, which is so very popular in the 1st world, including the USA). Limited formal education, lack of access to reliable information, and inadequate health care promote harmful myths about AIDS. But those same factors apply to everything else in life!

In 2001, the US government allocated 0.11% of GDP (Gross Domestic Profit) to foreign aid. A small but successful country like Denmark allocated 1.01% of its GDP. This is, relative to the size of its economy, ten (10) times more than the very rich giant, the USA, gives. But then, many other countries allocate more than the USA. Does the USA care? No prizes for guessing that answer either! The richest 20% of the world's population holds 86% of the world's wealth (measured in GDP). No prizes for guessing which country that is! Twenty percent (20%) of the world's population - 1.2 billion people - control less than ONE (1) % of the world's wealth. The GNP (Gross National Product) or GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the USA per capita is $29,000. The GDP or GNP of Sierra Leone is $140.00 per capita. Boliva is $740. and Honduras is $1,010. It might seem that the USA is a rich country. But, now we know that the USA is a very poor country indeed! The destruction of Hurricane Katrina caught the USA napping. If the levies had been repaired and maintained, there would have been no flood in New Orleans. The failure of the US government to do anything and the many examples set by those in power, give strong, very clear irrefutable evidence that greed and carelessness is the real GDP or GNP of the USA and most of the other rich countries in the world.

The vast bulk of money always goes into weapons and killing. To reduce the world population from 8 billion to the planetary sustainability level of 1 billion humans, even the killing is not succeeding. The biggest amount by far and away of fossil fuel use- oil - goes to the military. But none of these evil things are at the core of the problem. They are not the central, main cause. The cause of poverty, unhappiness, slavery, greed - man's inhumanity to man - all the ills and evil in the world is the lack of reverance for life, the absence of community spirit and service.

Wars in Africa wipe out gains. A report (BBC World News, 11 October 2007) on armed conflict in Africa has shown that the cost to the continent's development over a 15-year period was nearly $300bn (£146bn). $18 billion per year is spent on war. "One bullet wound is equivalent to putting 100 children in school in Kenya for one year." - Marc Wegerif, Oxfam, South Africa.

"We can dream of a world in which a greatly reduced human population lives in a partially restored paradise; in which farming has been abandoned and green deserts given back to the earth; where the remaining humans are settled in cities, emulating the noble idleness of hunter-gatherers, their needs met by new technologies that leave little mark on the Earth; where life is given over to curiosity, pleasure and play. There is nothing technically impossible about such a world...A High-tech Green utopia, in which a few humans live happily in balance with the rest of life, is scientifically feasible; but it is humanly unimaginable. If anything like this ever comes about, it will not be through the will of homo rapiens. Homo rapiens is only one of very many species, and not obviously worth preserving. Later or sooner, it will become extinct. When it is gone Earth will recover. Long after the last traces of the human animal have disappeared, many of the species it is bent on destroying will still be around, along with others that have yet to spring up. The Earth will forget mankind. The play of life will go on." John Gray, from his book, Straw Dogs. Can we prove John Gray wrong? It seems we cannot. Not so far anyway.

The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service cannot exist without funding. At present, the WWACSS has very little funding. Do you personally, who is reading this, have any ideas that might solve this problem? You might be a philantropist. You might know one. You might be a fund-raiser. You might know one. The WWACSS cannot do anything at all without funding. So far, we are a very tiny light in the vast darkness. You might think, like the local MP Keith Hill does, that the WWACSS is a "good idea", and that was the end of that. But words are just a beginning. The WWACSS must get past the "just mere words" stage. Nothing will ever happen unless action is taken. The Rt Honorable Keith Hill MP is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. Think of all the introductions that he could facilitate! Yes, he asked what he could specifically do. We answered and suggested and simplified and made a very tiny request that would cost nothing and occupy his time very little. One might be forgiven for thinking that Keith Hill and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, could introduce the WWACSS to any one of the rich and powerful of the world. One might easily think of a few names: Bill Gates, Phillip Anchutz, Lord Levy, the Queen, the Duke of Westminster, Prince Charles, J K Rowling, Richard Brandson, just for no-brainer starters. There are more than one. And the PM knows them all personally and can speak with anyone he chooses without help or hindrance. How easy it would be to make the William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit & Service succeed! Why is this not happening? Is it greed? Is it Class? Is it selfishness? Is it carelessness? What excuse is being exercized? What are the reasons? What is your reason for not acting? What is the reason for your ignorance? Answers on a post card please.

The biggest battle we face, the real battle we must confront, is about life vs. meaninglessness and the destruction of everything good. It is about government by soullessness for the sake of the soulless—corporations, money and power -- run by people who have never had to sacrifice or confront the loss of everything they love. Do we want that ruling our world? What about our children's world? We know from our everyday lives that fighting for love is hard work. Fighting for love requires risk and passion. We have to fight to put the forces of life and love back at the center of our policies as if our lives themselves depended on it – because, contrary to every word that comes out of government, Parliament, White House and most of Congress, our very lives do depend on it. We need leaders who can still feel. Someone who will seek balance, listen instead of shout, proceed with humility instead of blindly using power, in all decisions about national policy—whether it is the environment, international relations, terrorism, global warming, or economic inequality. And pigs may fly too! Because it's all connected: the damaged environment, the raped Iraqi girl, the murdered sacrificed children, the sad faces of soldiers at Walter Reed and other military hospitals around the world, abandoned, lost, wandering and remembering all the killing they committed. It all ultimately stems from policies that know only death and not life. It can only be reversed by leaders and citizens who believe more in the power of life than death. Homo Rapiens rules this world at the present time. Trouble is, there is precious little time left. Many say that it is already too late. In the week of March 12, 2007, Prime Minister Tony Blair made this statement: "For us the most important thing is to remember what happened in the past, and to condemn it and to say why it was so entirely unacceptable. And one of the best ways we remember and pay tribute to those that suffered is to have a different relationship with Africa for the future, and to redouble our efforts to deal with the modern forms of slavery and people trafficking that beset our world today." We go further and say that the very best way to deal with all of this is through Community Spirit and Service. This is the Big Picture. The William Wilberforce Award for Community Spirit and Service paves the way forward. Come and join us.

There is a “mystery” that must be explained: How is it that as corporate investments, foreign aid and international loans to poor countries have increased dramatically throughout the world over the last half century, so has poverty? The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world's population. What do we make of this?
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Mother Teressa identified it properly and correctly when she stated that "The greatest problem in the world is not the poverty of the 3rd World. The greatest problem in the world is in the Western World, the 1st World. It is the poverty of the human spirit."

Community spirit and service is what is needed to open hearts and change the sea. With a healthy mind in a healthy body, the possibility for a human being to be creative, productive and helpful, compassionate, caring, joyful and happy, and be proud of our fellow humans can indeed be brought about. Community is the key. Without it, we are all of us just changing deck chairs on the Titanic.

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"
Eleanor Roosevelt

"He who would do good must do so in minute particulars. General good is the plea of the scoundrel, the hypocrite and the liar."
William Blake

If the above is of interest to you, please contact me , Stephen Bennett, at your earliest convenience.
We need support, funding, advice and sponsorhip as well as synergy and influence.
We need both philanthropreneurs as well as philanthrocapitalists.
We want to include the entire community and we need everybody's help and contribution in order to
foster and promote community spirit and service in this noble cause.

A story for our times

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me...It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too."

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied...

"The one I feed."



For further information contact us or contact stephen@claamfest.org .


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